Throwing more money at VA won’t solve systemic problems
Regarding the editorial “Beyond the theatrics of the VA scandal” (May 26, p. 24), you make some good points about the size and complexity of the Veterans Affairs system. However, I was sincerely disappointed by your last few paragraphs crying about how VA administrators are not paid enough money. Your statistical information is correct, but the pay scales have absolutely nothing to do with this scandal. For people willing to lie and cheat, paying a lot more just makes the stakes bigger. The only way to run a VA hospital is to work your way up through the federal employee bureaucracy, and very few if any of those hospital executives who get paid so much more would dream of doing that. Most of them could not even survive in that environment where the exceptional are shunned. I know the vast majority of VA employees are honest and hardworking, but they struggle constantly against apathy and dishonesty that is allowed to roam unchecked.
The problem is the federal bureaucracy. As multiple scandals (IRS, EPA pay bonuses, State Department and Benghazi) have exposed lately, there is no accountability. This breeds slovenly work and corruption. That is why the VA is a mess and will stay that way despite the majority being honest and hardworking.
I am truly disappointed that you do not understand that. It is the fault of Congress and the grossly overprotected status they have created for federal employees. Advocating Congress’ favorite solution of throwing money at problems to make them go away will do nothing to fix the VA.
George Dillinger Director of materials Western Arizona Regional Medical Center Bullhead City