The Department of Veterans Affairs has been mired in controversy so consistently and for so long, that its problems appear systemic and may be impossible to fix without burning the whole place to the ground and starting from scratch. But, prior to lighting the match, the newest head of the troubled department — Robert McDonald — is trying to save it, and he intends to start at the most critical level. McDonald wants to change the culture of the VA to make it function more like a business, rather than a bloated bureaucracy.
McDonald seeks to put build on developments like “Choice Cards” which allow eligible veterans to receive care outside of the VA system if their appointment wait time is greater than 30 days, or if they live more than 40 miles from nearest VA facility.
“We are very much in favor of veterans being able to use outside care,” McDonald said during a briefing Tuesday at the VA Central Office in Washington, D.C. “It’s a shock absorber we need.”
However, he’s not without his critics — it is the VA after all.