VA's blind spot: Intolerable
Backing the regional director who oversaw the Pittsburgh VA Health System while five veterans died as a result of its Legionnaires' disease outbreak from February 2011 to November 2012 — and even more outrageously backing the nearly $80,000 in bonuses that Michael Moreland collected during that period — Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki defends the indefensible.
In a letter last week to U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, Mr. Shinseki mind-bogglingly called Mr. Moreland “an outstanding professional who continuously demonstrates strength, commitment, integrity and a relentless commitment to public service.” He even defended Moreland's infectious disease policies being among reasons for awarding his bonuses — including one White House-approved and worth $63,000 in October 2012, a month before word of the Legionnaires' outbreak reached national VA leaders.
Bereaved loved ones of the veterans lost to Legionnaires' are understandably upset. It's hard to believe that Moreland, his top VA Pittsburgh Health System subordinates (some of whom got unjustifiable bonuses, too) and even Shinseki still have their jobs, much less bonuses or authority to award them.
If this is how the VA treats top officials linked with fatal consequences for its patients, what sort of staff failure might it actually punish ?
Without a top-to-bottom housecleaning, it's all too likely that the VA again will betray its sacred duty to all who've worn America's uniform, just as it betrayed those five dead veterans.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Steelers accomplish mission to get younger, faster on defense
- Bubble players get last chance to impress Steelers
- Asking price for Penguins franchise said to be at a record $750M
- 4-year-old transplant recipient Angelo Giorno from Derry on life support, family says
- American to halt 2 direct routes from Pittsburgh International
- Western Pennsylvania schools’ denial of access to roofers prompts suit
- Locke struggles again early, Pirates lose again in Milwaukee
- Movement along the offensive line continues for Pitt as opener approaches
- 1 killed, another injured in early-morning Clairton shooting
- South Fayette native looks forward to competing in Miss America Pageant
- Police: Woman faked Mt. Pleasant robbery