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Press Kudos For Ms. Hickey



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I think Ms Hickey is doing the best she can ...she needs to sit a fire under her employee's

I believe the poster who said this starts from the top down is right on!


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Alison Hickey "grew a long Pinnocchio nose" when she reiterated Secretary Shinseki's now defunct claim that he would reduce the backlog to 120 days with 98% accuracy by 2015.

I think, for that reason, some called for her resignation.

I beleive the Vasec, Mr. McDonald, "put her in a new role" rather than fire her. She is now a "troubleshooter" for very old and forgotten about Veteran claimants who have tried just about everything else to fix their claim. Since the VA has needed "someone" to be held accountable for the claim errors for a very long time, she has flourished in her new role as a "Veteran's claim fixer". This is long overdue. We have needed "someone" to call or email that can/will actually "fix" our broken claim for decades, and we had none. IRIS would not fix it. Letters to the RO dont help. Phone calls to "Peggy" are usually answered (if they are answered at all) by someone who does not know what they are doing, and, if they did, they lack the authority to fix anything.

Having a real troubleshooter that Veterans can email about their concerns, who actually has the authority to take action on them, is long overdue. If you go to a burger joint, and your burger is cold, dried out, and inedible, you go to the manager in the store who probably will get you a fresh burger, and then he figures out why you were served out a dried out cold burger, to prevent it from happening again. This manager does not want you complaing to corporate...he just fixes your problem, usually instantly.

In a similar way, Allison Hickey's "troubleshooter" should be expanded to each RO. We should be able to email or call the RO director and tell/email them of our claim problem/issue, and we should be able to expect a quick resolution. This has not been happening, and every company needs some sort of troubleshooter to fix problems.

Allison could/should delegate this to VARO directors, and VARO directors could/should be able to delegate this to assistants. We should always be able to email the boss especially if our requests go unanswered/ignored, as they generally do now. Its a breakdown, and the fix starts with management, and should be the responsibility of each employee. It should reflect poorly upon an employee to have a "customer" (Vet) have to call his boss to get something done, when each employee should take it on themselves to fix problems.

Employee bonuses/raises/promotions should be based on whether or not, or how often, a Vet has to complain to your boss to get things done. This troubleshooting program is successful, but needs implemented in each VARO.

Part of the problem: No one at VA seems to know "whose job" it is to solve Vets problems or issues. Well, management should make it clear that it is every single VA employees primary task to serve Vets, each and every phone call, and each and every claim. If these employees can not seem to understand who they are supposed to serve, then maybe they should go to work elsewhere, like a burger joint, where the manager can sit them down and explain who pays their paycheck...We Vets pay them, and they should never forget that.

Edited by broncovet (see edit history)
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First, I have to say I wouldn't want her job. Not that I think its a bad job, but that she walked into VA-CENTCOM expected to fix it. Fixes take time. Culture has to change. Here, on a huge scale. Usually this type of change is generational: the current group of employees and managers might not be able to see change as an option. That's no excuse, just the psychology of large stratified organizations. So, they could probably learn quite a bit from the IRS, the former paper-burdened object of ridicule in the US. I think many of us can still recall the folders full of paper we had to keep in order to file anything but the short form. Still, they can get to this place. They are going to need a lot of help getting the paper into a system that can read it (hand-written and type), pick out key words and phrases and create metadata about each of us. Having implemented large systems, the tech-side is easy compared to getting the business rules in place to help people do their jobs better. That leaves us right where we are until the documents are scanned, etc., and employees learn how to access what they need to make or propose decisions. As for decision approvals, etc., the business rules already exist as either policy or directive in the VA. There should be no reason why they are not implemented other than fear/loss of hands-on control. That is what Mr. McDonald & Co. need to work on. And, of course, that is just my opinion.

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The point is it don't have to be this way if they run the ship in the right direction, look at SSA there much bigger as for as populated than the VETERANS AMINISTRATION and I'm sure they have there mishaps as well but the VA needs to get better in all areas claims ,healthcare communications , it starts at the top and when given the authority to do so this is what Ms Heckely is trying to do but she needs help doing she can't fix the system alone!

We need boo-coo more of the Ms Hickely's



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