Already mired in scandal, a new report concluded that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is so flawed that it needs a “system-wide reworking” to overcome its current “crises in leadership and culture.” Other findings are that healthcare facilities run by the VA cost twice the price of other public facilities, and the excessively long wait times for care that have led to public outrage are expected to get worse in the years to come.
“The organization is plagued by many problems: growing bureaucracy, leadership and staffing challenges, and an unsustainable trajectory of capital costs,” states the report. The sweeping 4,000-page study was independently conducted by Grant Thornton LLP, McKinsey & Company, the RAND Corporation, and MITRE, and included trips to nearly 90 VA facilities and in-depth financial reviews.
The report also office insight into how the once proud medical organization has fallen so far, citing a culture that discourages employees from raising concerns or pointing out egregious policies. “At almost every facility visited, at least one leader interviewed mentioned that risk aversion and a reluctance to ‘speak up’ were a significant issue,” stated the report. “This culture permeates across all levels — from the front lines to Medical Center leaders to people at the VHA Central Office — and it contributes to a lack of innovation and best-practice dissemination across the organization.”
The high costs, rampant bureaucracy, and dysfunctional management have led some to propose privatizing portions of the system. Concerned Veterans for America and the organization’s CEO Pete Hegseth continue to be the loudest voice calling for change. “This comprehensive examination…provides bullet-proof, professional and independent evidence that we need real reform at the VA – not just the changes at the margins that the current VA leadership has proposed.”
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