20 Jun 2014

VA Scandal Widens

Health Legislation 11 Comments

I haven’t had time to blog it, but from the NYT June 15:

Staff members at dozens of Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country have objected for years to falsified patient appointment schedules and other improper practices, only to be rebuffed, disciplined or even fired after speaking up, according to interviews with current and former staff members and internal documents.

The growing V.A. scandal over long patient wait times and fake scheduling books is emboldening hundreds of employees to go to federal watchdogs, unions, lawmakers and outside whistle-blower groups to report continuing problems, officials for those various groups said.

In interviews with The New York Times, a half-dozen current and former staff members — four doctors, a nurse and an office manager in Delaware, Pennsylvania and Alaska — said they faced retaliation for reporting systemic problems. Their accounts, some corroborated by internal documents, portray a culture of silence and intimidation within the department and echo experiences detailed by other V.A. personnel in court filings, government investigations and congressional testimony, much of it largely unnoticed until now.

The department has a history of retaliating against whistle-blowers, which Sloan D. Gibson, the acting V.A. secretary, acknowledged this month at a news conference in San Antonio. “I understand that we’ve got a cultural issue there, and we’re going to deal with that cultural issue,” said Mr. Gibson, who replaced Eric K. Shinseki after Mr. Shinseki resigned over the scandal last month. Punishing whistle-blowers is “absolutely unacceptable,” Mr. Gibson said.

Now when I brought this issue up a few weeks ago, some of you in the comments wagged your fingers at me, saying this was an isolated incident in Phoenix. I’m not saying you need to ruin your weekend, but your apology should be in the comments on this post by Monday COB I would think.

11 Responses to “VA Scandal Widens”

  1. Major-Freedom says:

    Buddy Holly and the Crickets

  2. Tel says:

    Time for some more hard drives to go to the recycler.

  3. von Pepe says:

    I am sorry for the hurtful game theory and monkey comment.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      It’s OK von Pepe. But remember it was such incivility that drove Nash mad as a hatter.

  4. von Pepe says:

    Was he mad? Or was he correct to be paranoid?

  5. Mule Rider says:

    My guess is that when it comes to this Administration and its surrogates – just like with the Obamacare horror stories – these tales of malfeasance within the VA are just lies and fabrications meant to unfairly tarnish those in charge, and they can easily be “debunked” with a little “research.”

  6. Matt M says:

    I’ve always felt that when it comes to this, the smell test trumps all. I was in the Navy for nine years, and never knew anyone who had a good experience with the VA. It was universally reviled as exceptionally slow, inefficient, bureaucratic, even by the standards of government agencies.

    Krugman can cite all the statistics he wants. Go find some actual veterans and ask them how satisfied they are with the VA…

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Matt M wrote: Krugman can cite all the statistics he wants. Go find some actual veterans and ask them how satisfied they are with the VA…

      Matt M you ever see this clip?

  7. Benjamin Cole says:

    The real scandal is the VA “disability” program. There are 3.7 million vets collecting “disability” now, but only 200k injured in battle. Cottage industries of enablers to prep retiring military employees on how to collect “disability.” Vets vote too. Not PC to mention topic.
    There are more people collecting monthly VA disability checks than earning minimum wage. Guess what right-wingers scream about.

    • guest says:

      I come from the Right; The idea is that protecting and saving lives has more benefit than merely being born, so, given a choice between being taxed to pay for a wage someone isn’t worth, and being taxed to be protected from Communists and Islamic terrorists who have no respect for individual rights, we opt for the latter, and call these people heros.

      That’s the idea, anyway.

      We simply don’t understand that our government doesn’t even remotely follow the Constitution, and that we are receiving blowback because of it:

      War, Ron Paul, and Conservatism

      Another United Nations War?

      Is Ron Paul serious? Blowback in 1979 from a 1953 coup?

      Ron Paul – Israel Created Hamas, Just Like We Create Al Qaeda – January 9, 2008

      Of course, there’s also the problem with forcing people to pay for defense in the name of collectivism. Also, setting up, for those who supposedly fight the tyranny of collectivism, a health care system that is, itself, modeled on collectivist ideology, is something about which both American citizens as well as military should feel deeply ashamed and insulted.

    • Matt M says:

      This is also absolute truth. In my time in the military, how to get as much money as possible from the VA was common locker room/water cooler talk. Nobody batted an eye about fabricating symptoms. It’s a culture of entitlement.

      Most grunts don’t know a damn thing about medicine. But I guarantee you that 90% of veterans know that there is no reliable test for tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and that claiming it can get you rated at 10% disability.

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