Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio plans to meet with Bob McDonald on Thursday to discuss how the former Procter & Gamble CEO might correct problems after he takes charge of the troubled U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
“I want to fill him in on what’s happened at the Cincinnati VA (hospital),” Brown said of the meeting that will be held in his Senate office in Washington. “Nothing specific that’s a problem, (just) any concerns that we have – that my staff has heard.
“I want Bob McDonald to understand he’s going to hear those concerns all the time,” said Brown, a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. “I’m pushy, and (he’s) going to hear from me a lot.”
In addition, “I want to talk to him about the legislation we’re working on,” Brown said of the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act. The bill is designed to reduce wait times at VA hospitals by boosting funding to hire and train new medical staff. It also would empower the head of the VA to remove senior officials, which is considered key to re-establishing accountability.
Reforming the VA might seem dauntingbecause the agency has more than 300,000 employees and serves nearly 9 million veterans.
McDonald told me last week that it wouldn’t be appropriate to publicly discuss the situation at the Cincinnati VA or other medical centers in the system before being confirmed by the Senate.
Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, spoke with me by telephone from Washington on Wednesday. The senator said he expects McDonald, who was nominated to be secretary of the VA on June 30 by President Barack Obama, to be confirmed by the Senate.
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