Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald issued a new statement this afternoon offering sentiments closer to an apology (but still not one) about his comments yesterday likening veterans’ wait times to lines at Disneyland.
Even Disney issued a statement saying they take wait times seriously, and lots of people really tore into McDonald for seemingly downplaying veterans’ health issues and the fact that many veterans have died while waiting for care.
McDonald issued the following statement today:
On Monday, I made some remarks on how we’re working to improve Veterans’ satisfaction with the care they receive from VA. It was never my intention to suggest that I don’t take our mission of serving Veterans very seriously.
In fact, improving access to care is my number one priority and the priority I have set for the entire department. For the last two years, the huge majority of VA employees have worked tirelessly to improve the timeliness of the care and benefits we provides to Veterans.
As I’ve told Veterans Service Organizations, Members of Congress, and myriad other groups of Veterans stakeholders, our goal is to ensure VA becomes the Number 1 customer-service organization in government.
To do that, we are following many of the best practices of private sector health care providers and exceptional customer-service organizations.
At VA we take our mission of caring for those who “shall have borne the battle” very seriously; we have the best and most noble mission in government.
If my comments Monday led any Veterans to believe that I, or the dedicated workforce I am privileged to lead, don’t take that noble mission seriously, I deeply regret that. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As we approach the Memorial Day holiday and pay tribute to the sacrifices of courageous men and women who placed the interests of others above their own, we at the VA remain focused on our mission to care for those who bravely served our Nation.
[image via screengrab]
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