The VA announced it would begin 2 investigations into its Cincinnati-based facilities, aiming to identify whether or not the VA hospital is guilty of misconduct after allegations arose about mismanagement and declining veterans' care. The investigations come in light of a report that nearly 3 dozen current and former medical center employees expressed urgent concerns about the quality of care to VA patients, specifically pointing to cost-cutting and other practices that reduced access to care.
“I fully support the Inspector General’s investigation and I will work to ensure that it is completed quickly and thoroughly,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, member of the Senate VA committee, in a statement. “This can’t be just another report that gets filed away on a shelf.”
However, the VA continues to tangle with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), which they claim has prevented the VA from penalizing or firing of accused executives in past scandals. “The MSPB coddles and protects misbehaving employees rather than facilitating fair and efficient discipline,” said Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, in a statement. “And as long as we have a system in place that requires a similar standard to discipline federal workers as it does to send criminals to prison, accountability problems at VA and across the government will only continue.”
The board’s powers prevent the VA from being able to reform and recover from the scandals that have rocked it at late, according to Miller.
While calling on Congress to provide new legislation, the VA has also developed a draft rule that would change the pay structure for some management positions to make it easier to hire and fire managers, according to Government Executive. The new rules could also increase pay for top managers.