I know there are those who will oppose me on this and that I don’t know all there is to know. Nevertheless, most stories about the VA’s current problems place great weight on what VA administrators have done to earn millions in bonuses and promotions.
Well, I have a problem with dangling carrots in front of a horses mouth. You can never trust what the horse will do to get the carrot. When people are hired for a particular job their salary and benefits should be based on their skills, talents, and abilities required to do the job. It should be expected such will take place without the need for bonuses and perks.
It may not be fair but whenever I meet a salesperson working on commission I automatically discount the honesty of what they say. They may have too much at stake to be totally honest. Couple that with additional bonuses tied to meeting a sales quota and the pressure on being honest is further challenged.
That’s just what’s happened with the VA. The system is overwhelmed by sheer numbers. The New York Times recently reported a shortage of 400 primary care physicians in the VA. That, coupled with the overwhelming numbers of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans returning home and facing major medical problems means the system is in trouble. And, when bonuses and promotions are mixed in with this cauldron of trouble the pressure to “cook the books” is multiplied.
If we want to really address the problem maybe it is as simple as doing away with paying bonus monies and just pay people to do the jobs they were hired for. Make it okay for administrators to submit honest and accurate data and then have those responsible address the root issues at fault. After all, what’s wrong with telling your superiors, “We just can’t keep up?”
We’ve seen the same thing take place in the financial segment. Huge Wall Street traders paying huge bonuses to employees and executives and then seeing the books get cooked for the sake of those extra paychecks.
Maybe we need to return to an era where people earned their wages and on Thanksgiving the boss gave them all a turkey instead of what the VA is doing, discovering the bosses are turkeys.