I have never been one to bash the VA publicly. Most of the veteran community rips them a new one on a consistent basis and they have every right to but a recent report involving the VA delaying care to veterans again for the umpteenth time broke my silence.
Let me bring you up to speed if you are not aware of what’s happening. On April 23, CNN revealed accusations from a retired Veterans Administration doctor that the VA in Phoenix had a secret list for patients waiting for doctor appointments that differed from the official list. The doctor said then that 40 veterans died waiting for care. Of course, the officials at the Phoenix VA deny a secret list exist but doctors say otherwise. If these allegations are true, we could be looking at one of the biggest scandals of our time.
Folks, this whole thing was because of numbers. Yep, the bottom line once again dominates rather than quality. Now, there’s nothing wrong with numbers. Most of us operate with a bottom line. This is most apparent in sports where teams look to trim their rosters to get underneath the salary cap sometimes letting go star players with hefty contracts. Small business owners consistently looking at ways to increase the bottom line and boost our margins. But this is healthcar and veterans who’ve served this country have died waiting for care, all in the name of numbers leading to more funding.
Is this what the bottom line is all about?
(Update: After I started writing this, an email was made public by CNN detailing on how to “game the system.” Check it out here.)
In any company or organization, people are held accountable and responsible for their actions. When it comes to the executive team, they are accountable for the actions of their employees and company earnings. On Wall Street when a company’s earnings are revealed and their estimates pass what the analysts projected, stockholders praise the trajectory of the company, the executives and management. They say “great leadership at that company” and “they make a fantastic product. And when the company’s estimated fall below what was projected, people question the leadership. They wonder “why did they miss?” and “management needs to be changed. Those of us that own stock demand answers and insight to what is going on internally. However, when it comes to the Department of Veteran Affairs and the long list of allegations involving delayed care, misdiagnosis, and other problems, we don’t push hard enough to demand answers. Only some, those who actually receive care from the VA, push for reform or demand answers for failure.
Why is the general public so supportive of the military and veterans yet not supportive enough to demand answers from government bureacracy?
If this were happening with shareholders, they would be outraged and demand resignation of General Shinseki. I wish the VA had pressure from shareholders to demand answers immediately and immediate firing. The fact of the matter is that there needs to be more pressure outside of veterans and their families. A safety net has been created at the VA to keep those who have failed safe with increased salary and promotions for a job not well done.
Now if we were all invested in the VA, maybe something could be done. Maybe we need to make people shareholders in the care of our veterans…