A Lot More VA Oversight

About damned time.   From MSNBC:

Members of Congress angrily vowed Wednesday to crank its investigative floodlights far brighter on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, accusing agency leaders of dodging direct questions on travel and conference spending, failing to disclose a gathering in Las Vegas, and exhibiting “total incompetence” as veterans wait in record-long lines for medical help.

I will admit to some of this being personal, as “budget shortfalls” forced cancellation of a major (for us) contract with my business, which makes the $9 million for the Orlando fiasco all the more maddening.  (Note that the VA was one of two Federal entities to have budgets INCREASED in 2011.)

But the long lines and interminable wait times, and sometimes downright snotty and incompetent service that Veterans are having to endure are inexcusable.  These conditions seem to be true especially for new Veterans looking to have disability ratings judged, and wanting to receive medical care after multiple combat tours.

Earlier, Gould opened by describing the VA’s beefed-up oversight to block other Orlando-type escapades, which he called: “abdications of responsibility, failures of judgment, and serious lapses of stewardship.”

Now, the VA has a justifiably angry Congress breathing down their necks.  That gunshot wound to the foot is self-inflicted.     Were I Eric Shinsecki, I would have culled the upper management herd long ago.

But, of course, we will hear the platitudes about how dedicated and hard-working everybody is, and how they really care and do a great job.  Makes you puzzled as to how all those wonderful workers and managers can produce such a soup sandwich so often where the rubber meets the road.

A cautionary tale in all this is what happens when an institution has a captive audience and no particular motivation for customer satisfaction (it’s not like I can just go into ANOTHER VA system) or business efficiency.    Which is precisely the situation that any and every gummint-run enterprise finds itself in.  Sooner rather than later.

For all those in the VA who do such a wonderful job within an inherently unwieldy, unresponsive, and often obstructionist system, you are greatly appreciated.  To those who make that system unwieldy and unresponsive, be gone with you.  You are not worthy of the Veterans whom you are paid to care for.

7 thoughts on “A Lot More VA Oversight”

  1. Lack of competition removes any incentive for change. It makes me sick to think about it.

      1. I had a co-worker say to me a few years ago in regards to universal health care that the VA system was marvelous. Needless to say, she knew no one who had served and no one who had tried to used the system.

  2. Au contraire, auld infantry-type.

    It was a part of the contract for enlistment/commissioning that comes with federal military service. If your new car comes with a warranty as a part of the agreement, the dealership hasn’t the option of having chimpanzees bang on your engine with wrenches because the work is “free”.

    1. Take another look at DD Form 4. Nowhere on it does “Veterans Administration” appear.
      Yes, other aspects of federal law provide for healthcare for veterans, and the healthcare is an implied contract between you and the federal government. But it is NOT an explicit guarantee. In fact, when I first attempted to enroll with the VA, I was rejected, as the previous year I had made too much money (the princely sum of $35,000). Not “put at the back of the line” but “rejected, you can’t even enroll in the system, let alone receive any care.”

  3. If you meet the conditions of service (I do/did) then yes, it is an explicit guarantee. You will be treated for service-connected injuries and conditions. And it is these who are waiting interminably for care/evaluation.

  4. The VA recently opened a new outreach clinic near us it’s called the Trinka Davis vets center. I went last month to have my hearing aids repaired since they were six years old the VA said I needed new ones. I received my two new aids and they are fantastic! Small and very sophisticated.
    I was impressed by the staff and the audiology department which wasn’t yet quite up to speed due to the newness but the staff were kind, knowledgeable and very professional and the center was shipshape and in Bristol fashion though not yet finished.
    I took this as a sign things might be changing from the old Deny, Delay and hope the vet dies before being helped.
    XBradTC: The squeeky wheel gets the grease, keep squeeking.

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