We always get a big bang out of the VA’s OIG squandering millions of dollars in pursuit of $10. In construction, we call it 10¢ chasing a dollar. While I admire the verve and devotion to duty that seems endemic in the OIG, I feel they ought to branch out and meet with the little people who make the complaints that spark these boondoggles to faraway VAMCs and VAROs.
Imagine an inspector actually sitting down with someone who waited in a VA Emergency Room for ten hours. Eliciting a conversation about how the patient felt about his experience might be more productive than arriving like the Keystone Kops and looking under all the flower pots. The OIG seems to take a hands on approach similar to the O.J. Simpson murder trial. I’m sure you recall the press he got while searching for his wife’s killer on all the major private golf courses in the Southeast. Oddly, he was unsuccessful, or, in the vernacular of the OIG, “it was not substantiated that any suspects were located”.
Imagine if you will, a comprehensive investigation sans whitewash, that actually attempted to determine a timeline, a set of suspects and a putative crime or misfeasance. Surely there is some middle ground that bears closer examination as to why anyone has to wait half a day to be seen by large, new, modern VAMCs equipped with all the latest medical gizmos.
You will have fun reading about all the sons, daughters, wives et al who attempt to continue receiving direct deposit funds for dead Vets. What is that all about? If I do nothing and just keep spending his money, they won’t come? Somebody hasn’t been watching Field of Dreams much. If you spend it, they will come. The VA is hooked into the SSA computer. Hell, if they aren’t, the NSA is. Somehow this is going to get out. It’s a lot more serious when you do it to the government. Consider the OIG to be akin to the local Fire Station. Everyone is there on duty waiting for the Fraud call. They have plenty of personnel, funds and access to Federal Marshalls ad nauseum. They sit and stare at the telephone just waiting to turn on the lights and sirens.
One word of caution. Be careful who and how much you insult. I’d say it can be intimidating to go off on them about shredding your records and other crimes. The OIG has a nasty habit of turning on you like a pit bull and chewing on you instead. Ask Keith Roberts about that one. He’s still sorting out the fallout from his legitimate complaint in 2000 that resulted in an all-expenses vacation at the Fed. Pen for four years for alleged fraud. He is slated to get a new BVA hearing on restoration of his ratings soon. It certainly won’t be soon enough for him and his family.
P.S. Here’s their monthly update if you need any more serious reading in the library.