Free Markets, Free People

How centralized bureaucracies work

In another indicator of how low a priority veterans have with this administration, a whistleblower in Atlanta has revealed that VA employees were switched from processing VA applications to those of the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare.

Scott Davis told the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

“We don’t discuss veterans. We do not work for veterans. That is something that I learned after working there. Our customer is the VA central office, the White House and the Congress. The veterans are not our priority. So whatever the initiatives are or the big ticket items, that is what we focus on.”

He later appeared on the Neil Cavuto show and claimed that 17,000 applications for VA Healthcare were destroyed.  He also said  they’re “also looking into a backlog of over 600,000 pending applications for VA Healthcare.” Davis said the applications were purged as a way to deal with pressure from Washington D.C.

Davis: What I think happened, Neil, is that there was pressure by people in Washington for us to hit our numbers. You’ve heard a lot about the 14-day turn around time for the hospitals. But what most people don’t know is that there’s a five-day turn around time for health applications. And if we don’t hit that five-day turn around time, it affects performance goals for people in senior leadership positions.

Cavuto: So if you don’t have that, and you’re not paying that out, it looks like you’re meeting your numbers and then some, right?

Davis: Absolutely. But what also happens, Neil, is that we’re currently neglecting not only the right thing to do, which is to process applications, not delete them. We have a huge system integrity issue at VA. For example, the VA right now can’t even tell the investigators what happened to those applications, because they can’t verify where they are, what happened to them, if they were deleted, why were they deleted, and why there was no paperwork showing the justifications for those deletions.

Cavuto: We’ve asked for a statement out of the VA on this and we have yet to get one, Scott. I’m trying then to give them the benefit of the doubt here. It seems like a crazy situation. Did you or any of your co-workers ever get so overwhelmed — not you specifically — but they just say the heck with it, more files, more applications, just dump them in the trash, we’re overwhelmed. Do you think that has gone on?

Davis: I know that there was rumors that suspect those activities before I started work thing in 2011. What I can tell you is that there’s so much pressure on the employees to get stuff done so management can meet goals, it’s easy to make mistakes, it’s easy to have mishaps. What happens is, instead of the VA focusing on doing what’s right for our nation’s veterans — meaning taking time, processing each application diligently and appropriately — pressure is placed on front line employees to overwork themselves, rush through the application process, to hit goals for members of management.

Cavuto: When you say to hit goals, is the goal a dollar goal or is it get the applications complete? Sometimes keep on top of this so there are no delays, or is it keep on top of it and get rid of something that could hurt our numbers?

Davis: Well, for what I’ve witnessed, it’s based on a performance goal.

Cavuto: How is that performance measured?

Davis: That performance is measured based on our ability to turn around an application from beginning to end within a five-day turn around. There’s an acceptable percentage that we have to have, which is in excess of 80% for all applications that comes into that office. What you find is that there’s extensive pressure on the staff to process applications, to focus our attention to applications based on specific campaigns. For example, I shared with your producer that we actually put incoming applications aside so we could focus on the ACA related applications that came in over last summer. That’s wrong. We should treat each veteran equally and focus on applications, as they come in, not because of special campaigns coming out of D.C.

His statement is precisely how veteran’s applications should be treated.  But they weren’t because of partisan politics and the heavy hand of the administration.   Naturally the VA  bureaucracy cooperated.  When your “customer” is Washington DC and not the veteran then that’s unsurprising.

This is outrageous, but my guess is, as they dig deeper into the VA, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

This is the face of government run health care.  It is fair warning.  Just as Soviet bureaucracies fudged whatever numbers necessary to “meet” the government’s “5 year plans”, the government bureaucracies here are not above doing the same.  The bonus system along with identification of Washington as their “customer” was all the incentive the bureaucrats needed to let veterans down … again.


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12 Responses to How centralized bureaucracies work

  • The VA, the IRS, ICE and other government agencies have been misused, manipulated and mismanaged under the Obama administration. There is no integrity in the way these departments have been run. Every administration has shortcomings in managing the vast bureaucracies that make up the federal government, but this administration has found a new low of unethical, sloppy, failed management. It is disgusting that our veterans are now the victims.

  • Like I’ve said, my peoples…
    this cannot be fixed. You can improve it around the margins, but you will NEVER fix it.  Regardless of who the head duck is in the Orville Orifice.
    BIG GOVERNMENT RUINS.  Markets provide choices, efficiency, innovation, and information that flows back and forth. If you are a market-player and ignore your customers, you just die (economically).
    IF you are a BIG GOVERNMENT player and you KILL your customers, as we see you simply retire. With full benefits.

  • I fully expect the NEA to seize on the VA example the next time somebody brings up performance pay.

    It’s so hard to make things foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

  • A great story from Mark Steyn about an American invention, made in America, and used around the world to save lives…
    that cannot be routinely used here.
    The FDA “protects” us to death.

  • RIP to the America we used to have

  • Though Rags, in regards to that Steyn story I can guarantee you that if precious precious Sasha or Malia – or princess in training Chelsea- needed that machine, you can bet heaven and earth would’ve been moved to make it happen.

    • Yeh, well, laws are for the commoner.  Our new baronial class don’t need no steeeenkin’ laws…

  • Happy Independence Day to all you, my fellow in-bred, swamp-dwelling, anachronistic knuckle-dragging brethren and sisteren…!!!
    I have hopes we can bring our beloved liberties back from the precipice at the end of the Obamic Decline!  Have a good heart, and enjoy your 4th Of July with your family and friends!

  • This [Ukrainian] revolution was borne from economic frustration, plain and simple.

    Yet each time this happened in the past, all they really did was change the players … not the game. They just ended up with a different set of criminals in charge.

    This time around there seems to be serious effort to at least change the rules.

    Many are talking about major revisions to the Constitution (leading one local journalist to ask — “Why don’t we use the American Constitution? It was written by really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and they’re not using it anymore …”)

    • Well, two out of three ain’t bad.  We can use it, and we don’t mind sharing with other people.  I mean, if you “hold these truths to be self-evident” and all…

      • You mean the inalienable right to be provided access the Internet or to have birth control paid for by others, yes?
        I jest of course, I know you damn well DON’T mean those ‘rights’.