VA secretary discusses efforts to improve services

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin on Nov. 6 spoke about improving and modernizing his agency, wait times at its health facilities, a national VA ID program, benefits, the appeals process and other efforts to improve services for veterans.

Shulkin noted that the VA is seeing progress in several areas, including appeals modernization, which has not happened since the 1930s, having five major bills pass Congress, an expansion of the GI bill, and 28 new leases for VA facilities.

“We’re also seeing progress in the five priorities that I have stated are most important to me as secretary; giving veterans more choice about how and where they get their care  and benefits…progress in our timeliness of services...we’re improving performance in disability timeliness and improving timeliness on appeals… we’re working on foundational services…and suicide prevention,” Shulkin said during his speech at the National Press Club. 

Shulkin, the only holdover from the Obama administration, also said he believes the current VA benefit system is too complex and has too much bureaucracy and knows that more needs to be done for improvement.

Disclaiming that he is not a benefits expert, he shared what and how he has learned about benefits by going back to the Roman Empire, describing various programs and laws that previous presidents and Congress have enacted throughout American history.

Watch the full speech here.

2021 Digital Almanac

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