We sat down with the Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health and captured his thoughts about priorities for the VA and new initiatives.
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New Initiatives Transition Patient Advocates is a new initiative that the VHA has. We wanted to have one person who tries to pull together all the parts of this process and really from DOD to VA. In this initiative when we've heard 100 of these individuals, generally they're combat veterans often from Iraq. Then they contact where the patient is still on active duty in a military hospital, and the person who makes contact is the TPA, the Transition Patient Advocate from their hometown. So if this person is from Kansas and he is at Walter Reed, he will fly that Transition Patient Advocate from Kansas to Walter Reed to spend a couple of days, sit down, meet the family, stay with the veteran to build up a relationship and that person, that Transition Advocate will stay in contact with that patient that soon to be veteran from then on. My concept is that new veteran that gets to Kansas, the Transition Patient Advocate will be there waiting at the door of the VA Medical Center to greet them, and help them walk them through the process and stay in touch with them. This is the kind of continuity that we wanted to put in place. Pull all of these parts together, we've got lots of people doing great things, but we wanted something that tied it all together. I think that's going to be big a success. Assuring Veterans About Their Care. Let me say that Tom is a veteran. I am veteran. We feel this in our bones. This is a mission that has a certain amount of passion for us that goes beyond a job. This is not just a job. This is something way beyond that. I want you to know that you have people in this organization who feel that way.