February 9, 2015
George W. Reilly | Providence Journal
The Department of Veterans Affairs has reorganized its MyVA organizational maps into five regions, using state boundaries, as part of the agency’s continuing effort to improve service to beneficiaries across the nation by the end of June 2015. The regional map can be seen at: 1.usa.gov/1xMhfCh. Rhode Island is included in the region of states running along the Atlantic coast from Maine to North Carolina.
The realignment effort with the new regions began Sept. 2, with the goal of giving employees greater ability to cut through red tape to serve veterans who need help with health care and other benefits. VA Secretary Robert McDonald said, “We want every veteran to have a seamless, integrated and responsive VA customer-service experience every time.”
MyVA will reorient the VA around veteran needs and empower employees to deliver excellent customer service. It is the largest department-wide transformation in the VA’s history and will reflect ideas and insights shared by veterans, employees, members of Congress, veteran-service organizations and other stakeholders.
The first phase of MyVA included creating a task force and building a team to support the organizational change.
Veterans already should be seeing the effects of the MyVA initiative.
For example, improvements have been made to VA call center operations to allow agents to suspend or resume benefit payments, eliminating steps required in the past.
MyVA is focused on five areas: improving the veteran experience; improving the employee experience so they can better serve veterans; improving internal support services; establishing a culture of continuous improvement; and enhancing strategic partnerships.
A blue-ribbon panel on military compensation and retirement has recommended overhauling the decades-old retirement system for troops and the existing health-care program for military families.
The long-awaited proposals, unveiled after an almost two-year study, include offering troops 401(k)-like retirement plans before they reach 20 years of service and replacing the existing TRICARE program with a choice of commercial health-insurance options. Panel members said the efforts, if adopted by Congress, will give service members, retirees and their families more choice while saving $12 billion a year in personnel costs by around 2040.
For more details go online to bit.ly/1CIh29t.
Town Hall meeting set
The next quarterly Veterans’ Town Hall meeting will be held Wednesday, Feb. 18, at the Providence VA Medical Center, 830 Chalkstone Ave., Providence, in Building 1, 5th-floor auditorium, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., with free parking available.
Leadership from the VA Medical Center and the Downtown Providence VA Regional Office will be present to answer questions from veterans and their family members, patients and community partners.
VA Secretary McDonald has directed all VA health care and benefits facilities to continue to hold quarterly town-hall-style events to improve communication with veterans nationwide. This follows up on the recent completion of town hall meetings between August and the end of September last year.