Health Care, Politics

Coffman blasts new accountability delays at VA

File photo - Todd Shepherd
File photo – Todd Shepherd

The much-beleaguered Department of Veterans Administration (VA) seemed to earn themselves some good press last week in Colorado when Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson announced the Aurora hospital is roughly 70 percent complete.

However, a report published late Friday from Government Executive now casts doubt on the VA’s ability and willingness to push through bureaucratic malaise by firing poorly performing executives.

According to Government Executive:

The Veterans Affairs Department will no longer use the authority Congress granted it in 2014 to quickly fire poorly performing senior executives or those involved in wrongdoing, VA told lawmakers Friday, citing constitutionality concerns raised by the Justice Department.

The pace of accountability at the VA – and the constitutional concerns being used to block that accountability – were cited in a Denver Post editorial just days earlier, which said, “So the Department of Veterans Affairs does fire people every now and then. It just takes a couple of years even for outrageous abuses, during which the culprits will continue taking full salary.”

CD6 Mike CoffmanRepublican Representative Mike Coffman of the 6th Congressional District blasted the developments.

“The VA is an organization mired in culture of corruption and bureaucratic incompetence under an administration that is convinced that if they ignore the scandals that they will politically disappear while my goal will continue to be to make those responsible held accountable for their actions,” Coffman said by email. Coffman is also a Marine Corps combat veteran and chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee for the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.

The VA has been mired in numerous scandals over the last several years, including the wildly over budget hospital being built at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, and stories of hidden waiting lists that delayed care for some veterans.

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