It is difficult to fire a government employee, more difficult than the private sector, it seems that applies to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis, concerning an email sent by a manager at the clinic, reported by the Indianapolis Star and Stars & Stripes …
The email obtained by The Indianapolis Star contains photographs of a toy Christmas elf posing as a patient in what appears to be the hospital's transitional clinic for returning veterans. In one photograph, the elf pleads for Xanax. In another, he hangs himself with an electrical cord. The woman who sent the email is Robin Paul, a licensed social worker who manages the hospital's Seamless Transition Integrated Care Clinic. The clinic provides returning veterans with transition assistance, including mental health and readjustment services. …
Julie Webb, a Roudebush spokeswoman, said administrators were made aware of the email "a couple of months ago." Webb said the issue was "administratively addressed." She declined to provide specifics, citing employee confidentiality. Paul remains employed at the hospital and continues to manage the clinic, earning an annual salary of $79,916. She received a $2,000 performance bonus in 2013, records show. More recent bonus information was not immediately available. … It is unclear from the email whether other VA employees were involved in the joke, but a note visible in one photo appears to include directions about passing the elf to others.
In another related story about the VA, CBS News revealed the results of an investigation that proved that more than 14,000 case claims were ignored at the Oakland, Californian facility and at five hospitals. It is another blow to the VA Secretary, Bob McDonald, who was hired last summer to clean up the administration's mess. Scandals revealed in 2014 ended up with previous secretary, Eric Shinseki to resign in May of 2014. According to CBS:
Dorrie Stafford received a letter, dated July 29, 2014, thanking her husband Wayne for the disability claim he filed in 2004. The problem was Wayne died in 2011, without ever having heard from the administration. Dorrie has received no widow’s benefits to which she’s entitled and currently lives with friends in a home without electricity, the report said.
Also in the news, Secretary McDonald, in a video, when speaking to a homeless veteran, stated that he served with the Army Special Forces. The Military Times and other sources showed that the statement was false. McDonald apologized and stated:
“I incorrectly stated that I had been in special forces. That was inaccurate and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement. I have great respect for those who have served our nation in special forces.”
That is a small problem compared to the CBS investigation that told of five whistle-blowers from the Oakland facility who were ignored. Half the veterans in more than 13,000 claims died without any word from the VA about their claims.
It was revealed that VA supervisors in Oakland ordered the team to mark claims 'no action necessary' and to toss them aside. The same report also came from the Office of Inspector General.
“According to the Office of Inspector General, a VA management team came to the office in 2012 to help sort out its problems and found about 14,000 informal claims — those requesting initial assistance — in a filing cabinet that had not been processed. Some were over 20 years old,” reports Doug Oakley of the Bay Area News Group. … In 2009, it was discovered that records, still sealed in the envelopes they were submitted in, were hidden or destroyed to cover up improper handling. In 2011, an investigation found that nearly a quarter of disability claims were processed incorrectly or wrongly denied in regional VA offices nationwide. The scandal in 2014 that garnered the attention of mainstream media outlets also uncovered that veterans were intentionally kept on long wait lists and thousands of records were destroyed in several VA clinics.
Sarah Palin at 2015 CPAC:
America hands over her sons and her daughters with the promise that they’re going to be taken care of. We can’t wait for D.C. to fix their bureaucratic blunders. This bureaucracy is killing our vets. They wait for months, they wait for years to get treatment at the VA, and they’re losing hope.