Today marks two years since I returned to VHA.
When I came back to VHA, my direction from Secretary Wilkie was clear. My job was to restore the trust of the American people and Veterans in VHA.
Two years later, we have made extraordinary improvements in the level of Veteran trust we have today, up from between 40% to 50% in 2014 through 2016 to about 90% now.
This improvement reflects the amazing work and commitment to our mission of the employees of VHA. I continue to see this every day in our response to COVID-19. Recently, we asked for 45 volunteer nurses to deploy to Arizona to support our Fourth Mission of serving as the backstop to America’s health care system.
The same day the request went out, we had well above 45 volunteers. Our employees’ commitment to our mission directly correlates with the level of care our Veterans receive and their trust in VHA.
We are changing the way we work as an organization. We’ve made great progress in becoming a High Reliability Organization and establishing a Just Culture, where every employee can speak up and we can listen to and respect their expertise.
The commitment to our mission that I see at VHA – just as I saw when I was in uniform – makes me feel at home here. I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many incredible Veterans and staff in this job and that is what keeps me going.
I look forward to many more years providing great health care to our Veterans.
Thank you for your service and sacrifice on behalf of our nation.
Dr. Richard A. Stone, Veterans Health Administration Executive in Charge