The U.S. Senate confirmed VA Secretary nominee Denis McDonough Monday, Feb. 8, and he was sworn in today as the eleventh VA secretary. 

As I begin my tenure at the Department of Veterans Affairs, I want to take a moment to speak directly to Veterans and other VA stakeholders and share my thoughts on VA’s mission and the road ahead.

It is the honor of my lifetime to join the VA workforce in serving Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors. We live in peace and security today because of the sacrifices of generations of Veterans. My career has afforded me a privilege available to relatively few Americans: to see up close the excellence of our Armed Forces in the field on my regular visits to Afghanistan and Iraq; to witness the strength and resilience of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed; and to experience the unimaginable grief of military families there at Dover when our fallen heroes come home one final time. From that I have a passion to fight relentlessly every day to ensure that VA serves our Veterans as well as they have served America.

Throughout those experiences I’ve also been deeply impressed by the dedication and excellence of VA employees. I look forward to being a true partner with the men and women of VA – dedicated, highly-skilled professionals, many Veterans themselves – Veterans serving Veterans who deserve our profound respect and support.

At this moment when our country must come together, caring for you – our country’s Veterans and your families – is a mission that can unite us all.

Denis R. McDonough has been sworn in as VA Secretary. (VA Photo by Robert Turtil.)

The president has called on every American to embrace our responsibility to support our Veterans and their families. So this administration will work with other federal departments and agencies, with Veterans service organizations, with the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA), and with other state and local organizations, both public and private, who have the best interests of Veterans and their families at heart. We must work together to serve all Veterans.

President Biden has defined our country’s most sacred obligation as preparing and equipping the troops we send into harm’s way and then caring for them and their families when they return. Here’s how we at VA will fulfill our part of that sacred obligation.

Every decision I make will be determined by a simple principle, that it increases Veterans’ access to care and benefits and improves outcomes for them.

Our highest priorities will be VA’s three core responsibilities: providing all our Veterans timely, world-class health care; ensuring they and their families have access to the benefits they’ve earned; and honoring our Veterans with a final resting place that’s a lasting tribute to their service.

In addition, we’ll do everything in our power to help Veterans get through this pandemic; help them build civilian lives through education and jobs worthy of their skills and service; ensure that VA welcomes all Veterans, including women, Veterans of color and LGBTQ Veterans; work to eliminate Veterans’ homelessness and reduce suicide; and keep faith with their families and caregivers.

Assessments of our efforts will be measured by the outcomes we generate for Veterans and by listening to what Veterans have to say about their experiences. We will be strengthened by the advice and support of Veterans service organizations and by hearing from our partners and respected organizations who share our mission of improving Veterans’ lives.

We’re going to focus on living our core VA I-CARE values in all our interactions. Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect and Excellence – these values will define who we are, our culture, and how we care for Veterans and other VA colleagues.

This means that all VA patients, staff, their families, caregivers, survivors, visitors and advocates must feel safe in a workplace free of harassment and discrimination. I will not accept discrimination, harassment or assault at any level or at any facility within VA. We will provide a safe, inclusive environment for Veterans and VA employees. Simultaneously, in VHA and VBA, we will redouble our efforts to care for Veterans who are survivors of military sexual trauma, ensuring they can all count on VA’s support.

We can achieve our mission only by embracing the incredible diversity that defines our Veteran population and all of America, leveraging everyone’s talents and passions. I commit to these principles, and I will make sure that my senior leadership team reflects and embeds them in everything we do.

We are fortunate to have a strong ally and leader in the White House. President Biden gave me a clear mission – to be a fierce, staunch advocate for Veterans and their families. His marching order to me is clear – fight like hell for Veterans. And we are going to fight like hell to give our Veterans and their families the benefits, services, respect and dignity they deserve.

I fully embrace this mission, and I know the VA workforce does, too.

May God bless our troops, our Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors – and, as a nation, may we always give them our very best.

OTED is now PCPGVeterans to benefit from personalized career planning and guidance
Veterans enrolled in and eligible for VA health care can receive personalized COVID-19 vaccine information from VA in different ways.How Veterans, designated caregivers can get COVID-19 vaccine from VA

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157 Comments

  1. FT March 6, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    A political statement that goes nowhere. The only good news about this was the firing of Robert Wilkie who created the worst policy called the Mission Statement which screwed every veteran’s Choice for healthcare. He then lied to Trump by telling him that the VA has a 91% approval rating. That is total horse dung. I challenge you to find 10% of real combat veterans who would say this. In the 15 years which I have used VA health care, I have never seen the VA ask a veteran to review any doctor or other healthcare worker for the performance of care. Get rid of the Mission Statement policies 100%. At the Temple/Waco Va, the facility is plagued with cults such as BLM/Antifa and a Community Care office that denies any and all
    the requests for outside care to competent medical doctors. This is also compounded by the AFL/CIO VA workers union who
    have the nerve to set up tables in the entrance telling vets how they care!!!!.
    In my case, the VA has never paid a cent for any emergency care I ever received such as two heart attacks. The same care I was actually Denied at the VA. Hell, they even denied payment to the ambulance service who saved my life.
    So, Mr.McDonough, let’s see what kind of secretary you will be. Will you be the typical Politician or will you grab a huge broom and clean this mess up? Set the Vets free !!

  2. John Florea March 5, 2021 at 8:26 am

    I am sorry but I do not trust you Denis McDonough. How many V.A. Secretaries have claimed to care about serving soldiers? I have only heard all of you say you are going to provide veterans with the care they deserve, but it seems the care you all feel veterans deserve is substandard care. Wait them out until they give up, stonewall them until they get so disgusted that you can label them as combative to deny them care and conspire with others at the V.A. to cover up any misdeeds committed against these helpless soldiers. Hide sexual abuse and secret wait lists… fail to properly sterilize equipment to save money in your budget for bonuses for the directors with the highest death rates among their veteran population. Not to mention hiring doctors and care providers that have been stripped of their credentials in the private sector, and allowing doctors to improperly treat veterans up to and including their death with improper radiation therapy, or botched surgeries. All the while claiming you are doing everything possible to provide top notch care to soldiers. Why should we believe anything you say, or is that why it is so easy for the statements to pass the lips of every V.A. Secretary…because you all know it isn’t true? I read your statement letter….now let’s see you reply to my statement if you really care.

    • FT March 6, 2021 at 3:06 pm

      I totally approve and agree with every word you said, John. Keep it up
      and let’s see if McDonough has the cojones to clean house !!!3

  3. Peter Van Dermark March 4, 2021 at 5:42 am

    Someone needs to look into the Regional Office St. Petersburgh where someone has changed a Veterans EBenefits page on his disabilities to effectively hide a prior rating on SMC P. This rating was effective 12/19/2018 Aid and Attendance granted plus a 1/2 step increase due to a separate 50% rating on his right shoulder. Then due to additional ratings on SC disabilities he is entitled to another 1/2 step increase to SMC M. What someone did in the St. Petersburg RO was to over write the previous SMC P with his new rating therefore showing no record of the previous rating and effectively denying his new rating of SMC M.
    Totally uncalled for action by the VA.

  4. Mario Carrizales March 4, 2021 at 12:02 am

    I would like to ask you about life insurance for veterans from the VA. I contacted the VA to see if I could get life insurance for myself and I was told my time to get insurance with the VA had expired, wasn’t eligible anymore. I have all my vehicles and house insured with state farm and I applied with them 3 times for some life insurance. I was turned down 3 times because I was diabetic. They called it an existing condition. I’m a Vietnam veteran, was there during the years of 68-69. I was in the Central Highlands where Agent Orange was sprayed for the vegetation. Will the VA do something to help veterans that have Agent Orange conditions? Thanks for you’re reply.

    [Editor: VA life insurance types and eligibility details are here: https://www.va.gov/life-insurance/ ]

  5. Ann Kirkman March 2, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    Would you check out the Salisbury NC VAMC CLC? I have not had a visit in about a year. My husband feels he has been deserted. No family visits. He has not had Covid. He is being left in bed. A lot of concerns of the care given to him. Please help us have a visit. This is bad for the vets! Ann Kirkman -wife

  6. Mike Ayers February 20, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    I have read and reread his article and can’t find what branch of service and the years he served. The cycle will continue until the VA Secretary and especially all leadership is run by former Veterans and not career politicians.

  7. Russell C. Rochte February 18, 2021 at 11:51 am

    You say you want to “fight like hell” for veterans? We Vets will be the judge.

    You can start here: Why do the education benefits of younger veterans who served since 2013 NEVER EXPIRE, but we older Vets who could really use the education benefit to try to figure out how to keep food on the family table only get 15 years after separation?? [Editor: Each VA education program’s eligibility is governed by federal law.]

    The last Secretary responded with a lame “Congress must act first.” Okay, I understand that the law changed for those discharged since 2013…but why only them?? Aren’t the sacrifices of we older Vets worth something, too??

    So, Mr. Secretary: go lobby Congress to change the VA educational benefit to give ALL VETS the benefit of NO EXPIRATION DATE. AND make sure that all we whose benefits expired are grandfathered back in to have our unused benefit restored to us with no time limit.

    You already know who we are, and you know how much of the education benefit we eh had left at the 15 year point. Restore our benefit with no time limit to use it, equal to the 2013 group. We older Vets have to scramble to find jobs. Give us a chance to re-tool. Give us back our expired benefits.

    Letting only a select few have indefinite benefit DISCRIMINATES against ALL we OLDER VETS. But it is we older Vets who need the help in this economy.

    Lobby Congress.
    Change to law.
    Help older Vets.
    NOW!

    • Veterans Benefits Administration February 22, 2021 at 4:54 pm

      Thank you for your question and your Service Mr. Rocthe. VA does work with Congress on legislative initiatives, but ultimately Congress would need to take action to change the current statute. You may want to contact your Congressional Representative and Senators to assist in your request.

      • John Maloney March 3, 2021 at 6:10 pm

        Mr Secretary, 79 year old 20 year Army 100 % DAV that has over 200% ratings mostly gotten from my Vietnam service and know your job is both challenging and most difficult. I would appreciate it if much more emphasis would be given in the comprehensive care program as I just learned about it and have been informed processing / approval takes (Quote) in excess of 90 days. My wife has to give me my shots, put on my compression socks, administer medicine, drive me to appointments, assist with clothing & bathing plus so many other daily things. I was able to get my shots (both) locally but because my wife is 63 not eligible by state parameters. VA will not give her a shot because she is not in the system, yet in reality she is my comprehensive care taker and if something should happen and she get the virus, I might as well as jump off a bridge because I cannot survive without her assistance. I am registered and receive care at the Pensacola VA facility, they can see I require assistance yet denied her a vaccine last Saturday even though they gave us appointments and went in for it. Another big issue facing you to fix is our suicide rate, much caused by so many different things but try calling in to the VA switchboard and getting answered, then put on hold where I have often waited over 20 minutes MANY times, and one time over 1 1/2 hours. Calls to PAD are often answered with incomplete answers, just passing the buck when someone calls in. A lot of emphasis has to be in MAKING the patient advocates do their jobs! Much emphasis on improved switchboard and answering phone calls. Poor ptsd individuals that cannot handle the frustrations of waiting long periods of time to speak with someone, not getting good answers etc are contributing to the suicide rate. Please make VA better, help me get my wife registered so she can get the Corona shots ( I lay awake at night worrying about her contracting the virus). I know you are not Superman but our veterans deserve more. please help us!

  8. Jody Falbo February 14, 2021 at 7:44 am

    After 14 years of employment at the VA I have learned the lower level employees are the foundation of the system. Unfortunately they are squashed for speaking out. The upper management team is a sophisticated network of gate keepers. They smile and politely nod stating we’re here to serve the veterans, when in reality they only care about money… the veterans money. I’m a whistleblower because the Chief in dental was offering implants, crowns and bridges to the 4th floor executives, all non veterans.

    They’ve ridiculed and slandered my name throughout the hospital. No pay increase, overworked by doing two jobs, etc. They’ve even infiltrated our unions.

    Every executive should be fired and from here on require term limits. Now I ask, who’s minding the budget? Some of these people climb up the ladder pretty quickly. 20K increase in one year?

    Remove these evil people from power.

    • Ryan Brown March 4, 2021 at 12:53 am

      Honestly, it’s like that in every city hall, state capital, so on and so on. All have written laws they supposedly follow and uphold, with the addition of “may”. Serious, it’s in every single building code, statutes on violations, etc. It gives them complete control and we don’t even get a fighting chance unless one of them does something stupid and it’s leaked before the can cover it up. I’m sure they all didn’t start this way, but once you’re the outcast and the scary thought of going against Goliath slowly pushes them to the dark side. We need more outliers.

  9. Ron February 13, 2021 at 3:41 pm

    A POEM ENTITLED SAVING MY ASS i am now done with chemo how noble it is to be a sicko after six chemos left me with sparkly eyes how grateful to be alive for the VA workers who knew and a few who did not know their jive the shields and masks were up to the task for ALL l the workers who risk their lives to save my ass

  10. Jerry Williams February 12, 2021 at 11:29 am

    I do not remember the last time I was give a coast of live in my comps I’m at 100% since 2005 ??

    [Editor: There has been a COLA increase nearly every year since 1975. VA generally follows SSA on the COLA increase, and ’21 increase went into effect in Dec. ’20: https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2020/09/24/veterans-will-see-same-cost-of-living-boost-in-2021-as-social-security-beneficiaries/ ]

    • Michael Allen Barker February 12, 2021 at 7:20 pm

      Mr. Secretary,
      Our VA system has struggled to provide continuity of excellence to our vets. In particular I have sensed an underlying attitude of disrespect from the primary care and mental health doctors. There is a dismissive and arrogant attitude from many of them. I have found in my 25 years of VA patient care that the quality of these doctors reflects a dumping ground of underperforming and poorly schooled physicians.
      Nursing care is somewhat better, although I have repeatedly heard veteran nurses decry the untrained nurses now working in the system.
      America’s veterans deserve better than this. Unfortunately, we continue to hear the same old song from each VA Secretary. Promises are made, but nothing changes.
      I pray that you are the exception.
      Mike Barker
      Vietnam Veteran

    • Ronald E Nesler February 14, 2021 at 8:45 pm

      Only about 20% of vets eligible for VA actually use VA. Why so few? Because the corruption and unaccountability among VA execs makes VA healthcare very dangerous. I served in the Vietnam war, not one time since then, have I ever seen a VA exec held accountable for anything. Not once, not ever. If you will make an EFFORT to change that, I will support you. So would lots of other vets.

  11. Robert Jone February 12, 2021 at 9:40 am

    Did you know that you could have climbed the hill at Iwo Jima and denied VA medical benefits because you now make too much money? That is wrong. That needs to be changed. What happens if your Primary Care doc retires and you can’t find a Tricare doc you like? You should have VA medical benefits. You should be able to use VA medical benefits EVERYONE even millionaires.

  12. Keith McLaughlin February 11, 2021 at 11:01 pm

    Clarification of my previous comment:
    Prior to 2016………..

  13. Tanisha Bruns February 11, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    I served 26yrs, honorably & loyally, like most Soldiers. Please change the VA motto so it reflects your statement that the “VA welcomes all Veterans, including Women.” Please hire more female providers so no other Woman Veteran is directed away from the local CBOC to one over an hour away, for Cervical Cancer screening exams like I was.

  14. michael a strout February 11, 2021 at 6:55 pm

    welcome to the job Secretary Denis McDonough. i hope now we can get medical staff that will listen tp use and answer our questions without a line of BULL, some of us are not as dumb as they think we are.

  15. Milton+Pridemore February 11, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Ive been in the VA system for 33 years…I got high blood pressure meds…diabetes meds and a lot of runaround. It seems if you have a real problem it wont get diagnosed. I got a rash on my ankle 33 years ago now both lower legs are literally rotting off…no diagnosis…no testing…no treatment. 6 years ago I started having pain while exercising in my right hip..now I cant walk! Im in a wheelchair on opiods and nobody will diagnose me or help me get moving again. Just months and months between useless and botched up by the VA appointments.

  16. Sam Bishop February 11, 2021 at 11:26 am

    Lots of negative comments here, so let me give 5 thumbs up for the VA facility in Marina (old Fort Ord) and the massive hospital in Palo Alto. Great service in my needs for cataract surgery and for hearing.

    • Roy Takahashi February 12, 2021 at 8:11 am

      I totally agree with respondent about same assist for vets as for Medicade recipients. After all, what did they do for America deserving more benefits than a vet. On same, do members of Congress pay co-payments, etc.? They all get travel. How many of you don’t qualify for travel expense?
      And, where does a vet address an issue?
      I wasn’t allowed to change PP. Kept screwing with me ending with original PP, and a NP or PA, but not a dr. at that. That’s was denying me my civil rights.
      How about a 10:00 appt and the Dr going by with styrofoam box at 10:34… 10:34!!!
      I read the lip service. Its the same mantra with each new administrator.
      But, still no avenue to answer my issue(s).

  17. G Meehan February 11, 2021 at 10:55 am

    Welcome aboard
    I am a 100% P & T veteran that has been using the VA Health care system intermittently for 10 years. In this time
    I have really noticed the increase in VA Propaganda on how well the VA is doing but the care has doesn’t
    match the TALK. I have seen attitude going downhill. Your job will be a REAL challenge. You are in my prayers.

  18. Christopher Bramblett February 11, 2021 at 10:12 am

    Welcome. Unfortunately I skeptically optimistic in the changes and improvements that are to come. For almost 10 years I have been a patient of the VA. I still find it hard to speak to my doctors on a more regular basis and to find a primary care doctor who is just a glorified pill pusher. I have to go to the ER every time I have cold. The C&P system still works against veterans for claims especially claims that directly affect quality of life. On top of that we still have the systematic problem with veteran and active duty suicide.

    An Idea to fix access to veteran healthcare it to change the way that veterans can go to outside doctors and or create more CBOC’s that veterans can access. Looking at VA population data for veterans in 2019 there were approx. 17-18 million veterans in the nation. if you take into consideration that there are about 1500 VA hospital and CBOC’s that mean each facility services 11,597 veterans. Not taking into account for major population centers. That is still an unacceptable number to have 1 facility or clinic deal with. The VA needs more CBOC’s.

    Another problem is the VA systems are not interconnected. Mainly with medical records. I should be able to walk into in VA in the country for care and all they have to do is scan my VHIC to pull up my full medical records. We are in the 21st century that technology should exists. Plus many veterans of the War on Terror are moving around for their careers more often and that means having to get through the red tape of changing facilities and getting a new provider etc.

    The last thing I will mention is the educational opportunities. The GI Bill only works the way it is supposed to if you don’t work while using it. I personally exhausted my GI Bill because I had to work full time while using it. It’s not because I was living above my means it is because I had to just to pay bills. There needs to be something for veterans that have exhausted their GI Bill and are still trying to finish their education.

    All in all the VA is not catering to the new generation of veterans or very well to any veteran from my experience. So Mr. Secretary, I hope that one thing you will do is not just listen to the big wigs at the top of the VA, but get down on the ground level and listen to the nurses and doctors but more importantly listen to the everyday veteran that relies on this system for all of their medical care.

    • LKing February 11, 2021 at 12:50 pm

      Chris you have a lot of valid stuff here. I haven’t been able to access my Educational benefits and they tell me that I’m not eligible for medical benefits. It’s all a headache.

    • michael a strout February 11, 2021 at 7:05 pm

      I know what you mean. i have been using the va system for over 15 year and its been the same. if bull was sold by the pound the goverment would be rick

    • Veterans Benefits Administration February 22, 2021 at 4:53 pm

      Thank you for your question on education opportunities, Christopher. VA can only provide educational benefits as outlined in statutory requirements. Congress would have to enact changes such as the one you proposed. VA offers several programs to further your educational goals while providing a monthly housing allowance. If you are pursuing a STEM degree, the Edith Roger Nourse STEM Scholarship can provide up to 9-months (or, $30,000) in additional Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to help complete your degree. The Veterans Employment Through Technology Educational Courses, or VET TEC, can help you earn a certification in an IT career field and then assist you in finding meaningful employment. All you need is one day of GI Bill entitlement remaining to be eligible. Veterans can also contact their respective State Veterans Affairs Offices to find out if their state offers educational assistance. Please use the following link to learn more – https://www.va.gov/statedva.htm. Thank you for your Service.

      • Seamus Doherty March 3, 2021 at 1:46 pm

        VET TEC was a successful pilot, exhausting annual funding in less than a month.

  19. Larry McCain February 11, 2021 at 10:07 am

    I’m a non-combat Vietnam Veteran (Apr 1966 thru Feb 1970) serving in the USAF at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. I spent my entire military service there along with hundreds of other airman who were frozen to the base. All my friend who I served with and friends in the Navy (non-combat) all receive VA Benefits but I receive zero benefits. I first tried to sigh up in the 1990s but was denied. I tried 2 or 3 times after that and still denied. How can I be denied my VA benefits when I have done nothing wrong while my friends who served side by side receive 100% of them. Something need to change, you should never be able to take away some ones benefits that they qualify for…..

  20. Larry Tunison February 11, 2021 at 10:06 am

    Your promised commitments to Veterans, et. all, are admirable and achievable with cooperation from non-VA organizations that offer support. However, everyone always omits the largest and most critical element necessary for making operations successful, Veterans. I assume criticizing Veterans would be a public relations nightmare, but one of the largest impediments to efficient, accurate, compassionate and friendly care Veterans. Take a survey with VA employees to confirm or disprove my assertion. One need only stand near an interaction between a Veteran and a VA employee. Not all, but more than not, Veterans are rude and demanding with VA employees. Veterans receive a booklet that describes, in detail, the services to which they are entitled and a complete explanation of how the VA works. Veterans show up for appointments in need of a bath, shave, clean clothes and brushed teeth. This is nothing more that what was required of them when they were on active duty. I realize that poverty and homelessness are problems but there are ways and places where a Veterans can accomplish these things. I would declare the VA an unarmed military service and require military behavior from Veterans. I was in a waiting room when two Veterans were arguing and ready to fight. I yelled the military command “at ease” and they stopped. Veterans never forget their military training. This should be used to maintain discipline while at the VA. Veterans should have more pride than the dirty ball caps they wear to their appointments.

  21. Larry R Elliott February 11, 2021 at 9:50 am

    Thank you for your service. A fresh look at the VA is greatly needed. Almost two years ago I needed to be closer to family, and I relocated from California to Arizona. The VA at Loma Linda California was top notch. I even volunteered there for 11 years, trying to “give back” to my fellow veterans. I obtained Peer Support training, Community Resilience Training and facilitated Vet 2 Vet sessions. I wrote the first VA “Voluntary” Peer Support manual by coordinating with Washington, San Bernardino County and Loma Linda VA. We had a program in place a year before the VA had their Peer Support Program in place. I served on the Hospital Advisory council, Attended San Bernardino County meetings and served supporting veterans organizations, even helped start a community resource center, and Veterans garden project in local communities. I volunteered in the Mental Health arena and helped many veterans self advocate. The move to Arizona has been unusually challenging. The primary care I was assigned to is the worst I’ve seen.. The entire care team does not live up to the I-CARE policies. Treatment has been practically non existent. I’ve had to get treatment by going around them. I’m 12 weeks in a temporary hold for a 6 hour surgery I need. Other medical needs are on hold in the meantime. My primary care team should not be mistreating veterans like that and should probably not be in the VA system with this level of unprofessional care. (This is at the SE clinic in Gilbert). Some improvements are also needed at the main Phoenix Hospital. There are also unacceptable delays between some departments I.e. a brain scan was requested Jan 11, the VA hospital claims that they are ill equipped to do it (because of my pacemaker) and it’s over one month and a request for appointment in the community is still not processed. As previously stated, I’m running around with a tube out of my body for 12 weeks – on hold for surgery. This seriously lowers my quality of life. Care required that is not Covid related is on hold. There are several medical issues worse than Covid. (The Covid numbers have been skewed to create panic, and people are dying unnecessarily with non-Covid issues). Overall the Speciality clinics at the Main Hospital are doing great, with minor exception). A fresh look is needed to improve service.

  22. Bob Dieter February 11, 2021 at 9:44 am

    Does Sec. McDonough read this blog?

  23. Rodney Lyons February 11, 2021 at 9:23 am

    LOVE … not fight…

  24. Kirk Siegrist February 11, 2021 at 9:19 am

    Mr. Secretary Sir,

    Welcome as the new Secretary for all veterans and their families. I believe that a top priority is to fix delays in our appeals process on legitimate claim denials. It’s must be fixed to insure expediency and accuracy for us veterans that have been denied on our service connected injuries. My service medical records are clearly and unmistakably documented of my on going health issues. I have been diagnosed with service connected PTSD and have been awarded on that claim, however I have been denied on other service connected health related issues that are currently on appeals. My pending appeals are currently on the docket of the Veterans Board of Appeals desk in Washington D.C. and have been for several years. At the rate that my appeals are moving up on the docket I will either be dead or to old to financially enjoy what quality of life I still have. I have been more than patient as I continue to wait for my long awaited outcome. I worked as a B-52 D models and KC-135 environmental mechanic for several years and was honorably discharged.

    Thank you so much Mr. Secretary

  25. Roderick Quigley February 11, 2021 at 9:14 am

    It would be nice if the VA doctors were given the opportunity to write their nexus letters for a claim. So far they agree I got sick in the Marine corps. But aren’t allowed to write an opinion. Has to be an outside doctor. I now have 4th stage liver disease and advanced prostate cancer in my spine. Terminal. Please fix this travesty. Tell your doctors to tell the truth, whether or not the ruling goes for or against the VA. Roderick F. Quigley USMC

  26. James Becher February 11, 2021 at 9:03 am

    I agree with the other statements written about dental a healthy mouth is a healthy life please give us dental thank you.

  27. Kenneth Carr February 11, 2021 at 8:58 am

    I was told Philly VA was doing COVID Vaccination and called. Got an appointment within 1 week. Went there at 12:45 scheduled time and left at 1:15. This included the 15 minutes waiting after the shot. Great job. In Philly city they can’t get their act together. Thanks VA for making this happen.

  28. James Guy Simmons February 11, 2021 at 8:46 am

    I support the call to eliminate co-payment for all Veterans who received Honorable Discharge’s. Those of us who served during the Vietnam conflict did so at a time when this country was at odds over our involvement in this conflict. Promises were made as to the benefits of serving and many Veterans like myself didn’t take advantage of these benefits since most of us had civilian jobs that provided great health benefits. However, when changes in career or jobs, most private insurance was too expensive and we turned to the VA. Like many, the main issue was prescriptions in the private sector were very costly and out of reach. It took two year after my application to start receiving health benefits and when confronted with a requirement of Co-Payment for drugs and Doctor Visits, I was astonished! With health care cost out of reach for many, I welcomed the day I turned 65 so I could receive Medicare thinking this would act in position of any co-payments but it only helped in covering services outside the VA. When I had my heart attack, I was in an outside hospital and due to the requirement of seeking pre-approval for treatment, I had to rely solely on my Medicare. After the VA had given pre-approval to the facility to treat me, I was assured that my fees would be covered. However, when I was discharged, NO VA PAYMENT WAS MADE ON MY BEHALF! Although Medicare covered a large portion of the expenses, my out of pocket was in excess of $6,000. SO FIX THE SYSTEM FOR THE NEWER GROUP OF VETERANS AND GRANT THEM THE BENEFITS THIS GOVERNMENT PROMISED! I would encourage the older Veterans like myself to take advantage of the Medicare Plans that offer good benefits in addition to using the VA. My Co-Payments to VA exceeds my Co-Payments for my Medicare Plans? If Co-Payment isn’t eliminated, at least adjust it to the Co-Payments for Medicare Plans.

  29. David February 11, 2021 at 8:23 am

    Welcome Mr. Secretary, Praying that your time as the VA Secretary will be a successful one. One of the complaints that I hear is about meds for vets. I believe that if you served honorable that you should be entited to free meds. Also I am a 100% disabled vet, my wife received ChampusVA. It’s a great benefit but does not go far enough. If you was to pick a medicare supplement that gave you more benefit’s and chose not to receive ChampusVA then you cannot ever get it back. I believe that your spouse should receive the same care that the Vet receives. With Community Care program it would not add to the backload at the VA hospital..
    Thank you, I send Prayers to you that we continue to live in a free country and that you get all the support you need for the Veterans of this Great Country

  30. Gearal A. Amoroso February 11, 2021 at 8:20 am

    As a Bronze Star decorated Vietnam Vet and Bluewater Sailor…I put in for AGENT ORANGE on four ailments…two were denied and TWO WERE NOT. YEARS have past and I STILL DO NOT have a determination. Besides the fact that we are in this COVID-19 VIRUS ERA…WHY THE DELAY??

  31. Lloyd Miller February 11, 2021 at 8:15 am

    After 50 years of “ foot dragging “ on the medical affects of agent orange exposure, the NDAA includes a provision to expand the “presumptive” list. Could we please make the process of filing a supplemental claim less onerous than going through the whole process again. Thank you.

  32. Charles M. Wofford February 11, 2021 at 8:07 am

    I have had terrific service from the VA Medical & Mental Health folks but mean-spirited service from the Dental section.., the VA would be money ahead to fire all the dental clowns & just give us Vets a dental insurance plan…

  33. Marypat Klee February 11, 2021 at 8:06 am

    VA needs to have less VISNs and standardized policies, procedures, and protocols. They should hire more employees in the Community Care offices so that they are not trying to make appointments for 500-1,000 veterans as a single department staffer. OPTUM payment pipeline to Community Care doctors/dentists should not take 54 days. This impacts follow on treatments and delays them for months. More discussions and initiatives on senior care for men AND WOMEN veterans who served in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Those of us who served in the last years of the WAC and transitioned into the all male units are never discussed. I have received excellent care and respect from employees and medical staff at the San Antonio, Milwaukee, and Murfreesboro/Nashville VAs. Employees, when I received care at the Birmingham VA were disrespectful and you had to walk over veterans sleeping on the lobby floor (It looked like a homeless shelter.). Finally, employees like my sister (also a veteran) who served as an RN at 3 VAs should have given the courtesy/honor of an exit meeting with the Chief of Nursing by the Birmingham VA (all VAs should do this!).

  34. Jack Disraeli February 11, 2021 at 7:50 am

    Excellence is the name of the game for the VA. All Honor to You for all the care I have been given since I got out of the USAF.

  35. Marypat Klee February 11, 2021 at 7:49 am

    Nice comments. You need to look at increasing VA Community Care staff so Veterans don’t have to wait so long to be given appointments, better management of payment processing for community care doctors and dentists. 54 day processing by OPTUM and its sub contract entities is too long. Also, the VA talks about newer veteran care (maternity, loss of limbs, etc. ) and seems to never point out senior care for male and female veterans who served in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. I have been fortunate to have had excellent care in San Antonio, Milwaukee, and Murfreesboro. The Birmingham facilities/care and poor attitude toward veterans and employees is a disgrace. How about having less VISNs and standardizing internal policies, procedures and protocols so each VISN does not operate as separate entities. Employees, like my sister, who served as an RN for 35 years (also a veteran of 9 years service) should at least been given the courtesy and honor to have had an exit meeting with the Chief of Nursing (Birmingham). Women Program coordinators should be military active duty veterans and not a staff social worker who never served.

  36. Sidney Loeffler February 11, 2021 at 7:37 am

    Welcome Secretary Denis McDonough! As a Veterans Service Officer, I would hope we could speed up the adjudication process for Veterans who file a claim. Currently a claim can take anywhere from 6 months to a year. I would love to see claims decided in 3-6 months. I wish you much success, because your success is our success!

  37. A.O February 11, 2021 at 7:24 am

    Grandpa was in the military which he thinks qualifies him to be the VA leader. Never led anything in his life. Want to really do something for veterans then GIVE EVERY VETERAN THE SAME BENEFITS AS THOSE ON MEDICAID RECEIVE. NO DEDUCTIBLES – NO CO-PAYS – COVER ALL MEDICAL AND DENTAL COSTS. PROVIDE HEARING – DENTAL – VISION – PRESCRIPTIONS AT NO COST TO THE VETERAN. Unlike MEDICAID veterans have earned their care. Let the veteran choose when-where-by who they are treated. Put veterans in all management positions. Facility directors, associate directors, assistant directors, chief of staff and nursing and all service chiefs. Change will happen and happen quickly.

    Time will tell but we have heard the same promises time and time again with little or no action.

  38. Lonely Theodore Galey February 11, 2021 at 7:09 am

    I am 100% and I tell a app.House and they said I wasn’t in U.S.Armyfor3 years and I am legal blind Dye told me I’m legal blind DR.and the VA Blind centre said I am legal blind and a app. House said all this and and not rate for Disability and bow I have a house fix for my blind Please help me out with app. House from Cleveland.Ohio.

  39. William Dawson36 February 11, 2021 at 7:04 am

    I am one of a small group. I am 84, receiving care through the VA due to a service connected hearing loss. Receiving care with some limitations ie. meds, Dr. Visits, and distance from providers. The VA has treated me as needed with less out of pocket than Medicare. The best hearing aids, glasses as needed, and a primary care Dr. who is really focused on you and your wellness. I live at home, care for my basic needs and am surrounded by a loving extended family. What else could I possibly want from the VA? Well, I have to say, given my age, I expected the VA would try to get me vaccinated stat! Not so, I had scamble to get the state system to work my wife and I done 2/27.

  40. Rex Umney February 11, 2021 at 6:53 am

    No one took better care of the Vets than Trump did!! Promises made promises kept, lets hope the new and IMPROVED Biden does not let corruption get in his way

    • John wood February 11, 2021 at 10:19 am

      Amen!

  41. Marion Douglas Boyette February 11, 2021 at 6:48 am

    Secretary McDonough I read your message twice and I wish you the best with this task you are taking on. I believe without a doubt that you sincerely mean what you have said. I and others will hold you accountable for your actions and leadership role going forward looking out for the best interest of the Veterans. I have been using my VA medical benefits for about five years now and have no complaints about my care which is actually better than some of the care I get outside of VA. I get hearing aids, glasses and much more but I find it alarming that I cannot get any dental care from VA not even routine cleanings. I have been told most of my life that oral hygiene is very important to overall health. I have a 20% service connected disability and that is still not enough to qualify for dental. I would say that this issue is the most talked about among us Veterans. Thanks

  42. shannon brough February 11, 2021 at 6:46 am

    My WWII step-father was just killed with poor care at ROBLEY REX-LOUISVILLE VA- HOSPITAL-TELL ME HOW GOOD THE CARE IS AGAIN-FCK THE THE VA!

  43. Kenneth Campbell February 11, 2021 at 6:41 am

    I am writing in hope that the new secretary of veterans affairs Denis McDonough can change the way Vets can contact the VA and get information. I have had a claim for Agent Orange exposure in the Navy at the VA since 2019. Getting any (Good) information from the VA is almost imposable. The website is useless. As I understand it controlled by a third party and lags what is actually going on. We should be able to see what is happening with our claims without having to go through a VSO or a third party to track progress and ask questions. I recently found out that after waiting months for deck log information to be processed the VA was researching the wrong ships logs. Why can’t Vets have access to our own records ? When we were deemed responsible enough to handle nuclear weapons.

  44. Sue Smith February 11, 2021 at 5:05 am

    If your statement is true regarding regarding improving outcomes for Veterans, please immediately implement Stellate Ganglion Blocks (SGB) for all veterans and current military personnel. Google 60 minutes PTSD to watch their show on this. 20 veterans commit suicide daily and waiting one more day to implement this is one day too long.

  45. Harrison Balze February 11, 2021 at 2:04 am

    Unsolicited advice for the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs: 1.Veterans as a whole need dental care. See what you can do to get it. Lobby Congress. 2. Don’t take you wife with you on overseas junkets. 3. Keep your nose clean and don’t do anything stupid along the way. I really hope you can make some changes. Good luck.

  46. Ron Willis February 11, 2021 at 1:54 am

    Not that it’s a requirement to run a massive governmental organization, but has Secretary McDonough served as a member of the armed forces? It helps us to know where he’s coming from.

    R. Willis
    Vietnam War / Cold War

  47. Richard Baker February 11, 2021 at 1:30 am

    Mr. Secretary,

    Congratulations or condolences, I am not sure which. As a Vietnam vet and living in Indiana, I would like to point out the excellent care and service that I have received at the Richard L. Roudebush Veterans’ Administration Medical Center. I have been going there for years due to many issues due to Agent Orange and PTSD.

    One the other side of the coin, working with the VA Benefits side is a nightmare. I have to keep proving things over and over, with long waits in between. Right now I am waiting for results from another PTSD exam (September ’20), to determine if I qualify for any additional benefits or compensation. This is very humorous to me since I have been under the care a VA mental health doctor for years for PTSD. I have been told that my mental health doctors are not included in these decisions, which baffles me as to why not?

    Anyway I whish you all the best in the upcoming years!!

  48. Sava-Marie Shelton February 11, 2021 at 1:21 am

    Congratulations but I hope you know that you have a long way to go with the VA, if you want to make quality care for us Veterans a priority. Right now our VA is not even open to see us. This is probably the time our VA needs to be OPEN and treating us Veterans. And when we can get an outside doctors appointment approved it takes weeks for them them to send the referral/approval to the outside dr. This is only after the patient themselves spend days in the phone with them. I could tell lots ofc horror stories from our VA.

  49. chuck Tayor February 11, 2021 at 12:59 am

    I’m glad we got a new secretary. The last one did nothing to solve the backlog of claims. My brother’s claim is pending at the RO. Have been siting on someone desk for 4 years without a C&P examination. It never got to step2. I hope the new secretary do something about the claim problem.

  50. Gerald t kilptrick February 11, 2021 at 12:50 am

    I am a VN vet. Three years in Navy one of which was in country, Hoi An. I have no service connected problems. I am surprised that my visits are $50 and my meds are so expensive. I can get an HMO and be ahead financially! Please indicate why my care at the VA is economically advantageous.

    Gerry Kilpatrick

  51. Teresita Tunsil February 11, 2021 at 12:36 am

    My husband chose to live in my country for retirement and as such I am not a US resident and not a US citizen but I took good care of your veteran, my husband, for 13 years. It was not an easy task but I persevered. I was with him though all his doctor’s appointments, dialysis treatments, physical therapy sessions, several hospital confinements and countless sleepless nights. But now that he is gone I feel that all my sacrifices were for nothing. I have no medical benefits, my SBP is taxed 30% and I could not get widow’s benefit from Social Security.

  52. Keith MCLAUGHLIN February 11, 2021 at 12:17 am

    I judge leaders not by their talk but by how well they WALK THEIR TALK !

    I am a Army Vietnam Veteran SPRAYED by Agent Orange and BETRAYED.

    Prior to 2016 to now; I was not heard and herded around by the VA as if I was a liar and second rate citizen.

    • Keith McLaughlin February 11, 2021 at 10:24 pm

      clarification: Prior to 2016, I was not heard and herded around by the VA as if was a liar and second rate citizen.

  53. herb heck February 11, 2021 at 12:06 am

    I’m worried,. I think the 30 day limit on appointments is out of the window. I just move to a new address and I was told that I have to visit my old VA one and one-half hours away for treatment that it will take an undergarment amount of time for my appointment at the new VA location. I guess were are screwed again. Why are you blocking my comment?

  54. david conley February 11, 2021 at 12:05 am

    Dear Secretary McDonough

    What will you do with us agent orange bladder cancer and other diseases sufferers that have been neglected for so many years?

    • Joseph February 11, 2021 at 11:41 am

      I agree! Talk is cheap only actions matter!

  55. Phillip Melinie February 11, 2021 at 12:00 am

    We deserve free burial as well as free healthcare. This will be like every other request denied

  56. Phillip Melinie February 10, 2021 at 11:57 pm

    Instead of giving other countries millions of dollars use that money to help us veterans. In 1967 i had all of my top teeth removed while stationed in Germany. When i left the service in 1970 i was able to get on set only covered by the va. I even tried to use my insurance from my work and still denied. I also feel that all veterans should be buried for free by our government anyone agree?

  57. Dana Reed Smith February 10, 2021 at 11:57 pm

    Welcome aboard Secretary McDonough!
    Good to meet you, please consider holistic and alternative treatments for us veterans, lets face it, there are better treatments in these feilds, leading to complete cures, without the horific side effects of the big pharma gang. Thanks for everything!

  58. Jack Wilson February 10, 2021 at 11:55 pm

    It is obvious that the care and attention given to out veterans is foremost during election time. Its a good feeling when you know that new Presidents and newer Secretaries are busy showing gratification and a glowing get well philosophy is appearing on Federal govt walls and periodicals.
    I am told I am among the most vulnerable for the vaccine/s due to bad health and age. Since the VA and medical world.has climbed on the red white and blue wagon i have made 5 walk in the park attempts to get my first vaccine. All you.have to do is do something. After all, you’ll be notified. By Who, where , when. S TX VA has canceled the days , weeks , nights , weekends repeatedly and are well on the way again. All you 1B s have to do is register and go to the beginning iof the line. If that doesn’t work, do it again and again. What a pathetic effort. Intent is somewhere among TRANSPARENCY and Transparent ba inllots and easily predicted death rates and money . Admittedly., VA didn’t cause this virus but be a believer, tomorrow’s another vaccine away…..

  59. Keith MCLAUGHLIN February 10, 2021 at 11:55 pm

    I judge the performance of leaders not by their talk but by if they walk their talk!

    I am a Army Vietnam veteran and until 2016 to now I was treated by the VA as liar and second rate citizen… not heard and herded aa livestock.

  60. markgrissom February 10, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    Mr. Secretary,

    Please look up the recent amendment in the federal RICO case “Grissom vs Wiggins.” Although 95% of VA employees are good people, many key positions have been corrupted. You are welcome to all the evidence supporting every claim in Grissom vs Wiggins. Also prior to your taking the helm, bad actors in VA appear to have covered up a massive number of veterans deaths related to radiology failures and there is a growing community care crisis you need to be aware of. Again, all matter of record.

  61. Ira Beyer February 10, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    Welcome aboard.
    It would be great if the VA formulary could include a few meds not now included but very necessary. One I know of is Combigan. It is a pressure reducing glaucoma med which in the private sector the cost is in the $100s. Needless to say but the cost represents a failure of our medical system.
    We rely on the VA for our meds and not having this particular med is disheartening for many of us.

    Good luck

  62. Joseph P Ring February 10, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    I believe all honorably discharged veterans should receive their required medications without having to pay a co-pay. In addition, dental treatment needs to be expanded to include crowns, root canals, endodontic procedures.and other dental needed.

  63. Al Thompson February 10, 2021 at 11:45 pm

    I bet they find a way. Every time the Republicans wanted to reduce welfare programs, the Democrats insisted on cuts to the VA. That will not change.

  64. Owen Ellis February 10, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    I’m a 75 year old Vietnam Veteran living in Live Oak Florida and have a medical issue. Left messages for my caregiver 2 times in the past couple of weeks with no follow up. In the past I never had any concerns or problems with getting an appt., etc. at any VA clinic until this month. Is the changing of the guard at the White House the issue of ???. I’m in pain and would like to see my Doctor in Tallahassee!!!!

  65. TJW 3 February 10, 2021 at 11:38 pm

    My husband was in the Iran and Desert Storm ERA, US Navy/US Army , 1979 to 1992+. I hope that in fact that this ERA for caregivers will come soon. He got a bad rap I think with the VES doctors. He stays most of the time in his hospital bed at the house, we are renting . I do everything for him , 24/7 . These doctors do not even know what goes on and he gets denied from some people in Wisconsin. Someday they will be in my shoes , to see how hard it is as a caregiver . He has Dementia from a TBI and many other medical issues. But as his wife , caregiver and going to school to be a nurse. I want to learn more so I can work through his episodes of PTSD and also Diabetes. We tried the DAV and the VFW , it is better to be left alone . God Bless our troops and veterans .

  66. michael a strout February 10, 2021 at 11:34 pm

    welcome to the job Secretary Denis McDonough. i hope now we can get medical staff that will listen tp use and answer our questions with a line of BULL, some of us are not as dumb as they think we are

  67. Bradley Olson February 10, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    Welcome,
    Maybe you could make the VA finally make a decision on my ptsd claim that was filed many years ago!! You treat me with programs and MH people after my diagnosis but yet no claim approval!!! The VA owes me years of back pay is probably why they are sitting on this approval waiting for me to die!!

  68. Vivian K Oaks February 10, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    Talking with my uncle a few days ago, (retired Major in the Air Force) and he told of his friend in Little Rock, Arkansas, who was in a VA hospital where he is put in a room each night without heat!!! The poor man is battling cancer and is now working on getting pneumonia because of freezing every night. This should NEVER happen to one of our vets!!! Please find out what is going on in Arkansas!!

  69. Paul Perkins February 10, 2021 at 11:15 pm

    Wonderful.. Now how about some dental coverage for all Vets? Things we need as we age. If you can masticate properly, you can eat healthy and live a relatively disease free life. I am talking abut root canals, extractions, false teeth, implants etc. etc … everything costs an arm and a leg now. Nobody I know has $30,000 to put into fixing their teeth…

  70. Rich Kosch February 10, 2021 at 11:04 pm

    Please extend COVID vaccination to the forgotten veterans who do not qualify to receive health care benefits . For a vaccination that is purportedly be given free why cannot these forgotten vets be included in the program?

  71. Michelle Agoglia February 10, 2021 at 11:02 pm

    Congratulations on the job VA?, IT is such a disaster you are gonna have your hands full. I have been in the VA system for 15 years in all I am seeing, it has gone downhill over and over and over again. I’ve been in so many veteran groups tried to fight and represent so many veterans and gotten no where.1st and foremost taking away the very important drugs that the veterans need whether it’s Non formulary or pain management drugs that should be 1st and foremost on the table and getting new doctors in and definitely Pay Raises for the nurses, that tell me over and over again if you really want to make a change, sit down with many veterans and ask them
    ” HOW CAN I HELP “!

  72. E.Deborah Gilman MD February 10, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    Welcome to the country’s toughest job! I served as a psychiatrist at the Phoenix VA (yes, that Phoenix VA) from 1992 to 2014, when I retired. I loved caring for the vets. The medical and direct care staff were fine; the administrators were the problem, mostly because they prioritized their own interests ahead of the veterans interest. They were very secretive, highly competitive for money and status, and, most unfortunately, kept a great distance from the veterans; each group saw the other as adversaries, and the clinical staff heard endless complaints from both sides.
    I hope you find a skilled and compassionate mental health professional who can help you mitigate these conflicts among the various stakeholders – managing numbers is quite a different skill set from managing people!

  73. Melissa Fagan February 10, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    Secretary McDonough,
    First and foremost, Welcome, I wish you much success and LUCK, as luck will be what you need most of all to untangle the bureaucratic disaster that carries the title Veterans Administration.
    While for the most part my V.A. care has been exceptional in some states and completely subpar in others. The travesty of it all is that the VA Facility where I have received the excellent care was less than 100 miles away from the Facility in which I was totally and completely neglected (the description the Doctor used, not my words). The vast variance of care Veterans receive from one state to another is not only astonishing but appalling, there is absolutely no reason for the EXTEME difference.
    The biggest hurdle my medical team has come across, now that my treatment is wonderful, is the lack of consistency with the record keeping, charting and archiving of the Veterans medical history/records, not only state to state or region to region but even from clinic to clinic within the same CITY!! My primary care ordered a MRI, I received the imaging in my local town at my local hospital because the VA wasn’t able to get me in within 30 days in house and I live 150 miles away from the nearest VA Hospital. The imaging center got my imaging along with the report in a timely manner, my VA primary care physician (PCP) was able to pull up, and read the report as well as view the images in the VA computer system. PCP sent mentor a consultation with the neurosurgeon at the VA Hospital associated with that clinic (not even out of network per se, the surgeon was not able to view the imaging therefore delaying, once again my surgery. It is an absolute disgrace that the system is so broken or complex, (depends on who you ask) that a patient’s records and history can not be accessed by any VA at any time to ensure proper care is given!!
    The system needs to be brought together and integrated, nory state, city, clinc or hospital having their own closed system. ONE VA, ONE SYSTEM!

  74. jodi l mcswiney February 10, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    Dear Secretary McDonough, I am having alot of trouble obtaining my spousal benefit for my disabled husband that passed in April of 2020, The problem is he passed of Covid 19 at the beginning of the pandemic and his pre-existing conditions were listed on the Death Certificate as those related to the Covid. I have begged for the Agent Orange Parkinson’s which is why he was in the private rehab, having alot of trouble walking. He also had hypo tryrodism . He was 68 years old, I have asked for the rehab to send a letter to me and they just put debility, My Funeral director has tried and tried and we got a new Certificate with nothing but Covid 19. I was told by a friend to contact my Congressman Mike Turner. I am devistated as the year is almost up for back pay. They want to just give me the Widow and he was a ledgimate Agent Orange Very progressive parkinson, We lost our first daughter to many autoimmune disorders at age 21. I need some help please, they have not been very kind to me at my local office Greene County Ohio. He always told me I would get this and I know how close we were, married 40 years, miss him dearly with hundred’s of friends.

    Please help me and give me some guidance, Sincerely, Jodi L. McSwiney, husband was James E. McSwiney, Beavercreek, Ohio

    Thank, You

  75. Pat Dwyer February 10, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    I’ve been a VA patient since 4/2009, designared 100%SC in 9/2012 due to Agent Orange. The nurses, doctors, techs and staff at NorCal/Bay Area clinics and hospitals have been fabulous, very caring, very comforting, and good at what they do. I wish that all Americans had access to the same high level of care that I have received these past 12 years.
    .
    Welcome aboard, Secretary McDonough. Please improve any deficiencies, but please don’t try fixin’ what ain’t broke. One ws uestion: when will Oakland CA ever get the new hospital/clinic complex that we’ve seen the artist’s rendering of, planned for 7? 8? years ago. Our clinic is 50 years old and has a 6-lane freeway next to it just outside the 2nd floor windows: the noise, rumbling, and pollution are terrible. Thank You, sir.

  76. Jamie Baldon February 10, 2021 at 9:45 pm

    I would like to know when the VA will make sure spouses caretaking their 100% service veteran husband receive more than 36 hours tine off a month. My husband had a neurophsych evaluation and will not adjust to daycare or institution care. He was an Airborne Ranger, recipient of 5 purple hearts, 2 bronze stars with clusters and 7 Unit Presidential citations for Courage and Valor. My husband d has been in Stage 5 dementia due to agent orange exposure. The only benefits he receives is bathing fir 2 hours 3 times a week and respite at 6 hours 2 times a month on average. I too am a 100% disabled veteran. I have borne the responsibility for 8 years. We do not qualify for any other services

  77. Dan Moyer February 10, 2021 at 9:39 pm

    the VA has come a very long way since the mid 1980s when what was then a system of in-patient care.  Sadly for so many Nam vets it was to little and to late to care for their care needs.  Many were discharged with barely a medical exam to document with what records they’d and then given for their honorable service.  That next all important VA medical exam was not accomplished for lack of urgency, no outreach, no primary care, and those VA Med Centers were few and far, and a place not inviting. Worse was a system that demanded reams of paperwork to justify each and everything, much of what the neediest vets didn’t have access to.
    S.2100 – Veterans Benefits and Health Care Amendments of 1990, 101st Congress (1989-1990), Sponsor: Sen. Cranston, Alan [D-CA] (Introduced 02/07/1990) finally put in place a “Extreme Makeover and Transformation of the Veterans Health Care System” ….
    It’s worked for me these almost 35 years, and coupled with TriCare for Life a peace of mind for my family that all Americans should know and have as citizens.

  78. AJO February 10, 2021 at 9:37 pm

    Welcome and Wishing you every success!! I commend the Excellent care provided to the N.E. Veterans in Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury MA….

  79. ROBERT Dennis WALLACE February 10, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    Thank you Mr. McDonough for what you plan to do for us veterans. I ask only one thing sir, Please work on getting disability claims approve faster. I have been waiting 5 months for a decision on my presumptive agent orange prostate cancer. I had my prostate removed on 10/27/2020 and my prostate cancer is on the presumptive list of agent orange. I don’t know why it is taking so long to approve my claim that is already approve on the presumptive list. I don’t know who else to contact. every time you talk to some one at the VA all you get is they are working on it. Thank you for anything you can do to help us combat veterans get claims approve faster.

  80. Christian Betancourt February 10, 2021 at 9:19 pm

    Dear VA Secretary McDonough,

    I am a combat veteran that served two tours in Baghdad, Iraq and brain cancer survivor. I would like to welcome you and I hope you make a difference within the VA. I have been trying to better myself by going to therapy for 12 years now. I been disrespected, threatened, hung up on, etc., by doctors, therapists, and VA staff. The are great people and horrible people working in the VA system. There is no accountability for their negative behavior and everyone looks after each other. There is no compassion and empathy with some PTSD counselors that I come across and they go off with a ridiculous checklist of questions (protocol). Starting a conversation and getting to know the veteran is beneficial. We gave our lives to fight for this country and we should be treated with respect.
    Thank you sir

  81. Tom Goralewicz February 10, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    For several years, the VA has been sitting on findings that there is a strong probability that Viet Nam veterans who are suffering from Parkinsonism (different from Parkinson’s Disease), suffer from that ailment due to exposure to Agent Orange. My opinion is that the VA, which has, several times in the past, promised to finalize this issue, is actually waiting for all Viet Nam vets to die before awarding compensation for this Agent orange-caused affliction.
    In keeping with his “commitment” to “fight like hell to give our Veterans and their families the benefits, services, respect and dignity they deserve” going to keep that promise, or will the new SECVA follow the pattern set by several predecessors in ignoring this problem?

  82. Sharron Bearly February 10, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    I am a VN ERA VET. I received great care at the Shreveport LA VA facilities. About 12 years ago, I moved to Memphis TN. I cannot tell you how disappointed I am in the care I have received here!! The VA is associated with the medical school here. Many of the doctors do not understand basic ENGLISH! They have IGNORED my complaints of cardiac arrhythmia (I am a retired RN with 45 years in ICU, CCU, and PACU!). They refused to even treat me or discover the problem!! One evening, I went to a local hospitals ER. THE ER MD walked past my room, called back to the nurse to admit me to a monitored room!! I was in the hospital for 10 days to find a treatment for my problem!! Two years later during a EGD they ruptured my esophagus!! The nurse in the recovery area refused to get me a doctor!!! I was in SEVERE pain!! She insisted on discharging me!! I have NEVER RECEIVED an apology from them!! I could have easily died! For this reason, I refuse to have ANY procedures done at the VA!! ( the MD involved was the attending!).
    They recently sent me out for a neurology appt. The MD was physically filthy!! Really dirty clothes and a paper mask that was black with filth!! I refused to go back for a return appointment! The VA has NOT sent me to another doctor!!
    Can you do ANYTHING t improve the care at this VA?

    • K. Keller February 11, 2021 at 2:14 pm

      Sharron,
      The Memphis and Nashville VA’s run hand in hand when it comes to the lack of service, the lack of care and the lack of cleanliness! The Nashville VA is filthy but yet there must be 100 janitors walking around the hospital doing nothing! The halls are filthy and you would never use a restroom in this hospital, an outhouse at a concert is cleaner than any restroom in the place! But always the same promises from every Director about how they are going to fix it and nothing put smoke and sunshine blown up our butts again and again. I heard about a Vet that had gone to the Memphis VA for chest pains and died in the waiting room of the ER waiting to be seen??? So sad that any Vet has to be treated like this by the Country we served!

  83. Uncle Bill February 10, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    Mr. Secretary:

    If you truly want to improve things, try working from the bottom of the organization up. All of the top down efforts have done little to solve what the individual veteran experiences in his day-to-day contacts with personnel, phone systems, or departmental processes at places like Michael DeBakey Medical Center in Houston.

    More empathetic veterans are needed in those positions so the veteran patient feels welcome and deserving. Now the veteran is little more than his last four who has become a bother to those providing services. Moving a veteran through and out as quickly as possible may indeed cause a case of PTSD to be mishandled!

    With the local VA advocate unresponsive I was fortunate enough to get assistance from the Texas Veterans Commission advocate and successfully procured an excellent and more convenient eye surgeon for my cataracts.

    On the other hand my son-in-law with PTSD tried to get help in Florida. After speaking to a doctor on the phone he was prescribed sleeping pills and referred to a social worker!

    We are rooting for you Denis! Best of luck!

    God bless America!

  84. Daniel J Gargasz February 10, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    Congratulations Secretary Denis McDonough,
    I wish you all the best at your new position. It is no easy task you are undertaking and very few have ever made a noteworthy contribution to the daily lives of veterans tangled in the bureaucracy of the VA System. If you would like suggestions from the disabled as you say, I would suggest you started by rooting the VBA and its goals closer to the Veteran who is in dire need of its intended purpose. for far too long the VBA has retained a backlog of appeals going back years, making it the excuse and easy way to justify delaying veterans their right to their benefits. No other office could function with such a disastrous record of denials and appeals. far too many veterans claims for benefits are denied due to the fact the adjudicator did not like the way the claim was worded or did not receive the proper training to see into the claim beyond the way the Veteran had worded it.
    It is easy to sit in the top office and dictate down to people that Veterans can use VSO’s to write the claims for them or use a large veteran organization to represent them, But what the VA has failed to realize as a whole is the fact the veteran does not get the help needed to complete a proper claim ever. VSO’s and veteran Organizations rarely have a qualified person to help write a claim the way the VBA will accept in the first years. The veteran mostly struggles alone fighting for the compensation earned and deserved.
    I would suggest the VBA takes the Veterans claim directly with the VBA adjudicators working directly with the Veteran to complete the claim instead of against the Veteran. far too many veterans suffer needlessly for years with the process that is in place and I can say without doubt it is a direct cause of some of the 22 a day. A proud veteran has a harder time seeking help when they are at the point of financial ruin waiting on their VA to come thru.
    I know from going thru the process for so long there is tremendous room for improving the VBA and its claims process and can give you many direct examples of what I am saying. If the VBA is there for the benefit of the injured veteran than why is it set up backwards as to deny the veteran their earned relief and require attorneys and law degrees to acheive.
    I truly wish you the best and thank you for your service!

  85. Retnuh Nedib February 10, 2021 at 9:09 pm

    “We are fortunate to have a strong ally and leader in the White House”. Who? Biden? Lol! Give me a frickin break. We’ll see what kind of job you do. I have my doubts. Just do your job and do what is right for the Veterans; not what’s right for the Biden administration.

  86. Gaylord Madsen February 10, 2021 at 8:58 pm

    Two plus years ago I had a blood clot in my lung. I was prescribed Eliquis. For past 2 years I have asked my PC if the VA would supply me this medication. I was told NO at every appt. First it was ‘it’s not on VA Formulary. Then sometime in 2020 it was added to Formulary. I asked again. PC said NO. ‘it’s been removed-it’s too costly’. PC said I would be setup for Coagulation Clinic at the VA. Several blood tests etc.? Eliquis doesn’t require this. I am patient of top Hematologist at Univ of Tenn. He requires I take Eliquis the rest of my life. Mid April, I’ll be in DONUT Hole. All I want is help with buying this drug. I’m 77 and only have Soc Sec.

  87. Ernest Boyd February 10, 2021 at 8:55 pm

    PLEASE, have him call the VA hospital in Atlanta , GA. The have called several times and gave up each time after waiting close to an hour for an answer.

  88. Marcus Nevarez February 10, 2021 at 8:55 pm

    Our government has no problem asking us to fight and die for our country but it comes to health care it looks we’re an afterthought.
    Why is some of the country on their 2nd Covid shot and vets are still waiting?
    What a surprise.

  89. Philip Boysen February 10, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    I’m an Air Force Vietnam Veteran who came home and made a life for myself in the private sector. I’ve never used any VA medical benefits, just the VA loan benefit, the college benefit, and will use the burial benefit at some point. For those using VA medical benefits I am please to see what President Trump did for improving the services and programs available and I hope you will continue those improvements. The VA should concentrate on those Vets who have been damaged in some way due to their active service and those benefits should follow them into the future, but I’m concerned that too many have jumped on the bandwagon of applying for benefits knowing they will receive a lifetime monthly benefit even thought they don’t really have a disability, (I know a couple of them). Shame on those who are sucking the teat of the Fed without cause.
    Please do not fall into the socialist trap that is the future plan of the Democrats and America. We real Americans have already lost much of our voice I hope you will work for the Vets without influence from either political party. What is up with the snowflake ICONs next to every post, really???

  90. Deborah Rivera February 10, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    H. Please take into consideration that are soldiers are train to fight and protect, then when there service is through, returned with out proper detraining. They are released into a country that doesn’t know what they have suffered. The name has changed over years Shell shock, post traumatic, ect. but the mental need to return to civilian life is NOT completely addressed yet. Please Please look into creating a time frame and detraining program for our returning vets so fewer or none are lost to homelessness and suicide.

  91. Allen Taylor February 10, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    Please remove some of the bureaucracy. Also please continue with the past improvements to the speed at which these cases are decided and the appeals when they are not decided in the favor of the veteran. People shouldn’t have to wait as long as our veterans have to wait for care and benefits. Its a shame that its even a 1 year wait much less 20 or more years in cases. Next is the Healthcare, nobody should be “locked in to a job”, this attitude shows usually with non veterans in the care in which they receive. Next work with the Congress and President to remove medical marijuana restrictions so that the care providers at the VA can consider this instead of the highly addictive synthetics that are in place now. So much could be done to make it better. Don’t let politics dictate your overall goal and vision for improving our veterans care.

  92. Cebulski Wade February 10, 2021 at 8:42 pm

    Please work harder on getting us disabled vets with compromising conditions such as diabetes our Covid shots. So far it’s been crickets from the montana va. Thanks

  93. Stravo Lukos February 10, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    Please, Sec. McDonough,
    Oral health is crucial to overall health, as I’m sure you’re aware. Yet I see so many veterans w/ deplorable dental conditions, all because they cannot afford the most minimal dental care like cleaning & x-rays. What good is it to throw money into healthcare if vets will die of infections from their mouths?

    Please give this serious consideration. I’ve asked previous secretaries & was met w/ defensiveness or complete silence. If you want to be that fierce advocate, please stand up for our dental health.

    Thanks for your time.
    sl

  94. JB February 10, 2021 at 8:36 pm

    Action

  95. Lloyd F Burns February 10, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    If you are in Rio Grande Valley and want a Covid 19 shot your chance you will die first.

  96. Michael Smith February 10, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    Welcome aboard Mr. Secretary. Please eliminate the medical and prescription co-pays for all disabled Vets!

  97. Ted Roberts February 10, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    See a lot of “combat” on your visits to Afghanistan and Iraq Dennis? Lot’s of IEDs, RPGs, and PKCs? Ha!

  98. Ronald Stewart February 10, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    I love the VA healthcare I’ve recieved the last 20 yrs or so. Recently after a heart attack I was emergency jet ambulance a hundred miles to get heart stents in stalled. Then I spent a week or so there in recovery because my back was broken as well. That’s about 100 grand civilians have to pay plus all the continued after care I’m in. I thank God for the VA system, it ought to be the national program everyone can have.

  99. Michael Hutchinson February 10, 2021 at 7:59 pm

    It would be great if you would speed up the appeals on the docket! I have been waiting over 3 years for my appeal ruling! We did our part!

  100. William Brady February 10, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    Will you publish your CV, especially your military service and time “in harm’s way”?

  101. Benjamin L Prouty February 10, 2021 at 7:50 pm

    I would like to see the VA expand in hiring and training peer navigators. I’m a SSVF healthcare navigator out of Anchorage, Alaska as well as a OEF Army veteran. I believe hiring veterans to help veterans is not only therapeutic but also empowers the veterans. Veteran’s have a higher unemployment rate now more than ever due to Covid and I think hiring veterans as peer navigators is a great start.

  102. Dennis Matthews February 10, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    Secretary McDonough,

    I have been enrolled i VA care since 2005 and I have been in the Eastern Colorado VA system, the South Texas VA system, and now I am in the Minnesota VA system. When I was enrolled in the Eastern Colorado VA system, I was well taken care of and I was i that system for five years. I told a veteran who worked in Eligibility the situation that happened to me in basic training. I applied for compensation and received it within four or five months. I received a EOC to purchase a home. I was in their system for five years.When I had to move to Texas to help my elder sister take care of my mother who had Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, I lost a box of paperwork which had my DD-214 and my EOC. I received my DD-214 but was DENIED my COE. I was in their system for almost ten years. My wife’s sister in Minnesota is very ill with Psoriatic Arthritis, so we discussed moving to Minnesota. I have received piss poor care here in Minnesota and I certainly understand why there has been so many veteran suicides here. And. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN TOLD THAT ALL VAs ARE THE SAME! That’;s a crock of bull poop!! Every system I have been in has been run differently and has made up their own RULES & REGULATIONS.

    I feel that President Biden should be informed about all of the aforementioned issues and he should have an investigation of military records with things that were omitted because the military didn’t want to be embarrassed about what actually goes on in the military’s basic training. For instance, what the military refers to SEXUAL ASSAULT. They do not understand the difference between sexual assault and RAPE!

    I personally went through this and was told to keep my mouth shut in Wilford Hall in 1971. All of the staff at Wilford Hall bullied me until I cracked up and I signed a piece of paper which a copy of it was sent to my parents. The USAF should have just went to my hometown and put a gun to their heads and pulled the trigger! Yes, Secretary McDonough, I have had to deal with the anger I have toward both the military and the VA systems. I feel like I have been raped over and over and over again by both entities.I love my country but I would never serve again if I were younger, I was robbed of a 30 year career in basic training due to sexual assault, And what did I receive for at least trying? I would tell you if I was speaking to you in person but I would only be wasting my words and time.

  103. Liz Zasa February 10, 2021 at 7:47 pm

    Thank you for your comments. One thing that you could work on. My son served 13 years in the Navy and then went Army Reserves for one year. They no longer had his job title so he received money to leave the military. Unfortunately he is now suffering from PTSD and tinnitus thanks to his being a jet mechanic for the Navy and having a fellow member being sucked into the jet engine and died in my son’s arms and then after an Iraqi plane crash he had to pick up the dead. This is something that never leaves you. He unfortunately does not receive the disability compensation he is entitled to because they are saying he has to pay back the $30,000 they gave him when they no longer had his job. This is horrific and needs to be changed immediately. My son served this country and now in his 40s and now is starting to get many things wrong with him. He was sprayed with jet fuel numerous times. Help our veterans who deserve this disability compensation after giving so much of their lives.

    • Vaughn McD February 11, 2021 at 1:36 pm

      I also have to pay back the money I received(SSB) when I left the military in 95. It was part of the agreement I (and anyone else who took the money) signed when you left if you ever try to draw off the govt at some future date( Mil ret or VA Disability). With my 30% disability it will take a couple years to pay the money back. It sucks but it is the current law in force.

  104. Aaron Wilson February 10, 2021 at 7:40 pm

    The last thing us veterans need to hear is another appointed politician – ie: VA Secretary- race bait a group of prior military professionals. McDonough, you can keep your “free from discrimination, harassment and assault..” bullsht rhetoric in your simple minded progressive circle. The VA isn’t a political affiliation. It is supposed to be a source of medical and other essential support services for veterans who have sacrificed their blood and souls to defend our country. The same veterans that- for the most part- DON’T segregate ourselves from each other based on whatever classifications and victimization statuses you politicians use. Just try to make the VA operate like it gives half a crap about veterans and not optics. But, we’re probably going to get more results out of me talking to this wall in front of me than any of us veterans talking to you politicians.

  105. SHADEED ABDUS SABUR-LOWE February 10, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    Honorable Secretary Department of Veterans Affairs:
    My name is Shadeed A. Sabur-Lowe, I am a Veteran of the Vietnam Era. On Tuesday, February 09, 2021, at approximately 1:22 PM, I was discriminated against by the Kansas City Veteran Medical Center (Honor Annex).
    I was given an appointment (Tuesday, February 09, 2020, at 1:15PM, to take the Covid-19 vaccination). Upon my arrival at the Honor Annex, I ask one African American if I would be able to get vaccinated by an African American person, the women in question, stated, yes, just let them know when you get back there.
    Once my turn was available, I let the person who was directing the line know that I wanted an African American to give me the vaccine. With eleven (11), vaccine station available I was told there were no African American available to give me the vaccine. It’s unbelievable that out of eleven (11), vaccine stations, not one station was there an African American. The person directing the line ask if I could wait a minute, I responded in the affirmative. Upon her return, she asks me to take a seat because the person who I wanted to give the vaccine was at lunch.
    A short time later, a white woman, who was pregnant, ask if she would help me? I proceeded to tell her why I was waiting, she stated, there’s no discrimination at the VA. I informed her that she was wrong, because I had personally experienced discrimination at the VA.
    A few minutes later someone named David Isaacks, ask if he could help me? I again explained my issue to this person, who also stated that the VA does not discriminate and I could not ask to be vaccinated by an African American. I tried to explained to this person that as an African American (and we do have history of the United States experimenting with vaccine on African Americans) I was fearful of getting the shot and because of the systemic racism by whites, I wanted someone who I could trust to give the vaccine.
    David Isaacks, refused to grant my request thereby denying me the vaccine. This is one of the very definitions of discrimination. I may have other legal recourses that I am able to pursue which I will address with a lawyer at some point.
    I still want to receive the vaccine; however, it must be administered by someone who I trust and look like me. I should not be forced to take the vaccine by those who I do not trust whether they’re working at the VA or not.

    Sincerely,
    Shadeed

  106. Milton Turner February 10, 2021 at 7:33 pm

    Secretary McDonald,
    There are several disabilities that have identified and verified by VA requested medical studies. The primary one is Agent Orange caused Hypertension. It would help many of us Viet Nam veterans if that were approved as a presumed cause/effect.
    Good Luck on your task, there are many of us Veterans that have received great treatment but it is disturbing to many of us that medically proven Agent Orange issues have not been added to the list. Thank you for listening!

  107. Fred Villines February 10, 2021 at 7:24 pm

    Welcome to the VA, sir. I hope you can keep the promises you have made. Traditionally Veterans do not fare well under a Democrat Presidential Administration. The VA gets plenty of cuts or no increases to meet increases in costs so funds can be shifted to other “entitlement” programs. These programs may be important too, but are they as important as the warriors that served to make such possible? We salute the flag most of the time because we know it will be over in 4 to 8 years. We know we will lose fellow warriors in the process too. God bless the USA and God bless our Veterans. He will look out for us even if the people don’t.

  108. Jerald D Revell February 10, 2021 at 7:21 pm

    Dear secretary Mcdonald. My concern is why is it so hard to get disability for my sleep apnea. I received a email from military. Com that I pulled up showing that veterans with ptsd are showing signs of sleep apnea. I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and were a c pap but are still having trouble with breathing problems. This web site will show you the new study that is going on with the study.( aasm.org) Now I am at 70% but the va administration is telling me that it’s not service connected but yet there are studies that are saying it is. I don’t understand this .I served proudly and wish I could serve again. It took me over 26 yrs to fight for the disability and health insurance I am getting..I live 100 miles from the closest va medical center but we do have a small clinic here but it’s not like the va medical centers for care.O would like to see more progress in the rural areas for us veterans so we don’t have to travel so far for care. Think you for listening secatery Mcdonald.

  109. Ron Lahr February 10, 2021 at 7:19 pm

    I have been getting my meds from the V.A. for years and never had a problem until the last couple months when they never billed me. This might sound fine, Trumps administration and now Bidens have for some reason, Covid-19 delayed the billing, at least for meds. This may cause problems because if you do not set money aside each time you get your meds, when they finally decide to send you a bill it could be $200 or more. I finally decided to call on mine and after many attempts I found that the V.A. sent out bills on Jan. 26 th, have not got mine yet. I guess the postal service is also backlogged, Covid. I was told that my bill is $213 and thanks to my wife setting aside money for my meds, it is not a big shock. Just a warning to be aware of the bills coming due.

  110. Concerned Vet February 10, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    I wish Secretary McDonough a successful tenure. Unfortunately, my past and most recent experience with the VA does not portend for success. Recently, I reached out to the email address listed for mental health counseling for the St.Petersburg Regional Center. There was no response. I called the number currently listed for this specific mental health counseling at Orlando VA Center. The number was out of order. I finally reached the voice mail of the counselor listed (under a different number) and asked to be contacted. No one reached out. I find this level of service disrespectful and perhaps, for my fellow veterans, hazardous.

  111. Richard Dinkins February 10, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    Welcome sir, I think one way to really get to veterans and for them to know you care is to simply address them as veterans. I didn’t once meet anyone that was trying to divide us during my 13 years of service, that actually did the opposite. I think language like “ including women, Veterans of color and LGBTQ Veterans” is just language that attempts to divide us. I believe it would be best to just say veterans.

    I’m curious what are the guidelines of what is considered discriminatory, hateful and unsafe? I ask because I’m a conservative and it seems like certain people are trying to label us as a far right group and that’s so far from the truth sir. Not all Democrats, republicans, or any group should be classified as the same because of the horrible choices some made. Wouldn’t it be best to set the rules, regulations and guidelines? We are veterans sir, and in the military we all knew what the rules were, we knew what was considered unsafe, unlawful, what was discriminatory. However, if we blanketed one whole group as racist then those that are not racist or far right will not know what to do or what not to do. My goal in this sir is to understand and know what to expect.

    Thank you sir,

    ~Dinkins

  112. Philip Alter February 10, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    What about the VA adding the three new Agent Orange presumptive diseases? It’s in the NDAA but not accepted by the VA. Been battling Bladder Cancer since 2017 and it looks like I am about to have my appeal denied.

  113. Thurman Kimbler February 10, 2021 at 6:44 pm

    Why can’t Vietnam veterans get benefits but Afghanistan veterans are told to apply for ptsd and they would get them without question I have been trying to get mine for over 8 years

  114. Robert Gresham February 10, 2021 at 6:40 pm

    Sir, you are neither a veteran, nor have you ever worked in the healthcare field before. What is it that you believe qualifies you for this position ?? My personal view is, “nothing”. You are a Biden contributor and you are known for making backroom deals in Washington D.C. I pray that I am reading you wrong, but I fear that you have no idea what veterans want or need.

  115. David Esrati February 10, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    Secretary McDonald,
    As a VA certified SDVOSB- I urge you to break apart these huge VECTOR contracting vehicles- and allow small veteran owned businesses to work with the VA.
    I did a series of 8 videos for the Cincinnati VA in 2018 that were well received- but haven’t had a single other inquiry.
    Also- the VA has been a leader in Electronic Medical Records- yet the previous administration wants to toss your entire system to go to a system controlled by a single for profit company. Please don’t do this.
    It’s time to build a national open source EMR system for all the armed services- and for eventual medicare for all. Let’s not go backwards.
    And lastly- I was recently diagnosed with sleep apnea. Apparently I stop breathing over 30 times an hour. They lost my first sleep study data- then the second time I did it with a different disposable device- and it still took 2 weeks to tell me the results. But- here’s the killer- no CPAP appointment till the end of March. I know we’re in the middle of a pandemic- but, we all have to work a little harder – now that I know why I feel like crap- I’d like to believe the institution I believe in, would make an extra effort to help improve my ability to work- and feel good.

  116. George J Pappas February 10, 2021 at 6:31 pm

    Very disappointing visit today that was supposed to be a quick visit for a shingles shot but after a lengthy delay it was determined that the nurse I was assigned to was on vacation and no explanation as to how I long I would have to wait until somebody recognized the snafu. Good thing I continued to check on delay. SAD!

  117. Tom Mannle February 10, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    Mr. Secretary

    Congratulations and welcome. The biggest challenge you will have is to insure that the institution makes decisions in the best interests of the men and women it is charged to take care of, rather than what is in the best interests of the institution, and its current stakeholders, whether management, labor, VSOs, etc.

    There are more than a few examples of what is good for the latter is not for the former, yet the former prevailed……any long standing organization tends to go this way, and preserve the status quo/no waves….time for, probably overdue for, a zero-based scrub…..

  118. bill Mousseau February 10, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    your statements here are i hope are and yours alone because i do not believe anything that comes out of bidens mouth

  119. Brian Berg February 10, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    I will believe it when I see it, they all say the same thing and it just continues to be FUBAR. Consults cancelled for no reason for well over a year, benefits section is even worse, they have the denial stamp out instead of fulfilling their mission statement which is to help veterans receive every benefit entitled to them. Which we all know should be changed to “no veteran shall receive any benefit they are entitled to”.

  120. Steven Meyer February 10, 2021 at 10:24 am

    Thank you.

    • Ryan Kendall wilcox February 11, 2021 at 1:06 am

      It would be nice to have dental in general I have some bad dental problems don’t have insurance and can’t get seen at the va dental at all but can get seen for health and can get my medicine so freaking stupid is veterans deserve both health and dental taken care of period!!!!!

  121. Neil Gilfillan February 10, 2021 at 8:48 am

    Welcome. I’m rather happy with my care but it would be nice to cover medicines and dental, as well. I’m over two years with VADIP so they cover more but it’s still not great insurance for much outside a cleaning. Replacing missing teeth would be my biggest suggestion. Best of luck and peace to us all.

    • Eric Hall February 11, 2021 at 2:00 am

      Changing dental care would require changing the law enacted further Eisenhower administration. Currently, with very few exceptions, only those with permanent and total disability or those with a specific dental related (and rated) service trauma qualify. I served for 24 years as a dental lab tech and worked for the VA dental service and still couldn’t receive routine care. It was heartbreaking telling service members, especially the ones in pain, the were not eligible. https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/resources/publications/IB10-442_dental_benefits_for_veterans.pdf

  122. David A Gopperton February 10, 2021 at 8:19 am

    Sir,
    I worked as Unit Coordinator in a VA facility for 8 years. I then spent 9 months in same facility as a patient for PTSD related issues. I received excellent care…I can only hope this continues. Many of us have been promised so much and been disappointed so many times. I wish you great success because your success is ours. Good luck and God Bless.
    David A. Gopperton, USN, Ret.

  123. james dwight akins February 9, 2021 at 9:06 pm

    Please eliminate co.payments on.medication for ALL.honorable discharged veterans &.NOT.just.us disabled service connected war veterans( rationing of care) tier system? I am.Vietnam.veteran 1970. Saigon.MP Viet Nam

    • Per Jensen February 10, 2021 at 6:50 pm

      Absolutely, and not just medications. I am viet era, 76 years old, living on social security since covid and illnesses lost all other income and now I have my second bout with cancer and I just found out I owe $1000 in copays and cant pay

    • Luis B Marcano February 11, 2021 at 3:21 am

      Your suggestion is EXCELLENT my colleague. It’s incredible the high amount of medicine co-payments as compared to Medicare and over the counter.

  124. james dwight akins February 9, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    Welcome to the .VA system &.Good Luck? VA is a Big complex bureaucracy. that needs tamed &.controlled?
    As a Vietnam.veteran I have NO complaints for myself on the excellent medical.care i.received the last 50 years? However, i.have veteran friends that can’t.get the care i get? ” rationing of care?” I speak.of the ” co- payment” requirement for prescription medications for veterans under 50% service connected ? I think ALL honorable discharged veterans should get FREE medication without co- payments? I.have contacted both President Biden.&.VP Harris & wrote to.Congress & Veterans Affairs committee to express the need for legislation to.change this policy? For example, my Air Force veteran buddy is s diabetic & he is NOT Service connected so.his co payments are $200.monthly & he ONLY gets social.security check of $1000 monthly & VA garnishes his SS check to.pay for.his co pay.on his meds? Just NOT right in.America? Thank you &.i.hope you.can improve VA for ALL
    veterans & NOT.just us service connected disabled war veterans ??

    • Luis B Marcano February 11, 2021 at 3:23 am

      Totally concur with you.

  125. James Rynearson February 9, 2021 at 6:35 pm

    Why not make it possible to get prosthesis dental and dentures instead of impossible due to the fact that you need 100percent S.C.Having teeth and a healthy mouth are one of the main things necessary for good health,yet only a minority of vets can get dental?? We ALL served our country! We all deserve healthy smiles and healthy bodies!

    • Mark Lomax February 10, 2021 at 6:38 pm

      Start an online petition and I suspect many will sign it.

    • Des Troy February 10, 2021 at 6:52 pm

      Very good point!!! While in the Service you couldn’t miss a dental appt so why isn’t it important after the fact!

    • Cathy Witthoeft February 10, 2021 at 9:24 pm

      I agree with you. Also veteran, Air Force. Thank you for your service and comment.

    • Salvatore J. LeVota February 11, 2021 at 2:39 am

      Bernie Sanders promised this e few years back. I am not sure that it was ever introduced into legislation. Last I knew it was available to homeless Veterans in certain circumstances when residing in a VA homeless program facility for over 60 days.
      Not sure if that is true anymore.

      I new Veterans that were housed that went homeless in order to get dental care. Some even went homeless more than once so they could get more care.

  126. Richard O Bovey February 9, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    Dear Secretary McDonald,
    you come to the VA with very high ratings and I know you wiill give it your all to try to make improvements where they are needed, some being desperately needed such as in the Expanded Caregivers program where far too many seriously disabled older veterans and their caregivers have been shut out. I fully believe that.

    All the best to you in your mission as the new Secretary of VA,

    Richard
    Indianapolis, IN

    • Robert R Russo February 11, 2021 at 5:47 am

      It would be nice if you have more VA Health Centers, closer to the veterans who don’t live close to the big cities. Like the major hospitals have. Clinics around their towns, or be able to go to a major hospital clinic by them.

  127. Michael Berzinsky February 9, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    Ya, like that will ever happen! The new administration is spending like crazy, and someone will have to pay for it all! Guess what, it will be CUTS TO THE VA that will happen first! WE ARE ALL SO SCREWED!

    [Editor: VA’s 2021 budget was approved in 2020. It was a 12% increase over the ’20 budget. The FY21 budget includes advanced appropriations for FY22, ensuring continuity of services. You can read more about VA’s historical budgets and budget requests at https://www.va.gov/budget/products.asp or recent news from Military Times: https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2020/12/22/va-gets-big-funding-increase-in-final-fiscal-2021-budget-deal/ ]

    • Ronald Haty February 10, 2021 at 8:08 pm

      I agree

    • Ronald Hart February 10, 2021 at 8:09 pm

      I agree

    • No name February 10, 2021 at 11:51 pm

      Yes, even with what the editor says they will still find ways to get money out of us! Just like with Tricare, if I don’t pay Medicare part B they take my Tricare away. I will never use part B because I live overseas! And then now we have to pay $25 a month and still have a deductible. Yes I know that’s not the VA but it all ties together!

  128. Donald Morgan February 9, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    Thank you.

Comments are closed.

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