Reflections on the last two years

Dr. Richard A. Stone, Veterans Health Administration Executive in Charge


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Dr. Stone traveled widely during his first two years, seeing the “amazing work and commitment to our mission of the employees of VHA.”

Today marks two years since I returned to VHA.

When I came back to VHA, my direction from Secretary Wilkie was clear. My job was to restore the trust of the American people and Veterans in VHA.

Two years later, we have made extraordinary improvements in the level of Veteran trust we have today, up from between 40% to 50% in 2014 through 2016 to about 90% now.

This improvement reflects the amazing work and commitment to our mission of the employees of VHA. I continue to see this every day in our response to COVID-19. Recently, we asked for 45 volunteer nurses to deploy to Arizona to support our Fourth Mission of serving as the backstop to America’s health care system.

The same day the request went out, we had well above 45 volunteers. Our employees’ commitment to our mission directly correlates with the level of care our Veterans receive and their trust in VHA.

“We are changing the way we work as an organization.”

We are changing the way we work as an organization. We’ve made great progress in becoming a High Reliability Organization and establishing a Just Culture, where every employee can speak up and we can listen to and respect their expertise.

The commitment to our mission that I see at VHA – just as I saw when I was in uniform – makes me feel at home here. I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many incredible Veterans and staff in this job and that is what keeps me going.

I look forward to many more years providing great health care to our Veterans.

Thank you for your service and sacrifice on behalf of our nation.

Dr. Richard A. Stone, Veterans Health Administration Executive in Charge

Author

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Comments

  1. SW    

    We are changing the way we work as an organization. We’ve made great progress in becoming a High Reliability Organization and establishing a Just Culture, where every employee can speak up and we can listen to and respect their expertise.

    First off the VA is NOT highly reliable. It keeps cancelling appointments and pushing them further out in hopes that veterans will die before they have to spend any money on doing their job and taking care of veterans.
    Second respecting employees “expertise”. The VA has a lot of unprofessional, and untrained employees around, especially secretaries. I was too old to hire but I can guarantee you that I AM more qualified and can run circles around VA employees every and any day of the week. OT’s that provide CHEAP electric wheel chairs to veterans because “gee, it folds down and only weighs 60 pounds, you can pick it up and put it in your trunk.” They don’t bother to look at or review the veteran’s medical history to see that the veteran has 4 herniated discs in their lower back before providing this. The OT also perpetuates the lift company’s claims (read LIES) that “they don’t make trailer hitches for any year of your model car”. So as a veteran I had to PAY OUT OF POCKET for a trailer hitch AND wheel chair carrier in order to be able to use the chair. REALLY? I had to PAY OUT OF POCKET to have my bathroom remodel so I could have a walk in shower because this OT wouldn’t provide it even though I couldn’t raise my legs easily to step over the side of the tub. She sent me a shower chair that didn’t even fit in my tub, her expectation was that it would go over the top of the tub and I could sit on it and slide across into the tub. Let’s see, the shower door would have to be LEFT OPEN while I showered with the chair blocking it which then creates a SAFETY HAZARD and concern about the floor getting wet and me having to hope like h— that I didn’t fall.
    Yes, they have “EXPERTISE” in how to get the veteran hurt. NO COMMON SENSE AT ALL at VA. Prosthetics has money to waste because they don’t bother to see veterans in person to ensure they are giving the veteran THE CORRECT SIZE of whatever medical equipment they need. Apparently ALL veterans ARE the same size, all over six feet tall and with with an appendage out front.

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