President Abraham Lincoln once said, “I am not concerned that you have fallen — I am concerned that you arise.”
Like any large organization, the Department of Veterans Affairs has seen its share of problems.
But under President Trump’s leadership, the VA is living up to Lincoln’s ideals by finding ways to fix those problems from past administrations.
When we realized our claim-appeals process was complex and inefficient, we worked with veterans service organizations, Congress, and the president to draft and pass a new law designed to fix it and put veterans first.
We launched a 24/7 White House VA hotline to help veterans cut through red tape and serve as an important feedback mechanism that lets agency leaders identify trends, spot problems more quickly, and drive improvements across the department.
And after Trump promised to give veterans more healthcare choices, we worked with Congress to do just that by passing the Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks, or MISSION, Act, which will consolidate our community care efforts into a single, simple-to-use program that puts veterans at the center of their healthcare decisions.
But perhaps the best example of VA’s continuous improvement on behalf of veterans is the progress we’ve made in expanding accessibility to, and quality of, the healthcare we deliver.
When it comes to access, a January study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that by 2017, VA had significantly shorter wait times for primary care, cardiology, and dermatology than private doctors. The study said the data it collected is “further supporting the finding that access to care has improved over time within the VA.”
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