Vintage photo of 3 U.S. Army solders posing on a truck.

Making a Difference…From Anywhere Within VHA

Making a Difference…From Anywhere Within VHA

Coming from the commercial sector, working for a company that supports the Federal government is a new experience for me. While before I worked tangentially with government agencies and leaders, I now get the full experience, really seeing the ins and outs of the public sector and how it impacts citizens.

When you think about the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), you don’t immediately think of financial operations. You might think of prosthetics, rehabilitation, and other forms of medical care.  But looking more closely, you realize financial oversight is crucial to the VHA’s mission.

I support a team that is responsible for, among many other things, ensuring the financial resources are in place to support the staffing needs across VHA. The VHA has been on the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s High-Risk List for unclear resource needs and allocation priorities. Recently, we worked on a plan that would better align the Finance and Manpower offices to ensure the VHA has a true picture of staffing requirements and can match that with the budget.

After many long days and nights of working on and refining the plan, we finally presented it to the GAO for their thoughts. Their feedback was overwhelmingly positive; it set up the VHA to take the necessary steps to improve its operations, which will lead to improved health care for veterans.

Having the opportunity to be a part of the team working on this and other programs within VHA has been a fulfilling experience. While I might not be working directly with veterans, my work helps the agency fulfill its mission of caring for the people who help keep our country safe.

Growing up, I remember hearing my grandfather’s stories of his time in the U.S. Army, anything from learning to drive trucks and large vehicles, to learning to speak English from fellow soldiers. Later in life, when he was sick, he would visit many different doctors and medical centers. The VA medical center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was always the best option for him. Whether it was just for a doctor’s appointment or for long-term hospice care, it was always efficient, convenient, and supportive. The doctors, nurses and staff were always attentive, caring and accommodating at every stage.

I’m grateful to be doing a small part to help everyone across VHA provide veterans like my grandpa the care and help they need. Whether it’s making sure veterans have easy access to medical services, innovating to find new solutions for veteran care, or ensuring there is budget in place to support staffing, our work makes a difference.

Cristina Cruz
Senior Consultant