On Sunday, Secretary Bob McDonald talked with MSNBC’s Patrick Murphy about his work at VA, including steps the department has taken to improve access to health care for Veterans.

“We’ve hired over 900 doctors since I’ve become Secretary,” McDonald said. “I’ve visited over 17 medical schools. I’ve talked to the AMA, I’ve talked to the association of deans of medical schools to try to get more doctors.”

McDonald explained how in the health care field, VA is not only essential for Veterans, it’s essential for American medicine and for the American people. “It’s three legged stool. Take away any of the one legs and the stool falls over,” McDonald said.

“Leg one is research. We spend $1.8 billon on research. That’s led to three Nobel prizes, it’s led to seven Lasker awards. We invented the nicotine patch. We did the first liver transplant … We know more about prosthetics than anyone else. We’re on the cutting edge of traumatic brain injury.”

McDonald continued, ” [The] second leg is training. We train over 70 percent of doctors in the country through our residency program. We train nurses. We have the largest workforce of nurses in the country.”

“The third leg is clinical work. It’s dealing with our Veteran population every single day. Some of our very best doctors participate in all three legs, where we have an affiliation with some of the best medical schools in the country.”

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Published on May. 26, 2015

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