It’s been over a year since the Veterans’ Affairs healthcare scandal broke, and despite promises of change from the Obama administration, it looks like the old status quo still reigns at the department. The government’s Office of Special Counsel, a watchdog group in the government looking into the matter, has discovered that the VA has failed to properly discipline employees who played a role in the scandal. From the Washington Examiner:
OSC made this finding after examining the case of a VA doctor who was a whistleblower, and exposed many of the problems at the VA in Phoenix, Arizona.
Among other things, Dr. Katherine Mitchell said nurses lacked the proper training in medical triage, and 110 veterans “experienced dangerous delays in care.”
Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner said in her letter to Obama and Congress that her team substantiated those claims. But she said the VA has yet to impose any discipline on the VA.
Lerner said her office asked why the VA hasn’t fired anyone, but said “the VA did not provide an adequate justification.”
Her letter listed several other examples in which the VA failed to fire officials, and noted that the VA seems to have no problem taking disciplinary action against VA whistleblowers.
You can read the full letter over at the Examiner‘s website, but this should give you an idea of the problems the VA is still confront–or choosing not to confront. Frankly, I am not surprised at these results. It is almost impossible to fire bureaucrats, even when their negligence and incompetence is directly putting lives in danger, and veterans’ lives no less, and agencies have historically proven reluctant to adequately discipline bureaucrats for failures as well. Even though Congress has given the VA greater authority to fire those involved, the old approach of trying to ignore the problems apparently still remains in the department It also does not surprise me that the VA had no real answer as to why they have not taken any actions on the matter, for precisely the same reason. Our government is full of agencies that are unaccountable to anyone but themselves.
It’s a disgrace that we are failing our nation’s veterans this way. This is also a natural result what happens when the government runs the healthcare system, and if socialized medicine cannot meet the demands of as relatively small a group as our veterans, then there’s no reason to believe that it would work on the whole population, which is exactly the system the Left wants for the country.. Beyond just calling for greater accountability in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, it’s time to seriously discuss abolishing the entire VA healthcare system altogether.* Our government has a duty to insure our veterans’ healthcare needs are met, but present system is woefully inadequate at fulfilling that task.
*=Col. Jack Jacobs (Ret.) wrote an excellent piece in May of last year discussing the matter.