Clinton Unveils Plans for VA

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets audience members following a veterans roundtable discussion with the Truman National Security Project at the VFW Hall in Derry, New Hampshire November 10, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets audience members following a veterans roundtable discussion with the Truman National Security Project at the VFW Hall in Derry, New Hampshire November 10, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

On Tuesday, Hillary Rodham Clinton attended a round table event with the Truman National Security Project in Derry, New Hampshire. During the event, Clinton outlined her plans to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a department that has been heavily scrutinized for its outdated practices and massive backlog. Clinton said, “These problems are serious, systemic and unacceptable. They need to be fixed and they need to be fixed now.” She made it clear that the VA and its processes would not be privatized, but modernized in a way that honors the commitment of the veterans it serves. Clinton then spoke to veterans in attendance and answered to their questions while listening to their concerns. A video from the event will be posted when/if available.

Clinton’s plan is complex and contains multiple facets. The Clinton campaign released a full outline of the plan, and key points are below. CLICK HERE to read the full plan.

  • Ensure that Veterans have access to timely and quality health care
  • Create a new framework for heath care delivery by the VHA
    • Refocus as a veteran-centric provider of service-connected care
    • Synchronize and coordinate VHA benefits with other programs
    • Strategically purchase private-sector care
    • Establish a VHA Strategic Oversight and Governance Board
  • Ensure better communication between the Department of Defense (DoD) and VA
    • Streamline the DoD-VA health care footprint
    • Synchronize procurement to find cost savings
    • Streamline VA and DoD IT Systems
  • Improve healthcare for women at the VHA
    • New funding to ensure women equal and respectful access to health services
    • Requiring the provision of reproductive services
    • Broadening initiatives to provide childcare at VA medical facilities
  • End the veteran suicide epidemic
    • Increase funding for metal health providers and training
    • Expand programs targeted at providing effective mental heath treatment
    • Promoter better prescriber and treatment practices
    • Ensure that Military Sexual Trauma is acknowledged as a valid form of PTS
    • Encourage state VA departments to include mental health programs
    • Provide proper legal assistance to review and upgrade other than honorable discharge categorizations for those separated from service due to service-connected mental health and cognitive issues, such as TBI, PTS, and addiction
  • Continue to identify and treat invisible, latent, and toxic wounds of war
    • Maintain presumptions of service for latent and invisible connected wounds from the Vietnam War, Gulf War, Iraq war, and Afghanistan war
    • Expand the current VA burn pit registry
    • Dedication research funding and provide mechanisms for collaborative efforts to improve veteran treatments
  • End disability benefits and appeals backlog
    • Streamline and simplify the claims process
    • Improve the VA’s partnership with the DoD
    • Launch an Innovation Initiative to develop innovative solutions for sustainably managing the claims and appeals process
  • Bring sustained and focused White House leadership to attention
    • Create a standing President’s Council on Veterans
    • Conduct an end-to-end evaluation to optimize the full scope of benefits afforded to our veterans
    • Convene a White House Summit on Veterans
    • Continue to engage private and philanthropic sectors
  • Support and broaden initiatives that provide educational benefits, job training, and support for veteran entrepreneurs.
    • Make the post-9/11 GI Bill part of the nation’s social contract with those who serve
    • Expand tax credit for veterans’ employment
    • Improve concurrent certification and credentialing programs
    • Strengthen veteran entrepreneurship programs
    • Create pathways and platforms for service member to enter growing career fields
  • Protect veterans
    • Fight back against schools that prey on veterans and the GI Bill
    • Enforce zero tolerance for firms that overcharge service members and veterans
    • Strengthen non-discrimination laws
  • Move decisively to end veteran homelessness
    • Increase funding for reducing homelessness while expanding public-private partnerships
    • Expand complementary programs and services
    • Address the needs of homeless women veterans and homeless veteran families
  • Support Veterans Treatment Courts nationally
  • Recognize the honorable service of LGBT veterans
  • Create a culture of accountability, service, and excellence
    • Hold every employee accountable for their performance and conduct
    • Revamp the performance evaluation system
    • Bolster critical whistleblower protections
  • Provide budgetary certainty
  • Ensure our veterans are buried with the honor, distinction, and integrity they deserve
  • Support smart compensation and benefits reform
    • Ensure reforms to military compensation and retirement benefits improve readiness for quality of life
    • Modernize the military health system
  • Adopting modern and inclusive personnel policies
    • Attracting millennials to military service
    • Zero-tolerance for Military Sexual Assault and Harassment
    • Welcoming women to compete for all military positions
    • Supporting the DoD policy review on transgender service
  • Promote family policies
    • Increase access to child care
    • Create flexibility around military moves
    • Expand military spouse employment initiatives
  • Champion efforts to care for our military members and families
    • Ensure continued focus on mental health for military members and their families
    • Remain committed to extended leave policies
    • Continue to support Gold Star Families

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News Source: The Wall Street Journal, The Briefing

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