Veterans Deserve Better!
In an interview with Neal Cavuto: Whistle Blower Scott Davis Who at the request of the VA [Veterans Administration] office of Inspector General to confirm rumors or activity at the VA Health Eligibility Center (HEC) in Atlanta dealing with the destruction of 17,000 applications for VA healthcare. Davis Reveals the Big story is the Back Log of Over 600,000 Individual applications for VA Health Care as well as the 17,000 Health Benefit Applications Were Deliberately Destroyed by VA Union Employee Members. Davis adds “That’s shameful.” I agree!
When asked by Neal why the VA HEC would destroy the applications. Davis also Reveals White House Pressure For VA HEC to hit their numbers, you’ve heard a lot about the 14 day turn-around time for the hospitals, but what most people don’t know is, there’s a 5 day turn-around time for applications and if we don’t hit that 5 day turn-around time it effects performance goals for people in senoir leadership positions. Davis went on to say. “What happens is that we’re currently neglecting not only the right thing to do which is to process applications. Not delete them, we have a huge system integrity issue at VA. For example, the VA right now can’t even tell investigators what happened to those applications, because they can’t verify where they are, what happened to them, if they were deleted, why were they deleted and why were there was no paper record showing the justification for deleting those records.”
Neal said “We’ve asked for a statement from the VA on this, we’ve yet to get one…I’m trying to give them the benefit of the doubt here.” Neal went on to ask if the workers just got overwhelmed and dumped the applications in the trash. Davis responded: “I know there were suspect activities before I started working there in 2011, what I can tell you is there is so much pressure on the employees to get stuff done, so that management can meet goals…So what happens is instead of VA focusing on doing what’s right for our nations veterans, meaning taking time, processing each application diligently and appropriately, pressure is placed on front line employees to overwork themselves, rush through the application process to hit goals for members of management.”
Neal asked Davis if the goal was a dollar goal or to get the applications complete. Like to keep on top of it to make sure there were no delays or Keep on top of it and get rid of something that could hurt our numbers. Davis responded from what he had seen “it is based on a performance goal…What you find is there is extensive pressure placed on the staff…to focus our attention to applications that are based on specific campaigns coming out of Washington. For example; We actually put applications aside so we could focus on the ACA [Obamacare] applications that came in last summer. That’s wrong, we should focus on each veterans application as they come in, not because of special campaigns coming out of [Washington] D.C.”
When Neal remarked about the protections provided by federal law to whistle blowers.
Davis said also “I reached out to White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors [one of Obama’s top advisers, who Obama put over analyzing VA problems] to share my concerns about the VA and to give Nabors a copy of my Whistle Blower Complaints. Somehow that correspondence & complaint was given to the very same management group at the HEC who was harassing me. Davis added: “I received an email from my current manager Sherry Williams saying ‘I’m contacting you on behalf of acting Secretary Gibson and Rob Nabors.’ I let the White House, Mr. Nabors, and Acting Secretary Gibson know this had happened. To this date they have taken No Action against Miss Williams.”
Davis went on to say “I contacted the Inspector General to let them know what Miss Williams had done, and keep in mind Miss Williams used to work for the Inspector General. Which makes it even more shameful. I was told by the Office that was Investigating the HEC, They could not address the issue that I had to call a Hot Line. When I called the Hot Line, the Hot Line told me to call the Office of Special Counsel. Now I did get a contact from the White House Counsel’s Office or [White House] Office of Special Counsel,.. and I use that name,.. and I contacted that Person to file a complaint. But, I want to be honest…The only reason I haven’t been fired today is because I have been working with Chairman Miller’s Team [Chairman Jeff Miller. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs] as well as my Congressmen Tom Price and Senator Johnny Isaacson. If I did not have elected Officials working with me to address these issues, I would have easily been terminated a long time ago. Especially I would have to thank the team over at AJC [Atlanta Journal Constitution] that broke the article this weekend.”
Neal says “it seems the VA going years back, is overwhelmed and cannot handle the workload”
Whistle Blower Davis responded “I think if you allow the employees and the people who go to work everyday to service our nations veterans, the work will get done, the money is there, it’s over 160 Billion dollars in the [Federal] Budget. But you brought up a key point Neal, and that is, this goes back years, and that’s because the leaders in the VA, in particular VHA, the healthcare side have been in leadership at VA in many cases, some before I was even born at the start of their career at the VA”
Neal said it seemed like the lifelong bureaucrats at the VA seemed to jump through hoops in order to get those bonuses and make the numbers.” Scott Davis responded “I think a lot of managers did it to make the numbers to get the bonus, but also look at the influence of government. People in government don’t just do what they do for their bonuses….They also do it to Empire Build. The more you hit your numbers the more you can expand your department, you can expand your Fiefdom at VA as I like to call it. So for example in our department where we work. We brought in about 4 or 5 new GS-15 Positions. These are 130-150 thousand dollar a year positions, yet we haven’t done anything to bring in workers who can actually bring down the workload. That’s what a veteran wants. He or she wants their healthcare application processed, they don’t need another executive to stand around looking at other people doing the work.”
Neal asked, if there was any metric or was there some sort of quality [assurance] ..something like JD Power type award, or recognition, or bonus for behavior that would make things better for Vets?
Davis reveals: “I can tell you from the whistle blowers I have talked too, that work at VHA. Their account is, it was the Bonus Structure was more about Rewarding the Executives, and it Incentivised not fully disclosing Medical Needs of the Veterans. For example if people in Congress knew that veterans needed more medical care, they probably would have given us more money to send vets to mental health professionals, to send people to specialty care physicians. If you don’t disclose that information the veterans don’t get the monies they need for the care they deserve and have earned.”
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