Earlier this week the United States Senate, by a vote of 87-7, confirmed President Biden’s nominee to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, Denis McDonough. Secretary McDonough is now the 11th Secretary of Veterans Affairs. At his confirmation hearing, now Secretary McDonough explained that his expertise is understanding “how to untangle and solve large, complex challenges, both across and within large agencies.” Secretary McDonough was a member of the National Security Council and the White House Chief of Staff. During this time, he was a regular visitor to Walter Reed Army Hospital and to deployed troops.
Secretary McDonough has stated his top priority is to “get our Nation’s veteran through the pandemic”
By way of background on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the VA, as of this writing:
- More than 216k VA patients have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 11 months; over 9,700 have died from COVID-19 or from complications relating to the virus.
- So far, over 1 million vaccinations have been administered for VA department employees & veteran patients with the expectation to vaccinate more than 7 million in the coming months.
Secretary McDonough has further outlined additional priorities including:
- Efforts to reduce veteran suicides & homelessness;
- Improvement of services to assist transitioning service members
- Supporting veteran caregivers more
- Ensuring the VA welcomes ALL veterans (e.g. women veterans, veterans of color, and LGBTQ veterans).
To learn more about Secretary McDonough’s “pledge to our Nation’s veterans,” please click HERE to review his comments when initially nominated by then President-elect Joe Biden on December 11, 2020.
We at BeneLynk are happy to welcome Secretary McDonough to the effort to provide superior care and services to our nation’s veterans. There is much work to be done, and we are hopeful that, in addition to the crucial priorities outlines above, the new Secretary will continue to push the VA forward in its implementation of an overhauled electronic health record system. Continued improvement of the documentation of treatments that veterans receive will help other stakeholders, including managed care plans, to better coordinate care.
As always, we are excited to talk Social Determinants of Health (SDoH). If you have questions about the Department of Veterans Affairs, particularly about the care that Medicare Advantage members receive through the VA, please drop us a note today at Sales@BeneLynk.com.
About the Author
James Tongate serves as BeneLynk’s Vice President of Government Relations, building deep relationships with military service organizations, government entities, and many other partners that share our values to improve health outcomes in the SDoH space. James also serves in the KY Air National Guard as a Chief Master Sergeant / senior military advisor & leader.
At BeneLynk, we are committed to helping managed care plans to deliver superior Social Determinant of Health solutions to their members. We are always looking to learn more and would like to hear your ideas on how best to assist members in need. Drop us a note at Sales@BeneLynk.com.