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IAVA Member Questions for VA Secretary Nominee Dr. David Shulkin

IAVA wants to know what questions you have for Dr. David Shulkin, VA Secretary nominee, during his confirmation hearings on Wednesday, February 1, 2017.

As of 5:30pm, the breakdown of members’ and supporters’ concerns are:

  • 61% – VA Accountability/Reform the Government
  • 14% – Experience and Views of Dr. Shulkin
  • 5% – Combating Suicide Among Troops and Veterans
  • 5% – Supporting Innovative VA Healthcare
  • 4% – Employing the New Greatest Generation, Including Impact of the Hiring Freeze
  • 3% – Disability Compensation and Support
  • 2% – GI Bill – Defending Veteran and Military Education Benefits
  • 2% – End Veteran Homelessness
  • 1% – Support to and Recognition of Women Veterans
  • 1% – Promote Equality for All Troops and Veterans
  • 1% – Support to Our Military Families 

Top Concerns/Questions for Dr. Shulkin

  1. Members are overwhelmingly concerned about VA reform, and specifically want Dr. Shulkin to address whether the VA will fully privatize. Other top concerns center on the implementation of the Choice Program, and efforts underway to eliminate the VA backlog.
  1. Many members and supporters are concerned about Dr. Shulkin’s lack of military experience, and are curious as to how sensitive or empathetic he will be to the specialized needs of the veteran community.
  1. Two issues tied for third for our membership:
  • How does Dr. Shulkin intend to combat veteran suicide (where several questions linked the need for greater resources and access to mental health in order to get the number down from 20 veteran suicides a day)?
  • Will Dr. Shulkin incorporate more innovative approaches to VA healthcare, such as expanded use of medical marijuana, alternative treatments for TBI/PTSD/PCS (e.g., Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy), or veteran related studies on issues such as toxic exposure to burn pits?
  1. Lastly, our community is still very much concerned about the impact of the recent executive action initiating the hiring freeze, and continued difficulty for veterans to secure employment, both in public and private sector.

IAVA Members ask Dr. Shulkin:

 VA Accountability/Reform the Government (61% of respondents)

  • What are you going to do to put quality employees in place at all the veterans centers and hospitals?
  • What’s your plan to guarantee continuity of care and not the hodgepodge that seems to be the norm right now?
  • How will you handle the wait times for patients?
  • Will you hire more mental health counselors?
  • Will you attempt to privatize the VA?
  • How will you empathize with the sacrifices that our veterans have made in order to ensure that they receive the best, most timely care?
  • I am satisfied with my VA led care. I do not want privatization implemented. Can I continue on as always?
  • Will you be against any efforts to privatize the VA?
  • How will you ensure VA has adequate numbers, mix, and quality of health care providers to ensure vets have access to high quality VA care?
  • Do you support privatization of VA services in any form?
  • I was fed drugs until I started hallucinating at the VA in Cleveland Ohio. I was then sent to a mental health evaluation. Will you ignore this too?
  • What does Dr. Shulkin plan to do to curtail the VA’s unwarranted expenditures on furniture and decor?  How will he respond to orders from [POTUS] that [may be] contrary to the best interest of vets as defined by vets?
  • My question is why are as veteran being charged for medical visits. This suppose to be free [for] veterans
  • How do you plan on not getting pushed around b[y] people high up within the VA to keep the status quo for the workers and not the veterans?
  • What will be done about nepotism throughout VA system? Not only don’t they care about us vets, many aren’t vets themselves, shouldn’t vets be hired?
  • Given that he is the physician undersecretary in charge of health affairs, can he explain why physician morale and retention are so low at the VA?
  • What type of system will you have in place for veteran[s] that are working overseas and cannot make the appointment given by VA ?
  • How will you handle the increased demand on VA from ACA repeal?
  • Do you support VA privatization?
  • Would you consider turning over medical to privatization and retaining the mental health and ratings boards only?
  • When will veterans be able to make the[ir] own appointments at the VA? Right now I have to leave a message and wait for the VA to call me back.
  • Are you committed to being 110% transparent in terms of results, statistics etc.?
  • If the ACA is repealed, what will he do about the 300,000 veterans who presently are insured under the ACA?
  • How many former military personnel are qualified to gain and make use of the VA? How many former military personnel can gain full use of VA?
  • Will you continue the work of Secretary McDonald to achieve the high quality standards set? And, fire those who acted wrongly[?]
  • Engineering is the foundation for hospital environment. Number of positions vacant is overwhelming. [Are] engineering personnel considered expendable?
  • Why [am I] forced to pay for Medicare when I already have the VA and Tricare for Life as insurance?   I never use Medicare but I am forced to pay for it.
  • Dr. Shulkin will you take a look, a real look, at the Veterans who were stationed at Fort McClellan before it’s closure and their toxic exposure?
  • How will you implement better medical treatment for returning Vets while trying to make the current Vets conditions a lot better than they are?
  • How do you provide easy access to high quality healthcare while ensuring that the system isn’t taken advantage of?
  • Why does the VA outsource PTSD and TBI treatment instead of taking care of their own veterans? How are you going to improve the programs?
  • Improving the VA requires a total “culture change.” Only 4K gov’t employees out of 2.1 million are fired every year. How will you accomplish a sea change?
  • Are you AWARE OF the vast differences and the needs of our combat-veterans — vs the needs of non-veterans —- and WILL YOU IMPLEMENT these needs?
  • From a VA employee, 30%-rated OIF vet, and patient:  How will VA overhaul its outdated performance management system and address salary compression.
  • Will you finally remove staff who are not serving the vets and just hanging on for paychecks on 1st and 15th? Much rather more docs/nurses who care!
  • What immediate steps would you take to alleviate the long standing problems of veterans backlog in getting assistance at many VA facilities?
  • A standardization [of the ] VA system throughout the States. In Texas the system is different from Wisconsin; statistics shows WI is among the worse for Vet
  • How committed are you to vets and will you be as committed when the vets have issues with other cabinets, [e.g.], HUD, HHS, Labor, etc? Will you help us? How do you plan on implementing changes to the benefits system which has been broken for many years to make it better in terms of time to process?
  • As a Physician, do you have set plans to help untie the hands of PROTOCOL with VA Physicians? Please help stop the cattle-herd PILL Pushing. Unique.
  • What about the threat of “privatizing” the VA? I am opposed to any effort to privatize, beyond current efforts to allow veterans that are in remote.
  • Do you believe that private, for-profit medical providers should be allowed to make a profit off of the delivery of medical services to veterans?
  • Will you make sure vets get excellent care [as promised by the VA motto/mission]?
  • Will you attempt to privatize the VA or a portion of the VA to the private sector? That cannot happen!
  • I am an AKA from OIF.   Why did it take me 18 months last year to get a new manual wheelchair from the VA, only after complaints sent to my Congressman?
  • How would he prioritize the voucher system and prevent fraud? My son gets vouchers for some civ care, and it takes months and months for an appt.
  • [One] of the most important factors in receiving VHA care is that a fellow veteran is involved in your healthcare. How will [you] ensure this?
  • Are you willing to shorten C&P claim processing time to max 6 months?
  • Why is it so hard for veterans to get all the benefits that they deserve? Men and women’s lives have been changed and they are denied certain benefits.
  • Many older veterans have difficulty with transportation to medical appointments. What are your thoughts on improving access to VA facilities?
  • How will you encourage your staff to assist veterans instead of serving as roadblocks in a typically opaque and confusing process?
  • What is his position on being more inclusive with the 300 Vet Centers across the nation and the VA? (offering funding for programs, collaboration?)
  • If all veterans with VA claims hired lawyers, will the VA pay the lawyers’ fee if they win the case?
  • What will you do to address the growing gap between the health support that veterans need, and what they are currently receiving?
  • Will you absolutely and emphatically give your word that you will not do ANYTHING to privatize the VA?
  • The VA has been troubled for years.  When is true reform going to happen?
  • How does he intend to improve access- specifically what are his plans regarding  staffing VAs and the Choice program?
  • The VA fiduciary system is all messed up, people who are fully competent to handle, manage their funds are being taken away; how do you plan to fix it?
  • Is he going to hold people accountable for their actions?
  • How do you plan to handle the over abundance of Veteran Appeals? They appeals take up to 5+ years. Meanwhile, health and livelihoods decline.
  • How do you help the vets that come home & get a criminal record because they only know how to yell & use violence to get their point across ?
  • If there is an emergency and a vet cannot make it to VA facility, how would the secretary address working with other hospitals and paying those bills?
  • I have an issue which states in my active duty record when I started diagnosed by an Army Dr., VA years later says I had it before I joined; what would you do to help fix that?
  • What will he do to fix the Choice Program? Too many veterans are being threatened by providers over payment issues.
  • How can we quicken the process to permanent status? I have been 100% for 3 years, and have 2 kids in college. Not permanent so [I have] no money help at school.
  • What measures will you take to assure our veterans that they will receive care in a timeframe comparable to the private sector?
  • Is there going to be a better, streamlined method to the madness that is the VA system now?  [For] example, [reducing] delays in being seen, or getting things done?
  • As the VA Sec. What will you do to ensure all Vets receive more timely responses when recommended for care outside of our VA?
  • Will we be allowed to seek medical treatment outside the VA and the VA pay for the services and treatment?
  • Where do you stand on the topic of privatizing Veteran health care services?  What will you do to protect and better the current VA system?
  • As a service connected Vet who has used the Choice Act to his benefit, but only after a huge debate to be approved, will you amend the 40 mile rule?
  • What will you do to ensure that under performing VA systems around the country give better care to those they serve?
  • What are you going to do to reduce the wait time veterans are currently experiencing, without jeopardizing quality of care?
  • With the likely repeal of the ACA it’s reasonable more vets will turn to the VA for their healthcare needs. Is the VA able to receive an influx?
  • What could Congress do to allow the VA sufficient flexibility to meet patient demands for timely appointments and care?
  • In the past, VA managers have gotten a free pass for various misadventures. Exactly how will you hold managers accountable?
  • In 2010, I walked 1400 miles to speak with Congress about a lack of mental health workers. Nothing got done. What will you do to fix the shortage?
  • My question is are you concerned with the quality of care given to vets? Are you willing to hold Dr’s accountable for their lack of care?
  • Will he support streamlining the hiring of clinicians and other staff at the VA?
  • What, if any, VA services do you intend to outsource or privatize?
  • Constant denials for legit claims that Dr’s agree are legit yet someone in an office that has no personal knowledge of the vet declines. Fix it? How?
  • Will you try to privatize?
  • Why is it taking so long (years) for the VA to send individual’s Rating info forward so applications for Adaptive Housing Grants can be processed?
  • What is the VA doing well right now, what needs to be fixed; and how would you fix it ?
  • Will you fight privatization of the VA?
  • Seattle VA needs more substance abuse counselors. Will you do anything to address this?
  • Is he going to fire the [poor performing] VA managers that are simply shifted from location to location?
  • Considering I’ve had problems with moving from VA referral to VA Choice program, how will he make sure hospitals will accept VA private insurance?
  • Will you resist any challenge to privatize the VA system?
  • How is the VA going to get the Regional Offices decision process changed to stop the same denial tactics and to do totally do away with the backlog?
  • What measures will be taken to decrease the BVA or Appeals Backlog?
  • The VA is now extending appointment times so as not to send Vets to civilian providers.  But that means annual physicals at 13-15 months. Why?
  • Will Dr. Shulkin continue to support VA Grant and Per Diem Programs that provide long term residential treatment for veterans in the community?
  • How will you make sure no Veteran is forgotten? My husband served in Somalia, those Vets are truly pushed aside.
  • Do you feel VA disability rate increases should be tied to the social security rate increases or shouldn’t vets be compensated at a higher rate?
  • Are you going to privatize the VA? [Will we be sent] to doctors who have NO CLUE about the individual thresholds of PTSD?
  • As you know, appointment positions were changed to career positions in last 18 mos. intentionally at VACO HQ & below to protect those people in jobs. Is this fair?
  • Dr. Shulkin, please enumerate three (3) key actions you would undertake to enhance Veteran access to health care in (under-served) rural areas?
  • VA & POTUS agreed with most recommendations of Commission on Care; how closely (if at all) do you intend to implement their plan?
  • Do you want to privatize the VA?
  • How do you plan to handle veterans case’s within the VA ? Some have PTSD in their jacket, but no additional benefits (dental, vision, etc )
  • Currently most VA clinics do not provide acute or urgent care for their patients, how would this issue be resolved?
  • Will he look the VA’s current requirement for Licensed Mental Health Counseling denies 80% of veteran mental health provider from working at VA?
  • VA violated my HIPAA, disrespected & bullied me. I’m entitled to TC, VA and MC but forced to pay deductibles because I don’t trust VA. Will you change [adversarial relationship]?
  • What will you do to ensure that when a Veteran calls any VA Crisis hotline that they will be answered instead of ignored, as in the past?
  • Do you have believe privatizing the VA would benefit veteran care?
  • Do you consider mental health as important to healthy living (longevity) as physical health? Can you quantify the results?
  • Will you promise not to privatize the VA?
  • Will you push for full staffing of all clinics?
  • How will you deal with the securely entrenched uncaring bureaucracy in the VA?
  • What are you going to do differently to change the way the VA is running? How do you plan to change all that is not working properly for all Veterans?
  • How can you reconcile budget cuts with fulfilling the promises the nation has made to veterans?
  • How will you make the VA hospitals more efficient? What will you do to help returning vets?
  • Can we fire bad employees and give raises to good providers?
  • What is your position on privatization of VA services, both long and short term?
  • Dr. Shulkin, how will you ensure that our veterans receive the best care that they deserve and prevent data manipulation and exploitation within?
  • What will you do to ensure Veterans get timely, proper and affordable care that we rightly deserve and have earned? Don’t we deserve it?
  • Do you intend to use stricter discipline and accountability or to change systems and employees with positive reinforcement?
  • Does the VA Secretary position currently have all the authority needed to complete the needed reforms?  If not, what are the missing authorities?
  • Why does C & P make it so difficult when it comes to a claim? Example: the person that examined me for a sleep case was not a specialist in that field.
  • What is his plan to improve parity with the VA vs. the much more efficient and effective private sector medical organizations?
  • What are his four top issues with the VA and how will he fix said is?
  • What are your thoughts about privatization of the VA?
  • How will you make sure that veterans will get the care that they need and won’t be allowed to just die as was reported happened in some VA Centers.
  • Medical care is only part of the VA’s mission. How are you qualified to handle the rehabilitation parts, such as education, home loans, and death benefits?
  • How will you help that the NG\Reserve be treated the same way as active duty when it comes to medical boards and the way they’re being treated at the VA?
  • The VA’s effort to partially privatize VA through the Choice program has been a disaster! What plans do you have to repair the program?
  • Managers do not hold their staff accountable for neglect and let the Union dictate punishment. Will you hold managers accountable for their inaction?
  • How are you going to advocate for funds for the VA when the President decides that enough has been done and not enough has been done?
  • We have only one doctor in Silver City, NM-how will you ensure clinics are staffed with proper medical staff numbers? Thank you.
  • Why are Thailand veterans being denied agent orange disability? My service was from 1965 to 1966.
  • Will you fight for Medicare & Medicaid for veterans?
  • Is there any cut downs/planning to be reduced on any Military benefits for Veterans in the near future?
  • VA employees that are not Veterans don’t understand or display a since of urgency to take of our needs. Is there a plan to [remove] of these people?
  • How will Shulkin alter, change, or strengthen the RFP, released December 28, 2016 & due March 1st, regarding the proposed VA Community Care Network?
  • Mortgage predators (Carrington MTG) are foreclosing on Veterans who have never missed a payment for the VA foreclosure benefits. What can you do?
  • Do you believe that privatizing parts or all of the VA medical services is in the interests of Veterans; would solve any existing problems at VA?
  • How is he going to hold VBA accountable and require them to operate seamlessly with VHA to provide Veterans and their families better service?
  • Why are we veterans not allowed the services of civilian hospitals and doctors as the norm?
  • Is the intent of your appointment to privatize the VA hospital system? Privatization would be bad due to Vet[erans’] differing needs and support requirement[s].
  • How soon will you get the 2010 Caregiver Expansion passed for our PRE 9/11 service connected, disabled Veterans?
  • How will you change the bureaucracy and culture of second-class at VA?
  • The VA has developed a reputation for veterans being in worse condition after leaving their care. What are you going to do to reverse this image?
  • How will he ensure Veterans are receiving quality care at VA Medical facilities?
  • Will he visit facilities and incorporate patient evaluation of treatment?
  • What are you plans to help vets see the doctor’s quicker?
  • What are you going to do to fix the contracted (QTC) exam process? Exam with no review of service medical record and incomplete paper work is unsatisfactory.
  • Why has VA hired ID.me for accessing medical records when it sells our government military records without authorization for financial gain?
  • What’s your vision for transforming the Agency into a more efficient, transparent and inclusive entity: will you foster more collaboration with other agencies?
  • Does Dr. Shulkin think we need improved services for veterans or is increasing finances just to cover inflation enough?
  • What measures do you plan to get more vets seen by medical professionals to deal with personal issues?
  • How do you find out just who deserves to be fired? [I have] concerns about non-accountability; biased hiring, retaliations against good employees, discrimination (biased towards gender preference in a SoCAL VA)
  • I do not want the VA privatized.  Just another way of putting taxpayers money in the pockets of the private sector who really don’t care about vets.
  • What will you do differently to ensure all veterans such as myself receive help in a timely manner unlike current system? Vets are waiting years for help.
  • Benefit erosion or “deal changes” are unconscionable given the we served 100%; how will you prevent further “deal changes” or benefit erosion?
  • Would you support a veteran being able to be seen at any doctor they want, outside of the VA, just by presenting their VA card?
  • Why do veterans who see Choice providers have to pay for their prescriptions up front and get reimbursed later if they go to a retail pharmacy?
  • Leave the VA the way it is and fix what is wrong (privatization would be worse (crooks+incompetent)) or do you plan to totally privatize it (Which I believe is WRONG)?
  • Will you leave the VA the way it is, fix what’s wrong (incompetence) or privatize it (incompetent there too+possible fraud+high costs)?
  • What is he going to do to assure our Veterans get the best health care in a timely manner?
  • Will the new VA Secretary also address the issues in Gainesville Florida VA Medical Center as our President just did in San Juan?
  • Do you oppose or support any form of privatization of VA?
  • For the record, I oppose any form of privatization of VA? Your thoughts?
  • What steps will be taken to increase accessibility to the VA, and use technology to improve wait times for doctors appointments & VA claims?
  • Dr. Shulkin, what is your plan to improve the current state of Veteran’s healthcare in the United States?
  • What is your plan to ensure all veterans receive quality care in a timely manner?
  • How do you plan to increase and improve the system to give veterans more timely access to health care at the VA?
  • How will you provide effective chronic pain management to service-connected vets who can’t drive, through nearby, LOCAL clinics?
  • After 8 years of Congressional obstruction, veteran’s care is sacrificed due to lack of appropriate funding of VA. Will you support [adequately funding] the VA?
  • How are you going to cut the paperwork and red tape for the men and women the VA serves? Helping them with one set of forms might be a good start.

 

Employing the New Greatest Generation, Including Impact of the Hiring Freeze (4% of respondents)

  • Will you, here and now, pledge to appeal to POTUS to exempt military veterans from the across the board hiring freeze?
  • What are you going to do about the high amount of veteran[s] not being able to find work in the private sector, compared to the military?
  • What is your response to the federal employment freeze when the key to VA success is to hire more employees?
  • Want are you going to do about the high amount of veteran not being able to find work in the private sector compared to the military?
  • Will he advise Trump to lift the hiring freeze for the VA?
  • Will you encourage VA VRE to offer self employment benefits now routinely ignored under current law which could create opportunities for combat veterans.
  • Will you get the hiring freeze lifted?
  • Federal hiring freeze severely impacts the VA’ s ability to recruit, and retain highly skilled healthcare professionals; how do you propose [to] address this?
  • Will you stop the hiring freeze for mental health professionals to work at the VA?
  • With the hiring freeze and the low morale of VA staff, what is your plan to retain employees who feel “the mission” isn’t enough to keep them at VA?
  • I work at the VA. Currently it takes over nine months to hire. What would you do to address this?

 

 

GI Bill – Defending Veteran and Military Education Benefits (2% of respondents)

  • What are your plans for saving the Post 9/11 GI Bill? Wouldn’t cutting GI Bill access to For-Profit Universities be better than cutting dependent BAH?
  • What is your plan for improving the adjustment of vets to civilian life and, specifically, the graduation rate of student vets? (Crosses between hiring vets category)
  • What is your plan to end the linkage of the GI Bill and student loans. This linkage paints an “invisible target” on the backs of every vet??
  • Education has proven to lead to better life and health outcomes which would help the VA. How do we get more Vets to use their GI Bill?
  • The Post 9/11 is limited to 36 months of benefits which is only enough for a bachelors. Is there any intention to allow for further education?

 

Supporting Innovative VA Healthcare (5% of respondents)

  • What are your thoughts on using medical marijuana for veterans with PTSD chronic pain, cancer, Gulf War Syndrome, and other ailments?
  • Do you support funding for Veteran-related research?
  • When will you allow Choice to be used outside the VA for proven-safe alternative treatments for TBI/PTSD/PCS, specifically Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
  • Why FDA-approved medication are OK for civilians, but NOT approved by the VA for veterans?
  • What will be your approach to reaching Veterans on issues relating to PTSD?
  • Will the VA address the burn pit and environmental hazards Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have faced? Will constrictive bronchitis be addressed?
  • We need more options for mental health; pills cant be the only option. What are your plans for future treatments?
  • Are you going to allow VA doctors to finally fill out medical marijuana recommendation forms for Veterans?  We deserve safe, reliable access to medical marijuana.
  • Dr. Shulkin, What is your opinion on the alleged over prescription of medications like seraquel, and various painkillers to our veterans?
  • What will Dr. Shulkin do for veterans exposed to burn pit fires and fumes as well as oil fires? Will he ignore the health of all of these veterans?
  • Will the Dr. extend VA med care to allow referrals to chiropractors that use a physical therapy approach and evidence based methods for to rehab patients?
  • Would Dr. Shulkin consider giving the Veteran the choice of using naturopathic medicine over conventional medicine?
  • Do you support the use of medical marijuana containing CBD alone, or do you support the use of medical marijuana containing CBD and THC?
  • Do you support expansion of Choice to allow a vet to seek services that are peer reviewed and medical supported that is not offered by VAMC?

 

Disability Compensation and Support (3% of respondents)

  • How can you empathize with disabled veterans?
  • What are your views on the proposal to end veterans getting retirement pay and VA disability? Which veterans have earned and are two separate things.
  • Dr. Shulkin, do you support small business set asides, specifically for Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB)?
  • Do you think service member a compensated illnesses when there is nothing you can pint your finger identifying the issues actually exist?
  • Many Veterans are having their disability taken away for “REPAYMENT” of debt over 10yrs old, that Banks/DFAS have purged records on, what can be done?
  • As in the past will we continue to get VA Disability and VA Pensions?
  • Does the VA cover IVF treatment for service connected infertility?
  • Why does it take so long to receive “retroactive” disability payments and what will you do to fix this?

Support to and Recognition of Women Veterans (1% of respondents)

  • How will he ensure that women veterans receive equitable lifespan health care at the VA?  How will he reach out to Select Reserve to ensure their care?
  • How will you respond to the needs of women veterans?
  • Will female veterans receive quality medical care they require for their service-related injuries?
  • Female service members who suffered sexual assault now have PTSD: what will you do to target and help these women get the mental health counseling they need?

 

Combating Suicide Among Troops and Veterans (5% of respondents)

  • What is your plan to decrease the number of Veteran suicides?
  • When a disabled veteran thinks his post military life is lousy or commits suicide, does the enemy win?
  • How he going to expedite compensation process so no more veterans end up committing suicide?
  • What process would you put in to shorten the time Veterans can see a doctor?  How would you deal with the serious problem of Veteran suicide?
  • What will you do in a very specific way (in figures) to prevent the suicide phenomenon among the veterans?
  • What will you do to lower the terrible rate of suicide among vets?
  • What are you going to set in place in order to greatly reduce the numbers of suicide in the military? 22 Veterans commit suicide a day.
  • Veteran suicide rate is at a all time high, what are you going to do to lower this rate?
  • Do you think troopers who report PTSD are weak?
  • Will you fight for full funding for the Clay Hunt Act?
  • If more American troops are used in the war against ISIS, what are your plans to handle the  additional amount of wounded soldiers and PTSD cases?
  • Will the mental  health of our Veterans be a priority?
  • How will you reduce the veteran’s suicide rate? Plan to reduce the wait times? How will you increase options for health care providers? Research in Trauma/ TBI?
  • What will you do to address the link between Chronic Multi-symptom Illness, and suicides, in the veteran community?
  • What’s your plan to diminish the number of veteran suicides? How [will you] make veteran interaction with the VA simpler?

 

Promote Equality for All Troops and Veterans (1% of respondents)

  • Will you protect health services for transgender veterans?
  • With imminent threat to protections for LGBTQ veteran employees in this administration would you deny or take away these protections as they stand?

 

Support to Our Military Families (1% of respondents)

  • My husband is currently non employable through the VA, why can’t I get temp insurance help? It is too expensive for us out of pocket for our son & I.
  • In your role, how do you plan to support Caregivers and Family Members of Service Members?
  • I am receiving Widows VA Benefits that I depend on very much.  Will I continue to receive this benefit in the future?

 

End Veteran Homelessness (2% of respondents)

  • What will you do about claims backlog especially for vets close to being homeless & those already homeless-timely processing would help tremendously.
  • What will you do about homeless veterans?
  • What is your plan to house the overflowing amount of homeless Veterans?
  • Do you promise to continue the Obama VA effort to eliminate homelessness among our Veteran population and to increase mental health spending?
  • I am a homeless veteran that served in Afghanistan, I put a claim in with the VA last September but still haven’t heard anything.  Explain please?
  • What is your plan for homeless vets?

 

Experience and Views of Dr. Shulkin (14% of respondents)

  • Why did you choose to not serve in the US military?
  • What military/veteran experience do you have?
  • Is Dr. Shulkin a Veteran?  What Branch?  Name medical schools where he has studied.  Does he have a specialty?  A short but complete medical background would be appreciated
  • What, in your opinion, is the number one issue facing America’s Veterans today?
  • What level of importance are American Veterans to you? How do you plan to serve America’s Veterans? How do you plan to lead the VA having never served?
  • How does a nonveteran understand veteran issues? How are you going to stop veterans from becoming political footballs?
  • What makes you the best candidate to represent veterans as the head of the VA?
  • What do you feel are the most urgent issues facing veterans?
  • What do you think a man or woman who has served their country deserves from the VA?
  • Please [speak to your knowledge of] what wounded vets’ real worries are.
  • What education, experience, or qualifications do you have that demonstrate your know[ledge] of veterans’ concerns?
  • Why should he be the VA boss if he never served in the US military?
  • My question is why do we have the choice of ONE nominee? In a nation with many, many qualified brilliant men and women?
  • Do you think significant changes are necessary to reform the VA? Why have you remained at the VA?
  • What makes you qualified to lead veteran’s affairs when you yourself are not a veteran?
  • How will you become connected to those you wish to serve?
  • As someone who could be construed as part of the current problem and also not a veteran, what will you do with a bigger responsibility?
  • How can you lead the VA, given that you are not a veteran?
  • Do you understand the needs of veterans and everything they have gone through?
  • Does Dr. Shulkin have any clinical experience treating veterans? If so, how many and during what campaigns (OIE/OEF; Vietnam; etc)?
  • How will he be able to make decisions or identify with the struggles of the VA and veterans without knowing what its like having served?
  • Is your loyalty to the veterans, or to the administration?
  • How can we be assured that you understand the specific needs and unique perspectives of veterans?
  • Does [Dr. Shulkin] have any family members in receiving treatment through the VA?
  • Some are concerned about Dr. Shulkin not being a veteran. Have the secretaries who have served so far done a great job?
  • Please explain to me how a non–veteran is qualified to run the VA?
  • As a non-veteran how will you implement key veteran culture aspects into the VA service delivery to build trust?
  • In what way do you feel you are qualified to be the head of the VA and be able to serve those who have served, if you have no military experience?
  • How is Dr. Shulkin going to run the VA?
  • Dr. Shulkin, are you truly aware of the hardships our Veterans experience with the VA medical system? How can you be of help without [being a] Veteran?
  • Why did you not serve in the Armed Forces? And why do you think that you are fit to determine the medical needs of our soldiers?
  • How can he stand-up for veterans when he hasn’t served and doesn’t know what a veteran [has gone] through?
  • As a non-veteran administrator, how could you relate yourself to veterans needs and how would you ensure a significant VA  improvement?
  • Dr. Shulkin, how can you make a difference improving the VA system? Would you take to a 21-day trip to a war zone to see what soldiers go through?
  • Dr. Shulkin, would you be willing to spend one week overseas at a military installation to see what the military life is like?
  • So, thus far, only Veterans have run the VA, but it is still messed up. Maybe we need to give a non-Veteran a chance. How do you plan to run the VA differently?
  • Considering that you are not a veteran, please explain how you will know the needs of our veterans. What is your commitment to delivering timely and quality healthcare service to our Veterans?
  • How can we trust you will fix veterans access to care issues [given your previous role as] Undersecretary for Health?
  • How do you think you can properly hold office not being a Vet yourself & experiencing our issues, firsthand?

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