(April 30, 2014) In 1918, when World War I ended, there was no national veterans hospital system. Compensation authorized for disabled veterans, widows and orphans was inadequate and delayed. The administration of veterans programs was in the hands of too many agencies and was neglected.
This is why The American Legion worked closely with Congress over the next ten years to help establish what we know today as the Department of Veterans Affairs. The American Legion is a partner with the VA and has a vested interest in making sure it operates effectively and efficiently. We are consistently trying to improve the VA system and we demand and expect the highest level of professionalism and accountability from the career civil servants who staff this and other federal agencies with the aim of producing the highest quality government services for this nation’s veterans.
Veterans need to know that the VA healthcare system is a safe place, where they can receive treatment and feel assured that patient safety is a top priority. However, because errors and lapses can occur in any system, The American Legion expects when such errors and lapses are discovered, that they are dealt with swiftly and that the responsible parties are held accountable.
This is why The American Legion supports the VA Management Accountability Act of 2014, introduced by Rep. Jeff Miller (FL) in the House (H.R. 4031) and Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) in the Senate (S. 2013).
The VA Management Accountability Act gives the Secretary of Veterans Affairs the tools he needs to help convey that message back to veterans and help ensure veterans have faith and trust in the systems designed to provide health care and other services to them and to care for their wounds of war. This legislation would also provide tools to the Secretary to better manage Senior Executive Service employees, and hold them accountable when they fail to perform their duties in a manner that best serves the veterans entrusted to their care.
When veterans see a Regional Office losing ground and wait times increasing in the fight to reduce the claims backlog, they grow frustrated when leadership continues as if nothing was wrong. When veterans see mismanagement practices in their healthcare system that put patient health at risk, veterans want to see leadership change to show a commitment from the top down that says their health and safety are the top priority of VA.
Action Needed: Please act now and send your elected officials the message below supporting the VA Management Accountability Act of 2014. Tell them this legislation would help address the lack of accountability within the VA and would provide tools to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to better manage senior level staff, and hold them accountable when they fail to perform their duties in a manner that best serves the veterans entrusted to their care. The Department of Veterans Affairs should be well supported, well managed, and well funded so that it can carry out the mission of caring for those who have borne the battle.
(If received by email, scroll up and click the Take Action link, otherwise see below and send a prepared message to your Members of Congress.)