VA secretary compares long wait times to lines at Disneyland

As a veteran who served for a little under 10 years in the Marine Corps, and someone with a service-connected disability; I can tell you that after reading what the VA secretary, Bob McDonald, said today at a luncheon in Washington D.C to reporters as deplorable and call for his resignation immediately. I’ll bet most readers, reading this, didn’t know that the worlds’ largest integrated health medical system is the VA.

Ok so let’s break it down shall we?  According to VA statistics 5,751,861 veterans were seen within 14 days from their preferred date to their actual appointment date.  An additional 456,969 veterans waited longer than 14 days but under 30 days.  I can tell you I just went over 30 days personally for one appointment, after calling the facility 3 times weekly (and leaving recorded messages, remember document everything and record it), for over a month.  I finally gave up and went in person, while at the Phoenix VA for a different medical appointment.  You know the same facility where just 3 days ago a federal judge sentenced the former head, Sharon Helmam, to a felony charge of ethics violations and to two years’ probation, but I digress.

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Here’s the problem with the VA, it isn’t at the low level or mid levels of care.  Rather, it’s the institutional pay to play and do as I say not as I do leadership at the top, and McDonald reaffirmed that this morning when he said, “When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line?” he asked. “What’s important is what’s your satisfaction with the experience.” “And that’s really the kind of measure I want to move to.”  Wow!  OK, let’s go with that notion and look at the numbers then, after all the numbers never, never lie.  Wait, he refused to make the appointment wait times numbers public, arguing that it was not a suitable measure for success.

“Maybe it’s because we don’t think it’s valid” he said, “we want to validate every measure that we have before we give it to you to then write articles about criticizing us for that measure not being valid.”

And he quantified that statement with “When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line or what’s important?” he said. “What’s important is: What’s your satisfaction with the experience.”

One big problem with that notion Mr McDonald, is vets aren’t dying in lines while waiting for hours to go on a ride.  Unlike the roller coaster we’re faced with everytime we go to a VA facility.  Shame on you, your leadership mantra you’ve instilled at the VA and the deaths you don’t think are valid and quantifiable statistics, you should resign immediately.  Is that a little too critical?

Ohhh and yes Disney does measure wait times, Mr McDonald, it’s actually a huge component of their operational management and profitability model. and they’ve even got an app for wait times.  I guess unlike the VA, who gets free money pumped in annually from us the taxpayers, Disneyland is a private company that competes in an industry and strives for customer service.

Follow me on twitter at #TheAlexPopovic

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