VA Secretary David Shulkin: Our plan to deliver greater accountability to America’s veterans


By David Shulkin

On February 28, 2017 President Trump, while addressing a Joint Session of Congress, once again identified accountability in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as a top priority. The President is right, veterans deserve much better.

There have been well publicized incidents of VA employees who have failed in our mission and have done harm to those I and all VA employees have been entrusted to serve.

If there is evidence that an employee has broken the law, caused harm to veterans, or have violated the public trust, they should be terminated immediately. Instead, due to overly cumbersome and lengthy arbitrations as well as extensive bureaucratic red tape, VA has not been able to remove employees as quickly as we would have liked. Some employees, like the former VA pharmacist who was stealing medications, have simply retired before VA was able to fire them – allowing them to avoid accountability all together. This is unacceptable.

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