VA begins publishing disciplinary actions to create more transparency
Last week the Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin announced plans to publicly post the firings, demotions and suspensions of VA employees in order to improve transparency in the accountability process. Secretary Shulkin and the Trump administration’s recent actions to bring more accountability and transparency to the department is a positive step towards reforming the VA.
In recent years, scandals have been widespread. From secret waitlists to unsanitary operation rooms to wasteful spending, our veterans have been affected by mismanagement and a lack of consequences for wrongdoing. But finally, the department is implementing legislation and policies to put an end to the toxic culture at the VA. Just weeks ago, President Trump signed into law the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act to speed up the disciplinary process to remove bad employees while also protecting those who speak up. Now, with the new Adverse Action Reports to be released weekly, veterans and citizens can see when the VA is taking disciplinary actions.
Secretary Shulkin said in his statement:
Together with the accountability bill the president signed into law recently, this additional step will continue to shine a light on the actions we’re taking to reform the culture at VA.
Public transparency is uncommon for government organizations, but the VA is showing a new dedication to putting the health and safety of veterans ahead of bureaucracy. The VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, which was created to oversee the accountability process and investigate scandals, will report disciplinary actions each week on its website. The postings will include the employee’s organization, position and disciplinary action taken.
The first report was issued July 3, 2017 and included all actions taken since President Trump took office January 20th. The 26 pages include cases involving, but not limited to, nurses, nurse assistants, medical record techs, and physicians. More than 500 of the 743 claims resulted in the employee’s removal.
The new plan also includes a policy that will reassess how large settlements are paid out from the department. Payouts more than $5,000 will need approval from a senior official. In recent years, the VA has paid large sums of money in settlement deals. This new rule will reign in that spending.
This new reporting from the VA will ensure that veterans and citizens see a change at the VA and that employees are held accountable for their actions. We continue to encourage legislation that will fix the department and provide quality care and services to our veterans.