Veterans deserve a leader who will “fight relentlessly” for them, said Denis McDonough, President Joe Biden’s nominee for VA secretary while speaking before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee today.

McDonough said caring for Veterans and their families by providing health care, benefits and cemetery services will be his guiding principle.

“I’ve been given a clear mission by President Biden: to be a fierce, staunch advocate for Veterans and their families,” he said. “If confirmed, I will embrace that assignment with the solemnity it demands.”

Priorities

McDonough laid out five priorities the president directed him to focus his efforts if confirmed as VA secretary.

The first priority McDonough addressed is getting Veterans through this pandemic. As the pandemic continues to claim Veteran lives, he said the path ahead won’t be easy.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs faces great challenges – challenges made even more daunting by the coronavirus pandemic,” he said. “Its capabilities have not always risen to the needs of our Veterans. If confirmed, I promise to fight – every single day – to ensure that our Veterans have the access to world-class, compassionate care they have earned.”

McDonough cited four other priorities. These included helping Veterans build civilian lives of opportunity with the education and jobs worthy of their skills, talents and service. He also said he wants all Veterans, including women Veterans, Veterans of color and LGBTQ Veterans, to feel welcome at VA. Lastly, he plans to work to eliminate Veteran homelessness, mentioning also that reducing suicide is a high priority, as is keeping faith with families and caregivers.

Background

McDonough previously served as a former White House chief of staff, deputy national security advisor and chief of staff of the National Security Council. In his role with the National Security Council, he helped lead work on behalf of military families and Veterans.

“I understand how to untangle and solve large, complex challenges – both across and within large agencies,” he said. “I have seen firsthand that when our government is at its best, it can help serve the American people – including our Veterans – and allow them to live in security and dignity.”

Although not a Veteran himself, McDonough previously said his Marine grandfather, his World War II Veteran high school football coach and troops he met during visits to Walter Reed all inspired him.

“Most of all, like every American, I owe a profound debt of gratitude to those who have worn the cloth of our nation,” he said. “It would be a tremendous honor to serve our Veterans and their families, caregivers, and survivors by leading VA – to ensure our nation serves our Veterans as well as they have served us.”

Veteran sacrifice

McDonough hailed the sacrifice Veterans and families make.

“When visiting our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen on our bases in Afghanistan and Iraq, I have witnessed the heavy burdens of long deployments away from their families,” he said. “Beside their hospital beds when they come home, I’ve seen their resilience in the face of wounds – visible and invisible – that can last a lifetime. Standing there at Dover when our fallen heroes come home one final time, I’ve seen the unimaginable grief of military families, to whom we owe a debt that cannot be repaid and whom we stand by forever.”

He also said Veterans make an impact in other roles.

“Inside and outside of government, I’ve been inspired how our Veterans continue to strengthen our communities and our country out of uniform – as teachers, coaches, first responders and public servants,” he said.

The VA secretary nominee said those who served allowed the hearing to happen.

“We can meet today, in peace and freedom, because generations of service members have stepped forward and sacrificed in our name,” McDonough said. “And though only a small percentage of Americans have served in our armed forces, the president has called on every American to embrace our responsibility to support our Veterans and their families.”

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325 Comments

  1. Brian February 17, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    It would be nice if they could close down all VA healthcare facilities and allow all veterans to go to doctors of thier choosing. All you would need is your dd-214 and the economy would be stimulated by all the veterans who have been denied care due to regulations, policies, and the intentional inefficiencies built in to the system.
    Please write your elected representatives! You’re just preaching to the choir in this blog. “If you want peace don’t talk with your friends, instead talk to your enemies. “

    • kb February 26, 2021 at 12:22 pm

      As a disabled veteran Brian, THANK YOU FOR SAYING THAT,,that is exactly what we want,,,,there is policy piled on top of policy and a herd of people hired through each policy change that so much money is going to just that,,,policy on top of policy that there is very little left for the actual veteran,,,

  2. Steven Bolander February 11, 2021 at 9:50 am

    Denis McDonough’s qualification to be the new Secretary of the VA is that he once knew a high school football coach who was a veteran? (Gosh, I watched the movie “The Right Stuff,” so that makes me qualified to be an astronaut??)

    Out of the millions of veterans who served our country, President Biden couldn’t find just ONE of us to take the helm who is actually familiar with the true needs of vets? Mr. President, I am very disappointed in your apparent lack of concern for the men and women that have protected this country that we love so much.

  3. Ronald L Thayer February 11, 2021 at 12:56 am

    I would really appreciate it if someone could tell me why the VA stopped the 21 gun salute for veterans being buried in one of the VA cemeteries. I spoke with the daughter of a close Veteran friend of mine and I asked how the VA did with her dad’s funeral. The only negative thing she said was that they did not to the traditional 21 gun salute.

    When did that change and why?

  4. Francisco E Juarez February 10, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    SECRETARY, DR. LYNDA DAVIS LEFT YOU WORD.
    VA, WLA, “LAND-GRAB” AWAITS YOUR IMMEDIATE ENGAGEMENT.
    PLEASE REPLY TO ME ASAP.
    UNHOUSED VETERANS ARE DYING IN THE STREETS

    • Lee H February 11, 2021 at 10:23 am

      S. Bolander – right you are! A non-veteran running the VA is an insult to all veterans.

  5. Benjamin February 10, 2021 at 6:25 pm

    The VA was made better under the prior administration. I have no faith in a SECVA that is not a veteran, but is a lifetime politician and bureaucrat.
    To appointment a non veteran to such a position is an appalling spit in the face to those that had the guts to serve.

    • SW February 11, 2021 at 3:37 pm

      A CIVILIAN president was better??? Really? I think not. If this guy really wants to improve care for veterans the first thing he needs to do is allow us back into the facilities that treat us instead of insisting we use video for our appointments and our home computers to do our travel so the va empolyees hired to do our travel can earn a paycheck without working for it.

  6. Ronald February 6, 2021 at 1:14 pm

    I will admit that the VA has been a great help to me at times. If it hadn’t been for the helping hand I received from time to time I would likely be homeless by now. But the reason I would have been homeless is because the VA failed to help me on problems related to my disability. When a Medical professional hears that I am suffering from a condition that other Vets are receiving benefits for then I shouldn’t be given the run around. Even last week meeting with another medical professional instead of addressing those side effects I am expected to believe it may be genetic!

  7. DB February 5, 2021 at 6:43 pm

    Maybe the new guy can also look out for the American people as well… you know stop the fake disability system where millions are getting tax free disability income, along with all expenses paid, while working often in preference based systematic jobs making more than the average American. This just scratches the surface. VA caregiver, education, health, housing, etc. They don’t sound disabled to me if it doesn’t affect their ability to work. It does sound like laws being applied unequally and a systematic destruction of the American people. How does the average American compete in this environment?

    • BT February 10, 2021 at 6:45 pm

      DB, what Branch of the military were you in? What was your military job/specialty and how long did you serve?

    • USMC Veteran February 11, 2021 at 6:27 am

      Your comment is thoughtless. The position at hand is for a VA representative… it is not for the representation of the average American people. The VA serves men and women who have chosen to serve this country… People who have rightly earned the benefits they were promised before signing the dotted line. We as veterans go through a lengthy legal process, which is determined by multiple Veteran laws as to whether we qualify for benefits or not. It is not the “free-bee” you so implied. So if you as an American civilian, have a problem with what a Veteran has rightfully earned with his or her sacrifices, and happens to improve their lifestyle or economic position, then your jealousy and envy is your own problem. You want to compete? then suck it up, take the lumps, and move forward. But don’t trash what someone has earned when you haven’t even walked in their shoes.

  8. Rey Torres February 4, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    Will this will be a Big Talk and not Action? I believe it when I see it. Will workers be held accountable when they don’t do good service or they will just get a pad on the back for no doing their job or answering questions? Like I said: I doubt if anything will change for those Veterans requesting service. They did their time and mission, give them what they deserve. I took me nearly 20 years to get where I am now. Veterans, keep pushing,

    • Lee H February 11, 2021 at 10:29 am

      BT – I am waiting for DB’s reply. Even if DB wore a uniform, he was most likely a rear-position office pogue.

  9. Henrietta Mcghee February 2, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    I agree with everyone about not getting help. My husband served in the Army 4 yrs and then the Army Reserve for 2 yrs. Got out and then Served in the National Guard. He still has CoPay on Dr visits and Meds. We have tried to Use the VA loan to buy a House twice and have been turned down. We worked hard to get our Credit up to their standard and still they wouldn’t budge. My husband has problems with his hearing and we have tried to get the VA Drs to Examine them over and over but they just keep shoving hearing aids at him. They tried putting a set in and the Nurse that did it shoved one in pushed too hard and hurt him really bad. That was a year ago and everytime he tries to talk to someone about it they won’t talk to him about it. We really don’t know what else to do about it. Now his hearing is worse and The Drs won’t even see him about his hearing. If he calls about an appt for His hearing they never call him back. Don’t know what to do. Really could use some advice. This is when We could Really use The VA’s Help. HELP

    • Robert ottwell February 3, 2021 at 2:43 pm

      The va turns off the ringers so they don’t have to answer the phones. Everything goes to voice mail and they always drag their feet in returning calls. In three years of being in the va not ever once has anyone ever answered the phone when I have called. All my January appts were cancelled until the end of April for no reason or explanation. I live in a small community and it’s never that busy to not answer a call or return one in a timely manner. The VA is mostly good with a lot of bad people in it that should not be in the service of Honorable Veterans.

      • Bernard Kruppa February 10, 2021 at 10:28 pm

        There are veteran advocates who will take your complaints at VA installations. Try and start there. Or call the VA in Washington DC. The phone # is in these notices somewhere. Good Luck.

      • Brie Smith February 10, 2021 at 10:49 pm

        Local level personnel are sorely needed to respond to Veteran’s needs. That would be good customer service.

        Right now there is a consolidated so-called national call center which is ill equipped to resolve issues.

    • Jeffrey Miles Keeran February 7, 2021 at 12:03 pm

      Hearing tests are available at my Sam’s Club and most hearing aid sales locations. And they are free. I prefer Costco!

    • A.O February 10, 2021 at 11:41 am

      He has co-pays and deductibles everyone without the right disability rating does. I doubt they issue hearing aides without a hearing exam. Just because you served does not mean free health care for life.

      • Brie Smith February 10, 2021 at 10:44 pm

        I say let it start with the VA paying for all and any healthcare needs (both in and out of the VA system) of Veterans (including dental) without the eligibility (related to service-connected disability, 72 hour notice, etc) restrictions.

        Show rather than tell them that we truly thank them as a nation for their service.

      • Michael McLaughlin February 11, 2021 at 9:28 am

        Co-pays and deductibles are based on the collective income of a family, minus any non-reimbursed medical expenses like Medicare payments, prescriptions, dental, glasses, etc. In order to bypass the financial barriers, one must file, and win, a claim for a service-connected issue, such as tinnitus, bilateral hearing loss, back and knee injuries, etc., incurred on active duty. Vietnam veterans have about 17 conditions that are “presumptive” to Agent Orange exposure, which are compensated. If you’re disability rating is 30% or greater, your medications are free and you get travel pay if you take your own vehicle to any appointment, whether at a VA facility or a civilian hospital, specialist or other healthcare professional if authorized by your VA Primary Care Provider. Burn Pit Exposure claims will be the next ‘Agent Orange”. Upper respiratory and lower gastrointestinal problems will eventually become “presumptive”.

        • Richard Clark February 12, 2021 at 7:47 am

          That and PFAS exposure in the drinking water of most bases that trained using the fire suppression foams that drained into the base’s water treatment plants. Especially overseas bases that didn’t rely on external water systems.

      • Raymond R. Gadreault February 18, 2021 at 9:36 pm

        For the person that said just because you served you do not get health care for life. That is very wrong you are guaranteed health care for life at the VA when you join. This person sounds like one of the people who spit on us when we came home from Vietnam. Lets go back to the old saying LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT. GOD BLESS AMERICA !!!!!

    • Brie Smith February 10, 2021 at 10:39 pm

      I say let it start with the VA paying for all and any healthcare needs (both in and out of the VA system) of Veterans (including dental) without the eligibility (related to service-connected disability, 72 hour notice, etc) restrictions.

      Show rather than tell them that we truly thank them as a nation for their service.

  10. debra webber February 1, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    Good day President Biden!
    There are only two things that a veteran wants 1/ rightful benefits under rule of law Title 38 and 2/ Optimal healthcare
    The VA’s bureaucracy needs to be addressed once and for all, so that veterans don’t have to fight for their rightful benefits. Caregiver’s of Vietnam veterans need to be respected and dignity needs to be upheld with the I CARE motto. This veteran has been denied rightful benefits going back to 1972 because the VA refuses to uphold the law. This error has created a whirlwind of problems because this SC disease doesn’t have a “golden standard of care”.

    Your prompt attention to this matter is needed so that this veteran doesn’t have to live in hell with a disease that has no cure. God willing, you will reach out, so the war of fighting with the VA for rightful care and a VHA directive is enacted, so protocol can follow. There is too much waste attached to the care of this veteran. I am tired of throwing out $ thousands of dollars because of VA errors, because they don’t read the veterans file or they choose to ignore our knowledge of this disease that affects 1/50000 in population. Rare disease have their own laws attached to them.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Debra and Jay Webber

    • A.O February 2, 2021 at 1:21 pm

      Do not hold your breath waiting for action. Think about this “MEDICAID” not Medicare that many veterans pay for every payday has benefits way beyond those the VA might provide if you wait long enough. The VA has co-pays – medicaid does not. VA may cover some drugs – hearing – vision -dental. All three depend on your compensation rating and your disability.
      Now Medicaid covers everything with no co-pays or deductibles. Also covers immediate family members. That and you can choose your physician and appointments do not have long waits. One would think that those that served would at least get equal treatment.

  11. George R Robert February 1, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    Robert McDonald would have been a good choice if he was willing to come back… Just saying…

  12. James Robinson January 31, 2021 at 6:47 pm

    Thailand veteran who were exposed to Agent Orange are still being denied are benefits from VA because H.R. 4843 (2017) and S. 2105 (2017) hasn’t been passed yet. However H.R. 299 (2017) Blue Water Navy Act was passed (2019) just saying we are still waiting and some have died waiting.

    • David warren Inman February 1, 2021 at 12:44 pm

      Still waiting. The men and women of the 553rd are needing supported for their Agent Orange exposure. Looks like we will die first.

  13. Neil Buckley January 31, 2021 at 9:46 am

    Here we go again… sounds just like Biden… “ He also said he wants all Veterans, including women Veterans, Veterans of color and LGBTQ Veterans, to feel welcome at VA.
    Why would any veteran not be included? Identity politics right out of the gate, before ever being confirmed. How about we just simply be identified as Veteran’s, what could possibly be wrong with that?
    No agenda there. Not
    It’s time…
    The CBOC and it’s staff that Is here in Mountain Home, Arkansas has been nothing but great. And that stems from their dedication.

    • A.O February 2, 2021 at 9:25 pm

      News report today that the VA has given over a million vaccine shots. 582,000 veterans. Now the VA employs 322000 all of which did not get the vaccine. That means they gave 80,000 plus to non-veterans. Who comes ahead of veterans at the VA

      • Helpful February 3, 2021 at 9:07 am

        My guess is that as both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require 2 dose given 3 weeks apart, the total vaccinations shots given includes veterans and employees who have received two doses. Thus the math isn’t adding up as we don’t know how many have received the 2nd dose.

    • R. Latson February 2, 2021 at 11:27 pm

      There’s no agenda! Please stop watching Fox News talking about identity politics, like it takes some rights away from you. When the VA Doctors & staff say things like “I deal w/crocodiles & alligator problems, big things. But your Dad is a salmon, his problems are tiny.” So nothing was done to solve my dad’s problem. That’s said to me, b/c my father is Black & therefore he’s unimportant! It’s nice if you don’t have VA staff discriminating against you, but it’s been happening for a long time, & it needs to be solved. At least this man, knows it’s a problem, & is willing to stop it! The VA state isn’t identical in every state.

    • Mayra S Luria February 11, 2021 at 8:26 am

      It will be awesome when we can just be seen for our service and not for our looks or preferences in life but that is not the reality. I served in the 70’s and 80’s and have a service connected disability but as an Hispanic/Black lesbian I can tell you that equal anything was never true. I have always had excellent care through the VA but I have also faced discrimination and abuse from staff whose religious beliefs don’t include how I live or who I am. So for now, we need to clarify equality.

  14. Francisco A. Lopez January 31, 2021 at 7:12 am

    Everyone they assign to run the VA always gives lip service. I currently try to use the Houston VA medical and have encountered the same problems I encountered in 1995. No returned calls from the clinics, runarounds, even the Patient Advocate (Texas City) does not return calls. waited over a week for a return call (stated via the clerk) that he would call back.
    I was giving a drug screening test without my knowledge (apparently my PCP who I have never met in person assumed that I was a veteran, I must be using illicit drugs. For an acute rotator cuff tear on a shoulder I injured and have been rated on, he provided me with an X-Ray and Rheumatoid Arthritis and an appointment 10 months after my initial complaint of the problem. So if the VA has changed, I have yet to see it.
    Frank

    • A.O February 1, 2021 at 11:29 am

      The “patient advocate” is a VA employee. The VA is the second largest employer in the Federal Government, The majority of their facilities are managed by Non-Veterans. Each draws a hefty six figure salary plus a bonus for telling DC how great job they did. VA department heads are also well compensated and also non-veterans whose bonuses are based on telling the facility management how great a job they did. Promotions depend on who you know with diversity playing a major role.
      Currently Ohio is providing vaccine to 70+ and teachers and school employees. At 81 with underlying health conditions I am still waiting for the VA. This guy will sit in DC issue orders that will be watered down as they trickle down to the medical centers. To many layers of self serving management insures little or no change.

      • Timothy R. O'Connell February 2, 2021 at 1:09 pm

        I agree totally, the hidden buyers in the V.A. procurement are giving non listed purchases ( avoiding the Bid Process ) to suppliers that the FDA and THE FBI classify as Felons or have large quality problems ( major recalls ). These are some of the suppliers the hidden buyers set up as SOLE Source contracts,
        I believe if someone talked to the V.A. hospital health care personnel, they could give you a list of these preferred vendors.

  15. Buster Beaver January 30, 2021 at 9:57 pm

    They already repealed Trumps EO because it was an attack on federal workers. Trumps made it easier to remove crappy employees. Now they are allowing the VA union to take back control of the VA. That is a direct threat to Veterans. VA and bureaucrats giving Veterans a second chance to die for their country.

  16. Gary G McCartin January 30, 2021 at 5:42 pm

    Welcome Sir to the VA or I should say the twilight zone,
    I was 17 years old when enlisting into the US Army in 1970 I believed it was my duty as an American. It surely was not for the money, my pay was somewhere between 50 and 100 dollars per month. 3 yrs later, I was just shy of 400.00 per month no complaints like I said; it was not about the money it was duty. I was promised free health care for life, as part of my enlisted contract. Somewhere along the way that changed, and I started to get charged co-pays for Dr visits and my medicines. I am now 67 and in poor health. I have been waiting since 2013 for disability claims from injuries I received in my time of service. After 7 years of waiting, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals finally heard my case and it took another year for the decision and remanded the most serious issue. As I said, I am in poor health and hoping for compensation. I would appreciate if something could be done for myself and thousands of my brothers who served and are going through the same things year after year, promise after broken promise, that the long waiting could be rectified. Some of us from the Vietnam era are getting closer to end of life. This is unconscionable and humiliating. I am no hero, but many are that are waiting. We feel that the country we so proudly served, has let us down. I hope your mission is to rectify this horrific state of affairs within the VA system.

    • Jim W Glanz February 10, 2021 at 7:40 pm

      Gary, Same problem for me. I called an attorney in San Diego who handles Vets problems with getting benefits. Got them within 6 months. A very sizeable check since they paid me for the previous 5 years of waiting time. I urge you to call him and get him on your team. Yes, it will cost you 20% of what you get, but getting it while you are alive is the important thing. Tell him Jim from Montana referred you. If you don’t call him, you will probably not be alive when they finally make a decision. Good Luck!

  17. Karen Holloway January 29, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    This position should be filled by a vet who understands what the vet has gone through. After listening to this, it was all about improving the health care for the vets (which is needed). However, the claims process for disabilities is ridiculous. My husband spent 12+ years fighting appeal after appeal going from 20% to 90% disabled. Its a shame that the vet is forced to hire an attorney to get the VA do anything! His disabilities are all service connected. If you add up the percentages they gave him, its 160% but that is not the VA’s math!! If the vet’s disabilities do not fit in the particular “square” that the ratings are calculated, they deny the claim. They refuse to give him the back pay from this with the only answer being, “they no longer do that”. The stress and anger that this places on the vet is uncalled for. How sad that our bureaucrats treat the vets like this

  18. Walter January 29, 2021 at 10:09 am

    Welcome aboard Sir. First, I submit to you that following the pandemic suicide should be your #1 priority. It has risen through the pandemic and isn’t going away. Second, with your former positions on the NSC and White House Chief of Staff you know the un-released truth about many of the things that are making our OIF/OEF veterans sick with serious and many times fatal diseases. To be frank Sir, please don’t attempt to blow smoke up our… We were there, you had access to the un-redacted reports. Do what is right for my brothers and sisters who seem to be dropping like flies. Third, you have your work cut out for you. You don’t know who what it is like to serve in uniform and what it is like to serve in combat. Spend time on the deckplates with vets from all wars and walks of life to learn who and what we are.

    Having spent the majority of your career inside the beltway I would hope you look forward to using your DC insider connections to help us- the veterans you will soon swear an oath to serve.

    • A.O January 31, 2021 at 12:56 pm

      Was expecting so much more from Biden. What we are getting is an Obama administration playing musical chairs. One must remember that political appointments are nothing more than a political “good old boys” network. That and rewards for campaign work (endorsements) or nice political contributions. Experience is not a qualification

  19. Charles Ledford January 29, 2021 at 10:03 am

    WOW another one promising to be a fierce, staunch advocate for the Veterans and “fight relentlessly” but wasn’t he already on the National Security Council and, if I’m not mistaken, didn’t he say as his role that he help lead work on behalf of Veterans families and Veterans? And so when he was where he COULD HAVE MADE A BIGGER DIFFERENCE DIDN’T HE DROP THE BALL? Did anybody see any diffence in VA help? Oh yeah didn’t they cut some programs? How boutLIFETIME EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS for Veterans/service people getting out on or before 1975 and getting OUT ON OR AFTER 2001, ARE YOU PURPOSELY TURNING YOUR BACK AND FORGETTING THE VETERANS/SERVICE PEOPLE THAT GOT OUT THE YEARS IN-BETWEEN, 26 YRS OF VETERANS AND SERVICE PEOPLE? How can you say that you are going to “fight relentlessly” when you had a chance to make a difference and YOU ALREADY FAILED THEN???
    Here’s another one for you: I had cancer so they removed my whole right lung and I have severe asthma and COPD in my left lung and my lung dr and cancer dr said that if I caught COVID that I’d have a 90% chance of dying, and of the other 10%, I’d have 8% chance of being on a respirator, 1% chance of having to use oxygen and 1% of recovering but probably more health problems that I already have, so both Drs wrote a letter stating that me catching COVID That IT WOULD CAUSE DEATH OR SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS so when I called the DublinVA Hospital(for the vaccine) they told me that they are through with the First Responders and are working only on 65 or older Veterans first and working by the CDC guidelines. Well the CDC guidelines say that people that ARE HIGH RISK: THOSE THAT THE COVID VIRUS WILL CAUSE DEATH AND/OR SEVERE HEALTH PROBLEMS are in the group right after the first responders, nursing homes, caregivers, home bound, homeless, and long term hospitalized patients so which CDC guidelines are they using? When I did bring this up to them they repeated that they are using the CDC guidelines. But they did say that since they do sometimes have some leftover vaccines that they would notify me when my name came up?? So much for following the CDC guidelines huh? I’m also rated at 100% DAV but that evidently doesn’t matter. Also I DO RECOGNIZE THAT THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE THAT ARE WORSE OFF THAN ME AND DESERVE THE VACCINE FIRST, I’M JUST TELLING WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME ABOUT GETTING THE VACCINE.

  20. Michael Teyer January 29, 2021 at 8:09 am

    They stand by the deceased veteran’s family?!?! Thats why they reduced death benefis to at most $327.00? Yeah, tell that to my widowed sister.

    “I’ve seen the unimaginable grief of military families, to whom we owe a debt that cannot be repaid and whom we stand by forever.”

    ” the president has called on every American to embrace our responsibility to support our Veterans and their families.”

    Words, words, and more empty words, from people who never had boots on the ground. They forgot the VA motto:

    Currently, VA’s motto is: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan,” a phrase from President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address on March 4, 1865.

    So, put your money where your mouth is…

    • John Haluska January 29, 2021 at 9:32 am

      As a life time member of the DAV and VFW , I think I can say we don’t need a political person running the VA. If you haven’t put on the uniform and served our USA, You need not apply , I have said my 2 cents.

  21. Daniel Shinn January 28, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    I was and Air Force Airmen new the end of the Vietnam war and served in and around Vietnam, Thailand, Guam, Philippines, and mostly Okinawa. I was unaware at the time that I was being exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam but more so in Okinawa as we used this chemical as weed killer around the base flight line every week. I have begun to suffer from some of that standard AG related illness albeit not nearly as severe and many of my brethren. My concern is my children and more so my grandchildren. I have grandchildren that are suffering from very strange and unusual illness that are seriously impacting their health. However, the VA is not recognizing their illness as AG related. I am a member of a veterans group that is made up of member and families experiencing the same issues. WHY WON’T THE VA TAKE OWNERSHIP OF THIS and provide the care and services that are required???

    • John Haluska January 29, 2021 at 9:41 am

      Mr. Shinn , If you are getting the run around from a service officer contact a veterans benefits lawyer with documents that prove what you claim.Good luck.

    • Saleem saad January 30, 2021 at 8:19 pm

      Why is it that the veteran has to show certain things happen especially with the agent orange because it’s true it was one of the most or largest holding area in south east Asia they try to link it with Just Vietnam and since that’s how they worded compensation or recognition when you come in contact with agent orange the weird thing is they use agent orange all over Okinawa especially on the Marine Corps training base camp Schwab which is the northern training areaI have not only news reports about this but they covered it up I’m not trying to point the blame to just one agency. But they need to compensate the victims of agent orange and don’t let the word compensation meaning looking for money but meaning that in order to survive and to be made whole you’re going to have to do a lot of things instead of walking around here looking like a lizard scaly skin from being exposed today

  22. Bruce Jacobs January 28, 2021 at 10:38 pm

    Why should I think Denis McDonough will be any different than the ones before him. The VA has remanded my disability claim back to Roanoke again (4th time) for the same reason. This has been going on since 2011. It’s a shame that the VA would rather give out shame bonuses to senior management than approve veterans’ proven disability claims.

  23. Jack Gill January 28, 2021 at 9:32 pm

    “I’ve been given a clear mission by President Biden: to be a fierce, staunch advocate for Veterans and their families,” he said. “If confirmed, I will embrace that assignment with the solemnity it demands.” – Denis McDonough, President Joe Biden’s nominee for VA secretary.
    Unfortunately, what President Biden says, and what he does are not always the same. If appointed, will Sec McDonough be a bureaucrat for President Biden’s political agenda, or will he be a voice and advocate for all Veterans, and the needs enumerated in the other comments from fellow Veterans? Time will tell … stay tuned.

  24. Randy l Hollis January 28, 2021 at 6:39 pm

    I am a Vietnam combat veteran and firmly believe the VA Secretary should be a combat veteran. Because they have walked in our boots! I would strongly recommend Congressman Dan Crenshaw from the state of Texas. He has been there and done that when it comes to walking in those boots. Another politician will do nothing more than appease his political Cronies and big money contributors.

  25. Aileen Dodge January 28, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    There is one issue that comes out in all of these comments so very clearly. And that is the overall operation of all Veterans Health Care Facilities. I personally find these facilities as a way to segregate the necessary and needed health care of Veterans from the rest of the population. What makes the medical health care a veteran needs or must have any different than the general public. Veterans are humans just like the rest of the population in the US. Dose ti save the country money treating veterans in their own medical facilities instead of allowing Veterans to utilize the public health care system and having that system bill the VA just like it bills insurance companies for services provided to covered patients. And it wouldn’t be hard to turn the current VA hospitals into public utilized hospitals. The Government would just have to remain as a major investor in those facilities. Sure they might be screwed up for a few years but would it really be that big of a difference than it is today? OH Wait I know why this cannot happen. There is a segment of individuals out there that would see this as one step closer to socialized medicine. And this segment of people Freak-out over the word SOCIALIZE because they automatically related it to communist labor parties!!! They just can’t seem to understand the concept of Socialized Medicine in a Democratic Society having ZERO, NOTHING to do with Communism. And my Idea has about getting rid of the Veteran hospitals and letting Veterans be treated and seen as any other US Citizen receiving healthcare in the United States has nothing to do with Socialized Medicine either. It has to do with providing EQUAL HEALTH CARE TO VETERANS!!!! When politicians finally learn what the word EQUAL really means. This country is going to be a lot better off. But until then we will all have to continue to live with the Equality of Special Interest!!!!

  26. Frank Joseph Paris January 28, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    Why NO A VETERAN AS HEAD OF THE VA??????? This is a question for the “scrappy kid from NEPA”???
    This has the appearance of “POLITICAL BUSINESS AS USUAL”! Of the Millions + Veterans in the USA ,is there not 1 who is qualified to be head of the VA??? This is a question ya all who are of the Presidents Political, may want to ask your Congress Person & Senators??Bet ya do not get an answer!!
    Have a GREAT VETERANS DAY!

  27. joseph de grace January 28, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    I am a Vietnam veteran I was station in osan air force base in korea. I applied for military I D and was denied serval times. Way is this

    • Barbara K. Bardi January 28, 2021 at 5:24 pm

      Hi Joseph,
      Thank you for your service dear fellow Veteran! Shouldn’t you be applying for a Veterans’ I.D. card vs. a DoD/Retired Military card? I’m just chiming in to see if I can help you in any way with what info I have. I am a retired DoD Civilian, USAF Vet and used to work at the VAMC for seven years.
      You may want to start here:
      https://www.va.gov/records/get-veteran-id-cards/vic/

      Quoted from the page up front is this:

      “Am I eligible for a Veteran ID Card?
      You may be eligible if you meet both of the requirements listed below.

      Both of these must be true. You:

      Served on active duty, in the Reserves, or in the National Guard (including the Coast Guard), and
      Received an honorable or general discharge (under honorable conditions)

      If you received an other than honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable character of discharge, you’re not eligible for a Veteran ID Card. If you have an uncharacterized or unknown discharge status, we’ll have to verify your eligibility before we approve your application.

      You’ll need to provide a copy of your discharge papers when you apply for a VIC to prove your character of discharge.”

    • Dale Sine January 28, 2021 at 7:38 pm

      Joseph, this is because the government says they will do something, then don’t. It doesn’t matter which party, although the GOP is better at it, but the reality is they all say they will provide for the veterans, yet we have charities like Tunnel to Towers, Disables American Vets, Wounded Warrior Project, etc., that provide for those vets who died in battle or were severely disabled. I served 30 years and I support those groups, but citizens should not have to. That support should be provided by the Government that promised that those who served, or their families, would be taken care of, if they died or were severely injured in the defense of our Nation. Every politician, regardless of party affiliation, should demand that the government take care of our front line defenders. That should be the number one priority. Denis McDonough is just another bureaucrat, that says he will support veterans, but will not. It would be nice if he had at least some experience in the military, but BIden is just rewarding his supporters for getting him elected.

    • John Alexander Lewis January 28, 2021 at 8:48 pm

      Osan is not Vietnam. What did you do, fly supplies in one time? No combat for you buster. If you had spent 20 years you would have an ID card. Yes, I am a combat veteran of Vietnam who served a full tour in country. Quit whining. You must be broke.

      • mac mac January 29, 2021 at 6:42 pm

        For your information Korea was the permanent duty station for the troops who did and supported cross border operations in se Asia. every month I made a trip south to support operations in the Viet Nam area to interdict the supplies, weapons and ammunition used by the north’s troops and other enemies killing our troops in that area. Plus Korea was not a bed of roses either.

    • AndyO January 29, 2021 at 11:32 am

      Vietnam ERA veteran versus a Vietnam veteran. Osan was a choice assignment. Spent an enjoyable year there

      • mac mac January 29, 2021 at 7:02 pm

        You may have had it good but not everyone did. Like being drafted/enslaved during that era was a huge burden on many who were starting out life and were denied that chance and came back years behind those who were lucky enough to not have to go. Plus, many viet nam era veterans did stuff that never avoided the burn barrel/cover up. There are no classified records still in existence from during the viet nam era, like oh yeah. And a US/draftee had only one field open to them, infantry. And Korea was a 13 month assignment.

        • A.O February 1, 2021 at 11:15 am

          Will agree that draftees got screwed and still are being screwed. Those that served during Vietnam were not welcomed home as heroes. Compared to todays “heroes” their benefits were lousy to say the least. No one forces anyone to join and serve today. Compensation today is exceptional compared to what draftees got. Your right about the 13 month tour but Osan was comfortable and two RRs to Japan were thrown in. Way better than Vietnam. Military service should be mandatory in the US

  28. Brannon Miller January 28, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    To be a “Fighter” and “Fight Relentlessly” is his only unique qualification. What a disappointment.

  29. Manuel Lopez January 28, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    Need President Biden to sign executive order for access to treatments for ALS. ALS is a service related disease that we need treatments yesterday for.

    • william durchman January 28, 2021 at 3:19 pm

      I DO NOT CARE WHO THEY PUT IN A POLITICAL POSITION BECAUSE IT’S POLITICAL AND THAT MEANS A STEPPING STONE TO ANOTHER POLITICAL POSITION. ALL I WANT IS A VACINATION BEFORE THIS VIRUS KILLS ME!!!!! SO IF THIS GUY CAN EXPEDITE THE VACCINE FOR VETERANS I’M ALL IN FOR NOW AND WILL DEAL WITH POLITICAL HOP-SCOTCH LATER. THANK YOU.

      • Nursejackie January 29, 2021 at 1:20 am

        Yes. Run right down and get it as fast as you can. Everybody needs help to fight this deadly virus, with a mortality rate of 000.03%.

  30. John Harris January 28, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    The Viet Nam war ended 73-74. The Mission Act is no more. It is now ran by Community Care Tri-West in Colorado. Check with the office for what your benefits are in relation to your care/needs. The Comp program, although at some VA hospitals/Clinics ii ran under different folks then the VA Dr-Nurse-etc Hospital. Facts right, will help navigate the Huge network, that composes The VA Admin.

  31. Michael Slayton Ermey January 28, 2021 at 1:05 pm

    I notice that improving the VA health care system and access to it is not high on his priority list. Nor is improving the claims process by making it easier and faster. What does he mean by “feel welcome at VA”? I would feel better about his selection if he had served in the military sometime in the 8 year gap in his resume between 1992 and 2000.

    v

  32. Henry January 28, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    The difference may be in the individual that is nominating this individual. The nominee has a background in navigating the Washington system.There are many good things about the VA Hospitals (Veteran Health Administration). There are also other elements including Veterans Benefit Administration and Veterans Affairs.

    Each of us more than likely deals with one department more that the other.I am looking forward to a Secretary that is willing to follow the president’s direction and move forward a well as possible.

  33. Hernando Sanchez January 28, 2021 at 12:59 pm

    Phone system is a mess and needs to be upgraded. Any comments about the long wait to get in for appointments are not exaggerated. I say this with all due respect, fix the VA for real and I believe the suicide rate will go way down. I thank the VA workers and want to tell you all that I sense the stress you are under. Lets all be nice and lets get through this together.
    Respectfully!

  34. Andrew William Svendsen January 28, 2021 at 11:53 am

    JUST ONE “OVER & OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”CORRECT CHOICE PROGRAM TO” ANY DOCTOR,ANYWHERE,ANYTIME”////SCREW THIS TRAVELING 100s MILES TO VA HOSPITAL/LOCAL CLINIC”S DO NOTHING!!!!!???GET RID OF THEM/HOSPITALS ONLY!!!OR GO TO YOUR LOCAL DOCTOR.VA SAYS IF WE CANNOT DO IT,ONLY THEN CAN YOU GO TO “YOUR”DOCTOR!!!??SO,WE DRIVE HUNDREDS OF MILES FOR NO PARKING,NO VALET SERVICE AT EMERGENCY ROOM[THEY CANCELED IT}. ONLY TIME YOU ARE COVERED BY VA IS WHEN YOU ARE STABILIZED BY LOCAL HOSPITAL<THEN TO VA HOSPITAL????LOOK AT MONEY SAVED WITH ,PAYING TRAVEL EXPENSES<WEAR & TEAR ON "YOUR"CAR,PAYING FOR STAFF<DOCTORS,ETC AT CLINICS THAT JUST REFER YOU TO VA HOSPITAL!!!!

    • Richard yoakam January 28, 2021 at 12:47 pm

      After graduating college I was drafted and served in Korea 1960 with army yet cannot get a choice card. Why? Being drafted ruined my career, my marriage and my entire life. As an artist it took me 20 years to recover status I was required to resign from. Any other country would offer me health ins.

      • John Lewis January 28, 2021 at 8:55 pm

        2 years service ruined your life? You are a cry baby. Must not be much of a man. I wonder what the college degree was in?

        • AndyO January 29, 2021 at 11:30 am

          Korea in 1960 at Osan AB was a piece of cake. Nothing to complain about. Had someone to wash the uniforms and clean the barracks. Nothing of note happened 1960-1961. Must have been a liberal arts degree in an unemployable career field. Should have been an officer as that is where college grads ended up in the early 60s. 20 years wow.

        • Brie Smith February 10, 2021 at 11:28 pm

          We must respect each other. ALL lives matter.

    • Gary Wayne Williams January 28, 2021 at 6:34 pm

      In the D/FW Texas area we can get (with your PCP consult) a free ride from where you live to the VA Clinic /Hospital for your appointment and then back home. I don’t have to worry about parking or valet service. You don’t get travel pay but it doesn’t cost you to get to your VA appointment.

  35. Ralph Chappell January 28, 2021 at 11:34 am

    The head of the VA should be a disabled veteran who has had a long involvement with the VA as a Veteran/Client/Patient themselves…..so they know FIRST HAND the real day to day problems Veterans experience in dealing with the bureaucratic administrative policies and procedures of the VA.

    He should KNOW how failed the phone system is…how utterly unresponsive VA staff can be and how no matter what you try to do to report those problems….nothing ever seems to change for the better in that regard.

    There are good folks in the VA….but there are a lot of not good folks in the VA…..and ridding the VA of the bad has not had much success at all.

    The VA should undertake a dedicated effort to install a real…private sector quality Customer Service culture within the VA.

    If this guy wants to be a success….start with the Customer Service problem first. The rest will fall into place with that accomplished.

    • Hernando Sanchez January 28, 2021 at 12:40 pm

      Ralph Chappell perfectly stated. The phone system is horrible. While trying to get in touch with my primary care physicians office to make a simple appointment I was transferred four times. When I finally reached the correct office I was put on hold for over 30 minutes. Then a callback appointment was made. Still waiting for the call. They say to expect the call 24 to 48 hours after the initial call. It shouldnt be that hard to get in to see a primary care doctor. I can sense the stress in the folks I speak with and most stay nice and there are some who are very nice to talk with. To the good VA employees, which is most of them I say thank you for YOUR service and God bless.

      • Mike Will January 29, 2021 at 4:35 am

        Hernando,
        In Buffalo, NY you can’t even see a primary care Dr. Your appt. is over the phone. This hospital is very big and it’s virtually shut down and has been for a long time. I’ve been waiting for a travel pay check for four months and when you question them about it, all they do is cry about how short handed and overworked they are. The place is nothing but a joke.

      • Pat Dwyer February 10, 2021 at 10:59 pm

        Sign up for a Premium “MyHealtheVet” account, then you can send and receive messages to your VA doctors. It’s free, and you can do it all on a cellphone, tablet, laptop or computer.

    • Brie Smith February 10, 2021 at 11:33 pm

      Good customer service would save us from frustration +time, and money.

  36. Terry Jones January 28, 2021 at 11:28 am

    I’m a Vietnam Era veteran 1974-1982 the VA took away my once a year clothing Allowance, 5yrs ago citing the Leg Brace/Knee Brace didn’t qualify for the allowance no more, also I’ve applied for an increase for at least 5yrs. In a row to receive zero increase, I finally gave up,but Veterans from the Desert storm/ Iraq War get increases with ease The VA to me have bias on who receive the increases as we apply, we As Vietnam veterans can’t get the pensions we deserve besides trying to fight for a increase. I’m 65yrs. I’ve been denied 5 times, even though they left Surgical wire from surgery in my leg,And the Refuse to compensate me for this mistake,hopefully I can file for an increase in 2021,which will give me a nice pension for their mistake.

    • Rod Fitzgerald January 28, 2021 at 1:50 pm

      I will give him a chance, but I have doubts about all career Washington bureaucrats. They work for them selves first. His mission statement is our first warning of what will not change. No real understanding of what realy needs to change. As a Vietnam Veteran I have seen how the VA looks down on Vietnam error Veterans. I agree that there are in fact some very good, caring intelligent people working for Vets in this agency. But we still have too many that hate their job and the agency, but love the pay and benefits.
      Can only hope that accountability continues to drive correction and improvement.

  37. Rev. David L. Rogers January 28, 2021 at 11:24 am

    I read not one thing about retaining the Mission Act, instructing the staff that such a program actually exists, that straight-up information ought to be available instead of hiding behind “copays may apply” and never telling us what they might be and whether we receive prescriptions at the same copays we pay in the VA proper, and most importantly, to instruct VA staff theat choice is our right by law and the staff have no right to fight us when we request it.

  38. Ronald Tafoya January 28, 2021 at 11:18 am

    I am appalled to see the frustrations with the VA by my fellow brother veterans. I think President Bidden should specifically speak to American about his vision for reform of the VA.
    Ronald Tafoya LT USN

  39. JAMES J BALKEY January 28, 2021 at 11:17 am

    I don’t think you need to be a veteran to hold this office! Even if your are a veteran what should the requirements be? Should you be an Army, Marine, Air Force or you get the point. Should you be a combat veteran, a grunt or fly boy or need to have been awarded metals of valor? I think if the person understands the system and where it can be improved and works on improving it that is more than we have had in the past. Give the nominee a chance and see what happens in the near future then judge!!!

    • Tracey Ulanski January 29, 2021 at 4:02 pm

      I disagree. He should be a veteran. Any kind of veteran regardless of service, rank or status. He needs to have been on the receiving end of the VA “service” in order to truly understand what veterans go through there, especially when things go wrong or trying to get answers. Difficult for one to fix what one has not experienced as broken. It matters not whether they understand the system, they need to understand the *experience*.

  40. David C January 28, 2021 at 10:53 am

    Another non-veteran talking head, Washington bureaucrat. VA claims processing times are through the roof.

    • mike c January 28, 2021 at 11:34 am

      Sad but True!! I’ll pray he’ll will work as if he were a veteran

    • Richard Schmidt January 28, 2021 at 11:35 am

      Denis McDonough
      After President Obama’s election, he joined the administration as the National Security Council’s head of strategic communication. He also served as National Security Council Chief of Staff.

      He can’t be trusted to be the representative for veterans.

    • MICHAEL A TEGER January 28, 2021 at 11:58 am

      Must have a Veteran in this position who understands our brotherhood.

      • Darrell Witcher January 28, 2021 at 1:04 pm

        You are right Michael, NO one will ever understand until you have left your family and put on a uniform. There is no way possible. All that guy ever done was put on a suit and tie and collect a very nice pay check!! He might think he understands but he dont. Non veterans just don’t know!!! Have a good day brother!! :))))

    • Tony Davis January 28, 2021 at 12:25 pm

      Why can’t the senate understand that for a VA secretary we need somebody that has walked in our boots, has bled, cried and seen things most people could not imagine. We do not need one more politician with no clue.

      • Michelle Reid January 28, 2021 at 11:16 pm

        I think one of the reasons is that there are only 17 veterans in the Senate and 74 in the House. That is the lowest number of veterans since WWII.

    • Hicks January 28, 2021 at 9:29 pm

      This has not been my experience. Since the change to the Mission Act claims processing had dramatically improved. In our region a claim can get paid in as little as 7 days. Contrast that to 2017 and 2018 where it was raking over 6 months at times. It was in such a disarray before that. Now there is transparency and accountability. Honestly the last couple of years is the best I’ve ever seen it and we actually saw things happening with the backing of our congressman. I hope this doesn’t regress.

  41. Stephen Oates January 28, 2021 at 10:11 am

    His appointment confirmation will just be another political ‘Paper Tiger’. How can he pass the ‘red face’ test when he looks a veteran in the eye and says “I feel your pain”. What he needs to say is ” I’ve been told about your pain, read about it and even seen other people with your pain.” That would be the truth from a non-veteran. I doubt seriously if he would speak this truth at his confirmation hearing. Come’on Joe, give us vets a break. Make serving in the US Military a prerequisite for this very important position of leadership.

    • Michael Moore January 29, 2021 at 12:44 am

      I thought General shinseki or whatever his name was could have been the worst VA Sec ever.

  42. Wayne Warner January 28, 2021 at 9:59 am

    I agree with these other veterans. Of all of the veterans who have served, not one is qualified to head the VA? President Biden, you can’t find a veteran? Have you ever met a veteran besides your son? I hope you’ll take another look.

    • Darrell Witcher January 28, 2021 at 1:06 pm

      Ain’t that the truth Wayne!! :))))

  43. David H Taylor January 28, 2021 at 9:25 am

    I don’t want a Washington bureaucrat to head the VA, I want a VETERAN to head it.

    • Edwin Martinez January 28, 2021 at 9:59 am

      Everything he says sounds great, but how does his character fares with a veteran VA representative. Only one of us would truly care.

    • Mark Hutchens January 28, 2021 at 10:11 am

      we have had veterans head the VA, but as all that get this position they are politicians first, remember the VA is a descresionary fund controlled by congress and everything the VA does or does not do is by permission of congress NOT who runs the VA. This is how it has been every since the inception of the VA.

    • mike c January 28, 2021 at 11:36 am

      + This 1!

    • Andy onderko January 28, 2021 at 11:42 am

      Max Cleland was the last good Secretary of Veterans Affairs (quad amputee). He set priorities and made it a rule to follow them. Some older veterans might disagree with this choice but every secretary after him put themself before veterans. Inn the 60s-70s Medical Facilities were managed by veterans at every level. Many of the nurses and doctors were veterans. That all began to change in the mid to late 80s. After 24 years in the VA I retired in 1994. I was the last veteran in management.
      Politics drove the change. We need to go back to veterans serving veterans. The new guy is just another career politician. Every Secretary before him has made the same promises. How many have actually fulfilled their promises? Time will tell but would bet nothing improves.

  44. Tommy January 28, 2021 at 9:15 am

    I have received excellent care at the Raymond G. Murphy VA hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I received two new knees and other procedures. The people working there are compassion and do a great dealing with my issues. It is my hope that this guy won’t cause much damage. I am 71 now and have had my first Covid vaccination and will get the second on February 3, 2021. I am asking all to be patient with this process. As usual it is hurry up and wait. I have learned that all good things come to he who is patient. I don’t know if his non-veteran background is good or bad. Time will tell.

    • Mark Hutchens January 28, 2021 at 10:14 am

      Time will tell? how about it has been over 70 years with minimal changes

    • Patricia Cox January 28, 2021 at 12:33 pm

      How did you manage to get a Covid vaccine shot???? My husband is 73, is on oxygen 24/7 and just recently had a kidney out due to cancer. We are told here in Michigan, that vets who are 75 or older are in the 1b, classification and my husband is in the 1c, classification and is NOT eligible at this time. The disparity in the dispensation of these shots is disheartening. Our news media has even shown vaccine vacations for people overseas who are coming to FL. to received both of their shots on a vacation trip. People from Argentina and Europe. Money talks, as it always has, but this is unbelievable. I am willing to wait for my shot as his wife, I do not have underlying health conditions but am the same age. Kinda sad. .

      • Art Vermeire January 28, 2021 at 6:29 pm

        We at least deserve a Vaccine Brother… People in Arizona drive in to Vaccine centers without an appointment and get Vaccinated by the car loads…

    • Stephen Konek January 28, 2021 at 3:33 pm

      The VA leadership is only a minor portion of the problem. The problem is $ and hold the Congress responsible as they are the allocators of those dollars, not the leader of the VA. I do not suggest an unlimited budget but one that is sufficient to deal with the volume of challenges both medical, ratings related, and political. I have been dealing with VA both for myself and other veterans for 50+ years. I also have talked with VA employees “off the record”. There have been improvements and back slides over the years. Currently they do not pay staff sufficiently to compete in the current market. Thus, staff leaves for better $ on the outside. The choice program is a scam to move veterans away from VA treatment and to privatize VA medical responsibilities. I’ve been to choice physicians and they are then not empowered to send you to the specialists that you need to see. It becomes a paperwork dance with VA and extremely frustrating. Staff in VA facilities have become a revolving door situation. Many of these problems are the same in private clinics from my experience but VA has a moral & legal obligation of service that was contractually promised to many older veterans if not younger ones. We can spend $ to clean up toxic spills in Vietnam (Da Nang, Bien Hoa Air Bases) but we cannot treat our veterans for many of the same exposure medical issues. Good luck finding the correct leader of VA, if this candidate is sincere about the task, he will have a lot of work ahead of him..

      • AndyO January 29, 2021 at 11:40 am

        The problem is NOT $$$. Compare first fiscal year spending against 4th quarter. Compare management offices to hospital wards. Especially facility directors offices. Facility directors get nice 6 figure salaries plus yearly bonuses for doing a great job telling DC how great they are. 24 years as CFO/COO at 14 different facilities. Not the money but how it is spent.

    • AndyO January 29, 2021 at 8:08 am

      Your one of the lucky ones. 71 and got the first covid19. vac. second scheduled for 2-3. 81 and still waiting for contact for the first one. There are good and bad in every system. You are lucky being enrolled in a good one.

    • Brie Smith February 10, 2021 at 11:49 pm

      How about US Senator Tammy Duckworth heading the VA?

      A combat veteran of the Iraq War, she served as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot. In 2004, after her helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents, she suffered severe combat wounds, which caused her to lose both of her legs and some mobility in her right arm.

      Ladda Tammy Duckworth is an American politician and retired Army National Guard lieutenant colonel serving as the junior United States Senator from Illinois since 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, she represented Illinois’s 8th district in the United States House of Representatives from 2013 to 2017. Wikipedia

  45. Tommy January 28, 2021 at 9:14 am

    I have received excellent care at the Raymond G. Murphy VA hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I received two new knees and other procedures. The people working there are compassion and do a great dealing with my issues. It is my hope that this guy won’t cause much damage. I am 71 now and have had my first Covid vaccination and will get the second on February 3, 2021. I am asking all to be patient with this process. As usual it is hurry up and wait. I have learned that all good things come to he who is patient. I don’t know if his non-veteran background is good or bad. Time will tell.
    Tommy G. Westmoreland

  46. Tommy Ginas January 28, 2021 at 8:59 am

    My own feeling is the person who is approved for this position should have been a veteran. They know what it feels like to be away from home fighting in a war ,seeing wounded and killed,missing family and friends. Politicians are programmed to say the right things with out really meaning them. I feel that this nominee fits that bill. Give me a guy who has walked the walk . Tommy G ,Vietnam 66,67

    • Victor Manuel Rojas January 28, 2021 at 11:31 am

      I would like the WH aprove a law for the veterans to use the PX facilities in the US military bases, no matter if is conected or not. We deserve this.

  47. Greg Kohler January 28, 2021 at 8:41 am

    The person for this job needs to be a Veteran. There is no possible way you can relate to their needs,surely not a politician,unless you have been down that road. Just my 2 cents.
    Semper Fi

  48. JACK D WILBANKS January 28, 2021 at 8:28 am

    I REMEBER THE VA WEB SITE SAID DEAR VETERAN APPLY FOR THE BENEFITS YOU EARNED AND THINK YOU DESERVE. RIGHT GOOD LUCK ON GETTING THEM .ITS SEEMS THE VA FIGHT MORE TO KEEP BENEFITS FROM VETERANS THEN TO GIVE THEM ALSO THE VA WILL HELP YOU PROVE YOUR CLAIM.GOOD LUCK,EVERY TIME FILE ITS A NEW FROM AND MORE DOCTOR APT.MY ORIGAL CLAIM FORM WAS UPDATED BY VA I HAD FILE ANOTHER FORM

    • Mark Hutchens January 28, 2021 at 9:42 am

      Jack if you are handling your case on your own that is not a good idea, there are many regs set to help confuse you and tie you up until you give up. Get yourself a organization to help you with your claim, Disabled American Veterans, Rolling Thunder, American Legion, VFW, just to name a few, You will be much better off.

  49. Randy Niehoff January 28, 2021 at 8:24 am

    No way this is the guy for us. He is not a veteran and don’t know what it means to be one. Just a beaurocrat the will take the VA back. NOT good.

    • Mark Hutchens January 28, 2021 at 9:48 am

      Randy 2 Things 1) the VA is controlled by Congress and only does what congress allows, 2) the VA is a discretionary fund and therefore the VA is at the bottom of the totem pole for money allocation. 3) no matter what political party is in control the VA is aways at the behest of the Congress, which is always at the behest of politicians most who have never served, those that have turned their backs on the rest in favor of political ties.

      • James H. Doth January 28, 2021 at 12:36 pm

        I don’t understand what qualifications this guy has other than as a political operative and Biden/Obama loyalist? He has never served, and he doesn’t even have a medical or Hospital administration background. I presume he is a lawyer. I don’t believe you can have empathy for Veterans nor understand our needs if you haven’t walked a mile in our moccasins!

  50. RL Sullins January 28, 2021 at 8:17 am

    I totally agree with Greg R. I am very concerned that this person will come into the VA, and start making sweeping changes, that will not only effect the quality of healthcare I receive, but he will cut our benefits. I don’t trust this man first because he is not one of us, he is not a US Veteran, and has no idea what it is like to be in combat, or to have to live your life with PTSD and the nightmares.

  51. Joe Huebner January 28, 2021 at 8:17 am

    Wow.

    First for all, a shout out to all of my fellow veterans here that are truly appreciative of the good/great care that they have received through the VA. Count me as one of them! My extensive experience with the VA is that these are top notch people who really give a damn and who are doing their best for us. Fifteen years ago they saved my life and have been outstanding virtually every step of the way. I salute you doctors, nurses, staff and volunteers!

    But this message is for the jaded cynics on this forum and elsewhere and twisted politics that poison their entire worldview. These self-righteous vets condemn this man, without the first scintilla of evidence. To these guys, and you know who you are, I say, GROW UP and put your money where your mouth is.

    Of course the VA is not perfect! Of course, it has some serious challenges. And though not often, some folks fall through the cracks and get less than the care they deserve and have earned. This is never acceptable. You want a better VA? Then get off of your asses, get involved and go volunteer to help. And stop your juvenile complaints about how this guys sucks – like you know everything.

    Best wishes, Mr. McDonough and to hell with the haters!

    • Mark Hutchens January 28, 2021 at 10:01 am

      Joe kinda on the narrow side are you not? While I am glad that you and a small amount of other veterans have gotten good care for a condition that the VA feels it could treat, but what about those who dont get that, veterans who have PTSD from all wars, lost limbs, brain trauma, spinal cord injuries, effects from the exposure of Agent Orange to themselves and their children, Burn injuries that last a life time, are just a few to name. Society is very cruel to all of the above and most of society does not want to deal with it, help, or understand, they just want to push you aside and into a box so they dont have to see you. So I think that you are being a little narrow in your thought, think about all your brethren including those that have not been as fortunate as you to get the necessary treatment, If you took the time to PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS, and volunteered with a vet org such as DAV, American Legion, VFW, as a service officer and see first hand outside yourself you may be thoroughly surprised.

  52. George Binger January 28, 2021 at 8:10 am

    Community care programs helped get surgery needed for service connected injury. This new often criticized by some politicians. VA could not keep up by itself with secret waiting lists. VA did not have qualified staff to trest my condition. Now VA cannot keep up with COVID. Should be expanding private health care options and access for vets. This DC insider likely to push us back to government rationed healthcare.

  53. John Baenen January 28, 2021 at 8:08 am

    Please help the ionized radiation affected veterans. We’ve been fighting in Congress to get our bill passed and the last three Congress is just ignored us. I gave up on the VA and hired a lawyer by the name of Peter Cameron out of San Diego California he’s helped me and a handful of other ionized radiation affected veterans to get their disability. He is a wonderful lawyer and has an excellent support staff thank God for him or I would be out on the streets now.

  54. Ralph Elliott January 28, 2021 at 8:07 am

    Here is a guy who neither he nor his own father felt they should server in the Military and he thinks he can understand us. I think not, but if he can fix the debacle called the Veterans Benefit system I’ll believe he at least cares. That part of the system has not changed since I got our in 87. You have been treated by you civilian doctor for twenty years for something and yet when you claim it they screw around with it, send it back, screw around some more , deny it but tell you that you have a right to appeal it and then you die after ten years of BS without approval.
    Ralph Elliott, Jacksonville Fl

  55. Veteran Employee January 28, 2021 at 8:04 am

    I hope there is a commitment to dealing minorities who are passed over, underpaid, denied opportunity for advancement and unfair treatment when compared to white employees who treated differently in VA Administration.
    To review and investigate unfair hiring practices that have awarded positions based on loyalty and knowing leadership instead qualification as well as education.
    A program outside of facilities (there are outside paid programs but leadership has still will denied to reward those who are loyal and pulling them selves up for fast track advancement) but burying those who actually are committed to the core values. A true assessment can be done to determine what resources such as man power can be approved for departments that are in need and being denied while departments are being given man power two or more times over needed while others are struggling.
    Why are their so many in ELT (leadership) that are not veterans and do not have a degree but are placed in positions (or creating positions) that many minorities (African Americans or minorities) are qualified to be placed into, but overlooked due to position written and posted for someone that is not qualified to for the job?
    How is it even possible for the racial demographic of VA facility such as section Chiefs and ELT are extremely slated to whites do not balance out within a huge facility such as vizn 19 and others like it?

    • A.O January 29, 2021 at 3:07 pm

      Diversity versus best qualified. Best qualified should always come before diversity.

  56. Vincent Emelio Pezzullo January 28, 2021 at 7:49 am

    Hello my name is Vincent Pezzullo Msg USArmy retired my question to you is there are people receiving there second shots while I am an 81 year old hanging out to dry I totally understand the really sick ones get it first I think I would like to get some kind of a heads up as to when I am next
    Thank you
    Msg retired
    Vin Pezzullo.

  57. Greg reuscher January 28, 2021 at 7:48 am

    We’ve heard this over and over and nothing changes. Just like politicians seeking election. After appointed, back to the same routine. Don’t forget to have plenty of photo ops with some disabled vets, that always helps.

    • Thomas Smith January 28, 2021 at 8:18 am

      Another Biden pal!
      Great.
      Not a VET, but had a Grandfather in WW II!!
      Really—-I had a sister in the Girl Scouts.
      Will be a long four years

    • Eric T. Bergeson January 28, 2021 at 8:31 am

      If his promises are anything like Biden’s, things will only get worse. Not a veteran! Inspiration from visits to hospitals, observing in Afghanistan, does not give him the gut knowledge of what veterans need. He’s a career bureaucrat, and that doesn’t tell me much. Not impressed at all!

    • Eric T. Bergeson January 28, 2021 at 8:32 am

      If his promises are anything like Biden’s, things will only get worse. Not a veteran! Inspiration from visits to hospitals, observing in Afghanistan, does not give him the gut knowledge of what veterans need. He’s a career bureaucrat, and that doesn’t tell me much. Not impressed at all! Need retired flag officers to do the job.

  58. December January 28, 2021 at 7:30 am

    What about the problem of race within the VA employees and within patient care. VA has some work to do within the agency itself. First.

  59. Brent Regan January 28, 2021 at 7:26 am

    this man is a terrible choice and truly feel the VA will struggle to maintain or excel in adequate care giving and administrative reforms beneath his leadership. A sad day for Veterans.

  60. Gil Ruiz January 28, 2021 at 7:25 am

    It seems like the nominee has the veterans best interest n the mission from President Biden is clearly heard, however veterans service related claims are also extremely important. My claims has been in the pipeline for almost 10 years n once finally heard on its merits, meaning awarded 100% disability will words mean action to us veterans feeling forgotten.

  61. Louis Armagno January 28, 2021 at 7:15 am

    Whoever will be the SecVA, one thing I believe would make a difference is a change to the online VA Ebenefits.com system. Put our disability board “RATING DECISION” online for us to access.

    I’m not talking about the “SUMMARY LIST” of rating percentages currently online, but the multi-page “RATING DECISION, with: INTRODUCTION, DECISION, EVIDENCE, and REASON FOR DECISION.

    While the SUMMARY LIST is good, a copy of the RATING DECISION need to be online, too. Older Veterans should not have to rely on old hard copies in our personal files. I recently had one added to my list (I was lucky and found one mailed to me 18 years ago (October 2003) buried in my 10 feet of VA paperwork. This can make the difference between benefits (i.e. 10% vs 30% or 40% vs 50% rating.) It is more important than any other document for a Veteran, so why not put it online on our secure personal account?

  62. Eddie Huggins January 28, 2021 at 7:13 am

    What about post pre 911 vets all I hear about is 911 vet . Vets from WW2 ,Nam and the cold war veterans should
    Treated the same as post 911 veterans. And the same goes for our care givers .

    • Leslie Lambert January 28, 2021 at 1:32 pm

      ‘Cold War Veterans’ trained the veterans serving in the Gulf & Afghanistan. Our benefits should reflect our Veteran status not when and where we served.

  63. Christian K Schmid January 28, 2021 at 7:11 am

    I have always been very pleased with the care I have received from the VA

  64. Steven K. Hogan January 28, 2021 at 7:08 am

    Information regarding COVID 19 vaccination implementation is totally lacking. It has now been approximately 3 weeks since any VA administration updates regarding COVID vaccinations. There has been no information forthcoming regarding 1b, 1c scheduling. When reaching out to the VA administration and my local VA clinic there has been no contact to either me personally or thru VA publication outlets.
    I find VA’s lack of information sharing to be of great concern and they can should do better.

  65. John Cline January 28, 2021 at 7:03 am

    Talk is Cheap , Political Talk is worth even Less , We’re all going back to the days of abuse and neglect .

    These are the exact same People who for years have always pissed down the backs of Veterans and simply told them that it was raining .

    Seeing is Believing !

  66. Blaine E. Melville January 28, 2021 at 6:52 am

    Yep another paperpusher.

  67. John Barrett January 28, 2021 at 6:51 am

    Each and every VA facilities are different. In my case local VAmc near including local clinic me needs alot of work. Just because rude workers and and as well as they treat vets like a # and plus the facility will never
    Change. First overall no emergency room. It’s only open during morning. Its more of a Complain clinic. Vets need a box to where they can right down a complaint or a phone# where call goes somewhere else. For two years i travel to one of the top VA facilities in the USA. 400 miles each way to drs. I get awesome care and drs know me. Is it Worth it to me? Yes. How far would you travel to find best health care where they are on top of todays medicine and not standard proceedures. I have been to many vamc’s over the years and i like the one i got to the best.
    Want to lower vet suicide rates? Start with giving vets thier pain meds back that work for them and get rid of pain management. Its a joke. I seen a few councilors where i go and they want to call me an opiate attic? I told them first va admits they were my dealer for almost 40 years. Drs make up go to youtube and learn to control pain. What are they drs or phycologist that like to check your prostate? Put you on depression pills and say its a pain reliever.. Ive dealed with depression my whole life. It took high doses of zoloft years ago to where i wasnt who i was and didnt like it. I quit and thats when i learned how to control my depression and as well as anger issues and traumatic stress syndrome. The one thing i cant walk away from? Cigarettes. Wish there was a cure for that. So Mr SecVA WANT TO FIGHT FOR US VETS? Listen to vets and use it for guideline instead of what you and your staff think we need. . how about a hotline for that? Or phone # where vet has to say name and b-date and last for and include what vamc they are at and talking about. Each va is different. And the employees? Facility i go to they are nice and helpfull!

  68. William Dawson36 January 28, 2021 at 6:44 am

    How is your covid19 vaccine program working? I am an 84 year old, still waiting for my appointment for the vaccination.

  69. Dominic Chemello Sr January 28, 2021 at 6:44 am

    Want another success story. I was medically discharged from with Army in 1969 with a left lower extremity amputation and broken wrist. Thanks to the GI Bill I got a BS in Aviation Management, and an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate with many pilot ratings. I got a job with the Federal Aviation Administration as an Aviation Safety Inspector and retired After 32 years of service. Thanks for helping me have a GREAT LIFE as a veteran

  70. Roger Horton January 28, 2021 at 6:36 am

    It will be a wait and see situation. I don’t biden or anything he says but I do hope he is successful in doing the right things for America and her Veterans. We’ll see if the VA follows biden’s lead on no gender. Just hoping Korean and Vietnam Veterans will finally get their due that was started under President Trump. Praying that if this nominee gets confirmed he will do what he says and put veterans first and just maybe cut waste and red tape to get a disability.

    • Larry Mathes January 28, 2021 at 9:41 am

      Finally had to comment after reading so many negative posts here. The one that set me off was from R Horton where he states that vets were finally getting there dues that was started under trump. BS is what I say to that comment. I got my benefits and great care long before cadet bonespures was even in office. I’m 73 yrs. old and that poor excuse for a human was the worst president this country has ever had. That’s all I’m going to say, because it’s apparent that most of the posters here supported and still do the joker who just had the election ” stolen ” from him. Country is divided like never before in my life and is not coming back together. God bless all troops and vets!

  71. Von R. Smith, Sr. January 28, 2021 at 6:08 am

    My brother and I are both Vietnam veterans. I had 6 years of service, he had two tours in Vietnam. We have experienced the downside of post-service. We felt like disposable “throw away’s” socially and a low priority to the government.

    I have waited 50 years before applying for VA benefits. I just got along with the medical and emotional aftermath on my own. I did not know how much Agent Orange and regular aircraft and weapon sound levels can damage. Now, as I go through the process, I see how hard it is to get through the bureaucracy. The problems all boil down to money. No matter the good intentions, you cannot perform services or supply needs without money.

    I want to hear about the current budget and how much MORE Congress will allocate for veterans, in DOLLARS, not “we will increase,” but how much. Fluffy promises are all politicians seem to know. Well, I hope this new VA head will say, “Show me the money!” so we veterans have some chance, some hope.

  72. Edmund Brand Beyer January 28, 2021 at 6:04 am

    We need a leader who can set out priorities and get them done. I use some of the services offered by the VA but am concerned that the quality often does not measure up to what I can find in the private sector.
    I also found that the people who evaluate a veteran’s claim often seem to find ways to deny that claim rather than fully investigating it. I can give examples in my own medical evaluations.

  73. Corrinna L Jennings January 28, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Lying through his mouth. Previous administrations he worked for were the problem for the VA. All smoke and mirrors.

  74. Francis X Karl January 28, 2021 at 5:38 am

    When might we expect vaccine distribution? As a member of the VA Medical Care at Northport VA Hospital and 73 years of age – I’d like to think that the vaccine is on it’s way. Roll out and vaccine distribution on Long Island has been a challenge. There seems to be no clear path to vaccination.

    Thanks

  75. Charles Hayden January 28, 2021 at 5:34 am

    Having spoken to many fellow Veterans regarding the collection of past due medication and episode of care. The previous practice of not billing did nothing for Veterans other than create a big bill they can’t afford to pay all at once. They would have been better off paying 50 or 60 per month vice the 600 or 1000 bill they received. These co-pays should be waived and funds should be appropriated through congress to make up the budget shortfall. Just my opinion of course.

  76. Wayland H Burton January 28, 2021 at 5:12 am

    I appreciate the new VA Secretary and the task before him. I hope more will be done in technology being able to be upgraded as well as talking to other medical facilities. At the moment, I am involved with six different medical activities trying to obtain a kidney transplant. Only three of the six can transmit medical information concerning me to one another. The others can not and they have the most activity with me. I have blood drawn every Tuesday however only one facility obtains the results. The other institutions need the results and I and left with the task of trying to communicate medical terminology to five other institutions. I am NOT that savvy in the terms or other comments that should go along and that makes my transmissions vulnerable to error. There must be a way that request for various blood test, transmittal of test results, scheduling of appointments and shared payment of these test can be accomplished without each institution having these test duplicated each and every time and I not becoming a pin cushion or having each institution wanting my carcass all on the same day or same week. They (the institutions) become irritated when you tell them you can’t make those dates then they don’t believe you and feel you are evading them. A person is not believed like another medical institution is when they show that they have first dibs on your carcass.

    • Vera Gaetano January 28, 2021 at 9:20 am

      Call your local VA to ask how you can give civilian providers access to your health records.

  77. Linda Faye Magwood January 28, 2021 at 4:40 am

    Im.a veteran and had the.Covid 19 virus. I’m 71 yrs old and would like to know when will the vaccination be available to me at Michael E. DEBAKEY in Houston Texas. I’ve inquired about it but can not get an answer. I was very sick and hospitalized and would like to get the vaccination as soon as possible.

  78. Charles Watson January 28, 2021 at 4:34 am

    I know their is a pandemic, but why it is still taking a long time complete Veterans Claim. The longer it takes the longer a veteran is not getting medical attention.

  79. Ernest Willyard January 28, 2021 at 4:14 am

    Every one talks a good game when the cameras are on. The problem is that we won’t know what effect he will have until he’s been on the job for a while.

    I really hope he can make a difference, especially in rural medical care. We have been promised changes in the system that lets us have access to medical doctors. Clinics in neighboring towns (30 miles away) are staffed with nurses but the closest VA doctor is 110 miles away and in another state. You drive or do without.

    I sincerely hope that he can make a difference in a positive way but it is hard to have faith in the VA leadership when his predecessors didn’t seem to care. I have a jaded view based on my experience for the past 24 years. There are a lot of caring, quality professionals in the VA but they don’t seem to be in the leadership positions.

    Just because I’m not in a politically special category like women Veterans, Veterans of color and LGBTQ Veterans and I am no longer homeless doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t get the same quantity of care.

  80. Miguel Banuchi January 28, 2021 at 3:59 am

    Momma said, “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.” And I am ambivalent about VA performance with me, a 72 year old Vietnam Era veteran, who has asked for help and gotten nothing but referrals..

  81. Bob Smith January 28, 2021 at 2:59 am

    “I promise to fight – every single day – to ensure that our Veterans have the access to world-class, compassionate care they have earned.”

    I am a disabled veteran and live overseas like 10,000s of other veterans.

    I do have access to world class healthcare.

    What is world class healthcare? Is world class healthcare for veterans such as myself mean I do not get healthcare because I live overseas. No no no. World class healthcare, remember? World class healthcare puts me first, not where I live first. We do not have VA Choice, we do not get reimbursed for healthcare unless the condition is service connected. Is that world class, no, that is 2nd class or 3 class if that because in many cases it is no coverage which means it is no class at all.

    The VA has neglected veterans living overseas. There is no office to contact if we have problems. The Foreign Medical Program does nothing to improve the service for us living overseas, the office only accepts reimbursement claims for service connected conditions, and they do not even do that very well. Where on VA.gov can I upload a reimbursement claim for foreign medical program? It doesn’t exist. Why do I at home have to think of this thing? Because the VA has no office with the responsibility to coordinate and deliver improved service for the 10,000s of veterans living overseas. We have unique challenges in accessing our benefits and nobody at the va whose job it is to improve the poor service we currently receive.

    Why do veterans overseas have no town halls, no visits from the VA Secretary, no dedicated office advocating for improvements to our healthcare and benefits? Why is there no survey for veterans overseas to help the VA understand our problems with their lack of help for us. We live thousands of miles from the VA and every interaction with the VA is difficult. The VA has the resources and money and power to help us, but they have not taken the time to help us. The VA is failing veterans who live abroad ever day. Mercy,.somebody do something. Find out the problems, create annual surveys for us, learn about our problems getting our benefits, dedicate resources. Thank you.

  82. Lance Johnson January 28, 2021 at 2:45 am

    He claims to be a fighter, but he said nothing when a D-Connecticut rep called trump supporters racists. I believe that would be the majority of the VA patients that he may be serving. He’s a coward.

  83. Deborah Lorena Chapa January 28, 2021 at 2:33 am

    I am a retired 100% disabled veteran of the United States Army. I served my country fo twenty two years and have been in the VA system for twelve years. Veteran’s choice is a great improvement for us. More can be done for female veterans and veterans with mental health issues.

  84. Glen Cross January 28, 2021 at 2:32 am

    I hope you’re an honorable man. Maybe you’re different we’ll see.

    Glen Cross

  85. Pat Dwyer January 28, 2021 at 2:15 am

    I was 64 when I started in the NorCal/Bay Area VA system. I’m 76 now, and have had hundreds of appointments in those 12 years, for everything from Oncology to Cardiology to Podiatry, and I am always impressed with the staff at all levels and with the quality of the comprehensive healthcare.

  86. Nancy Downs January 28, 2021 at 2:07 am

    Was deeply moved by your write up on VA nominee. It is a huge job, and in need of a well ordered yet compassionate leader. The deep division in this country with polarized political views make it even harder if not impossible. I don’t think in donkey or elephant classifications. I am a 100% disabled Navy veteran who served with pride 1975-1981. My allegiance lies in this, ” One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all !!!”. IN GOD I TRUST, EVERYTHING ELSE I CHECK !!!

  87. Ronald Rudnicki January 28, 2021 at 2:05 am

    Why aren’t Veteran owned Small Businesses classified as Minority owned businesses. Way past time for this.

  88. Pamela Hinds January 28, 2021 at 1:43 am

    Dear Mr. McDonough, Thanks you so much in advance for your care and welfare of our veterans and their families. You don’t have to be a Veteran to serve to help these men, women to have the healthcare they deserve and need desperately!!
    I am a widow whose husband Clifford Hinds, who served in the Army as drill sergeant and would have made a career of it until he was blown up in a tank Terret lost lost his hearing in one ear and broke his foot in several places. Was honorably discharged due to not performing as he needed due to his foot after several surgeries. After coming of military service he worked 25 years for the US Postal service as a mechanic! In 2010 he suffered a major stroke, leaving him paralyzed on right side and having severe PTSD. After almost 2 month in Critical ICU a as bd a month of rehab I brought him home and vowed to take care of him, driving him to his VA appointments and rehab(3) times a week.
    As a surviving spouse I would like to ask about medical care for myself and I receive his VA monthly widows pension. I also want to be eligible for repair on my home which are several thing! I barely have enough money for monthly bills! Cliff was 100% disable. He died in 2018 due to cancer at which time he had about 4500.00 dollars a month for his disability but mine is not quite 1400.00 a month! I am grateful for what I get, but I feel I should get more! It sure would help me Thank you for reading this email! Can you reply if you can for for explanation and answers to questions!
    Gods Blessings to you snd yours,
    Pam Hinds

    • Brie Smith February 11, 2021 at 12:49 am

      This organization can help with needed home repairs:

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      Rebuilding Together National Headquarters
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      Rebuilding Together has completed work on more than 200,000 homes, nonprofit and community centers in the U.S. Rebuilding Together affiliate network consists of 142 offices[citation needed] throughout the United States, whom act in partnership with and on behalf of the organization.

      Rebuilding Together has several targeted programs that address the needs of specific homeowner populations: veterans, elderly, disabled, and victims of disaster.[1] The work of Rebuilding Together impacts the condition of the surrounding community as well, through community center rehabilitation, playground builds, and partnerships with organizations[2] focused on energy efficiency,[3] sustainable community gardens, volunteer engagement, and homeowner education.[4]

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  89. James Allen Eberwine January 28, 2021 at 1:39 am

    If VA is taking care of Military members and family, why is my 85 year old wife
    looking for a COVID immunization while I am waiting for my scheduled
    February 2021 second dose? VA clinic says “not for spouses unless they served”.

  90. Bradley Boerst January 28, 2021 at 1:38 am

    The nominee isn’t a vet ?That gives me absolutely no trust.

    Only another vet that’s in the VA system,knows what we need to have done there.

    WE DO NOT DESERVE OR WANT ANOTHER PAPER PUSHING ,BEAN COUNTER IN CHARGE OF THE VA.NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY OR “PROMISE”,THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IN TE END IS MONEY,NOT CARE FOR US VETS.THIS HAS BEEN PROVEN TIME AND TIME AGAIN.

  91. Michael Molamphy January 28, 2021 at 1:28 am

    VA needs to cover hearing loss for war vets who were affected by long term exposure to artillery firing, etc. Scientific American published research on nerve damage from loud noise, which leads to hearing loss many years later. Nothing is louder than artillery; 1000 X louder than a jet engine nearby.

    • Raul Gil Alvarado 100% disabled January 28, 2021 at 8:25 am

      I hope he does more for suviving widows I believe they should get the whole amount of disability they veterans husband got before they pass is the only way they can maintain the style of living they had before their husband died cuting their va compensation to 1/3 is not the way to help the surviving widows

  92. Richard Cooper January 28, 2021 at 1:25 am

    I dod not hear anything about the existing hotline that the prior President established. Is that still in place?

    Any word on working on the speed of appeals?

    [Editor: MyVA 311 is here: https://blogs.va.gov/VAntage/32858/myva311-one-number-call-reach-va/ and the appeals modernization that was several years in the making launched in 2017: https://benefits.va.gov/REPORTS/ama/ ]

  93. Marcel Newton January 28, 2021 at 1:11 am

    There are many Veteran’s Suppmental
    Claims have gone un answered
    Some have problems multiplying Pandemic is taking a toll,

  94. Michael Glenn January 28, 2021 at 12:41 am

    I’m sure Denis McDonough is a fine man and can do a lot of good for America in a government post, and that he is qualified for many positions, but I don’t think he’s a good choice for VA secretary and I’m very disappointed that President Biden nominated him for the job.

    Put quite simply, he is NOT a veteran. He is NOT one of our brothers and sisters in arms, and he cannot possibly understand what veterans have been through because he has never been out there himself. He may understand the nuts and bolts of government, but he cannot see the VA and the military as we do.

    And I really don’t think it’s too much to ask to have a VA Secretary who is a veteran himself. Getting another non-veteran is one more breach of trust with veterans from our dear government.

    US Army OIF & KFOR veteran

  95. Doug Schwandt January 28, 2021 at 12:40 am

    I am extremely upset with the VA on three salient points:

    1. I had an urgent care medical condition, which was not addressed. I was tested for the virus, and was not contacted regarding the reason for which I contacted the clinic. While I am completely in favor of “other people” receiving the quality care the VA can provide, I have to ask, “When will I be the other person?” This is a valid question!

    2. My doctor changed without my knowledge. The last time I had a doctor change, I was notified that it was going to happen, and I was provided with the name of the doctor when it was known. This was not done. The fact that I did not have a doctor was an accidental discovery, incident to item 1, above.

    3. The time from my phone call to the clinic, to schedule an appointment with my new doctor, was an unacceptable 60 day time frame. Personally, I don’t give a rip about virus considerations. I am an established patient within the VA system, and at the VA Clinic, and I resent the treatment which I received. This treatment was not in accordance with VA policies and procedures.

  96. Paul E Bringas January 28, 2021 at 12:31 am

    How about Viet Nam era veterans wives, the forgotten and never appreciated Viet Nam era veterans that had the least amount of benefits, and not until later least amount of medical benefits to combat the vets coming home with a number of ailments that was not diagnosed so quickly during that time. PTSD, agent Orange, malaria, drug addiction, and other problems the government could not understand at that time. Now with our present troops there are better benefits and much better medical results because of past veteran history. The wives of the veteran back then had one to help them with the in country medical and psychological issues these Viet Nam veterans returning home. The brunt of the problems the veteran returning to home with were handled by a spouse that had no training or help with coping with the problems of PTSD, excessive drinking, drug use, sleep disorders, the spouse having to protect herself due to nightmares stemming from Viet Nam. Female spouse of a veteran is a casualty of war also, from the verbal abuse, to physical abuse, to worrying about her life. She is also a patriot for country having to deal with the raw anger this veteran comes back with, to wanting to keep her marriage going to loving this man that she feels is his enemy. The VA should compensate those wives of veterans that silently for years have said nothing because they felt it was only their problem. The VA should compensate those true hero wives of the Viet Nam veterans era. The stories are unbelievable of the families of these veterans.

  97. Dan Good January 28, 2021 at 12:29 am

    I hope another priority would be to recognize that Thailand veterans were exposed to Agent Orange.

  98. herb heck January 28, 2021 at 12:25 am

    what moderation are you waiting for?

  99. herb heck January 28, 2021 at 12:23 am

    did we have to fire the present secretary of the VA.? He was perfectly capable of doing his job. I hope we’re not going back to the Obama days

    • Don E January 28, 2021 at 3:41 pm

      Except it was Obama/Biden that was responsible for all the VA improvements. That was one of Biden’s responsibilities so I trust that he will make sure the VA is in good hands. The Trump administration didn’t do anything except try to take credit for all the programs that were already in the pipeline before he came into office.

  100. Christopher Beloff January 28, 2021 at 12:20 am

    Its beyond belief but doesn’t surprise me how this administration would suggest a man for a position that directly affects all veterans and has not served for our country. If you have not served how do you know. Just another kick in the balls. I dont want to hear your sorry. I just want it to stop it hurts.

  101. Martin Schwendau January 28, 2021 at 12:17 am

    I feel optimistic about the future under the new leadership. I believe the President has made a good choice. I know some veterans don’t trust the VA and aren’t fans of President Biden. I am not one of them. My expierences have all been good and I think the President’s deep respect for the military and his son’s service are a signal that the VA will be able to meet it’s mission goals because it will receive the resources and funding it needs.

    • OKVietVet January 28, 2021 at 9:23 am

      The only Democrat ever elected to office that actually understood and gave a crap about active duty and veterans was John F. Kennedy who was himself a WWII veteran.

  102. Howard Morton January 28, 2021 at 12:03 am

    Words. How can we measure this individual re his ability to serve veterans through leadership of the VA? He has never served. His grandpa served. How does that trickle down? I’m a Korean combat veteran. I have service connected disabilities. But a fire in the building housing veterans health records destroyed proof of service connection. VA has denied me and now my case is at the top level. VFW hired a lawyer to plead my case. How does this new leader help people like me? I don’t think he can. I don’t think he will.

  103. Aubrey Reed Fife Jr. January 28, 2021 at 12:02 am

    I pray everything you say will come about before I loose my husband to prostrate cancer. My husband has seen his urologist since this all started, his doctor, Rodney Worthan MD, located in Enid, Ok. Now he can’t get an appointment scheduled there. Apparently Dr has applied for the new contract so Dr can see him. He hasn’t been seen since or tested since last August. At that time his PSA level had gone up. They discussed further treatment but now no appointment. I was in Vietnam on 2 tours. We thought President Trump pass a bill or executive order allowing our troops to see doctors of their choice. Please work on this issue for all the vets!

  104. Tim Nusbaum January 28, 2021 at 12:00 am

    CERTAINLY HOPE OUR VETERANS ARE ABLE TO RELIE ON THE NEW SECRETARY TO ENFORCE THE 28 DAY RULE WITHIN ALL THE CLINICS AND HOSPITALS.
    I AM CURRENTLY TRYING TO FIND OUT WHY MY BOCA RATON, FL PCP DELAYED MY NERVE TREATMENT FOR WEEKS??
    PATIENT ADVOCATES WORK FOR THE VA–NOT SO MUCH FOR THE VETERANS. THIS MUST END NOW!!

  105. Richard William Tuttle January 27, 2021 at 11:57 pm

    To fully address the majority of Vets would be to provide all Vets with vouchers or simply the funds needed to receive the best care possible from private medical practitioners and facilities. Reduce the dependency on civil service employees who don’t care, they know that they are protected by civil service regulations that make it almost impossible to be fired. Of course, their are many employees who really do want to do their jobs but just don’t have all the resources they need to do their jobs. Turn all this bureaucratic mess over to providing Vets with the funding needed through vouchers or some form of direct funding that is controlled by the Veterans not the bureaucracy. I believe the private sector can and would provide better service to Vets than the current government controlled and for the most part ineffective service currently being given to Vets. Aside from better care and medical for Vets this would reduce the cost for tax payers. In addition the Veteran’s administration would be able to reduce costs by eliminating all direct medical and mental health services thereby allowing for a long term reduction in civil service employees. These employees would be able to get many of the jobs created by the growth in private sector and would in many cases would be paid more than they earn now and maybe even get better benefits. Through insurance companies competing to provide coverage for the Veteran’s receiving private services. The Depart itself would still have to maintain a number of employees to monitor the funds provided directly to Vets. This group would audit the use of these funds looking for fraud, price gouging and other forms of increases for similar services provided by other doctors and hospitals. Every dollar spent by Vets or their families would, of course have a multiplier effect on the economy as a whole. It would take years maybe even decades to move protected civil service employees out; either by offering early retirement incentives and by simply not filling no longer needed positions. Remember the first goal is to provide better care and treatment for Veterans. The next goal is to reduce the size and cost of operating an ineffective and costly bureaucratic system. This whole program would allow Veteran’s to receive the best care and to save tax payer dollars and at the same time bolster the economy by creating growth in the private health care sector. Of course, I don’t really expect this to happen; there are too many fingers in the pie who would lose lucrative contracts, political power and for House and Senate elected officials to be able to provide pork barrel projects to local constituents. Not to mention the Civil Service employees having to lose their jobs and the opportunity to bring in friends and family to fill vacancies. Still I hope their will be many that see radical change is needed to really provide quality health care for our Veteran’s. It’s fine to make speeches about providing better care for Veteran’s and actually doing something that will work to provide it.

  106. Victor Allen January 27, 2021 at 11:52 pm

    For God’s sake, from the millions of veterans who served our country honorably, the president could not find one qualified veteran to serve as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. So where was this guy when we were serving in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Washington, DC…hiding in Canada?

  107. Hiroshi Kato January 27, 2021 at 11:41 pm

    Sounds very good, but the reality is just getting formation from VA is a nightmare. I got directed to different “departments” and after submitting a required form, I was told the form I submitted was good only for medical, but another form (for the same information) had to be submitted for benefits.

  108. Jim Anderson January 27, 2021 at 11:41 pm

    All Veterans feel welcome, well except for those that make too much money, and are married to other Veterans.

  109. TJW 3 January 27, 2021 at 11:40 pm

    I hope and pray that all ERA’s veterans get equal priority for getting Caregivers . All ERA’s Caregivers need to be paid and get all the benefits they deserve . We need equal rights for all ERA’s . If we can not get equal rights and care , we do not survive . Some one needs to step up as a good and fair leader for the VA. So far it is all about excuses and leaving veterans out of the equation . Hopefully it is not all talk , because we need action. God bless all veterans and their families that stick by us veterans .

  110. William McAttee January 27, 2021 at 11:37 pm

    This guy makes it sound like nothing has been going on. When we are getting better care than any time in history! If they can keep the status quo and also find all the vaccines to do every single one of us old and young in the next 6 months I’ll be impressed. More over won’t hold breath. One any if it. Most likely they will pull funds and give them to other people just like dems of the past.

  111. Harry Heckard January 27, 2021 at 11:36 pm

    What happened to the $1400 to each American???????????????

  112. Ralph Wayne Brown January 27, 2021 at 11:31 pm

    Dear Sir; I am a 74 year old partially disabled veteran. Several years ago I required a complete cervical surgery to prevent my right hand and arm atrophying like my left hand and arm because the Ann Arbor MI VA waited a year before doing surgery on me. I am now living in AZ and go to the Tucson VA for my care. They did indeed do the surgery on my neck but not before they had to extract almost all of my teeth as they were loose and would have been too dangerous for surgery if they came out during intubation. I am pleading with you today to give me some explanation why if the VA extracted most all my teeth why will they NOT PROVIDE ME WITH DENTURES? I have become a recluse because of this besides the fact that my diet is reduced to pasta and gruel. Please Sir help me. Very sincerely yours Mr. Ralph Wayne Brown

  113. Ralph Wayne Brown January 27, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    Dear Sir; I am a 74 year old partially disabled veteran. Several years ago I required a complete cervical surgery to prevent my right hand and arm atrophying like my left hand and arm because the Ann Arbor MI VA waited a year before doing surgery on me. I am now living in AZ and go to the Tucson VA for my care. They did indeed do the surgery on my neck but not before they had to extract almost all of my teeth as they were loose and would have been too dangerous for surgery if they came out during intubation. I am pleading with you today to give me some explanation why if the VA extracted most all my teeth why will they NOT PROVIDE ME WITH DENTURES? I have become a recluse because of this besides the fact that my diet is reduced to pasta and gruel. Please Sir help me. Very sincerely yours Mr. Ralph Wayne Brown

  114. Thomas Lee Thompson January 27, 2021 at 11:28 pm

    There are thousands of Veterans like me that suffer from chronic pain with no hope of recovery. Who at one time could get relief through pain medication prescribed by a primary care Doctor. Now we do not get the care we desperately need through prescription opioids. We all know why!

  115. Steve T January 27, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    Words are ALL too often spoken and rarely followed by actions. The current situation/treatment of our Veterans is simply reprehensible, disgraceful and egregious, at best.

    To be sure there are VA caregivers who truly are stellar, but they are they vast exception as the norm is one of contempt and ambivalence.

    How on earth can the largest health care system in our country be viewed negatively by those they are supposed to serve? It may be some Veterans feel a sense of entitlement, but they are unequivocally the exception. It is because Veterans do NOT have realistic OPTIONS. Allow Veterans to have REALISTIC options; start by changing that and then you will see a VA that must have compassion like the vast majority of private providers – or become defunct.

  116. Stan Allen January 27, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    I am extremely concerned we have a career politician as head of the VA that has never served.

  117. vet January 27, 2021 at 11:22 pm

    not qualified…has to be a combat veteran as a minimum qualification.

  118. Mike Sherman January 27, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    It is a little discouraging to learn the nominee is not a veteran. Seems to me it should be a requirement for the position for obvious reasons. But I also believe it is possible for experienced managers to learn, and make proper decisions on important subjects. I have been very pleased with the improvements made in the VA system in the past 4 years. If I see changes that remove improvements, I will make a concerns known to the proper authorities.

  119. John Wilch (TSGT, USAF Ret.) January 27, 2021 at 11:10 pm

    Sir, I’m wondering if one of your intentions will be to make sure that all our Veterans will be taken care of, the reason I’m asking some of your predecessors didn’t care what was happening in our VA Hospitals. We need to provide better and up to date care and facilities for our Brothers and Sisters.

    I am a proud Veteran and Combat Vet, Vietnam (’68-’69) and later Desert Storm (USAF), and this old Combat Veteran would do it again because of the Oath I took Dec 20, 1963, and many time more before I retired on Apr 1, 1992, will never expire.

  120. Terry J Joyce January 27, 2021 at 11:09 pm

    So we have another suit telling us what veterans deserve. We deserve a secretary who knows what it is to be a vet. We don’t need more lip service and carefully chosen words to distract us while we are taken advantage of yet again. We feel the contempt and know what you really think of us, you fool only yourselves.
    I regret supporting a candidate who thinks so little of
    veterans that he makes a concilliatory appointment to an old associate. There are medical professonials at VA who truly serve their clients, we cherish them. There are others who found a job, it ends there.
    Once again, we are the lowest common denominator.
    Thank you for our service.

  121. Francis M. Ciancarelli January 27, 2021 at 11:07 pm

    Will the new VA leadership follow the same VETTING PROCESS utilized with US Military & Reservist were put through in the Washington DC deployment for President Joe Biden’s Inauguration as the 46th President of the USA?

  122. Rafael A. Montalvo January 27, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    waiting for a reply of an earlier comment

  123. Juan A Rosario January 27, 2021 at 11:05 pm

    The previous Secretary had told Congress that all he needed to expand the Caregiver Program to all the previous veterans of war was to have the necessary technological and software support to handle the implementation if the expanded program. Well the stuff is ready now its been use now by Vietnam Veterans and the ongoing war veterans. However, there is one group that has not been included. The Desert Storm/ Desert Shield veterans. I dont understand if the support software has been develop and implemented why do we the only group left out have to wait until summer of 2022. We are getting old into our 60’s and due to disabilities need caregiver support to live. Please Mr Secretary move this date to summer 2021.

  124. Judith A Keller January 27, 2021 at 11:05 pm

    I’m a caregiver for my husband, COL (R) Kenneth F Keller, US Army, who has a 100% service connected VA disability rating. We both would like a COVId 19 vaccine. In order to sign up for it, I need a Facebook password. Mine doesn’t work so tried to get a new one. I was told I needed a five digit code from my SMS. I don’t know what an SMS is or where to find it. So I’m stuck. I thought I had signed up at the VA Clinic in Colorado Springs, CO for the vaccine. Then I was told to sign up online. I feel like I have been going in circles. My husband has a TBI, Parkinson’s, severe hearing and memory loss so he can’t help me. Any ideas? Thank you!

    [Editor: VA does not conduct official business over Facebook. Please call 800-827-1000 for assistance.]

  125. David Cooley January 27, 2021 at 11:01 pm

    As the leader of the VA, the VA Secretary has some duty to the men and women who work every day at the VA to bring the best care anywhere to our nation’s veterans, as well as a duty to make the VA work for us veterans. I am one of those veterans. Currently, at the VA, it remains short staffed by at least 45,000 positions; significant systemic racism exists within treatment care of veterans and in the hiring and treatment of staff of color; frontline VA staff continue to be rationed PPE a year into the pandemic; VA staff continues to be silenced and retaliated against by management; also the adverse impact of union busting efforts of the prior Administration (which remain to be reversed). The wholesale outsourcing of all C & P exams to for profit entities; not to mention the VA budget raiding of the MA, and its implementation rules that many in Congress objected to by letter to the former Secretary. All this and more I heard tonight while sitting in on a Zoom meeting. As a Veteran it’s the same story I’ve heard and witnessed for years now, with no improvement coming from VA management. All that I’ve mentioned has a major stress affect on the fine people who work for the VA! It also has an affect on the care I as a veteran receive! I’ve heard nothing in the VA Secretary nominee’s remarks that leads me to believe he has any sense of the problems that exist in the Department he is expecting to oversee or indications of corrective actions.

  126. James k Penseyres January 27, 2021 at 11:00 pm

    I’m a Vietnam veteran with 2 Purple Hearts .
    I have been diagnosed with hairy cell Leukemia . I was informed that this disease was from agent orange.
    I was with the 2nd Bn. 3rd Marines foxtrot co. From 1966-67.
    Is there compensation for a grateful nation for this ?
    Cpl. James Penseyres

  127. Rafael A. Montalvo January 27, 2021 at 10:58 pm

    I’m 78 years old dissabled veteran and lived in the southwest of PR island; when can I expect to receive the vacination for Covi? When called the VA at San Juan VA facilities no one seem to know anything

  128. Steve Sterry January 27, 2021 at 10:56 pm

    I have a problem with a civilian running the VA. Quite frankly, there are too many civilians in VA management right now. We really need somebody who has been through the military experience to understand the needs of our military veterans. We also need somebody with military experience who is willing to clean up the neglect of customer service which permeates through the VA system. Working for the VA should not just be considered a job, it should be considered an honor. And Veterans at EVERY level need to be given job preference.

    • Michael Kavanaugh January 28, 2021 at 8:21 am

      Amen Brother!
      We Veterans Cannot Fix Stupid!

  129. Jim McCahey January 27, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    We don’t want him! We need a Veteran for the Job.

    • Gunny January 28, 2021 at 8:38 am

      Agreed!
      His nomination is just another part of Biden’s “dismantling ” of the previous administrations successful Veteran policies.

  130. Don Armstrong January 27, 2021 at 10:53 pm

    Keep trying to post and you web site is broken…this guy doesn’t care enough about veterans any more than throw cliches.

  131. Preston A Jemmott January 27, 2021 at 10:47 pm

    What moderation is needed for my comment?

    [Editor: We receive a large amount of spam. We also screen for comments expressing self harm, and route those to VCL. And we bleep out some swearing…]

  132. Preston A Jemmott January 27, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    Needs military service as far as I am concerned to head Dept of Veterans Affairs

  133. CHARLES BARNES January 27, 2021 at 10:42 pm

    It will be tough for him to fill the shoes of Secretary Wilke.

    • Terry J Joyce January 28, 2021 at 6:00 pm

      Respectfully disagree sir, a folding chair could replace Wilkie.

  134. Sam January 27, 2021 at 10:30 pm

    Please restore the VA compensation and Pension departments and limit the politically motivated private company and pen contract companies. The private companies do not have the veteran centric expertise needed to do the job. Not to mention they cost VA employees their jobs and cost too much money that goes into cronies pockets.

    Air Force Veteran
    Sam

  135. Pavlos Xorofas January 27, 2021 at 10:27 pm

    The only person who should head the VA should him or herself be a veteran. Anything else is unacceptable.

  136. Joyce Wheeler January 27, 2021 at 10:16 pm

    McDonough sounds just like a practiced politician. Words with no substance.

  137. Dave Duran January 27, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    Well, here is one Vet who does not know who to contact for cutting off my lifegiving Isosource which I MUST HAVE!
    someone in the higher chain of command CUT OFF my food! I have had 5 throat operations and in the last one in 2005,
    the VA removed my jaw and left me horribly disfigured in my face and throat. I cannot and have not eaten ANY solid food
    in 20 years ! My only food is Isosource..(originally was Jevity) since i cannot swallow, spit, or suck through a straw.
    the Surgeons said I would live on it. Someone in the supply chain cut off my supply / prescriptions. I NEED HELP !
    i am a VietNam vet, I cannot speak, am almost completely deaf.
    So if there is anyone, anyone who can get my isosource reinstated , please help.

    thank you for your attention.

  138. McNeil Barr January 27, 2021 at 10:10 pm

    Welcome Sír.

  139. Edward Harold January 27, 2021 at 10:07 pm

    “Not a veteran” I read that as antimilitary.

  140. Ilmira Mogensen January 27, 2021 at 10:05 pm

    I am happy that he wants LGBTQ+ veterans to feel welcome at the VA. I just wonder if he has any plans to visit revising the VA’s policy to deny Transgender veterans medically necessary, and potentially life saving gender confirmation surgeries. Changing that policy would help to reduce the suicide rate in that portion of the veteran community.

  141. Daniel Jackson January 27, 2021 at 10:04 pm

    This guy is just another Washington Buearcrat. Notice how the nominee didn’t stipulate what the great challenges are, nor did he give any clear description of his four priorities. Additionally, he stated that he wants all Veterans to feel welcome at the VA, yet felt he had to show how woke he was by delving into identity politics by singling out, women, persons of color and LGBT Veterans. They/We are all Veterans no matter the color of our skin or sexual orientation. Please stop disparaging us Veterans for political points.

    Moreover, on a daily basis we hear about the tragedy of the unfortunately high suicide rate, and according to this article, suicide was something the nominee just mentioned that he plans to address as a high priority. The nominee went to great extent, according to this article, bloviating about himself and using all these fancy double-speak euphemisms, this is what happens when us Veterans have someone wanting to run our organization that has never served in The Armed Forces. He didn’t even use the word uniform; he chose the word “cloth.” He is unacceptable, in my opinion.

    Respectfully,
    Daniel Jackson
    USA First Sergeant

  142. James Pavlis January 27, 2021 at 9:55 pm

    When can I get the vaccine? Can someone let me know?

  143. Chuck Peterson January 27, 2021 at 9:50 pm

    I’d actually sort of like a routine appointment without a four month wait. Could he put timeliness of health care somewhere on the priority list?

  144. Kim Rowland January 27, 2021 at 9:49 pm

    Can full-time caregivers receive medical benefits ?

  145. Marie J. Fuentes January 27, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    As a veteran, retired nurse, and a mom. I thank God for the Biden administration whom I feel saved us from
    loosing our Democracy. I got active electing Democrats in 2017 after I felt my first gut punch with donald’s election. We are still unsteady but I feel such a relief that there is a seasoned more than competent leader at the helm. When the Kurds were abandoned, I felt a gut punch, when I heard of our troops having a bounty on their heads, my head exploded. His appeasement of putin made my skin crawl. Do people not know who putin is?

    I do not wish to see the VA privatized because that means “profitize” by the right wing as they corporate raid our government. If we need to go outside for care, that is ok but I don’t want it to to be left to the private sector for all our care.

    I receive my care at the VA and have been thankful for it every day. I hope you honor the office you have been entrusted to serve, our troops (unless they are insurrectionists) deserve to be cared for by people who care for them instead of just wanting to make money off of government service. Thank you for stepping into this arena, and trying to right the ship for all those who fought for Democracy and still love it!

  146. Lawrence E Helberg January 27, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    Sure would like to see dental benefits!

  147. DJ Farmer January 27, 2021 at 9:39 pm

    Someone who is not a veteran should NOT be leading the VA. He has no understanding of what veterans go through from day one in the MEPS station being process in to discharge or retirement. There is no way he can lead the VA for he can not possibly comprehend the minds of veterans, the sacrifices we have made and still make while the politicians live lives of luxury and protection.

  148. Frank Anthony Caputo January 27, 2021 at 9:39 pm

    My comment is also a request to have the VA allow all Veterans who were issued Combat Action Ribbons during actually Combat Scenarios to receive Dental Care without restrictions. Not all Veterans were damaged in the Face, Jaw Bones, or Face during this action . However, due to treatments, by the VA in the following years, we have experienced the need for this service, in order to stay Healthy. In my case, while qualifying for some benefits, my Health Care Provider is reluctant to recommend dental care and forward my requests for a consult to the VA Dental Services. I am not the only one in this situation. It is my hope that this lack of care will improve as more of the younger Veterans begin to enter the system .
    Thank you for your attention.
    Frank A Caputo

  149. Michael Vars January 27, 2021 at 9:37 pm

    So a guy with no experience gets the pick. He will be a success if he doesn’t fckup anything the last administration fixed. Good luck.

  150. John Frederick Steinbauer January 27, 2021 at 9:37 pm

    Many veterans 75 years old were turned away from the Palm Beach Fl Medical Center to get their COVID19 vaccine because their income levels were too high based on a 2003 law that limits VA care for those making over about $50K a year. This limit was imposed due to budget constraints to to VA. I was very disappointed to read Sec McDonough nominee did not address this critical issue for all veterans.

  151. Brenda Johnson January 27, 2021 at 9:36 pm

    It is refreshing to hear the commitment of one who seeks to serve veterans and fulfill this nation’s commitment to them. In recent years, we have had a cabal of unprincipled business cronies who seemed to seek nothing more than what could be taken from the Veterans Administration and those it serves. The nation continues to create more and more veterans without thought of the damage to the members, their families and their communities that results from treating human beings like toy soldiers in a game.

    Unreasonable demands are placed on a system designed to care for us, without the necessary resources needed to keep pace. Publicly the VA is told to grant more claims of our brave men and women who serve while quietly guidance is put in place to require the VA to say “no” to save funds. Much is made of the “bad” stories that are present in any health system, a government administration lacking the PR machines, legal staff and deep campaign donations of private health care behemoths. Far too little attention and appreciation to those who serve us caringly, diligently and loyally. It creates a false narrative of a system so broken only privatization can fix. It has begun in small measure and will be the death knell of the VA if not monitored and fought at every turn.

    Congratulations on your confirmation. Thank you for your commitment to those of us who made, and will make, the sacrifice to serve. And I encourage you to show that same commitment to those who serve us.

  152. Sterling p spencer January 27, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    I am a vet that served in Vietnam as well as Desert Storm. I retired after 28 years of service. Currently I am 90 percent disabled vet. I have been to my primary doc at the local va office close to my town. On one visit he stated that I should be 100 percent awarded disability. I do not dare to apply for my ,Thyroid issues because I have heated that if you apply there is a very good chance the VA would lower my percentage. That’s is why I have not persued it. And one time I applied they told me I had to prove when I had it. Hell I have been on meds for this long before Desert Storm. So what would you do in my case?

  153. WD January 27, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    A leader of Vet affairs who is NOT a Vet will NEVER fully comprehend the requirements of the job.

  154. Frank Anthony Caputo January 27, 2021 at 9:27 pm

    We need DENTAL CARE for continued good health. Not everyone in a Combat Senario was damaged in the Face or Jaw, but while being treated for other issues, have contracted Dental Issues during or from those treatments.
    While I qualify for some scant dental benefits, my Health Care Provider is reluctant to forward a Consultant to the VA Dental Facilities, for anything.
    I am saying this, not just for me, but for others who really deserve this type of care. Thank you for your attention.

  155. Willie Burkett January 27, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    I have been in need of Aid and attendance for well over a year. But even after having a full approval and examination from my Dr.. yet I still was denied. Even though it say favorable for benefits. I believe the last administration gave orders not to approve any benefits.

  156. John M.Lewandowski January 27, 2021 at 9:19 pm

    I realize Covid-19 has seriously hampered the claims process but the bills still need to be paid and life no matter how it is has to be addressed,unfortunately there are many Vets out there with the same problems I’m going through,let me give you a little of my background I. served in the Navy aboard the USS Currituck AV-7 the last Sea Plane Tender in the NAVY,I was stationed aboard her in VIETNAM mostly anchored in Cam Ranh bay although we were part of the Mekong Yacht Club,I was in supply and that required us to go ashore to the. Army supply depot we were also allowed to swim in the Bay today I’m stage 4 lung cancer and waiting to be rated by the VA so I can make arrangements for life I have left.

  157. Joseph Edwards January 27, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    The VA Director needs to speed up the long waits to have pending VA claims waiting for judicial review sped up. Having to wait three or four years to have an appeal or review is ridiculous. There are over 100,000 cases currently pending with at least a three year wait. Hire more Judges even temporary if necessary. It’s going to get worse before it gets better the way the system works now.

    [Editor: This was addressed several years ago. Please see more on Appeals Modernization: https://benefits.va.gov/benefits/appeals.asp ]

    • OKVietVet January 28, 2021 at 10:05 am

      I agree with you Joseph. To the Editor, I say you are sadly incorrect if you think the “Appeals Modernization” has magically improved the BVA backup. The real backup is the VA Compensation system itself. I know what I’m talking about because I am one of those in that long line and I entered into it in 2013. I filed my NOD in early 2013. The VA got around to issuing a SOC in 2016 which I immediately addressed and returned with my pleading. The BVA reviewed my case and REMANDED EVERY SINGLE ISSUE back to the VA in late 2018 because the VA reviewers missed or ignored diagnoses contained in my medical service records. This “oversight” was specifically noted by the BVA judge. The VA sat on their backsides and did nothing until this year (2021), finally scheduling me for C&P examinations, once again. The VA Compensation people continue to send veterans to C&P examinations until the Reviewing Officers get the opinions they want to hear. And don’t tell me they don’t, because I’ve been sent for two different examinations for the exact same medical issue. The first examiner conducted a thorough examination but the VA Reviewer didn’t accept that as valid and waited for a year to pass before ordering a second examination. The second examiner conducted a whirlwind examination and the VA Reviewer immediately accepted that one. So the VA still needs to issue a SSOC. After that, it has to go back to the BVA for adjudication which will take even more time. I’m sure the VA is hoping I will die so my medical issues will just go away. I am guessing my appeal will be adjudicated sometime around 2024. So Editor, when you write to say something pertaining to the BVA, ask someone who knows something about it…

      [Editor: What you are describing is the broken legacy appeals process, which was created 80+ years ago. What you are describing is exactly why it was closed to new appellants. VA cannot change the law on that process. Congress passed new laws in 2017 allowing VA to create a new process, called Appeals Modernization. If you want the benefit and efficiency of the new process, you must transfer into the new process. You will not lose any effective date by doing this. You will have that chance again when you receive your next SSOC. But, so long as you stay in the old, legacy process, you are bound to the 80+ year-old laws that govern it.]

  158. Scott Will January 27, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    What is the Secretary nominee’s position on getting the President to sign new presumptive’s on hypertension for Veterans exposed to Agent Orange?

  159. Michael Parker January 27, 2021 at 9:15 pm

    Oh yes thank you, I’m over 65 with heart problems ,cops, diabetes, over weight do to a back injury from my service and when I ask about the vaccine all I get is we will call you, what is happening with the VA and the vaccines?

  160. robert graham January 27, 2021 at 9:13 pm

    All our Vietnam vets are getting to the age where their teeth are giving them problems yet the VA does nothing to help the very expensive procedures. Why?

  161. Carol Marthens January 27, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    I think this guy needs to concentrate more on Veterans that need care now, due to closed portions of the VA like Dental.

    He needs to see to those of us that need immediate care that the VA does not provide like after transplant care that is farmed out to Community care.

    Community care is so overwhelmed with being dumped on by VA clinics that have closed down due to Covid that Veterans are denied the care they were promised by their government simply because their are not enough personnel in community care to find and allocate Veterans with the care they need.

    How about helping Veterans get better care utilizing Community care that already exists in the VA before you worry about the next 5 things.

  162. Donald Stewart January 27, 2021 at 9:07 pm

    Every time we have a new administration someone steps up and says i can lead the VA better then anyone ever. In the mean time veterans die at there own hands are the majority of the homeless on drugs and alcohol while all the good people claim how much they care for the veterans i have spoken of. Its all lies! Some get help but lots don’t and have given up on the country they stood for. Words must stop and Actions given. It takes spending our money the american peoples money with respect for those whom pay. I don’t care about the moon or mars and I don’t think most do. It is our money your spending and you do so never with the intent to help those whom pay. The abuse at the VA is horrible from your fake crisis line that has no power to deal with problems only refer you to more people more numbers. I have suffered myself horrible things at these peoples hands. I have seen countless other Vets suffer the same or worse. You folks running our country don’t give a darn about us. If you did you would spend whatever it took to fix the problem. I know when you asked us to stand for you we did. It affects our life forever. Not one day do i live that the memory of what i did while servings you folks is not present. So until you show your committed to serving not words. Service is not words its works. For 40 years I have been denied by the va It has affected my children my wife my mother my father my brothers So when you send a trained soldier into the world with nothing but his pain from service how can you expect anything but failure. Workers Compensation is law if you work. I worked for the U.S. Army and they are allowed to leave me to die even if my injury’s both physical and mental came from my work for the U.S. Army. The VA is broke. Under funded staffed with no way to hold them accountable. This Nation has allowed unbelievable abuse to occur to generations of Vets for over 100 years. At some point do you think we can understand that the VA is hurting not helping. We the Veterans would be better off if the American People simply closed the VA and instead absorbed the Vets into the civilian world. You created a club you can’t control now. I never wanted money from the VA just wanted to at least have someone try to make me whole from my service. So no I don’t think anything will change unless you really put the vet first.

  163. Steven c white January 27, 2021 at 9:06 pm

    I’M 73, VETS WANT TO KNOW WHEN THE VA WILL PROVIDE US WITH VACCINE FOR THE COVID VIRUS!
    NOT ONE WORD ABOUT WHEN WE CAN GET VACCINATED MENTIONED! I CALL THE LOCAL RENO VA AND THEY TELL ME CALL BACK NEXT WEEK….WEEK AFTER WEEK!

  164. John W January 27, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    Denis McDonough is a career politician. He is NOT veteran. He is however the former Chief of Staff for the Barack Obama Administration. You know, that administration that put so many of our armed forces in harm’s way and into the intensive care of VA Health? I watched the confirmation hearing today and could not believe the softball questions being asked from both sides of the aisle. I don’t trust McDonough and farther that I could throw him!!

  165. Sidney B Lawrence January 27, 2021 at 8:50 pm

    Secretary McDonough has a big job job looking at him.
    Most Vietnam Vets I know just got whacked with a large bill for their service. The V.A. Pharmacy runs VETERANS AFFAIRS. They’re now charging us copays for service connected disability medications and medications that are not needed.
    I am walking proof that the pharmacy at the V.A. Hospital in SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH needs to have the O.I.G. do a complete walk through.
    It’s just plain ugly.

  166. John P. January 27, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    Great, another bureaucrat. Not a Veteran, no medical background, perfect.

  167. Rich Kaminski January 27, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    I think this guy needs to concentrate more on Veterans that need care now, due to closed portions of the VA like Dental.

    He needs to see to those of us that need immediate care that the VA does not provide like after transplant care that is farmed out to Community care.

    Community care is so overwhelmed with being dumped on by VA clinics that have closed down due to Covid that Veterans are denied the care they were promised by their government simply because their are not enough personnel in community care to find and allocate Veterans with the care they need.

    How about helping Veterans get better care utilizing Community care that already exists in the VA before you worry about the next 5 things.

  168. Ronald G. Mukai January 27, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    Will wives and caregivers get the vaccine shots and when?

  169. DISABLED VET January 27, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    Oh How MANY TIMES HAVE WE HEARD THAT BEFORE????
    How about doing something about the VA blacklisting veterans, denying treatment, harassment, canceling appointments for no reason given and stalking their every move, and the government official’s that cover it up like nothing happened?????
    The VA loves it because they know they have to answer to NO ONE they want you to beg for care!!!!!

  170. Roger L Brown January 27, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    Why do I have to drive to LA, the covid center of the world, to get vaccinated when we have a nice new clinic just 10 miles from my house.
    Now that is dumb!!

  171. Arnold Hughley January 27, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    I’ve known Mr McDonough’s brother for many years and if he has similar traits he will do a wonderful job for us veterans.
    I think one issue that frustrates me frequently is the excessive time it takes from ordering my prescriptions to actually receiving them. Not sure exactly what the problem is but I see online that the prescription was filled and the delivery service was notified but sits in a “waiting for pickup “ mode.

  172. Michael Martin Cates January 27, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    He should try explaining ALL of what he said at that Hearing TO AOC AND THE WHOLE SQUAD! We are the COUNTRY of CHOICE for those OPPRESSED AROUND such as Vietnam Venezuela and CHINA!

  173. Richard A. Coleman January 27, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    I’m sorry, but so much of this column seemed like a bunch of BS. I’m a disabled Vet, pensioned, with a service connected disability. I will turn 78 years of age in about 2 1/2 months. I’ve been trying to get a vaccine for four months to no avail. I live in Calif. about 60 miles from Los Angeles – namely the VA hospital on Wilshire Blvd. and I’m not mobile. I get my medical treatment at the VA clinic in Oxnard, Calif. and the clinic is NOT giving the vaccine. Along with my age, I have heart problems, bladder cancer, COPD, asthma, neuropathy, I can keep going. The VA wants me to get to the VA hospital in Los Angeles and I told you I’m NOT mobile and I live alone. I can’t get to the hospital and the VA told me that they’ll “Let me Know” when I can get a vaccine when ????? they start giving the vaccine at the Oxnard clinic. The VA has really let me down.

  174. Richard A. Colemansl January 27, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    I’m sorry, but so much of this column seemed like a bunch of BS. I’m a disabled Vet, pensioned, with a service connected disability. I will turn 78 years of age in about 2 1/2 months. I’ve been trying to get a vaccine for four months to no avail. I live in Calif. about 60 miles from Los Angeles – namely the VA hospital on Wilshire Blvd. and I’m not mobile. I get my medical treatment at the VA clinic in Oxnard, Calif. and the clinic is NOT giving the vaccine. Along with my age, I have heart problems, bladder cancer, COPD, asthma, neuropathy, I can keep going. The VA wants me to get to the VA hospital in Los Angeles and I told you I’m NOT mobile and I live alone. I can’t get to the hospital and the VA told me that they’ll “Let me Know” when I can get a vaccine when ????? they start giving the vaccine at the Oxnard clinic. The VA has really let me down.

    • Steven Lazorchak January 28, 2021 at 12:20 pm

      Dear Mr Coleman, do you just need transportation to The Los Angeles VA or is it more complicated than that. If you had transportation is there someone, a caregiver, that would be able to accompany you? Sorry for my ignorance but it should not be a problem to get a veteran 60 miles to receive a potential life-saving service or the simple procedure of a vaccination. Could I help you by coordinating a solution to your logistical challenge perhaps? Steven L., USAF ’81-’89

  175. Eugene Willams January 27, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    McDonough only lists one priority. What’s the other 4?

  176. Gregory Mack January 27, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    Appointing Denis McDonough as VA Secretary would be another slap in the face to all veterans. Unless you have made the sacrifice yourself there is no way having a conversation with a veteran or visiting a VA hospital will give you the perspective that is needed to head the VA. Shame on Mr Biden!

  177. thomas james guise January 27, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    My veteran spouse cannot get a vaccine shot at Denver VA hospital because the minimum age requirement is 75. She is 74.5, with over 25 years of Federal Government service. She primarily sees doctors at Denver VA Hospital due to her disability incurred during Desert Storm, 90 days at a Navy Field Hospital in El Jubal in 1991. Loretta M. Guise now works part-time at the Denver VA Hospital educating Regis University nursing students during their clinical experience in Psychiatry, where she worked for 18 years before retiring. Assuming the minimum age is 75 for veterans is Federally mandated, is there any way President Biden can sign an Executive Order to lower the age so that veterans can get a vaccine shot with a minimum age of 70, more in line with many states, including Colorado?

  178. Larry Wood January 27, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    My VA clinic projected to immunize 500 veterans (btw it is not pronounced vetrans) a day. That was at least 3 weeks ago. Not counting weekends (as we know nobody gets sick on werkends) that would be at least 7500 by now. I’m an at-risk veteran age 72 and I was told to just wait. I would get a letter. I contacted my VA doctor and got the same response. There was absolutely no response about my condition, prioritizing, or time frame. Staff at the clinic said they didn’t know any more than I do. I got a call back when I tried to book an appointment with my VA doctor who said prioritizing was done by the VA and my clinic had no input. Meanwhile Staff and high ranking officials get vaccines others should be getting. I know at least 3 people who have had the virus and managed to get an appointment for a vaccine. I hope the Biden nominee Denis McDonough will put his fierceness and staunchest to work to fix this problem of lack of supply and planning for vetErans.

  179. David Lynn Carter January 27, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    What higher and deserving concentration and pool of recipients can there be than our veterans receiving care at VA facilities? A large percentage of them of over 65 years of age and many, if not most, are suffering from one or more of the conditions putting them in the higher risk category. ALL VA facilities should be receiving sufficient quantities of the vaccines to administer 2 doses to all those in category 1a/1b, not just the major medical centers. In very short order we could vaccinate a major segment of our population.

  180. Fran J Toposki January 27, 2021 at 8:00 pm

    Secretary McDonough,
    Currently the State of New Jersey provides the veterans a $200 credit off of their property taxes. My yearly taxes are almost $11,000. Can you lobby for the States to give substantial discount to the veterans such as 25-50% reduction in taxes. Also there should be a separate deduction from your Federal Income taxes.
    My experience with the medical benefits are good as well as education. A bigger list of Rx drugs would be nice especially for non-generic drugs.

    Thanks and good luck!!

    Fran Topolski

  181. Jeff Sylvester January 27, 2021 at 7:57 pm

    I am curious as to when shots for veterans in the St. Cloud area will be. I have a 30% disability along with high blood pressure , and use a cpap to help with my afib heart. There are friends of mine with none of these that have already gotten 1 and some have 2 shots already just from their health care provider. If I get covid I will really have a problem. Jeff

  182. Carl Lovette January 27, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    Looking to take the Covid 19 vaccination,has the VA in Kernersville NC started the vaccinations yet.I am a 71 year black male ready for the vaccine.

  183. Larry Thomas January 27, 2021 at 7:54 pm

    Adding more disease to agent orange for Vietnam Veterans>

  184. John January 27, 2021 at 7:53 pm

    I guess only time will tell if what he says is truthful or more B.S!!!!

  185. Dan McClung January 27, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    I’ve offered to open a COVID Free Mn nursing home facility for Women Veterans suffering from MST. The facility could be managed and maintained by my FERS accumulations. The $1.8 million Sterling Medical Group settlement could be used to put the facility in operation today. OAWP, OPM, and AFGE have failed to make this a reality.

  186. Keary S Moore January 27, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    The VA is too large of a bureaucracy to ever be effective, the best way to help Veterans with healthcare is to provide them with access to public healthcare, and do away with the wasteful spending that prevents The VA working efficiently.

  187. James Michael Reilly January 27, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    White House Chief of Staff for whom?

  188. Brian Rubright January 27, 2021 at 7:46 pm

    How much will he fight for us Veterans as Congress and the Senate vote themselves large pay raises and write extra funding for themselves into house resolutions, but give us a measly 1 percent or less increase for cost of living?

    How much will he fight for us when the first thing these overpaid, in their positions far to long, leather and desk jockeys who suck our nations hardworking people dry want to freeze funding to VA’s and the Veterans?

    Who’s side is he really going to take when reducing funding to the VA because they think their pet project deserves more than the people who were will, and the families of those who did, give their lives for their country and suffered injuries in her protection and protection and defense?

  189. Walter Hubler January 27, 2021 at 7:44 pm

    Ironically in 2020, the VA “helped” Vets during COVID by not billing them for almost a year on medical co-pays. The bills went out in January 2021…I was floored. Unbeknownst to me, I had been re-categorized for “fiscal” 2020 from.. the end of March to the end of March and due to some serious medical treatment, I’ve been slammed with one huge bill. Worse yet I can’t even reach a human being at the VA to discuss it. They sure know how to hurt a guy while helping him. #witsend

  190. Fred Helms January 27, 2021 at 7:42 pm

    I see nothing in his comments about helping Veterans get their benefits. The VA website is a mess and needs lots of work. The average person can not navigate thru the web of filing a claim and following it up easily. You have to use an outside consulting service to help you thru. One you have had a claim approved, you must then try to work with the VA health care system with is also cumbersome. It would be nice to see this as a priority for the new Secretary.

  191. Douglas Gus Park January 27, 2021 at 7:42 pm

    I hope only for the best for all vets under the new administration at the V.A. level and nationally. I’m sure for some, this is not the forum for this but to me it pertains. I am only 63 but I was told I could not register with the VA for a covid vaccine shot. I have had 4 heart attacks 5 bypasses and was evaluated by the VA for a heart transplant. I believe in my mind, I qualify for a shot but they told me to register with my local hospital clinics because I wasn’t getting it in my VA clinic until the next level of veterans are personally called on the phone to come in, I am not happy with that news but I will now go and register with my 3 local, non VA options.

  192. John Hoekstra January 27, 2021 at 7:41 pm

    Will spouses of veterans have an opportunity to obtain the vaccine through the VA?

  193. Preston Wheaton January 27, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    Same old Sh*t different day

  194. Shari Thomas January 27, 2021 at 7:29 pm

    The quickest way to get us veterans through the pandemic is to authorize all the CBOC’s to give vaccines. Having them available at only VA Hospitals makes many veterans either drive 300 miles or be left out. A lot of us vets live in the largely disconnected Western States.

  195. James Monahan January 27, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    No one should be considered for this position who has not experienced the sheer terror of combat. Then, what do I know ? I volunteered for Army service. I served one combat tour in
    Vietnam 1966-1967 and I’ve been in the VA Healthcare System ever since. We don’t need politician, we need a leader with 1st hand experience.

  196. Juan Diego January 27, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    This is alot of smoke and “feel good” compassion statements. His first priority needs to be getting Veterans the disability ratings they deserve and overhaul the C&P exam system. I continuously read about how the VA low balls ratings, then a Vet hires an attorney and gets what they deserve.

  197. Michael church January 27, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    The va never helps only adds more beaucracy to help continuous push away and never help. My hearing gets worse everyday I have asked for more help but told get in line to begin the constant delay delay and delay then I am told it is the virus crap which again is crap crap crap

    The government cannot evento that right. But hell yes the politicians get what they want first every time

    It sucks

    I would like to get help but feel the va really does not want to help. Just word smithing.

  198. Cheryl Cooper January 27, 2021 at 7:24 pm

    Please look into Combining where Obviously possible, the Forms that apply when a Veteran passes away, for the Purposes of Burial or Survivor such as:

    VBA 21P-530, Application for Burial Benefits,
    VA 40-1330, Claim for Standard Government Headstone or Marker,
    VA Form 21P-534EZ, Application for DIC, Death Pension and/or Accrued Benefits,
    VBA 21P-0969, Income & Asset Statement in Support of Claim for Pension or Parent’s DIC,
    BVA 21P-8416, Medical Expense Report,
    VBA 21-0845, Authorization to Disclose Personal Information to a Third Party.

  199. Mark Holst January 27, 2021 at 7:24 pm

    We need a separate phone line for covid appts. In the last two I called 6 times to get a medical appointment I was on hold for 45 minutes each time before I gave up. It shouldn’t be this hard to reach someone. Once I finally got an appointment the staff was excellent.

  200. Douglas Walters January 27, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    Why, why, why would you nominate a non veteran to this post if you if you truly cared about veterans. Another good ole boy nomination. May God have mercy on the Republic.

  201. Skip Adams January 27, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    I think SecVA and every other Secretary of Defense, Army, Navy, Air Force and even the Coast Guard should be a War Veteran. I don’t think anyone who hasn’t served has a real feeling, appreciation or understanding of what the military does and what the military is up against.

  202. john amann January 27, 2021 at 7:21 pm

    The VA has come a long way since the 1970’s but needs to understand that they are far too harsh on the process to get rated and or caregiver issues. Many wives suffer as a result of our issues and are never noticed and when we pass they have to endure a great deal of problems they face in getting the benefits, This should be done even before the veteran passes so as we can know that our families are ok. I have seen so many wives of veterans that are 100% endure great difficulty in getting what they deserve and it should be no less than the veterans rating. I would entertain anyone to be in these women’s shoes after caring for the veteran and dealing with the many issues they have.
    I will say that our medical care has gotten so much better but the VA can not attract the best doctors despite the many perks they get. I have gone thru at least 12 over the 10 year period in the system and when one of them tells you he has 30 years experience and board certified then goggles the symptom’s and relates it does not exist despite my knowing it is real is not what I call medical advice and should be looked into. The reality was a pinched nerve that is aggravated by either long drive or prolonged activity yet he still practices.

  203. Gary Pierce January 27, 2021 at 7:21 pm

    When are the veterans are going to get vaccinated?
    All I here is they are suppose to start sometime but
    Nothing is happening. The pandemic has brought Veterans health care to almost a stand still. Veterans are dying of covid 19 everyday.

  204. Foster E Ryan January 27, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    Well written article. Thank you.

  205. Gloria J Cruz January 27, 2021 at 7:05 pm

    I’m an 80 year old widow whose 100% disable veteran Hector M Cruz 83 died Jan. 4, 2021 of C-19 while undergoing dialysis treatment at the Audie Murphy VA San Antonio, Texas. My issue has been disastrous on many levels. Over night I went from almost $7,000.00 a month to his benefits stopping and my Social Security also stopping and only eligibility is Hector ‘s
    SS $2340.00. I have applied for DIC but was told this probably would not fall into place because he had to die of his disability? I need help!

  206. John Carpenter January 27, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    What about the Mission Act and Dental assistance for disabled vets that are not 100%?

  207. Charles Young January 27, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    We will see. All incoming VA Secretary’s proclaim lofty goals. I am still waiting for VA To keep the promises made for cross Regional databases for medical records and services. We still have problems when traveling and obtaining, trying to obtain, treatment. It always ends up being a huge SNAFU. Roseburg, Oregon and Yuma, Arizona seem to be the exceptions.

  208. Thomas Rigg January 27, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    I have received my first Corvus-19 vaccination and will get my second vaccination on January 28th, thankfully.

    Why can’t my caregiver, my son, get his vaccination through the VA here in Los Angeles?

    I hope this is acceptable as it has been returned twice.

    Sincerely,

    Thomas Rigg

  209. Stephen ferreira January 27, 2021 at 7:00 pm

    I realize that mr McDonough has a daunting task ahead.I don’t feel he has to be a veteran to run this huge agency. It appears that his past experience will be his guiding lite and as a Vietnam veteran I pray for his leadership in the future. Many appointees in the past accepted this office and never followed up on there promises to the veterans. We hope this appointment will be new, and not the same.

  210. Thomas Rigg January 27, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    I have received my first Corvus-19 vaccination and will get my second vaccination on January 28th, thankfully.

    Why can’t my caregiver, my son, get his vaccination through the VA here in Los Angeles?

    Sincerely,

    Thomas Rigg

  211. Michael Terrell Gibbs January 27, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    I am retired military. How about a raise for the retired vet and the disabled vet?

  212. Robert J Manteuffel January 27, 2021 at 6:56 pm

    The first task you have is to provide covid vaccine to disabled vets & their spouse.
    I see that currently the spouse can only get it along with the husband if they are
    the primary caregiver.. Most wives have been that from day one enlistment.

  213. Mark A Stivers January 27, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    Kudos to you Sir,
    What about a priority ti end veteran suicide, streamline the approval process that, we the veteran, can receive VA Disability compensation without continued denials, We should not have to jump through the hoops we are forced to, just to receive the disability compensation we deserve. Cutting our retirement in have in exchange for our disability below the cutoff rate. I should receive my full retirement because I earned for time served in my career. Disability and retirement is two different entities. Please take care of the veterans who’ve mage the sacrifice but, are now suffering as a result of that sacrifice. PLEASE !

  214. Andrew Lee Osborne January 27, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    Will be medial care, disability and compensation awarded under the prior administration be nullified or reduced?

    [Editor: This is not a thing. If this is a rumor, please do your part to squash it. There are 370,000+ VA civil career employees (we have the second largest Veteran workforce, behind DoD) working each day across the country to keep VA running. It is we who keep VA running, from administration to administration, and in these transition periods. This means that it is we who keep the day-to-day working for You, for Veterans. VA’s yearly budget to take care of Vets has increased nearly every year for 20+ years.]

  215. Edward Taylor January 27, 2021 at 6:42 pm

    Why not put the $10 billion dollars slated for Central America into the Dept. of VA!!! That would be well worth helping out our disabled veterans…

  216. linda welker January 27, 2021 at 6:40 pm

    I hope the next time I go to the VA clinic, Trump’s picture will be gone off the wall.I felt sick just looking at it.

  217. Ron Wierszewski. January 27, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    My wife and I are veterans. She is 80, I am 82 years old. We live in the Rochester NY area.
    We have not been able to schedule vaccine shots. I am hoping the local VA office will shortly start vaccinating veterans , we need protection from the covid virus.
    Thank you
    Ron Wierszewski

  218. Kenneth Bailey January 27, 2021 at 6:31 pm

    The Va is all fcked up. I had an APPOINTMENT for a covid shot at 1:45, I arrived at 1:15. When asked why I was there, I said “I have an APPOINTMENT for a covid shot. I was told :GET TO TO THE END OF THE LINE: It already had 100 walkins there!!! What the hell kind of way is this to run a health care facility???????????Appoinments don”t mean diddly shlt. As Clint Eastwood said in FULL METAL JACKET, “Frankly, Sir, I think it’s just one big cluster fck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thats how you manage it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Solve this: KISS MY *SS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    [Editor: Kenneth, please give us a call: 1-844-MyVA311. Also, Clint Eastwood was not in FMJ.]

  219. Robert J. Roy January 27, 2021 at 6:30 pm

    A new VA hospitl is being built in Worcester Ma. at the U Mass hospital campus. I attended the news conferance that announced the partnership,and how 1st choice would allow us to go to U Mass if needed. About 3 years ago VA stopped allowing us to go to U Mass because the agreement wasn’t renewed. Why did this happen? Was it money? We need U Mass for treatment until the new hospital opens. Did i mention that the partnership saved my life in Dec. of 2016 .First choice is the best thing that happened for veterans in years.
    Bob Roy 173abn Vietnam

  220. Donald P. Landers January 27, 2021 at 6:29 pm

    I do not use the VA medical system as of now. I am an Army retiree with Medicare and tricare for life that is quite adequate for the time being.

    I have found that VA system for processing disability claims is daunting and antiquated. Nothing you can provide to support a claim appears to be good enough. The process of filing a fully developed claim is a misnomer at present I haven’t had any luck.

    The math used to determine percentage is humorous. Example 50% really isn’t depending
    In how many claims you have previous. Just a way to avoid paying disability where due. I know our new secretary will never read this or even discuss it as he is now a confirmed politico.

    Just thought I’d being up the point

    [Editor: Donald, “VA math” isn’t based on addition. It’s based on remaining ability, and the process is determined by Congress. As for the claims process, yes, the requirements remain unchanged, but it’s completely modernized, efficient, and easy to follow on VA.gov. If you need assistance, please work with a VSO, or give us a call at 1-844-MyVA311.]

  221. Dave Packard January 27, 2021 at 6:28 pm

    This guy Denis McDonough is no more qualified to serve as the head of our VA than my cat is qualified..
    He was never in the service at all. Oh, but he said his grandfather was in the marines, so that should qualify him, right…. THIS GUY IS A LOONEYTOON CHARACTER FOLLOWING THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD TO THE POT OF GOLD AT THE END OF BIDEN’S RAINBOW.
    Oh, he says his high school football coach was a WW2 veteran so that qualifies him ??? Right. NEXT HE WILL PROBABLY SAY HE WATCHED MANY WAR MOVIES ON TV SO THATS ANOTHER GOOD QUALIFIER, HIS ELEVATOR DOSEN’T GO ALL THE WAY UP TO THE TOP FLOOR.
    This guy isn’t even qualified enough to run a cub scout pack much less the most Revered VA.
    I can see the VA going to hell in a handbasket fast.
    Bidens keep someone he owes favors to happy by appointing this idiot and many other idiots into many administration jobs.
    GOD HELP US ALL….

  222. Danny Newman January 27, 2021 at 6:26 pm

    I don’t understand how civilians can get the virus shot ahead of a veteran. I’ve got a feeling that I’m still a second class citizen like they told us in basic training at Lackland AFB in ‘68 . It’s hard to believe the words I hear, but I see their actions. The good news is that most Vietnam veterans will be gone in the next few years and the VA can say they cared for the Vietnam Vetrans. It’s a very sad state of affairs that we are in. Thank you

  223. Chezlow Yezz January 27, 2021 at 6:25 pm

    Yup. That’s why the clinics. hospitals and choice programs phones are busy or disconnected.

  224. Anthony Cicora January 27, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    Are you kidding me? Once again, the Dems prove they not only have no common sense, but no sense of what veterans view as sensible representation. He’s not even a veteran. His Grandfather? His football coach? What the hell are they thinking?!!!

  225. Andres F Garcia January 27, 2021 at 6:19 pm

    When are we going to get a VA Secretary who is a veteran himself/herself?

  226. Grantland R Rice January 27, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    We have had civilian VA leaders before that never served and it did no go well. The VA has done great in the last 4 years. Filling a leadership position in the VA or anywhere else for that matter with a person as a favor is ignorant.

  227. Joseph P. McGrath Sr. January 27, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    I am ok with a published email address as maybe a future reader may need the information I have provided. So do what you wish. I have ramrodded this issue locally (Southeast Pennsylvania) as a result of Willow Grove NAS, Pa. ALL federal, state, local representatives and the American Legion are well aware of the situation. EPA/CDC is conducting a very limited study as to current health conditions and future effects of this solution. See previous comments from me.

    Joseph P. McGrath Sr., MSgt, (ret, UASF)
    Hatboro, Pa.

  228. Thomas Tadsen January 27, 2021 at 6:10 pm

    Mr McDonough,
    I wish you well. You have a monumental task that will only increase in size and complexity over time. You can bank on Veterans like me to help you. I am a 37 year Army retiree, a “mustang” and also a 100 % disabled Vietnam Veteran who retired in 2006. There are many more like me, and many of them are much younger, but have the same lingering issues that still need and deserve your attention. Please ensure that all of us men and women still in service to our Nation and retired have 100 % of your attention, Sir. Thank you,

    TomTadsen
    Lieutenant Colonel, Master Aviator, U. S. Army (retired)
    Vietnam (1967, 1968, 1969)

  229. Richard Andrew Davis January 27, 2021 at 6:07 pm

    I’m in Pa. go to coatesville VA Hospital. 74 years young VN Vet high blood pressure.
    I’m disappointed the VA is behind the rest of Pa Covid vaccine sites. We should get the shot 65 and up.

  230. David Charles Rhodes January 27, 2021 at 6:05 pm

    When will I be able to get my vaccination for
    This virus.and will my daughter be able to get it at the same time.she is my caretaker

  231. Joseph P. McGrath Sr. January 27, 2021 at 6:04 pm

    Good news. I have another issue that should recognized. That would be PFOA solution that is contained in AFFF. A fire fighting solution that has contaminated many aquifers and has migrated to many surrounding communities where it has contaminated the private wells of local water suppliers and home owners. Thank you DOD/Navy/Air Force. DOD will fund to supply future water to all with carbon filters but looks the other way when it comes to the damage that has been done to folks who drank the water for decades. I wish for the VA, as an advocate for us Veterans, to lean forward in there participation to support us. Looking the other way does not count and violates the mission of the VA.
    Joseph P. McGrath Sr., MSgt., (ret, USAF)

  232. Priscilla January 27, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    Veterans of Color and Homosexuals in same categories.

  233. Silent Majority January 27, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    Number One: This position should be ran by a Veteran, and sure and a hell not by a Politician!!

    Number Two: The Way he starts by saying Veterans deserve a leader that will fight relentlessly! Talking about Joe Biden is a joke.. Democrats never do as much for Active Military, and Veterans as the Republicans!!

  234. Jeremy Pease January 27, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    The VA needs to eliminate these long waits for appoints and consults. I realized the other day as I laid in bed in terrible pain why there are so many veteran suicides. We have to wait months and months to go to one appointment just to be told they are putting a consult in. Then its another few months And the Care In the Community Program is just as bad. Especially when you go to a civilian doctor and they cant do what they want unit (or if) the VA gives them permission. And also I feel Veterans should be getting these COVID vaccinations before some others in the community.

  235. Shirley and Charles Rose, JR January 27, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    I would like to see Veterans receive total dental coverage. Teeth are also a big part of your health.

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