By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Everyone in this country, who is paying attention, understands that the private sector can do just about anything better than the public sector, and that is doubly true for the notoriously inefficient federal government.
What we have learned about the troubled U.S. Veterans Administration chain of hospitals takes that incompetence to almost unimaginable levels of fraud, abuse, and complete apathy for the welfare of the veterans trapped in the system, where some veterans have waited weeks for care, even months, on secret waiting lists.
According to one report, Central Alabama Veterans Health Care Services (CAVHCS) in Montgomery is one of the worst offenders for denying veterans the care that they deserved and then lying about it. Congresswoman Martha Roby (R) from Montgomery has been very vocal about reports from the troubled VA hospital. On Monday, August 18, Rep. Roby commented on the latest bizarre story of a VA employee who took a veteran to a crack house being reported by “The Montgomery Advertiser.”
Rep. Roby said, “What if I told you a VA employee took a recovering veteran patient off campus to a crack house, bought him illegal drugs, extorted VA payments to pay for vehicles and services from a prostitute, fraudulently claimed overtime pay for all these extracurricular activities, and yet still has a job at the VA more than a year later?”
The conservative congresswoman continued, “Well that’s exactly what happened here in Central Alabama, according to an internal investigative report obtained by The Montgomery Advertiser. Despite being caught and found “guilty of patient abuse, misuse of government vehicles, filing false overtime requests and multiple ethics violations,” the worker is still employed at CAVHCS more than a year after the incident.”
Rep. Roby asked “Simply put, this is more evidence of the woeful absence of accountability at the Central Alabama VA. Reading this report, you have to ask, ‘what does it take to get fired at the Central Alabama VA?’”
Rep. Roby concluded, “The more we discover, the more clear the severity of the accountability problem at CAVHCS becomes. Congress has given Secretary McDonald unprecedented authority to make the changes necessary to clean up this mess. If he wants an opportunity to showcase his new authority to achieve real reform, the Central Alabama VA would be a great place to start. That’s our goal. It’s an uphill fight, I know. I’ll keep you updated on the latest.”
Some critics of the VA question whether any government owned monopoly on care can ever work well. When you create a massive public sector company in a representative republic the workers inevitably unionize. The unions understandably work to protect the job security of the union members. A distant Congress does not want to anger the union or its members so gives levels of job security to the public sector employees that no private sector company would ever contemplate giving to its workers. Insulated from reality, some bad actors abuse the system as VA administrators did to maximize their bonuses by falsifying their records. To date there still has been few firings in the ongoing VA scandal even though over 100 veterans died waiting care.
Congresswoman Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District.