Skip to comments.How the VA developed its culture of coverups
Posted on 06/02/2014 9:18:49 AM PDT by Timber Rattler
About two years ago, Brian Turner took a job as a scheduling clerk at a Veterans Affairs health clinic in Austin. A few weeks later, he said, a supervisor came by to instruct him how to cook the books.
The first time I heard it was actually at my desk. They said, You gotta zero out the date. The wait time has to be zeroed out, Turner recalled in a phone interview. He said zeroing out was a trick to fool the VAs own accountability system, which the bosses up in Washington used to monitor how long patients waited to see the doctor.
On Friday, Shinseki resigned and was replaced by his deputy.
But his departure is unlikely to solve the VAs broader problem a bureaucracy that had been taught, over time, to hide its problems from Washington. Indeed, as President Obama said, one of the agencys key failings was that bad news did not reach Shinsekis level at all.
One great test of any bureaucracy is whether it can effectively deliver bad news to the top of its chain of command.
In recent years, the VA health system started to fail that test.
Now, VAs leaders have been faced with a startling failure. The bureaucracy below them wasnt telling them the truth about wait times. The numbers system they set up to go around the bureaucracy wasnt, either.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
‘But his departure is unlikely to solve the VAs broader problem a bureaucracy that had been taught, over time, to hide its problems from Washington. Indeed, as President Obama said, one of the agencys key failings was that bad news did not reach Shinsekis level at all.’
If the Big 0 says this is a failing of the VA look for the bonus checks to be in the mail any day.
That supervisor and every one that operated like him should be facing multiple felony charges for knowingly manipulating a system for personal gain such as, vacations, promotions and bonuses. In so doing, they caused the deaths of patients waiting for treatment.
They should tried and if found guilty, they should not get to go home to probation and keep their pensions and perks.
1) Harding just went up a few points in my estimation.
2) Forbes ... hmmm, Jean Forbes Kerry a relation? Now there's a SOB that needs choking.
Disclaimer: just political commentary and not a call to arms - or hands - as the case may be.
The author, the late David Halberstam, whom I would categorize is a member of a vanishing breed of reasonable liberals, demonstrated with painstaking research but lively and readable writing that the self-defeating management techniques of "the best and brightest" like Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara who was one of the "whiz kids" who went on to be president of Ford Motor Company post-World War II and then into the Kennedy administration.
Halberstam describes McNamara's quantification of the business of making automobiles a top down approach in which he tried to control the minutest functions of the vast Ford Motor Company through data collection and analysis. The remote facilities of the Ford Motor Company felt pressure quite naturally and, quite naturally, they began to Doctor the reports that were sent back to Detroit in order to maintain their jobs and even gain promotion and bonuses. The very controls which were put in place to streamline and gain efficiency resulted in the company's subordinates simply cooking the books.
Halberstam argues that McNamara replicated the process in Vietnam. We all know what happened in Vietnam and the metaphor for the whole business of self deception which occurred up and down the ranks in that war was the "body count." So notoriously had not been discredited as a viable management tool that the Pentagon, at least publicly, abandoned it in subsequent actions.
The parallel to what is happening today in the Veterans Administration is obvious and we should not be surprised that, if people of the candlepower possessed by Robert McNamara could be fooled, so could management in the Veterans Administration be fooled, or just as likely, be happy not to really know.
There are lessons to be learned from this and the first lesson is not to try harder to micromanage a huge and far-flung operation. The lesson is to go back to our founding fathers and set in place separation of powers and checks and balances which cause the machine to operate as its own gyroscope keeping the operation upright. That means we should privatize and set competing forces in motion.
Eliminate VA hospitals entirely. Give qualified vets a card for medical services along the lines of a Medicare card that they can use at any hospital or treatment facility.
By going to the VA for treatment they have a record of your health and can keep up with your disability.
Moving to non-VA treatment centers will screw Vets hard.
They already reduce benefits when they deem you aren't as disabled as they they once deemed you to be so going outside the system will cause a much bigger issue?
We're seeing this issue now with older Vets coming over from their employer plans and medicare and this is why we have 5 year backlogs.
I'm fully disabled myself and anytime I visit a non-VA doctor or Hospital it's like it never happened. If I don't get treated at the VA it didn't happen!
Bookkeeper Stole $830K from Veterans Organization
1-Make it impossible to fire Civil Service Employees.
2-Offer rewards for performance.
3-Ensure nobody validates claimed performance.
She also gave checks to family members. A family of thieves. I’m sorry, but we are going to have to start hanging some of these thieves. There are just too many thieves in this country. They have lost their fear of prison. We need to start hanging them.
One of the first things a commanding officer learns is that he is responsible for everything which happens within his unit, whether he knows about it or not. Indeed, his NOT KNOWING about it is the worse failure.
If Shinseki had ventured out of his office and actually visited VA hospitals and talked to vet patients about the quality of their service, he would have noticed that the news he was getting from the vets did not jibe with what reports to him were showing, and he would have known it was time to investigate why that was so.