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Veterans Health Administration History

Not Your Father’s VA: A History of the Modern Transformation of the Veterans Health Care System

In 2009, the VeteranNot Your Father’s VA: A History of the Modern Transformation of the Veterans Health Care Systems Health Administration (VHA) sought to update its official history, which had not been done since Robinson E. Adkins’s 1967 comprehensive report to Congress entitled “Medical Care of Veterans.”

History Associates was contracted to research and write the book, which chronicled the development of federal veterans’ health care from the colonial period to the present time, with particular emphasis on its transformation into a more modern and streamlined health care system under the leadership of Under Secretary for Health Dr. Kenneth W. Kizer during the 1990s.

This multi-year project involved research at the Central Office of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C., and various other federal repositories and libraries across the country. History Associates also conducted more than twenty oral histories with current and former senior VHA officials during the course of the research.

As of October 2016, VHA had not yet published the book. The manuscript was completed by History Associates in 2012, but VHA internal and external peer reviews had not yet taken place. By spring 2014 design preparation for book publication had begun when key top VA leadership left. The project was put on hold.

In July 2016 the manuscript was referenced by The Commission on Care – a Congressionally-mandated committee charged with evaluating and recommending improvements to VA health care services – in its Final Report submitted to the President and delivered through the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

VA plans to make the book available in the near future. For individuals who have a legitimate need to read the manuscript before it is published, you may contact VHA Historian, Darlene Richardson.

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