Veterans dying. Falsification of VA data. Months-long backlogs of veterans waiting for appointments are headlines that we should never read in this country.
The recent allegations and developments regarding the Department of Veterans Affairs are appalling. As the claims continue to grow over the failure to adequately provide health care services to our veterans, it is increasingly clear that more VA officials need to be held accountable.
While the Under Secretary of Health at the VA, Dr. Robert Petzel, announced last week he would resign, this is hardly a punishment, as he already announced he would retire later this year. This is the same course of action the Administration took with the IRS scandal, and people are tired of the faux accountability that continues to take place.
Last week, I joined with twenty-two Texas Members of Congress in calling for an Inspector General investigation into VA facilities in Texas.
According to media reports, employees at the North Central Federal Clinic in San Antonio, the Austin Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic and Waco Veterans Affairs Medical Center were instructed – by supervisors – to ensure that wait times for veterans were as “close to zero days as possible.” An employee of the Veterans Health Administration, who recently worked at all three clinics, claims that staffers falsely logged patients’ desired appointment dates to closely coincide with appointment openings. But in reality, veterans were left waiting for months.
If these allegations are true the employees involved need to be fired immediately as well as the leadership who gave the orders.
Today, the House will vote on H.R. 4031, the Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act. This bipartisan bill would give the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs the authority to remove employees of the Senior Executive Service, whose performance the Secretary believes warrants removal, completely from the government service.
Simply put, our veterans deserve better. The Administrations needs to take immediate action to fix the problems that have plagued the VA for too long, and they must begin by firing the people who have been in charge while these inexcusable actions took place.
Member of Congress