Join VA Secretary for YouTube Live Q&A with Veterans


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This Friday, Feb. 24, join VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin as he takes questions from Veterans during a town hall-style digital event on YouTube Live.

Dr. David J. Shulkin was nominated by President Trump to serve as the ninth Secretary of Veterans Affairs, was confirmed by the United States Senate on Feb. 13, and was sworn into office on Feb. 14. Prior to his confirmation as Secretary, Shulkin served as VA’s Under Secretary for Health for 18 months, leading the nation’s largest integrated health care system, with more than 1,700 sites of care serving nearly nine million Veterans.

To engage Veterans directly, Shulkin and other VA senior leaders will join moderator Bill Rausch for a 30-minute discussion online via YouTube live.

Bill Rausch, Got Your 6

Bill Rausch, executive director of Got Your 6, will serve as moderator for the YouTube live discussion on Feb. 24 at 2:45 p.m. ET.

“Over the last year and a half I’ve gotten to know Secretary Shulkin as man of great integrity and passion, who is committed to putting Veterans first,” said Rausch, an Army Veteran and executive director of Got Your 6. “I’m thrilled that my fellow Veterans will get to see where his dedication to service comes from and ask questions about his vision for leading and reforming the department.”

Designed as a virtual “town hall” meeting, the YouTube Live event is the first social media event Shulkin will participate in since being sworn in as secretary. He will answer questions from Veterans and others in the community submitted in advance, as well as those posted live during the chat.

“Since 2006, YouTube has played a significant role in connecting the American people with their governments and elected officials,” said Brandon Feldman with YouTube News and Politics. “We’re pleased Secretary Shulkin is continuing this tradition and we’re looking forward to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ efforts to engage constituents through technology.”

The YouTubeLive discussion is one of several events over the next few weeks where Shulkin will meet directly with Veterans, Veterans service organizations, state Veterans Affairs directors, as well as VA employees to highlight the progress VA is making in delivering the care and services Veterans need and deserve.

“Among many critical efforts already underway, we will continue building on significant progress increasing access for Veterans, preventing suicide, addressing unique needs of women Veterans, supporting Veterans’ families and caregivers, continuing to drive down the disability backlog and Veteran homelessness, and pursuing necessary legislation to reform the outdated appeals process and for other critical legislative priorities,” Shulkin recently shared.

“When VA succeeds, Veterans succeed, and we look forward to a positive, collaborative relationship with Secretary Shulkin as he works to transform VA into agency that supports and empowers every Veteran across America,” Rausch said.

To participate in the event on Friday, tune in to our YouTube Live event page – click here – or watch via VA’s Facebook page at 2:45 p.m. ET. You can submit your question in advance by using the comments section below.  Not all questions will be answered, and please don’t include any personal health or secure information via the comments section. As always, IRIS is the best VA online resource to ask those more sensitive questions

Author

Megan Moloney

— Megan joined VA in May 2013. She is the daughter, granddaughter and spouse of Army and Navy Veterans who served in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Comments

  1. William P. Spiegel    

    I am a Vietnam Veteran that served with the 1st Marine Regiment in ’66-’67. When can we expect decision on Agent Orange and Bladder Cancer?

    1. Megan Moloney    

      Mr. Spiegel, our colleagues in the Veterans Health digital media team wanted to share this answer with you for your question:

      The report from the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the IOM) ran over 1000 pages and contained many recommendations for VA to consider. Likewise, the careful and deliberative work of the VA’s internal workgroups and committees yielded a similarly comprehensive document for the new Secretary (Dr. David Shulkin); that has been sent forward for him to review. This review includes the consideration of possible new presumptions of service connection for several conditions. The drafting of any new rules (following the Secretary’s decision on possible new presumptions) is expected to take several months as other federal agencies, especially the Office of Management and Budget, will be involved.

      1. Joel P Hesse    

        Joel Hesse Sr.
        · February 2, 2017
        A little HELP.. Please….. from Dr.David Shulkin…New Secretary of the VA…………(name redacted) a social worker in the Behavioral Health Center wrote a letter which was requested by the veteran…I asked for a copy of the letter in July 2016 as his guardian…(she didnt post it in the notes as is usually done)at the time…I was told to get it from the veteran…. I asked her to save a copy as I was going to request it…went to ROI today 2/2/17,they couldnt find it and contacted her by phone…she has disvowed any knowledge…this is only one of the many problems I have had with this area of the VA…. I am asking for the New Director involvement in helping me to obtain this letter…If not.. then perhaps the New Secretary of the VA ,Dr.David Shulkin…or someone reading this post from Washington could help me obtain it…Thank You and still no HELP or word on this as of 2-23-17 this issue is at The Robert J.Dole VA Center in Wichita Ks..thank you

    2. Paula Minger    

      As the wife and Caregiver of a 100% service connected Bieynam vet we would like to know when the Caregiver Benefit will be available to us. We’ve waited a long time and are in need of help. Thank you, Paula Minger

      1. Rita Mac    

        Please refer to the link below: Mr. Spiegel ask a valid question and I understand the IOM is over 1000 pages, however it was given to former Secretary of the V.A in 2016 Among provisions of the Agent Orange law Congress allowed to sunset last year was a requirement that the VA secretary take action on IOM recommendations within 60 days. Erickson said the working group hopes to give McDonald what he needs to make decisions on the IOM by late July. ALSO, please explain why there is such a difference in Caregivers for post 9/11 verses pre 9/11.

        https://www.stripes.com/va-might-add-more-presumptive-illnesses-for-vietnam-veterans-1.399750

      2. Maria Adebola    

        Ms. Minger, have you tried reaching out to the Caregiver Support Line? They might be able to provide you with the information you need: 1-855*26–3274.

    3. LAWRENCE Motzer    

      What is being done to Fix the Veterans Choice Program I am a VIETNAM VETERAN who suffed a Heart attack August of 2015 and waited untill November to be able to see a Heart Specialist after I was rejected by The Mayo Health System in my home town because the Veterans Choice Program was Not Except and had to travel 100 miles to a VA hospital to see A Heart Dactor.

    4. Walter Duprey    

      I am a Veteran. I have a disk removed from my back. Over 7 surgeries and now, I have a prosthesis for a knee. I have applied for claims since 2015. Yet noone answers my request and they are now waiting for a “SECOND OPINION” on my health. HOW LONG DOES THIS “SECOND OPINION LAST”?.

      Someone please help me!!!

      1. Maria Adebola    

        Mr. Walter, first of all, I am sorry to hear your needs aren’t been attended to. I am more than happy to help. Are you working with the patient advocates at the facility you receive care to ensure that your questions are answered? Where do you receive care, I will reach out to them?

    5. Christopher Cross    

      I am a Veteran that uses the VA Health system. Had to go off site for a test, via Veteran’s Choice, in October. I received a bill in December. Contacted my Patient Advocate , Jerome Simon, who said it would be taken care of. Two weeks ago I received a collection notice. My credit is being destroyed. Again, I contacted Jerome, who said it would be sent to the person who deals with it. Samething was done in December and yet I’m in collection for a bill that isn’t mine. I really need help.

      1. Maria Adebola    

        Mr. Cross, I am very sorry to hear about the issues you are having with billing. Can you please provide let us know where you receive care and we will reach out to the medical center? Based on the information you provided, it seems that this billing issue might be a Non-VA care fee. Once you let us know where you receive care, we’ll reach out to them to find out what options are available to get this issue resolved.

    6. Joel P Hesse    

      dont know why my question was taken down yesterday 2/23/17… but Im asking the new Secretary for some HELP…..

      1. Gary Hicks    

        Mr. Hesse,

        I redacted the names of the individuals mentioned for possible libel reasons.
        Before doing so, I copied the original along with your contact information and forwarded it to the right people for follow up.

    7. Ribert J Bailey    

      I am a veteran that suffers from several conditions that I need medicine that the VA does not cover. I am receiving compensation and debt mamaagement is take money out that I really need and they are creating a financial hardship that is impeding my healthcare.

      Even though I am strugging to maintain proper health mamangement. I want to know why there is not a better investigaing servicer that will help veterans that destoy them. Just like the VRAP program that didn’t really heal many veterans but put them in debt and then if like me I was told that the VA overpqaid me. and not only am I in a large debpt load, but I am now not able to meet all of my debts. I am sure that you WON’t answer this question. But to make it clear why is the VA destroying veterans that are struggling with homelessness and no income.

      Thank you

      RJ Bailey

      1. Maria Adebola    

        Mr. Bailey, thank you for the question. Based on the information you provided,it is my hope that I can get you connected to the right resources that will help.

        If you haven’t been in contact with them already, VA’s homeless program may have information and resources for low-income and at risk Veterans. Please call their hotline at 1-877-424-3838 or visit http://www.va.gov/homeless/.
        We’d like to get more information about your health management status. Can you provide us with additional information about your situation, so we can provide you with a more substantial answer?
        If you are not aware, VA is amending its copays for outpatient medications, which may also help your situation. Here is more information: http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/34421/new-regulation-changes-copayment-cost-outpatient-medication/. You can also call 1-877-222-VETS (8387) for additional information on this change.

    8. Joel P Hesse    

      Dr.Shulkin… thank you for your help…recently Dec 22,2017 the VA R/O in Lincoln Neb made a arbitrary and capricious decision in changing of a VA fiduciary (my brother court appointed conservator) to another paid fiduciary…no explanation whatsoever…I am court appointed guardian,my brother was a court appointed conservator…my son the veteran has a variety of Mental health issues brought on with his service in the WAR in Kosovo which we litigated with the VA for 16 years(and still get resistence) Knowone at the VA field examination contacted the Conservator( a former president of a local bank here) myself,his father,his court appointed guardian…or the lawyer who represented the veteran on his claim of 16 years….The VA simply accepted the word of a mentally disabled veteran with a history of substance abuse…the VA had already deemed the veteran incompetent as well…throughout the adjudication of his underlying claim the VA used the veterans credibility consistently against him…we ask that you look into this immediately and request reinstatement of the individual that was replaced for a paid fiduciary….This is absolutely wrong and is just another indication of a system that runs amok and desperately needs to be repaired……I hope you will devote your attention to this…it needs someone with some stroke to change this situation and many more like it…thank you for your consideration….

      1. Joel P Hesse    

        you claim that you fowarded my question to VA leadership for direct feedback…on Feb 24,2017…how come knowone has contacted me????more empty promises from the VA…

    9. Shannon    

      Secretary Shulkin, how will you reduce veteran homelessness in Los Angeles? #VATheRightWay

    10. Michelle    

      Secretary Shulkin, will you appoint a prominent local veteran and experienced real estate developer, like Ed Roski (USMC ’62-’66), as Veterans Housing Czar to oversee development of VA West Los Angeles? #VATheRightWay

    11. Amanda Sanchez    

      Secretary Shulkin, the VA West Los Angeles master plan calls for at least 1,200 units of homeless veteran housing over the next decade. Can you get it done faster? #VATheRightWay

  2. brian brooks    

    can I ask him why my claim for convalescent temp disability after service connected surgery is not done?, 7 months and counting waiting on benefits, nothing says we hate you and want you to suffer more than dragging out a simple claim for months

  3. Bradley A. Trimble    

    I am very concerned about the under funded mental health programs. Also, underfunding as a whole. What are the plans to loosen the purse strings. We apparently can send over a billion dollars to Iran, a country I consider an enemy, we should be able to afford to fund the VA better.

    Thank you kindly for giving us this amazing opportunity to reach out to you.

  4. Marian Vanella    

    When will you make a decision on the new presumptive diseases and Agent Orange exposure like bladder cancer and hypertension?

  5. Shedric Staley    

    10 U.S.C. 1174 and 38 CFR 3.700 are placing financial hardships on soldiers that are separated from service in terms of starting a new life after military service, most with qualifying disabilities that they are forced to handle with no assistance until severance pay is repaid, which only recently soldiers are being informed of during out-processing briefs. There are petitions to have the law at the least reviewed if not changed or removed. Is it right for an honorably discharged soldier to have to struggle as they transition to civilian life?

  6. Joseph d Grass Jr    

    I am 100 percent disabled and they say I cannot get my teeth fixed, I was told I had to be 100 percent and they tell me I have to be unemployment and totally disabled I can not work at all. I need to get something done with my teeth to better my health.

    1. Alex svidesskis    

      Cant afford or make payments to a local dentist!

    2. Maria Adebola    

      Hi Joseph, VA offers discounted dental insurance that any Veteran, no matter what rating they are, can enroll in. You can find info on that program here: http://www.va.gov/healthBenefits/vadip/

  7. Alexis Marie Duhon    

    Given the protections provided by the union, how do you plan on removing underperforming employees?

  8. Ken Bullock    

    I would like to know what is going to be done about the lengthy process it takes to get hired on within the Veterans Affairs Health system. I am currently trying to gain employment as a nurse and have been going through the process since August 2016. I am also a 16 year military veteran with 10+ years as a federal technician. Thanks for the considerations.

    1. Steve    

      Here, here. Am an Air Force Reservist Physician Assistant with over 20 yrs of credible military service and have submitted applications to 4 or 5 places only to have heard nothing. Either the needs aren’t what they state or there are just that many better qualified applicants?

  9. Robert R Daugherty    

    Many 100%SC combat physically disabled veterans like myself still have to fight for social security disability benefits. An expedited hearing is granted to veterans but we are still in our 3rd yr of waiting. What can the VA do to aid deserving veterans in the fight for social security?

  10. Sandy Louis    

    I am a proud employee and a veteran with 15
    Years of service. I work at one of the VA’s. I recently graduated as a nurse under the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program. I was told I would not be employed with my Associates in Nursing; however an employee not a veteran who used the VA Employee Incentive Scholarship Program (EISP) would be hired with an Associates Degree without an interview. How is this possible?

    1. Linda Patton    

      Because the VA wants to keep military veterans out. This has gone on for decades. I am an ex-Air Force Nurse and so is my friend and colleague. We both have Masters Degrees and multiple certifications but cannot gain employment at the Houston VAMC. I also know other veterans in healthcare that have the same issue. The salient issue is that non-veteran nurses that we work with in our civilian jobs seem to have no issues becoming hired at the facility.

      Title 38 employees (such as nurses) are not given Veterans Preference. This has to change. The VA doesn’t realize that veterans are discriminated against just for being veterans.

  11. Robert R Daugherty    

    Once a vet recieves 100%SC combat physically disabled rating. Why must we continue to submit same evidence & documents every time we apply for a grant or aid & attendance? Why isn’t there communication within the VA? Honestly if the vet qualified for HISA grant, mobility electric scooter shouldn’t that information trigger a link to ease along the rest of the process?

  12. Robert R Daugherty    

    You have discussed the possibility of broadening the Choice program. Although I am happy with care at my local VA, they’re limited so I often am forced to use Choice. Waiting since Oct on a appt in preparation for a larger surgery. Many doctors & hospitals won’t accept veterans. Claiming VA is slow to pay the bill & often pay less than expected. Can you discuss your plan to improve the choice options yet keep the wait time for an appt down.

  13. Herve Abrams    

    Since so many of my fellow Veterans are employed by the VA, I’m concerned about how VA employees are being treated. For example, recently passed and proposed legislation are eroding worker rights, specifically, the right to official time to respond to adverse action, including termination of employment.
    If employees and their union reps are forced to use their leave time or off the clock time to research and prepare their responses to such adverse actions, will supervisors and managers also be forced to use their leave or work off the clock to research and prepare those same adverse actions?

  14. Anthony J. Brych    

    Can you look into the requirement for redundant audits? I added a school aged child (graduated high school and started college) and the process is insanely long. The claim took more than 18 months to be approved. Once approved I’ve been waiting on payment (the back pay portion) for coming on 5 months. DFAS-Cleveland turned their audit in less than 2 weeks, why does the VA need a second audit and why does it take so long?

  15. Jack Kline    

    I too would like to know if the Secretary will be considering adding Lung Diseases and Hypertension to the Agent Orange Presumptive Disease listing as recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM)?

  16. Dupelia Numa    

    Can you please address the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is proposal to eliminate concurrent receipt of retirement pay and disability compensation for Disabled Veterans?

    What is your plan to make sure this doesn’t happen?

    The retirement system and disability program compensate for different characteristics of military service. It only applies to Veterans who are rated above 50%. Many Veterans cannot afford to live without both and should not have to.

  17. Paul A GLOVER    

    I withdrew my TSP balance [amount redacted] in February of 2009, I signed up for Non Service Connected Pension in May 2009. VA moved my TSP withdrawal to May 2009 and demands I repay them the [money] I spent in February. This manipulation of my income has got to be illegal, isn’t it?

    Editor’s note: Personal information was redacted from this post per VA’s social media policy.

  18. Joe Rasmussen    

    With the increasing number of students taking advantage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, can the VA increase the amount of support it provides to campuses who are now serving these students? In the last few years, the funding fee has been cut in half, ELR’s are centrally located to help VA and not schools, there has been a stall on the National Student Clearinghouse Project (which could free up time for campus employees to better serve veterans), increased burden has been put on schools with the removal of ‘deemed approved’ and 85/15 calculations, and the VA doesn’t provide data it collects to the campuses where they could use it to make more informed decisions. This is an extremely fast growing population and VA support to schools is less now than it was 10 years ago.

    1. Allison - Education Service    

      Joe, thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, Congress determines the funding fees so there would have to be action on their part to increase the amount. I will make sure to pass your comment along to my management to ensure that your concerns are heard. Also, thank you for helping us serve our nation’s Veterans!

  19. Shean Smith    

    Hi. I’m the VA Gulf Coast Health System. Very few of the health personnel know what programs are available to help the veterans they treat. When I ask my primary care and specialty providers about available programs, they don’t know and don’t even know the right contacts. Therefore, it’s made me spend a lot of my time learning about the various available VHA services that VA healthcare teams should know about. Why do veterans have to work to learn what’s available to them? All veterans should have a COMPLETE listing of VA programs that’s easily obtainable by veterans. I suggest a PDF that veterans can download that has all VA programs AND the local VA contacts if there are any questions. As far as I’ve seen, there’s no continuity between all VA health systems regarding services veterans may need to make their lives better. The VA handbook is good, but a supplemental one for each health system would be most helpful, in a PDF version at the very least.

    Also, why do veterans have to remain in suspense while the VBA works on a claim? The VA maintains that veterans can keep up with their claims within Ebenefits, but there’s only enough information on there to cause confusion, concern, on consternation which invariably leads to depression. Sometimes I feel like the VA is purposefully preventing veterans from having immediate access to what going on behind the scene administratively. PLEASE make the veterans’ total claims files available (electronically) to veterans on Ebenefits like their health records are beginning to be. I had to wait almost a year to get my C-file on a CD, which is insane.

    Thank you!
    Shean Smith

    1. Maria Adebola-VHA    

      Hi Shean, we appreciate the fact that you took it upon yourself to learn about the services VA provides. We are especially appreciative of the recommendation you provided. Just a note that every medical center has a list of selected services and a phone directory for the programs/services they provide. Please click links for additional information:
      http://www.biloxi.va.gov/services/index.asp
      http://www.biloxi.va.gov/contact/phone_directory.asp
      Was this the information you were looking for or where you looking for more?

      We will also take heed of your request on benefits claim and make VBA aware of your note.

  20. Darius Sayers    

    I am a 90% disabled veteran who goes to the VA here in Austin, TX for help with my service connected disabilities. When I call for an appointment the available times are always 20+ days in the future. I have spoken with other veterans all across the country and this number differs wildly. My question is what you do you plan to do to fix this and ensure that veterans are seen in a timely fashion?

    1. Maria Adebola-VHA    

      Mr. Sayers, thank you for your question, and I am sorry to hear you have to wait 20+ days to actually see a physician. May I ask if you have already addressed this issue with a patient advocate? They are there to assist you with any scheduling issues that may arise. Their information should be available to you at the medical center where you receive care.

  21. Art    

    100% SC-Why are Lung Transplants not Performed on Vets after reaching age 70? When in Battle/Service they don’t put certain age as a deterrent as when Not to take a Bullet while Protecting our Nation. Otherwise healthy Vets being told @70 years old “VA no longer will Pay for Lung Transplant if you need a Transplant”. Lung issues came about from Severe Exposure to Napalm, Gasoline, Agent Orange, Jungle, but Not on List of Agent Orange Cause

  22. Art    

    On top of all that. Lung issues were misdiagnosed by VA for 5 years before , which WAS the Window for Treatment/Transplant. Now they just get a “too bad”

  23. Stephene Maxwell    

    Can he please address the VA disability claims backlog. I feel the Department of Veterans Affairs cleared their backlog by denying claims en masse. Initial claims may have decreased and enjoyed a faster processing time but now there is an even larger backlog for appeals. Veterans are having to wait upwards of five years to get their LEGITIMATE claims appeals heard and/or approved. What is going to be done to get this process moving? Instead of hiring 15,000 ICE agents can the VA ask to get the employment freeze lifted and hire some much need VSOs to get this process going?

    Thank you.

    1. Jason Davis    

      Stephene,

      In 2010, VBA began a process to modernize the claims process. That ended in 2016. The process is now able to complete many claims within the goal of 125 days. Not all claims, but many claims. Historically–and currently–VBA has granted between 65-67 percent of the claims it receives in a given year. If VBA had been denying claims en masse, there wouldn’t be any claims older than 125 days. But there is. The truth is that VA is receiving more claims than ever before in its history. Also, more and more of these Vets are getting approved at higher percentages than ever before: http://benefits.va.gov/REPORTS/abr/ABR-Compensation-FY15-05092016.pdf

      VA has no authority to change the way appeals are processed. VA does not write federal law, but we are working with Congress and VSOs to reform the appeals process: http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/26187/the-appeals-process-your-comments-and-vas-plans/

      VA also does not control the size of its workforce. It does not have the authority to hire at will. As for those who work on appeals, they’re the highest-performing raters, people who have worked claims for VA for many years. So, VA couldn’t hire someone untrained and then train them for appeals. It takes at least 18 months to get a new employee ready to rate regular claims.

  24. Ronald L Everly    

    First off congratulations and wish you well! My question is there was a plain English term used that was suppose to be put on veterans letters, SOC from my understanding what happened to this and why so much terminology issues between medical, law cases and decisions. A lot of elder veterans don’t have to education and have to pay someone in order to get the entitlements and now even get less because of this confusing process. Lawyers getting paid Doctors getting paid and Veterans health getting worse from stress of lack of understanding and losing money from the confusing process to pay everyone else. Please wish you luck in correcting these problems for everyone!

  25. James Hartman    

    When a VAMC doctor puts in a consult for non-VA care, it goes to a separate section of the VAMC for review and triage, then over to the Veterans Choice Program. In Fayetteville NC, that process has taken anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months and there is no way to contact anyone for a status. Could the VA please make the local non-VA care POCs available through secure messaging on MyHealthyVet? This would enable two way communication, status updates, and a written record of correspondence.

    1. Maria Adebola-VHA    

      Mr. Hartman, the billing unit at Fayetteville VA medical center should be able to update you on your Non-VA care status. Here is their contact information: 866-290-9438

  26. RSandy Singer    

    First let me say, I am a veteran. For seven years I’ve volunteered & assisted other veterans with their claims. One particular South Carolina claim stands out. Female veteran received an honorable character discharge in 1998. I won’t go into the specifics of the discharge, but it was humiliating. From 1998 to 2014 she was denied care/treatment even after receiving numerous letters of eligibility. Her 2003 & 2007 claims were mishandled. When she finally got approved for treatment, it was a daunting experience. Her mental health records were mixed with another vet’s records. Her blood work was placed in someone else’s vial in the VA lab. She was given someone else’s urine cup to give sample in. These mishaps have caused the vet to avoid care at the VA and people because everything that’s happened to her appear to be intentional. Her mental condition is severe. She doesn’t want to be around people at all due to her experience in the military. She will never be able to pay off student loans bc she’s lost her ability to function around others. To make matters worst, her much deserved benefits have been withheld by the VA in error; a benefit that was withheld in December 2015-has not been released over a year later. It was NOD’d but guess what? The VA still has not issued an SOC on the error. Letters written to the Under Secretary’s Ofc are being ignored. This vet has been ignored for years VA issued an SOC on a January 2017 benefit withheld in error within the month. Why is the VA sending her appeal to BVA after denying care & treatment for over 16 years?

  27. Joseph Giles    

    How do you feel about VA whistle blower who are targeted by management? There are a lot of whistle blower who are afraid to come forward about patient access illegally, mismanagement etc. How do you plan to help solve this issue?

  28. Martin Thomas Kopf    

    My questions pertain to the initial claims process and how it affects the backlog of appeals and suicide rate.
    In my case, and in quite a large number of other Veterans, c&p examiners actually lie in order to justify a non service connection opinion. I actually have proof of one of my examiners doing just that.

    My questions are as follows:
    Why is there no process for Veterans to address this rampant and unchecked fraud?
    Why aren’t examiners committing these acts being disciplined?
    What do you, as Secretary, plan to do to address this issue?

    Thank you for your time Mr. Secretary and best of luck! We’re all counting on you.

  29. Michele Robles    

    (I just spent a half hour composing comments about Veterans Choice and it was lost when the CAPTCHA code didn’t work!)

  30. Pamela Cundy    

    What has just happened to MyHeathevet? I can’t access my records!!! They are directing me to a new site that is under construction and has been on a soft roll out since November. Has our care just been privatized without letting us know??? What is going on!!!!

    1. Maria Adebola-VHA    

      Ms. Cundy, are you trying to access myhealthevet through this site: https://www.myhealth.va.gov/? If you are still have trouble connecting to the site please call 1-877-327-0022 Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Central Time)
      Or, 1-800-877-8339

  31. Dominic J Ricci    

    I would like to know about veterans having access to any medical care outside of the VA system. I purposely live 40 miles from the closest VA anything to use the Veterans Choice Program, which is the reason I get great health care now which my medical records prove. It is not right that I have to go to such great lengths to get the medical care I need for my service connected disabilities, no veteran should ever have to.

    Question two, I am deemed unemployable but not total and permanent (I do not understand why) and I cannot get insurance for my children. My wife is my caregiver and has it not sure what else Champ VA can expect.

    1. Dominic J Ricci    

      And this is without the response of that veterans will have to pay upfront for the health care. We are on fixed incomes, how can you think this is a plausible answer or solution?

  32. Shedric Staley    

    Why is there no recourse for C&P exams that are poorly performed by your contractor entities like VES, QTC, AND LHI? I have seen several instances of documented conditions that are blatantly ignored during exams and leave claimants with no way to protest, which results in another claim being submitted, which adds to your claims backlog. If the exams were done correctly the first time, there would be less repeat claims.

  33. Karen Coe    

    My husband suffered a stroke while on flood duty in 2000. Why can he not get service connected ax the duty was while in uniform? He is angry because he stayed national guard after his active duty time lapsed. He served nearly 30 years total.

  34. Seth Smith    

    Sec. Shulkin,

    Across the country, more and more veterans from all eras are self-transitioning off of harmful opioids and onto medicinal cannabis to treat symptoms associated with a wide range of issues from PTSD to chronic pain. When will VA doctors be allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis to veterans in states where it is legal…and when will the VA cover the cost of medicinal cannabis for veterans with a prescription?

    1. jack ravin Aide to Sec. Cleland    

      Regarding medical prescribed cannabis; it is the federal law that prohibits what you are asking.

  35. Genavie Steele    

    What can you do for my husband who has been waiting for 11 years for his claim to be done and I know there are a lot more out there

    1. Jason Davis    

      Genavie,

      VA is working with Congress to reform the appeals process.

  36. Rick Joe Bagby    

    I have requested a DRO back in June of 2012. I still haven’t heard of a decision yet. When I called the VA they said it was because my statement contained the “how” I was exposed at a stateside open burn pit that was destroying chemical weapon material and that until I removed that it would just sit there. I finally out of desperation had my attorney remove that part in December 2016 and they received it on the 6th of December and I’m still waiting again. I thought the whole point of requesting a DRO was to get your appeal looked at faster. Not in exposure claims I guess.

    1. Jason Davis    

      Rick, it has nothing to do with what you’ve claimed and everything to do with the number (hundreds of thousands) of people in line. VA is working with Congress to reform the appeals process.

  37. Pamela Burton    

    Hello Secretary Shulkin, My Name is Pamela from Drexel Hill, PA, right outside of Philadelphia. I am a 100% disabled veteran with 21 years of service. My question is, many VA hospitals are 98% male, which make it difficult for a female soldier or veteran to obtain a room immediately in the event of a emergency or and stay. I have tracheotomy and have had to remain in the emergency for hours to wait for a room, and sometimes the bathroom is shared with a male, so God forbid you forget to lock the other door which you then have make sure you unlock, or have to go bad, period. I have fought this issue from PA to Fl many times, with the hospital administration and the veterans affairs. I like to know if this will be addressed during your term. I think it’s really simple ( a women’s wing, with maybe 4- 6 beds, women pj, not the ones men have worn (eww), and even maybe some women condiments, (we don’t shave all the time and there is definitely nothing we can do with that little back comb).
    Thank you for your SERVICE.

  38. Brian P. Sinykin    

    During your Senate questioning one of the Senators got you to declare under your appointment to run the VA. You would inforce all laws pertaining to the VA and stop ignoring those laws. Directive 1032 covers what the VA hospital employees have to do when denying any part of or all of a veterans medical benefits/care. Would you work with me and the Director of the Minneapolis Hospital to develope a training program on what the employees have to do under that directive and the laws described in that directive.

  39. Suzanne McCarthy    

    My husband is a disabled Vietnam Vet. My question is ” When will the backlog of appeals be reduced? My husband is going to be 70 years old-should he or any Veteran have to wait 3 to 5 years for a decision?

    1. Jason Davis    

      Suzanne, I’m sorry to say this question doesn’t have an answer. VA is working with Congress to reform the appeals process.

  40. Betty Jeanne Mahaffey    

    Sec Shulkin,
    The VA has authorized up to 6.8 billion dollars for contracts for DBQ’s to be done. What kind of training do these providers receive and why can’t the VA doctors be trained so they are comfortable filling out the DBQ’s especially when they have been the primary care provider for the Veteran. Thank you.

    1. Jason Davis    

      Betty, a DBQ is just a piece of paper allowing a medical professional to state their medical opinion. There is no need for training. They have instructions. VA doctors are allowed to fill them out, though it’s designed for private doctors.

  41. Melvia Jean Taylor    

    Dr. Shulkin,
    My husband has been trying to get help for his mental issues at Temple VA for many years. Everybody has been great I must say however he can’t get the help he needs cause he’ll see a counselor try to tell them some info on his self and sometimes they will say oh you may not want to get into anything that will upset you cause I’m leaving in 2 weeks. He had a counselor whom he was really comfortable with and she saw him for longer than anyone maybe 7 or so. Now she’s gone and he got a new counselor. He saw him 3 times, today being the last day since he is leaving. This is very difficult for healing cause they don’t have a counselor to talk to once they get comfortable with them they are gone. And most of our Veterans have PTSD etc. This has been going on for years.
    Thank you for you time,
    Melvia Taylor

  42. Jake Scallan USAF Ret.    

    .
    Sec. Shulkin,
    Across the country, more and more veterans from all eras are self-transitioning off of harmful opioids and onto medicinal cannabis to treat symptoms associated with a wide range of issues from PTSD to chronic pain. When will VA doctors be allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis to veterans in states where it is legal…and when will the VA cover the cost of medicinal cannabis for veterans with a prescription?

  43. Aaron Newsom    

    Sec. Shulkin,
    Across the country, more and more veterans from all eras are self-transitioning off of harmful opioids and onto medicinal cannabis to treat symptoms associated with a wide range of issues from PTSD to chronic pain. When will VA doctors be allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis to veterans in states where it is legal…and when will the VA cover the cost of medicinal cannabis for veterans with a prescription?

    Sincerely,

    Aaron Newsom
    U.S. Marines ’02-’08 OEF
    Co-founder/ Operations Director
    SC Veterans Alliance Inc
    http://www.scveteransalliance.com

    *CONFIDENTIALITY — This message is intended to be confidential and directed only to the person/entity as addressed above. Any unauthorized use, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message by error, please reply by e-mail to inform us and delete any copies from your hard drive. Thank you.

  44. David J. Icenhower    

    First, I would like to give a giant thank you to the staff of the Southern Arizona VA health care team that has provided me with outstanding care over the past few years. I do not know what I would have done without them. One of my chief concerns regarding the VA is that only less than a third of their senior leadership have ever served our nation in uniform. Know that there are many of us with extensive military health care experience who could contribute greatly to the care of our own. One of President trump’s campaign promises that this will change and that the VA would start hiring more veterans. He state that he was going to increase the point allowance from 5 to 10 points if he was to be elected. Now that he is indeed in office, when will that promise be fulfilled?

  45. Michael H Goodwin    

    The “Veterans Choice Program” needs improvement for Veterans like me who live more than 40 miles from a VA Hospital.

  46. Martha Edgin    

    Mr, Secretary, others and myself did extensive research for two years to find the connection between exposure to herbicides and the development of bladder cancer. We did indeed find documentation that the IOM graciously accepted. In the IOM’s last and final agent orange report, they raised bladder cancer to a level that WILL allow it to be added to the presumptive list if you and our elected officials will say yes. Since bladder cancer can take thirty to forty years to manifest itself after exposure. We are now seeing thousands of Vietnam Veterans developing this life changing disease. May we count on you to approve the addition of bladder cancer to the presumptive list? Also, when may we expect this approval??? Thank you so much. Many brave men and women are counting on you to do the right thing.

  47. Kim Kay c McCarty Martin    

    I am a female retired Navy disabled veteran living in MT. We do not have a women’s health clinic nor do we have a full time gynecologist. I was told we do not have one because there are not enough women vets to warrant the cost of such a specialty clinic. How many women vets would it take to warrant a clinic or a full time gynecologist? In MT we are over 15% of the whole veteran population so why is our health care not as important in the VA system? Rumor has it that MT was allotted money for a women’s health clinic a few years back but the money was spent elsewhere. Can you please authorize at least a full time gynecologist for the VA in MT.

  48. Benjamin Kroskey    

    Sec. Shulkin,

    Across the country, more and more veterans from all eras are self-transitioning off of harmful opioids and onto medicinal cannabis to treat symptoms associated with a wide range of issues from PTSD to chronic pain. When will VA doctors be allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis to veterans in states where it is legal…and when will the VA cover the cost of medicinal cannabis for veterans with a prescription?

  49. Don Barrett    

    When is he going to meet with Cmdr..Wells about undersecretary for benefits.
    Cmdr. Wells is the most Qualified person for the job.
    When is he going to look at the Original Agent Orange Act and put back in effect as Congress intended .
    Lots of questions and lots to do

  50. Linda    

    Why isn’t ‘veterans preference’ extended to Title 38 employees (nurses, physicians, physician assistant’s etc.)?

  51. eugene newcombe    

    I run a YouTube channel called vamadness that helps veterans fight to win their earned compensation benefits and to inform veterans of the VA’s incompetence in handling claims. What I really want is to help the VA not be morons, so I’d like a meeting with Secretary Shulkin to discuss issues from a pissed off veteran’s point of view. I’m pretty sure I’ll get no meeting, so I’ll ask a question:

    How exactly will you even know who the “bad actors” are so you can deal with them? For example, you have people making benefit denials that are not following VA regulations; thus, forcing veterans into the years long appeals process. How are you going to identify and fire theses employees?

  52. Gary Edwards    

    Why does the VA pharmacy drag its feet filling prescriptions that doctors outside the VA write when I was referred to them by the VA (Tri-West) I have been waiting on my medicines for over two months.

  53. Marian Vanella    

    The myhealth.va.gov blue button is not working with the most current information. I know there is a three day hold for notes, labs, etc. but is not processing the up to date info for visits after the 3 day hold period. I’m sure there is an explanation but I would like to know when it will be fixed.

    1. Maria Adebola    

      Hi Marian, thank you for making us aware of this issue. We are currently looking into this, but should you need to contact myhealthevet, here is the information: 1-877-327-0022 Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Central Time) Or, 1-800-877-8339 (TTY). https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhv-portal-web/web/myhealthevet/contact-mhv

  54. Alice Arnold    

    When will the VAMCs be held accountable for care? And make all VAMCs across the board have the same care? Care is difficult enough to receive and then it is different from location to location.

  55. Mark Pendergast    

    Will you pls answer my spouses E-mail? It has been weeks waiting during the transition. Thank you!

  56. Madison John    

    Sec. Shulkin,
    There are hundreds of Veterans from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) residing in their respective home islands. Some of these islands are very remote and due to our geographical location, COFA Agreement (between US and FAS), etc., we have none or very limited benefits. We humbly request assistance in the following programs/benefits:
    1. FSM be included in the Rural Health Programs and Benefits
    2. Job Assistance Programs
    3. Home Loans/Assistance Program
    Thank you

  57. Jean Royle    

    When will the Va allow Cannabis theraphy without Hassle from staff, and Blood work etc, especially for those states which legally allow it. There is so much research to prove its benefits, for so many different Medical Issues..

  58. Adam Hemsath    

    You say you are going to fire “underperforming VA employees.” The VA is already understaffed at many locations across the country. With Donald Trumps hiring freeze, which has already hurt active duty military and veterans alike, how will you get competent, capable employees to fill the jobs vacated by the firing of “underperforming VA employees?” What will be your measurement to identify these “underperforming VA employees?” How will those jobs and the vacant jobs that already exist be filled?

  59. Ira Johnson    

    With the VA needing change in so many areas in order to maximize its effectiveness, how are you going to be able to get the resources that you need to make this happen? From prior discussions you mentioned that you needed to bring on in excess of a thousand top people.At the compensation rate that was mentioned it would be nearly impossible as those people would have to take monumental salary cuts. Additionally, with the limitations on Federal spending how are you going to be able to acquire the funding that is necessary in order for you to lead the changes that are necessary?

  60. Susie Belanger    

    US Navy Vietnam veterans who served offshore Vietnam , bays and harbors have been abandoned . In 2002, they were stripped of their earned and deserved Agent Orange benefits. Blue water Navy Associaton and Military Veterans Advocacy, Inc. as well as myself have been in the fight for 15 years to restore these benefits. When they took an oath to protect this nation at all costs including their lives, our country made a promise to care for them when they returned. Once again as I saw first hand upon my husband and myself returning to the states in 1968, we were treated horribly. NO WELCOME HOME FOR US. With a stroke of a pen, Sec Shulkin you can correct this injustice before we all die .. They ask only for their earned and deserved benefits, No More, No Less. Thank you for allowing me to be the voice for all these honorable veterans
    Susie Belanger
    Proud wife of US Navy Vietnam Veterans

    1. Robert A Buono    

      Thank You Susie for your service to the BWNVV organization. I along with the other 90,000 vets that are part of that group need desperately the help and earned benefits that this issue represents, before we are gone. I am hoping that in this direct session with Sec Shulkin , we will finally see some positive movement on this serious issue.

  61. E. Denise Caldon Sorkness    

    Dr. Shulkin:
    I am a Veteran’s Widow, Mother of a Navy Officer (he is currently deployed) and Author of a book sharing my now twenty-year battle with the VA titled: “STALL, DENY AND HOPE THEY DIE” – The VA’s Unwritten Policy…The Story of One Widow’s 19-Year Battle with the VA. Our children were just 2, 4 and 6 when we learned my Husband had two years to live as a result of his service-related disease certified by the VA from exposure to Agent Orange. He lived for nine; however, we slowly watched him die and “lost” him physically and emotionally just prior to his death on 17 July 1996 due to PTSD and extensive chemotherapy which resulted in his erratic and violent behavior confirmed in Medical Assessments submitted to the BVA. When I filed for my DIC Spousal Benefits, I was told a woman he was living with (they were never married as we were never divorced) had filed for my benefits with false information on her Application. The VA has paid her my benefits for now twenty years while I raised our three children alone and worked fulltime. After 12 years of VA denials to my repeated Claims, I flew to D.C. in 2008 for a BVA Hearing. The DAV rep. said, “Denise, the VA Regional Office in Atlanta dropped the ball. They will NEVER admit their mistake in your Claim as it would open up too many other claims like yours. You do know…the VA’s unwritten policy is “stall, deny and hope they die.” Thus, the title of my book now shared worldwide. I flew to D.C. again on 7 Feb. 2017 to join Commander J.B. Wells, Military-Veterans Advocacy, in his 16 meetings with members of Congress and Senators regarding Bills needed to address critical issues in the VA. Commander Wells used my 20-year battle with the VA as an example of the VA’s infamous Appeals’ process known as the “Hamster Wheel.” *See link below. I won a Joint Motion for Remand from the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in 2010; yet, NOONE enforced compliance to the U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling. My file sat on someone’s desk for 7 years. During my recent trip to D.C., I received a call Senior Judge Lawrence B. Hagel, U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, had ruled a favorable Memorandum Notice (9 pages long) telling the BVA to expedite and fix their “error.” Dr. Shulkin needs to know – with NO ENFORCEMENT in place mandating the BVA to comply to U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims rulings, Judge Hagel’s favorable Ruling will, again, sit on someone’s desk at the BVA just like the favorable ruling I received in 2010 from the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Our youngest son is a Navy Commissioned Officer currently deployed, and the VA does not know my name….I pray Dr. Shulkin will. I have been interviewed on five Podcasts, spoken at Veteran forums, and my 2013 speech in TN is on YouTube. I can be reached anytime on my Cell: . PLEASE CORRECT THE APPEALS PROCESS SO MY FAMILY DOES NOT HAVE TO WAIT ANOTHER 20 YEARS. GOD Bless,
    VA File Number: .
    U. S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Docket Nos. and

    EDITOR’S NOTE: SENSITIVE INFORMATION REMOVED FROM POST

  62. Harrison Koh    

    Please provide further exemptions on the hiring freeze so that job applicants that are waiting for hiring decisions will be notified.

  63. Joseph Graham    

    Secretary Shulkin
    Why do Regional Offices such as Phoenix, AZ. take 2 – 3 years to view a Notice of Disagreement before a Decision Review Officer? Many Veterans including myself, that I know personally, have already spent a year or more getting to the point where they file a Notice of Disagreement and then must wait an additional 2 – 3 years or more to have their NOD Adjudicated?
    Respectfully,
    joseph graham Vietnam Veteran

  64. Samuel Hammerschmidt    

    I am US Navy Vet (66-69) and the lack of action for Veterans filing claim and appeals is absolutely ridiculous and a hardship for the Vets waiting for ruling and documentation. I am Decorated Vet in Combat Zone.
    Claims are in many instances unresolved or ruled on for more than 7 months while Veterans wait for the Care and service that is due to them for their service.
    Appeals are even longer and when you call and check on the progress the staff phone people let you know that they are so busy and that due to that appeals can take up to 432 days to be answered. My appeal ins in the process and is 5 and will be 6 month in March since being filled. I have received one letter stating only the appeal is in process. Nothing more and that time frame is disrespectful to Veterans
    Veterans are concerned and not willing to file complaints and do not continue to complain as they are concerned about retaliation and there claim being denied due the there complaints. The proof is in the history of the Phoenix whistleblowers that brought the appointment times issue and poor service resulting in Veterans Deaths because they covered it up and were to busy – Men and woman died due to this cover up . I first inquired and filled for VA Care coverage in late 2009 and did not get coverage until late 2015.
    I and my Veteran Brothers deserve Respect for what was risk in our dedicated Service.

  65. Michael F Kvintus    

    Secy. Shulkin , In 1991 a Agent Orange Bill was passed giving presumption of exposure to Agent Orange to Our Vietnam Veterans including The Blue Water Vietnam Veterans . 2002 the VA changes the regs to boots on the ground and excludes the BWNVV since then it is a up hill battle with the VA trying to get any claims approved . The BWNVV were exposed and the VA has been given plenty of evidence to support presumption of exposure . The Va excludes ships that anchored in the harbors myself being one of those . I have several medical conditions directly related to exposure to agent orange .I was on the USS BuchananDDG14 anchored in DaNang Harbor . I have the deck logs showing this and also Operation Ranch Hand Mission logs showing spraying all over DaNang Harbor . The days directly before we were there and the days we were there ,maps of sprayed area , dates and gallons sprayed but the VA continues to deny my claims . WHY? I’m asking you to change the VA Policey of Boots on the Ground and include the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans . It is the right thing to do and it was the original Intent of Congress to include the BWNVV . Please give me your views on this matter Thank you Mike

  66. Basil Horn    

    I am a veteran of the Navy with 22 years of service. Presently i have PTSD that was diagnosed in Oct 2014 with 70% disability. Almost three years ago I applied for 100% disability because I cannot work. In June of 2016 I also applied for 100% while receiving treatment for PTSD exacerbation and self medicating. My question is:
    1. Why did my 100% increase while in treatment for six months go through an appeal process?
    2. Why, after almost three years, did my original app for 100% increase in disability because I cannot work also go through an appeal process even though my medical record proves my disability and the severity of my condition?

    1. Jason Davis    

      Basil, a Veteran doesn’t get to pick the percentage they want to apply for, they file compensation and a rater determines the severity of injury/condition according to available evidence. The severity of injury/illness can be found in the rating criteria under 38 CFR. Your questions are also addressed in your claim decision letters, which state why the VA rated you for the condition you were rated, as well as why not a higher evaluation, as well as what VA would need for you to be rated higher.

  67. Gregory Murphy    

    Secretary Shulkin
    As A Blue Water Navy Vet who did 3 Westpac tours off the coast of Vietnam,let me assure that we were their also. Those of us who sailed in the territorial waters off the Vietnam Coast, were awarded the Vietnam service medals for service in Vietnam. Now the VA states we did not serve. Our Agent Orange presumptive exposure has been taken away, regardless of the Original intent of the Agent Orange Act.
    Earth Science 101 teaches that if you spray 21 million gallons of AO on the land, it will get into the Gulf of Tonkin via rivers and streams.The ships evaporators enriched the water we drank and showered in.
    Science is fact. Why has the VA denied this evidence, when most VSO and many Veteran Org. agree.
    Please Sir change this unjust policy and stand with and for us.
    Thank You for your service,
    Thank Us for ours,

    Greg Murphy
    Proud Blue Water Navy Vet

  68. David Florez    

    What are you going to do different to establish accountability and discipline in an organization that is struggling to serve the Veteran? Being an OIF/OEF Vet I am aware of the slow and long process of using the VA system.

  69. Donald P. Souza    

    When will the hiring freeze be lifted

  70. Robert Faeting    

    The Honorable De. DAVID SHULKIN,

    Sir, I wrote a definitive Veterans Guide to Filing VA Claims and submitted a proposal to have the VA purchase the guide and provide to all locations across the country. With an estimated 184 Billion dollar budget, purchasing this guide would be a drop in the bucket. If Vets had all the information they needed to file Fully Developed Claims, the VA would be able to race through claim decisions. My question is why will the VA not purchase this guide for the millions of Vets who need the information? It seems this would be a crucial communication outreach program and it would assist not just Vets but the VA with their mission. At a time when 509K Vets are embroiled in the VA claims backlog, I would think this is something the VA would want to desperately Institute. Robert Fearing

    1. Jason Davis    

      Robert, thanks for the comment. Presently, all of the information Vets need to file claims is available for free on our website. In addition, we have video step-by-step tutorials and published regulations, public contact employees, and social media and phone center customer service. Last and certainly not least, Vets are encouraged to use VSOs if they feel they can’t file a claim on their own. VSOs are also free.

      Currently, the number of claims older than 125 days is about 100,000, not five times that much.

  71. David    

    Hello and congratulations on your new appointment to VA Secretary! A lot of questions here for you to ponder but my question is that past VA Secretaries have had programs to promote veteran hiring within the VA. What are your thoughts and what actions will you take to accomplish this task if you are in agreement with the former strategies? It appears that the last program has lost st traction as the female veteran employee that was assisting me had indicated that the program was severely cut back and she was forced to find new employment herself? Will there be a replacement program to assist those service members/veterans and when might those assets be available? The current option of using the Veterans Employment Service Office is a poor option as there is no longer that one on one assistance that existed before last fall?? The DOL option that is advertised is/will not serve as again there are no real people options. I can’t see where the cost could have been that great as they seemed to have accomplished everything by email, phone or messenger for Apple users? Sorry, we just need some basic guidance?

  72. Richard S. Cirino    

    Sir, The VA is supposed to recognize a claim for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Because of a previous denial for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma the VA is sitting on the claim, stating the new Non-Hodgkin’s may be caused by the previously denied claim. This example is what you are faced with. This particular claim was started in 2006. My math could be wrong but that adds up to 11 years of backlog. Can you fix the backlog honestly and fairly?

  73. Robert l mason    

    Why hasn’t my 5, July 1969 claim and 77 & 83 BVA remands been processed, the Cleveland, Ohio R/o has verifed they haven’t , along with the Appeals Management Center? Also why has the VAOIG lied to my Congressman David Joyce, by saying I hadn’t contacted them within 5 years of an incident, i gave my congressman copies of emails and direct post staring right after the incident. This incident is where the VAOIG said for some reason I had to talk to a Patient Advcoate, keith Dixon at the VAMC , cleveland, ohio. On legally aquired audio tape Mr. Dixion admits the whole thing about illegally locking me up in a VAMC mental ward was done to scare, intimidate and break my nerves???
    The incident was done against me because I complained about a corrupt VAMC, C&P doctor. i won the A&A claim at BVA and the judge said the C&P doctor should have done the interview and write up not a nurse. Then the C&P doctor wrote an email to the R/O , DRO’s working my case and called me a lair fraud and a trouble maker???

  74. Samuel Barton    

    Sir,,,,,,, Will you consider allowing Veterans with a fifty percent plus disability rating to shop at the Px facilities. ,,,,,,, congrats on your appointment

    1. Jason Davis    

      The PX is operated by the Department of Defense. There are some whispers that something may soon be happening that will allow Vets to shop online.

  75. K.A. Davis    

    I have heard rumors of a list of troublemaker vets . I truly hope you don’t have such a list. Also do you think you can get AFGE (the union) with 10 PARKING Spots CLOSE To THE BUILDING GIVE Up THERE slots for handicapped parking by the pharmacy entrance. The Dallas VA really has parking problem and when I see people getting off nights run out and wait for there friends on days to get there so the slot goes to there friend who work there it is a real parking problem.

  76. Bruce Burgess    

    I’m combat wounded. I attempted to gain civilian care with my wife’s insurance. The civilian physician cringed at caring for me. He stated there is no financial incentive for him to invest research and time into Veteran specific issues. We are too few in number to net him a profit. My wife’s insurance is worthless unless I have a commonly treated issue, like the flu. I don’t have the flu. I have multiple fractures and a massive TBI with vision loss.

    How will you incentivize civilian physicians to educate themselves, and build experience in battlefield injuries, when no incentive exists? Won’t I face a reduction in the quality of care received? If this continues, won’t the day arrive where no physician is trained in battle medicine?

    My physician is correct and his logic regarding medical care in a free market is sound. There is no room for the wounded in civilian practice. We don’t deliver them a profit. Just headaches for infrequent issues relative to those found in standard family practice.

  77. Thomas Bates    

    After combing through my medical records using the myhealthevets blue button I discover that the VA hospital I reported to failed to notify me of a potential tumor spotted in my brain a year prior. I attempted to have my medical records transferred to another VA hospital becaise I did not trust going back to the same VA and the second one was closer to my residence. My primary care provider could send me to the other hospital because the systems don’t communicate with one another and so I had to go out of pocket to pay for my health care because they refused to transfer me out of the original hospital. My question is why are the electronic mediums through which our medical work is processed by the VA not able to communicate with all the other VA facilities and what can be done to fix this?

  78. Brad Ward    

    Mr. Secretary,

    What is your professional opinion on the federal hiring freeze which is preventing the VA from hiring more employees to serve our veteran community? Have you spoken with President Trump regarding the matter and what steps will you take to ensure the VA can hire the most qualified and competitive medical staff to care for our veterans?

    Thank you for your time, efforts, and consideration.

    -Brad Ward
    UCO VetHERO Coordinator
    U.S. Army Veteran
    Military Police

  79. Freaky Deaky    

    When is the VHA going to be replaced with REAL health insurance?

  80. jack ravin Aide to Sec. Cleland    

    Dr Shulkin
    I am a Viet Nam vet who served with and work for Max Cleland. I am involved with many special programs to help veterans especially Suicide Prevention. I wrote Veterans-SOS (sustaining our support) that connects mentors from the VSOs with active soldiers during and after their service in a mentor relationship. Everyone on both sides of the aisle at the DOD and the VA Suicide Prevention Office want to implement it. However they depend on each other’s cooperation. They are currently prevented from doing so. When will the VA and the DOD break down the wall and start working together to stop the 22 a day.
    ( look in the top drawer of Bob’s desk. He has a copy) . I’m also the veteran advisor on the new Burns/Pope film coming out April 24 called Veterans Affairs. It has a lot of potential for good as it tells the truth about the VA, past and present. Your part in the film is impressive and I appreciate everything you said.

  81. Anthony Allman    

    Secretary Shulkin,

    There are an estimated 2,728 homeless veterans in LA County according to local housing authorities. The VA West Los Angeles master plan, adopted by your predecessor over a year ago, calls for the development of at least 1,200 permanent supportive housing units for homeless veterans over the next decade. Can you get it done faster? #VATheRightWay

    Respectfully,
    Anthony Allman
    USA ’01-’03

  82. DAVID W SUNKLE    

    Yes I am a Retired NAVY Veteran. Viet=Nam 1967 to 1971. ShipBoard out in the Gulf. Plane Guarding OUR Carrier’s & Picking up Their Refugee’s. We made Our Own Drinking Water.

  83. THOMAS SEDIVY    

    The choice program is Broken and is suppose to end in August. They referred me to a doctor for my first appointment 9/15/2015 and I have seen this doctor for over a year and CHOICE HAS NOT PAYED ONE BILL. On march 5th they will turn everything over to a collection agency. I have spent so many hours trying to get this fixed and even have a Chief of care trying to help and still no one will pay the bills. So my credit takes a hit because there not paying the bills? How do you plan to fix the choice program? We spend hours on the phone only to be put on hold and than no one answers. Do these folks get paid every time the phone rings? How can they refer us and than not pay? How do you expect the doctors to take choice patients and than NOT pay Them?

  84. Merl naumowicz    

    I retired after 23yrs in the Navy would like to know why I, and my fellow veterans, should trust you when you say you will fire people? You’ve been the number two at the VA for eighteen months and as far as I, or my fellow vets, can tell you’ve done nothing yet. So why should you expect us to give you basically another chance?

  85. Ray Kent    

    Do you plan to approve the recommendation of the “Expert panel” and approve Bladder Cancer as being caused by Agent Orange Exposure?

    AND

    If you really want to improve ethical behavior in the VA why not really hold supervisors and managers to a higher standard than their subordinates by mandating that conduct penalties for supervisors and managers be set at least one level higher than the current Guide for Penalties?

  86. john baskin    

    my question would be, with the trump administration cutting everything, will the VA still provide care for the lgbt veterans? particularly the transgenders.

  87. Arthur Busch    

    Mr. Secretary,
    Would you please address why 38 USC, 38 CFR, M21-1MR and Veteran Affairs appellate decisions are not universally applied as written by RVSR’s in Regional Offices across the U.S. during the VBA rating process? Could this be the reason that the number of VBA appeals is roughly equal to pending VA Disability claims? If so, what steps will you be taking to curtail or eliminate the widespread practice of ignoring-or selectively interpreting-federal law, VA directives and appellate decisions in such a way that is so often unfavorable and blatantly adversarial to Veteran claimants?

  88. K.A. Davis    

    I just got off the phone with the True result people. It seems my meter has been discontinued for sometime. My question is why did it take test stripes not staying in my machine that the VA sent me to find out that it was expired and no longer in use. Can you’ll improve upon this.

    WHY WON’T THE VA BUY ONGLYV3ZA FOR THERE PATIENTS. IT IS WHAT I TAKE.

  89. Linda    

    What is being done to increase the amount of ‘professional’ health professional (Nurses, Doctors, Physician Assistant, etc.) veteran employees at the MEDVAMC in Houston?
    Will Title 38 employees be allowed to use ‘veterans preference’ when attempting to gain employment at the VA?

    Title 38 employees (Nurses, Doctors, Physician Assistants) are not allowed to use ‘Veterans Preference’ when applying for positions at VA hospitals. The MEDVAMC in Houston has fallen well below the 35% rate for employing veterans. (I requested information under the FOIA and they were in the low 20s for veterans employment.) I was told by a Veteran Recruitment Authority that the facility hires veterans mostly to fill low level positions such as housekeeping, food service, receptionist. The facility currently employs only 6% Registered Nurses that are military veterans.

  90. Michael Hayes    

    Secretary Shulkin, we have heard you say the VA will continue to work towards the modernization of the VA. Can you tell us what types of modernization projects are planned. Also, with the hiring freeze for government workers in effect, it is known that IT staff are not excluded from the freeze, even though there are shortages in this area of expertise. This seems to restrict the ability to modernize. How does the VA intend address this shortage of IT staff and simultaneously modernize the VA? Thank you in advance for your response.

  91. Ford Ulrich Ross, Jr.    

    Please address the lack of clarity of procedural matters for obtaining VA entitlements to cognitively slow thinking veterans. Welcome to the military.

  92. Gary Higgins    

    Why is interstate sharing of my personal health records not accessible between Michigan and Florida while I am south for the winter? Okeechobee Satellite center said they can’t access them to use here. With computers it seems like a simple matter of entering SS number and sharing with Florida and nationwide for all veterans.

  93. James Carter    

    I am an Air Force vet who retired after 22 years. I just recently received a VA determination of 40% disability. My question is that if I had not retired from the AF would I still get a VA disability check? If so then why do they reduce my retirement check by 40% and give that to me as my VA disability? I earned my full retirement by serving those 22 years. I should not be penalized for being retired. I should still receive my full retirement plus my VA compensation. Please explain.

    1. Jason Davis    

      James, this is federal law, which state Vets can’t “double dip.” Look into “CRSC and CRDP.”

  94. Sharon    

    Women have worn the uniform of service for decades; however, today they remain invisible within the Veterans Administration. Can you tell me how your plan to outreach to our female soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guards during your administration on the benefits and services that they are entitled because of their wiliness to protect and serve our country in the armed forces as they transcend to civilian life.

  95. Raymond Melninkaitis    

    I have been working for the reinstatement of presumption for the Vietnam Blue Water for 7 years. Last year we had 77% of the house co-sponsor HR 969. I know that we have support of the majority of the Senators, although some do not officially co-sponsor bills. There is a petition for the restoration off presumption with over 80,000 signatures. There are also legal actions being taken. The VA took this action unilaterally in 1991 and can reverse it with the mandate issued of the Secretary of the VA.

    So, my question is: Why does the VA refuse to rescind this decision rather than force both legislative and legal action?

    1. Raymond Melninkaitis    

      The VA took this action unilaterally in 1991 and can reverse it with the mandate issued of the Secretary of the VA. My apology, the year was 2002.

  96. Louis F. Spagna    

    Recently 2 of my medications have been reissued in smaller quantities than I was receiving and paying a co-pay of $8.00 for a months supply and I am still being charged for a month’s supply for each item even though one says on the package it is a 14 day supply for AVERAGE use effectively costing me 4 times my previous cost for my serious condition that is above average. How can this be changed? I have been told, unofficially, that this move is a result of the VA not having enough funding, is this true?

  97. James A. Smith    

    Will you appoint retired US Navy Commander John B. Wells as your Deputy Secretary of the VA?

  98. Cherie wiser    

    I love the VA and boast about how great it is any chance I get.
    I was wondering if CHAMPVA will cover ABA therapy for autism soon. Some states require insurance to cover it, but since CHAMPVA is federal it doesn’t have to cover it. My daughter phased out of ABA 2 years ago, so forgive me if in that time it’s coverage has begun. Also, Thank you for your vow to never privatize. You’re doing a great job.

  99. John C. Davidson    

    My local veteran’s service claim the can help me buy food and pay housing expenses, but not any medical bills I accumulate locally. Aren.t there other Federal programs that could take care of those problems while few exist concerning healthcare for those living more than 40 miles from a clinic which actually is a place where you are just referred to a VA Hospital that is usually even further away.

  100. Kenneth Lewis    

    I am 100% service connected disabled veteran of Vietnam. What is being done, or will be done about the disgraceful number of veterans committing suicide on a daily basis? I have been mentally abused recently at a behavioral health unit of the V.A. I fear retaliation and though I’m in dire need of help, I’m afraid to go to the V.A. HELP

  101. Casey H. Springer    

    Mr. Shunkin and fellow constituents, I am a disabled Veteran and I understand a new contract is under negotiations to replace the 3 year temporary contract for CHOICE program. Provider agreements, contracts that typically go to the lowest bidder, and regional attorneys that have significant biased influence on healthcare (and benefits) for Veterans all hinder progress in care. That being said, I have a three-fold question.

    First, what are the positive key elements in the new Veterans healthcare contract with other local providers? (More actual choice, documented faster times, higher quality of care, ect …ect….).

    Secondly, why can’t health care providers write opinion based language in their doctors notes? This regional attorney influenced limit on doctors and PCP’s takes away opportunity for earned benefits. Especially for vulnerable Veterans, and lastly, will opinion based language finally be allowed in primary care notes?
    Lastly, why are Veterans who recieve wrongful discharges having such a low approval turnover rate in D.C. with board members? Especially in PTSD or TBI related cases where treatment was never provided.

  102. Casey H. Springer    

    Mr. Shulkin and fellow constituents, I am a disabled Veteran and I understand a new contract is under negotiations to replace the 3 year temporary contract for CHOICE program. Provider agreements, contracts that typically go to the lowest bidder, and regional attorneys that have significant biased influence on healthcare (and benefits) for Veterans all hinder progress in care. That being said, I have a three-fold question.

    First, what are the positive key elements in the new Veterans healthcare contract?
    Secondly, will opinion based language finally be allowed in primary care notes?
    Lastly, why are Veterans who recieve wrongful discharges having such a low approval turnover rate in D.C. with board members? Especially in PTSD or TBI related cases where treatment was never provided.

  103. R.M. Crockett    

    Greetings,
    Why have so many claims for Gulf War Syndrome been denied?
    I believe it’s up to 80% now.
    I served in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and from what I understand, many of us are suffering from unexplained illnesses.
    According to the link below, once the Vet shows symptoms and can show they served in the area, then they can be compensated.
    Hopefully the compensation will aid them in getting care for their issues.
    http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/medically-unexplained-illness.asp

  104. Robert Steven Thompson    

    I am approved under the 40 mile rule to receive Veterans Choice option/Healthnet. My primary care provider has been assigned. I started out getting approvals for healthcare to the Primary Care provider. However, my last several requests for visits to care provider and for flu shot and for pain-management injection have been bogged down/ignored for more than 3 months. I’ve written my Congressman to investigate. I’ve spoken to VA/SLC Veterans Choice go-to-guy. I’ve filed a grievance with Healthnet. I’ve been assured my requests for approvals have been expedited. BUT NO RESULTS to date. Flu Season is almost over. I’m still in need of pain management. I need to visit my health care provider. NO APPROVALS … just excuses and promises unfulfilled. For me, Veterans Choice is NOT working; it’s broken; it’s ineffective; it’s inefficient. I’m hoping VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin can and will get to the bottom of our problems with Veterans Choice Program. The Vets Choice was established so as to provide us vets with quick access to health care. I, for one, am not getting served. I live 200+ miles from SLC VA and 2+ hours from nearest clinic. 3+ months awaiting care approval is beyond ridiculous. Thank you, Sir!

  105. Edward Payne    

    Secretary Shulkin,
    What are your plans for the debilitating health issues being caused from burn pits? Is it going to take 40 years and our young veterans lives to figure anything out, like Agent Orange?
    What plans do you have for the Choice Program? The Choice Program causes a lot of stress for veterans with PTSD/TBI. The process for being approved is very slow. Then once approved you have to find a doctor that is either approved or be willing to be approved and part of the program. Once seen by the outside doctor Tri West is not wanting to pay or is very slow at paying, which is causing these bills to either be paid for by the veteran or the bill being turned into collections and ruining the veterans’ credit. This causes more stress for the veteran with a stress disorder. I have thousands of dollars in medical bills that the VA refuses to pay for. I can’t afford any more.
    Are there any plans to further research CTE in combat veterans? At the current time the only research and trial studies available are for the NFL ONLY.
    Thank you very much for your time and taking the time to speak with us. You are very much appreciated.

  106. H. James Hulton III    

    Dr. Shulkin, I would hope that the VA remains fully and permanently funded in the eyes of the Trump Administration. Let there be NO cutbacks in the VA so Veterans can receive full access to healthcare and every other benefit to which they are entitled.

    H. James Hulton III
    USAF Officer Veteran
    Vietnam Era
    Blue Bell, PA 19422

  107. Leah Bailey    

    I am a Desert Storm veteran who has fought a bigger battle with the VA that has gone on for 26 years. What good is legislation for presumptive conditions when the VA is still denying my generation of veterans for those presumptive condions? What is the excuse for a backlog of 5 years on appeals? For those of us who have waited 26 years for validation, it is a pure insult to see how easy it has been for post 9-11 veterans as compared to ours and the Vietnam veterans. I as a veteran have been told my anti-inflammatory medications are too expensive to be in the VA system, but a mulitmillion dollar, covered, lighted PARKING project was not. Where are the priorities here???

  108. Ken Hamilton    

    I recently heard that the Obama Administration OPM decided to take away disability payments for retirees. Our “pension” for serving, and the payment for injuries sustained while serving are two separate and distinct entities. Please research this dastardly deed by the Obama Administration. This is totally unfair, un-American, and must be stopped. Veterans should not be penalized for distinguished careers leading to retirement by denying them proper compensation for disabilities caused by honorably serving for many years. Again, service compensation and disability compensation are not the same, and should not be treated as such. Thank you.

    1. Jason Davis    

      Ken, this has nothing to do with the previous administration. Federal law states you can’t double dip. This isn’t new. Look into CRSC and CRDP.

  109. Donald Ackerman Sr    

    The VA in Hot Springs is being close. It is a highly successful facility, and is in a community that cares d=for it veterans. Why with all the wrong are you closing a facility that is right for all the right reasons. The VA Facts, fail the truth test on why it is being closed. We the Veterans have spoke and no one is listening at the VA. Stop this insanity, build on what is here and help us end PTSD, Drug, Alcohol , and homelessness of our veterans who wish not to be homeless.
    The only poeople who see the need to close this facility are in the swam. Congress disagrees and all the consulting parties on the EIS agree that this facility does not need to be closed, and the reasons you have stated for closure are just not factual.

  110. Paul johnson    

    Hello Sir.I served in Vn.68 .69 on returning home .i married my girl in 69.we are still married.she has been with me thru all my my heath issues.some were unheard of back then.Now at 68 .i.m 100 % pt.It makes me sad too think.i have too live 10 years at 100% for my wife too recieve my award.i probaly will die.before 10 years and wife would have too leave our home.Please roll back the 10 ye a r wait .its just not right .thank you

  111. David C. Cory    

    What are the short-time and long-term plans of the current VA leadership to deal with the huge backlog and long delays of disability appeals, including those still at the Regional Office level as well as those at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals level? Thank you.

  112. Manfred Adeti    

    Hon. Shulkin,

    Thank you for accepting this position and I hope Washington didn’t get in your way too much as you try to reform this department. With veteran unemployment, what plans do you have in place to ensure we get hiring preferences not just the talk? I have tried many open positions but they come back and say you don’t have the experience. How do I get to have a corporate experience if all I knew was the Army and Combat Missions? Thank you.

    1. Manfred Adeti    

      doesn’t get in you way ** correction

  113. Tyrone nesrd    

    I would like to know why dfa and the va can not work together to take care of veterans problems after they are discharged. And why you can not get help for problems like if you got discarded in 2006 with 30 percent medical but you did not find out until 2014 but you have not received any back pay and in 2013 jyou got 100 percent from the va but you had to pay the va the money. And you owe dfa money please explain that to me.and my 30 percent medical do not count for any thing

  114. joe lamay    

    I reciently recieved two responses back from my VA requests . both told me to expect a response time of 6 years for an answer are you going to fix this or will you do like you did on fox news this morning and mouth a bunch of weasel words with no real change

  115. Hector ortiz    

    I am a service connected veteran. I just want to know what it’s happening with the clothing allowance that here in VA Puerto Rico they are not paying and you call and is very hard to get in touch to get a answer.

  116. Charlie Dickerson    

    Mr Shulkin since you already worked for Obama, what hope do WE have that YOU will work with President Trump to improve the VA, CARE for US.?? All we had was friends, his political appointees, running OUR Medical Centers.

    1. Jason Davis    

      The VA mission doesn’t change. We care for Vets regardless of who lives at 1600 Penn.

  117. Tyrone nears    

    How can we find people to help with our problems once you get out to fix or lead us in the right direction that know what they are doing

  118. William Swears    

    I’m having no luck being promoted or even considered for promotion above GS-11 in the DOI. I work in BOEM, and the atmosphere here is that they’ll hire from a different cert in order to avoid considering veterans. Of course, it’s not official, but they talk about in the halls.

  119. Ted Sejda    

    Hi, I am a 100% disabled Nam Vet. I have found a VERY SERIOUS FLAW in the ID bracelet vet’s have to wear at the VA hospital’s across the United States. My PICTURE my FULL Social Security number, and my FULL date of birth. All a person has to do is take a picture of any vet’s bracelet at any Vet hospital and they would have what I believe is enough info to sell their identity on the black markets, or to get credit cards, loans etc.
    I also kept my ID bracelet from a hospital outside the VA. and I can show you or you Representative the difference between the two and how they use a need to know only BAR CODE.
    You can contact me through my email address. if your interested in seeing the two ID bracelets. Thank You

  120. Paula Reading    

    As President of the Transgender Veterans Support Group (TVSG) our members want to inform you that VA directly discriminates against Transgender Veterans in VHA Directive 2013-003 Rev by refusing to provide us with the surgeries and treatments we need to complete our transitions which the directive calls “Comedic” and/or “Elective”, which is far from the truth. Not being able to transition fully is one of the primary reasons the suicide rate for Transgender people are the highest in the United States and therefor Transgender Veterans as well, because lack of these treatments/surgeries take away our will to live in the bodies we have now and this is WELL documented facts that the VA refuses to acknowledge. Will you PLEASE change VHA Directive 2013-003 Rev to require our VA Hospitals to provide (Or pay for) these surgeries/treatments that are a “Necessity” for Transgender Veterans to complete their transition, lower our suicide rates and live in our correct bodies???

    1. John Schmit    

      Paula,

      I support your right to life, liberty and persuit of happiness with zero judgment of what that entails. Everyone should be happy, self confident and know have that right person in their life to share it with. However, for the life of me, I cannot figure out why my tax dollars should pay for your sex change? Is it a service connected disability? Did you sustain and injury (mental or physical) in the direct line of duty that led you to identify as the opposite of your birth sex? If you were born with the identity issue, then it’s not service connected. Convince me why your surgery is as important as the 18 year old kid who got both his legs blown off, one arm, and all but two fingers on his remaining. No animosity, I truly do not understand.

  121. Jerry Baker    

    Dear Sec. Shulkin,
    Give the below statement, would you consider creating a whistleblower type office at the VISN or Central Office level to address concerns of VA patients and their caregivers?

    Thank you for accepting your new position! Every day both VA employees and VA patients are faced with unfortunate medical and administrative medical decisions. Although a great number of VA medical and support staff are competent, well meaning, and focused on caring for VA patients, there are exceptions that cannot be overcome in a timely manner by a simple visit to the patient advocate office.

    Yours,
    Jerry Baker, Indy, IN

    1. Jerry Baker    

      I would appreciate your response!

  122. James A. Carder Sr    

    A very simple question Sir.
    If your military medical service records show in plain English, during Your Security exam you had blood in urine exams, let’s say 4 different times and no other
    test were done. Now you’re out of service and you file a Service Connected Claim for Kidneys and are denied, why, it’s documented in your file. Do the Examiner look or take the words of the C&P Examiner’s words by word, statue of limitations has been too long but if they read your file they would see you’ve been having Kidney promblem for 20 plus years.Then your records show 2 other illnesses in service records. Still another denial and another denial, but they’re listed you had this in your military medical service records. Why does it take several years for an appeal if it was already in your service records plain and simple diagnosis, SERVICE CONNECTED ILLNESSES NOTED IN MILITARY MEDICAL SERVICE RECORDS.

  123. Joyce McWhorter    

    Greetings, Would you please let us know when the gov. is going to admit that they sprayed herbiside inside the perimeter of our Thailand bases during the Vietnam war? Our Veterans are suffering and dying while the gov. keeps up the lye. also would you please tell me how many feet is “near” as in “near the perimeter?

  124. Jerry Baker    

    Dear Sec. Shulkin,

    Former Sec. Robert A. McDonald gave me his personal cell & e-mail address with the instructions to contact him if I was aware of wrongdoing or inappropriate behavior by a VA employee or a medical provider. Will you give me the same honor and task me to report to you as your predecessor has done?

    Jerry Baker, Indy IN

  125. Nolene Rodriguez    

    I Have An Enlarged Spleen And Liver I Was Told That It Has Nothing To do With The Water In Camp Lejeune But The Va Hospital Can’t Answer A Simply Question Was The Water In camp Lejeune Responsible For My Sickness? One More Thing,I Try To Get A teeth Pull And The Va Wanted To Charge Me Around $700.00 Dollars So The Va Doctor Told Me To Go To Bellevue Hospital But The Hospital Only Pull Teeth The Hospital Won’t Do Fillings So I Was Sent To NYU And They Wanted To Charge Me $150.00 For X Ray & Exam And Each Teeth Will Cost Me $200.00 Dollars I Can Not Afford To Get Help When It Comes To My Teeth I Am On SSD..You Take A Look At Each Dental Waiting (at the va hospital) Area Of The And You Will See That They Are ALWAYS EMPTY..i Thank God For The VA Hospital It Has Taken Care Of My Back Issue,Vertigo,Ear Ringing,Liver,Spleen and So Much More..I live In Pain Everyday..so If You Can Help Me In Anyway I will Be Very Grateful …THANK YOU

  126. David Procter    

    What do veterans do after repeated telephone calls to the VA to make an appointment on a call-back basis? I have called dental twice in La Jolla and left messages to make an appointment. The dentist makes his own appointments and will not call back. I am 100% service connected, and this is in the third week now without a call-back. Thank you.

  127. Thomas Lee Simpson    

    1. There are too few VA hospitals serving a growing number of vets. Do you plan to build more VA hospitals?

    2. VA claims are so backlogged that it can take years to get a claim decision and years more for an NOD appeal. Will this issue get your immediate attention?

    3. After a bad experience in the CHOICE program (my case has been “under review” for 14 months without a decision) I must ask, what kind of CHOICE program might you recommend that will differ from the broken one now in place?

  128. Robert Small    

    Why is it if a civilian dies or is miss diagnosed at a civilian hospital that that civilian can sue that doctor or hospital, but when a veteran dies or is misdiagnosed by the VA that vet has no legal recourse? Why did I a vet sign a contract that made me liable if I did not apply to the turns of a contract that the VA is allowed to decimate?
    Why do I and all vets have no ability at all whatsoever to be able to hold the VA legally responsible for there incompetence?

    1. Sandra Azud    

      Mr. Small,
      This was my question too see mine further down the page! I hope they will answer it!

  129. Captain Henry Plimack, USCGR (Ret)    

    Dear Secretary Shulkin,
    Thank you for opening dialogue with the Veteran Community.
    As a member of the Reserve Officers Association of the United States (ROA) and the Mount Sinai (MS) – Selikoff Centers for Occupational Medicine (COM) Advisory Board, I was wondering if expanded use of civilian clinics throughout the country (like the MS COM), would help resolve the VA’s backlog of “occupational” issues facing veterans?

  130. Issa Jones Traore    

    I am US Navy Iraq Gulf War Veteran with 100% disability. I received 50% of my effective date benefits but the other is still not paid because a psychiatrist said that I said that was doing some computer work. I denied it by even sending my Social security statement as proof of not working. I still didn’t get paid. Please help.

  131. Christopher Cross    

    Sir, I use VA Health. In October, I was sent to a local Radiology Clinic, via Veteran’s Choice. In December I received a bill. I contacted my Patient Advocate at the Baton Rouge VA Clinic, he contacted someone in New Orleans who said it would be taken care of. Two weeks ago I received a collection notice. Again, I contacted my Patient Advocate, who said it would be forwarded to the person who takes care of this. Meanwhile, it’s going to wreck my credit because it was never taken care of in December. No confidence in my Patient Advocate.

  132. Michael Wilson    

    Dear Sec. Shulkin,
    Are there any grants available to help Veterans who served 20 years get a business off the ground in Maryland ? I was denied a loan due to not having enough collateral. Is there assistance or grants to help prevent Veterans from becoming homeless due to being out of work since Spring 2016 ?

  133. Steve Whelan    

    Sec McDonald set several VA priorities for 2016.
    Of those remaining, how many will you carry over to 2017?

    http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/01/21/mcdonald-lays-out-breakthrough-priorities-for-va-in-2016.html

  134. William Lee Worthington    

    Mr. Sulkin, I am a Vietnam Vet with many disabilities. I was forced to retire from my job and move in with my Daughter 2 years ago or be Homeless. The VA has failed to live up to the promise that was given to us when we served this great nation. I believe that we should be given compensation during the waiting period. My brother John who also served in the marines died of Agent Orange 5 years ago. I feel that the VA would like us all to go away like John. Bill Worthington USAF

  135. Dreau Robbins    

    Secretary Shulkin, will you appoint Ed Roski (USMC ’62-’66) as Veterans Housing Czar to oversee development of VA West Los Angeles? #VATheRightWay

  136. Jennifer Loeb    

    What do you plan to do to enforce policies that provide for expidited claims for elderly veterans? How is the VA being accountable for elderly WWII veterans waiting months and months for a claim to be resolved?

  137. Jennifer Loeb    

    Are you actually going to answer these real questions or blow us all off like the Department usually does and just answer easy questions that make you look good?

    Do you prefer your veterans die so that you dont have to deal with their claim or is there a legitimate reason for a 94 year old WWII veteran’s claim to not be fully resolved after 8 months? Still waiting….

    Why are the reps at Regional Benefits Office “not allowed” to connect callers to a supervisor or give out supervisor’s full name? How does that policy allow for accountability?

  138. Kassidy Renault    

    I am A Transgendered Veteran, in the face of the recent news of Trump Rescinding of Protections for Transgendered Students what can we the veterans expect moving forward. Does this signal a end or stemming of Transgendered Care by the VA or will things continue to keep moving progessively forward?

  139. Sandra Azud    

    REposting my question as it isn’t showing here!

    My question is: How will you help veteran’s hold their VA Centers responsable for their neglect/malpractice before it causes the Veteran to take their life or die due to the horrible care at the VA? WE can’t sue you and writing letters till we are blue in the face does not help either.

    I am a Veteran suffering at the hands of the HAMPTON VA MEDICAL CENTER IN VIRGINIA and this isn’t the only incident but it’s the one I’ll use for now because it has messed up my once happy life that I had already faught so hard to reach after discharge from my service. I was able to maintain my PTSD and other issues and I volunteered full time at out local schools, and within my community and was a valuble asset to the groups I worked with for many years. After the VA failed to refill my medicines and lie to me about my DR. putting in for the scripts( she had retired a month prior but the nurse kept telling me my dr was working on it.. or had done it.)I was compleately detoxed and now I can no longer control my axiety , PTSD, and my pain. I have had to leave all the organizations I gave my heart and time to. I haven’t been able to return to college and I am only 12 credit hours from my Bachelors in human services. I am nolonger able to contribute to my community… I stay sick or holed up in my house in fear everyday. I was basically told by a lawyer that I absolutely have a case of malpractice and extreme negligence from the VA. The part that hurts and saddens me is the fact that the lawyer stated unless I die as a result of the malpractice/negligence it all really means nothing because of the hoops the attorney would have to jump through to sue them would cost me at least $50,000 to hire a doctor to testify. This is because the government has made it so difficult to come after them even in a clear case of them being in the wrong…… This says to me that my life isn’t even worth getting proper mediocre medical care. I volunteered my life for these people and I can’t even get what I should be entitled to. I am not even asking for the best medical care but I am asking for it to actually take place and for people at the VA Facilities to do their damn job and stop ruining my life!

  140. Thomas Goffe    

    Mr Secretaty,
    If I am ill, but don’t need my VA Er (67 miles one way) but can’t wait weeks to see my PCP, what should I do? My VA in Raleigh/Durham has nothing like commercial “Urgent Care” that I am aware of. Going to the Durham VAMC Er seems wasteful.
    What are my options?
    Tom Goffe
    100% P&T

    1. Damian Bennett    

      Same Here In Houston Tom!

  141. Rev. Dr. Mark Rickter, DD Ret    

    As a 200% Listed Yet only 100% Paid Disabled Veteran: WHERE is my Health-care?
    Why are my Civil Rights, namely
    a) 18 U.S. Code §241 – Conspiracy Against Rights;
    b) 18 U.S. Code §242 – Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law;
    c) 18 U.S. Code §245 – Federally Protected Activities [(b) (1) (A Thru’ E)];
    d) 18 U.S. Code §246 – Deprivation of Relief Benefits (i.e. Medical Care; Pay; Back-pay, as well as “Aid & Attendance”) VIOLATED Daily as I wait DECADES for Proper Care & Treatment, even over Admitted Negligence & Medical Malpractices?

    1. Robert l mason    

      Don’t forget 42 USC 1997d, prohibitation against retaliation

  142. Byron Phillips    

    Secretary Shulkin,

    Has the VA considered filling doctor & nurses positions using recent medical school graduates ?

    For a 4-5 year term commitment the VA would off set their student loans.

    Win-Win situation.

    Empty positions filled, med school grads get on the job experience, wait times reduced, vets get see sooner,

  143. james m. carton    

    I served active duty USAF Air Police from 1958-1962 and received an honorable discharge. Upon separation from active duty I got a job that provided excellent medical care and therefore I felt that I didn’t need to register in the VA. Several years ago I realised that my hearing was impaired and told that I should have hearing aids. I questioned the audiologist as to what caused my hearing loss and she explained that loud noises could have caused it. In the Air Police Tech Training school, I fired the BAR, 30 Cal light machine gun, M-1 carbine and the 11911 Colt .45 all without hearing protection. This also was the same for annual qualifications. I also guarded jet aircraft on the alert pad that were run daily to be certain of their readiness. Everyone near had ear protection except the Air Police guarding them; we needed to be able to hear what was going on! I attempted to enrol in the VA at the VA hospital at Griffis AB in Rome NY but was told that because my retired teacher’s pension and Socilal Security benefits exceeded $39,000 I did not qualify, If this is in fact true, will my promise when I enlisted to have health care for life ever be fulfilled?

  144. Richard Cutting    

    Is there anything being done to shorten the time for a veteran to get their disability claims settled. It took me almost nine years so far. That is totally unacceptable.

    1. Jason Davis    

      Richard, you’re referring to an appeal of a completed claim, not a claim. More info on the appeals process here: http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/26187/the-appeals-process-your-comments-and-vas-plans/

  145. John Yori    

    Would you support a rendition of the VA Accountability Act which in part will provide you and your staff with more leverage in dealing with VA employees who continually fail in their duties and responsibilities to provide outstanding and caring physical and mental health care services to our veterans? Additionally, do you support stronger measures that have not since been provided to the V.A. Sec to ensuring the overall quality of life for our veterans seeking VA services and if so, could you expand on what you see those measures accomplishing for our veterans?

  146. Kyle    

    Hello, my name is Kyle, I was in the Army 5 years. I got out with a medical discharge. Now my question is why are you willing to prescribe medicine know to cause so many problems and addiction, just to give us another schedule 1 drug to help with addiction, rather than let us have access to a harmless plant that helps so many of us out there? Marajuana is the only hinges that I have found to help with my depression, anxiety, PTSD, my chronic pain, and it gives my the will to enjoy life. The pill you prescribe make me into a zombie, I have no emotions, so keep deeper into depression and have no quality of life. The marijuana give me back my life, I don’t have nightmares anymore I get restful sleep instead of sleepless nights because I don’t want to see the images beating at the back of my eyes all the time.

  147. Bonnie Carothers    

    Good day,
    I am writing to you to ask for assistance in shedding light on a major problem with our country’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Below is a summary, in his own words, of what my husband has been through, adhering to the VA process. I am also attaching a link to KPTV Fox who ran a story about our struggle.
    “My name is Tony Carothers. I was honorably discharged as an E-5. The process began in 1996 when I was discharged from active duty Air Force due to an injury incurred while on active duty. To date, I have not received any medical or pension benefits from the VA because they had continually denied that my injury was incurred while on active duty.
    I enlisted in the US Air Force in 1988, in which I served with honor and distinction, including selection to the US Secret Service as a communications specialist. In 1995 I was diagnosed with a fractured vertebrae, which began the process of medical separation from active duty, in which I received an honorable discharge in 1996. The official classification was ‘disability due to injury incurred while on active duty’ and referred to the Veteran’s Administration for Compensation and Benefits related to my disability. Upon discharge, I applied immediately with the Veteran’s Administration in Spokane, Washington, and was provided some funding for additional education and training. I continued to pursue medical and compensation benefits at the Spokane Regional VA center, submitting information and documents as requested, with no official response ever given; only ‘fill out more forms, and we’ll get back to you in 4-6 months’.
    In 2004 I moved to Arizona, and continued my pursuit of compensation and medical benefits through the Phoenix VA regional office, finally receiving an official response in 2008. The response was “Denied claim for Veterans’ Administration pension, due to lack of continued coverage”; i.e. The VA claims I did not provide evidence to demonstrate that I had a ‘continuation of care’. This is inaccurate as I submitted a list of all physicians and proper release of information.
    I continued my pursuit of benefits until I relocated back to Spokane, WA, in 2011, and connected with the Veterans of Foreign Wars veterans organization, and they were able to submit the claim again. This claim was acknowledged as valid, and denied in 2014 as “Service members records do not reflect that this injury was incurred on active duty”, which was in contrast to the documentation provided. I immediately appealed the decision and requested a hearing before a DRO in Portland, Or where I now reside. I was told that due to backlogs it would be another 12-18 months for that hearing to be scheduled. It took 15 months for the meeting to be scheduled, which was subsequently cancelled due to inclement weather, and a ruling issued without me having the opportunity to present my case to the DRO. An informal meeting took place on 12 December 2016, where I provided copies of my application in 1996. The VFW Officer, and VA officer agreed it was a valid application, however it did not have a government timestamp on it, therefore was not a valid document” as such they will only authorize 2 years of back pay. They also ignored the deterioration of the original injury and additional medical problems resulting from it and kept his disability rating at 20% which is what the Air Force determined he was 20 years ago.
    A Notice of Disagreement has already been filed, which leads to a 2-3 year wait for a formal hearing in front of a federal judge.
    We have tried to work through the system and is has failed us repeatedly. We are now to the point of engaging an attorney and spending more time and money fighting for what should have been finalized 20 years ago. We are reaching out for help getting our story out and hopefully gaining assistance in our struggle.

    http://www.kptv.com/story/34563971/veteran-says-va-denied-him-disability-benefits-for-nearly-20-years

  148. Joey Jimenez    

    Question: A Veteran with severe respiratory issues rated at 100% files for Special Adaptive Housing and is denied. The regulation VA Manual 26-12 appendix B dated Feb 12, 2014 Change 1 states, “Veterans with respiratory related injuries OR severe burn injuries that reduce range of motion, may have NEEDS that differ from other SAH eligible Veterans. It also states, “each RLC has a flexible and expeditious approach to APPROVING reasonable adaptations based on the specific need of the Veteran.” Has this regulation changed? Not everyone applying for SAH must be missing limbs as a prerequisite.

  149. Tom Kraft    

    I have medicare part B, but I’m afraid to drop it because I don’t know if the veteran choice program will end after the “experimental period’ expires. I live 70 miles from the nearest VA clinic and 120 miles from the nearest VA hospital. This is a good program and we shouldn’t be sitting around wondering if it will be kept or scrapped.

  150. David Johnston    

    Sir,

    After receiving a less than accurate physical examination after 12 years a reduction of benefits occurred of a service connected disability. Now after nearly a year I have multiple issues under appeal and no correspondence from Saint Louis as to the state the paperwork is under review.

    Is there any plans in place to reduce the backlog of appeals and claims or a timeframe?

    1. Jason Davis    

      David, you can learn more about what VA is doing about the appeals process here: http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/26187/the-appeals-process-your-comments-and-vas-plans/

  151. Terry P. Smith    

    I am a Disabled Veteran who has a pending appeal. Why does it take 5 years for an appeal to be heard?? I have had terrific service from the VA Medical side of the triad but the Pensions and Compensation and Office of Veterans Appeals has been a nightmare! They will not answer phones, emails, snail mail, etc., no updates are ever provided, it’s like I’m dealing with a black hole, questions go in and disappear for five years before they start the review process. Then it takes five or more years to get a final decision from and Appeals Court Judge.

  152. Deborah Ladson Boatwright    

    Congratulations as our new VA Secretary I know you have a whole lot of questions coming your way, I too am a veteran fed up with how some of us are being treated I served this country proudly and frustrated to learn after all these years that I am not accounted for : What I”m referring to Mr. Secretary, I served 5 duty stations had medical treatments at 4 and my complete medical records is missing just plain obsolete, the pain and suffering that I am enduring at this time in my life is definitely service connected, but how a veteran suppose to provide evidence when their medical treatments file/records is no where to be found? This whole incident for me is a war zone I’m very upset and frustrated and truthfully Sir, when my family, friends and the general public praise and thank me for serving our country I really don’t feel like a veteran. Please take the time and effort to help me and other veterans who have this same issue.Thank you for your many years of service.

  153. Captain Henry Plimack, USCGR (Ret)    

    Dear Dr. Shulkin,
    We are the Reserve Officers Association (ROA) were wondering if the VA is submitting a change to the law that would allow Guard and Reservists deployed under 10 USC 12304b authority in support of CoComs will receive Post-9/11 G.I. Bill education benefits? I hope you will take a moment to let me know, so I can alert our colleagues in the Reservist community.
    Thank you for having an open door with Veterans of our Armed Services.

    1. Allison - Education Service    

      Henry, thanks for your question. This change was submitted as a VA legislative proposal and it is included in the FY17 President’s Budget. Should anything change with the law, we will make sure to post it on the GI Bill website and our GI Bill Facebook. Thanks!

  154. Howard Hernandez    

    Secretary,
    As a member of the Los Angeles Region – Community Veterans Engagement Board I can appreciate the desire of all Veterans to participate in the master plan project, however the LAR-CVEB is an inclusive Board addressing the needs of all Veterans subject to the services of the Los Angeles Region. All interested veterans are invited to participate in the issues encountered by all veterans. The LAR-CVEB procedure has actively addressed these veteran obstacles separately and collectively for a substantial period of time. The addition of new members to the LAR-CVEB is available to Veterans and advocates. We respectfully request you to support the LAR-CVEB procedure and invite you to the participation in the LAR-CVEB process.

  155. Ed Bowen    

    Please provide Megan Moloney’s contact information, this system is not accepting my comments and questions.

    1. Gary Hicks    

      It’s working. You can pass your message here and I will give it to her personally, or you can email NewMedia@VA.gov. She’s coordinating the live Youtube event at the moment.

  156. Ed Bowen    

    Submitted yesterday but this system isn’t working in rural Washington State…no one to contact when you continue to get error messages.

    Secretary Shulkin, capturing your theme at your confirmation hearing about this VA will be “Veterans Centric”, would you please implement a valuable tool throughout at least the VHA for we-the-veterans of a phone directory system. Who to call to inquire about a program (or address, or email) and operational aspects of the medical system. Not a central call number that either doesn’t respond or spends so much time attempting to figure out what you’re asking for because that process doesn’t have a clue even to what the program even is. Many federal agencies have at least the means for you the user to search online for an employee contact, and others provide points of contact for specific programs and functions of the agency. This is not the case with the VA at large and the veteran is left with getting lucky to find a news article or old historic document that has the information of who to reference.

    Would you please bring back the option for the veteran to have the means to efficiently obtain those staff that are “centric” to the topic or program?

    My recent experience as an example, seeking information on the sunset of the contract with the third party insurance provider–Delta Dental, CA–for the Veterans Affairs Dental Insurance Program, and the third party not having those details other than generalities, it took researching and making 83 phone calls across the VA VHA spectrum where 95% of the contacts did not even have knowledge that such a program even existed. In a VSO news release there was mention about the extension of the program past the sunset date, and a quote from a VA director in the Atlanta area. Given that information, the local VA health care system HPM director, having knowledge about the program, was able to provide contact information for that VA staff in Atlanta. A four or five minute call to Atlanta resulted in tremendous amount of clarity on what the program was currently undergoing and what “might” be expected that provided the confidence the veteran’s needs would not fall by the way side. (They also added a news release about those details was forthcoming, and where to keep an eye out for that…something that is difficult in such a large system as the VHA) A root quality of the working staff of the VA; please give them the chance to work with us and start by giving us the means to get in contact with them. This to me is Veterans Centric. Thank you for considering this request.

  157. Kenneth H Pomelear    

    I am a Vietnam Era Air Force Veteran. I would just like to know why all the new FDA approved drugs for diabetes are not offered by the VA?

  158. Col Randy Claxton    

    Is Burn Pit related exposure going to follow the long and arduous track that Agent Orange has? We can’t wait 20-30 years for answers and acknowledgment of related benefits…

  159. lmkappler    

    Exactly how much money is wasted on these useless surveys that do not even address the real issues that plague the VA particularly in small rural areas and CBOC’s? Cronyism? Complete lack of Quality Control/Quality Assurance? Falsified Records? Turfing? Performing the same testing over and over and over again due to lack of follow through by Physicians/Residents/Students, none of whom that even bother to read a history,$$$$/TimeTimeTime/WasteWasteWaste? Are we just being used as practice for the 60,000 or so students/residents? Sure seems like it. You stated, as have your predecessors, that you have spoken to many Veterans about issues of concern. When will we be seeing you, perhaps, in the Upper Peninsula of MI?

  160. Denise Nichols    

    Gulf war vets re GWI. Drs need education …VAconference with drs to review medical findings?

  161. Ken    

    I retired back in 2008 and have tried two times for a disability determination bot time turned down even with military med record and doctors input on my discharge med physical. I have tied a third time but have given up completely. Thank you for reading.

  162. David Syster    

    Dr. Shulkin, Please have someone address what happens to a pending claim filed prior to the change to the new standardize claim form.

    1. Jason Davis    

      It will be processed. No issue here.

  163. John K Sundstrom    

    Herbicide exposure claims for Thailand veterans have been granted, however is seems that claims for veterans who worked the same duty and locations are handled very differently. Can we expect a more consistent policy to expedite these claims?

  164. Ronald Santoro    

    When are they going to fix the Phoenix VA urology for care, for the ten years I tried to work with them people come and go so there in no consistent care. One of the urologists is 82 years old…

  165. Wynn Vogel    

    Currently, there is a conflict in the health care benefits for disabled veterans. According to the VA Website, “disabled veterans rated 50% and higher are eligible for services with no financial assessment” for no-cost care. Yet, this year in some areas, the higher rated veterans are having deductibles taken out of their prescription and travel pay benefits due to an assumed financial assessment due to their higher disability rate of pay. This seems to discriminate against the higher rated disabled veterans for these benefits which are a part of their health care needs in saying part of our benefits are no-cost with no financial assessment and part of them require financial assessment.

  166. Ed Bowen    

    Regarding burial benefits in the discussion today, pre determination. Very much appreciated in bringing this up. Our local VHA CBOC has the capability through its TeleHealth in office program for veterans and family members to use that system to access what they call TeleBenefits. This has successfully been used to apply for burial benefits “after the fact”, in transmitting needed documents and such to include clarity of the process.

    Can this pre-determination process and application be used in these types of communication portals to the VA?

  167. Walt Hutton    

    I believe the new Secretary will do and outstanding job. Bob McDonald was outstanding.
    Thank you for helping us Sir.

    Walt Hutton

  168. Ed Bowen    

    Regarding the use of this YouTube tool in the future, I advocate it regardless of how much time we can get…at least it’s speaking to we the veterans. How about using it as a tool with the VISN levels or even the VBA regional director/VHA Health Care System Directors (in line with the Town Hall type of approach to outreach)?

  169. Amy Turk    

    Dear Secretary Shulkin,

    Thank you for hosting a Town Hall. I wanted to ask how will you work to end homelessness for women in Los Angeles? As a non-profit dedicated to ending homelessness for women, we would like to support your efforts to positively impact lives of female Veteran’s.

    Thank you so much,

    Amy Turk
    Chief Program Officer
    Downtown Women’s Center

  170. Dorothy Williams    

    I have tried to comment on the VR&E question. However, I have not been able to respond because of the CAPTCHA.

  171. Susie Belanger    

    A suggestion for the next town hall meeting: narrow it down to only 2 or 3 topics. We would then like to hear specifics on how the Secretary plans to address those issues. I realize this was the first meeting and he wanted to address as many questions as possible, now it could be addressing just a few at a time, unless you extend the meeting.
    Susie

  172. Tess Banko    

    Secretary Shulkin please appoint a prominent local veteran and experienced real estate developer, like Ed Roski (USMC ’62-’66), as Veterans Housing Czar to oversee and assist in development of VA West Los Angeles

    West LA’s master plan needs a campus manager who has detailed local knowledge and can work to ensure development and the further management of the new facilities. Appointing someone without this knowledge who may or may not move on to another position and location in the future will do a definitive disservice to the efforts on campus.

    Thank you for caring for our nation’s veterans, including myself.

    #VATheRightWay

  173. Daniel Lewis    

    Mr. Shulkin,

    The VA caregiver program has come under a lot of scrutiny. Most hospitals have their own interpretation of how the program is run and deem some medical diagnosis as qualifying while others dont. The Prescott VA in the Northern Arizona VA Healthcare system kicked over 250 caregivers overnight and the remainder of caregivers on the program are all rated tier 1. Connecting the dots and how the program pays it’s caregivers, it looks like the NAVAHCS is looking to save that money to hand out bonuses at the end of they year.

    Along with other programs and care, when will the VA have clear guidance across the board on how thesee programs are run and not off of “interpretation”. The law is clear, the coordinators of these programs and care are not.

  174. AMEDEO TROTTA    

    Hello comma I recently was medically retired in 2014 September. I am now at 90% but the VA through Fort Hood the gentleman told me just to put my foot even though it was my ankle and foot he had told me just put my foot cuz it was the same thing. So my raining was off everything has gone from 70 to 90% since me fighting it and I am still having to submit documents. It states that I’m scheduled for a hearing but I have not been contacted or reached out for this. I have been at the VA and visited and visited and my civilian providers as well and provided to Texas veterans commission with updates of my paperwork and there is still paperwork that I have not provided. It is been almost 2 years and a hearing that I have not even been told about but I can see it on my file. It seems like no one is pushing that’s not even a Texas veterans Commission. can this be expedited as this would be my first since getting out of the army. I have been misled through this whole process. And I have to continue to fight to get what is deserved about 100%. PTSD, ankylosing spondylosis comma severe arthritis and more. My mind and body are just getting exhausted going by providing which should and is already known and it’s been documented. Other issues exist as well but these are major to the point where my head arm shoulder is numb from nerve damage as well and me getting sick and missing work due to the IV treatments I was getting to stop or to slow down the ankylosing spondylitis period please help

  175. AMEDEO TROTTA    

    Besides my conditions and a pending board which I have not been contacted about and I can only see on the website, I had to deal with a financial burden being unemployed for almost four months with a mortgage for children to stay home wife. Not one person offered services or to assist everything happened so fast and the Army didn’t even retain me with 18 and a half years of full active service I was released. I just wanted to make that clear because this is still happening to soldiers leaving the Army there is no care. My a cap services we’re all online they stated I didn’t have to attend and my command didn’t allow me to attend I only had six days to find a job and that’s all the leave that I was granted from my command. Uh Congressional was done but it was internal from my Brigade and Division on to my Battalion Commander for doing this to me and still putting this burden on my family where I still hadn’t paying off my debt. Circumstances and I am stuck with jet stress and just something that I cannot let go that I need to fight for and fight for meaning other soldiers that will be going through the same process that are just left abandoned because the process is broke. Soldiers Sailors Airmen Exedra have a timeline to get all their medical documents in at certain periods of time period like myself I submitted everything to my pee blow officer all my doctors names numbers Exedra and dates. So my for my first VA exam my comp and pen my people officer didn’t get any of the medical documents for me. This is what caused a roller coaster ride going straight down through loops and allowing me to suffer because it starts with that period documented wrong which hurt my Army evaluation which I still have to fight. I also have to just keep fighting and going through this while I have a full-time job getting sick trying to support my family is very exhausting. And you wonder why soldiers Airman Marines excetera that have PTSD just give up on life or just give up on the system because it’s flawed completely from beginning to end from active duty or Reserve component into the resort in to the VA it is disgustingly sad saddening. We need to change everything about this as I request for help not only for myself but for all the soldiers Airmen Marines Sailors exedra going through the same hardship is sad

  176. noe    

    How come when I call my doctor non VA it takes a day or 2 to get in.mostly one. but when I call the VA Satellite office it takes a week or two. maybe you should watch what thy do and follow them. every time I get in there’s only two person in the office

  177. Roger A. McGill    

    When is Hypothyroid condition going to be added to the Presumptive list for Agent Orange?

  178. Danny Godfrey    

    Dr. Shulkin, Just wanted to make you aware of Atlanta VA pharmacy outrageous charges. My VA DERMATOLIGIST WAS freezing skin cancer off my face, it was determined that I required a therapeutic shampoo. I received the shampoo “Assured T+Plus. Gel shampoo”. For which I was billed $24.00 per bottle. My wife found the EXACT same shampoo in our local Dollar Tree store for $1.00 per bottle. We have never ordered another bottle from the VA. THIS makes me wonder what else might be overcharged. Praying for you as you represent veterans in you new responsibility.

  179. Robert l mason    

    I didn’t hear what I needed to hear. no words about correcting corruption , like at the corrupt VAMC, Cleveland, Ohio or the failure of the VAOIG to investigate crimes against vets by the VAMC. The VAMC is ruining my credit as they refuse to pay my approved hospital bills, Choice program keeps losing letters faxed by my doctor for more treatments,
    Most of all the cover up of what happened to me in 2007. i have on tape your VAMC Cleveland did this to scare me , intimidate me and break my nerves. THIS IS HOW YOU TREAT VETERANS.?
    Why did the VAOIG fail to investigate and then lied to my congressman? Why hasn’t my 5, July 69 claim and 77 & 83 remands not been processed.?
    In short why is your VA trying to kill me off? this no joke.

  180. Kenneth Bowman    

    Why is it that a combat vet from the glue war to afganistan and back to Iraq can not get VA care.told not eligible and when trying to to get service related disability get shuffled to all departments.and if treatment or testing is done private insurance is billed at a outrageous cost..please reply SSG Kenneth Bowman

  181. Richard Bareford    

    [This is a re-post from yesterday, The first never showed.]

    In 2016 the VA revised its rule on who could apply for headstones and grave markers on behalf of veterans buried in unmarked graves. For the prior 4 years the VA permitted only the next-of-kin to apply, regardless of how long the veteran had been dead or whether a willing and able next-of-kin even existed. Between 1879 when the Army began this memorial program and 2012 long after the VA had taken it over there were no applicant restrictions whatsoever. The VA has never explained why the next-of-kin restriction suddenly became necessary. The 2016 revision returned to the original “anyone can apply’ policy, but only for those veterans whose service ended prior to April 6, 1917. After that date only a family member or some official legally responsible for the grave could apply. The choice of this date forever places the vast and growing majority of all veterans in a second class status (WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc). Family members could always apply; that many have not is why there are thousands of unmarked veterans’ graves across the nation. At least one cemetery has taken the opportunity to mark its veterans’ graves, but it accepted the cost of placement. How many others will do so? The 100th anniversary of America’s entry into WWI is fast approaching, a time when the nation should recognize the service of that war’s veterans. It is outrageous that the VA has chosen that date, April 6, 1917, to effectively disenfranchise any veteran who lacks a willing and able family member or rests in a cemetery without a patriotic and charitable management. There are volunteers prepared to assume this burden. Let them.

  182. Damian Bennett    

    Mr. Secretary,

    What Alternatives will you offer Veterans being forced off of their much needed pain medications and put on Suboxone? I am a 100% Service Connected Disabled Veteran, and I am told that I have to take Suboxone for the rest of my life. But no one at the Michael E. DeBakey V.A. Medical Center are treating my pain or anxiety? Why? I’ve had over 20 surgeries but aren’t being treated for any of that. Could you please fill me in on what to do? Thank You Mr. Secretary.

    Respectfully,

    Damian Bennett

  183. Damian Bennett    

    The Doctor running the ” Opiod Dependency ” Program says it’s fine if I risk being arrested and incarcerated to buy Marijuana but can’t treat pain or anxiety? It just isn’t right.

  184. Nathan N Wallens    

    Sir I had mengitist while in Air Force had 5 spinal taps had submitted claims which always came not service connected to the issues and in 1985 a VA Doctor stated on a VA Form he thought I had arachnoiditis which in 2013 was proved to be cause of my problems and was awarded total and permanent 100% Service Connected Disability because of contamination to spinal fluid from one or more of the 5 spinal taps i had while hospitalizes and thing is I was never seen for any evaluations.ie; C&P exams, can I file for compensation back to 1985 without fear of loosing my present services connected disability. I was told by Veterans services in Augusta Georgia that I could very well lose my present benifits and should not press the issue even though I have been suffering with these issues which have progressively worsen over time.

  185. Lawrence B. Williams    

    I am a Vietnam era Veteran. I have a claim for PTSD pending a hearing at the appeals board. The DAV will represent me as they are also power of attorney of my claim. I was informed that there was 15,096 appeal claims ahead of my claim. It’s taken me 13 years (since 2004) to get my claim to the board after repeated denials and resubmissions.
    My claim was certified in June 2016. What will you do to help Veterans with claims get their claims heard and the compensation needed to maintain a normal life. President Trump is increasing the military buget by 54 billon dollars how will that increase help Veterans receive the the help and compensation they deserve for injuries received while serving their country.

  186. Steven J. Pitkin    

    I am 100% disabled Vietnam Veteran with a total of 29 years. I was on a large amount of pain killers and was taken so far down without any help. I was walking 2 miles daily, taking a foreign language online and College courses online. Now I am bedridden. I never abused the drugs I was given and I was monitored quite a bit. Now that I am 67 years old I live by myself, I have severe cervical and spinal pain along with both knees and both shoulders destroyed. I would like to see the VA relax the requirements of lowered pain meds for us older Veterans. It gave me a quality of life that I have now lost. I feel that the government has lumped us together with drug abusers when there is a shown need for us to be treated with higher doses of pain killers, and it’s not right. I’ve been injured many times as well as having been in the Military Medical Field. Please allow more flexability for us where surgery will not help.

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