03 November 2014

VA PUBLIC AFFAIRS – AN EASY JOB. Just say nothing!

"We take these issues very seriously."
Public Affairs:
 Tell 'em nothing. Make Boss Look Good

"VA is committed to (fill in the blank as per below:)"
   – protecting patent's privacy
   – fixing the problem
   – putting patients first
   – providing high quality benefits & care deserved
   – ensuring EEO and workplace diversity
   – enforcing accountability
   – open, honest timely communication
   – strengthening veterans' trust
   – maintaining our vision
   – transparency
   – continuing reform
   – yada-yada, etc ditto

You get the idea. VA operates on a "fill in the blank" while saying nothing of substance. When challenged by reporters or veterans, they pop off with one of their auto-statements. These phrases carry no promises, no weight at all, and are identical to a parent's telling a child "later" or "maybe next time."

No effort is wasted telling us just how VA remains "committed," nor what happens if they take an issue seriously. We veterans take being sick and dying seriously. We wish VA did.

For years problems have been pointed out to VA officials, only to have vapid responses like these hurled back without changes made to address what needs improving. And 2014 has certainly showed America that much needs improving at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The first VA failure on our own list is Post Deployment Health, part of Veterans Health Administration. Post Deployment Health actually does good work in many areas, but the damning failure in their disservice of veterans is creative opposition to veterans' claims for exposures. This failure has been recently the focus of special coverage in the National Journal, with one feature on C-123 veterans and today's publication of VA's failures with Camp Lejeune.

It seems that if Post Deployment Health can find a way to prevent claims, they excel. Amazing that they'd even redefine exposure itself to prevent exposure claims, from us as well as today's returning veterans.

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