IAVA: Members souring on VA leadership

Eric Dehm
March 19, 2018 - 10:49 am

Photo by Megan Garcia, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Command Communications

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Whether the root cause is related to recent scandals or longstanding issues, the results of the most recent IAVA membership survey could be worrisome for the embattled leader of the Department of Veterans Affairs and other VA officials on the national and local levels. 

The survey results, released on March 15th via Axios, show a decreasing trend: Shulkin's support from IAVA's members stood at 36 percent at the time of his nomination and have since fallen to just 24 percent "approving, or strongly approving," of his performance.

"There was a bit more support back then in contrast with now," IAVA Legislative Director Tom Porter said during an appearance on the Morning Briefing radio show. "I think that there has been some shift although it has been unclear from our survey results on exactly why."

With the recent scandal surrounding Shulkin's office, as well as continuing struggles and disagreements within VA and the veteran community regarding the Choice program, there are a number of issues that could be behind the drop in support. There have also been numerous reports of groups within the department trying to undermine each other, something Porter said needs to stop on all fronts.

"Every day that there's infighting at the VA, every day the White House is in the news with regard to the possibility of replacing the secretary, those are days that are not spent reforming the VA," Porter said. "That's something we are trying to communicate pretty loudly on behalf of our membership."  

The full interview with Porter focusing on the survey is below. Click Play to stream now, or to listen later click Share and select Download from the available options.