Sunday, March 15, 2015

Chairman Miller Statement On President Obama’s Phoenix VA Health Care System Visit

On Friday, the office of House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Jeff Miller (above)  released the following statement:

Mar 13, 2015

WASHINGTON – Chairman Miller released the following statement today regarding President Obama’s Phoenix VA Health Care System visit.

“Anytime the president devotes his time and personal attention to the issues plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs, it’s a good thing. But I’m concerned the administration’s decision to convene an advisory committee composed of outside experts to help improve VA services is a duplicative step that misses the mark. The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, which the president signed last August, already mandates two top-to-bottom reviews of VA’s health care system. These reviews will be used to guide longer term efforts to reform VA into an organization truly worthy of the veterans it is charged with serving. In the short term, however, the solution for fixing what ails the department could not be more clear. The lack of accountability for those who caused the VA scandal is the single most important factor inhibiting VA’s transformation, and nowhere is this more visible than in Phoenix. Nearly a year after the city became the epicenter of VA’s problems, the department has not fired a single Phoenix VA employee for wait time manipulation. In fact, efforts to hold employees accountable in Phoenix have been repeatedly botched. To this day, key leaders tied to the scandal in Phoenix remain on the job or on paid leave, and now the department is being forced to pay back thousands in bonus money it tried to rescind from former Phoenix VA Director Sharon Helman. This dearth of accountability also exists at VA facilities across the nation, as evidenced by the fact that VA has not fired a single senior executive for wait time manipulation. It’s becoming quite evident that this administration is either unwilling or unable to take accountability at VA seriously. There is no way around it: in order for VA reform to succeed, those who caused the department’s massive scandal must be purged from the payroll. If that doesn’t happen, it will only be a matter of time before we’re talking about the next VA scandal.”  – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

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