New VA Secretary Visits Phoenix Medical Center

August 08, 2014

(Photo by Carrie Jung - KJZZ)
VA Secretary Robert McDonald announces upcoming changes at VA medical facilities.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald met with veterans, medical staff and veterans support organizations at the Phoenix VA medical center on Friday. The secretary also took the time to announce several actions the administration would take in the coming weeks.

One of the first announcements McDonald covered was the initiation of an independent review of scheduling practices at VA facilities nationwide.

The secretary also promised to reaffirm the institution’s values. He’s been handing out buttons and cards that say “I care” to medical staff. He pledged to eliminate performance goals that could divert attention away from veteran care like wait time goals, and he’ll require VA directors to report any instance they feel they can’t provide quality care.

McDonald acknowledged the upcoming changes would take a lot of work, but insisted all of the goals were doable.

"I’ve been on the job about a week or so, and I’m more encouraged today than I was before," he said. 

McDonald also highlighted several steps the Phoenix facility would be taking to improve care for their veterans, including hiring about 1,000 people.