The VA Shame

The Veterans Administration is again needlessly in the spot light. This time the darkest reaches of the agency’s bureaucratic soul surfaced in several VA Hospitals. According to reports, certain VA Hospitals created secret lists.  Veterans made these lists when the official list of those awaiting treatment exceeded two weeks.

In this way, these Hospitals could tell their bosses their hospital was meeting standards set by the Washington Executives. You wonder who was the customer, Washington or the veteran?

Again according to reports, the VA is steeped in management layers. Tight rules cover most all aspects of the VA’s interaction with Veterans. There’s one way to do things, by the book.

In a strange way, doing it by the book, could be the fairest alternative for Veterans. So far in this scandal, there is no indication that any veterans enjoyed shortcuts to the top of the list. Poor service was available for everyone.

How could such shameful performance have begun and how could VA employees slept at night? Who knows?

Speculation would, however, lead a questioning mind to suspect mismanaged quality improvement programs, with a root cause a chronically over subscribed, under resourced service.

The decade of wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) has swelled the number of veterans seeking VA services as well as the amount of treatment they request.  The VA has not grown or modernized to meet the new demand.

The VA, prior to this influx was not perfect but did provide reasonable service. The unintended consequences from the Iraq invasion and occupation alone pushed the VA over the edge. Despite VA requests for more funding, Congress looked the other way.

Now there will be a lot of huffing and puffing as Congress investigates this current episode. Regrettably it is unlikely that either the root cause or a systemic fix will be discussed. Once the VA or Congress finds the “few bad apples”, everyone’s attention will move on.

A quick (and elegant) fix could involve that magic word, “vouchers”. Congress could mandate that the VA issue anyone with a wait greater than some period (depending upon the seriousness of their medical condition), a “voucher” redeemable in  civilian medical facilities. This would provide a means to meet the immediate needs of veterans now while not overbuilding the size of the VA for the future.

Vouchers may not be the only solution or even the best. Vouchers would, however, show a Congress who actually  cared, and demonstrated their concern for veterans.  Vouchers would be so much better than just thanking veterans for their service.

Explore posts in the same categories: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Politics, Republican Party

Tags: ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: