A Quick VA Roundup

We haven’t time for a full post, but we’ll hit some of the high points.

  • ITEM 3 Jan 17: The House of Representatives approved the Ensuring VA Accountability Act — unanimously. What the act does is preserve evidence of wrongdoing in VA employee files. As it is, reports of misconduct are erased after two years, which goes a long way to explain the VA’s culture of wrongdoer impunity, and of “mess up and move up” promotions.
  • ITEM 2 Jan 17: VA nominees keep (sensibly, we think) declining the honor. The job needs a turnaround artist, but a turnaround artist needs command authority, and the law doesn’t give him that.  (Update 3 Jan: there remain contenders. Good luck to ’em).
  • ITEN 2 Jan 17: A columnist at the San Diego Union-Tribune identifies four issues facing that secretary, whoever the poor bastard may be. 1) Bureaucracy, especially exploding headcount in middle-overhead ranks; 2) Privatization, which the VA self-licking-ice-cream-cone will fight fang and claw; 3) Claims backlog, which they say they’re really going to fix this time, and 4) Recruiting and retaining professional staff.
  • ITEM 29 Dec 16: The Wall Street Journal has a Pulitzer-bait thumbsucker on the problem of opiate-addicted vets. (Republican wins election, and the invisible homeless and jacked-up individuals appear in the media again. Funny how that works).
  • ITEM 22 Dec 16: The Harvard Business Review offers up a B-School professor’s opinion that the VA has already turned itself around, in an article that’s mostly a tongue-bath of lame duck VA Secretary Bob McDonald. For instance, the prof uncritically accepts McDonald’s claim to have “changed 14 of the top 17 leaders of VA,” not realizing that he really means he shuffled the duds around in a game of musical jobs.
  • ITEM n.d.: The VA claims to be helping thousands and thousands of vets with their health requirements… including people like Your Humble Blogger who never darkened the door of a Va facility in 2016, but still got a tax form indicating that we could claim to have been covered by the VA.

Is it time to disband this thing yet?

3 thoughts on “A Quick VA Roundup

  1. Kirk

    Here’s my modest proposal for fixing the VA:

    One, the only health care available for elected officials of the federal government becomes the VA. Period. Executive-grade government employees and appointees also get sole-source VA health care. Any attempt by these parties to get outside health care of any kind results in immediate dismissal from office, and a loss of any and all other federal benefits.

    Two, such individuals who are not actual combat veterans entitled to VA health care already move to the back of every queue for care. If they need shots, and a vet comes in, they go to the back of the line. Any favored treatment granted an elected or executive office holder becomes grounds for capital punishment for both the grantor and the recipient.

    Boom. VA fixed, and staying fixed. Either that, or we drastically thin the herd of DC insiders…

    1. DSM

      I like it!

      I do agree there should be a separation and prioritization of sorts for bona fide combat injuries and injuries that would fit under a broad understanding of worker’s comp claims. If it’s not from combat I won’t leave you stranded but you’ll keep your Tricare benefits. Not everyone likes a teaching hospital but I’d see the VA hospitals partnered more with the universities as there are benefits to be gained. Our VA here has two universities with their kids running around all over. We (sometimes) get the option to not have them, they’re always supervised after all, but I always tell them without fail to get their butts in the room, they won’t learn anything otherwise.

  2. Aesop

    Sucked in again: I was hoping “A Quick VA Roundup” referred to the FBI hauling in the lot of senior management for handcuffs and orange jumpsuits.

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