Nearly three months ago, President Obama signed an extensive $16.3 billion bill (HR 3230
) intended to approach veterans' care more effectively and ethically.
Its main goals are to overhaul Veterans Affairs and improve veterans' access to care. Among its provisions, the bill allows the VA secretary to fire top-level employees based on their performance; provides $1.5 billion for VA to lease 27 new facilities; and requires VA to use quality of care metrics rather than patient wait times as factors in employees' performance reviews.
Despite the seemingly aggressive reforms, some stakeholders say VA is acting far too slowly. In particular, several GOP lawmakers are disappointed that VA is not rapidly weeding out underperforming executives.
For example, VA near the beginning of October began the process of firing four senior executives over issues related to long wait times and manipulated waiting lists. The first employee was not fired until Oct. 27.
In addition, lawmakers have criticized a rule that gives senior executives a five-day notice when the agency plans to fire them. Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) said this provision gives wrongdoers an opportunity to avoid consequences by quitting or retiring on their own terms.
Is VA Acting on Disciplinary Measures Aggressively Enough?