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How Veteran’s Affairs will change under control of Robert McDonald

By Kelsie Hoitomt

On Sunday, November 9 there was a CBS 60 Minutes segment that had reporter Scott Pelley interviewing Robert McDonald, who just three short months ago took over as Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs.

McDonald became Secretary after Eric Shinseki resigned upon word getting out that tens of thousands of veterans had been placed on a phony wait list.

Instead of receiving care immediately, veterans who reach out to VA hospitals are being told they will be on a wait list that takes roughly 14 days.

Records show that the real list has some patients waiting well over 460 days; records of veterans dying due to their extensive wait have also been recorded.

Along with Shinseki’s resignation, McDonald reported that around 1,000 people could be fired within the Veteran’s Affair Department because of their violation of values.

“It’s integrity, it’s advocacy, it’s respect, it’s excellence. These are the things that we try to do for our veterans,” said McDonald.

However, McDonald said that a case needs to be built up against each individual in order to have them fired. They must be brought in front of a judge and that judge will then have the finally say.

In the 60 Minutes interview, it was stated that the phony wait list was first exposed at a Phoenix, Arizona hospital.

The excuse for the long wait period was pinned on lack of doctors and nurses and all around staff, which caused chaos within the hospital and its emergency rooms.

McDonald addressed this issue with giving a pay raise to current hospital staff. He stated that as of right now, about 28,000 doctors, nurses and medical professionals are needed and at least 2,500 mental health professionals need to be hired as well.

McDonald was shown giving presentations and taking phone calls in an attempt to personally recruit hospital staff so the wait list times can be diminished.

Currently there are around 340,000 Veteran’s Affairs employees and there are at least nine million patients.

Veterans should see a significant change in the system within the next year under McDonald’s control.

According to McDonald, by next year, new patients will be seen by a doctor within 30 days, there will be only one website instead of 12 and no one will wait for their benefits.