Veteran Administration (VA)
I am a veteran and I have been in the Veteran Administration’s health care system for long time, for various reasons. While I am retired military and have access to other military health care programs, there are many veterans (and I know a lot of them) who rely solely on the VA. It has been a standing joke for as long as I can remember, that the VA service is exasperatingly slow and often poor, and that the VA strategy is to keep veteran waiting and waiting and hopefully he will die before he must be treated. I used to think this only a joke, but in light of recent VA revelations concerning “waiting lists”, there is more truth to this than I ever thought possible. In my experience, the VA is strangled into ineffectiveness because of the bureaucratic polices and horrendous bloat. I know. I have lived with this and could speak in detail on this malady from my personal experience. It is truly pathetic. While I have learned to live with this, my situation has recently been exacerbated when the VA fraudulently created medical records on me which were bogus, thus denying me a benefit. There is no question that our veterans deserve the medical treatment necessary in respect of their service to our country. The only question is, given that this state of ineffectiveness and inefficiency has endured for so many years, what can be done about it now? Doing what we have been doing is not the answer. A new approach with responsible leadership and oversight is needed. As an engineer, I know that the first step is to “Define The Requirement”. This may seem obvious but it is not a single statement or paragraph. It requires and in-depth, detailed analysis performed by experts in a variety of technical and administrative fields to “Define the Requirement”. It will also require the commitment to spend the funds necessary to accomplish this. I believe that five (5) percent of the cost of a project should be designated to “Define The Requirement”, and that in the process a detailed “Statement of Work” and “Deliverables” are essential components of the task. Who should lead this effort? Who should be part of this effort? Certainly not professional politicians. I believe it should be leaders and individuals with the proper skill-sets, and preferably, they are also veterans with a vested interest in the outcome.