Friday, October 16, 2009

VA Deputy Highlights Bond between Defense and Veterans Affairs


Gould Addresses Senior Pentagon Leadership


WASHINGTON (Oct. 16, 2009) - An innovative, far-sighted partnership
between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of
Defense (DoD) will improve the health care system for Veterans and
dramatically change the way health care is delivered to all Americans,
according to Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs W. Scott Gould.


"The future will see VA and DoD working even closer together," said
Gould, "as we fulfill the President's requirement for a single Virtual
Lifetime Electronic Record that will support Veterans from their day of
induction to their day of interment."


Gould spoke Oct. 15 at the second annual DoD "Breakthrough Convention"
devoted to improving business practices in the nation's largest
government agency.


Noting that VA's budget requirements are substantially affected by DoD's
strategic decisions and operations, he reassured the audience that the
President's proposed 2010 budget for VA addresses the issue and builds
on increases Congress added to the Department's budget in the last two


VA's 2010 budget request for $113 billion would fund increased education
benefits for post-9/11 Veterans, health care for some Veterans who were
previously ineligible, more mental health and cognitive-injury services
-- especially in rural areas -- and upgraded technology for data
transmission and records.


Gould said the long-term solution for correcting procedural delays that
affect Veterans is to redesign business processes and improve
information technology.  VA's new strategic plan, he said, is focused on
Veterans, with whom VA has an ongoing - sometimes, life-long -


Employees have a natural desire to achieve client satisfaction, but
their ability to act on the desire can be diminished by poor systems,
policies or lack of training, Gould said.  VA's second-ranking executive
credited Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki with providing
the leadership to create an organizational culture of performance on
behalf of Veterans.