Self-Diagnoses: 13 Areas of Significant Risk in the VA

Today, Secretary David Shulkin celebrates his first 100 days at the Department of Veterans Affairs by giving his assessment of the VA. David Shulkin, who was a doctor, said he likes to diagnose, assess, and treat problems. Over the last 100 days, he has reviewed 137 assessments and studies of the VA. He acknowledged that many of the problems in the VA have been around for decades and are not attributable to one single administration. As a result of his reviewing these assessments, Secretary Shulkin announced today, 13 areas of significant risk that the VA is now trying to fix.

  1. Access – improving wait time issue
  2. Paying Providers – streamline the process, more electronic payments
  3. Community care – improve care provided outside of VA and ensure payment for that care
  4. Quality of care – too many below average VA facilities
  5. Disability claims and appeals – streamline the process to allow for more rapid decision making process
  6. Information Technology – update outdated software legacy systems
  7. Capital Assets – too many outdated buildings that are vacant
  8. Construction – new buildings not being finished in time due to red tape
  9. Accountability – difficulty in firing employees
  10. Staffing – time it takes to bring on a new heath care professional
  11. Bureaucracy – faster clearer decision making
  12. Fraud Waste and Abuse – detecting duplicate and fraudulent payments
  13. Veterans Suicide – too many veterans who commit suicide are outside the VA system

Secretary Shulkin stated that he feels that the increase in Trump 2018 budget for the VA will help him resolve 12 of the 13 significant risk categories. The one area that he felt he may need to come back and ask for larger appropriations is the area of information technology. With the exception of the software issues, he believes that these significant risk problems are not solved by throwing more money at them. Shulkin stated that many of the problems can actually be resolved by Congressional action.

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