Much attention has recently been logged on veterans, veteran suicides, and the Department of Veteran Affairs. While there seems to be an ever lacking source of funds for veterans – that would not apply to the employees of the Department of Veteran Affairs.
With an annual budget of $180 billion and nearly 378,000 employees, they still decry fowl as they lay open an empty proverbial wallet… And the efforts of a relatively quick research expedition might answer – why.
Factoids: There are 150 VA hospitals, 820 VA clinics, 300 counseling centers, and 5.5 to 6 million patients. Wait time for a medical decision is anywhere from 120 days to a year. Whoa cowboy. Brakes on. Socialist, medicine requires a ‘one year’ wait list. Similar to other nationalized, socialized medicine in Social countries. 80% of veterans are white, 11% are black and 6% are Hispanic – by comparison, the US census registers; 12.7% black, 17.8% Hispanic and 61.8% white. A bit skewed.
How many of the 378,000 employees are doctors and nurses?
Apparently, according to the Government Accounting Office – they don’t know. They believe there may be at least 11,000 doctors, and roughly 80,000 nurses and nurse assistants. That would leave 287,000 VA employees unaccounted for, or 76%. The doctor to patient ratio extrapolates to 1 doctor for every 545 VA patients. The national average of doctor to patient ratio is roughly 1000 to 2500 patients per doctor.
Obviously we have a problem Houston. The VA employs 2-4 times as many doctors as the public sector and yet is abysmally deficient in care, wait times are catastrophic, but wait – there is another interesting phenomena… pay scale.
Payscales of RN’s and doctors vary by state. In the public world, California nurses have the highest average pay rate of $102,000. The lowest is South Dakota at roughly $57,000 full time. But within the VA, the payscale for California nurses is significantly higher with base pay reaching $164,200. In addition, since they are government employees, their pay is supplemented with full pension derivatives and a host of benefits unavailable to public sector RN’s.
It is no different for doctors. A ‘staff physician’ in the VA can make upwards of $264,000, in the real world that salary is roughly $190,000 to $214,000 which would not include that lovely lifetime pension.
With inflated salaries, benefits and pensions absorbing the budget, it is no wonder veterans are short changed. It used to be that the government pension was to support a significantly ‘lower’ wage compared to the public sector. Skews skewer.
Why are doctors unable to cope with their patient load when it is roughly ½ to ¼ of the real world? That would be called ‘nationalized medicine’. It is defined by labor unions who likely tally the number of hours a military doctor or nurse may work, divided by the infinite number of holidays, sick days, vacation days, and break times interspersed into this very tawdry Nationalized Medicare For All – system.
But even more catastrophic is the fact that roughly 76% of the VA employees are not medical at all, but likely ‘administrative’. How much of the $180 billion is spent to officiate…the administrators is an unknown because these departments are not transparent. Government accounting 101. Make it so ridiculously convoluted that a public center CPA, such as I was, can not make heads or tails of the train wreck without spending wayyyy to much of my time. This is the true hypocrisy.
In 2015, the estimated cost for medical care for veterans was $55.4 billion out of a total budget of $164 billion. One Third.
But the VA benefits are not used just for medical care, they are supposed to provide Home loan Guarantee, Insurance, Vocational Rehab, Education, Disability Compensation, Pensions, and burial and maintenance benefits. That’s a whole lot of Socialist Spending.
The backlog that has received the most criticism is the agency designated to determine if a veteran is even qualified to receive disability benefits. Mismanagement is monumental. In 2009, President Bush proposed that 86.5% of the total budget be allocated to medical. As in VA Hospitals. The result? Cost overruns have doubled and quadrupled initial budgets pushing deadlines for construction out years. Unions have infiltrated and demanded continued pension and benefits for veterans convicted of crimes. Dead people still receive compensation. And the VA really has little idea who they employ, how many, in what capacity, and for what purpose. The system has been broken for decades, and yet each time the train wreck reaches the public and media, the result is to throw more money at ‘it’ and thus ‘away’.
This is the finest example of “Medicare For All”.
The New and Improved GI Bill gave 100% education scholarships to veterans who had served “three years”! And veterans who have served 10 years can transfer all their entitlements to their spouse or children.
The VA’s last published Freedom of Information data was 2012-2013 – and it earned a grade of D. What the HECK?
Who is at fault?
Bureacracy. The Swamp. In the Government, a Budget is a request based on the use of the previous budget. If all the budget was used, and more is needed, no one questions the use. And so we see ridiculous cost overruns for green atrium aquariums and architects who envision the Taj Mahal in designing the Hospitals that are not available for actual use because the tile was imported from Sri Lanka and got lost on the way as it was transported by a Chinese company that had to divert shipment to Venezuela…
And all the hospital equipment? It was inadvertently sent to Germany via The Netherlands where it was offloaded and trucked to the Ukraine so that Chocolate King, Poroshenko, can resell it to the US via Iran. At a premium.
While the veterans die in the parking lot.