The Feb. 9 editorial “ Help at home” discussing the efforts of the Department of Veterans Affairs to rebuild its broken health care system suggested that the arrival of a third VA clinic in Raleigh would bring with it solutions to the wait times for veterans in the area. Seriously? We’re going to throw more money at a system that has proven it is outdated?
While a new facility would undoubtedly have a positive effect in the short term, it does nothing to change the culture of mediocrity that has plagued the department across the country. More doctors and more rooms would help, but if there’s no accountability for those doctors and the bureaucracy continues to be a self-rewarding entity that encourages subpar work, we’re still going to hear the same tragic stories of neglect and mismanagement.
The core issue at the VA is that it has lost its focus – the veteran. The current system’s desire to maintain the status quo has put veterans on the backburner while executives collect undeserved bonuses with the comfort of knowing there’s virtually no way to fire them.
Last year, Concerned Veterans for America helped bring much needed accountability to the department taking shape in the form of the Veterans Access Choice and Accountability Act. This law gave the VA the power to fire bad employees. Sadly, the new power of accountability and authority to fire people involved in the wait time scandal have not been used since implementation.
In order for the VA to properly serve our veterans who sacrifice every day for our freedoms, it needs a cultural change in mindset that creates an atmosphere to treat the veteran like a customer and not a number.
State director, Concerned Veterans for America, Chapel Hill
The length limit was waived for a fuller response to the editorial.