Top leaders with the Veteran Administration regional San Diego office met Thursday to discuss improvements in benefits and services for those in our veteran community.
NBC 7 also met exclusively with those leaders and our partner HundredX to reveal data from our “Listen to Veterans” project.
Nationally, a steady increase in veterans seeking services for the past 25 years has placed a strain on the Veteran’s Administration. It’s led to big headlines about issues like wait times, employee turnover and concerns about increases in veteran suicides.
NBC 7 wanted to get feedback on veteran services in San Diego on a larger scale than the amount of veterans we could talk to during the course of day-to day interviews.
“Listen to our Veterans” was a month-long endeavor to collect feedback from as many veterans as would participate in our study. More than 1,000 veterans and some family members gave feedback.
The results from NBC 7’s "Listen to Our Veterans" Project showed that veterans care most about medical services, but many say they are still waiting far too long to get that care.
“I think that everybody wants to be heard and the key, as we have found in processes like this, is make it easy," said Rob Pace, CEO and Founder of HundredX, the company that designed the feedback method.
Overall, 20 percent of respondents said that programs and services were "outstanding", 26 percent said "good", 25 percent selected "fair", and 30 percent said "poor."
Respondents were able to select more than one answer.
“The HundredX data uses some fairly novel methods to collect immediate feedback from folks, and I think it was a very powerful presentation,” said Dr. Robert Smith, the Acting Director of the VA San Diego Healthcare system. Smith said the method could potentially become a useful tool for them.
Pace said he was thrilled the VA San Diego wanted to hear what the project revealed because it shows they care.
A veteran told NBC 7 that it certainly shows the beginnings of a “new VA.”
“We sent these men and women off to war. We sent our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters, our moms and dads off to fight wars for our country, and we need to take care of them," said Shawn VanDiver, a Navy veteran.