Reform, privatize the VA bureaucracy
The problems suddenly emerging from the
This is more than fraudulent wait lists. Is the culture of this agency too warped to repair?
Should its health care services be moved to the private sector?
All those involved in oversight -
As an interim report from the VA's inspector general noted on the
The VA had trouble meeting 30-day wait times, which then led to the impossible goal of 14-day wait times. In reaction, staff created elaborate schemes to make it appear the goals were being met.
New reports describe sustained problems with a group of seven VA hospitals that have high rates of death and infection.FUNDING OR MANAGEMENT?
Since 2000, annual spending for the VA has tripled, reported
Only one of 435 VA executives in 2012 received a less-than- satisfactory review. In fact, the head of the
Bonuses even went to physicians who had been disciplined.
Is there a staffing issue at the VA? They don't know. An audit two years ago concluded VA had no effective method for determining if staffing is sufficient at clinics,
The question now is if the VA is too big and too tainted to fix.
On rankings of government agencies, the VA ranked No. 13 of 19 large federal agencies. Homeland Security has long been last in line.
The top-ranked large federal operation is
It is possible to turn around a federal agency, reports the
The Patent and Trademark Office has raised its satisfaction scores 20 points from 2009 to 2013.
The key to job satisfaction is leadership, the
In private business, it would be appropriate to bring in someone skilled in turnarounds. The ideal candidate would be skilled in running both private business and government and be willing to serve a few years as an interim change agent.
A new head of the VA needs to be someone of stature who knows how to turn around large bureaucracies and does not need the job.
Being familiar with the military would be ideal but not essential. Someone like
The VA is an entirely government-run health system, the sort of operation that critics of Obamacare would called "socialized."
One solution is to provide qualifying veterans with vouchers that would allow them to use health care on their own. The
Hal Sherz, a member of the faculty of
"The VA health care system is run by a centrally controlled federal bureaucracy," he wrote. "Ultimately that is the source of the poor care veterans receive."
VA's primary care doctors also are underpaid compared to their private counterparts. Paired with poor working conditions, it's no wonder there are physician shortages.
It is time to replace the VA's toxic bureaucracy with a smaller organization that is more responsive, more transparent, more accountable and more useful to both veterans and all the citizens.QUOTABLES"The culture of the VA has become rather toxic, intolerant of dissenting views and contradictory opinions. They have lost their commitment to transparency."-
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