This VA watchdog isn’t go­ing away

Modern Healthcare - - Outliers Aside & Insides -

For more than five years, vet­eran and for­mer ra­dio news re­porter Larry Scott has pub­lished news and re­sources on the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Depart­ment on his web­site VA Watchdog dot Org. Scott launched the ef­fort af­ter a year of ad­vis­ing vet­er­ans on­line about how to ac­cess VA ben­e­fits—a la­bor he be­gan as a re­sult of his own frus­trat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

But at the end of Oc­to­ber, Scott, who lives in Van­cou­ver, Wash., said he would cease pub­li­ca­tion at some point af­ter Feb. 1. “I am in fail­ing health and can no longer main­tain the site on a day-to-day ba­sis,” he wrote. (He also stressed his ill­ness was un­re­lated to his ser­vice.)

Now, with Vet­er­ans Day coin­ci­den­tally on the hori­zon, we have word the web­site will con­tinue. In an in­ter­view, Scott said he has en­tered into ne­go­ti­a­tions with an or­ga­ni­za­tion he trusts to con­tinue the web­site’s role as watchdog and vet­er­ans’ re­source. “I ap­pointed my­self VA watchdog. It was a re­cess ap­point­ment so I didn’t need the Se­nate to con­firm me,” he jokes. Govern­ment op­er­a­tions be­long out in pub­lic, he con­tin­ues. “I firmly be­lieve that ev­ery govern­ment agency should have a watchdog,” he says. The VA wasn’t “the best at be­ing trans­par­ent.”

Scott praises VA health­care on the web­site, where he ex­plains the VA Watchdog mis­sion: “This is NOT a VA hate site,” he wrote. “We be­lieve the VA of­fers the best health­care in this coun­try. And in­de­pen­dent stud­ies by such pres­ti­gious or­ga­ni­za­tions as the RAND Corp. prove it time and again. This site is de­signed to keep an eye on those who fund and run the VA ... the politi­cians and the po­lit­i­cal ap­pointees who don’t have to worry about health­care.”

The site doesn’t have a mas­cot, but if it did ...

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