[JURIST] President Barack Obama [official profile] on Friday will release details [The Hill report] about the creation of a new advisory committee in efforts to improve conditions in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) [official website] as he visits a VA facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The committee will consist of business leaders, members of veteran organizations and health science professionals experienced in customer service, organizational change and veteran advocacy. Obama is also meeting [Bloomberg report] with VA employees and veteran groups while in Phoenix to give recommendations for the new committee. The VA facility in Phoenix was the focus of criticism of medical treatment provided by the VA, long wait times and management failures.
The VA has been heavily criticized for its ability to provide adequate medical care to veterans. Last August Obama signed [JURIST report] the Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014 [text] to allow veterans to seek private care outside the VA facilities and provide money for the VA to hire more doctors and nurses. In March of 2014 five veterans of the Vietnam War filed a class action lawsuit [JURIST report] in the US District Court for the District of Connecticut [official website] accusing the military of failing to upgrade the discharges of veterans who developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In November 2013, a report released [JURIST report] by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] said the VA grants disability claims for PTSD caused by in-service sexual trauma at significantly lower rates than it has granted claims for PTSD arising from other causes