Veteran Affairs secretary: Important steps underway to improve veterans care

An interview with David Shulkin, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs. (WWMT)

President Donald Trump promised the American people that his Administration will do right by veterans.

Political Reporter Nick Minock traveled to the White House for the State of the Union Address and stopped by the Department of Veterans Affairs to check the progress on that promise.

"I think this is something the President has clearly said this is one of the issues that's most important to him," V.A. Secretary David Shulkin said. "He feels we haven't done right by veterans in the past and he is committed to making sure that we do. But this is not going to be a immediate process. We are taking important steps. We have made great progress during this first year, but our work is not done. We have a lot more to do."

Shulkin said the department is having trouble with staffing V.A. facilities, especially in rural ares.

"We still have to get the right people to staff the V.A. to the appropriate level that it needs to be staffed," Shulkin said. "We have a lot of openings. We have to modernize our facilities. We have to replace our information technology systems. We have to continue to make sure that veterans are getting the type of choice that they want, so they are getting the services where and when they want them."

On Capitol Hill, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow is trying to usher through new legislation to help improve veterans healthcare.

She said her legislation would reduce wait times for veterans, require the V.A. to hold private contractors accountable for the care they schedule on behalf of veterans, and require quicker payments to Veterans Choice Program Providers.

Follow Nick Minock on Twitter and on Facebook.

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