VA Execs Delayed Treatment for Vets to Score Big Bonuses

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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Advocates for national health care keep claiming that taking the profit motive out of medicine is the answer. But there’s no such thing. The VA, which they admired so much, had its own profit movie going on. And veterans died because of it.

Emails and VA memos obtained exclusively by The Daily Beast provide what is among the most comprehensive accounts yet of how high-level VA hospital employees conspired to game the system. It shows not only how they manipulated hospital wait lists but why—to cover up the weeks and months veterans spent waiting for needed medical care. If those lag times had been revealed, it would have threatened the executives’ bonus pay.

What’s worse, the documents show the wrongdoing going unpunished for years, even after it was repeatedly reported to local and national VA authorities…

“For lack of a better term, you’ve got an organized crime syndicate,” a whistleblower who works in the Texas VA told The Daily Beast. “People up on top are suddenly afraid they may actually be prosecuted and they’re pressuring the little guys down below to cover it all up.”

“I see it in the executives’ eyes,” the whistleblower added. “They are worried.”

There’s enormous pressure to report favorable wait times for VA patients, the Texas whistleblower explained, even if those wait times are completely false.

“If [VA] directors report low numbers, they’re the outlier. They won’t stay a director very long and they certainly won’t get promoted. No one is getting rewarded for honesty. They pretty much have to lie, if they don’t they won’t go anywhere,” the whistleblower added. Weighted more heavily than other performance measures, the wait time numbers alone “count for 50% of the executive career field bonus, which is a pretty powerful motivator.”

On the ultrasound request form, Dr. Vincent writes that he canceled the order because it was “entered in error.” But that would have come as news to the medical provider who actually interacted with the veteran and entered the date based on their evaluation of the patient’s needs. The real reason for canceling it, according to both Dr. Spann and the whistleblower who spoke with The Daily Beast, was to meet the VA’s performance objectives—whatever the cost.

Meeting the performance objectives, which made executives eligible for bonuses and put them in line for promotions.

The supposed improvements at the VA that were being touted by liberals were actually a giant coverup in which executives were paid to hide wait times. That’s not surprising because this is how Socialism works. The only difference is there are no firing squads. Soviet agriculture collapsed because of “results driven methodology” which encouraged everyone to keep lying about their results. No Child Left Behind had much the same effect.

We’re replacing the same disastrous methodology with newer buzzwords. It’s a dead end and always will be. The plan to centralize everything and then tinker with it ends up the same way.

  • 4arepublic

    “They pretty much have to lie, if they don’t they won’t go anywhere,” the whistleblower added.
    It reminds one of an old saying from the Soviet era:
    “We pretended to work and they pretended to pay us.”