Sunday, February 2, 2014

Endangering Veterans and Victimizing Its Workforce

When you read this, notice the dates. Some happened during the Bush Administration and some happened in the Obama Administration. These cases are one more reason why I am an Independent. The GOP and the Dems failed our veterans. Time to wake up and notice that when it comes to our veterans, the only side we should take is on the side of veterans, not politicians.

Veterans Affairs: Endangering Veterans and Victimizing Its Workforce
By Ward Jordan

With a workforce of more than 300,000 civilian employees, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the second largest department in the U.S. Government. The VA operates the nation's largest integrated health care system and purports to maintain a "customer service" organization. But, some employees and veteran groups unwaveringly challenge that notion.

VA's mantra "I CARE," an acronym meant to reflect its core values of Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy , Respect, and Excellence draws fire from America's veterans in need of timely care and benefits. "The VA uses the disingenuous "I Care" catchphrase to veil the truth," says Chauncey L. Robinson, a disabled veteran who served in the Persian Gulf War. "If you ask me, the term best explains how the VA callously treats wounded veterans by -- Ignoring, Concealing, Altering, Rejecting and Expelling their medical and benefit claims," says Robinson.

According to Robinson, VA officials destroyed his original benefits claim in 1995 and altered his medical records in 2012. He says, the VA has been processing his claim for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and a heart condition for twenty-one (21) years. In June 2012, Robinson joined the Kendall, et. al. v Shinseki, class action lawsuit. The lawsuit accuses VA officials of intentionally depriving veterans of their rights (Case No.: 12-330-CV LMB, filed June 26, 2012, U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho).

Veterans are not alone in their frustration with the VA. Present and former VA employees tell of an intolerable workplace of reprisal where civil servants suffer when exposing wrong-doing by management officials. From fiscal year 2008 thru fiscal year 2013, VA employees filed over twelve thousand EEO employment claims against VA based on its "No FEAR" report data, as required by the Notification and Federal Employee Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002. Employees commonly and markedly alleged "retaliation" as a basis for filing employment discrimination complaints against the VA.

In 2008, Jamie Fox and Oliver Mitchell learned quickly of VA's "culture of reprisal." Both veterans blew the "whistle" while employed by the VA. They did so at a time when VA was feverishly struggling to meet President-Elect Barack Obama's "aggressive goal to transform VA into a modern 21st century organization that would effectively and efficiently care for Veterans" (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs FY 2014-2020 Draft Strategic Plan (p8).
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