Opinion: The Department of Veterans Affairs is moving in the right direction
EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - The Trump administration is not wasting time cleaning up the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The VA has been plagued a by a wide range of problems. Veterans actually died because they had to endure unconscionable waiting times to get care, according to a VA Office of the Inspector General report from 2015.
It is about time that the VA hold itself and its employees responsible.
In a key move toward transparency and accountability, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin announced that as of last week a public list of “accountability actions” is now available online and will be updated weekly.
So, what did we learn from this list?
Since January 20th - when President Donald Trump took office - the VA has fired 526 employees.
Secretary Shulkin says these are steps toward the VA taking its problems head on and not hiding them from the public.
“We are not hiding our problems, but we are exposing them and making sure that everyone knows where our problems are and where we can begin to fix them,” Shulkin said in a recent interview.
This latest release of information comes almost one month after President Trump signed the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act.
The law gives the VA Secretary more power to remove, demote and suspend employees for wrongful actions and unsatisfactory performance. It also protects whistleblowers from retaliation when they come forward.
The president made veterans issues a focal point of his campaign and his administration is now delivering on those campaign promises.
We have to honor our veterans. We owe them proper treatment. Both the structure and substance of care of our veterans have to improve dramatically. The VA is unquestionably taking steps in the right direction.
The bottom line is as long as Secretary Shulkin and his department continue down this road, the VA will regain the trust of the American people and our veterans will receive the care they duly deserve.