Tags: Health Topics | VA Scandal | VA | veterans | administration | reorganization | plan

VA Launching Huge Reorganization Plan in Response to Scandal

By    |   Monday, 26 Jan 2015 05:50 PM

The Veterans Administration is embarking on the biggest reorganization in its history, placing VA's nine organizations under five regions in an attempt to bring better service to veterans.

Prompted by last year's scandal at the Phoenix VA hospital — which resulted in the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and his replacement with former Proctor & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald — the organizational shakeup under the MyVA structure is designed to make it easier for veterans to navigate the VA to get the help they need, The Washington Post reports.

The changes, which are to be completed by this summer, will include improved signs at VA centers, the hiring of a chief customer service officer, and enabling call center agents to allow veterans to resume or suspend some benefit payments without forcing them to go through several steps they currently must take, the VA said in a news release.

"We want every veteran to have a seamless, integrated and responsive VA customer service experience every time," McDonald said in the release. "This regional alignment is the first step in empowering veterans to interact with one VA — MyVA," a service which began in September to "reorient VA around veteran needs and empower employees to assist them in delivering excellent customer service to improve the veteran experience," the release states.

"Ultimately, this reform will improve the veteran experience by enabling veterans to more easily navigate VA and access their earned care and benefits," McDonald said.

The Post noted that in the Phoenix scandal, 40 veteran patients died while waiting years for appointments at the VA hospital there, and records were altered to hide the delays and make it possible for bonuses to be paid to managers who falsely appeared to be meeting service goals.

The reorganization is not expected to involve staff cuts, Bob Snyder, executive director of the MyVA Program Management Office, told Stars and Stripes. "There is more than enough work to do across the VA," he said. "This not about cutting jobs."

The VA, which serves 22 million veterans in 970 hospitals and clinics, including more than 6 million who receive annual healthcare, has had nine organizational areas with at least a dozen different websites, the Post reports, requiring their own usernames and passwords, and the goal of the reorganization is to make it easier for veterans to obtain all services, from healthcare to home loans, disability payments and burial plots, through a single MyVA website.

The VA is not sure how much the reorganization will cost, but Snyder said the changes will give veterans "better coordination because they will have a common map," the Post noted.

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The Veterans Administration is embarking on the biggest reorganization in its history, placing VA's nine organizations under five regions in an attempt to bring better service to veterans.
VA, veterans, administration, reorganization, plan, scandal
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2015-50-26
Monday, 26 Jan 2015 05:50 PM
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