Fixing Washington, starting with Veterans Affairs

Fixing Washington, starting with Veterans Affairs

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V Earlier this week, I spent a coupla afternoons listening to proposals from VA rank-and-file employees. They were all very dedicated to much better supporting their customers, veterans of wars including Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, WW II.

Each one of them was also committing to providing better customer service, and had great ideas, but no one in leadership was listening, until now.

Here's my take in more detail, as I wrote it for myself while sleepless coupla nights ago.

  1. VA rank and file are dedicated in a major way to better supporting vets
  2. They know how to do much better, including fixing processes and cutting need for red tape.
  3. They didn't have a way to get it done, until …
  4. Now … they have the means to get heard, online, and leadership is committed to hearing them and to really doing something about it
  5. Process improvements and red-tape-cutting has already started.

Since I'm no VA expert,and not sure what I can disclose, I'd speak generically about two "easy" efforts.

6. if a vet already got checked out by a trustworthy private doctor, no need to send to a VA doc. No value, takes a lot longer to serve the vet, wastes times and money.

7. if filling out a form takes a lot of work, and actually doesn't accomplish doing anything, stop doing that.

My hidden agenda… I've been spending a lot of time with workers from a bunch of agencies across Washington and across the US. What I say here applies only everywhere.

So, I'm already nudging, mostly quietly, to the next step.

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7 Comments

1949 Ford

Since all parties receive payment from one pool of money, the VA federal budget, an inherent conflict of interest exists when VA medical staff examine veterans for disability compensation, and, when VBA employees make decisions to pay, or not to pay, disabled veterans. VA doctors and the VBA staff know its a "zero sum" game and when budgets tighten, disabled veterans may get the short end of the stick.
I've had to battle the VBA for a decade even though I've been supported all those years by opinions from six medical doctors, both VA and private.
Disabled veterans should receive disability compensation without further delay after one medical doctor, whether private or VA, determines the disease or injury diagnosis was service connected.
Essentially, that's how federal, state and private sector workers compensation disability insurance plans authorize payments for injured employees.
Why should the VA treat injured soldiers differently?
A Vietnam Vet

BaristaOnDutY

This Is Great I'm Glad There Is Being More Awareness On This Problem That Has Plagued Many. Here I Wait I'm A 40% Disabled Vet Due To Back Problems, But Have Several Other Issues That Are Related, Undoubtedly 110% Disabled, But Because Of All The Red Tape And Backlog, Myself And Family Have To Suffer, When In Actuality, Had They Been More Diligent The 1st Round All My Needs Would Have Been Met.Thanks You All That Support Veterans, And Thank You Veterans For Your Services, We Fought & Will Continue To Fight For Our Justice, Our Needs Will Be Met, Our Voices Will Be Heard, This Nation Will Not Sleep On Us. Cpl Milton USMC

Jason C. Weber

Think global as we – Military and US Veterans – are everywhere!
Streamlining – any – paperwork process surrounding United States Military/Veterans would assist us – and all involved – tremendously.
How do we go about doing this? For starters, empower the community (Active, Reserve, Retired, Former, Contract, etc.) with the tools we need to self-serv. Most, if not all of us are efficient, capable and independent.
For those of us that do need some assistance, provide a support hierarchy (with clear roles, responsibilities and expectations defined and explained/delivered to us).
For members currently serving, develop an on-boarding process that immediately migrates the member to this new online system (regardless of discharge status). Why not make it part of the checkout process across each DOD/Military branch?
To authenticate existing members that have separated, authenticate them via SSN/Service Number (query DOD/Military records).
Special attention/consideration will be required for instances surrounding UA/AWOL/POW/MIA/KIA and other sensitive scenarios.
Service providers and vendors too will be required to authenticate so as to minimize fraud/optimize data, develop workflows and enhance the current experience.
Rather than manage 30K dot.gov domains, why not develop a deep web structure (similar to that of say iVillage or WebMD) for Veterans and serve content dynamically at the local/global level (based upon user authentication ISP, Cell Tower, Geo Code or minimaly … user preference).
Let me wrap up by saying, the technology exists today to make this all a reality. As with any initiative survey the existing landscape to identify similar offerings; extend olive branches and deveop partnerships; collaboratively identify the needs, wants and desires of your audience; most important, be flexible to adapt to the changing environment.
In closing, if this "experience" exists in a pure environment, I believe it will be very well received by our community.

Fine

I am a Veteran and the VA is a helluva better than they were 5 years ago. But there is room from improvement. I believe the leadership of the VA should not hold their positions unless they have served. That one of the problems.

Cho Yung Tea

Interesting article about veterans. We definitely have to take care of our veterans if we're going to continue to hold our grip as a free nation.

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