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veteran’s preferred date. Thirty-four medical centers, he said, now offer access to same-day primary care, and, as of April, 90 percent of men- tal health patients are seen within seven days. Only 14 percent of com- munity psychiatrists can match that, he noted. The VA is finding innovative ways


to serve vets, from a new prosthetic arm developed in conjunction with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and adaptive sports programs to telehealth


a true digital enrollment process, which takes an average of only 24 minutes to complete. Szymanski — who, at work, often


helps veterans navigate the system, while at home helping her fa- ther, a Vietnam vet, do the same thing — looks


Fuentes says. “Overwhelmingly, vet- erans are satisfied with the care they receive. Our surveys have determined that 87 percent of veterans who use


Though breast cancer largely afflicts women, the effects of the disease can be just as serious when a man is diagnosed.


VA health care would recommend it to their fellow veterans. The quality is undisputed.” “The challenge we have isn’t


About MOAA The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is a nonprofit veterans’ as so ciation dedicated to main taining a strong national defense and ensuring our nation keeps its commitments to currently serving, retired, and former members of the uniformed services and their families and survivors. Member ship is open to those who hold or have ever held a warrant or commission in any component of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Public Health Ser vice, or NOAA and their surviving spouses.


On the cover: America prepares to head to the polls Nov. 8 for the presidential election.


to provide a quality experience. We do that,” Gibson told the advisory committee in Boston. “The problem is with the system surrounding the care.” In the past, inadequate attention


BUTDEADLY Rare 84 MILITARY OFFICER OCTOBER 2016 Features


48 Cover Story: Time to Choose We asked presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump where they stand on several issues important to MOAA members.


56 MILITARY OFFICER OCTOBER 2016


52 VA Revamp The MyVA initiative aims to transform the VA into a more responsive or- ganization and rebuild trust with America’s veterans. By Christina Wood


56 Rare but Deadly Though breast cancer largely affl icts women, the eff ects of the dis- ease can be just as serious for men. By Don Vaughan


60 Service to All Generations Schoolchildren, transitioning servicemembers, and homeless veter- ans all benefi t from the eff ects of community service work by MOAA chapters. By Blair Drake


was paid to training, leader development, and succession planning. Leaders rarely even talked to employees. VA leadership is actively trying to engage VA employees in the transformation process and is cultivating transparency and accountability throughout the organization. A dynamic program — Leaders Develop Leaders — is facilitating the necessary change of culture at all levels. Comprehensive planning is in place, based on a High


Performance Organization Model, and out-of-date technology is being replaced. “Unfortunately, Congress’s


inability to move key pieces of legislation has really slowed up the transformative change that MyVA is all about,” Rausch says, referring to the Veterans First Act, which received full bipartisan support from the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee but has yet to be brought to the floor for a vote. “There’s legislation sitting on the Hill that would allow the VA to provide better service to more veterans across the country, and no one is taking action to push it though.” “We have all this commentary


about veterans in the political cycle,” McDonald says. “It’s troubling to me because the fundamental work is not being done. I don’t like veterans being


used as political pawns.” “It is a team effort,” Fuentes says.


“We need the support of the VA, the veteran’s community, and Congress to be able to enact the change that’s necessary to rebuild trust and confidence.” “The VA has opened up their


apparatus to ask stakeholders — to ask veterans — what they need, what they want,” Rausch says. “Because [Secretary McDonald] has put the veteran at the core of every decision that’s being made, I’m confident — if Congress would support the MyVA initiatives – that the VA will be well on its way to becoming a world- class organization that every veteran would proudly call my VA.” MO


— Christina Wood is a freelance writer based in Florida. Her last feature for Military Officer was “Caring for Women Veterans,” March 2016.


By Don Vaughan Illustrations by Gabriel Vega


B OCTOBER 2016 MILITARY OFFICER 5


Bob Thibodeau of Coral Sp Fla., was watching televisio the evening of March 14, 2 when he crossed his arms ticed a small lump in his le The next day, during a


doctor’s visit, he casually m what he found to his physic examined Thibodeau’s br immediately referred him f trasound and surgical consu The results of the ul


were suspicious, Thibodeau the surgeon ordered a mam which also came back as su Thibodeau underwent a tomy April 26. “I went in for the outpa


gery, and [the tumor] was for cancer,” recalls Thibode mer Air Force staff sergean removed [it] and got clear They also removed 11 lymp four of which showed signs I was then referred to anoth cian for chemotherapy.” Thibodeau’s story is fair


of male breast cancer, a cond affects an estimated 2,000 m ally, reports Dr. Steven M. S chief of medical oncology at al Sloan Kettering Commack Island, N.Y. By comparison, m 200,000 women are diagno breast cancer each year, an 40,000 die from the diseas cancer deaths among men 450 annually. While the overall numbe


breast cancer cases is much the physical, emotional, and toll of the disease can be jus ous. Treatment almost alway surgery and also might includ


OCTOBER 2016 MILITARY OFF


IMAGES: ABOVE, 50, 51, 55, 56-57, 60, 62, 64, 68; COVER, SHUTTERSTOCK


OCTOBER 2016 MILITARY OFFICER 1


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