Dr. Petzel’s current position as the VA’s acting deputy undersecretary for health gives him the ability to see the strengths and weaknesses of the entire VA health care system. The changes Dr. Petzel plans on undertaking amount to nothing less than a complete realigning of Veterans Health Administration to include the programs offered, the organization, and the focus of the entire VA health care system.
Despite having the largest integrated health care system in the country, there are still many veterans not receiving much needed benefits. Dr. Petzel is not starting from scratch though, he knows the system. The Veterans Health Administration already has a strong work force, many varying programs, a strong reputation for quality, and a high level of integration.
The flip side of the existing strengths in the VA health care system is that not all potential patients are being reached, there is no strong vision for the future, and there exists a somewhat weak centralized management.