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“Tough Laws” Fail to Change VA Culture

Two and a half years ago, with great fanfare from both the President and Congress, a law was enacted to “clean up” the VA. Among other provisions, whistleblowers would be protected. Incompetent and corrupt administrators would be removed. Guess what? It didn’t work. This piece from Delmarva Public Radio tells a sad but not surprising tale.

The intent of the legislation was admirable – and needed. The problem is that the entrenched bureaucracy essentially just shrugged off the clear mandate of the statute. Apparently, they can do so with little fear of actual consequences. I understand the need to protect civil servants from the whims of politicians, but this is ridiculous.

Of course, veterans seeking healthcare are the ones who will suffer, just as they were suffering before this well-intentioned law was enacted. The same entrenched bureaucracy and leadership that thumbs their noses at an express law simply does not seem to really believe that VA healthcare has huge problems.

The VA needs a change of culture. Laws and management dictates alone cannot change the long-standing issues that get in the way of providing quality healthcare to our veterans. Getting there will not be easy, but clearly something more needs to be done.


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