Sec. Bob McDonald recently spoke at the Student Veterans of America (SVA) National Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

While asking student Vets to join the ranks of VA and help create an organization of which everyone can be proud, McDonald laid out his three strategies for moving VA forward – restoring trust, improving service, and setting the course for long-term excellence and reform.

These three strategies are not just marketing slogans for McDonald. Since beginning his tenure as VA secretary with a visit to the Phoenix VA Medical Center, he has traveled to more than 75 other facilities to speak with Veterans and VA employees.

McDonald’s 90-day plan is taking hold and employees have recommitted themselves to I-CARE (Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, Excellence) values.  As he travels, the Secretary places an emphasis on recruiting the best and brightest minds to serve Veterans. Whether speaking to students from Harvard or Duke, or Veterans at the SVA and IAVA conferences, McDonald touts VA as the “best place to work for the best customers in the world.”

Accountability is a high priority for McDonald. Since July, VA has fired more than 1,000 employees for violating their responsibility to serve Veterans and to uphold VA’s I CARE core values.

In all, McDonald’s swift actions over the past seven months are helping the department turn the corner and refocus on putting the mission and customer first.



Share this story

Published on Jan. 23, 2015

Estimated reading time is 1.2 min.

Views to date: 86


  1. Danny February 9, 2015 at 11:07 am

    SFC Collum, I remember them! Maybe we should all start taking names of these uncaring individuals & reporting them to the OIG – not their supervisor or the hospital director, they may be friends. We can take names and let the OIG kick “tails”. As veterans, we should all know to always keep a copy for our records.

  2. Pamela Collum, SFC (ret) February 8, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    we had an acronym for the underperforming individuals in the Service.
    R-o-a-d Soldeiers. Those are the people who are NOT motivated to do their job,
    And need to GO. There are some in every Organization. They should not be able to hide out and get to retirement. Without the threat of losing their job (like to civilian market)
    Their behavior will NOT improve.

  3. Owens Earl Jr January 26, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    Yes we do we all need to come together and this year in stud of marching up and down the street on Veteran Day and march on our Capital in our city a demand for change in there settle ment time,our Dental, and our base privileges like buying from the PX

  4. Danny January 26, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    I deeply resent being called a “customer”! I AM AN AMERICAN VETERAN! Does anyone else feel this way?

  5. Owens Earl Jr January 23, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Why don’t you tell all Veteran the true about the Dental programs you are offing them they suck for a denture ware like my self as for delta dental if you need denture you have to pay them one year before you can be fitted for a denture then you have to come out of pocket for over $ 800.00 dollars dose that sound like a grate plan I don’t think so and the other you are lock in for at lease one year and if you don’t pay for the gust what happens I no they can do better then that’

  6. Dave Radowicz January 23, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    I am a 72 yr old Pre-Vietnam disabled vet with a on-going 16+ yr bitter legal battle with the Milwaukee Regional Office staff. The RO Director appears to have zippo transparencies with his subordinates and lets them do whatever they want and to whom ever (Vets) they want and are getting away with their misconduct. I believe I have the evidence for the Sec. of Veterans Affairs to launch a full federal investigation for blatant misconduct against the Milwaukee RO Director and his subordinates. Can anyone out there steer me to the Sec’s direct private mailing address (bypassing everyone in between) where it would be opened and read for his eyes only, along with his personal email address, fax and phone #’s? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. If you prefer to keep our communications private, you can respond directly to me at Thank you.

  7. Leonard January 23, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    your not tuned into reality

    upon arriving at the VA Emerald clinic, on schedule at the correct time and date, according to the print out I was given last year I was told that my annual “15 minute” physical was CANCELLED. I was’t notified by email, phone, etc. The check in clerk didn’t even care nor apologized for the foul up.

    This after i traveled 28 miles, sat in the parking lot for 2 hours to avoid rush hour traffic and not having to drive around and around and around for a “precious” parking place. On top of this I tried to ignore the tire warning light on my dash board, only to find that indeed one of tires was under inflated AND had a nail in the tire.To think of what could have happened driving on the freeway, IF I had had a blowout. I guess it would have been ONE LESS disabled veteran to deal with.

    So much for taking care of the needs of veterans. All that propaganda on this web site, is just that propaganda. Now that the bad publicity has died down here “AT GROUND ZERO, in Phoenix AZ, it s business as usual. To hell with the veteran. I waited 6 weeks this past fall for a scheduled appointment with an outside neurologist, and was told I’d be scheduled for a Cat scan. It has been 7 weeks and I’m still waiting to be scheduled AT the VAMC.

    I really feel for the disabled veterans returning from war who are disabled. If I’m treated so shabbily, just think of how it must be for them to be ignored. No wonder the suicide rate is so high, and falsely under reported. And consider the homeless veterans. It boggles the mind that its business as usual, and to hell with the veterans.

    And whats with this captcha code your suppose to enter to submit any comment. After repeated attempts, you might get lucky and have it submitted. Just another failing on the part of a VA system , wake up, that is not working.

  8. Jimmy Allman January 23, 2015 at 11:42 am

    I have served my time and have retired from the army after several deployments and I do agree with Anthony J. DeCarlo , the time for training new personnel is not its time for the VA to step and hold people accountable for their actions. Fom the person who answers the phone (un professionaly at all times at the VA Nashville office) to the person handling or misshandling the claims process or not looking at the whole picture of the Veteran to stop the repetative claims processed from the very start of thier encounter. I have been very thankfull for the care that i have been recieving, to a point. I have told a surgeon on two occasions that the Hernia repair they performed in conjunction with a Gallblader surgery surgery was still a problem after 2 follow up visits and now 9 months later I have to have the same surgey again to correct the initail problem. Training new people is a great idea but don’t put them into the system until they are fully capable of preforming that duty and not being thown ito and here its all yours. If you are being paid to do a job and you wont adapt to the requirements for the position you may want to seek a different career path. We Veterans do not deserve to be treat like dirt or disrespected.

  9. Jane Babcock, CVSO, SFC (Ret) January 23, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Mr DeCarlo, Sir, Thank you for your service. I am hoping you know your CVSO or VSO well (County Veterans Service Officer/Veterans Service Officer) they are your path t6o senior VA leadership. With good or bad when my veterans tell me great or horrible tails I ask them to put it in writing and let me send it up the chain. Since they are not part of my chain of command I send each link I feel is appropriate a copy, I have sent one issue to several people, including Sec Shinseki (letter), and a scanned one to Sec. McDonald. I did receive and email back from Sec McDonald lettering me know this veteran was definitely treated badly and giving me the name of his man that would/did call my veteran later that day for details.

    More often then not a scanned email to the local Patient Advocate, the clinic and the Regional Medical Center Director was sufficient. Their followup is usually within a few days. One lead to a front counter person being moved to a non-public position, another was a Doctor that was given the opportunity to leave since there were so many complaints, and another who was talked to about good bedside manners.

    The ones who care really do want to hear your voice.

  10. Danny January 23, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Mr. DeCarlo, thank you for your many years of service!I agree with you that many of us don’t have time to wait for some of the changes that are trying to be implemented, but just think what a change it could make in the lives of our younger brothers and sisters.TO THE STUDENT VETERANS: I worked at the VETERANS Administration & loved it. Let The vets you are a vet & try to think of it like helping family. Give respect & get respect. As for those in the current upper echelons, we have a brother at the top of the VETERANS Administration! Please do your jobs, or one of these students might – sooner than later.

  11. fred reeves January 23, 2015 at 10:56 am

    1/23/2015 – Excellent and keep up all the good work.

  12. Anthony J. DeCarlo January 23, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I’m 83 years old, served in the USAF for 32 years, put my life on the line for the great country, flew 218 combat missions in Laos and North Vietnam in the A-1h aircraft; and The VA plan to improve services to veterans by hiring people who are now in school to seek employment with the VA. I don’t have time for that. We need to get all the underperforming people out of the VA NOW! The VA culture needs to be changed. Veterans must be given means to communicate with senior VA personnel.

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • In 2022, VA set a goal to house 38,000 homeless Veterans. With only a few months to go, how are we doing?

  • Under the PACT Act, Vietnam era, Gulf War era, and Post-9/11 Veterans have extended eligibility for VA health care.

  • The PACT Act will help VA provide health care and benefits to millions of toxic-exposed Veterans and their survivors. Veterans have already begun to apply for the benefits.