“Stolen Valor” VA Head is Failing. Surprised?

VA-veterans-affairsBob McDonald, a Special Forces impersonator who has no measurable respect for actual veterans, was a bad choice for Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. That was reinforced in a recent meeting with fellow Democrats in the journalism racket, where he made excuses for the agency’s dismal performance, and planned to “solve” it with the two magic elixirs of Beltway hackdom: more money, and fewer facilities.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald says his department is so cash-strapped that it’s struggling to accommodate the massive number of veterans seeking treatment from the health system.

At the same time, the agency continues spending nearly $25 million a year on hundreds of vacant or underused facilities across the country. Closing or consolidating those facilities could free up millions of dollars that could otherwise be used to pay more doctors and nurses to treat the backlog of patients at medical facilities across the country, according to McDonald.

McDonald is all-in on the institutional VA vision of a few, large, industrial-age facilities concentrated in major urban areas, to which veterans for hundreds of miles around would have to travel. It’s one more example of the way that the DVA’s Veterans Health Administration is run for the comfort and convenience of the employees, not the supposed beneficiaries.

Speaking to reporters at the Association of Health Care Journalists’ annual conference in Santa Clara, California, the VA secretary suggested that doing so could allow the VA to hire at least 200 more registered nurses and pay for 144,000 primary care visits for veterans.

“We need to move forward with closing locations that are not economically sustainable and old, outdated buildings that are challenging to maintain and provide little or no value to our customers,” McDonald said.

The VA has 336 buildings across the country, covering about 10.5 million square feet, that are either sitting vacant or less than 50 percent occupied, according to McDonald’s early Congressional testimony. The secretary, who took over the troubled department last July, has urged lawmakers to close or consolidate the facilities — but his suggestion hasn’t gained much traction on Capitol Hill.

On his watch, as on that of his failed predecessor former general Rick Shinseki, VA’s headquarters has grown like Topsy while medical facilities in the peripheries are starved for attention, staff, and funds.

He hasn’t even contained the increase in the costs of the VA Taj Mahal in Denver, which is now at $1.7 Billion in construction costs and rising.

via VA Wastes Millions, But Still Wants More as Vets Wait for Care | The Fiscal Times.

5 thoughts on ““Stolen Valor” VA Head is Failing. Surprised?

  1. Y.

    On his watch, as on that of his failed predecessor former general Rick Shinseki, VA’s headquarters has grown like Topsy while medical facilities in the peripheries are starved for attention, staff, and funds.

    No surprise, it’s a bureaucracy. Same happens in companies that are not under market pressure or good management. At least here.

  2. Arsenal 762

    As a VA employee in Research & Development, let me assure you that the VHA leadership is not as bad as the media presents it; it’s far, far worse. The ineptitude is downright colossal, it’s virtually impossible to get fired and the hiring of un(der)skilled affirmative action candidates to administrative positions is frightening. That said, I’ve found the frontline medical staff to be as good as or nearly as good as any other research/medical facility I’ve ever worked in. The leadership is quite clearly delusional, though.
    First time poster, long time lurker. Keep up the awesome work Hognose!

    1. Hognose Post author

      I’ve only been to the VA a couple of times, once when I was uninsured otherwise. I’m pretty well off, and feel that I would be taking resources from vets who need help a lot more, so I’ve never pursued a disability (which they have tried to give me in the past for PTSD I don’t have). My impression was that the VA facility in Brockton, MA, is one I would not take a dog to, and the VA facility in West Palm Beach, FL, was one that the whole nation can be proud of.

      While Brockton was an old, ill-kept facility and WPB a new one, the real difference was the people. And I read that as suggesting that WPB had, at the time, far superior leadership. The general run of people is what it is, but good leadership will make them rise, and bad leaders squash them down.

  3. DAN III

    My experience with those VA MEDICAL personnel, i.e., doctors, registered nurses, LPNs, etc., is that they are dedicated, high quality MEDICAL personnel. However, the issue I have is WHY is ANY feggov employee, who is paid well, if not handsomely, is being paid a bonus on top of their salary ? So, as the VA administration complains about not having enough money to take care of the veterans they purport to serve, they have tens of millions of dollars to pay out bonuses to their politically correct employees.

    This nation is in deep trouble.

  4. Arsenal 762

    Hmm, interesting. I’m a research scientist so I don’t recieve any kind of bonus and wasn’t aware that the medical personnel were eligible for those sort of Wall Street-ish kickbacks. I don’t think I’d characterize VA employees as handsomely-paid, though. Psychiatrists? Oh yeah. They’re in such high demand that several of them at my facility actually command more than the Director of the entire hospital. Something’s not quite kosher about that, imho. However, most of us take a pay cut to work for the VHA and do it because we actually care about veterans/ served ourselves/ have vets in the family. YMMV

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