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Lack of Accountability Systemic in Veterans Affairs

Published : 2014-07-16
Author : Lisa N. Phillips - Contact:

🛈 Synopsis : Lisa N. Phillips writes on the May 2014 hearing regarding the investigation of evidence uncovered that veterans have died while waiting for medical care.

Main Digest

U.S. Representative David Roe of Tennessee spoke in a Washington Post TV clip during the May 2014 hearing regarding the investigation of evidence uncovered that veterans have died while waiting for medical care.

Referring to the Phoenix, AZ Veterans hospital, he states: "If I was back in the private world, and we had 23 deaths because people couldn't get the care that they had already paid for or had the absolute right to get, the legal system would take care of that..." He's right, which prompts the question: why did some in positions of authority disregard the whistle-blower's concerns and make life-altering decisions about the medical care of a large number of veterans? In their defense, the VA claims returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan overwhelmed the system coupled with a doctors shortage, but where was the battle cry for help from the leadership of these VA hospitals? Aren't these executives who work in the VA system supposed to be advocates of our veterans? The unethical ordering of the manipulation of medical information along with threats to employees of job terminations to keep quiet cannot go unpunished. However, the unethical behavior goes deeper.

According to the VA Accountability Watch report these executives received favorable performance reviews and cash bonuses of up to $63,000.

Mind you these bonus' are not directly tied to job evaluations. It's despicable that bonus money appears to be the incentive rather than ensuring the care of veterans, revealing a skewed moral compass and widespread negligence within the VA system going unrestrained. Top end accountability is far from adequate. But, do I believe the investigations of the corruption within the VA system will lead to jail time? Should, but I won't hold my breath. Partisan politics will divert attention away from personal accountability.

Like we saw with other recent high profile scandals, such as the Benghazi case, the IRS engaging in discriminating practices against certain conservative groups, and even the Department of Defense's turning a blind eye to female rape allegations within the military itself, some may lose their jobs, but does anyone really get jail time for fraud and deceptive practices? The American people have little confidence in our government holding those individuals responsible for such offenses accountable. Unfortunately, if abuse and neglect runs widespread and unchecked then it's being tolerated. Has the concept of "checks and balances" gone out of style with the Navy dungarees? It appears our government has gone soft on maintaining accountability within its own walls. And, as a result, the ethical and moral bar was adversely lowered. The resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki isn't an example of holding someone fully accountable, but simply conceding to societal pressures.

Since the initial outbreak of the VA scandal, we're learning that the problems within the VA are systemic.

Let me propose an additional observation. Perhaps what has become a widespread and systemic issue is the lack of governmental accountability.

If the Justice Department does find a link between long wait times and deaths of veterans, but no one gets jail time, but simply a public reproof, it devalues our nation's regard for the dangerous and arduous job of the armed forces.

Representative David Roe also stated in the Washington Post TV video clip during the recent VA hearing, "We're losing the trust of our veterans..." I would add that it sends the appalling message that it's honorable service to fight for your country, but when seeking medical assistance from the VA, it may be cloaked in distrust and suspicion. Any indifference to the medical care of service members is unacceptable.

Unethical behavior that crosses the line with our country's established values is not an honest mistake.

And when the victims are vulnerable veterans, accountability is a must. After all, the saddest tragedy is if the valor and sacrifices of our veterans and their families has been disregarded or the mindset of government leaders has become numb to their medical needs because of two long wars. As a retired military wife and mother of a daughter serving in the Army National Guard and a son soon to be sworn into the military, I trust that the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs charged with the oversight of the VA, and the Justice Department haven't completely fallen asleep at the helm failing to use their investigative and judicial powers to rectify the situation for our veterans as well as internally to pursue full accountability. It's what America expects. It's what veteran's deserve.

Lisa Nixon Phillips, a native of Lawrence, Kansas, is a retired Navy wife, mother, author, and business owner with her husband, Ray.

In 1986, she left Kansas and started a new life in California where she met and married her husband of 27 years. A passionate supporter of her husband's military service, Phillips volunteered for various military family events during the span of her husband's 21 years of service. While stationed on the island of Guam, she served as an Ombudsman to the Navy's ship repair facility.

Phillips has two grown children. Her daughter, Megan, a first lieutenant in the Army National Guard is a field medical assistant in the Seattle area, and her son, Lawrence, just graduated from high school is scheduled to enlist in the Navy. She and her husband, Ray, currently reside with their two pugs in Arlington, Washington.


Faith Steps for Military Families: Spiritual Readiness through the Psalms of Ascent is available for purchase on Amazon, Christian, and Barnes and Noble.

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Cite Page: Journal: Disabled World. Language: English (U.S.). Author: Lisa N. Phillips. Electronic Publication Date: 2014-07-16. Title: Lack of Accountability Systemic in Veterans Affairs, Source: <a href=>Lack of Accountability Systemic in Veterans Affairs</a>. Retrieved 2021-04-13, from - Reference: DW#260-10456.