Share This Page

The corrupt VA

| Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

A new internal audit appallingly finds long delays in getting Department of Veterans Affairs medical care affecting 100,000 veterans nationwide — delays that VA staffers, motivated by perverse job-performance incentives, hid from higher-ups, patients and Congress while vets died awaiting appointments. That moves this scandal beyond administrative failure to a matter requiring criminal investigation.

Reviewing 731 VA hospitals and clinics, auditors scheduled one out of three — including facilities in Oakland, Altoona and Erie — for reinspection due to their “scheduling and access management practices.” Irregular alternatives to the official Electronic Wait List were found at 70 percent of inspected facilities. Auditors say employees were pressured to keep long, real wait lists secret so it appeared the VA was meeting its 14-day appointment scheduling goal, on which job performance reviews partly depended.

The VA is doing away with that 14-day goal. And while there's plenty else for the agency and Congress to fix, accountability is crucial, too. House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., wants the Justice Department to investigate, saying this audit is “more disturbing proof that corruption is ingrained in many parts of the VA health care system.”

Indeed, the misconduct that this audit documents provides ample reason to label the VA a corrupt criminal enterprise. That's how the VA deserves to be investigated — and how those who are culpable deserve to be held accountable.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.