A vet muses on inefficiency at the VA

Dear Sgt. Shaft,

I watch the terrible stories on the news about VA officials keeping secret waiting lists and Vets are dying while waiting for an appointment. I once complained at my local VA about how long I had to wait on line to schedule my next appointment. I was told that the reason it took so long was that the VA scheduling system was almost as old as the VA. The VA has such a great Electronic Record, why does it use such an old scheduling system? Seems to me that if the VA had a modern computerized scheduling system, they could easily track patient appointments and no local administrator could fool the system. Why isn't this priority?

Thanks for listening Sarge.

Joshua G
Via the internet

Dear Joshua,

It amazes me that with the VA electronic records being a model for health care systems, throughout the world, they still have this antiquated VA system. As one famous comedienne used to say, “Get err done”.

Shaft Notes

• Congratulations to U.S. Navy Vice Admiral (Ret.) Norbert R. Ryan, president and CEO of the Military Officers Association of America, who will receive the Military Hero Award at this year’s 10th Annual Night of Heroes Gala, "Welcome Home: Supporting Warriors in Transition."

The event, which will be held on Wednesday, May 14, at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., will honor those who have demonstrated leadership in providing support and services to our returning military, veterans, and their families.

• Another significant event for MOAA is their hosting of the largest D.C. military officer career fair which will take place. Job seekers have the opportunity to meet local, national and international employers including Lockheed Martin, Amazon, Bank of America, Marriott, National Security Agency, Peace Corps, National Science Foundation, Department of Veteran Affairs and many more. The event is open to and free for all job seekers who are military servicemembers and government employees – all ranks, active duty, retired, former servicemembers, National Guard/Reserve servicemembers and their spouses.

Employers are also welcome to participate. Employers have the opportunity to recruit new staff from a qualified pool of executive-level applicants. Employer participants also receive access to prospective candidates that will help them meet the new veteran hiring requirements released in February 2014 (The Department of Labor’s Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974). Pre-registration is required for employers. To find out how to participate as an employer, visit www.moaa.org/hire.

WHAT: Military Officers Association of America Career Fair
WHERE:

Walter E. Washington Convention Center (Ballroom)
801 Mount Vernon Pl. NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

WHEN: May 13, 2014, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

The conference will feature several career-planning seminars to help military personnel tackle the challenge of transitioning to work life after the military. Seminar topics include:

  • How to Work a Career Fair: This 30-minute seminar begins before the official start of the career fair and offers quick tips on how to stand out among the crowd.
  • LinkedIn Best Practices: LinkedIn is revolutionizing the process of networking, connecting with recruiters and preparing for job interviews. Moreover, it offers a public resumé to showcase your experience, passion, skills and education to potential employers, clients and business partners. The workshop will address strengthening your public profile and maximizing the use of key words, plus recommendations for job search, people search and company search strategies using LinkedIn.
  • Be Your Own Boss! Exploring Entrepreneurship Panel: A panel of successful veteran business owners and resource specialists will share their experience with entrepreneurship in a 90-minute discussion (RSVPs are required; RSVP to AmandaB@moaa.org).
  • Federal Job Application Preparation: This 90-minute seminar will help interested military members learn how to apply for a federal job and market themselves for government sector employment.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act: What Veterans Need to Know About Disability and Civilian Employment: The ADA is a complex federal law with no analog in the military work environment. Many veterans enter the civilian job search unaware of the ADA’s protections from inappropriate medical questions and arbitrary medical qualification standards, and of the ADA’s requirement for simple accommodations that can make the difference between success and failure for a veteran transitioning into civilian employment. Learn what you need to know about the ADA to succeed in the civilian work place.

• America’s largest combat veterans’ organization, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, does not agree with a call made today for the resignations of Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey, and Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert A. Petzel.

“It is paramount that Secretary Shinseki get publicly in front of this immediately to address the valid concerns of veterans and their families, and to reestablish the credibility of the entire VA health and benefits systems, and that of his own office,” said VFW National Commander William A. Thien.

“The VFW looks forward to the swift completion of the ongoing VA Inspector General’s investigation, and we also support closer congressional oversight to help ensure that the VA does not fail in its mission to care for wounded, ill and injured veterans and their survivors,” he said.

• Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) and French Ambassador Francois Delattre honored World War II veteran and life-long Wyandot resident Clyde Shull at a ceremony held Wednesday at The University of Findlay. The event was part of the Ambassador’s daylong visit to Northwest Ohio, which the Congressman arranged in an effort to showcase the economic, cultural and historic ties France has in the area.

“It is an honor to recognize Clyde for his service to both our community and our country,” said Latta. “He is a true American hero, and we as a nation must never forget the service and sacrifice of his generation. They are truly deserving of the utmost recognition.”

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330, call 202/257-5446 or email sgtshaft@bavf.org.