Associated Press Hitting Hard On VA Bonuses

VA Bonuses

Benjamin KrauseThe Associated Press (AP) just published data on obnoxious VA bonuses paid out across the country amid the largest medical care scandal in VA history. There are two AP sourced articles in particular covering Ohio and New Mexico that had some curious VA bonus numbers for you to chew on.

Before diving into it, I just have to say you know it is bad when AP starts hammering on a liberal run agency right before an election cycle when Democrats are already hurting. This could mean the demand for coverage from editorial staff on the VA scandal is eclipsing alleged traditional news cycle political biases due to increased political advertising demand this election cycle. True or not, these alleged political biases have long been the focus of more conservative news outlets, and it will be interesting to see it play out this year in the press.

Ever since the scandals broke, AP was always quick to regurgitate any perceived “pro-VA” sound byte to diminish the severity of the wait list scandal. One recent example was the sound byte VA fed the press where OIG claimed there was “no proof” of a connection between the wait list on deaths. AP broadcast that bit of trash without questioning it, but three weeks later Congress uncovered clear manipulations wherein VA twisted the wording of the report to avoid blowback. Shame on them.

RELATED: VA says no proof delays in care caused vets to die

So this about face for the AP is certainly worth noting.

In Ohio, Veterans Affairs hospitals paid out nearly $6.5 million in bonuses this fiscal year. Last year, it paid out $7.7 million. One doctor even received a bonus despite being named in malpractice suit where VA paid out a $300,000 settlement. How does that make sense?

RELATED: Ohio VA employees got big bonuses

In New Mexico, administrators received significant payouts despite numerous complaints about poor health care for veterans and lapses in care provisions. AP uncovered that medical staff in the state enjoyed $2.4 million in performance bonuses while veterans suffered without the health care they needed and deserved.

RELATED: NM VA got bonuses amid complaints

Some of you may remember from yesterday’s MMQB that Kathleen Fogarty was selected to temporarily run VA’s Southwest Health Care Network, which supervises the Albuquerque, New Mexico facility in question. She is apparently being brought in temporarily from Tampa while the agency shuffles the deck in the VISN.

This raises additional questions about deeper problems at the facility. Perhaps the issue of high bonuses despite poor performance is not the only rat under the hood?

Regardless of more Left leaning or Right leaning news coverage, let’s clean it up Mr. McDonald, and fire the rest of the rats still lurking in the corners of the agency. It is time to clean house.

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  1. AP, like the others is just doing the Government’s bidding – knowingly or unknowingly. The VA has been a corrupt organization for a long time – no new news there. All these scandals and obscene executive bonuses are just some of the many ways that the VA officials have been thumbing their noses on the American people: “We can do whatever we want to do and there’s nothing anyone can do about it!!” As you can see, no one has been sent to jail for cheating on the wait times, providing sub-standard care, or destruction of veterans’ claim documents, even with all these VA whistleblowers coming forward. All these “crimes” are very hard to prove and evidence is very well suppressed – except the Billions-of-dollars of financial crimes committed by VA procurement and finance officials with the direct involvement and coverup by the VA OIG! The US House Committee on Veterans Affairs has had all the evidence to prosecute the VA’s procurement officials for over 3 years now. For some reason the House VA Committee has been shielding the VA criminals from the media. Could all these attention on the Phoenix scandals, executive bonuses, etc. being used deliberately to deflect attention away from the VA’s financial crimes? I have a very good reason to think so.

  2. a liberal run agency huh.
    this va system has been messed up since it was implemented thru all administrations, period. so up your partisan you know what..

  3. The bonuses really don’t look like very much money. If we’re looking at effect versus perception, the bonus money is not even an issue. But of course perception is everything in today’s world. Hopefully they just eliminate all VA compensation to veterans. The whole thing is a racket with veterans fabricating injuries and the severity of injuries to scam taxpayers, all while waving the flag of patriotism. An article came out recently where a contracted psychologist who does C&P exams for the VA, and who was a veteran himself, said 50% of PTSD claims were fraudulent. The veterans are the criminals here.

  4. Reminds me of the GM chairman who was scandalized out of his job after giving himself, and a few top executives outrageous bonus’s, and cutting heads, (mostly hourly workers). Could the VA be doing the same thing knowing that Veterans would suffer the consequences? I think so.

  5. I found this link on another Veterans website. You can type in anyone at the VA’s (or Federal Government for that matter) name and find out what their salary is and if and how much their bonus award is. It is current to 2010. I have to say I was shocked to see how much my PCP and PTSD Counselor make a year. Note: if you type in a name and it comes back blank, I interpret that to mean 1) They are a contractor or 2) They weren’t employed in the Federal Government in 2010. I’m not sure if Ben will leave this link up or not. Not sure of his rules.

  6. My question runs in tandem with James’ comment. Specifically, what are the Disabled American Veterans doing about this?

    1. Disabled Navy Vet, I’m afraid the VSO’s are not going to do anything. The status quo is too good for their business to demand meaningful reforms from the VA. They make money through membership dues. They get members by helping individual veterans with their claims with the VA. A reformed VA means no more problems with claims, healthcare, etc. or at least kept to a bare minimum. No problems with the VA means the veterans no longer need the VSO’s to represent them. No veterans needing the VSO’s means a decrease in the membership pool. A decline in membership means a drastic decline in revenue. Like with the cancer charities, cancer cured means no more revenue from donors. The suffering veteran is a billion dollar industry. No one makes money out of a happy veteran. And that includes the top revenue recipient of them all: the VA itself.

  7. Sitting here thinking about the media coverage and the type (left or right) coverage, a recent discussion with my wife led to a realization that the magnitude of the problem is so immense it seems futile.

    Many vets attempt to blame conservatives for the problem. But it was Bernie Sanders kowtowing to the unions and the Senior Executive Schedule association which kept wasteful, almost criminal bonuses and union power intact. The bonus problem awards criminals huge amounts for hiding substandard treatment and the myriad of other problems negatively effecting veterans. One of the stated solutions to hiring vets is continually stymied by the unions, who despise the military, and prevent hiring and promotion of those most suited (veterans) to the solution, as well as continually fighting any accountability and ethics requirements with the lame excuses of lack of personnel and training.

    The real solutions are to decertify the unions and to fire and prosecute the execs rather than allowing them to retire.

  8. Seems you have a lot of sources, have you heard any news as to what the service organizations are doing to ensure veterans are being treated fairely and what their stance is on the sitution. Whats the news. Has any of them contacted you to offer assistance or state their goals.

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