State Veterans Affairs agencies are second only to the federal Veterans Affairs in providing benefits and services to veterans and their families. The state departments, while independent of the federal VA, are key partners in the mission to fulfill the promise of Abraham Lincoln: to care for those “who shall have borne the battle.” State agencies primarily assist vets with accessing and applying for federal VA care and benefits. In addition to connecting vets to federal resources, each state government offers additional benefits or services to their …Read More »
VA Secretary David J. Shulkin announced that his priorities for improving services to veterans include expanding access to private sector health care. The administration wants Choice extended and expanded, as do some key congressional leaders, despite warnings from veteran service organizations that shifting too many patients and too much funding to private sector care could begin a slide toward full privatization of VA health care.
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The full Senate voted to approve Dr. David Shulkin as the next head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, making him the only holdover from the Obama administration to hold a cabinet post under President Donald Trump. The vote was unanimous, 100-0, for Shulkin, who had served as the Under Secretary for Health at the VA for the past 19 months. He was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence and he issued his initial message as VA Secretary to veterans.
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Dr. David Shulkin testifies before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Feb 8th. Shulkin has been nominated to serve as the next VA Secretary. He plans to “majorly reform the department” if he’s confirmed, including far greater accountability, dramatically improved access, responsiveness, and expanded care options. One thing he says he won’t include is a move toward privatized care.
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In his second plea to Congress in a week, Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald on Wednesday said his department’s benefits appeals process is “failing veterans” and asked lawmakers for a massive overhaul to fix the process. The Secretary said he needs both legislation and resourcing to “put in place a simplified appeals process” to handle the cases in a matter of months, instead of years.
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While admitting systemic problems, the new head of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said that the vast majority of the employees at his beleaguered agency are not the issue.
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