For the Good of Illinois

OpenTheBooks Snapshot Oversight Report - The VA Scandal Two Years Later

May 25, 2016 04:20 PM
During and after the VA wait-time scandal, the agency added nearly 
40,000 positions to payroll, but only 3,591 were doctors.
OpenTheBooks Snapshot Oversight Report – The VA Scandal Two Years Later
OpenTheBooks Snapshot Oversight Report
May 25, 2016
Who earns how much, for what, and where?
Mapping the 354,959 VA Employees by Location
Click Here to Search VA salaries by ZIP code across America. 
Two years ago, Americans were horrified to learn that as many as 1,000 of our nation's veterans had died while waiting for medical care at Department of Veterans Affairs facilities. 
Any hopes of reforming the dysfunctional VA culture were dashed two days ago when Secretary Robert McDonald made an appalling comparison to waiting in line at Disney parks. 
"When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? What's important is, what's your satisfaction with the experience."
Today, nearly half a million veterans still wait to see a VA doctor. 
So, we opened the books on the VA. Here's just a sample of our findings: 
  • The VA spent $1.7 million on 'employee engagement' and other satisfaction surveys with Gallup (2010-2014). There is no indication these polls found, flagged or identified the most egregious scandal in VA history.
  • The VA paid $303 million in salaries to non-essential positions:  Painters ($185 million), Interior Designers ($64 million), and Gardeners ($54 million). While veterans were dying, the VA managers were rewarding the efficiency of these positions with bonuses (2012-2015.)
  • $751.1 million spent on 'household' and 'office' furniture including furniture rental, draperies, curtains, carpeting, modification, repair and maintenance (2010-2015). Much of from luxury, upscale manufacturers.
While the veterans wait weeks to see a doctor, we found: 
  • The VA lawyered up and added 175 attorneys. 
  • Dramatically increased their spending on public relations (PR).
  • Reformed bonuses' so millions of dollars continued to flow to many of the same employees who gamed-the-system during the scandal.
and much more...
 It's Not Disney World - The VA Scandal Two Years Later
Forbes | May 25, 2016





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Lady Liberty
Lansing, MI
1/29/2017 10:54 AM

  As a veteran, I can tell people that privatizing the VA is not an acceptable option. Civilian doctors are wholly unprepared to deal with the morass of veterans health issues. My VA health care has been just fine. The answer is to fund the VA as Bernie Sanders has tried to do before veteran John McCain filibustered the VA funding bill. Why would McCain do that? $$$$$$ Privatizing the VA won't help veterans but it will line the pockets of corporations. We should not be privatizing government functions.

Tony Kawas
The Villages, FL
6/17/2016 12:43 PM

  Excellent article. The only workable solution is for Congress to disband the current VA and permit veterans, particularly disabled veterans to seek private medical care a la Medicare. To make this happen, we all need to write our Congressional Representatives. NOW

O. Daily
Midlothian, VA
6/7/2016 09:30 AM

  This is outrageous! I think the best thing we can do for injured and sick veterans is send them to a civilian hospital or trauma center and close down the VA. As long as the VA continues to exist, it will never get better, but will continue to waste taxpayers dollars by the multimillions! I am a retired (24 years) Naval Officer and I think our government has totally lost control.