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New VA secretary welcomes opportunity to reform Veterans Affairs

Newly appointed Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald answers questions Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, after touring the North Las Vegas VA Hospital. (Antonio Castelan, News 3)
Newly appointed Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald answers questions Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, after touring the North Las Vegas VA Hospital. (Antonio Castelan, News 3)
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Updated: 8/10 11:12 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) -- Newly appointed VA Secretary Bob McDonald has a daunting task in front of him -- reforming the health care given to the nation's millions of military veterans.

His tasks are widespread and include hiring thousands of doctors, nurses and health care workers to meet a growing demand, updating an antiquated scheduling system and improving the quality of care given to veterans.

McDonald, who is a West Point graduate, former Army Ranger and was once the CEo of Proctor & Gamble, gave the keynote speech Saturday morning to the national convention of the Disabled American Veterans at Bally's and then toured the newest hospital in the VA system at North Las Vegas.

"There have been systematic failures," McDonald told DAV members in his speech. "Somewhere along the way some in the organization lost track of the mission and those core values."

McDonald said some of the goals in Southern Nevada include hiring 500 medical workers to adequately staff the hospitals and clinics that serve a growing veteran population.

Some of the immediate tasks he promised to accomplish systemwide include updating an antiquated scheduling system, having an independent audit of scheduling practices conducted, expanding the use of private sector healthcare for veterans experiencing excessive wait times, determining where the VA needs to reorganize and streamline and improving communication between employees and leadership.

Nevada Rep. Steven Horsford had a meeting with McDonald on Saturday at the North Las Vegas VA hospital.

"Secretary McDonald has a monumental task in front of him; turning around a gigantic bureaucracy will not be easy," Horsford said in a statement. "However, after meeting with the secretary one-on-one, I believe he is the right man for the job. He is dedicated to serving those who have served out country and possesses the leadership skills the VA needs right now."

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