Arlington, VA – Today the Associated Press reported that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will leave more than 4,000 positions unfilled, citing the need for a “leaner” and “more accountable” VA as the department begins allowing more veterans to seek care outside of the VA.
Secretary Shulkin said that the positions would be left vacant unless specially approved by VA leadership and addressed “an absolute critical need.” He also signaled that VA facilities that aren’t being used will close.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Policy Director Dan Caldwell issued the following statement:
“We applaud Secretary Shulkin for making the tough decisions necessary to build a more efficient, accountable, and customer-focused VA. Shulkin is smart to plan ahead for reforms that will empower veterans to seek private sector care whenever they want. It’s common sense that veterans, who chose to serve, should be allowed to choose their own doctors.
“We support the new direction the Trump administration is taking at the VA. If coupled with strong accountability and choice legislation, this new era will bring long-awaited relief for veterans who need better care.”
CVA proposes the creation of a government-chartered non-profit which will allow the veteran to use benefits at his or her own discretion, inside or outside of the VA.
CVA supports President Trump’s new Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection within the VA, but the group feels the office will only be effective if coupled with strong accountability legislation like the VA Accountability First Act of 2017. The bill, which will make it easier to fire bad VA employees, passed the House earlier this year with bipartisan support.