WH report blames “corrosive culture,” bad leadership at VA for deadly corruption

posted at 4:01 pm on June 28, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

And who was responsible for cleaning up the corrosive culture and poor leadership that was so obvious in 2008 that both Barack Obama and John McCain made it a major campaign issue? Well, don’t expect the report from the Obama administration to go that far in determining fault for the VA corruption that cost dozens of veterans’ lives in Phoenix, and possibly more than a thousand, according to a study performed by Senator Tom Coburn. This week’s Friday afternoon document dump highlighted the “corrosive culture” and incompetent leadership that went undetected by the Obama administration for more than five years — and which got massive budget increases without any apparent scrutiny:

The Veterans Affairs health care system needs to be overhauled because of unresponsive leadership and a “corrosive culture” that affects the delivery of medical care, said a report delivered Friday to President Barack Obama.

“It is clear that there are significant and chronic systemic failures that must be addressed by the leadership at VA,” said the report prepared by Rob Nabors, who is Obama’s deputy chief of staff and who the President dispatched to assess the situation at the troubled agency. …

The report called for an overhaul of leadership at the Veterans Medical Administration.

“It currently acts with little transparency or accountability with regard to its management of the VA medical structure,” the report said.

The VA central office could solve this problem with more transparency and by taking a more hands-on approach with regional leaders, the report said.

The report also blames the metric on wait time as being unrealistic. A 14-day average wait time to see a doctor is unrealistic? That would only be the case in a single-payer system. The report is correct that it’s not an indication of quality care, but it’s the only possible metric to measure access to the system in the first place. The problem at the VA isn’t that wait time was being measured, it’s that the VA leadership at all levels is focused more on protecting the bureaucracy than on serving its customers, because it has no competition to get it focused on customer service.

Another problem area in the report is “resources” — which means budgets:

– The technology behind the basic scheduling system is “cumbersome and outdated.”

– Additional resources, including doctors, nurses, trained support staff and other health professionals, are needed.

– Many of the resource issues facing the VA are similar to what exists in the private sector. But the VA has not clearly articulated its funding needs.

That’s a joke, right? In six budgets signed by Barack Obama, funding for the VA rose 78%, as I wrote a month ago:

In comparison to that final Bush budget — don’t forget that Obama signed the FY2009 budget in March 2009 with the omnibus spending bill after a Democrat-controlled Congress refused to deal with Bush — VA spending has risen dramatically as well. The annual budget rose 78% in six budget cycles, with double-digit increases in four of the six years — while Defense spending was flat. No other Cabinet agency had a larger budget increase by percentage during Obama’s tenure. The closest was Agriculture (64%), followed by State (59%, which tends to discredit the canard about the Benghazi failure being caused by a lack of resources). Only HHS had a larger annual budget increase in terms of dollars spent, but it amounts to a 37% increase in spending from the FY2008 baseline. The amount of increase in the VA’s budget in the Obama era, $65.9 billion, exceeds the entire VA budget in the FY2004 budget.

The FY2008 VA budget was $84.7 billion (which increased 83% during the Bush administration, too). Using that as a baseline, Congress has given the VA an additional $235 billion in six years over that FY2008 level. Where have those resources gone? Did the White House even think to ask before this scandal blew up? That’s almost a quarter of a trillion dollars in six years over and above what the VA had already been receiving, and the White House now claims that the problems are that the VA can’t articulate its own budget needs effectively enough.

The problem is the VA itself. It’s the inevitable outcome of single-payer systems, whose incentives all run to the protection of the bureaucracy because the customers have nowhere else to go. That is the essence of the “corrosive culture” at the VA, and only a paradigm change in its mission will solve it. The real long-term solution to the VA is to end its single-payer status, and provide veterans the resources to access a range of providers for their care while focusing the VA provider system on its core competence of service-related injuries and illnesses.

The leadership issues are obvious, but they’re not limited to the VA. Obama demanded and received an avalanche of funding increases for the VA but never bothered to follow up to see what the Cabinet agency did with the money. After making VA care an issue on which to campaign in 2008, Obama didn’t care enough to even do some cursory oversight of his own administration until veterans were dropping dead because of fraud and corruption. His answer now is to demand more cash be thrown at the problem and appoint replacement hacks so that the VA stays a single-payer system and White House can go back to ignoring it. There may be a few ways to describe that, but leadership isn’t one of them.


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WH report blames “corrosive culture,” bad leadership at VA for deadly corruption

Leadership starts at the Top, Constitutional Professor.

BlaxPac on June 28, 2014 at 4:07 PM

obama blames himself?

Color me skeptical.

Schadenfreude on June 28, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Obama didn’t care enough to even do some cursory oversight of his own administration until veterans were dropping dead because of fraud and corruption. His answer now is to demand more cash be thrown at the problem and appoint replacement hacks so that the VA stays a single-payer system and White House can go back to ignoring it. There may be a few ways to describe that, but leadership isn’t one of them.

Criminal would be another way of describing that but that might just be MHO because I’m a racist. Were any of the Vets that died because of this mistreatment black?

VegasRick on June 28, 2014 at 4:10 PM

And, of course, it has nothing to do with paying out bonuses for administrators simply doing their jobs which led to their hiding those waiting lists so they could collect.

HiJack on June 28, 2014 at 4:12 PM

I hold obama personally accountable for the mess at the VA.

He inherited some of it but he promised to clean it up. I have the videos.

Now, you utter oaf, this should really get your head.

ISIS are slipping through the open Southern border and it’s all on you.

This witch, why doesn’t she take those kids home?

Pelosi explained, “We are all Americans — north and south in this hemisphere,” and urged America to see this as not a crisis but an opportunity “to be helpful.” She also said she wished she could simply “take home” the thousands of children temporarily housed in the overburden facilities.

You say that these are off topic?

NO, my dear compatriots. Soon it all will be one topic, your complete destruction, not in a nice way.

obama has lots of blood on his hands in the ME and elsewhere, but soon he’ll have more of it on the domestic front.

The VA is an utter tragedy and soon it will be a branch of an even bigger one.

Schadenfreude on June 28, 2014 at 4:13 PM

Only goes to show more money fixes nothing.

formwiz on June 28, 2014 at 4:17 PM

The report also blames the metric on wait time as being unrealistic. A 14-day average wait time to see a doctor is unrealistic?

Uh, it used to be 30 days for routine appointments and 45 days for specialty ones. And those deadlines were not always met either.

The problem is the VA itself. It’s the inevitable outcome of single-payer systems, whose incentives all run to the protection of the bureaucracy because the customers have nowhere else to go.

The VA’s big problem is that they are trying to do too much for Veterans and everyone suffers because resources are spread very thin. They are duplicating programs and resources that are available at other Federal, State and Private organizations, and they are doing it poorly.

The VA has it’s own Job Training/Placement Bureaucracy. That is a waste of VA dollars IMO. We Vets don’t need another Job placement Officer, we already have at least two with the State and Fed and they are specially trained to work with Vets like me. Sure some of the really bad off wounded people need special stuff and additional skill sets, but not every Vet that comes through the door needs to see a VA Job Counselor, but they are staffed and funded to do that.

The above is just one example of Mission Creep in the VA. They need to get back to the basics and concentrate on taking care of sick and wounded Vets.

Johnnyreb on June 28, 2014 at 4:18 PM

Only goes to show more money fixes nothing.

formwiz on June 28, 2014 at 4:17 PM

Ultimately you end up in Detroit.

Obama is personally responsible, but utterly indifferent to anything but a good applause line while he’s performing.

That’s all he is.

dogsoldier on June 28, 2014 at 4:21 PM

No federal employee unions and private sector oversight reporting to congress in open reports would solve a lot problems and money.

tim c on June 28, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Criminal would be another way of describing that but that might just be MHO because I’m a racist. Were any of the Vets that died because of this mistreatment black?

VegasRick on June 28, 2014 at 4:10 PM

Don’t care if they were all Northeast WASP and they spoke like John F(cuked-up) Kerry….

You don’t treat our Active Duty or Vets like that.

You Don’t Leave them Out to Dry.

And you Sure as Heck, Don’t Leave Them to DIE.

Some things are beyond normal politics…Too bad this Admin can’t see that, as “smart” as they’re are.

BlaxPac on June 28, 2014 at 4:28 PM

Fundamental rule of government:

Government grows in response to its own failures.

Thus the Obama response to a bloated corrupt inefficient bureaucracy is to make it larger.

PackerBronco on June 28, 2014 at 4:29 PM

So the Obama Administration performed an objective internal review. Released a report to the American people about where the state had gone wrong administering health services to Veterans. Publicly proposed solutions to those issues and expressed regret at the consequences of their poor behavior.

Wow. Remind me. Has the private chemical firm that poisoned the water supply of West Virginia done the same?

The argument that conservatives have against the government is that the bureaucracy isn’t accountable to anyone. But here they are, being accountable. In broad daylight. Exactly what you all claim the state never does. Meanwhile, private firms who have threatened peoples lives by poisoning the water supply constantly complain that they are over regulated. Really, isn’t regulation just accountability? And aren’t corporations whose business practices potentially effect things like THE WATER SUPPLY accountable to us. We are humans. Water is very important for survival.

Oh and in case you’re not familiar with the case.

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/dont-drink-the-water-west-virginia-after-the-chemical-spill-20140312

libfreeordie on June 28, 2014 at 4:30 PM

libfreeordie on June 28, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Wow. That is some twisted, weaving road you had to go down to get there. Did you stop for a choom or two during the journey?

VegasRick on June 28, 2014 at 4:36 PM

libfreeordie on June 28, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Squirrels…over there….

Does everybody poop?

libfreeordie on June 11, 2014 at 9:23 AM

Schadenfreude on June 28, 2014 at 4:42 PM

The VA is not free for all vets.They means test unless a vet is ser vice connected injury or illness,former POW or awarded the Purple Heart.If you are not in those groups there are copays.The VA wants as many vets enrolled as they can get.It keeps the money flowing in.That is their primary goal.Treatment is just an excuse.

docflash on June 28, 2014 at 4:42 PM

But here they are, being accountable. In broad daylight. libfreeordie on June 28, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Being accountable means accepting responsibility and the consequences.

There was unethical and criminal behavior here. In the private sector, there would be civil lawsuits, terminations and possible jail-time.

If there are no consequences, then there isn’t any accountability.

Reuben Hick on June 28, 2014 at 4:43 PM

libfreeordie on June 28, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Everyone should know that you are an admitted troll, a lying one at that, before engaging you.

I have said many times that I post here for gags, stunts and shows.

libfreeordie on June 24, 2014 at 9:00 PM

non-nonpartisan on June 28, 2014 at 4:45 PM

So the Obama Administration performed an objective internal review. Released a report to the American people about where the state had gone wrong administering health services to Veterans. Publicly proposed solutions to those issues and expressed regret at the consequences of their poor behavior.

Wow. Remind me. Has the private chemical firm that poisoned the water supply of West Virginia done the same?

Reports be damned. THIS ISN’T NEWS TO HIM ABOUT THE VA!

He campaigned on it. He bragged about how much money he was going to throw at the problem, and STIL not a damned thing was done.

On his watch…which makes it HIS G-Damned mess, period-effin dot.

BTW, if this WAS a Private industry problem, you’re telling me this ham-handed Administration WOULDN’T have sicced every Podunk Alphabet-Soup agency at it to extort concessions out of them?

Are you BLEEPING kidding me?

The argument that conservatives have against the government is that the bureaucracy isn’t accountable to anyone. But here they are, being accountable. In broad daylight. Exactly what you all claim the state never does. Meanwhile, private firms who have threatened peoples lives by poisoning the water supply constantly complain that they are over regulated. Really, isn’t regulation just accountability? And aren’t corporations whose business practices potentially effect things like THE WATER SUPPLY accountable to us. We are humans. Water is very important for survival.

Oh and in case you’re not familiar with the case.

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/dont-drink-the-water-west-virginia-after-the-chemical-spill-20140312

libfreeordie on June 28, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Weak Tea, sport. This “Investigation” was buried, like so many other under a rolling snowball of sh!t that been non-stop since 2010…F&F, Benghazi, IRS Audits…and yes the VA too.

You want absolution for your Master in the White House? Good he can start with firing every Mid to High Level Manager connected to the agency. Fire em, severance pay…whatever…clean GDamn house…OR Privatize the entire VA, period, no condition.

Then instead of wasting MY money going to play Golf every other weekend, go to every major base we have left in the US and overseas and personally apologize to every living soul that’s wearing a US Military uniform…

…I mean how hard can it be? He’s apologized for everything ELSE the US has done. *spit*

BlaxPac on June 28, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Go ahead, Piglosi, take home all the waifs you want to. I’m sure they all know how to pick the grapes from your vineyards or they’re smart enough to learn quickly. Did you remember to wear your surgical mask? A lot of those kids have communicable diseases. Don’t take something catching back to DC. On second thought…reap what you sowed. Sorry to be off topic. This witch gets under my skin.
Shinseki started this bonus program and got to walk around with his general nose in the air as the head of a big govt dept. Instead of doing right by the vets, he allowed the corruption to continue. Dear leader lied and vets died. Where are all the hippies on this.

Kissmygrits on June 28, 2014 at 4:47 PM

So the Obama Administration performed an objective internal review. Released a report to the American people about where the state had gone wrong administering health services to Veterans. Publicly proposed solutions to those issues and expressed regret at the consequences of their poor behavior.

libfreeordie on June 28, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Right. After they got caught and it got in the headlines.

What were they doing about it 2, 4, 6 years ago? Nothing. No, actually they were doing something: encouraging it.

Nice try.

Bat Chain Puller on June 28, 2014 at 4:49 PM

What is the point of “running” a health care business like the VA if the same amount of money (or less) could just be used to give each vet a health care policy that could be used ANYWHERE?

BierManVA on June 28, 2014 at 4:52 PM

What is the point of “running” a health care business like the VA if the same amount of money (or less) could just be used to give each vet a health care policy that could be used ANYWHERE?

BierManVA on June 28, 2014 at 4:52 PM

Finding enough Doctors who would take it. The VA sent me out for Physical Therapy because I was over 1 hour away from the VA Clinic where they do PT and I had to go 3 times a week for 4 months. I had quite a chore finding a place that would take me with VA reimbursement.

Johnnyreb on June 28, 2014 at 5:07 PM

traitor to the oath and his office…

crosshugger on June 28, 2014 at 5:09 PM

But of course it isn’t his fault….. Where is he today? Well, as you could guess playing golf…..

sandee on June 28, 2014 at 5:10 PM

libfreeordie on June 28, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Tank failed and spilled. People warned not to use the water. How many died? Company will be sued out of existence. Obama knew VA was a mess when he took office About a thousand died. His answer throw more money at it. How do they compare?

wifarmboy on June 28, 2014 at 5:11 PM

Answer to the question: where are all the hippies? They are still spitting on the veterans and members of the military, just from higher office.

crosshugger on June 28, 2014 at 5:11 PM

Yet somehow Obama will not be held responsible because…..BLACK!!!!!

Any private industry corporation would have the CEO in jail months ago. Affirmative action preezy not at all at fault. In fact pointing out these atrocities under Obama’s reign of incompetence is racist.

Anybody still thinking that Obama is the smartest guy in the room? Unless he is alone the answer is a resounding NO!

jukin3 on June 28, 2014 at 5:11 PM

He didn’t make that charge until after his stooges had gathered several tons of “plausible denial”. Mustn’t taint the emperor.

rplat on June 28, 2014 at 5:13 PM

The management culture reflects the leadership from the top -
without a change there, it’s the Same Old, same old.

Another Drew on June 28, 2014 at 5:29 PM

Meet Judge Emmet G Sullivan: The Man Who Is Going To Put The Fear Of God Into Lerner & Co. (He Even Once Sicced A Special Prosecutor On The DOJ)

Mark July 10th on your calendar.

Resist We Much on June 28, 2014 at 5:14 PM

Thanks for that info, RWM.

Judicial Watch — once again doing the job that American Congressman won’t do …

ShainS on June 28, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Wow. Remind me. Has the private chemical firm that poisoned the water supply of West Virginia done the same?

libfreeordie on June 28, 2014 at 4:30 PM

LOL! What do chemicals in the water in WV have to do with the VA?

This is almost as sad as your pathetic attempt to hijack a thread here yesterday claiming that Bush never did any 1 on 1 interviews between 2006 and 2008. After less than 5 minutes of research, I kicked your Lie into low earth orbit on that thread, citing at least 4 different 1 on 1 interviews Bush did in that 2006-2008 time frame as well as several other 1 on 1s before and after. Funny how you never returned to that thread…

But since you asked, take that West Virginia water up with your Cult Leader, whose regime declared just yesterday that said water in WV was safe to drink, and that they would not be doing any more water testing, despite repeated pleas from the Democrat WV Governor to do so.

Choke on it.

F-

Del Dolemonte on June 28, 2014 at 5:40 PM

F-

Del Dolemonte on June 28, 2014 at 5:40 PM

LMAO. I almost pity the poor fool (almost, but not quite) — well done, again, Del.

Nobody can be that stupid that consistently over time .

It must be a bot …

ShainS on June 28, 2014 at 5:45 PM

libfreeordie on June 28, 2014 at 4:30 PM

PS-getting back to the VA, all of these problems are solely of O’bama’s doing, because in 2007 and 2008 he campaigned on fixing what was broken with the VA, and in 2009 repeated his promise to do so.

But as far as I can tell, his appointment of General Shinseki to lead the VA was based on the following:

1. Shinseki’s race.

2. Shinseki’s home state (Hawai’i)

3. Shinseki’s criticism of how Bush handled the Iraq War.

Shinseki ran military units, and also sat on the Board of Directors of several corporations (including some evil defense contractors, which should give you Dems fits). But as far as I can tell, he never had any type of experience running an agency as large as the VA.

His subsequent record of utter failure at the VA, and his resignation, proves that my three criteria are absolutely correct.

Del Dolemonte on June 28, 2014 at 5:49 PM

It must be a bot …

ShainS on June 28, 2014 at 5:45 PM

Not a bot. Just a product of urban academia blindness to reality.

Del Dolemonte on June 28, 2014 at 5:50 PM

LMAO. I almost pity the poor fool (almost, but not quite) — well done, again, Del.

Nobody can be that stupid that consistently over time .

It must be a bot …

ShainS on June 28, 2014 at 5:45 PM

He admits he’s a troll.

I have said many times that I post here for gags, stunts and shows.

libfreeordie on June 24, 2014 at 9:00 PM

Why does anyone believe anything he says about himself or his beliefs when he’s flaunts that he’s not here to be serious?

He’s obviously here to disrupt, like bluegill, BrainOnKoch, uncoolrepublica, and some others who act the same. What more do people need from him?

non-nonpartisan on June 28, 2014 at 5:55 PM

“It currently acts with little transparency or accountability

Huh? Isn’t that like the rest of King Barack’s administration?

GarandFan on June 28, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Budgets? Do they really want to go there, after the Phoenix VA spent over $500,000 for landscape services. Anybody familiar with that location will tell you – it’s xeriscape desert landscaping. No grass to trim, no trees to trim – it’s rocks and cactus. They have money for that, but not enough to provide timely care to our veterans?

Hill60 on June 28, 2014 at 6:05 PM

The argument that conservatives have against the government is that the bureaucracy isn’t accountable to anyone. But here they are, being accountable.

libfree/KoolAid Drinker

So who’s gone besides Shinseki?

AND to put a point on it, WHO in the IRS supplied confidential information to an opposing political group?

Yeah, dumbass, Eric Holder got right on that, didn’t he?

GarandFan on June 28, 2014 at 6:09 PM

I levy constant attacks on the Obama Administration, as any honest reader of my comments here would agree.
 
libfreeordie on June 6, 2013 at 1:26 PM

rogerb on June 28, 2014 at 7:24 PM

I want to unpack something to make sure I understand it. We’re talking about VA as a “single payer” system, but that’s not quite right, is it? Isn’t it actually a full-on socialized system?

As I understand it, the VA is a completely self-contained, state-operated entity. The government owns all the hospitals, the doctors and nurses are all government employees, and patients are required to use those specific facilities to take advantage of their benefits (there may be some exceptions, but I think they’re few, yes?).

By comparison, something like Medicare is actually a single-payer system, in which the government administers benefits and covers costs incurred when a patient visits a participating (usually private practice) doctor.

So while a single-payer system like Medicare is horribly costly, inefficient, and crummy overall, it seems the VA troubles prove the unmitigated hell that is socialized medicine.

Do I have this right? Just trying to understand the difference between these two terms.

KKinFLA on June 28, 2014 at 10:15 PM

Sorry, typed in my last comment in the app, and it came up as one long block of text. I swear I had paragraphs in the thing when I wrote it! :0)

KKinFLA on June 28, 2014 at 10:18 PM

KKinFLA on June 28, 2014 at 10:15 PM

Yes. A better comparison to the VA would be the British NHS, and in fact the horror stories from both are remarkably similar.

slickwillie2001 on June 29, 2014 at 12:13 AM

Do we know for sure that Obama is capable of reading a budget and understanding it?

Bobbi on June 29, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Looking for someone to blame for corrosive culture and poor leadership ? The VA criminals? EPA employee’s sheeting in the hallways? 54,000 illegal unaccompanied children ? obama’s IRS weapon? obama’s NSA and FEMA control agencies? America’s Fighting Men in shirts? Thank your democrat progressive communist subversives, and especially the obama & Co. Transformation of America.

lel2007 on June 29, 2014 at 12:49 PM

The “culture” of any organization refers to the part that never changes … consequently the VA needs to be re-built. The current management needs to be removed completely.

virgo on June 30, 2014 at 12:00 AM

The report also blames the metric on wait time as being unrealistic. A 14-day average wait time to see a doctor is unrealistic? That would only be the case in a single-payer system.

Here’s our preview of where the US healthcare system is going. Obamacare is taking us there, and each Obamacare ‘fix’ will move us closer.

And there will be plenty of layers of bureaucracy. That way, whoever is President when the scandal breaks about thousands of people dying while waiting for care, the President can use the Obama method for claiming it is someone else’s fault.

They used to call it ‘plausible deniability”. Not sure what the official term is nowadays, but it’s still official dereliction of duty in my opinion.

And as a backup excuse, there is always the Homer Simpson standard disclaimer oft used by Obama: “It was that way when I got here”.

s1im on June 30, 2014 at 1:25 PM

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