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Mitchell III April 3, 2014

The key to success in reforming the VA is to first admit we have a problem. Without a doubt the nations largest integrated healthcare system, known as the VA is broken. On February 26, 2014, Dr. Dean Norman wrote a column titled VA Fact Checks Record Management Allegation in which he said The Department of Veterans Affairs cares deeply for every Veteran we are privileged to serve. Our goal is to provide the best quality, safe and effective health care our Veterans have earned and deserve. VA has established a record of safe, exceptional health care that is consistently recognized by independent reviews and organizations. However, if we were to judge the VA based on recent media coverage, one could easily conclude that the VA is anything but safe, reliable and effective. Todays VA is corrupt, inefficient and slow to change. Corruption cannot be reformed, it must be eliminated. Inefficiency cannot be reformed, it must be reformulated. Reform has never fixed the VA but has only served to provide a bandaid to its long term systemic problems. From disability backlogs, to manipulating patient appointment and wait times, to delays in GI Bill payments, to preventable deaths and exposures to preventable diseases, to include a slew of systemic, discriminatory and retaliatory culture. The VA is anything but exceptional. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs needs its own 12 Step program. The agencys goals need to be re-analyzed. Spending should be placed on a moratorium to curb the systemic embezzlement and corruption. The current benefits and healthcare services should be improved and streamlined instead of being expanded, and these are just a few ideas to begin with.

The VA didnt get this way on its own. We must place blame where blame is due. And that blame rest solely with congress. The VA is the second largest cabinet level agency within the federal government. Its congress responsibility to police the federal government and ensure that taxpayers money is being spent accordingly. Congress and congress only has the authority to legislate the VA into being or becoming a modern 21st Century healthcare agency. The VAs failures are congress failures and that needs to be addressed. What good is any accountability measures if those charged with being accountable arent held accountable? What good are hearings if no one is listening or asking the hard questions? What good is congress if they allow those to be held accountable to plead the fifth? Talk is cheap and billions are being spent annually on a system that is deteriorating into nothing more than a bureaucratic cesspool.

Oliver Mitchell is a former Marine and former VA employee turned whistleblower.

Copyright Oliver B. Mitchell III 2014. All rights reserved. This article cannot be copied, reposted, published, republished or edited without prior consent of author.