VA Ranks Second To Last In Employee Satisfaction


Benjamin KrauseCongrats, VA is almost best at being the worst place to work in the entire Federal government when it comes to employee satisfaction according to an insider email.

In that email, Chief of Staff Jose Rojas admitted VA employees ranked the agency 18th among 19 large government agencies recently surveyed on employee satisfaction.

The agency is down from 13th last year, which was taken before the wait list scandal. Rojas’ email is based on the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) and All Employee Survey (AES).

Not only are veteran afraid to get health care from VA; VA employees hate their jobs. Great, veterans will never get a square deal at this rate due to the negative perceptions.

Here is an insider email from one of my sources. Do private sector employees need this level of prodding to build “great places to work”? Or, is VA eternally doomed to suck?

As you will note from the below email, I was joking about “VA Employees Don’t Get No Satisfaction” in the meme above. VA would never say something so transparent and true.



A Message To All Employees:  Building a Great Workplace

Every year, we solicit your thoughts and perceptions about what it’s like to work at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) through two surveys:  the Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) and VA’s All Employee Survey (AES).  The feedback you provide is incredibly valuable.

The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings, based on the FEVS results, have been released today.  This year, VA is ranked 18 among the 19 large Government agencies, down from 13th place in 2013.  These results offer us a unique opportunity to determine what is working at VA, and what we need to do to improve service for Veterans.

This survey was conducted at a time when the Department was facing serious challenges.  While the intense scrutiny experienced by our hardworking employees during this period understandably impacted morale, your dedication to serving Veterans remains strong.  VA employees, as a whole, say that we like the work we do, and that we are willing to put in extra effort to get a job done when needed.  Employees believe that we work in supportive ‘learning environments’ where we feel safe talking to our supervisors about work-related problems, and receive supervisory support to balance work and family needs.

The data also show that there are areas where VA can improve, and with your help, we have already come a long way.  We have taken these issues seriously; recognize what needs to improve, and now we must work to effect meaningful change.

A component of our next steps on the road to rebuilding trust with the Nation’s Veterans is the MyVA initiative to reorganize around Veterans needs.  Our teams have talked to over 2,000 employees to get input about what things can help make it easier for you to serve Veterans.  Employees are also sharing their ideas and suggestions through the new intranet web tool, the MyVA Idea House.

I want to make sure everyone has a chance to be involved in building a better VA.  While the work of the MyVA Task Force is helping us with major initiatives and infrastructure changes, I am counting on everyone to make changes to our daily work life to help VA better serve Veterans.

Thank you for your participation in the surveys and for the important work you are doing to serve America’s Veterans.

Best regards,

Jose D. Riojas

Chief of Staff



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  1. So I am a VA Employee. I am also a Iraq War Combat Veteran and Bosnian War Veteran. Let me explain to some of you one thing. Not all VA employee’s are so well paid. Do you know the starting pay for a Food Service Worker is $13.62/hr? The person who does the Preliminary background checks and initiation makes a little over $16/hr. Does that sound like over paid employees who should be happy? Physicians? Yes over paid, folks who do menial jobs like putting data into a computer shouldn’t be making $60k+/yr. I agree with you. I spent over 20 years in the National Guard, I never once looked to the VA to help me with my issues. I didn’t rely on my government to support me after I served. It has always been big in my family that you serve your country because you want to serve your country.

    I can tell you with all certainty that the biggest issue facing the VA right now is old school supervisors and managers who want to collect those bonuses because that’s how the VA has always been in the past. Most are not Veterans at all. Some are, but they aren’t in any position to make congressional decisions. They don’t know what it really means to serve. Most started back during the Reagan Era, where we didn’t actually have many new veterans or major conflicts. Some are also “veterans” in there own eyes. Listen, serving in Germany mowing lawns and pulling people over for speeding does not make you a Veteran. Get a grip. You served overseas, but you are not a Combat Veteran.

    Most employee’s who have supervisors and managers like that are most likely the ones who are unhappy and rate the VA low in these surveys. As they should. Congress needs to find the root of the problem instead of continuing conduct these surveys, instead of being the mouse hitting the button that zaps you. The definition of insanity is, doing the same thing over and over the same way, expecting a different result.

  2. VA employees may hate to work w/ the VA, but they sure as hell love the outrageous bonuses they get every year. Here’s a new thought- do away with all bonuses & pay disabled Vets what they deserve!

    1. Generalize much Donald J Williams? VA Employees? Do you know regular VA Employee bonuses are usually only $250. You have to be put in for it, and your performance evaluation needs to support it. I have 2 uncles who are disabled vets, they do alright. Maybe take away all bonuses and put it toward Voc Rehab Programs and substance abuse programs so that Veterans can actually get themselves better and contribute to society. Also maybe implement a stricter Claims process so that ex soldiers who were cooks and never saw the outside of a kitchen shouldn’t legitimately get 100% disability for PTSD.

      1. Aren’t you generalizing about cooks and PTSD. My company clerk in Vietnam had two purple hearts and a Bronze Star with V. We were almost overrun he fought beside us. So did the mess personnel. I also know of rear echelon guys where they were shelled regularly and had guard duty where they were they were shot at.

        My issue is not with good VA employees, my issue is with the processes, procedures, incompetent doctors and sometimes the absolute idiocy.

        For example, I went to the VA yesterday. I was in the travel office where the clerk was trying to arrange ambulance transportation from that VA to a larger VA for a patient who was suffering chest pains. It was to be an 80 mile trip into downtown Manhattan at rush hour which would take a minimum of two hours and, with one paramedic aboard with constant monitoring, should cost in the neighborhood of $1200. There is a private hospital which has a cardiac care unit located only 15 minutes away. As the clerk was getting off the phone, she said well I guess that will be okay, but sooner would be better. She then called up to the nursing floor and said they won’t be able to come for about another hour and a quarter. Having chest pains and it is going to take 3 1/4 hours to get proper care? I thought about that since then – I just hope the vet made it.

  3. The individuals that helped me the most was those that many do not see. Since I know to “start there” explain I know all about HIPAA and realize I am basically one of them. ( coding and billing) I agree, some are good folks and happy, some play games, but navigating the craziness of the VA, why aren’t the Veterans “Rating the Professionals?” Here is no secret folks, you can and you should. If you have an experience as I’ve known several have, look up their license in the chosen professional field and you can do this by looking at all 50 states. They also should have an NPI number along with up to date CEU’S. ( continuing education credits) and look up to see any STATE ETHICAL VIOLATIONS THEN LOOK UP THE ORGANIZATION THEY BELONG TO NATIONAL VIOLATIONS OF ETHICAL STANDARDS. EX: A psychologist would have the APA board of Ethics, combined with the state, MAKE YOUR VOICE BE HEARD AND DONT FEAR TO CALL THEM OUT! CALL OUT ON THE STATE FIRST THEN DO THE NATIONAL LEVEL, ENOUGH COMPLAINTS OR VIOLATIONS THE VA BEST NOT COVER FOR BAD PRACTICES AND SERVICES RENDERED! As my own Doctor of 19 years knows me quite well, he knew my dream. I never really told others because my experiences shattered a young girl who graduated high school a year early. ( a friend and I 1000 times fun trouble!) It was to serve and retire as a Physician Assistant. I had been interviewed by a “Flight Surgeon” he stated your rank is still low and you need one pay grade up. I knew that, but a choice was made, my dying brother was first. My problem is knowing quite a bit, and yes letters can be placed after my name. My Doctor stated, “you would have been excellent” it’s intuitive to know what is going on with a person, the questions asked and needed and definitely remember the chosen art you picked, “DO NO HARM.” VA employees are really paid well considering what the equivalent would make in the civilian sector, so I wonder, is it because the attitudes that are from the rudeness of professionals? From top to bottom it should be a “well oiled” and happy environment, sad to know its not. Yes I too got a short email from Ms. Hickey, I explained the numerous errors and lies equates to fraud waste and abuse and in the “real medical world” you would be sued. I also stated more damage done and a Doctor saw the idiotic response from the directors cave, well my Doctor had his limit of stupidity reached, wrote his own letter and then stated “SUE THEM.” He had been a Director of a Hospital, but people he had chosen to serve and heal. That remark and poorly written letter, I know when he is mad, he gets that quiet and determined look, and at this point I think he might be right, I am tired of patient advocates, the letter was sent more than a month ago, all I want is to keep my legs, one is messed up. Do not fear for reporting, look at it in this light, “if you had children, nieces or nephews, or a really good friend, would you want them served by someone who forgot that Oath taken? Remember, “DO NO HARM in!” Blessings everyone!

    1. Hey Tim,
      Congratulations on the stupidest comment in this thread. So your answer is for all VA employees and VA patients to boycottg the VA healthcare system? That is brilliant Tim. Nobody show up? And how long did it take you to brainstorm before hitting your keyboard? I wouldn’t ever want you watching my back in combat. Your answer might be to “JUMP SHIP”.

  4. I think the Indy VA need looked into again. I moved from WA and I am trying to get the same care I received from the Seattle VA. I cannot get the Indy VA to look at my Seattle VA records and my recent visit with the Ortho surgeon has left me scratching my head. I was told that my last 10 yrs. of VA HealthCare from Seattle has no bearing on this (Indy) VA’s treatment plan. I was told that if I wanted the type of care I received in Seattle then I needed to go back to Seattle as I would not get “that” kind of care here. I have went from an active life with not as much pain to a life of not doing hardly anything. I can’t get a job, enjoy the outdoors, walk, ETC… because of the pain. I know that there has been a push regarding the pain meds and the Seattle VA was OK with me taking the low dose chronic pain medicine as my options are very limited and knee replacement is out of the question. I have contacted the Patient Advocate who stated that there is not much they will do. I am in a position that I don’t want to be in and now I am facing becoming homeless because I have only my disability as income and it is only a 40% rating. I cannot afford to move back to WA and I would be homeless if I move back to WA. I have contacted Allison Hickey who contacted people in the Indy area and the above mentioned Patient Advocate who will do nothing to help. I do not understand how I can be treated at one VA facility, go through the proper steps to try and get the same treatment here, and do everything that has been asked of me only to hear that my last 10 yrs. of treatment no longer matter. The Ortho surgeon has completely erased the last 10 yrs. of treatment with my 15 minute appointment with him. I asked him how he could do that and he told me that he can do what he wants because he is evaluating me. He has put in my records so much false information and lies it is unreal. I give up on the VA and will be a homeless vet now and it is all because of the Indy VA. So unfair.

    1. Figure8fan: I read your comment above and I think you really got screwed real, real good. I do think you should send the above to [email protected] (maybe small caps – his email appears often so you can be sure). Send him this written just as above, use the same length, include names of the doctors and the advocate, be as polite as you can bear it to mcdonald, and ask him if anyone on his personal staff can help straighten this mess out. I wouldn’t expect a phone call – but you should get an email of some kind. It’s your last resort given what I can read of your situation. Let us know what happens here in this blog.
      You wrote me a reply to my fee-based dental problem about two months ago, and recently that was resolved in my favor. I won. After getting the entire dental dept. behind me to point out to the fee-based unit that they screwed up, after talking to a key person in the hospital’s director’s office and having her call the head person in the fee based unit there, and after talking to the “budget analyst” in the accounting dept there, they finally decided to send my private doctor a check (after two years since I had the procedure done), and also extended my fee-basis out to 2016. I will never trust any of them again to use it though. I was ready to write mcdonald on that one, and I let them know that. (the dental dept chief was getting nervous they would have a congressional inquiry, I was told).
      I hate the VA, and anyone that says the VA is great to them is a f—‘in lier. They all look like stupid idiots to me whenever I go there.

      1. Hello bd,
        I am glad to hear that you have won over the VA. Anyone who can do this is against the VA is plus for us veterans. I have contacted Allison Hickey on this twice and the first time she responded in less than two hrs. to my e-mail and I thought that something may get done. She sent me a generic e-mail as well as put me in contact with Carolyn Clancy and Carolyn passed to Cassandra Law who I’m not sure she was actually looking into it. I received an e-mail from her and it was so generic that nothing I had a concern about was addressed. I replied to it and again stated about the lack of looking into my Seattle records and that reply had things in it that I have no idea where the information came from. It was nothing but lies. I responded again and informed her that I felt the e-mails were not genuine and contained false information. I also sent a copy to Allison Hickey so she could see my concern. Her response, she e-mailed me and said she would sent this to Carolyn Clancy again. I could not believe this. She is going to send it back to the person who send me a generic email before as well as informing me she was sending it to Cassandra Law. I now know that this is falling on deaf ears and now that you gave me Robert McDonald’s e-mail, I will contact him and inform him of what information I have and the lack of caring by the people mentioned above. I guess I should expect this as it is the VA and they don’t care about veterans, they never have. I have also sent an e-mail to my congressman and I am awaiting his response. I am sure the people I have contacted are hoping I will get discouraged and give up; however, they don’t know me very well.
        Thanks again for the info and it makes me feel good that I could help a fellow veteran and in return they are trying to help me. We (us veterans) need more of this so we can take back the VA.

      2. Allison Hickey is a jerk and a phony. Congressmen and veterans want her out. You can read about this dip if you google her up.
        When you write mcdonald, don’t get into the details above about this piece of trash Hickey. Just say you contacted her and it resulted in nothing, or don’t say anything at all. It will be words for nothing. I don’t think mcdonald cares for this Hickey lady and you don’t want to waste wordage on her and her inefficiencies anyway for nothing. She is in charge of VBA ($ benefits the VA pays out anyway) and has nothing to do with the medical treatment you ain’t getting. “Bob” McDonald is the guy to address this to. Write it to the point and don’t waste extra paragraphs that show your real frustration but won’t produce results. Don’t hold your breath for the lard-ass congressman to respond either. Bob is a workaholic and will address your matter
        quicker and with more precision, I feel.

      3. Hey bd,
        Wanted to let you know that I have e-mailed Robert “Bob” McDonald and I thank you for your advice on what to put in it. I will let update this as to anything I find out.
        On a note about Hickey, Law, and Clancy, each ended their e-mail with:
        “We trust this has been responsive to your inquiry; however, if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Patient Advocate Office at the Indianapolis VAMC at 317-988-XXXX (I left the numbers off because I did not know if it would cause a problem). Funny how each one of them has the same ending to their e-mails. That is one thing that makes me wonder about the authenticity of the e-mails. I wonder if they are out of the same office. Hmmmm, interesting

  5. The Castle Point VA in New York recently had a survey completed by employees (no physicians were included in the survey). This survey was done about 3 months ago. The Castle Point VA is also under investigation in the appointment scandal. What does the (new) Director say? “Anytime there’s an issue, it’s a concern, but it’s nothing that can’t be corrected”

    You can read the entire article :

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