How do VA firings compare to governmentwide firings?

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Lawmakers and veterans groups are insisting that the Department of Veterans Affairs must hold accountable any employees who are responsible for widespread falsification of scheduling records at VA hospitals.

Federal-workforce data show that the Veterans Health Administration has already fired workers at a higher rate than the government as a whole during the past six years, at least in terms of its rank-and-file General Schedule employees.

The percentage of VHA employees removed or terminated for discipline or performance reasons has never dropped below 0.65 percent since 2008. The rate reached as high as 0.90 percent in 2009.

By comparison, the percentage of governmentwide employees removed or terminated for the same reasons never rose above 0.58 during the same period, and the rate dropped to a low of 0.46 percent last year.

VHA firings also represented a disproportionately high percentage of VA terminations and removals compared to the percentage of VA employees who work for the VHA.

VHA employees made up less than 91 percent of all VA employees during the past six years, but it generally accounted for more than 91 percent of all VA terminations and removals over the same period.

The lone exception was 2010, when the VHA accounted for about 88 percent of VA firings.

The takeaway: Firings have been relatively bad for the VHA in recent years, but they may become worse as the VA and its inspector general root out any bad actors responsible for inappropriate scheduling practices.

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks(at)washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye and The Fed Page for more federal news. Submit news tips and suggestions to federalworker@washpost.com.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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