Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard H. Carmona, a combat decorated and disabled Army Special Forces veteran of the Vietnam War was named by Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald to the committee that would meet “multiple times per year” and also conduct periodic reviews to ensure the goals of MyVA, the department’s ambitious reorganization and improvements plan.
“The committee will provide advice on competing short-term and long-range plans, priorities and strategies to improve the operational functions, services, processes and outputs of the Department,” McDonald said. Additionally, it will advise on the funding necessary to achieve the goals and review the implementation of recommended improvements with an eye to suggesting any necessary course corrections, according to the announcement.
The committee members bring together a range of experiences and specialties from the private sector, state government, health care, academia and veterans organizations.
“The collective wisdom of our committee members is invaluable and each of them understands that VA must improve customer service and focus the Department on the needs of our Veterans. They are dedicated to that mission and I am grateful for their principled service to our Veterans,” McDonald said.
The VA secretary announced the committee membership in Phoenix, Arizona, where he and President Obama held a roundtable meeting with veterans and employees of the regional VA medical center that emerged as the center of the patient wait-times scandal nearly one year ago. The highly publicized event was somewhat overshadowed by news earlier in the day that Sharon Helman, who was fired as director of the Phoenix hospital following revelations about the wait-lists, won back -- at least temporarily -- a $9,000 bonus that the VA had taken back from her through a reduction in pay.