A wave of ongoing scandals, including data manipulation and whistleblower retaliation, have undoubtedly tainted the reputation of the Department of Veterans Affairs, but it's the wait times that veterans face when scheduling appointments that has really caused the organization to fall from critics' graces. According to Military Times, over 630,000 veterans have faced wait times over a month long as of July 3.

To help the VA decrease those long wait periods, the current head of the organizations, acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson, has asked for an additional $17.6 billion to hire 10,000 new medical staff members, build eight new medical facilities and lease another 77 new medical facilities around the country.

Adding to present funding
VA officials are confident that an increased budget can dramatically improve the lives of veterans looking for medical care in the future, but some argue that the already steep budget enjoyed by the VA should be enough to correct current problems. Gibson refuted these claims in his first testimony on Capitol Hill.

"I know it sounds like huge numbers," Gibson told lawmakers, according to Military Times. "But [VA] historically has not managed to veterans' requirements, we've managed to budget numbers."

There is already an emergency VA reform bill that would attribute $30 billion to the VA over a three-year period, but this measure gives the organization just $500 million for additional hiring measures, a figure too small to fund 10,000 new medical staff members. Most of the remaining budget aims to help veterans seek private care options, reducing pressure on a VA that has been stretched thin over the years.

Lawmakers and veteran officials have not decided which route would allow for a timelier and more effective solution for veterans. While many agree that allowing greater access to private care facilities would reduce wait times quicker than massive new hiring measures, Gibson told lawmakers that the new hiring and infrastructure initiatives would solve VA issues in the short term and provide longer-term problem solutions for resource issues.

The wait times will likely get longer with no additional funding for securing more beds and medical staff, Gibson told the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, according to an article by The Washington Post. However, some politicians doubt whether increased funds will help the embattled VA.

"This sounds so similar to what we've heard over the years," Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska told Gibson on Capitol Hill, according to the Los Angeles Times. Johanns continued by mentioning the committee had previously granted VA budget requests, which did not solve many of the organizations issues.

"If you can't clean up your act, then guess what? You lose out," Johanns said. "I don't think you need more billions and billions of dollars."

A history of issues but a brighter future
The VA has faced many struggles in the past few months. The former VA secretary Erik Shinseki resigned in May following audits that discovered some veterans had to wait months for medical appointments. Additionally, administrators have been covering up those wait times to protect performance bonuses.

All of this activity has lead to the VA undertaking several changes to improve the current health system. Since the turmoil in May that ended with Shinseki's resignation, Gibson has reported the VA health care system has reached out to 160,000 veterans on the wait list, according to the Military Times.

Whether the VA receives Gibson's requested funds or gains the $30 billion from the emergency reform bill to help increase access to private health institutions, the organization may be lead by a new secretary within weeks or months. President Barack Obama's nominee, former Proctor & Gamble chief executive Bob McDonald, may become the new VA head by December, which could mean a whole new direction for the department.