Health Sector Management (HSM) students from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University stopped by VA’s central office in Washington, D.C., last week to speak with Sec. Bob McDonald.

The visit is part of the school’s effort to introduce students to working in the federal government and, according to professor Don Taylor, serves as an opportunity to learn more about the largest integrated healthcare system in the country.

Sec. McDonald, along with Dr. Carolyn Clancy, interim under secretary for health, and Stephen Warren, the executive in charge of information and technology, interacted with the more than 30 students and faculty members in VA’s Omar Bradley conference room. They made a case for business students, such as the visitors from Duke, bringing their skills and education to work for Veterans at VA.

“We wanted [students] to get a chance to meet with the Secretary and other experts who are leading the reform in this system,” Taylor later said. “I think [the Secretary’s] leadership, actually, has a chance to really open up some opportunities for business students who might intuitively or reflexively think government is not [their] thing. But, I think he persuasively made the case that there are chances to do things here that can help the VA, and then probably give them the skills they need when they go on to the private sector.”

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Published on Jan. 14, 2015

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  1. Christopher January 21, 2015 at 7:27 am

    It is true that the health care system is the most and the largest integrated system in the world. Students who specialise in this need to be a part of the politics for the betterment of the country.

  2. Clara C. Martin January 14, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    A good place to start utilizing these students is in the Business Division of the VAMC system. Specifically the Health Benefits Department and the Non-VA Medical Care Referral/Fee Basis Department.

    Both departments complain of being under-staffed; thus, according to the Executive Office at the Washington, DC, VAMC, responsible for the years and months long backlog in payments to Non-VA doctors and hospitals, and, reimbursement to Veterans and their families for costs incurred after going to emergency rooms because they couldn’t get care at a VA facility. Further, the additional personnel would greatly reduce the backlogs in processing disability claims and disability-presumptive appeals.

    One solution to the supposed under-staffed departments is Inter-Agency utilization of personnel during slow periods. For example: In 1999, I worked at FEMA as an Emergency Intake Specialist. My co-workers were on loan from the IRS, SBA, Treasury and other federal agencies. They brought skills of accounting, case processing, telephone case intake, etc. All were very professional and diligent in their commitment to helping disaster victims.

    Secretary McDonald, I urge you to explore this suggestion as a promising solution to a very serious problem, especially if you expect the Veterans Choice Program to work.


    Clara C. Martin
    Former Captain, Signal Corps
    Operations Officer, Pentagon
    1983-1986, Honorable Discharge

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