Shinseki exits -- now what?

Network of ineptitude at Veterans Affairs cries out for swift solutions

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Something resembling accountability in the deplorable and ever-widening Veterans Affairs scandal finally appeared in Washington on Friday with the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

It’s a good start toward remedying the bureaucratic misconduct and gross neglect that has led to dozens of preventable veteran deaths nationwide, but that’s all it is – a start.

The entire department – the second-largest in the federal government – needs a thorough checkup to root out a culture of indifference that appears to permeate all levels, from front-line health-care professionals to the top-level administrators who continue to stonewall the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

“Until the VA understands that we’re deadly serious, you can expect us to be over your shoulder every single day,” an angered Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., said at the Wednesday hearing after the repeated, maddening side-stepping by Joan Mooney, the assistant VA secretary for congressional and legislative affairs.

As the scandal widened this week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called for a “comprehensive review” of the U.S. military’s health-care system.

“The department must continue to provide the best available health care to our servicemen and women, and their families, who have sacrificed so much on behalf of this nation. They deserve nothing short of our highest level of effort,” Hagel said in a memo Wednesday.

If this is the government’s “highest level of effort” in delivering quality care to Americans, what horror stories await the full implementation of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act? Now that it’s apparent that military health care has been ridden to ruin, what other government-run initiatives out there are being corkscrewed into the ground?

The meltdown we’re seeing at the VA is Obamacare writ small.

We understand the intimidating breadth and scope of the VA. It’s a bureaucratic leviathan that’s hard for any one leader to wrestle with.

But we’re talking about Shinseki here – a retired four-star general and a former Army chief of staff. As America’s secretary of veterans affairs, his responsibility was to investigate and to act and to solve problems on behalf of our nation’s bravest. He bore a sacred obligation to know exactly how our veterans were being taken care of. For heaven’s sake, he’s a veteran himself.

And he blew it – on a titanic scale.

This should serve as a warning to anyone leading a bureaucracy – you simply can’t solely take the word of people who report directly to you.

When Shinseki was scheduled to meet with Obama on Friday, most everyone knew the upshot would be Shinseki’s resignation. Yet another scandal has swamped the White House, and a sacrifice had to be made to appease the outraged.

Now fix the disaster of military health care.

No doubt about it – Shinseki had to go. But his firing won’t bring back former members of the military who survived war, only to lose their lives at the hands of possibly the worst enemy they ever faced – deadly government ineptitude.

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Bizkit
47930
Points
Bizkit 05/31/14 - 08:50 am
7
1
I think it is time for

I think it is time for Americans to reflect on how a govt run universal health cares system run by our govt-the VA is run so poorly, and how this directly impacts outcomes of the ACA-because the VA is the first model to be implemented in this country and it is clumsy and inefficient. Perhaps we need to back off govt running the VA and then the ACA too before it is too late. The ACA has already been a disaster for half of recipients (the productive one that work), and the other half are just getting another freebie to encourage them to never work. I'm just angry Obama is using my tax dollars to buy a lifelong Dem voting population-they want to do the same with hispanics. Buying votes is wrong but that is exactly what he is doing.

carcraft
36198
Points
carcraft 05/31/14 - 08:56 am
7
1
Liberalism works until you

Liberalism works until you run out of out peoples money.

deestafford
46989
Points
deestafford 05/31/14 - 10:18 am
5
1
Shinseki is a major problem in this terrible situation, but...

Shinseki is a major problem in this terrible situation, but there is a committee in the Senate and a committee in the House that are responsible for overseeing the VA hospitals and they have been remiss in their roles for decades.

When the Obama and his team were transitioning into their administration they were briefed on the problems with the VA backlog. When administrations transition from one to the other each outgoing agency goes through in detail with the incoming agency as to the things going well and things that are a problem.

Obama was well aware of the VA problems because he made speeches about them while a senator as he sit on the Veterans Affairs committee in the Senate...now how much he attended the meetings maybe another matter but we do know he made speeches before and after he was elected for his first term. Unfortunately, as with most of the problems he encounters, he made a speech and thought that was enough.

One of the things that has increased the problems was changing eligibility for VA treatment to anyone who had been in the military for even a short period of time and even if the injury or illness was not service connected. I think this was a mistake.

Money has not been the problem since the VA budget has grown tremendously over the years. Allocation of money and resources has been a problem. One example is only 25% (one in four) of the people working in the VA are directly involved in patient care. The other 75% are administrators, who by the way get most of the "performance" bonuses.

Even though Shinseki had a successful military career, some of his actions and positions I strongly disagreed with, he did not display the leadership and executive skills necessary to solve the problem over a five year period.

There is only one man I know of who can turn this situation around because he has demonstrated the necessary skills in the past. That man is Mitt Romney. However, Obama is not big enough to call upon him. Instead he will call upon some leftist close to him will flounder and act as if something is being done.

The immediate solution is to give qualified veterans vouchers to go to civilian doctors. Currently, some have to travel hundreds of miles to a VA facility in order to be treated.

corgimom
51639
Points
corgimom 05/31/14 - 09:43 am
1
6
Congress is the one

Congress is the one responsible for this problem, they are the ones that allocate the money for the VA. Nobody can work miracles, Shinseki is the fall guy.

And no, MITT Romney is not the one, he can't work miracles either.

Without the necessary increase in funds, this situation WILL continue. This crisis has been in effect for years, and will just get worse, now that the PTSD cases are increasing.

In time, this story will die down, but the problems won't.

deestafford
46989
Points
deestafford 05/31/14 - 10:22 am
6
0
Cogi, Money is not the answer...

Cogi, Money is not the answer. The VA did not spend all the money it was allocated for patient care; yet, it did spend all the money it was allocated for administrative costs and bonuses.

When you assume command of an organization you are responsible for everything that organization does or does not do from that time on. The whole ball of yarn is laid in your lap and you own it.

deestafford
46989
Points
deestafford 05/31/14 - 10:25 am
5
0
The bottomline should be...

The bottomline should be if it can't be fixed...blow it up and start all over from scratch.

carcraft
36198
Points
carcraft 05/31/14 - 05:14 pm
5
0
It is amazing! Obama has

It is amazing! Obama has displayed nothing but ineptitude. Romney as Governor of Massachusetts visited VAs. Now as a state governor he had no control over federal spending. But when he found a shortage of milk he solved the problem. He funded it out of his own pocket. Obama, having no, repeat, NO executive experience does not know how to fix ANYTHING, or get it fixed. Look at health care.gov. Over $600 million and only 75% operational leaving federal workers to hand process millions of applications. A complete utter and sad joke on the American people that this nation has Obama as president. Read Krauthammer in today's paper for a run down on Obama and our foreign policy fiasco!

deestafford
46989
Points
deestafford 05/31/14 - 10:47 am
3
0
Anytime there is the comment for additional money...

Anytime there is the comment for additional money is made by a politician or anyone else in a position of authority, the following questions should be asked immediately and an immediate response should be requested so there cannot be any "research" done to come up with the answer.

--What is the current budget?

--How much more should be given?

--What specifically is not being done that the additional funding would accomplish?

--Can current missions be shifted or eliminated to cover the funding increase?

--What is your evidence that the additional money is needed and the amount requested is the right amount?

If this were done it would force the person requesting the increase to show they have done their homework to justify the requested increase and not just "throw money at the problem'' and then go on to the next pile to stir.

jimmymac
68478
Points
jimmymac 05/31/14 - 10:47 am
0
0
VA
Unpublished

The VA is entrenched with government bureaucrats that cannot be held responsible. Try firing a government employee and you'll see what I mean. The FBI should be investigating VA administrators who cooked the books for fraud. They received bonuses based on false wait times and as far as I know they've not been ordered to give the money back. All should be prosecuted but as we've seen before Obama is loathe to hold anyone accountable including himself. Jimmy Carter says thanks once again to Obama.

John Locke
414
Points
John Locke 05/31/14 - 10:49 am
3
0
Nice Guy - but not effective

GEN. Shinseki is a nice guy and that's the problem. He's too trusting. He never gets excited or mad, tries to keep things civil, etc. Those at the VA probably loved it, he just is not someone to fear or worry about. Too bad.

Bizkit
47930
Points
Bizkit 05/31/14 - 01:43 pm
2
0
Money has nothing to do with

Money has nothing to do with it-it is oversight and accountability that is the generals job. The general didn't do his job of making sure the VA system was addressing known problems, and Obama didn't do his job to make sure his cabinet secretary was doing his job. You can argue financial reasons created problems, but death list as a solution was a system solution that should have been prevented with oversight.

Fiat_Lux
20026
Points
Fiat_Lux 05/31/14 - 05:30 pm
2
1
He's no fall guy. He's a libtard idiot.

Anyone with a brain can see what is happening up, down and sideways in government run health care for the military and their families, VA and places like DDEAMC. All you have to do is walk through those places and you quickly get the picture of what an incredible money pit they are and just who is feathering their nests while contributing little to nothing to the mission.

Federal employees are definitely not what they once were, and Shinseki is true to the current form.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 05/31/14 - 07:12 pm
0
0
The obama regime, as I
Unpublished

stated earlier, can't handle the relatively small VA. How on earth does the boy wonder think he and his regime can administer obamacare?

itsanotherday1
58387
Points
itsanotherday1 05/31/14 - 09:08 pm
1
0
The VA isn't fixable; it is

The VA isn't fixable; it is just another bloated bureaucracy full of gumment employees more concerned with getting out of work than getting something done. (Apologies to those who DO care and who DO work hard).

The only fix is to let it wither on the vine by giving vets private insurance.

Oh, and the sloth/ crappy work ethic isn't new. It was rife in the local VA when I worked there in the 70's, and I continued to note it in Augusta, Columbia, Atlanta, Dublin since then, as these were clients of the company I worked for.

I could say the same as a general statement about the civilian staff in military hospitals as well. Lousy, lazy employees are difficult to get rid of, and it drags the whole workplace down emotionally.

edcushman
7930
Points
edcushman 06/03/14 - 09:20 am
0
1
"Cogi, Money is not the
Unpublished

"Cogi, Money is not the answer."
dee, hadn't you noticed that is ALWAYS the liberals answer for everything. They don't have a clue how to fix it so they want to throw more money at it.

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