As I write in this new blog in The American Prospect, Trump’s hiring freeze is hurting the VHA in spite of exemptions.
But veterans who rely on the VA for benefits, pensions, compensation, and health care are still in big trouble. Chronic staff shortages and underfunding have been at the heart of a VA crisis centered on long wait times for care. Though doctors, nurses, and certain other essential health-care professionals and support staff have been exempted from the freeze, that still leaves the VA with a multitude of vacancies that will hamper its ability to deliver high-quality care.
To be sure, the recent exemptions have led some who are worried about the VA’s future to breathe a sigh of relief. When Trump announced his blanket federal hiring freeze, it did not exempt anyone at the VA. That led lawmakers and veterans’ advocates to protest that the freeze would cripple the VHA. In response, acting VA Secretary Robert D. Snyder sent out a memorandum on January 27 exempting doctors, nurses, and other health-care professionals and clinical support staff from the freeze. READ MORE
New blog post in BMJ
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Want to be a better physician or nurse leader? Enhance patient safety? Effectively lead teams? One of the current consultant prescriptions is the recommendation that leaders spend more time listening than talking. Whether in the larger management literature or in the articles and books that specifically target healthcare, listening is portrayed as a key to leadership.
I am all for listening. Of course people have to listen to each other rather than silence, ignore, dismiss, or denigrate one another. When it comes to the implementation of genuine teamwork and patient safety within the hierarchical environment of health care, I don’t think listening is enough. As Amy Edmondson has written in her book Teaming, “Research shows that hierarchy, by its very nature, dramatically reduces speaking up by those lower in the pecking order. We are hard-wired, then socialized, to be acutely sensitive to power, and to work to avoid being seen as deficient in any way by those in power.” READ MORE
This was just published on the Washington Monthly Site. It’s a great piece by a Vietnam combat veteran who was also a psychologist at the VHA for many years. Well worth the read.
Trump’s Pick for VA Secretary Could Continue Obama’s Progress by Edgardo Padin-Rivera
January 20, 2017.
As a veteran who served in Vietnam and then has spent nearly 30 years as a psychologist at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), I am heartened by President Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Dr. David J. Shulkin, who served as undersecretary for health in the VA under Obama, is very different from Trump’s other cabinet picks. He supports the VHA’s mission and is opposed to privatizing VHA services. Although he believes veterans should be able to receive care from private sector providers, he wants that care to be integrated into the VHA system, which, as all evidence shows, delivers higher quality care to veterans at lower cost than the private sector ever could.
That said, there is still a lot to worry about as Congress, the media and the president continue to publish misleading articles about the VHA and propose legislation that will end up jeopardizing its quality and even its very existence.
Consider for example, how VA healthcare is portrayed in much of the media.READ MORE
This amazing story was posted on the new website Fighting for Veterans’ Health Care. It’s written by a veteran who was dismissed by private sector health care and really cared for at the VHA. Samuel Jay Keyser is also writing a book about his experiences in both the private sector and the VHA.
Samuel Jay Keyser
July 7, 2014 was my 79th birthday. I spent the morning in an ambulance. As ominous as that might sound, it was a blessing. I was being transferred from a not-for-profit private rehabilitation hospital to the Veterans Administration (VA) hospital in West Roxbury, Massachusetts where, over the course of the next year and a half, as an inpatient and outpatient, I would receive the best possible care a spinal cord injured person could hope for. READ MORE
by January 3, 2017 Beyond Chron
President-elect Donald J. Trump will soon announce his pick for Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and his nominee should honor the phenomenal research that the Veterans Health Administration provides. VHA research — the nicotine patch, the first implantable cardiac pacemaker, the Shingles vaccine, among many others — benefits not only veterans but all Americans. Last year alone, according to VA Undersecretary for Health David Shulkin, VHA researchers published 9,480 papers in the scientific literature.
Most recently, the VHA, in partnership with the Prostate Cancer Foundation, which has helped fund the research for many major treatments, embarked on another critical research initiative. The Foundation has donated $50 million to the VHA, making this, Shulkin says, the largest commitment to cancer research the VHA has ever received, one that will help deliver better care to veterans particularly those in rural and remote areas. Foundation, CEO and President physician Jonathan Simons says the foundation is eager to work with the VHA because it is the largest health care system in America, with the most men suffering from prostate cancer of any healthcare system or institution. Because of this the VHA, he says, provides a unique opportunity to help solve some of the most vexing riddles about prostate cancer, democratize treatment through the VHA’s superior telehealth capacity, and accelerate the pace at which new drugs and treatments are made available to the nation’s veterans. READ MORE