Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald raised eyebrows on Monday by saying that the issue of long wait times for appointments is not the most important indicator of how well the VA is doing, comparing the situation to wait times at Disney theme parks.
“The days to an appointment is really not what we should be measuring, we should be measuring the veterans’ satisfaction,” he said, according to USA Today. “When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? What’s important? What’s important is: what’s your satisfaction with the experience?”
The comparison drew criticism from the American Legion, whose National Commander said in a statement that the “analogy between Disneyland and VA wait times was an unfortunate comparison because people don’t die while waiting to go on Space Mountain,” CNN reports. Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan took to Twitter to weigh in:
The VA does not currently make wait-time data public. The previous 14-day limit on wait times led some schedulers to lie about how long it actually took for patients to be seen, a story that caused controversy when it emerged in 2014. The limit has since been raised to 30 days, but some believe wait-time data is still falsified. “We know we have an issue getting people in,” McDonald said.