August 8, 2014
Secretary Outlines Additional Actions on Timely Access to Care in First Trip as Secretary
Phoenix, AZ – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald today announced the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has initiated an independent, nation-wide review of all scheduling practices at VA medical facilities. In his first trip as Secretary, McDonald also announced a series of additional actions to improve veterans’ access to timely, quality health care following a series of meetings with veterans and employees at the Phoenix VA Health Care System (VAHCS).
“VA is committed to instilling integrity into our scheduling practices to deliver the timely care that veterans deserve,” said Secretary McDonald. “It is important that our scheduling practices be reviewed by a respected, independent source to help restore trust in our system, and I’m grateful to the Joint Commission for taking on this critical task.”
Secretary McDonald announced that every VA medical center will undergo an independent review of scheduling and access practices beginning this Fall. The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. While touring the VAHCS, Secretary McDonald also received a demonstration of current scheduling practices.
“I’ve pledged to our nation’s veterans to honor the President’s charge to transform the Department and put the veteran at the center of everything we do,” McDonald added. “We will continue to take a series of actions that will enable us to improve veterans’ access to timely care here in Phoenix and across the country. I want to continue to hear from veterans and VA employees directly to improve VA business operations to serve veterans more efficiently and effectively.”
Additionally, Secretary McDonald outlined actions VA will take in the coming weeks and months to accelerate access to care for veterans:
In addition to the system-wide actions taken in response to VA’s nation-wide access audit findings, McDonald outlined actions taken to accelerate access to care for Veterans at the Phoenix VAHCS:
On August 5, VA Secretary McDonald directed all VA health care and benefits facilities to hold town-hall events by the end of September to improve communication with, and hear directly from, veterans nation-wide.
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