Editorial opinion does not necessarily reflect the views of VetLikeMe
by Derrick Storms
The nationwide scandals at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the United States’ second largest agency, ominously demonstrates what our government has become—a government that serves itself, instead of the people. The legion of egregious abuses against our nation’s veterans at the hands of the VA is unforgivable. Driven by moral values, former VA employees are beginning to step forward, and others should muster the courage to follow.
Former VA doctors at the Phoenix VA Medical Center, Sam Foote and Katherine Mitchell, have confirmed that veterans—desperate for medical treatment—languished to death on “secret waiting lists” so that VA’s leadership could falsely claim vets were receiving timely medical care. The motives for allowing veterans to die without treatment was to enable VA leadership to receive lavish performance bonuses tied to patient wait times.
In a similar manner, employees at the VA clinic in Fort Collins, Colorado were also instructed to falsify appointment records and treatment wait times for one purpose—to enable VA leadership to obtain tens of thousands of dollars in performance bonuses.
The VA’s fraudulent reporting tactics are not limited to medical treatment wait times. Whistleblower Oliver Mitchel recently reported that thousands of veterans’ disability claims were also intentionally destroyed by VA employees—again so that unscrupulous VA officials could qualify for performance bonuses tied to reducing the claims backlog. It is now clear that VA leadership do not care about the veterans they serve. They do not care that over 50 veterans die each day waiting for their two-year old disability claims to be processed by the VA. These despicable government officials care about one thing—getting a bonus.
The widespread culture of abuse at VA demonstrates a shift in the mentality of our government, government officials are serving themselves instead of Americans. This corrupt culture is unforgiveable in America. Our values do not tolerate corrupt leadership. Nor do we allow leaders to engage in systematic “cover ups” of fraud and abuse like Secretary Shinseki continues to do. Time and time again, Shinseki has refused to cooperate with Congressional investigations, the media, and veterans groups. Instead, he protects the VA’s deplorable leadership at the expense of veterans and their families. Two words describe Shinseki—”corrupt” and a “traitor.”
How much more do we need to see before Shinseki is forced to leave office? It is beyond question that VA is the worst run agency in America. It has failed its mission of caring for veterans. It has become a rouge agency that serves itself rather than the interest of Americans. VA has developed a culture where government agents serve themselves—to the detriment of the people—and we cannot allow this to permeate throughout our government. Americans need to ask themselves, is this the culture we want to foster in our government?
As other scandals have revealed, the VA’s corruption is indicative of a broader culture of corruption that is infecting our government. Our government is becoming one that serves itself, instead of the people. This is intolerable! Americans must demand that our government serve the people. We must demand accountability and punishment of our corrupt leaders. Americans must demand that Shinseki be terminated from the office that he has disgraced—immediately!
VetLikeMe Weekly, May 15, 2014