The MyVA initiative represents Secretary McDonald’s promise to all Veterans and VA employees to better support those who have served and those who serve them. Our “MyVA: Putting Veterans First”  series — released in six parts throughout the month of December — has highlighted a few of our goals, such as ending Veteran homelessness, increasing same-day access to care, and simplifying Veterans’ online experience with VA.

At the heart of MyVA is a movement to change VA’s culture so that the department leads by principle instead of just following rules and checking boxes. See how the initiative is empowering VA employees to do the right thing for Veterans:

This is the final installment of a six-part series — called “MyVA: Putting Veterans First” — that highlights the progress being made during the MyVA initiative, the largest transformation in the department’s history.


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Published on Dec. 29, 2016

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  1. David Haynes January 8, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    I am a Navy veteran 1961-67? 2 or 3 years ago I applied for VA health benefits. I was turned down because ‘I make too much money’. So why the hell does my income even enter into the picture, I AM A VETERAN with 4 years active duty and some time as voluntary Reserve. Yes, I have insurance, but, I wanted to get signed up for my veterans benefits just in case I should ever need them. This is a crock!

    Dave D. Haynes

  2. Daniel Murray January 3, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Any veteran who gave up his civilian freedom, and rights to serve his country should not have to live in poverty, and pain in a country he or she could have at any time lost their lives for. Millions have lost their lives. So what is our country trying to say. “The only good soldier is a dead soldier” then we won’t have to give them any thing, but open promises. It is a shame!

  3. Spencer Sikder January 2, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Empowering the employees has been in their handbag of tools for customer service improvements for years. One of the problems is the staff lacks the training/education on VA regulations. They also fail to keep up with changes. Another problem is the legislature, implementing laws which conflict with good medical care. Used to be there were a handful of performance measures, now they number in excess of 500. So VA employees are checking boxes instead of caring for veterans. There are tens of thousands of great employees doing great work, and just as many wanting to.

  4. Michael C Oberbillig January 1, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    I am a Vietnam Era Veteran with a Masters in Psychological Counseling which I received from the University of Memphis in 1988. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and have been since 2003. I have many years of valuable professional experience as an ACT team leader, a Psycho-social Program Director, a Clinical Supervisor at a Methadone Clinic and presently work as a counselor at Georgia State Prison for the past 4 years, Because the University of Memphis was not CACREP certified during the time I received my Masters I have been blocked from working and serving my fellow Veterans through the VA which I find to be ludicrous and heartbreaking!
    I would gladly my fellow Veterans as a L.P.C. in virtually any capacity but feel I would be most valuable out in the field assisting those who due to PTSD, or other chronic mental illnesses are reluctant to come into clinics.

  5. John Richardson December 31, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    I know how some of you feel. I’ve been awaiting a reversal of denials retroactive to August 2008 for Rhabdomyolysis, which I was medically diagnosed by Military physician while serving on active duty in 2001. I retired from service in 2007. I should have been medically discharged due to having the rare systemic disease Rhabdomyolysis. The VA denied my claim for service connection saying it wasn’t in my medical records until my medical records clearly shows hospitalization dates, treatment dates, diagnosis date, and emergency admission to the intensive care unit because my kidneys and liver functions was abnormal. I’ve been hospitalized yearly since retiring and sometimes multiple times per year. I am hoping to receive this reversal due to their clear, convincing unmistakable error before I die.

  6. James Tobleck December 31, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    You blocked my truthful post again. Bob McDonald staff just proved again they don’t want to hear from vets about abuse of power, malfeasance.

    • liz January 5, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      James Tobleck-I agree. Bob McDonald does not want to hear from us Vets. At one of his Meeting he handed out his Vet phone line and promised to look into both Benefit issues or Health issues and ‘personally’ attend to each one on.’ I’m sure he could not do, but at least a special team would do this. I left several messages, Never received a phone call back. All lip service for the News Papers. I have tried to contact that particular News Paper to do a follow up article on his Speech, to see exactly how many follow up Services were accomplished and got no response from them either. Guess no one really cares what happens to us Vets. Only when Bob McDonald opens his mouth.

  7. George Allen Abbott December 31, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Two problems with the VA. The top floor and the ground floor. The top floor executives set the tone for the VA and are probably the least qualified and most morally bankrupt set of individuals there are. The ground floor are the initial customer service people. A stop at any VA facility demonstrates unmotivated, incompetent staff completely vacant about any customer care. The floors in between the ground and top floors seem to be staffed by pretty good medical professionals who if anything are frustrated with the top and ground floors. Solve this by automating or contracting out the ground floor, since government employee rules facilitate hiring people for their demographics rather than competence leading to the current failure. For the top floor- fire each and every one of them. The incredible incompetence and resulting corruption is too deep to fix any other way.

  8. James Tobleck December 31, 2016 at 9:20 am

    I just wish one of you would explain why I never to have my leg fixed instead of dope for 40+ years. Why the repeated appeals over and over as is happening again. 40 lousy years of dope ,pain, and for what? Martin gets promoted to run Wyoming clinic but she over ruled Dr O for bleeding insides repeatedly, 3 years
    Then wouldn’t let the the upper I g while I’m under , had to be 2 separate procedures, that’s bad practices. KS in less than 24 hours supposedly did a total work up on my health and over ruled my Dr. Again.He still owes me $311.00 for his failure in being a champion of choice. Total failure on everything.Speers canceled all my aproved dental work that Wyoming VA dentist approved. Do you see a pattern here.nc5F

  9. James Tobleck December 31, 2016 at 9:01 am

    It’s new years eve . The latest apeal will take me 3to5 more years that will make me 68 .yet B.C.VA wanted me to finally have knee surgery at a zero rated Detroit hospital .A 4+ hour drive from Muskegon, clear across the state. This proves the VA couldn’t kill me off by delay, deny , now goes as far as possible to the worst hospital still trying to kill me . Mercy Health hospital where 2 VA doctors wanted my surgery to be done. Over ruled by K.S. a non doctor and Director S. a nurse.
    .my 5 mile trip to a top rated lcoal hospital, er., p.t. Center is to hard for the VA to understand. I state I intend to bring charges against S. for malfeasance, concerning my health care.

  10. Robert Lundy December 31, 2016 at 2:09 am

    How can I get help medical advise, when my physician want help.

  11. George Foust December 31, 2016 at 1:15 am

    When, if ever, are any satraps and administrators going to be fired over the deaths of veterans that did not receive timely care? Until that happens, the VA has ZERO credibility. Everything published and said in news briefings is simply bloviating.

  12. James Tobleck December 30, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    I’ve tried all evening and every time the chapta letter box keeps saying no , appears to be another way VA doesn’t want to hear from a vet that’s been abused by the VA for 40 years. I asked for a omuds men to teach the VA whats wrong and correct my case . I’ve asked for a malfeasance charge be brought on the Director of Battle Creek VA Hospital. Suggest you call me .

  13. James Tobleck December 30, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Your canceled my comment about my requests for ombudsman to do a forensic investigation how the VA could mishandled 40 years of bone on bone pain ,how it’s destroyed my family life. Jobs lost . I will never trust VA nor shold anyone.Decades of lost files lies ,lost faith in my govt.

  14. John Starzynski December 30, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Who came up with the idea of creating a table for multiple disability ratings and why? Why aren’t the multiple disability ratings just added together as they should be? Why the complication and reduction?

    • John Starzynski January 6, 2017 at 7:56 am

      Where do I find the official VA response to my question above and how am I notified if it has been answered?

  15. Tally Johnson December 30, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    About time,, the military in the past,, if APR or job performance is lower than expected you would be gang raped by your superiors in the open,, or if male tortured like put in dryer with 3rd degrees burns or thrown off balcony and murdered,,, YEA CANT WAIGHT TO SIGN UP AGAIN,,, US Airforce. & Marines.

  16. Dennis S. Sherman December 30, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    The VA is wonderful and only wants to help veterans. They said so, so it must be true. No finer care anywhere. LOL. Anyone who disagrees is one of Hillary’s “Deplorables.”

  17. Ted Green December 30, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Please, please, please, don’t let trump get his slimy paws on the VA, it’s working very well even though there are some problems, that’s going to happen with any large institution. But I understand the VA is working on them.

    Thank you Ted Green

  18. Joe Roth December 30, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    In 2016, I spent a total of 12 weeks in the Tucson VA palliative care unit, under the care of Dr. Holly Ahner. I told a group of employees gathered by David that I had never had a more professional, personal and empathetic hospital experience in 15 years of treatment for prostate cancer and it’s after effects. The VA nationally would do well to base it’s new care initiatives on the CLC at SAVAHCS.

  19. Carlton glenn kraft December 30, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    On principle the va regional office has finally released my paperwork and denied all my compensation claim s. On this Christmas eve. Only took them a case of trickery,and,5 years!

  20. Alexander C Navarro December 30, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    I have a very unique situation pertaining to my third increase in disability rating. A rating decision was made to raise my rating to 90 percent retroactive Oct 1, 2007. I was notified with this on Oct 20, 2016 followed by Oct 21 letter stating payment of past due benefits. On a Dec 7 letter, decision was reversed stating am not entitled to past due benefits due to receipt of retired pay. VA received the DFAS Error Audit Report Dec 1. Under the last two increases I had, past due benefits were paid twice in 2016.
    I sent supporting documents to show my receipt of CRDP and retired pay since I am a retired (22.5 yrs active duty) along with a DFAS Audit Report. To date, VA has not reply to my letters requesting for past due benefit payment. Change in VA culture to serve the veterans better is not within this matter. Dec 7 letter was completely wrong
    representing mismanagement of veterans personal information and inconsistency in handling benefits payment.

  21. Rick Riffell December 30, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    This is good for the VA. I have been waiting on the VA for 3 yrs to make a decision on my diabetes claim. I’m a Vietnam veteran and this is a no brainer. The VA has all my records indicating that I am a diabetic. Their process time is out of control. Hopefully this will help.

  22. Stephen Allen Mitchell December 30, 2016 at 11:31 am


    • liz January 5, 2017 at 1:26 pm

      Stephen Allen Mtchell-Do you have any Battle Buddies? They may be able to write you a letter of having been with you, this does carry a lot of weight for substantiating proof. Have you heard of the website? I have learned a lot of good tips from other Vets, especially Agent Orange issues. This is a terrible thing, and such an injustice! The VA knows where and when you were in the field of Battle, said and Done! Get a proper complete Physical Exam outside of VA that stipulates exactly the symptoms you are now having that more than likely result from your exposure to Agent Orange as a result from Military Service. But, please do check out the HadIt. com site, those Vets really know how to help us out. All the Best. One thing I have learned, the VA and the VAHC are not your Friend. They will do as little as possible to get us our Benefits or any back pay, the idea is to save tax dollars. If they can show how they have saved it, ultimately means Bonus $$ for them. Yes, there are the occasional “wonder stories” to post for Headlines, more $ spent on useless buildings like Denver, CO that are empty or never completed. $ allocated for Veterans Choice Programs (>$650Billion that is now being diverted to VAHC to other discretionary programs as VAHC Directors see fit, is it any wonder why so many Veterans were denied Choice to begin with?)
      Why isn’t Congress listening to the complaints from Veterans when we complain why we get denied access?
      I love my Country and Served Proudly, no regrets. Did my job with Pride! I know feel, Deny + Dishonest = VA Way.
      NEVER SAY NO, NEVER SURRENDER. Many of these very people making these decisions in our cases have never served, all they are trained in, is how to deny, deny and hope we die.

  23. Stephen Allen Mitchell December 30, 2016 at 11:28 am

    I love reading about veterans who get help or are pleased by what our government is doing to help. But what about the 100,000 plus claims that haven’t been settled yet. I tried to get a claim submitted in the 1970’s and was told I missed the deadline by a day and was denied. Then I suffered for many years on my own till I heard that I could refill in 2013 which I did. Since then I’ve got nothing but runaround, more questions on going up to today. The VA Doctor did blood work for Agent Orange and ask questions and said yes was exposed to Agent Orange. I served in Cam Ron Bay Vietnam on and off between 1969 and 1970. I did not go to sickbay while there with Fleet Air Wing 10 Comand Staff as an Aviation Storekeeper man 3rd class for P 3’s support. In that time I was told the Comand Staff Records had been sealed so I had no way of proof that is been there. I’ve keep asking how I could find proof that I was in Vietnam because I did receive combat pay. I was told to check with Navel Dispursment Center for records of proof. I’ve submitted documentation for that information almost one year ago but told it could take up to a year for a reply. I’m still waiting but I did receive PTSD check for mental cituaton of $500 a month and help with some VA Clinic help like for prescriptions. It all helps but I’m retired age 68 and still struggling and verly getting by. How many others are out there going thru the same cituaton that I am and no one knows and they don’t care. Just forget them and they will die. My Veterans Service Of Larimer County of Colorado is still trying to help but they can only do so much. I thank them for all they’ve done for me so far. Please help me and others like me understand why our government really don’t care about us or care to help us. Thank you for listening to me vent but I still love my country , serving my country, and proud to be an American. LOVE THE USA

  24. Ronald G. Rodriguez December 30, 2016 at 11:11 am

    Interesting. It never occurred to me that I would go to Vietnam and fight for my country then come back home and FIGHT MY COUNTRY. It has been an uphill battle. When my service-connected problems began to manifest, it was my responsibility to prove it to the VA. I had to satisfy it’s bureaucratic demands. I filed claims that were rejected, and I was never notified, I just had to sit there, fat dumb and (un)happy, waiting for something that would never come. I’m still waiting for a response to a “NOTICE OF DISAGREEMENT’ that I filed over a year ago. It’s as though they pick and choose who they are going to help. If you’re a bit of a PITA, you get shuffled to the end of the line. I hope they fix it. A lot of Veterans are in dire straights.

    • Kenneth Fields December 30, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      That is very interesting. I filed a NODAY and never heard from them either. But yet they want to tell me how to deal with my pain by prescriBing medication that are more dangerous than the pain killers that I was on.

  25. francis doyle December 30, 2016 at 10:53 am

    if I was trump I would shut down the v.a. in d.c. .it is a total dysfunctional agency with more criminals and corruption than the the I r s. start all over again where people could be fired lose their pensions and go to jail.

  26. William Pailen December 30, 2016 at 10:12 am

    It is my hope that someday the VA will give greater recognition and greater priority to care for veterans of the “forgotten war.” While Korean War vets receive some benefits, we are given a low priority. But we are getting much older now and it is possible that we will all die before we receive due care.

  27. Will Smith December 30, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Outstanding taking care of our Veterans by leading by example.

Comments are closed.

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