There is a current story on CNN that makes me ache for my fellow veterans. See below:
I work for the VA, and it is worse than you think. The story mentioned mistaken laboratory results in one sentence. In the lab in which I work, we are seven (7) Medical Laboratory Scientists under strength. Because of the wage freeze on Federal employees, our turnover is increasing because the private sector will pay more now than government. You see, not all federal pay rates are as high as some would like you to believe. When you are that far understrength, the pressure of turning out results means that, sadly, errors can occur. The problem is that politicians will take those very same errors to jump on the VA (and any other government agency) without mentioning that the very policies which they have imposed on government agencies are a major part of the problem.
This does not mean that the VA is completely perfect. It can take months to get a contract through the office of contracts, delaying the acquisition of new and more accurate laboratory analyzers. But, I can tell you that I fully support the local VA personnel. They are highly dedicated. But, they are working under restrictions not of their making, at the mercy of politics not their own. So, this story fails to mention the very people who have caused the problem, the politicians whose incessant “investigations” and insistence on new rules to “prevent” corruption and ensure “fairness” are causing us major problems.
So, is the story correct? Well, basically, but the nuances are quite wrong. The story focuses on the Department of Veterans Affairs. It really needs to focus on the politicians who constantly and insistently require that every government department verify (to an incredible degree) that the;y are in compliance with each an every whim of any of various Congresspeople. Add to that the human tendency to write rules that will ensure that no law is actually violated, and one has a recipe for governmental disaster. The VA is not innocent, by any means, but when we insist on “fairness” we breed the very complicated rules that are causing so much problems.
We, in the VA and various other government departments, need help. The help we need is not an unthinking criticism of the work we do. The help we need is to be freed from the various political regulations which Congresspeople have insisted must bind us. We need people to understand that it is not the typical government worker who is the problem. It is the typical USA congressperson who is binding this country.