Arlington, VA – This morning, newly-confirmed Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin publicly outlined his top 10 priorities for the department. These goals included passing accountability legislation, extending the Choice Program and eliminating the 40-mile-30-day rule for the use of the Choice Card.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Policy Director Dan Caldwell issued the following statement:
“It is nearly impossible to fire a bad VA employee, despite almost daily reports of misconduct within the agency. It is heartening that Secretary Shulkin has identified increasing accountability as a priority, but it’s on Congress to pass strong legislation that will truly end the toxic culture at the VA by making it easier to terminate these bad employees.
“The Choice Card program, which was intended to be a stopgap passed in response to the 2014 Phoenix VA scandal, is imperfect and was implemented poorly. We agree with Secretary Shulkin that Congress should reauthorize the Choice Program in August, but only as a temporary measure while better methods for offering veterans choice are developed.
“We are encouraged that Secretary Shulkin is embracing many of the reforms that Concerned Veterans for America has proposed and supported. Moving forward, Secretary Shulkin must develop more specific proposals to implement these reforms in a way that puts power into the hands of the veteran and eliminates unnecessary costs and bureaucracy.”
Earlier this year, CVA outlined its 2017 reform priorities in a memo which pointed to strong accountability legislation, empowering veterans with choice over where and when to see a doctor, and increased transparency at the department.