VA Secretary considering closing over 1,100 facilities

Daily News Article - May 8, 2017


1. The first paragraph of a news article should answer the questions who, what, where and when. (In this article, the first 2 paragraphs.) List the who, what, where and when of this news item. (NOTE: The remainder of a news article provides details on the why and/or how.)

2. How many VA buildings has the VA identified for possible closure? For what reasons would they close? Be specific.

3. How did Secretary Shulkin explain his reasoning?

4. How old are the buildings being considered for possible closure?

5. a) What is private-sector care?
b) CHALLENGE: The ongoing VA scandal, which was reported in detail in 2014 (see “Background” and “Resources” below) was about unacceptably long wait-times to see a doctor and/or specialist, and unnecessarily long wait-times to receive treatment. Instead of fixing the crisis, President Obama’s VA Secretary changed the way veterans evaluated the VA from asking how patients rated the time it took to actually see a doctor and get treated to how the patients rated the quality of the doctors and treatment they received. He then said the VA was getting great ratings from veterans. The Senate and House both have standing Committees on Veterans Affairs, yet over the years, the terrible treatment our vets receive has not improved. To fully understand the magnitude of this problem, you must read about it. (See “Background” and “Resources” below.) Do you think offering veterans private-sector care could solve the problem? Explain your answer.
c) Ask a parent the same question. Discuss your answers.

6. The problem with closing some under-utilized facilities is that those vets who do use them would have to now travel far for their medical care. Would the option of using private-sector medical care be a good solution for this problem? Explain your answer.

7. a) The crisis with VA medical care for our veterans was publicized in detail after a whistleblower doctor came forward. Many who would have done the same did not come forward because they were afraid it would cost them their jobs. What did President Trump do to protect whistleblowers?
b) What exactly will this office do?

8. a) President Trump has promised to fix the VA. Do you think he will succeed where Presidents Bush and Obama and Congress have failed for so many years? (Is he being naive? Is expecting results from Secretary Shulkin realistic? Can such a large federal government agency be fixed?) Explain your answer.
b) Ask a parent the same question. Discuss your answers.

CHALLENGE: Re-read the first sentence in paragraph 2. Re-write the sentence to make it more accurate.