Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald sent a message to all VA families regarding proposed changes to the VA "system" in a move to create better service to Veterans and their families. In deciding on these changes McDonald says that he took the input from thousands of Veterans and VA employees into consideration.
The changes McDonald announced are as follows:
- Establish a new VA-wide customer service organization to ensure VA provides top-level customer service to Veterans. A Chief Customer Service Officer who reports to the Secretary will lead this effort.
- Establishing a single regional framework that will simplify internal coordination, facilitate partnering and enhance customer service. This will allow Veterans to more easily navigate VA without having to understand our inner structure.
- Working with our partners to establish a national network of Community Veteran Advisory Councils to coordinate better service delivery with local, state and community partners.
- Expanded public-private partnerships will help VA coordinate Veteran-related issues with local, state and community partners, as well as VA employees.
- Identifying opportunities for VA to realign its internal business processes into a shared services model in which organizations across VA leverage the same support services, to improve efficiency, reduce costs and increase productivity across VA.
Secretary McDonald emphasized that these are big changes that will happen slowly and encouraged employees to use a special intranet to provide feedback and ideas as the new processes and programs are put into place.
What do these changes mean for Veterans?
If all goes as planned it will mean better, faster, more efficient service as communication in the expansive organization is simplified and more emphasis put on local and regional locations. Also, with stronger connections and teamwork with other local, state, and community organizations, services will be more accessible to Veterans and their families since the responsibilities will be spread out among organizations.
It's rumored that the VA also wants to establish one point of contact for each Veteran who would help the Veterans with their problems. It will be interesting to see how the "Customer Service" is going to be set up.