VA Secretary Robert McDonald​: Disney doesn’t measure wait times, neither should VA

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Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald compared the length of time veterans’ wait to receive health care from the VA to the length of time people wait for rides at Disneyland, and said that Disney doesn’t keep track of wait times, so Veterans Affairs shouldn’t either as it’s not a valid measure of one’s overall experience.

“When you got to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important?” McDonald asked reporters Monday during a Christian Science Monitor breakfast. “What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience? And what I would like to move to, eventually, is that kind of measure.”

The comparison brought swift disapproval from Republicans and veterans organizations alike who were none too pleased with Secretary McDonald’s analogy in light of the scandal that exploded two years ago when it was revealed that the VA was attempting to cover up long wait times.

Republican Presidential front-runner Donald Trump took a moment to try to gain political traction, saying he would “take care” of America’s vets.

Wisconsin Republican and U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan ripped into McDonald with a series of tweets saying unlike Disneyland, the VA “is not make-believe.”

 

Concerned Veterans for America called the remarks offensive.

“It also shows that he doesn’t even view long wait times and secret wait lists as real problems in need of a fix,” said John Cooper, a spokesman for Concerned Veterans for America. “To compare veterans’ experiences waiting weeks and months for care to tourists waiting in line to see Mickey Mouse demonstrates just how out of touch the secretary is with the struggles many veterans deal with while waiting for care at the VA.”

McDonald’s controversial comment was in response to a question as to why the VA won’t publish the average time a veteran has to wait from the day he or she calls and asks for an appointment, known as the “create date.”

Instead, the VA publishes its average wait times based on the “preferred date,” or the day a VA scheduler actually puts an appointment time on the books.

McDonald went on to explain that the “create date” was not a “valid” measure of the VA’s success.

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