Friday, July 24, 2015

VA: Too Big to Succeed

The Weekly Watchdog newsletter from the National Association for Uniformed Services [NAUS], led off this wee'ks letter with the following story: 
Dire Warning by VA Secretary
The Department of Veterans Affairs may have to shut down some hospitals starting August 1 if Congress does not address a $2.6 billion shortfall for the current budget year.  The agency is also considering furloughs, hiring freezes and other steps to close a funding gap for the budget year that ends Sept. 30.  VA said it wants authority to use up to $3 billion from the new Veterans Choice program to close the budget gap, with as much as $500 million going to treat hepatitis C.  The new Choice program makes it easier for veterans to receive federally paid medical care from local doctors.
In a contentious hearing before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Wednesday, VA Secretary Bob McDonald said that no new funds were needed only the authority to be able to shift available money from one account to another in order to cover the costs needed for veterans health care.
Secretary McDonald has testified more than 4 times over the past year about VA’s budget without mentioning a shortfall of this magnitude.  In fact, the same “crisis-management” message was delivered only a short time ago regarding the mismanaged construction failure in the Denver VA hospital project, when VA admitted to another $2.6 billion shortfall in construction money.  NAUS understands the difficulty in bringing VA back on track to ensure veterans receive the care they have earned, however, the continuing discovery of mismanaged programs is terribly frustrating and, frankly, becoming all too familiar at the Department.
Recent scandals have demonstrated billions of VA resources have been misspent.  In March, for instance, Jan Frye, deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics, detailed to House lawmakers that at least $5 billion and as much as $10 billion each year in employee credit card purchases were made without contracts and in violation of federal procurement rules.
Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said they expect to have legislation drafted by early next week to correct the problem to make certain that McDonald’s message about closing the doors of care does not happen.
 As VNVets has been saying for a while, it is obvious that the VA is too big  to succeed.  They need to get out of the business of outpatient treatment.  They need to close the VA hospitals, and simply run whatever Veterans Homes are needed, and process the claims for benefits.  Let the Vets seek treatment from the best doctors and health professionals in the world: US!  Any Veterans who required treatment for service connected injuries, wounds, or diseases should go to Department of Defense hospitals around the country for treatment, therapy and prosthetics.

Really, the only way to rid the VA of its malignantly anti-veteran mentality is to decapitate it.  Remove everyone from the top down.  Then hire ONLY Veterans to replace them.  And don't replace most of them.  The VA needs to be smaller.  Indeed, we would be happy to see it revert back to a subsidiary of the Department of Defense, run by an undersecretary.

That way there is none of the stovepiping which has hindered cooperation between the two departments for decades.  They cannot agree on cooperative computer systems...really a simple task, but apparently not for Uncle Sugar.  Once the VA returns under the umbrella of the DoD, they can no longer use that as an excuse.  The VA will gain access to military operational and medical records.  That will shorten wait times for claims processing.

Geezle Petes, Congress!  Get a grip and get it done.  Stop wasting the taxpayer's time and money on these fixes that are guaranteed to fail.  And the VA, as it stands today, no matter how much money Congress throws at it, will gobble it up, waste it, and fail...because...they are...TOO BIG TO SUCCEED!

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

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