Trump’s VA Reform Plan Includes 24-Hour WH Hotline

By Melanie Arter | July 26, 2016 | 11:49 AM EDT

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump unveiled his 10-point veterans reform plan at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, which includes “a private White House hotline” answered by a real person 24 hours a day to field complaints about the Veterans Administration to make sure no complaint “falls through the cracks.”

“I will create a private White House hotline … that is answered by a real person 24 hours a day to make sure that no valid complaint about the VA ever falls through the cracks,” Trump said, adding that if a “valid complaint is not acted upon,” he will “pick up the phone personally” and get it taken care of.

 



“I will instruct my staff that if a valid complaint is not acted upon, then the issuer who brought directly to me – and I want to have it – will bring it directly to me, and I will pick up the phone personally and get it completed and get it taken care of,” he said.

“The VA scandals that have occurred are widespread and totally inexcusable. As we know, many have died waiting for care that never came – a permanent stain on our government,” said Trump, who said he worked on his 10-step reform plan with Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.).

First, Trump will appoint a VA secretary, “who will make it their personal mission to clean up the VA.” The new secretary will have “an outstanding track record,” Trump said.

“Number two, I’m going to use every lawful authority to remove and discipline federal employees or managers who breach their public trust,” Trump said. Third, Trump said he would ask Congress to pass a bill “giving the VA secretary full authority to remove or discipline any employee who risks the health, safety, or well-being of a veteran.”

Fourth, Trump will “appoint a commission to investigate all of the wrongdoing at the VA - of which there is plenty - and then report those findings to Congress as the basis for reforming the entire system.”

Fifth, Trump said he would “make sure that the honest and dedicated people of the VA – of which we have many – have their jobs protected and are put in line for promotion when they do a good job.”

“We’re going to get them promoted like they deserve,” he added.

Sixth, Trump will “create a private White House hotline … that is answered by a real person 24 hours a day to make sure that no valid complaint about the VA ever falls through the cracks.” 

“This is the tough part. I will instruct my staff that if a valid complaint is not acted upon, then the issuer who brought directly to me – and I want to have it – will bring it directly to me, and I will pick up the phone personally and get it completed and get it taken care of. That’s a lot of work,” Trump said, adding “if that person’s not doing the job, I’m going to find out.”

Trump also proposed setting up an incentive program where employees will be rewarded for “saving money and improving the quality of care.”

“Our visa programs will be reformed to ensure that veterans are put in the front of the line for jobs. In this country, they fought, and they protect us,” Trump said, adding that veterans will be “put right in the front of the line.”

Trump also proposed an increase in the number of mental health care professionals and an increase in mental health outreach to “veterans outside of the system.”

“We’re going to ensure every veteran in America gets timely access to top quality care, including the best care in the world for our female veterans,” he said.

“The veterans’ health system will remain a public system, because it is a public trust, but never again will we allow any veterans to suffer or die waiting for care. That means veterans will have the right to go to a VA facility or the right to see a private doctor or clinic of their choice – whatever is fastest and best for the veteran,” Trump said.

“There’ll be no more five-day waits in line. If you’re waiting in line, you’re going to go to a private doctor across the street, a private or public hospital across the street or nearby, and you’re going to be taken care of quickly and efficiently. People are waiting on line five days, six days, seven days, and many are dying,” he said.

“With a simple procedure, they would live, and they’re dying, because they can’t even get to see their doctor. So there’s not going to be any more of that, and we will pick up the bill. It will cost us less money, and the care will be amazing,” Trump promised.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton spoke at the VFW convention on Monday, saying, “We're going to have a 21st century Department of Veteran Affairs that delivers world-class care.”

“Like you, I was outraged by the V.A. scandals, people waiting months, even years for things like wheelchairs and basic medications. Some even dying while languishing on a wait list for an appointment,” Clinton said, calling it “heartbreaking and absolutely unacceptable.”

"That's why I have put forth a detailed plan about what I would do as president to revamp the V.A. It will be one of my highest priorities, but I will tell you this, we are not going to privatize the V.A. We are going to reform it and make it work for every single veteran in America," Clinton added.


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