Apr 14 2017
As a 23-year veteran of the Navy and Naval Reserves, I believe we have a sacred obligation to take care of our veterans and their families. That’s why every year for more than two decades, I’ve hosted a Veterans Summit that brings together the leaders of Delaware’s Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), our Congressional Delegation, and the leadership of the national and local VA. At this meeting, we aim to find out what is working, and what we can be doing better for our veteran community.
At this year’s Veterans Summit, which took place last week at the Wilmington VA Medical Center, I was pleased that the new Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Dr. David Shulkin, could join us for a timely and robust discussion about the most pressing issues for Delaware’s veteran community. Secretary Shulkin also outlined an ambitious and much-needed plan to provide more responsive health care to our nation’s veterans. While we have seen some improvements since the wait time scandal erupted a few years ago, we have a lot more work to do in Washington and in Delaware to make sure every veteran has timely access to high-quality VA healthcare. Like his predecessor Secretary McDonald, I am confident that Secretary Shulkin understands the challenges ahead of us.
These challenges include updating the VA’s appointment scheduling system, modernizing the appeals process, expanding mental health services, improving non-VA health care options, making infrastructure improvements to outdated facilities, and holding all VA employees accountable for their performance. Ensuring our veterans get the best possible care is personal to me. I know how important a responsive, well-run VA is for our veterans. I stand ready to work with Secretary Shulkin in Washington to make sure our VA facilities in Delaware have the resources, including adequate funding and steady leadership, necessary to make sure the VA can also improve employee morale, recruit top-notch doctors and nurses, and ultimately continue to improve the level of care our veterans receive.