VA Secretary: Veteran Wait Times Same As Waiting In Line At Disneyland [VIDEOS]

VA Secretary: Veteran Wait Times Same As Waiting In Line At Disneyland [VIDEOS]

VA Secretary: Veteran Wait Times Same As Waiting In Line At Disneyland [VIDEOS]

Veterans Administration Secretary Robert McDonald opened his mouth this morning and sheer stupidity fell out. I’m not kidding.


While speaking at a Christian Science Monitor media breakfast he said this:

“The days to an appointment is really not what we should be measuring. What we should be measuring is the veteran’s satisfaction,” McDonald told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor media breakfast.

“What really counts is how does the veteran feel about their encounter with the VA,” he said.
“When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line?” he asked. “What’s important is what’s your satisfaction with the experience.

“And that’s really the kind of measure I want to move to,” he added.

I told you, sheer stupidity. Secretary McDonald is under considerable pressure to fix the many issues within the VA, including making the wait time process faster and more transparent.

However, comparing VA wait lines to standing in line at Disneyland is tactless beyond belief. They are not the same by any measure.



Compared to this:


Oh yeah, they are so the same! NOT. Understandably the reaction has been scathingly negative in response to his comments.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) also had harsh words for the secretary, who he said sets the tone for the entire VA.

“The VA is where veterans go for life-saving health care. If customers aren’t satisfied with Disneyland, they can go elsewhere. Veterans have to rely on the VA,” he said in a statement.

Neil Cavuto wasn’t having any of it.

Last month the GAO issued a report very critical of the metric that McDonald wants to use. The GAO believes the wait time should include the time the patient first calls to try and MAKE an appointment. McDonald’s response?

But McDonald said the wait from the day the appointment is created, which varies widely among VA hospitals, “is not what we should be measuring.”

“We don’t think it’s valid,” he said Monday. “We have a very large health-care system. I don’t want to create more measures that are irrelevant.”

He said the date the appointment is made “is not the ultimate measure of satisfication.”

Its not? Meanwhile, Disney does in fact use all sorts of metrics to measure their customers experience at the theme parks INCLUDING the wait times! Disney constantly fine-tunes its business model to make the customer experience better.

The VA? Doesn’t seem to realize that THEIR customer needs medical treatment, not a rides in a teacup or Space Mountain.

Pro-tip for Secretary McDonald: the ultimate measure of satisfaction for our veterans doesn’t involve boneheaded analogies to Disneyland. Our veterans will be satisfied when the VA actually decides to follow its mission and core values and provide our vets the medical treatment when they need it, without having to ‘wait in line.’

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  • Appalled By The World says:

    What a perfect representative of the Nerobama regime.

  • Joe Miller says:

    What a novel idea! You think the lines at TSA screenings in airports are too long? What about Disney? Think the wait at the DMV is too long? What about Disney? Or Starbucks? Or Walmart when there’s a line and only two cashiers?

  • GWB says:

    “When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line?”

    Uh, yeah, they do. As a matter of fact, they have a huge metrics program to not only improve customer satisfaction, but to ensure they catch problems in the park before they become show-stoppers. (If the line is slowing at a ride, it might be because maintenance issues are piling up. It can be more efficient to take the ride offline early and fix it, then to wait for it to come to a head.)

    The GAO believes the wait time should include the time the patient first calls to try and MAKE an appointment.

    Yes, it should. Because if your customer service can’t handle the call, then they’re inadequately or inappropriately staffed. If the veteran calls and gets through, but can’t get an appointment because the calendar is full, then you are under-staffed in your medical providers or have an inadequate facility. Measuring those things tells you where your breakdowns are occurring.
    Also, if you don’t measure it, then you can hide other problems inside that area. Similar to the “no one died from waiting in line at the VA” silliness.

    My job is testing things. I deal with metrics daily, especially people using the WRONG ones. The VA Secretary is an idiot and should be fired immediately.

    (One important point: dealing with veterans’ care is tough. Combining severe wound care with caring for really old folks is a recipe for lots-more-care-than-you-thought. And then you pile in LOADS of other people. But it becomes even harder yet when you insist on putting people in charge who can’t – or aren’t allowed to – think outside the box, and insist on the same ol’, same ol’ when it comes to how to deliver this care: more money and more gov’t control equals success.)

    • Joe Miller says:

      The VA secretary ought to be fired. Anyone involved in having him appointed should be fired. And anyone who hired those people ought to be fired.

      • GWB says:

        Concur. But, how do you fire 50% of the American electorate?
        I have some ideas, but they aren’t mentionable in polite company.

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