In congressional testimony, Comptroller General Gene Dodaro stated VA procurement still suffers from “fundamental management weaknesses and is one of the most challenged in the federal government.”

The agency again landed on another GAO list showing the agency is still a “high-risk” for leadership instability, high-level vacancies, and a lack of accountability. That list was created by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The publication Government Executive reported:

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie “has a plan but there’s not a lot of detail” for implementing GAO recommendations in such areas as the department’s outdated procurement system that relies too heavily on expensive emergency procurements, Dodaro said.

Dodaro spoke to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, whose members are on the hunt for wasted dollars and encouraged him to speak more candidly than his staff does in the report’s tactfully worded criticisms.

Since 2006, the watchdog reported, its high-risk list recommendations have saved taxpayers $350 billion, $47 billion just in 2018, the highest financial benefits in a single year, the report noted.

So what else is new? Each year, VA lands on a GAO list of high-risk programs due to some form of mismanagement or lack of accountability related to procurement and spending.

The agency promises software fixes costing hundreds of millions each year without really delivering on time. The Forever GI Bill program was a complete mess. VA Vocational Rehabilitation client management software totally failed wasting millions. The Caregiver Program did not receive the software management system it was promised.

Each time, VA missed its deadlines without anyone getting fired. Millions in taxpayer dollars were wasted. And, veterans went without the benefits they were promised as a result.

Most of my readers are aware the agency is broken on purpose. How long will it take for the American public to receive the accountability we demand?

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Follow the money to find the corrupt. Denver has a lot of corrupt offices. Where does the CHAMPVA and Overseas non payment money end up. There are so many mistakes in the paperwork out of that office. In accounting, simple errors are usually a coverup for embezzlement.

  2. Disband the VA!!! Period. It is not savable. Would you truly bite into a severely rotten apple? Of course not. YOU REPLACE IT.
    Fold the VA medical into the Social Security Department (where it belongs); and put the VA administrative areas into DoD where it belongs so they can shoulder the expense.
    If you are one of those who say, “I get great medical care at the VA”, I ask you: “Compared to what???” Maybe if you are healthy to start with, young, and have no complaints; it’s pretty hard to screw-up a blood draw and lab tests. (Then again, ….)
    For everyone here, STOP BELLY-ACHING and push your representatives and senators to move to dissolve the VA

    • Oh,ok so what do we do in the mean time, rely on the private sector for our medical needs? They are just as bad or worse in soom cases. Don’t rock the boat completely, we Veterans got to work to straighten the system, call your Congressman or woman and Senators, bug them until they have to act on it, that’s the only way the V.A. will be fixed.

    • I’m with John and William. I’ve had experience in Workman’s Comp. We definitely don’t want to privatize and go there. And current deregulation has obviously made that even worse when I was in that system between 1985 and 1990. Slower than my VA adjudications during the same period. The Doctors were worse and sided with the employers more than the VA Doctors sided with the Benefits section. (Couple of exceptions because of my activism. Couple of C&P examiners gave me a whistle blower treatment.) At least in the VA you have a complaint and appeals avenue that is much less onerous than WC.

      VA Hospitals that are connected to teaching Medical Centers have the best surgeons. Don’t go to one like Cheyenne that isn’t connected to a Teaching Medical College. Given that, I’ve heard good and bad about Denver. But mostly good. I know I”m far better off than many friends with similar spine conditions because I didn’t go the surgery route. Took 13 years to heal but I’m not in constant pain the way over half of the spine surgeries turn out in the civilian world including my granddaughters.

      Remember, if it is surgery you can pick your VA Hospital the same as you can pick which hospital to go to in the private world. So don’t go to one with a bad rep.

      I had a good PC Choice Doctor until the CBOC opened up. And I have just as good, maybe even better PC at the CBOC. The CBOC Doctor was a corpsman with the Marines. Has his own issues. And as a corpsman who spent 13.5 years in the blue Navy (2 years at NavSupACT Danang) I trust this one because of my own knowledge of medicine.

      My mental health visits have been mixed. Liked the Choice psychologist much better but she left town to go to her home town. Not available anymore so had to go to the CBOC.

  3. I will work on Congressional oversight to see if we can get a hearing on this. I caution all with your calls to abandon the VA. First you need to ask which VA???? the claims comp benefits VA or the health care VA. The are joined at the hip today but must they be joined.
    I urge all to go to an average community hospital. You will find similar wait times, similar levels of care, similar doctors with same skills. Going private is not a magic potion. I urge all to be rational on this issue. Those of us who are cared for specific military injuries who do we get care that is focussed on that injury. If you read my posts, I am no lover of the VA but I am not willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Remember the comp version of the VA is our version of workers comp in the civilian world. Let me promise you one big thing. Our version is more beneficial. Warning to all. Be careful what you wish for!!

    • Whatever, you do, be careful about throwing out the VA and going completely to civilian private doctors. Let me tell you what happened in Canada, they took away the compensation benefit checks of their veterans. Paid them a flat rate for their injuries like our Workers Comp does. Once that money is gone you are on your own. Stuck with Canada’s socialist medicine for your care and paying for that insurance. Once your VA money is gone, what are you going to do if you honestly cannot hold down gainful employment to live? Canada fed their citizens a line of garbage, hook , line and sinker. Their veterans and their families are crying to go back to the old system. Denver has one of the best VA hospitals in the country. So does Loma Linda, California. Canadian veterans are trying to go back to the way it use to be.

      They are crying people.

      • Bright, if your idea of Loma Linda and Denver as being the best in the country then your assessment is suspect to me. I’ve been to both.

        I prefer, in order, San Diego, Sheridan, Black Hills. Denver was good in the 1990s and may have improved with the move.

        I haven’t been to Denver since the move but they can’t do a TBI exam and have farmed it out to a contract CBOC in Golden so that tells me that they aren’t working with the team at the University of Colorado Medical Center where their new campus is located.

        The only reason to farm it out is they weren’t getting the exam reports they wanted from the neurobehavioral unit at UC Denver Medical School. If they are unwilling to use the best in Colorado they how can they be any good?

      • By the way, Denver CO Medical School in Aurora where the new VAMC is located has the reputation of having one of the best TBI treatment programs in the country. Top rated so why is the VAMC not using it?

  4. “Most of my readers are aware the agency is broken on purpose. How long will it take for the American public to receive the accountability we demand?” That Ben, is the greater truth and the most direct issue of the whole VA/VHA/VBA system and also, America in general!

    I find it hard to believe that the lions share of the average American voting public can carve out the time, let alone the desire, to comprehend all of the minutiae that our Congresspersons skim past before their own votes on the main issues brought to the floor. A single missed word change along the way, can upend the applecart to everyone’s detriment. It is called STRATEGY! Uncle knows well how to use it to our DISadvantage, and I mean that to include all of America’s citizens, not just “those pesky veterans”.

    A citizen taking the time to read any one Bill brought before Congress, and actually following its progression to its end result, will undoubtedly realize all of the additional add-ons that come with it to the final show. Those with a computer can go to the Congressional website and look up and follow any/every Bill brought to vote by those holding power to represent the best interest of ALL of us, the American public. By actually looking over the proposed Bills and understanding the impact of those proposals on the citizenry as a whole, and contributing your voice on those issues, is a major strategy for American voters to deploy. That my friend is by design, a powerful weapon!

    Civics and American Government are major subjects that have been eliminated from a great number of school systems throughout our country over the last couple of decades. Add to that the fact that many students during their K-12 education, will likely change school districts more than once before graduation. This is no longer the 50’s, with stay at home Mom tasked with keeping the household and fully preparing the brood to be productive well-behaved citizens “like everybody else”, while Dad works a hard day for that promised pension and drops dead within five years of retirement. No, instead, today’s somewhat younger and future voters only understand strategy via whatever gaming is of the moment.

    Single issue voting has been paramount in the minds of way too many voters over the recent half century and I fully believe that is exactly by Uncle’s design. If more citizens could carve out just a few hours of their lives to devote to understanding the strategy that Uncle has been so successful at using against the American public in its entirety, we could put a serious dent in the very real problems that persistently plague each of us (that are not of the 1%) all day and every day. First and foremost, all voters need to get out of that single issue voting mentality, and fully decide on which individuals will best represent the entire citizenry of The UNITED States of America, with an open-minded thought process and with the gonads to stand up for and speak out with “the good of everyone” in mind before they would promote any policy. Remember, fish rots from the head. That can be applied to the country, the VA, a business, even to someone’s home.

    There are too many decision makers (no matter the venue) working for their own instant gratification, and that, at and to the peril of everyone we consider countrymen! That is the strategy needs halted, and today is not soon enough.

  5. Here again the focus is completely wrong. Even BK put the issue backwards.

    The VA is meant to be a service provider, not a “going concern”. While not wasting money is admirable, serving Veterans is the Department’s core mission, not finding “economies”.

    What is so damning about all the bungled programs is not that millions were wasted; that’s commonplace, and sometimes done with intent (say, building a wall along the Mexican border, or creating a Health Care act that really doesn’t help anyone but large Insurance companies). What’s damning is that services needed by and intended for Veterans were bungled.

    We have absolutely got to stop paying attention to the cost of care provided by the VA, and get focus on the appalling quality of that care that results from the administrative and political focus on economies; we must not pay civil servants Incentive Bonuses, full stop. They can have Critical Position bonuses for signing on, and for staying on—sure. But no more “under budget bonus award”. How about a “all Drs. fully board certified and up-to-date” bonus for the Clinical Directors, or a Lead Parachute if they are not?

    • Disagree on the absolutely no bonuses, Steven. The problem with the bonuses is the focus is “costs” not outcomes. Should be negatives for negative outcomes and positives for positive outcomes. Fewer suicides per capita in your area than average = bonus. More = a detraction form any other bonus that may have been earned so your co-workers get on you for bull shit and help out where necessary. Same for any other morbidity report item. Costs should be a very minor part of the bonus calculation if at all.

      • Hmmm…I do see your argument, Lem. I just worry that it is such a flawed system that it will always be subject to abuse. Aren’t raises supposed to be for good performance? Couldn’t we use a Merit Raise or something like?

        The big problem with using “economy” as an incentive is that it is a disincentive to service. So that part of bonuses absolutely has to go. Your people worked overtime? Why? Did you extend their clinic hours and thereby see more veterans, or did you just provide overtime hours to keep pace with your 4 patients per hour metric?

        “Saving money” in government programs is a chimera wealthy people use to grab the herd by the nose and lead them away from an investigation into how the burden of taxation is actually (un)shared. We wouldn’t be so desperate to “stop fraud” if we were not caught by the illusion that rich people are more entitled to their money than middle class people are to theirs. After all, nobody seems in any hurry to audit the Big Billionaire Person’s Super Business for fraud, or their banker, stock broker, or etc…

        Woops…I went on a bender…sorry.

      • Bonuses work better because with a raise you can then slack off or reach the “Peter Principle” level of incompetence. A person in over his head will more likely take a trip back to his old position if it means bonuses for all.

        Also, in the private sector especially, bonuses act like an economic shock absorber lessening recessions by allowing companies to keep going when they would otherwise have to shut down. They are properly based upon profit there.

        But in the public sector the “profit” has to be seen as performance not cost reduction. Cost reduction is achieved by performance but should not be the target because of the fraud in cutting costs that would have a negative affect on the bottom line in the private sector where performance is the primary profit supporter. The private sector doesn’t measure profit on reducing costs. I measures on the bottom line.

  6. The v.a
    Is far past the point of rehabilitation. It has been self destructing/exploding for a long time. There is no hope for the v.a. it must be disbanded immediately to avoid further suffering and death of American veterans at the hands of the v.a. Americans are throwing there money away when it comes to the v.a. our money. After all we American hero’s are also Americans even though we are not treated as Americans.

  7. I put a comment on here early this morning. It’s not on now! Why?

    Again,
    “Follow the damn money!” There has to be a bunch of crooks working at all the VA facilities! I’ll guarantee y’all there’s a bunch of them getting richer every day!!!!!-

  8. Lack of accountability. Yup. The VA is merely a refection of what we the people have not demanded from our government. Instead, we take sides, wear colors and caps, and declare allegiances to people and ideals that are happy to throw us and the taxpayers under the proverbial bus.

    • Yes, and power concedes nothing without a demand. The watchdog of democracy (the media) has been and is derelict

  9. Wow good insight from everyone! That is why I love this site I learn so much from others WooHoo! There’s a GOA?! Koooool, good job finding and fighting mismanagement and corruption.

    I’d like to comment about the issue of whether or not the VAHCS should be disbanded or reconstructed. Ideally a little bit of both would be nice. I agree about not “throwing the baby out with the bath water” and would prefer that the focus is on what is broken and REPAIR. However VA history has proven to be, for the most part, non-productive, and it is obvious why we all want to just through our hands in the air and start over.

    The comment about separating the VA into two division sounds reasonable. This would allow us to keep our VAHC that caters to the veteran, and I find this to be a good thing, that is if it wasn’t so corrupt, dysfunctional and a gamble with your life whenever one seeks medical care. With that being said, you take your chances with private sector medical care also. The only difference is the physicians rely on your business and their licenses are in good standing, presumably.

    Again, my vote is allow a choice. Giving the veteran a voice in their own healthcare decisions is the only ethical option available. In what ever way this maneuver pans out will decide the future for VA medical healthcare. Who knows with a little adjustment here and a little adjustment there, it could be a win-win for everyone.

    Oh one more thing, the comment from Rosie about the complexity of our legislative Bills, so true. Give a big hand to those whose job it is to review those documents. What a task to partake in every day. Honestly, my mind would go numb, that is a lot of information to absorb. I think that is why we have the problems we have because even though people may be good at this process, eventually it gets to be overwhelming and unmanageable. But things must go on, people need the job and don’t want to let the citizens of this country down. Hmmm problems are only solution in waiting. LOL

    Peace out

    • TLC,
      I actually tried using Choice. In actuality my PCP sent me to a civilian hospital. The reasons were;
      1. Because it’s 63 miles closer than the vha hospital.
      2. I was in very poor health. In reality I was suffering from food poisoning, ie; Salmonella poisoning.

      Well, to make a long story short. Thank God I have Medicare. If I relied solely on VA, I’d have been stuck with one heavy medical bill!
      Therefore, VA needs to figure out how to get veterans healthcare if they’re ill and live too far from a vha hospital. Oh, and the VA needs to pay their freaking bills! I’ll bet some of the veterans suicides are due to VA not paying for veterans going to civilian hospitals! (Just a guess!)

  10. I want more choice, more options…let me pick my doctor and health care providers…when Veterans start leaving the VA health system, then we will see improvement. Like others on this site have said. When the buttholes start losing money, maybe improvements will ensue. The last time I was at the VA hospital, it was an act of God just to get my phone number changed in the system…some butthole employee with a serious attitude had to type a few numbers in the computer system to update my new phone number…tired of that BS from incompetent, disrespectful employees.

  11. Great campaign slogan every four years………then the hell with your health care…All members of Congress, Presidents, and their families should be required to use the VA health system rather than taxpayer funded health care insurance that sends them to the freaking Mayo Clinic

  12. “Most of my readers are aware the agency is broken on purpose. How long will it take for the American public to receive the accountability we demand?”

    All the government, medical establishments, legal systems, media, the contractors, grant suckers, VSOs, all, are severely broken and none involved, those fearing the systems of retaliation, or benefiting from any of it do not want change. That includes those medical colleges our group was told rule over all care along with the others he mentioned like DHS, etc. If we left the new VA way, disagreed, ‘we’d never find health care in Indiana again.’ Such crap like this is protected and supported?? There will be no change in the caliber of people being taught or herded through such corrupt systems then let loose on a sleeping public or hurting veterans needing real care and in the fast time. All the censoring to ignoring those with very serious issues like what I’ve dealt with and no remedy to be found, total inaction from our fearless leaders on every level and much more is proof of that. With all the corruption, purposeful hard censoring, weaponizing every damn thing around us to not being able to find decent health care per threats from some VA scum bag is more proof.

    Accountability? No-one wants it cause it means some toes (a lot of toes and agendas) getting stepped on and the cabals will refuse anything concerning transparency, exposure or finger pointing. Ha, how has those ‘whistle-blower’ safety/protection laws working out? Seems like the corrupt have increased the shut-downs on truth or real news coming out. Plus doing nothing much other than giving out lip-service while VA problematic mole-hills turn into mountains of attacks, suffering and death with those powers extending out into the civvy world and beyond. Yeah, real nice.

  13. I’ve been hearing great ideas on this site for years. For myself, the VA has been great and terrible. They have ignored a service connected medical situation, which I nearly died. I went bankrupt paying for. Then, they saved my life in another medical situation. I’ve been to several VA’s.. As I see it, there are fewer and fewer Dr.’s that are acceptable. I totally agree with the person who said; VA Dr.’s NEED to be certified. Just NOT by the VA.

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