By Sandra Parrish
The Adjutant General of the Georgia National Guard is hopeful changes announced this week by the new head of the Veterans Administration will help veterans who have become frustrated with the lack of medical care and the scandal that's plagued the federal agency.
Major General Jim Butterworth, who was the keynote speaker at Gwinnett County's Veterans Day ceremony, says he has confidence in the restructuring announced by VA Secretary Robert McDonald.
"I think the proper amount of attention is being paid and I'm looking forward to some positive changes and positive direction for the Veterans Administration," he tells WSB's Sandra Parrish.
McDonald, who took over three months ago, says disciplinary action has been taken against 5,600 employees in the past year and more will soon lose their jobs.
He's also establishing a new customer service office to help better understand and respond to the needs of veterans and creating new partnership with private organizations.
Georgia's 7th District Congressman Rob Woodall says he too is hopeful the changes will make a difference.
"This isn't just window dressing, we're talking about putting people in place who are decision makers and can move these cases along faster and more efficiently than we have been doing," he says.
Bob Reeves, a Vietnam vet from Dacula, has been waiting for his disability claims to be addressed by the VA for a year.
"Hopefully things will improve so that they take faster action on these claims we're not getting any younger," he says.
McDonald's reforms will also address the long wait time veterans face trying to get a doctor's appointment which can run 90-days or longer.