After almost a year of disconnection, desperation, loss, isolation, and numbness because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is now more hope and positivity around us. We have new weapons in the war against the pandemic – three safe and proven vaccines that can significantly protect us from hospitalization and death caused by the coronavirus.

This good news means that now is the time for VA to evaluate the lessons it has learned in the past year: the processes we’ve developed to provide efficient, optimal care to Veterans, and how we’ve recalibrated to improve the nation’s largest integrated health care system. But, how else can we best serve our Veterans for the many years to come?

The first step is listening to you – tuning into your thoughts, opinions, ideas, needs, feelings and suggestions for building a VA that best serves our mission. You are what’s most important to VA’s future, and your opinion is the most valued.

We want to hear from you

VA will be holding public virtual listening sessions across the country from March 2021 through June 2021. We want to hear the voices and insights of Veterans and the communities that VA serves. We are hosting these sessions to learn from you how we should design a health care system of the future, and how to grow its services for Veterans in a way that also reinforces VA’s role as a leader in U.S. health care.

Your feedback will be used to develop the recommendations that VA submits to the Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission in January 2022. The AIR Commission will also conduct public hearings as part of its review of VA’s recommendations before submitting those recommendations to the President and Congress for review and approval in 2023.

These listening sessions represent an exciting opportunity for Veterans to help VA reimagine how we deliver care in an equitable, high quality, Veteran-centered manner and to develop a plan for investing in VA’s aging infrastructure. It won’t be just talk – we are committed to modernizing VA significantly and we want to make sure we are in close step with the Veterans we serve.

Now is the time to help determine the future of VA. We can’t do it without you.

Where and how

Additional information, including session dates, times, and registration information, is available at https://www.va.gov/HEALTHPOLICYPLANNING/listening.asp.


Dr. Richard Stone is acting under secretary of health for the Veterans Health Administration. He is a retired Army major general and Veteran of the war in Afghanistan. 

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12 Comments

  1. Kelly M Robertson March 14, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    I LOVE what the VA has done for me, my Veteran Spouse and our family. A comment: THIS (yours):
    “After almost a year of disconnection, desperation, loss, isolation, and numbness because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is now more hope and positivity around us…” IS SO NEGATIVE and not a great opener. STOP encouraging the victim-mentality. A horrible, horrible way to open us something positive.

  2. Frank Rivers March 13, 2021 at 9:00 am

    A restructuring of the system is in order here.
    From the bottom to the top.

  3. Frank Rivers March 13, 2021 at 8:57 am

    The employees at the VA , seems to be a place to hang out with each other and draw a paycheck..the appointments made run into months.
    This is uncalled for. I’m not just ranting, I’m being real .
    If you don’t believe me,….trying going through rhe system as it is, of this date.

  4. Thomas Currie March 13, 2021 at 1:08 am

    How about a future where the VA stops pestering veterans with useless email messages using faked click-bait subject lines like your latest garbage “Do you qualify for 50% off Amazon Prime?” which could have been a good email message if some idiot had not decided it needed a subject line to grab our attention even though there was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT THAT TOPIC ANYWHERE IN THE EMAIL OR ANY OF THE LINKED ARTICLES.

    Just a couple of days ago some other idiot (or perhaps the same one) had the VA send out an email welcoming me to using My Health eVet and telling me how to find a video to show me how to upgrade my account — apparently I am supposed to be too stupid to know that my account has been upgraded for several years already (since immediately after the VA split accounts into verified and unverified).

    Come on people, find some adult professionals to manage communications for the VA and stop making the entire operation look like idiots.

  5. Karen Hughes March 11, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    I hate the VA! THEY SHOULD ALL BE SHUT DOWN, GIVE US INSURANCE SO WE CAN GO GET REAL HELP (I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD & can’t get any help for that along with a 50 other things they keep ignoring)! THE ONLY REASON THEY KEEP THEM AROUND IS SO THEY CAN KEEP DENYING US OUR DISABILITY BENEFITS & IGNORE OUR MENTAL AS WELL AS PHYSICAL HEALTH! BECAUSE IF ANYONE REALLY CARED THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT WOULD BE DONE!

    Everyone at the VA’s here in Charleston, SC is just as corrupt as Trump there! Veterans should have a choice of where we want to get our health care, NOT THE VA OR NOTHING, because that’s what they do.
    WE SHOULD BE OFFERED HEALTH INSURANCE, EVEN IF WE HAVE TO PAY A LITTLE OUT OF POCKET, I WOULD DEFINITELY DO IT.

    EVERYTIME I speak to someone there, before they hang up they will end by saying ” THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING THE VA”!
    I yell when they start to say it telling them I didn’t choose it! Most people don’t realize that! I DIDN’T CHOOSE THE VA & IF I HAD A CHOICE I WOULD NEVER GO BACK AGAIN!

    I’ve been hospitalized there 4 times since last October with an obstruction of my colon. The chief surgeon wanted to just keep putting an NG tube down my nose & throat instead of doing surgery which is his job! I ended up going to Roper Hospital cause I found out if you can’t pay, they find charities that will pay for you!

    Here in Charleston SC (Ralph Johnson) they have ignored my major spine issues for 8 years now & I have literally begged for the entire 8 years just to see a spine doctor. I paid to go see a spine doctor on the outside & was told I’ll be paralyzed within 5 years & that was 3 years ago! I can barely move now, they’ve known this, so I guess they figure just ignore her & eventually she’ll kill herself! That’s why so many veterans kill themselves, especially in the parking lots of VA hospitals!

    The 1st 3 years my primary care physician would call me after my yearly MRI on my neck & back stating that I NEED SURGERY so she’d be referring me to a Neurosurgeon. Every time she’d call back saying she was told I’m not a candidate! I would contact patient advocates, congressmen, Office of Inspector General, Whitehouse Hotline, etc.
    One day she told me that she was looking for another job because she did not go to school all those years not to help people! She also said every time I contacted those other people she’d get called upstairs & get chewed out even though it wasn’t her fault! The people at the VA here are SOULLESS!

    My daughter, who is on Medicaid, gets better care than any veteran at the hospitals here & she doesn’t even work…much less ever serve this country!

    I tore a disc in the Air Force, been diagnosed with Osteoarthritis, DDD (DISC DEGENERATIVE DISEASE) along with a host of other things affecting my neck & back: bulging discs in my neck along with herniated discs, bone spurs, etc. Back also bulging & herniated discs causing Sciatica, numbness in my hands & feet, & I had already been told by Southeastern Spine Institute (when I had insurance) that I needed surgery) &
    FIBROMYALGIA. I am still begging everyday & still being ignored.
    It’s BS!

  6. Harold U Clark March 11, 2021 at 2:10 pm

    As a former employee (22 years PTSD/ADDICTION) I understand the system. I know the VA is required to pay for services in the community if they do not/cannot provide them at a VA facility within a reasonable time frame and distance. So instead of just telling the veteran that they don’t have a service requested, how about making referrals to community providers and pay the bill and/or hire someone who can. The next are medical/mental health doctors who refuse to even make a referral to the community because the system told them not to because the VA does not want to pay for something that they cannot provide. Part of the problem is the lack of consistency with doctors over time for veterans. My brother has had 4 different doctors in the past year, having to start over with everyone. Unfortunately I told him he would have to be in a wheelchair before the VA in Eugene Oregon would do anything except send him 150 miles away for yet another appointment with a rheumatologist when he has a relationship with his surgeon (private sector) and has never asked the VA to pay for his previous surgeries. (discharged from the Navy with and due to a broken back and now retired) He just needs a referral to navigate the private system (insurance). Seems like a pretty simple thing to ask for, but the answer is still NO. I understand the budget but this one makes no sense. How about a little common sense in the VA and not so much for the dollar.

  7. Patricia Hambsch March 11, 2021 at 7:52 am

    How about Sattelite Stations in Rural areas. Some of our older Vets are in need, but only remember the horrible situations of original visits!!

  8. Lee Lindeman March 11, 2021 at 12:09 am

    Fully agree with an earlier comment pertaining to the communications challenges associated with V.A. facilities/programs – whether it be the local V.A. facility, the local Care in the Community Program and/or other support institution(s) within V.A. At any given time: phone numbers change; support personnel change; and capability to provide support changes – constantly! General impressions are: the entire system lacks an appropriate, efficient structure; seriously lacks in appropriate manning and training to support this need; and seriously lacks in continuity of effort to meet the BASIC NEED FOR TWO-WAY COMMUNICATIONS. Simultaneously, when messages are left for the veteran by V.A.- it is impossible to return a call to the person who initiated the message. Why? It is fundamentally very, very puzzling to understand why the basic element of dependable communications between the veteran and the servicing agent can not be developed & mastered? One could conclude that V.A. has neither the means nor the willingness to establish a viable, dependable two-way communications capacity – while simultaneously hiring, TRAINING, and developing personnel to facilitate this critical need. More likely – this is more a management oversight issue than a money/structure issue. As a departing note – it additionally helps greatly if servicing personnel know the difference between a Proctologist and a Cardiologist! Communications system capacity; hiring & training; continuity of two-way support; would make a huge difference. This should not be that difficult to achieve!

  9. George E. Kernaghan, March 8, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    The V.A. needs to get its act together and FIX the National Phone Line for the Office of Community Care. When I last called my local hospital number for the office of community care in Kansas City, Missouri, I was directed to call another newer phone number which turned out to be the National Community Care phone line. I wound up talking to someone in the Denver, Colorado office, who had no idea how to assist me, or resolve my problem. Nor could this person transfer my call to the Kansas City VA office of Community Care.
    The Veterans Administration needs to understand that the automated telephone system is BROKEN, and needs to be fixed!!! I do not, for the life of me, understand why it is so hard for the VA to realize that when most veterans call their local VA Hospital, that they want to speak with ” a real person”, and not an automated phone system. A veteran who calls their local hospital wants to speak with someone who is IN their local VA hospital. And that the person would be knowledgeable about their local VA Hospital system, so that they could be connected with the correct department, office, or primary care facility.
    The VA should also realize the advantages of speaking with a “real person” would, in fact, be a sign that they (the Veterans Administration) are truly living up to their motto of… “Our Veterans Come First”. Also, that hiring knowledgeable “telephone or switchboard operators” (who are also veterans), would benefit both, the local VA hospitals and the Veterans that go there. Thank You, for listening.

  10. Paul F. Eckman March 8, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    Let’s BEAR DOWN AND GET MORE OF THE VA BUDGET TO THE VETERANS, NOTR EVERY TOM, DICK AND HARRY WHO WANTS TO SPEND THEIR LIVES RESEARCHING AND DSRAINING VA FUNDS.

  11. SW March 8, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    Mr Tatum, don’t get your hopes too high, it’s just another lie.

  12. IRA L. TATUM March 8, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    SEMPER FI,,, Together we stand, divide we ‘WILL’ fail.
    Thank you-all! Sgt. Ira L. Tatum

Comments are closed.

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