Department of Veterans Affairs

The VA's Gross Mismanagement Does Nothing to Honor Vets

The Department of Veterans Affairs is honoring veterans of Veterans Day while simultaneously screwing them over again and again.

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|||Paul Hennessy/Polaris/Newscom
Paul Hennessy/Polaris/Newscom

All across America, Veterans Affairs (VA) departments are putting on events to honor veterans for their service. That's nice, but a more meaningful way to honor them would be to address the serious mismanagement that has come to define the department.

In 2014, an audit revealed that 100,000 veterans had been waiting in months- and yearslong lines for care at 700 VA hospitals, and that employees had attempted to mask the issue by falsifying scheduling records. At least 13 percent of scheduling personnel said they did so at the direction of supervisors. Later attempts to clean the backlog have led to appointments being improperly cancelled altogether.

For many veterans, the long wait times were the least of their concerns. This year a Wisconsin veteran with mental health issues froze to death on New Year's Eve after a VA hospital released him without an escort. A few weeks later, a veteran sued a Connecticut hospital after a surgeon left "an abandoned scalpel" in his abdomen. (A New York Times story used the Connecticut hospital's 5-star rating to show the flaws in the VA's ratings system.) Investigations have found practitioners on the VA payroll with revoked licenses, medical malpractice claims, and disciplinary issues.

Meanwhile, thanks to IT issues, hundreds of thousands of veterans have yet to receive education and housing payments supposedly guaranteed by the GI Bill. In 2017, President Donald Trump signed the Forever GI Bill, which expanded the original bill's benefits. But the bill did not allocate funds to update the department's antiquated computer system to meet the increased processing demand.

As the Cato Institute's Michael F. Cannon has explained, that the VA's largest problem is…itself. More specifically, the fact that it's controlled by a central government. While he says veterans should be weary of "false 'privatization' efforts," which currently includes a plan to treat the VA like Medicare by writing government checks to private doctors, Cannon is for reforms that "would transfer ownership of the V.A.'s physical capital (land, structures, gizmos) to private citizens—ideally, to the people the VA exists to serve: veterans." That sort of privatization "would constitute a hefty transfer of wealth to veterans that would be a large and welcome step toward making good on Congress' promise to care for them."

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  1. Want to see what single payer looks like?

    1. As if we need another example! But ’tis a home-grown example, to go along with Medicaid and Medicare. OTOH, it is for veterans, so the proggies will just write it off as what those damned killers deserve.

    2. Peshaw. Veterans have some of the most efficient health care: they spend less per patient, and their outcomes are better.

      1. As a Veteran, I can tell you left out a few gems from that “efficient health care”.

  2. Let us not forget that medical mistakes are among the top causes of death. Finding a 5-star hospital making mistakes is probably the norm. I would not be surprised to find that almost all hospitals are either 4- or 5-star rated, because no one would accredit any lesser hospital.

    I still expect VA hospitals to be worse than average simply because they are government hospitals, and thus immune to any real competition.

  3. this is a retarded article–the problem with the VA and with ALL american government agencies is AFFIRMATIVE ACTION…race and gender preferences lead to POOR PERFORMANCE, especially because these affirmative action hires/promotions are not held to the same performance standards as whites and white males…

    1. Funny how you single out race and gender when there is so much more general coercion at stake. Are you happy with coercion in general, just not race and gender coercion? A strange political gambit.

      1. oh please…this is a nation…not some scifi novel fantasy…

        1. ??? Are you always this coherent?

          1. Gonna guess he is, judging by the post blaming nonwhite people, instead of the government, for how fucked up the VA is.

  4. “You fought to defend our constitutional Republic, here, have some socialized medicine!”

    Seriously, are there other countries which pay for their veterans’ health care in a better manner, without creating an agency which could just as well exist in a People’s Republic?

  5. Zuri, you know there are quite a few veterans on here. You could ask us what we think.

    One problem is that the VA is staffed by mostly Democrat donators and give superficial courtesy to keep their jobs.

    Many of the menial jobs would happily be taken by volunteers but bureaucrat unions and the like keep this from happening. Veterans are job creators you see.

    If the list for medical care is too long to get you in trouble, you simply delete names off it. Government healthcare in a nutshell.

  6. Anyone else notice the NFL bending over backwards last weekend to support the troops?

    It was basically an apology tour.

    We’re so sorry we let the players kneel last season! Please come back and watch us again.

    Pretty please?

    1. I saw that while getting some free Veteran’s Day food at Hooters.

      It was like the teams were really trying to get Americans back on their side with superficial gestures. I bet the kneelers on the teams hated it.

  7. Look, I don’t see what the problem is lets roll out VA Care For All and call it…uhh…Medicare For All? I’m told that polls better, even while what we’re really talking about is rolling out VA care to everyone.

    That way, when you die while waiting for a Doctor, we can point and say that they had access to care and it’s just one of those things. It looks better when they have an appointment in six months when they die instead of just dying without an appointment, after all.

    /Democrats and RINO

  8. There are more clerical, management, and administrative positions in a VA hospital than there are clinical ones. Reddest of flags.

    Also, remember the DC VA? They fired the director, then were overturned by the MSPB. They had to fire him AGAIN, and attribute the firing to an issue only tangentially related to the dumpster fire of a hospital he was overseeing.

  9. Anyone can go to a major Veterans hospital and walk around.

    See for yourself why the bureaucrats fuck up things so badly.

    1. My sadest anecdote is that the Atlanta VA cannot even put an entire years billing summary on one page.

      They send me 12 pages with the bottom 50% of each page blank.

      1. That’s hilarious.

        The one in my neck of the woods recently got dinged because vets said it was too difficult to navigate the facility.

        There are now signs fucking everywhere. There are signs directing you to other signs. Some of the signs contradict each other. Some contain outdated information. It’s like driving on 278 through Hiram. Fucking information overload.

        1. Bureaucrats never think to have someone make command decisions for something like your example for signs.

          Walk a few veterans thru the hospital and immediately fixing all contradicting signs or note where information is missing and fixing it immediately.

          Same as your example for road signs. We had a deaf kid caution sign still in the ground after the kid left for college. I pointed it out multiple times to our county road maintenance department. Government would rather not spend the time to have an extra sign than to save money and put it for some neighborhood where they now have a deaf kid. They would likely buy a new sign.

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