TribLIVE

| Opinion/The Review


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

VA's blind spot: Intolerable

Daily Photo Galleries

Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

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

Most-Read Stories

  1. U.S. Steel, Penguins, government leaders call press conference at Consol
  2. Iraqi family, torn apart for opposing Saddam, reunites in Pittsburgh
  3. Clues to Chief Justice John Roberts’ thinking on new ObamaCare case
  4. Pirates trade Davis to A’s for international signing bonus money
  5. CT scans can find smokers’ lung cancer early
  6. Stores creating Thanksgiving dine-and-dash dilemma
  7. NFL parity makes playoff chase a multi-team muddle
  8. Shooting victims live with bullets to survive, thrive
  9. Horse racing industry banks on Wolf
  10. For Steelers, a fight to finish for playoff berth
  11. Starkey: No explaining Steelers, AFC North
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.