Posted tagged ‘Veterans Administration’

Trump signs VA reform bill, following through on campaign promise

June 23, 2017

Trump signs VA reform bill, following through on campaign promise, Fox NewsBarnini Chakraborty, June 23, 2017

President Trump on Friday signed a bill that would protect whistleblowers while making it easier to fire employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act passed by Congress this week streamlines the process to remove, demote, or suspend VA employees for poor performance or misconduct. In addition, it authorizes the VA secretary to recoup any bonuses awarded to employees who have acted improperly.

Under the new law, protections for whistleblowers will be expanded and the VA will be prevented from dismissing an employee who has an open complaint against the department.

The bill helped Trump follow through on a 2016 campaign promise.

The law marks the second time Congress has tried to change the disciplinary process at the VA. In 2014, the Choice Act was passed and tried to cut senior executives’ rights to appeal discipline to the Merit Systems Protection Board. However, a court ruled that it was unconstitutional and violated the Constitution’s appointments clause.

Ahead of the signing, Concerned Veterans for America, a conservative advocacy group, hailed the legislation as a positive step forward in a “new era of accountability, customer focus, and integrity at the department.”

Tom Fitton discussing Comey Lawlessness, Smoking Gun Clinton Email, & New JW Lawsuits

June 9, 2017

Tom Fitton discussing Comey Lawlessness, Smoking Gun Clinton Email, & New JW Lawsuits, Judicial Watch via YouTube, June 9, 2017


VA secretary says agency ‘clearly broken,’ urges action by Congress

May 31, 2017

VA secretary says agency ‘clearly broken,’ urges action by Congress, Washington TimesS.A. Miller, May 31, 2017

In this photo taken May 11, 2017, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Shulkin is warning the VA is “still in critical condition” despite efforts to reduce wait times for medical appointments and expand care.

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said Wednesday that the agency is “still in critical condition” with patients waiting too long for services and a bureaucracy unable to fire poorly performing employees.

Mr. Shulkin, the only holdover from the Obama administration in President Trump’s Cabinet, urged Congress to give the agency more power to discipline employees and expand the Veterans Choice program that allows vets to get treatment from private-sector doctors and hospitals.

Current rules prevent the VA from suspending or firing employees in a timely manner, including a recent case where it took more than a month to fire a psychiatrist caught watching pornography on his iPad while seeing a veteran.

“Our accountability process are clearly broken,” said Mr. Shulkin, a physician.

He said that despite limitation in the law, the VA has moved to purge executives and others for poor performance and mismanagement.

The agency recently fired the medical director and other executives in the D.C. facility and the medical director and three other executive in the Shreveport, Louisiana, facility.

A pattern of negligent and mistreatment at VA hospitals came to light in 2014. A report by CNN found that at least 40 veterans died while on long waiting lists for care at a facility in Phoenix.

More problems emerged at facilities across the country, including secret waiting lists that were kept hidden by executives in order to collect bonus pay.

The Veterans Choice Program was created in response. The program, however, was opposed by Democrats who warned it was an attempt to privatize the VA.

Mr. Trump last month signed into law a bill that extended the program.

Mr. Shulkin also credited the president with taking executive action to create a VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, which reports directly to the secretary.

“But that isn’t enough,” Mr. Shulkin said. “We need new accountability legislation and we need that now.”

The House passed a bill to make it easier to fire bad VA employees. The Senate has yet to act.

Humor | Florida VA hospital left IG inspector in shower for 9 hours

December 22, 2016

Florida VA hospital left IG inspector in shower for 9 hours, Duffel Blog, December 22, 2016


BAY PINES, Fla. — During a visit to review waiting times at the Bay Pines Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, inspector Floyd Rungen was left in a shower with a dead veteran for nine hours, sources confirmed today.

“In 35 years of service at the VA, I’ve never seen anything so outrageous as this,” said a perfectly-clean Rungen, displaying the shriveled skin on his fingertips. “They wanted me to inspect plumbing renovations at Bay Pines, and I agreed. Maybe there was a shift change or something but I was forgotten all day.”

“I mean, I can’t even use the fingerprint scanner back at the Department,” he complained. “I guess I’ll have to be let in on personal recognizance.” Wiping soap from his extremely-clean left ear, Rungren said, “When I get back to my office, I’ll file a strongly-worded report to my supervisor about having to kill time with that body lying there. Jesus.”

Rungren appeared to be referring to a veteran who allegedly died in a facility shower and whose remains were not removed for over nine hours.

“This outrage must never again happen to our distinguished veterans,” declared Rungren, who is also a veteran. “When a senior Department official is ignored like this, there must be changes.”

However, Bay Pines administrator Merle Johnson disagreed. “I’m sorry about the body we ignored but our health care system rightly prioritizes its limited resources on the soon-to-be left-for-dead, not the dead.”

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), who has made improving veterans’ care a priority, was outraged.

“I am tired of learning about the poor treatment of our heroic veteran inspectors, who are a national treasure,” he said. “They work hard to ensure that we in Congress receive accurate information about the quality of health care that the government doesn’t provide to vets,” O’Rourke said.

“God bless this shriveled inspector and his family during this difficult holiday season, what with his skin rehabilitation coming up at an exclusive D.C. doctor’s office.”

O’Rourke added that he would introduce a bill to fund new fingerprint scanners for the VA.