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Civilian Exposure - Camp Lejeune Contamination - Department of Veterans Affairs

VA Mismanagement Continues

by Gavin P. Smith

Senators Burr, Boehner and others criticize the continued failures of the VA on the one-year anniversary of Robert McDonald’s appointment as VA Chief.

The VA continues to muddle through year after year without much change.  The ongoing systemic failures within the government agency continue despite a change at the helm with the appointment of Robert McDonald just over one year ago.

According to VA data, wait times are up 50% from this time last year.  An already bad situation has become worse.  The response by the VA?  The typical DC response:

Give Us More Money

“We are simply asking Congress, once again, for the budget flexibility to use our existing funds to provide Veterans with the care in the community they have already earned,” said VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson.

Civilian Exposure - VA Medical CenterInteresting.  Let’s throw more money at the problem and see how things end up this time next year.  The logic is baffling.  Let’s simplify.  If all it takes is “more money”, then we should just go ahead today and figure how much money it will take to solve the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination issue, right?  The VA is denying 95% of claims because they just don’t have enough money.  That’s it!  Money.

Good.

My response to the VA is quite simple then.  Name your price to reach a 100% approval rate on Camp Lejeune contamination claims.  We’ll just bill it to Congress. Problem solved!

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.  Money is the red herring used by the VA to distract from its core issue – competency.  Whether it’s poor management at the top, or entrenched bureaucratic cronyism buried within the hierarchy, it needs to be addressed.  As the old saying for cancer goes “you either cut it out, or kill it.”  Congress needs to cut out the cancer of mismanagement in government agencies, or kill them and let their services be fulfilled by the private sector.

In the article, Rep. Coffman aptly points out something we already pointed out months ago.

“The VA received a $15 billion supplemental appropriation to help address the wait time issue,” said Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), who has been one of McDonald’s most vocal critics. “This is an organization that is so incompetently led that they can’t even tell us how much any given procedure costs, so it doesn’t surprise me that they can’t manage their existing resources to better serve veterans.”

The VA doesn’t have a money problem, it has a management problem. Read our take here: http://www.civilianexposure.org/va-doesnt-have-a-money-problem-it-has-a-management-problem/

Civilian Exposure - Robert McDonald VA Story 12-22-2014

For more on this latest VA story, check out this clip from the Washington Post website.

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2 comments

Gloria E Full July 10, 2015 - 11:23 am

Once again I will begin my comment with: I am one of the victims of the tragedy caused by the US Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
I have Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma caused by the contamination of the waters. To say that it was only the USMC that caused the death of so many people, will not be the total truth. Our government contributed a great deal to the cover up. However, the Veterans Administration, is following suit at being part of the problem.
My question is, for how much longer do we have to wait to receive what our President signed into law. Justifications are easy to come, like with any other crime, childhood trauma caused the defendant to kill 12 people. Drugs and alcohol were responsible for the major accident…… Can some one fill in the blanks: The VA has not followed through on providing compensation because…..if we all die in the process they will not be accountable! Faulty thinking but true!
Thank you!

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Civilian Exposure
Civilian Exposure July 13, 2015 - 6:29 pm

Gloria,
I understand your concerns, both firsthand with a loss in my own family and with my meeting countless people sharing similar stories. Let me address a couple of technical points here. First, the 2012 Law for Camp Lejeune specifically provides health care for 15 conditions listed in the law (which we are highlighting weekly on our website). If you file a claim and show one of these conditions related to the water contamination, and were on base a minimum of 30 days, you will be provided with healthcare through the VA for your illness. There is no mention of “compensation” in any other form in that law. Therefore, the VA is only obligated to give you healthcare from the date that law passed. Now, from technical to the reality: Unfortunately, the 2012 law does not begin to cover the losses of family members, the hardships, the financial burdens and more. In addition, the VA continues a 95% denial rate of claims submitted. So yes, the VA is following suit, as you put it. As to a specific answer to your question about how much longer, please feel free to share your claims status and information via private message to gavin.smith-at-civilianexposure.org and I can get updates from the VA on your behalf at our next CAP meeting at the CDC in August. I do hope that information helps. – GS

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