Arlington, VA – Today the AP reported that the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) will rank veterans health care a “high risk” issue in the federal government. The GAO will cite waste, fraud, mismanagement, and low quality of care as continuing issues plaguing the VA.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Executive Director Mark Lucas issued the following statement:
“Veterans who have suffered for years at the hands of the broken VA system know that the VA isn’t at ‘high risk’ of failing – it already is. This report should serve as a gut check for the incoming VA leadership as they seek to undo the severe damage the Obama administration has done to the agency. The next VA Secretary must end the rampant mismanagement within the Department and pave the way for Congress to pass legislation that will empower veterans with the choice to seek care outside of the VA. We should never put veterans – who deserve the highest quality care available in this country – in a position where they are at a high risk for receiving poor care.”
The VA has earned a reputation for widespread mismanagement leading to a scandal-ridden Department. Just last month, the VA released quality-of-care ratings for hundreds of VA facilities across the country, after refusing to disclose this information to veterans and the American public for years. From VA’s own ratings, many VA hospitals have remained “one-star” performers despite years of scandal, crisis, and millions in taxpayer funding. For example, the Phoenix VA was a one-star medical center when the news broke in 2014 that schedulers there were using secret wait lists to hide how long veterans were really waiting for appointments. To date, Phoenix is still a one-star facility, according to the VA.
CVA has routinely called for more robust auditing and increased transparency from the VA. The group continues to fight for accountability measures, like the VA Accountability Act, which would make it easier to fire bad VA employees. CVA also advocates to empower veterans with choice over where and when to see a doctor and supports the Caring for our Heroes in the 21st Century Act, draft legislation introduced by Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA).