VA Accountability — Will it work?

Recently, the President of the United States signed into law the, Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017. Woofta, with a name like that, it sounds like we are in for some change over at the VA! Here is the skinny on the Act.

Now, full disclosure my only interaction with the VA was in getting my first home mortgage. However, having watched the tireless efforts to get VA support for my grandfather (a WWII Vet) as he moved into a nursing home was enough motivation to agree that things needed to change.

So here is my take on the accountability act, and what we need to do to actually help reform the VA. After all, a big ocean-liner like the VA is going to take time to change course, so if we all help work towards it, the faster it will happen.

Image Credit: Washington Post

First things first, I believe this bill is necessary for the time being. I think it needed to be put into place to motivate change. There are too many government employees that have settled in for the long haul and just do not care if they accomplish their job that day or not. This exists in the VA, Department of Army Civilians, and I am sure many many more (Military peoples will tell you all about them). To me, these individuals are worse that the stereotypical welfare receiver is has no desire to work but just collect a check. (not making the claim all welfare recipients are like that). Why are they worse? Because these individuals are draining the life blood out of our government in promise that they will complete a task to the best of their ability, so when they consciously choose not to do their work. It’s wrong. So from this aspect, this is a great step to initiate change and cut some baggage.

Now I will agree with some counter points that this bill has the potential to see political reprisals that result in great employees being fired for external motivations and justified through this act. Only time will tell if things like this occur. So my suggestion? Just like what should have occurred with the Affordable Health Care Act, we need to ensure that as we learn what kind of behaviors form from the Accountability Act, we must be flexible in amending the law so that the principle focus stays in the forefront. Whats that focus? The VA is here to serve those that have served, and do it at the absolute highest quality.

From the outside, we need to continue to document our experiences with the VA, good or bad. Communicate those experiences to our political leadership, and we must continue to learn and utilize the programs the VA offers. Anyone that’s ever been to an Army Range, knows, if you don’t use the ammo, you won’t get it next time. So we must learn to use what is available so that it doesn’t get taken away!

So I wanna know your thoughts! Think the VA will head down the right road now? What else can be done to cause change over there?

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Luke Jenkins is a member of the Active Duty Military and USMA grad who helped to identify the need for a more integrated process to hiring, especially within the transitioning military community.

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