It was less than five months ago that President Barack Obama accepted the resignation of his Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, in the wake of the scandal involving a systematic cover-up of waiting times and related deaths at VA hospitals.
It was a move that Obama had to make. Just days after Shinseki resigned, a Washington Post/ABC News poll revealed that nearly 80 percent of the public held the president personally responsible for the poor care America’s veterans received and the bureaucratic culture which encouraged the falsification of data. Obama mitigated the political damage he might have suffered as a result of that scandal by jettisoning Shinseki, but it seems that and the subsequent actions his administration took to reform the VA have not made life any easier for U.S. vets.
According to The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Department of Veterans Affairs has made the inexplicable decision to promote an administrator who advised his colleagues against disclosing a deadly Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak at a Pennsylvania hospital.
David Cord, deputy director of VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System since June 2012, will become director of the Erie VA Medical Center within 60 days, the VA informed Congress.
The VA disclosed the Legionnaires’ outbreak that killed at least six and sickened at least 16 others on Nov. 16, 2012 — two days after Cord told a VA spokesman not to alert the public about it, according to an internal email from the spokesman obtained as part of a Tribune-Review investigation.
As of 2012, Cord, a 13-year veteran of the agency, was making $127,531 in his position. Certainly, his promotion and subsequent pay bump was well-eared.
It’s not the only bad news the Veterans Affairs Administration has received this week.
The Phoenix-based VA hospital at the center of the scandal failed a recent 13-point quality control review despite a flood of criticism and increased scrutiny
“Phoenix’s Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center failed to maintain a “safe, functional environment” or foster a “culture of safety and quality,” the independent Joint Commission found,” read an editorial published in Arizona’s The Republic. “If there was ever confirmation that the VA is too big to fix, this is it.”
Despite outrage, despite oversight, despite the purported personal interest of the President of the United States of America, the VA is still broken. Nothing ever changes, and not because Americans or even government officials do not want them to – these massive bureaucracies are just incapable of being reformed.