Field Background

Attorneys Devoted to Veterans Benefits

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    Robert McDonald, the new Secretary of the VA.

    On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs unanimously backed Robert McDonald as the new Secretary of the VA. McDonald attended West Point and served in the Army Airborne Division for five years prior to entering the private sector.

    During his confirmation hearing, McDonald acknowledged that there are systemic failures at the VA which he believes suggest that some VA employees have lost sight of its mission. McDonald outlined a general plan to institute changes at the VA within his first 90-days, to include improving communication between the field and central offices by hosting quarterly video conferences; expanding the use of digital technology so that employees can be devoted to veteran care; and establishing an advisory board of physicians to develop a system which provides timely, quality treatment.

    In addition to McDonald’s proposed changes, Congress has worked to develop legislation geared towards enacting change at the VA and quickly reducing wait times. The conference committee has put forth a bill which would give the Secretary the authority to fire senior level officials and would authorize veterans who have experienced delays at the VA to seek private treatment.

    The Senate is expected to vote on McDonald’s nomination within the week.

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