On January 29, 2016, recently appointed VA Under Secretary for Health, Dr. David Shulkin, held a conference between VHA leaders and finalists in a competition to present pitches for improvement to the Veterans Health Administration. As identified in the link below [VA’s own blog], each finalist (I believe all VHA employees) presented “rapid-fire virtual pitches . . . similar to the television show ‘Shark Tank.'” From that pool, 10 finalists’ ideas will be implemented in VHA facilities around the country. Those finalists not chosen were told, “You are dead to me” . . . that’s an acknowledged bad joke folks.
The VHA is by far the nation’s largest integrated health care system and has struggled to keep up with the ever-increasing number of veterans eligible for healthcare, timeliness of treatment scheduling, and a number of scandals. I hear from veterans all around the country and a major issue is the disparate availability and quality of treatment in the various geographic areas. While the program above appears slightly flippant and inconsequential, hopefully, it represents an upper-management philosophy of needing to listen to their employees with “boots on the ground” and the absolute need to be at the forefront of technology and treatment programs.