Revamped VA To Enhance Customer Service

An agency thatEUs come under fire for its track record when it comes to customer service -- the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs -- is using its revamped Web site as part of a effort to clean up its image.

On Monday -- the day before Veterans Day in the United States -- the agency announced a reorganization designed in part to make it easier for veterans to navigate the sprawling departmentEUs labyrinthine Web sites.

In an announcement on the VA Web site, administration secretary Robert McDonald said the overall restructuring was the largest in the department's history. McDonald is a former CEO of Procter & Gamble.

The reorganization, dubbed MyVA, aims to provide veterans with "a seamless, integrated and responsive customer service experience -- whether they arrive at VA digitally, by phone or in person," McDonald said.

Down to One Password

The VA, which serves 22 million veterans, has been the subject of withering criticism since it was reported earlier this year that dozens of veterans may have died while awaiting treatment at the VA hospital in Phoenix, and appointment records were manipulated to hide the delays.

As part of the restructuring, McDonald said the VA will hire a chief customer service officer and simplify its means of delivering health care and other services. The VA will now use a single customer service structure with a limited number of regional divisions, as opposed to the nine separate regional structures and at least a dozen Web sites that are in use now. Many of these Web sites have their own usernames and passwords.

Eventually, McDonald would like each veteran to have one username and password for all VA services. McDonald hopes to complete the reorganization within a year.

"As VA moves forward, we will judge the success of all our efforts against a single metric: the outcomes...

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