The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs released a major update Nov. 9 on the MyVA transformation, Secretary Robert McDonald’s effort to transform VA into the top customer service agency in the federal government.
This third edition of the program’s semi-annual report shows progress serving veterans with more services, in better time.
“Guided by Veterans’ needs, we’ve left old, unresponsive ways of doing business behind,” writes McDonald. “We’ve changed leadership. We’ve added staff. We’ve adjusted policies. We’re eliminating bureaucracy and unproductive work. We’re encouraging innovative approaches to serving Veterans, and we’re sharing best practices across the Department. In short, we’re making VA the high-performing organization that it can be, and that my fellow Veterans, expect and deserve.”
Key results in the report include:
* Veteran trust of VA is on the rise. In June 2016, nearly 60 percent of veterans said they trust VA to fulfill our country’s commitment to Veterans – from 47 percent in December 2015.
* We are completing more appointments, faster. In fiscal 2016, VA completed nearly 58 million appointments – 1.2 million more than in fiscal 2015 and 3.2 million more than fiscal 2014. More of them are provided by a network of more than 350,000 community providers – a 45 percent increase in the number of providers since last year.
* Processing of disability claims is faster and more accurate, too. The average wait time to complete a claim has dropped by 65 percent, to 123 days. We completed nearly 1.3 million claims in fiscal 2016, and reduced pending claims by almost 90 percent.
* Urgent care is available when a Veteran needs it, and for non-urgent appointments, wait times are down. By September 2016, the average wait time for a completed appointment was down to less than five days for primary care, less than seven days for specialty care, and less than three days for mental health care.
* Veteran homelessness has been cut in half; it’s down 47 percent since 2010 nationwide, thanks in part to VA’s work with nearly 4,000 public and private agencies.
* In the last 18 months, VA has facilitated dozens more collaborations, bringing in more than $300 million in investments and in-kind services to support America’s veterans.
* Quality is improving. 82 percent of VA facilities improved quality overall since the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015.The report details the changes and innovations, large and small, which produced these results. It also lays out a path forward for the agency – including an important role for Congress before the end of 2016.
Read the full report online at http://www.va.gov/myva/docs/MyVA-3-0-v9-digital-11816.pdf.