Military Times Interview

Military Times had an interview with VA Secretary Denis McDonough on November 14th, 2022.

Here are the interview questions that McDonough answered with a focus on VA transparency.

COVID and Burn out Question:

  • Coming out of the COVID pandemic, what is your concern now with morale levels and staff burnout at VA health centers?

Election Year Questions:

  • You’ve focused plenty of resources on Veteran issues over the last year. Do you worry that could change in the future, especially if the control of Congress changes political hands?
  • The president has a lot on his plate right now. How much communication do you have with him on these issues?
  • Are you worried at all about the potential politicization and even weaponization of some Veteran issues with a Republican Congress, especially as we enter a presidential election cycle?

VA Motto Change Questions:

  • You haven’t finalized changes on the VA motto to gender-neutral language or changes to gender affirmation surgery for transgender Veterans. Do you think you can make progress on these sorts of controversial topics if there is a Republican-controlled Congress?
  • But do you feel you’ve run out of time already on those issues? Why is the motto change taking so long?

PACT Act Question:

  • On the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act, you’ve promised that VA is going to be able to handle the benefits and healthcare claims. What are you putting in place now for the next Agent Orange, the next burn pits, the next unknown illness that’s going to come up
  • Can you put systems in place now so that we don’t see those same frustrations of waiting for recognition?

VA Electronic Records Question:

  • The electronic health records rollout has gone through multiple delays. Are we at a point where there have been too many delays and too many problems with this?

McDonough remaining Secretary of VA?

  • The average shelf life for VA secretaries is right around two years. We’re just through the midterms here. Are you starting to think about leaving the administration?
  • What has surprised you about VA and Veterans in your time as secretary?

Read the full article in Military Times to see McDonough’s answers.

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VA secretary makes promise: ‘We will be vets’ best advocates militarytimes.com. November 15, 2022. www.militarytimes.com/veterans/2022/11/14/va-secretary-makes-promise-we-will-be-vets-best-advocates/

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