Bonuses for VA administrators are inappropriate

July 9, 2014 

Ah, just what the VA needed. More trouble. Following the revelation of disgraceful wait times in some VA facilities, now comes the news that some VA administrators, including some who supervised underperforming facilities, have gotten nice performance bonuses.

Apparently, whether the performance was good or bad didn’t matter. And even more disturbing is that some officials who were alleged to have falsified appointment records got bonuses, according to various news reports.

Some who supervised facilities where those wait times were horrendous got bonuses along with those who appeared to be doing a better job. The procedures that allowed that to happen must change – for good.

Congress seems to be moving quickly to ensure that this ridiculous custom of paying bonuses to VA officials will stop. The House voted unanimously to ban them through 2016, with one congressman saying the millions that might have gone for bonuses could be spent on veterans’ care.

Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, with Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, introduced a measure to force Veterans Affairs to take back bonuses that went to anyone connected to the scheduling and wait time problem.

The VA is a huge operation that includes 150 hospitals and 800 community clinics and more than 100 nursing home facilities. Generally, once veterans are served, they are well-served.

But as challenging as the job may be, the only acceptable report to the American people is that wait times have been reduced and that those who have served in uniform are getting what they have earned.

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