Two Veterans Affairs managers from the Phoenix VA facility who faked wait lists for treatment that led to the deaths of dozens of veterans are going back to work after being suspended — with pay — for nearly two years.
Agency investigations into their wrongdoing proved to be “inconclusive,” says the VA.
Two top administrators at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs health system in Phoenix, Arizona, who were suspended following revelations of fake waitlists and delayed patient care will return to agency jobs Monday.
The Arizona Republic reported:
Lance Robinson, associate director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System, will be assigned as a planner at the VA’s southwest regional office in Gilbert, known as VISN 18, according to spokeswoman Jean Schaefer. Brad Curry, the system’s chief of Health Administration Services, will serve as a data analyst. The two men have been focal points in a controversy over the VA’s perceived failure to hold leaders accountable for mismanagement and misconduct that caused a breakdown in care for veterans in Arizona and nationwide.
Robinson and Curry were placed on paid leave and given termination notices in May 2014. During their suspensions, they have been given hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay and benefits.
Both administrators were the subject of VA inquiries and hearings, which have been subject to delays and yielded contradictory findings.
An internal probe reported by the Washington Post concluded that Robinson retaliated against a whistleblower who reported mismanagement and poor care at the Phoenix hospital.
Thousands of veterans were placed on fake waitlists at VA hospitals in recent years. Dozens of veterans died while waiting for care at the Phoenix hospital.
A veterans group described the latest development as further evidence that the VA under Secretary Robert McDonald is not serious about holding employees accountable for misconduct.
“By allowing Robinson and Curry to return to work despite their intimate involvement in the waitlist scandal that likely cost dozens of veterans their lives–and Robinson’s documented retaliation against whistleblowers–VA leaders are letting the American people know that their priority is protecting corrupt government bureaucrats instead of seeking to better serve our veterans,” Concerned Veterans for America legislative and political director Dan Caldwell said in a statement Friday.
This is hardly surprising as negligence and incompetence at the VA and every other agency in the Obama administration largely go unpunished.
* Bureaucrats who ran the Fast and Furious program lost track of hundreds of guns which led directly to the deaths of two Border Patrol agents. No charges were ever filed and only three low-level employees at ATF were eventually fired. The ATF chief was allowed to resign a year later.
* The Healthcare.gov website — still not finished after five years — was a nightmare of blundering incompetence, wasting billions of dollars. The secretary of HHS was allowed to resign a year after the debacle.
* EPA mismanagement led to the dumping of millions of gallons of toxic waste into the rivers in three states. No one has yet been disciplined or fired.
* The IRS targeted hundreds of conservative groups in denying or delaying their tax-exempt status. Two low-level employees at the Cincinnati office were disciplined while the ringleader, Lois Lerner, took the fifth before Congress and then retired with full benefits.
The difference between the VA scandal and others is that Americans actually lost their lives because of bureaucratic incompetence and negligence. If that doesn’t lead to the firing of managers up and down the chain of command, then nothing will.
Accountability is apparently only for the little guy.