Military Connection: VA Calls for More Town Halls: By Debbie Gregory

VA town hallWe seem to have become a very acronym-heavy country, especially as it pertains to the government. In an effort to make things more clear, VA stands for Veterans Administration,  and is the U.S. department whose secretary, Robert McDonald, reports to the president regarding programs and benefits for Veterans. Under the umbrella of this department, there are three divisions:

Veterans Health Administration (VHA) This division provides all of the healthcare and medical needs. The VHA is the entity that staffs and operates the medical facilities.

There is also the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) that processes and manages all benefits, including applications for claims and administering benefits payments.

The third is the National Cemetery Administration, responsible for the maintenance of VA cemeteries, as well as funeral and memorial benefits.

Veterans should know that these three administrations don’t always communicate very well with one another. This is why VA hospitals don’t always know when benefits have changed, or why, even though the VHA knows that you changed your address, your benefit check didn’t reach you at your new residence.

These and other communication issues have plagued Veterans and the VA. But it appears that the lines of communication are opening up.

On Wednesday, October 08, 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that VA Secretary Robert McDonald has directed all VHA and VBA facilities to continue to hold quarterly town-hall events. Mr. McDonald’s order is an attempt to improve service throughout all divisions of the VA, and to hear directly from Veterans nationwide.

“Every one of our medical centers and regional benefits offices held town hall meetings around the country in August and September, but we have more listening to do to better serve Veterans and their families,” Secretary McDonald said. “As part of our Road to Veterans Day, VA is taking a hard look at everything we do in order to reorganize the Department around the needs of Veterans. Direct feedback from Veterans, employees and stakeholders is an important component of that Roadmap, and key to improving our services and operations,” Secretary McDonald added.

Details of town hall events at each location will be made through each individual local facility.  Veterans are strongly encouraged to attend these meetings to ensure that each division of the VA knows what they need to do in order to better serve you!

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Military Connection: VA Calls for More Town Halls: By Debbie Gregory