McDonald confirmed as VA secretary

American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger today thanked the Senate for acting quickly today to confirm the nomination of former Procter & Gamble Chief Executive Officer Robert McDonald to become secretary of the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs. “The time to act is now,” Dellinger said. “Veterans are waiting for the care they earned and deserve.”

The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs voted 14-0 July 23 in support of McDonald, 61, who would replace Eric Shinseki, who resigned in late May. Shinseki’s departure came after The American Legion called for urgent change, starting with new leadership at the top, to restore trust in the system after revelations that veterans had died waiting for VA doctor appointments that were never really scheduled and that executives received bonuses for falsified performance reports.

From McDonald, Dellinger said he looks for the kind of changes one would expect in the corporate world when a company is in trouble.

“The American Legion is confident that Robert McDonald will apply his experience leading big, complex business operations to the Department of Veterans Affairs, a complex operation that desperately needs a system-wide overhaul right now,” Dellinger said. “I am also confident Mr. McDonald will understand the importance of engaging the veteran stakeholders of the VA health-care system as reforms are adopted in the coming months.”

Dellinger said the incoming VA secretary must make patients his first priority and include them at the table as changes are planned and executed. “It’s time to put the veteran back into the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Dellinger said. “No more secret lists. No more bonuses for poor performance or unreasonably long waiting times for appointments. No more accuracy breakdowns in deciding benefits claims. In this equation, the veteran is the customer, and The American Legion represents that customer. We look forward to working with Mr. McDonald. Together, we can get VA back on track and restore trust among the patients it serves, as well as the public, which expects nothing less than timely, high-quality care for our nation’s veterans.”



  1. I an a Vietnam era vet. I put in 2 tours in Vietnam 1968, 1970, 11B. with CIB'S for each tour.After 50 years of self medication with alcohol and drugs in 2012 at the age of 72 I started seeking help from the VA. The VA and DAV are suppose to be helping us but they can't because they can't talk to each other. DAV and my doctors say I suffer from PTSD combat related, Va says no. So I am on my 2nd appeal with no redress in sight Mr Secretary can u really help us?
  2. I think the VA Heath Care System needs to be dismantled. Let's give Veterans vouchers or insurance similar to Medicare so they can get treatment in the private sector. The current system has no incentive for taking care of the patient The incentives are for quotas and meeting arbitrary statistical measures. The VA is bloated and inefficient. It has over five times the employees as the Social Security Administration, and serves about one-third of the clientele. Mr. McDonald has his work cut out for him.
  4. All facilities should get rid of any Veteran round tables that are in place. They amount to what we at WLA call the "coffee and doughnut club". Then, select new local watchdog Veteran groups, including advocates who do not belong to any VSO, and develop an objective set of Guiding Principles. Commit to following those principles and hold the VA facility accountable. Finally, give those local Veteran watchdog groups access to a "hammer", create a conduit to the State and Federal Veteran Committees.
  5. get rid of the unions in the va system we did not have one when we were in the military they protect the dead wood clean house and do it right ok
  6. Let's start by holding them to the same standards every one of us in the military lived with in order to remain in and get promoted. This is a military benefit for veterans and these people working at the VA hospitals should be answering to the DOD medical command and not congressmen. That's part of the problem. It's political now and needs to be strictly based on results.
  7. Mc Donald needs to be re armed with the ability to cut out the bad apples. The system is infused with career slackers who just go through the motions and feel protected by their GS ranking. Written tests for job knowledge and 3rd party performance evaluations need to be done. The i'm OK your OK culture has brought us to this brink.
  8. The VA Out Reach Clinics work. They are perfect for rural communities like the one I live in. I see the same Dr. every time, he knows my medical history and gets me into specialists I might need at the VAMC when I need them. When he puts in the order for treatment, I get in within 2 weeks. Money for these clinics and Doctors & nurses is what's needed; not more administrators. I also agree, new leadership without the authority to fire nonproductive or irresponsible administrators will do nothing. The solution is simple: More money for patient services, Less money for administrtion, Administrators that are truely held accountable,and More veteran input.
  9. So just changing leadership fixes the problems? What about some consequences for not doing the job so the replacement and personnel get the message they can and will be held responsible for failure!
  10. sit down and shut up! What is needed is more outpatient clinics to support the larger VA Heath facilities. These large VA facilities are overcrowded, furthermore you never have one Dr. diagnosing your problem. It is always a bunch of student doctors being told what to do by a resident Dr. It takes almost a full day just to see a Dr., and another half day just to get medications. Come on congressmen get your head straight, lean on your district to open more clinics. Money is no object, just the waste of big health facility management.
  11. I'm a retired Army veteran and I managed a VA Outpatient Clinic.I agree that more outpatient clinics certainly have facilitated and continue to provide excellent primary care services to our deserving veterans. The problem of "shortage" of doctors and the credentialing/administrative(hiring)process of prospective doctors still remain a problem in the system. The administrative staff in most of these situations need attitude readjustment and should be held to strict performance standards. We can start by hiring veterans "first" in these support positions.
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