House committee launches VA Accountability Watch

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has launched a Web campaign meant to highlight what he calls the Department of Veterans Affairs “pattern of rewarding failure.”

The “VA Accountability Watch” on the committee’s Web site lists a series of Government Accountability Office studies and other reports that have found problems at VA facilities.

 

(Charles Dharapak/AP) - Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters. (Charles Dharapak/AP) – Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters.

“By educating America’s veterans and American taxpayers about VA’s long and well-documented history of rewarding failure, we hope to enlist their help in our quest to end the culture of complacency that is contributing to many of the department’s most serious problems,” Miller said in a statement.

The VA said in response that it “takes seriously any issue that occurs at one of the more than 1,800 facilities across the country.”

The department said that some performance awards have been suspended pending further review. “We will continue to work with Congress and other stakeholders in support our mission of serving Veterans and their families,” the VA said.

A GAO study issued last month that found the VA awarded bonuses to most of the doctors at its medical centers, despite lacking reasonable assurances that the added pay was linked to performance.

Following the release of the GAO report, the VA said it was taking steps to ensure “that pay and awards are supported by proper documentation of performance and meet established standards.”

Other incidents featured on the Web site include a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the VA’s Pittsburgh medical system and mismanagement at the Atlanta VA medical center.

 

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Josh Hicks · September 3, 2013

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