With the appointment of Robert McDonald as the new Veterans Administration Secretary, we Veterans can only hope that he McDonald (if appointed by the Senate) won't fail to lead.
He certainly has a track record of leading. Up until the end of his term at Proctor & Gamble he increased just about everything about the company (market share, product lines, etc.). McDonald was also distinguished at West Point. And I don't know anyone who will give him any grief about his service in the 82nd Airborne. Now, all we can hope, is that the politicians will give him the tools he needs to succeed. This includes the ability to fire bureaucrats and others in the VA system who have caused, in part, the VA Scandal.
There are other things McDonald has to do to succeed at the VA. Here's my ideas for the next VA Secretary:
Take out the trash. I already stated this above, but it bears another mention. He can't be afraid to fire people if they were/are a part of the caustic culture that seems to permeate the VA. This will undoubtedly include stepping on political toes. Those political toes should have NOTHING to do with the healthcare of our Veterans. He needs to be given the ability to fire people for cause, something unions aren't fond of. I could care less. For that matter, everyone should care less.
Modernize the VA. I'm not just talking about the antiquated computer systems used by the VA which haven't been updated since the 1980's (yes really). I'm talking about how they treat Veterans and what they treat. One of the biggest maladies confronting our Veterans of today is PTSD. Newer ways of treatment for PTSD should be a forerunner of the new VA.
Eliminate the Million Vet Backlog. When you are in a perimeter defense you shore up the weakest area that is being attacked. To accomplish this for the VA doctors from other federal agencies (HHS, CDC, etc) should be rushed in, along with opening up Veterans to private healthcare options. We need to stop the bleeding, in more ways than one.
Do away with the assembly line mentality. This has a lot to do with the Veteran backlog and waiting lists. VA doctors basically operate as if they were on an assembly line in Detroit. Doctors shouldn't feel pressured to spend 3-4 minutes and then off to another patient.
Do I think change is right around the corner for the VA? No, that would be absurd. Hopefully the waiting lists will be knocked down if Congressional politicians can get off their duffs and pass a bill authorizing Veterans to go to private healthcare facilities, but that is just a stopgap. No, real change will take time. In the meantime, its up to Veterans and other Patriots to keep the political feet to the proverbial fire on the VA Scandal. Just as the resignation of Gen. Shinseki didn't solve the problem, the confirmation of his successor won't fix anything all by itself.
That is all.