Veterans Affairs Reorganization Isn't New

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 5:05am
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(Photo by Stina Sieg - KJZZ News)
Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix.

Just in time for Veterans Day, VA Secretary Bob McDonald announced a reorganization of the agency Sunday night on the CBS news program "60 Minutes." He said he wants to streamline services for patients, improve customer service and hire more medical professionals.  

A U.S. House staffer said the House Committee on Veterans Affairs was blindsided by the Secretary’s announcement, which also laid out the goal of creating a single regional framework. McDonald announced the plan more than two months after he released a directive about an impending re-organization detailing the process and restrictions.

This idea isn’t new. Last year North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, a sitting member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, introduced a bill prior to the VA scandal. The 2013 bill detailed consolidating the regional networks of the Veterans Health Administration. It suggested nearly cutting the number of regional networks in half, limiting employees and requiring annual reports about each of the regional headquarters. The bill didn’t make it out of the committee.

McDonald said in the "60 Minutes" special that he wants to create a network where “adverse information gets from the bottom to the top as quickly as possible.”

VA officials did not respond to requests for comment. 

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