Only VA Impressed With VA Restructuring Plan

VA restructuring plan

Benjamin KrauseThe unveiling of the VA restructuring plan reportedly drew little outside enthusiasm. While VA claims to be excited over the changes, those outside VA were left with few ideas as to what the restructuring will actually entail and when it will be fully accomplished.

According to Washington Post:

The American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars have said nothing about the plans, which is unusual for a major initiative. Meanwhile, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America expressed cautious optimism, mixed with a dash of criticism.

IAVA’s Paul Rieckhoff offered sharp criticism:

“After years of failure, missed deadlines and disappointment at VA, our veterans will only celebrate when we see results,” IAVA chief executive Paul Rieckhoff said Monday. “We’re all rooting for Secretary McDonald and the VA, but IAVA members won’t be satisfied until the mission is accomplished and we see a measurable difference in local communities nationwide.”

Rieckhoff’s criticism is certainly justified. They worked hard to help the agency, but those efforts proved fruitless. Plus, IAVA members stand to receive the greatest support through a new administration that actually helps veterans of the current wars.

Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs said:

“New plans, initiatives and organizational structures are all well and good, but they will not produce their intended results until VA rids itself of the employees who have shaken veterans’ trust in the system,” Miller said. “So far, VA hasn’t done that — as evidenced by the fact that the majority of those who caused the VA scandal are still on the department payroll.”

“No one doubts that reforming VA is a tough job,” Miller said. “But getting rid of failed executives should be the easiest part — not the most difficult.”

Despite continued revelations related to just how bad VA senior employees harmed the system, why are VA employees still being allowed to resign or change agencies? Does VA have no duty to aptly prosecute those employees who falsified performance reports?

I think the next “proof” Secretary McDonald needs to focus on to retain any semblance of credibility is to fire the fraudsters that pulled off this great scam. Reports allege 2,000 employees may be facing termination, but no one is talking about when that may come to pass.

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  1. President Clinton opened the VA to anyone who served ONE day prior to September 1980, since that time the VA has been turned into a check mill. ‘Veterans’ who served 2 months in the military tying up appointments while the establish PTSD or Bipolar or any payable diagnosis while the VA also houses them and gives them free reign of all medical services. The fraud is out of control. These news stories have just given those committing the fraud more power because everyone is afraid to say no! Further than that, let’s look at the demands placed on the VA. Seen in 14 days or less? I can’t do that with my private insurance, the insurance I pay dearly for! Unrealistic expectations have been placed on the VA for a long time and the VA has a set of ‘Veterans’ that are completely raping the system. These are the reasons our service members can’t get in as quick. Let’s go back and look at that ONE day rule! Let’s stop treating people that served 2 months the same as people that served the true time of eligibility. And before someone says I’m trying to suggest taking anything away from Veterans, I’m not, I’m just saying give it to the ones that have really earned it, not to the ones that didn’t thrive in the military and still aren’t thriving. End travel pay (it’s 75% fraud anyway), stop making it so lucrative to stay sick, and create REALISTIC expectations for the VA, ones that mirror expectations of people have of private providers.

  2. One problem at the VA, and I think this bothers a lot of veterans; is the focus on the computer. Staff need to be trained how to interact with veterans on a more personal level. One problem is the massive amount of computer template notes that administrators want completed. Many of these forms provide little meaningful information but are there to satisfy outside agencies like the Joint Commission. Another problem I see is a lack of uniformity within the system. Each VA has it’s own set of policies that might differ a lot from the VA the next city over. I think most companies have uniform policies and proceedures. The VA has spent probably millions of dollars on computerized templates for treatment plans that probably could be done just as easily on a regular progress note. I agree with the restructuring idea of cutting back on the administrative staff. I would like to see an outside consulting firm go in to each VA and examine each administrators position to like for duplication, to decide whether what they are doing could maybe be done by a clerk instead of someone making 85,000 to 130,000 a year. I would also like an examination of each department within the agency to see if the jobs in that department are really needed and if they are not needed these employees provided a job that helps veterans. It would also be a good idea for the administrators and staff to be taught how to write correspondence that makes sence to someone outside the agency so they would know how to talk to veterans.

  3. In the U.S., less than 1% of the citizens know a veteran, and not even directly. They know of a veteran through extended family or through a friend or something distant. In many, many other countries, more than 60% of the popuation and citizens of the country know veterans (plural) of their country. Mostly directly.
    Maybe they should bring back drafting people that we had during the Vietnam era and scare the shit out of the people in this country enough to tune into this mess.
    Though Bob has good intentions as he lays out his “strategy”, I’m here to tell you the VA is not ready to change anything, especially their personal demeaner and communication with veterans (customers). I just got off the phone today in talking to a fee based unit VA employee who wouldn’t tell me anything about them not paying a provider I was approved for a year and a hlf ago. The person hung up viciously in my face. This person was one of the doctors in the unit that made approvals or denials. I was very polite and clear on the phone, and he was a big shithead.
    So I don’t think Bob knows the rudness that exists at every level of his organization, or who they intend to hire to replace them, since nobody really wants to work within the VA. I think Bob is stuck with his proposals and will hardly get any of them implemented. I don’t think anything will be done with the VA in two years, which is about the time a new president will be in office to replace Bob with someone else who won’t succeed. And on and on it goes.

    1. This editorial originally appeared in the Arizona Republic:

      The man tapped last summer to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs in the wake of its worst-ever patient-care scandal finally has come up with a plan. The words “insufficient” and “underwhelming” leap to mind.

      VA Secretary Robert McDonald wants to:

      • Create a “customer-service organization” to handle complaints from veterans getting treatment at VA hospitals.

      • Develop a new regional framework for VA medical centers, designed to simplify operations.

      • Organize advisory councils of veterans.

      • Identity opportunities to improve efficiency and productivity, possibly by emulating private-sector health care operations.

      No one can deny that McDonald has a tough job. He has taken on a sclerotic, highly insulated, 300,000-employee bureaucracy that believed letting sick veterans languish for months without medical care was a perfectly reasonable way to earn themselves cash bonuses.

      There is no way to create private-sector-style efficiencies in an operation like that overnight. In a letter to VA employees Monday, the VA reform czar begged for time: “Please keep in mind that this is a long-term process and we are just beginning to plan how this will all unfold.”

      Still, these initial reforms McDonald announced are disappointing. Except for the customer-service operation — essentially, yet another expansion of the already bloated VA bureaucracy — all the reforms are outward-focused.

      There is nothing here that speaks to the heart of the VA problem, which is a systemwide management culture that has proved remarkably indifferent to reform efforts over the years.

      The VA bureaucracy will wait out this patient-care scandal if it can. Nothing we see so far would suggest it can’t.

      View these ideas as a window into the thinking of McDonald and his team and you will not see a management team intent on seriously changing how the VA operates. Or, to put it more bluntly, at the end of Bob McDonald’s day as VA secretary, little is likely to have been done to ensure all this won’t happen again.

      McDonald’s initial foray into reform lacks a critical piece: accountability.

      Hiring new customer-service officers is nice. But making sure employees treat the agency’s patient-clients with respect is much more important. And unless they sense there will be serious repercussions if they fail in that job, it isn’t likely to happen.

      Which brings us to what may be McDonald’s most important reform. In an appearance on CNN, McDonald said 5,600 VA employees are on notice they may face consequences for helping cause the delays in patient care.

      The secretary is vague about exactly what those consequences may be. (Indeed, all of the proposals cited Monday lack specifics.)

      But, in the end, the proof of real VA reform will be whether the people who countenanced double-booking of sick veterans at VA hospitals will pay any price for what they did.

  4. I sat in a VA office yesterday a month after my first ever visit. I had logged on at home to check my file. After just one visit, I had 6 major mistakes in my file. There is no attention to detail . 16 Billion dollars will not change this. I was down on record as a vietnam vet who served from 1953 thru 2013. YES!! a 60 year career , and I was not born until 1961. There is no quality control. IT is one of the saddest things I have ever seen. The VA is too large to function. The outside care card needs to be made permenant, and the VA should only exist to treat combat injuries if even that. I asked 5 people working there the same question, and I got five different answers. Thank GODI have insurance and I see a civilian doctor. AQfter 30 years in the Air Force, I thought I had seen it all, until I visited the VA.

    1. The link below is absolute proof that Democrat leadership will LIE TO OUR FACES when confronted with their own history of deception against the American people.

      Please understand this.

      The progressive politicians that are voted in every election cycle by low-information voters want to silence people that are critical of their heavy-handed laws, rules, and regulations that make you into an obedient and genuflecting slave.

      With the VA restructuring, Obama and his staff are engaged in a massive effort to cover-up the VA scandal.

      Just witness how Obama’s Nabor is spinning the VA scandal away from Obama.

      Here’s Pelosi being exposed for the House Minority-in-Deceit Leader that she is (and she was the Majority-in-Deceit Leader when Obamacare was made into an unlawful law):

      I predict that 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, heck, 100 years from now, the VA will still be engaging in its scandalous behavior against us veterans.

      Ain’t gonna stop until veterans stop voting for the politicians that have such utter contempt for them.

  5. I believe us vets need to assemble in large numbers for a PEACEFUL organized march in a city centrally located in USA. And show our dissatisfaction for the VA for all to see, I would like to see Ben organize this march. Let’s not get caught up in all the VA BS, lies, petty details and changes meant to mislead the public and us vets too. Instead we should all show the over abundance of bureaucrats that we’re not happy with VA. We, us vets need to make our own news to get public support and VA’s attention. It’s the big picture and I believe it’s our only chance. Let’s rock the boat, instead of it rocking us over and over! And yes I’m a navy vet, but as usual we’re all on the same side. I believe us vets need to show the VA that fact. (-:

  6. Maybe the reason that there is limited information about the VA’s restructuring plan is because Democrat politicians have the liberal mainstream media in their gold-lined pocket and they are being told to downplay, minimize, trivialize the VA scandal in their news outlets..

    Did you know that the architect of Obamacare, Jonathan Gruber, was recently discovered to have said Obamacare only passed due to the “stupidity” of the American voter and a lack of “transparency” by Obama, Pelosi, Reid, the liberal mainstream media?


    You are being played for a fool by the left-wing politicians YOU VOTED FOR!

    The VA scandal IS NOT being fixed, stopped, lessened.

    Unless you start speaking out against the constant lies by Obama, Pelosi, Reid, the liberal mainstream media, the VA scandal will be ever perpetual, harming veterans, killing veterans.

    This anti-veteran scheme by bureaucrats to treat veterans like idiots, ignoramuses, fools is OUR FAULT BECAUSE WE DO NOT VOTE AGAINST THE POLITICIANS THAT TREAT VETERANS LIKE STUPID PEOPLE!

    So if no one is being critical of the VA’s restructuring plan, it is because the liberal mainstream media thinks veterans are stupid.


    1. Whoa….think a little further. Is it the democrats? You’re partly right. Is it the republicans? You’re getting warmer. Is it the politicians, big and small, who feed off the money intended to fulfill promises to veterans for their own greed and avarice?

      Now you’ve got the picture.

  7. When we allow the CROOKS to police/investigate themselves I can only expect a more SOPHISTICATED scheme of CHEATING/LYING.
    Disabled Navy Vet you have a great idea, but the BUREAUCRATS would find a way to LOW-BALL them, just as they have us. Honest Men are what is needed at these most critical posts. Some who have real Care for our VETS in mind, not the PILL PUSHING, MIS-DIAGNOSING TRAINEES we have to tolerate at the present time.

  8. If they are going to axe 2,000 people then the people who replace them should be required to be a veteran. In fact the whole VA system should be staffed by veterans with no exceptions.

    1. What about wives and families of veterans? I understand your firm stance, but there are other people who care about vets other then the vets themselves. I agree that everyone should have some connection to the military, but to say that it has to be a vet is a little bit much.

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