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.