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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Reform the VA

Today's post was shared by The Health Care Blog and comes from

By Pete Hegseth & Stewart Hickey

In April, the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published a scathing audit of the Atlanta VA Medical Center, where poor management led to compromised mental health care for veterans and at least three preventable patient deaths.

VA officials pledged to hold people accountable. Instead, two top officials at the medical center retired early, three others were reprimanded and others faced “unspecified actions.”

Welcome to the twisted world of federal executive branch employment, where it’s nearly impossible to be fired for poor performance. Rather than being held accountable for the Atlanta medical center’s failings, those responsible were allowed to retire or received slaps on the wrist.

Why? Look no further than the core fact that poor performers at VA, and most government departments, can expect to face no serious consequences for their actions. With the benefits — and lives — of veterans at stake, it’s time for that fact to change.

VA is the second largest department in the federal government, with well-deserved reputation for dysfunction. The most visible sign of VA’s troubles, of course, is the mountain of more than 780,000 pending disability and compensation claims from veterans that are waiting processing.
While the VA claims backlog (claims older than 125 days) has shrunk by an estimated 20 percent over the last five months,...

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