America / Culture / Healthcare

Blame game: VA edition

Inspector General Richard J. Griffin’s investigation on the Veterans Affairs scandal has confirmed that 1,700 patients that were not placed on the official waiting list for doctors’ appointments at the veteran’s medical center in Phoenix and discovered that the average waiting time for initial primary care for veterans is about 115 days. In light of the VA scandal, there have been very little things being done about it.

All people seem to be doing is trying to point a finger at whoever they can find to blame. There has been no definite response to the scandal except for advocating for the resignation of Eric Shinseki, secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, who is thought to have falsified records.

The resignation of Shinseki will not fix all of the problems or help us get to the bottom of any issues in the department. People who claim that the only thing that needs to be done is for him to resign fail to see the bigger picture. While his resignation may satisfy the short term, such as the justice for those veterans that were neglected by the VA medical system, it fails to satisfy the long term by making sure that nothing like this happens again.

Instead of using a scapegoat and trying to hold one person accountable, we should be focusing on how to fix the problem in the system. Once the problem is fixed, then this will lead to a better future of healthcare for the veterans who served this country. They deserve better health care than they have been receiving and this can only be done by solving the underlying issues not by blaming one person for everything that is wrong in the department.

After so little action being taken with this scandal, here are a few suggestions for what can actually be done. As per suggestion of Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, the FBI should be involved in the investigation. They have more resources to deal with this and VA is a U.S. department of government so a scandal in this department should warrant the involvement of the FBI. The members of the VA should be held accountable for their actions, instead of just resigning they should face criminal proceedings. Most importantly, the VA should be sure to provide appropriate health care to future patients and veterans. They should go through the old system to see what was not working and correct it in order to make sure that something like this does not happen again.

Obama said that he would start an investigation into VA which is something that should have been done a long time ago. Especially given the previous issue with the administration from VA employees being awarded bonuses in the middle of investigations and the fact that the public was made aware of this scandal in November. Hopefully this investigation will help uncover any underlying problems in the department, so we can find a solution for the future.

As we can see Shinseki has resigned, but he did not magically take all of the problems that the VA had with him when he left. All of the problems that were there before are still there. So we in turn are still left to fix them. The main thing that we can do is gain an insight into the existing issues in the department with the investigation and figure out how to solve them.