MyVA Re-Org Likely Set To Downsize VA Workforce, A Lot

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MyVA

Benjamin KrauseEarlier this week, VA released its new map cutting down redundancies in its organizational systems to just 5 regions. The agency claims the new move will not result in immediate downsizing, but that seems to defy common sense in light of the new move.

According to Military Times:

Officials offered few specifics on what they called “the biggest organizational change in VA history” but said the work will not immediately mean cuts to the 340,000-plus workforce.

“This is not about losing jobs,” said Bob Snyder, executive director of the MyVA program office. “There is more than enough work to do at VA. … This is about improving the veterans’ experience.”

Any massive reorganization almost always results in downsizing the respective workforce – In fact, reorganization is code downsizing. Imagine reducing VA sub-organizations and at least 9 maps with various organizational charts, etc., to just five regions and one map.

Just how many workers will VA cut lose in the next six to twelve months? My bet is VA will be letting go of lots of workers.

The change is set to take place midsummer and is part of the MyVA reorganization. Officials claim the change will be the biggest organizational change in VA history. They qualified the change stating it will not mean immediate cuts to the 340,000, but I for one would not take stock in that claim.

Regional offices, where VA processes your benefits, will have to determine how the realignment will affect their business model in light of the new map. However, changes on the horizon will lessen the workforce at each location.

One recent change was to mailing practices of regional offices across the country. Now, each regional office no longer takes in mail related to claims. Instead, the mail is boxed and shipped to at least two scanning locations, one in Wisconsin and the other in Georgia.

One of the next stages will include replacing Decision Review Officers with attorneys to ensure claims are processed correctly.

Apparently, this new move will help veterans get access to their benefits by removing bureaucratic roadblocks and relying on technology.

Military Times cited McDonald as saying the reorganization is a “first step in empowering veterans to interact with one VA” and a way to “improve the veteran experience by enabling veterans to more easily … access their earned care and benefits.”

Think it will work or is this more of a move to cut down the size of the AFGE?

Source: http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/benefits/veterans/2015/01/26/myva-new-map-simplify-regions/22358125/

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21 COMMENTS

  1. Be sure to include in your claims references as applicable to:
    1. The DVA January 2010 Compensation & Pension Bulletins Policy (211): Information on Vietnam Operations; and, The DVA Compensation & Pension Bulletin Policy (211) ADDITIONAL Information on Vietnam Naval Operations ( ; ) to include operations on “RIVERS”and “DELTAS” plus the Ship(s) List(s).
    2. The Nehmer Training Class March 2010.
    3. The Nehmer Training Guide (211A) ; and, The Nehmer Training Guide 2011 Revised.
    4. And, for ALL VETERANS ( : ) Congressional Research Services / Statutory Presumptions (by law clerk Nichols October 2010) (yes, October 2010).
    Yes, feel free: [email protected]

  2. Well, if this does cause downsizing at the VA it will be to the detriment of veterans. As always, it seems, most everything that they do comes at the expense of veterans. As veterans, we’re relegated to second class citizenship anyway. As disabled veterans our livelihoods can disappear almost overnight just on the mere stroke of a pen, and we’re forced into kissing the behemoth backsides of the plutocratic ugly politicians in order to get them to do what they are required by law to do for us. Another thing is, Mr. Robert (fix the VA) McDonald isn’t going to be the new “miracle worker” that some seem to think he is!

    • One of those politicians, once told me, we don’t need more laws, we need someone to enforce the ones we already have.

  3. Under the current system, I have been given the wrong diagnosis, several times, my papers submitted by the Legion were lost. I have been so abused by The Department of Veterans Affairs. They just can’t do any worse.
    I for one am willing to give their new and improved plan a try.
    Heck, the only thing worse, they can do is kill me.
    I will let you know how it works.

    Thanks Ben for keeping us all informed,

  4. Hello Ben
    Did they say How many C&P Jobs will cut? The WHOLE dept of all these worthless must go way! Those people are working for everybody else except US!
    PS: “DELAY, DENY, WAIT TILL THEY DIE” Rick Wiedman, from AMVETS
    MSG M

  5. If you think the average person is reluctant to accept change, you ain’t seen nothin’, yet. All the little fiefdoms which have been set up in each regional office will be torn asunder. I can almost visualize the scurrying, whispers and rumors which will be flying. This, in, and of itself, will diminish production for some time to come. Not that the consolidation wasn’t needed – most private companies (such as Prudential, Ford Motor Company, GM and others) burdened with many geographical locations of offices consolidated them ten to thirty years ago.

    Lawyers are to decide claims and take the place of DROs? No offense Ben, what the world does not need is more lawyers. Unless an attorney has done nothing except VA appeals, the learning curb will be greater than someone coming from the ranks. A DRO usually has spent years in claims and has a vast knowledge of medical conditions, as well as the legal issues, VA policy and regulations. Lawyers are not robots, they will have personal prejudices and perceptions as do the current raters and DROs. Additionally, I believe they would be resented by the rank and file raters as this would cut off a career path.

    They have already started to centralize many of the processes. For example, only one office now handles fiduciary issues. They’re not doing it well (that, according to the OIG), but at least there is only one place to go look when a beneficiary is screwed.

  6. I think this is a good start. Lawyers with the knowledge of research and government regulations would work great. Also, as I can attest to do legal research, is what most lawyers have learned prior to becoming a lawyer. Having the know how and the ability to “read and comprehend” the CFR, is a very good start.

    Maybe cutting down on the regions will also keep the bonuses from flying so freely. I would also suggest, having a time limit on how long the regional directors can stay. That way you get new blood and maybe the “buddy system” will not play out and veterans will have a fair chance.

    I complained so much to VISN 6 that they would not even talk to me, only make threats and refer me back to the agency I was complaining about. However, that director could never speak with me about the concerns I had. So how do you have a director that is over numerous VA facilities that do not want to hear about the issues you are bringing or trying to bring to their attention? Or, are the gate keepers protecting their own behinds?

    Change is good!!!

    Carolyn

    • The VA having lawyers reviewing the claim decisions? What are they crazy??? They will deny, deny, deny and then deny again. Keep the lawyers out of it. How about some super duper VA employees that they have there and let them do it instead. Lawyers, unless they were in the military, went to a combat zone, has a disability, or has professional medical training and education, will just screw up the whole process. Better to get the few good employees and let them review as lawyers I hate to say it, can’t be trusted. They make some asinine decisions and no one wants to challenge them and the management does whatever the lawyers say even if it is stupid, illogical and/or unethical and maybe even illegal. I hope they don’t do it and all my stuff is resolved before they do as they will do nothing but deny, deny, deny and then deny again. Lawyers, government lawyers, what are the thinking???? Morons…..

  7. This seems to be a “blast from the past”; what I mean is in the ’70’s during the Nixon Administration there was a plan to divide the USA into 5 regions for defense and governing purposes should there ever be a Catastrophic cataclysm (a.k.a. a nuclear attack or other such reason to declare marshal law nationally) . So this is not a great NEW fangled idea it is just repackaging or recycling an old idea for a new reason….be careful , be very careful….it is from the government after all.

  8. I am not sure on this. re-organizing a company I.E. GM, Ford, ETC… and re-organizing even a part of the VA is something completely different. On the company side, so many of them were doing the same thing, just at too many places causing a redundancy. The VA is a whole different animal. The VA has so many places and each is doing what they want so there is no consistency in the VA (yeah I know that we all know that). So this will be a much harder thing to do and get it to work effectively.
    I hope that it would work and those who are deserving of the entitlements owed to them get them at a much quicker rate than it is now. We will see.

  9. I can just see it now…disgruntled VA employees being made to box files and such all up to ship to said new regional office locations before being let go from VA employment instead just tossing most if not all into those huge shred-it trucks, figuring that’s easier than the suggested convoluted way of using only two locations to process incoming mail to the BVA.
    Seems to me this “reorganization” will only give the VA an even WIDER EXCUSE to simply tell any given Veteran, “Oh, all your paperwork must have gotten “LOST” in all of our reorganization”, please move on to the starting position and begin whole process again…without of course, collecting ANY $$.

    Has anyone considered how freaking FAR one would have to travel if a Veteran is told they now need to travel to said office for whatever reason?
    Is there any LOGIC that the map Ben shared in this article happens to be THE WORST scandal-reddened locations and crap-tastic history with Veterans?

    To me this looks more like an “ORGANIZED FIRE”….a way as I said at start of my post, for the VA to EASILY state they have entirely LOST MANY CLAIMS and documentation on MANY Veterans.
    Also, reducing the intake and processing of mail to the the BVA to only TWO locations in this large USA is also asking for trouble and think about it, by doing so, given Veteran will NOW have a damn HARD WAY TO PROVE via registered mail that any docs sent to them actually were even received.
    Nope, this is the VA covering their ASS to more effectively SCREW Vets, none other!
    I have ALSO seen this map some of the disaster preparedness training I had to give that related DIRECTLY to the USA and MARTIAL LAW and being under direct attack of infrastructure. This is actually a bit on the scary side, if you think about it! That map is ALSO part of FEMA planning and training for disaster preparedness.
    Tread lightly, everyone. This IS NOT what it may seem!

  10. The problems starts with VA regional offices Raters first of all these people don’t know medical terminology and they don’t know the law this been a major problem for many years since the very beginning for instance it took me eight years to get my claim granted because of mistakes made at the VA regional office two trips to the BVA and two trips to the Court of Appeals for veterans claims took over eight years.

    Only to be return the original VA regional office of jurisdiction to adjudicate the claim correctly what a waste of years and time many veterans die waiting.conditions get worse while in the process therefore their ratings are not correct the rated with a low ball of incorrect rating at least 90% of the time.

    After I was granted my claim over a year and a half ago I appeal this because my ratings were too low I’ve been in the appeal process again for over a year and a half they sent me the statement of the case with all evidence that was used for the first claim they never took into or give no consideration all the new evidence that was obtain since I was granted a year and a half ago they never even looked at the new evidence.

    They denied me the higher rating and then again they sent me to go have a another comp and pension examination for all issues on appeal two weeks after they denied me my claims for a higher rating does that make any sense.

    I believe that the BVA at the dept of veteran affairs our part of the systems that’s not working I think the regional offices deny claims purposely so that then can be appealed to the BVA or Bureau of veteran affairs and it’s part of this major problem maybe it designed this way for employment purposes and bonuses that way that keeps the VLJ employed .I believe the process of having lawyers is good I think they should also have medical personnel that knows medical terminology.

    I also feel that the Bureau of Veterans Affairs or the BVA should be dismantled VA claims should go right up to the court appeals for veterans claims and let them make a decision and if it’s not successful there the you can go to federal court and let the federal judge make a decision because these two departments are not part of the part in the dept veteran affairs I don’t feel that the BVA should be part of the process with the Department of Veterans Affairs it’s against I feel the veterans in 75% of the time.and they usually agree with the local VA regional office that denied the claim once it goes past that the court appeals for veterans claims it seems like they know more about the law then the BVA and they usually get it right I hold much respect for the judges at the CAVC.I believe They give the a fair hearing.fingers are not employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs they are appointed by the president of United States and confirmed by the Senate I like that idea.
    .
    John AKA Gio

  11. “One of the next stages will include replacing Decision Review Officers with attorneys to ensure claims are processed correctly.”

    I think this could be interesting, They would then have to abide by the States rules of professional conduct. They are held to a standard of research and fact finding that I don’t think the others would be held to. It’s also important, because I essentially wrote an appellate brief in preparation for my appeal to the BVA, but the VA decided to opt for CUE because their initial errors were so blatant.

    To be honest, I don’t think some of the people understand stand the weight / balance of burdens of proof and the like, nor do I think they apply them properly.. I think this is a change I would love to see.

    What are your thoughts?

    • Yes, but just LIKE corporate America, do you really *think* those attorney’s that the VA hires will be IN THE VETERAN’s INTEREST?! Not AT ALL! You can be assured the VA is doing this to benefit the VA, not Veterans and their claims. This is yet another set of hoops they will make claimants jump through and is it ANY coincidence this is happening at a time when SO MANY Veterans will be coming back now from Middle East with our now (supposedly) exit from Afghanistan???!! MANY of those soldiers are National Guard that the U.S. Gov’t and DOD have ensured they are only over there even DAYS before they have enough Active Duty time (24 months last time checked) that would allow ANY benefits from the VA and I still hold my claim the VA is only covering their asses to DENY MORE EFFICIENTLY for the influx of claims guaranteed to come their way from TBI and PTSD.
      Again, this move on the VA is not exactly what it seems. This will only make the system even MORE convoluted, if that were even possible!!

  12. All I know is. We are waiting months and years for our claims to be settled.
    Will this help expedite our claims or will it further slow down the process?
    Or will we be able collect our dues in the after life?

    • I can even see the VA blatantly ensuring their newly hired attorneys are only holding State Bars in limited localities so like I said earlier, will cause the Veteran to start all over again simply because the attorney for the VA is not qualified by law to file in a particular State’s federal Court or even not D. C. at all, only the State they are working in.
      This is nothing but throwing glue into an already broken system.
      In all due respect Ben, I do not have respect nor trust for 95% of attorneys after have worked as a document clerk at a HUGE corporate syndicated law firm for asbestosis claims…I never saw so many liars in a concentrated place and the VA’s selection of attorney’s will be no different.
      I would love to be wrong but highly doubt this is to we veteran’s benefit AT ALL!
      Another example of all the foxes guarding the henhouse.

  13. iF THEY started at the top, That would be a “Gift from God” Not to sound like a Bigot, But, Ever time I`ve called the V.A. “Hotline” I get to talk to Black or Hispanic Women. That sound as tho they really don`t want to be there. The Rich White Folk in Management.Don`t answer the phone. I don`t give a rats ass what color anyone is. IF They would give you the same answer to one question. it`s a different answer every time you ask, You call & you get told something different. They don`t know, so they pass you on to someone else that don`t know either. THAT Is what`s Wrong W/ V.A. It`s a job. They hate talking to you and you can tell.
    We`re not supposed to need a lawyer to file a claim, But, Try it without one and you get placed on the file 13 cart. Sense my “Notice of Disagreement” it has “SAT” in the same stage for two years. As I`m an old Dude, They`re waiting for me to die.
    This Access to care Act, Is a Dog & Pony show. Before the Hearing They get together and Miller will say, “I`m going to get on your ass a little but I don`t mean it ok?”

    It would do the Mgt. Good to stand in the same Bread line as the rest of us. To get a taste of what it`1s like.
    If Congress Were FORCED To get only V.A. Healthcare, It would be like Club Med Over night. They don`t care and never will. It`s TALK, Talk is Cheap. Congress ,They ALL Say We want what`s BEST for our Veterans, Well, If the V.A. Is “The Best Healthcare in America”, WHY aren`t they Fighting to get in line with us? You know why and so do I.

    • Handcannon, you are correct. When the people answer the phone, they act as if they are home. Attitude and all. I recently wrote a letter to Secretary, Mc Donald, Ms. Hickey and Ms. Clancy. I stated that they need diversity training as well as customer service training. I further asked for written results of “all” the complaints I have filed. Which have been many. I had a nurse to at a C&P exam to ask me if I married my husband when he was demented? My husband is older than I am yes, but no one knows our story. Plus who appointed her to question me on our personal lives? Then I was told I could not be in the exam room with the doctor, who spent all of 5 minutes with my husband and he could not tell the doctor anything, but I was not allowed. I was barely back to the waiting room before they rolled him out. But when it came to him having X-Rays, I was the person who had to hold him up, (no staff to help me or the X-Ray Tech).

      Trust me, I am right now awaiting a result of a complaint I filed on a doctor who came into our home (Dr. Kimberly Baptiste), lied, slandered, defamed and vilified me because I asked questions, and would not be bullied in our home. However, I did not push, kick, hit, yell, or make any advances toward her. I was able to speak to her in a very quiet tone. Then I learned from my husband’s medical records in which my name is all over, that I and our home was a threat to the safety of VA staff members. Thus the program, my husband had been on the “wait list” for almost a year was denied. The director of the facility wrote letters stating, our home was not the proper venue for my husband’s care and was considered unsafe for VA Staff members. There were only two people in that house at the time, so why is it that this doctor, which is to first do no harm, was allowed to cause my husband to be denied a program that even in his medical records, he had already been approved for but was waiting for the services. Then it gets denied and everything else from that facility because of a doctor who had not did her job, covered the fact that she had not done her job by using both my husband and me. I am also a service connected disabled veteran. My husband is 81 and a Vietnam Veteran. I was the person who was slated for punishment, but I fought back and will continue to fight because I know two things about that visit. 1) The doctor did not take my husband out of the home that day and 2) if she felt herself to be in an unsafe environment, she neither called the police, or Adult Protective Services to remove my husband from this so called “unsafe environment.” Which tells me she was lying because, if that was what needed to be done, the VA would have certainly did so. But instead of looking at all the facts the director and her senior staff went along with the doctor. To vilify me.”

      Recently, since we moved to Virginia, a young lady from Comfort Keepers lied on me and I did not find out until a week later. This company is contracted with the VA to provide assistance in the home. This too, was not addressed when I asked for the alleged incident to be put in writing. I have yet to receive the statement from my accuser on paper so I can take it to an attorney and sue this person and the agency. It appears as if any one can make money off of veterans, but are not held accountable. How far will this go?

      I will not allow my expectations of the standard and quality of care my husband receives to be diminished by anyone.

      Carolyn

      • Carolyn, I don’t know if you can afford or have your own private insurance; however If you did I would have another Dr. look at him and evaluate him. Write everything down and make sure that it is all from the Dr. and nothing is “the VA states this or that…” to make it a fair evaluation (include the home visit if that is done) or make sure that the Dr. puts in their notes that you were present during the appointment. Any information you can get from a private Dr., licensed caregiver, or anything like that can only help you show that you did nothing that the VA is claiming. The C&P exams are mostly a joke. Again if you get a specialist for your husbands’ disability to state a clear and to the point report, you can present that to the VA. One thing I did on my claim was to make copies of the paperwork they sent me (I am not sure if they still do that) that ask questions about your condition and how it effects you. After you answer it, copy it and if the C&P examiner changes any of the answers, you can prove it and that may help to show that the C&P exam is not a valid exam and that another one is needed.
        I don’t know if you have both of your C-files (claims files), this is what the board uses to evaluate you disability and if it is in need of a increase. You may find many things in there that are not right. It is hard to fight the VA. I too have e-mailed all of the above people that you have and a couple more. The result, passed from one person to another. The results, nothing. It is after all the VA and they act as if they are God and cannot be touched. Anything they do is OK and they have to answer to no one. And they don’t. The whole Phoenix thing was a dog and pony show and the VA knew as long as they could withstand the TV showings and the so called bashing from the politicians (who fund and support them off TV) things would go away and the business would return to normal. It has, with the exception of every now and then they try to stay ahead of a bad story coming out by stating they are doing this or that then things will be OK. case in point, the VA had to payout $800k for a preventable death their response, they are re-organizing the VA to “make it better”. problem solved. Not. I ma hopeful that you can get some other private documented things that show that the VA did not do what was right and you have the proof to show that. Good luck and don’t give up the fight. If you are right, continue to prove them wrong. I have finally done that with my current VA and now they have agreed to prescribe me my chronic pain med that was taken away when I moved. They have agreed to treat me for a condition that they say and have put in my record that I don’t have. I do have 10 yrs. of the other VA’s proof that I do have something wrong and was being treated. The right words and proof got me what I needed and hopefully it will do the same for you.

  14. Nothing is too good for the Veterans, and that’s exactly what they’ll get. Since the ones that make the Laws have few Veterans in their ranks they find it easy to view us as an “expense” to be cut, to pay for their next War. There will be more War because it’s become an industry.

  15. I don’t believe this is a change that will negatively affect AFGE workers and it should help Veterans, thought how much it will help remains to be seen. Right now we have four distinct different sections in the VA – Health, Benefits, Cemetery, and IT. Each section has their own management structure, processes, and coverage area (which doesn’t overlap) creating confusion and conflict for Veterans and employees alike. What Secretary McDonald has initiated is a project to consolidate this structure into geographic regions (along state lines), co-locate each section’s management, and make the regional directors responsible for all aspects (Health, Benefits, Cemetery, IT) of the region’s services. This will mean a reduction in duplicated services and support, reduction in the amount of management staff (all mid- to high-level GS grades), a reduction in the bureaucracy faced by Veterans, and (hopefully) a more responsive organization as a whole. The intent, as currently understood, is to either apply the redundant staff to areas where current workload indicates need or to allow reduction by attrition such as retirement, transfer, or exiting government service.

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