VA secretary: ‘Las Vegas is where we see what VA will become’


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Secretary Wilkie at Las Vegas VAMC

Secretary Wilkie at Las Vegas VAMC

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert L. Wilkie, visited the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Sept. 20 to meet with hospital administrators, speak with Veterans and employees, and talk about the way forward for the VA.

Since being sworn in, July 30, the new VA secretary has visited sites across the nation to learn and assure both Veterans and VA employees that his focus is on ensuring the department has the resources necessary to provide Veterans the care and benefits they’ve earned.

“In five weeks in office, this is the 10th hospital I’ve been to,” Secretary Wilkie said. “Part of my job, is getting outside of the nation’s capital, walking the post, listening, and trying to learn as much as I can so I can be a better advocate for our Veterans and employees.”

During his inaugural visit, Secretary Wilkie remarked on the positive things he saw – both within the VA and the Southern Nevada military and Veterans community as a whole. “Here in Las Vegas we see what the VA will become,” the secretary said. “The growth here is astounding. More than 1,000 Veterans come in to our VA facilities for care here every day. We also have a relationship between the VA and Nellis Air Force Base and I believe it’s a model for the future as we need to be better joined at the hip with the Department of Defense. [The community] is also moving forward with getting a new medical school here, which I think is the other prong of the VA’s future — being tied to academic and research institutions.”

While at the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center, Secretary Wilkie visited a prosthetics laboratory and wheelchair repair, and also had the opportunity to tour a Mobile Vet

Secretary Robert Wilkie visits Vet Center at Las Vegas VAMC

Secretary Wilkie visits Vet Center at Las Vegas VAMC

Center. He also met with several Veterans, including Red Coat Ambassadors as well as state and local veterans service leaders. “What I saw are volunteers who are excited to be here,” the secretary said.  “That’s an unsung part of the VA experience… Veterans want to be around people who speak their language. And it’s a unique language… It’s the language of service.”

Since taking office, one of Secretary Wilkie’s most important objectives is ensuring that each Veteran’s visit is a positive experience. “When a Veteran comes to the VA, nine times out of 10, he or she is very happy with the care,” he said. “What I emphasize is importance of every encounter or experience, which really is customer service.”

Part of improving the experience comes with funding and the secretary’s trip is part of a two-day visit that will see President Donald J. Trump sign the 2019 Veteran Affairs appropriation. “It’s the largest bill in the history of the VA, but it also reflects a change in the direction of the department,” Secretary Wilkie said, adding that one of the biggest changes within the VA going forward will involve an expansion of stipends for family home care. “We recognize family caregivers as the coming trend in health,” he said. “The greatest number of Veterans in this area are from the Vietnam era…and for those who served prior to May 7, 1975, this provides their families with stipends to provide care at home for their Veterans.”

As an Air Force officer, Secretary Wilkie wrapped up his visit stating that he appreciates the dedication of America’s service members. “I am soldier’s son. My military service, compared to my ancestors’, is modest. But being a part of an organization of folks whose very existence ensures that their fellow citizens sleep soundly at night is as great an honor as I can have. I am proud to be part of America’s obligation to those who have sacrificed so much.”


image of John Archiquette

John Archiquette

John Archiquette is a Public Affairs Specialist for the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System

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Comments

  1. virginia marie hornberger    

    I have suggested Gregory look into getting a malpractice lawyer since xrays were read wrong and were not read correctly until weeks later while he was suffering unnecessarily with pain down his leg and into his foot and having to withdraw from college due to the severe pain.

  2. virginia marie hornberger    

    I’m sure my statements will fall on deaf ears, but I had to say something!!!!
    I pray that something will be done. It’s in God’s hands and God help you all for letting vets fall through the cracks!

  3. virginia marie hornberger    

    Gregory Hornberger, Army vet, has not gotten any help for two months. The VA is a shameful organization.

  4. virginia marie hornberger    

    I am thoroughly disappointed with the VA. My son, Gregory Matthew Hornberger, who served in the Army, has gotten the run around for medical care beginning on 8/5/18 for back pain. . He goes to Martinsburg, WV. The ER there suggested MRI and made appt. for next day at 10:30 with Gregory’s primary care Dr. Nair. disregarded ER’s suggestion of MRI and did xray. Xray read normal. The primary was going to give Greg meloxacan for pain, Greg stated that was medication that caused his kidney issues in Kuwait. He was given Tylenol instead. Still in horrible pain and numbness in foot now. Went to Hagerstown hospital ER 8/18/18 . Wouldn’t do MRI, just gave Percocet. On 9/13, saw Dr. Santiago at Martinsburg ER.e point, , who re-read xray from 8/6/18 and said he saw bulging disc which Greg has been dealing for a month and now has pain down leg and foot. Also, 9/14 chiropractor Dr. Neff confirmed bulging disc.
    At one point earlier on at Martinsburg, Gee was told MRI was broken and wouldn’t be fixed until 10/6, hard drive broken. As of today, he’s been told MRI wont be up until 10/12.
    Greg took it upon himself to call Radiology at Martinsburg to make appt and couldn’t get one until 10/26.
    I am totally appalled that he has gotten any help. I am sorry he actually served to be treated like this. And I know he is not the only veteran being mistreated!!!! Very sad.
    He is a single Dad trying to keep his head above water. He had to withdraw from aviation college this semester because of the pain!!!!!

  5. Roberto Matulac    

    I came down with pneumonia while visiting Las Vegas, on 11 August 2011 I felt ill and went to the Las Vegas VA. I was denied care and was referred to the Air Force Base for treatment at the medical facility. I was informed by the Las Vegas VA that out of state veterans were not accepted in Las Vegas VA. In 2016, I became ill in Honolulu, Hawaii, the VA gave me excellent care without any hassle.

  6. Dominick Aloia    

    Why doesnt va except medicare

  7. Dominick Aloia    

    Why doesnT va except medivare

  8. Edward bisland    

    I have been diagnosed with several mental health disorders. One of them dissociative disorder. My va.psycaiatrist wrote a letter in March 2014 saying I was receiving supportive psychotherapy .this was a false statement.he also requested I’m assuming other mental health care providers to extend all available resources to improve my mental health recovery .My psycaiatrist never used any resources at his disposal .since March 2014 I have not received any psychotherapy. Question. What happens to someone diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder if they are not treated?.in one word hell.

  9. Jimmy Harris    

    The New RAMP Program is anot unfair policy!

  10. Russell Bourke, RN    

    Disconnecting from the hip is what we need. Not more DOD influence over the care of Veterans.
    The relationship between the DOD the VBA and the jaw boning that goes on over claims made by Veterans is the issue.
    Throwing more money at people who serve themselves first is not the answer.

    Take the money and allow the Veterans to purchase care outside the VA. Install a Veterans Court of Appeals run by an Independent Judiciary applying established rules of order and procedure and stop the ongoing Appeals Circus that is hurting Veterans. Military style tribunals belong inside the Military and NOT in the Veterans Appeals Courts!

    End the racketeering between the VARO’s and the VAMC’s and the medical schools.

    You are on your own with the current program of aggregating more resources to the worst medical system in the world- I am not supporting this.

  11. Robert Busetti    

    I was told by the VA that I was overpaid, my VA benefits were then suspended until the money was recouped, all because your office did not have my current marriage certificate on file.

  12. Robert Barron    

    As someone who was treated at the Marion Illinois VA emergency room in May of 2017 and had a very bad experience I think it would be a good idea for the VA to migrate away from even having an actual emergency room. An urgent care clinic might be a viable substitution. I am not going into details here but it was turned into a life threatening situation in the ER.

  13. Felix Eugene Duan    

    I am very happy with the service at the VA Hospital. I only have one issue. Since the hospital was deemed as “finished” emergence room entrance was not built. A veteran needing ambulance to the emergency room care will have to go to an other emergency room at an other hospital.

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      Felix, we appreciate your feedback. We encourage you to talk to the local VA medical center’s public affairs officer to inquire about becoming part of a Veterans focus group to share your ideas and feedback directly with leadership.

Comments are closed.