The VA scandal boils down to inadequate funding

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The problems within the massive Veterans Affairs system are not much different than most any other tax-funded organization. In the end they must make do and function within the budgets allotted for each of near countless services, and in this case, within the costs related to professional doctors and health workers, medications, treatments and facilities that are within their daily operations.

Recently, a big point was made in this scandal of the many circumstances found where records of veterans appointments and treatment were changed or fabricated so as to appear as the “targeted” 14 day wait for services when the reality is hundreds of days’ wait.

While it seems gratifying to find the employee culprits within the VA who are responsible and punishing them, the more critical point is to understand why they couldn’t meet the shorter targeted schedule and gave up trying. Though it lacks the outright fun of vengeance and moral indignation available in such a highly publicized scandal, the most likely explanation is that they couldn’t maintain such an unrealistic schedule within the facilities and personnel available.

It is all about funding adequacy. It just may be that the 14-day wait schedules expectations are just about as ridiculous as expecting that our city budgets are always large enough that we should never encounter a pothole.

WILLIAM McCARTHY
West Mifflin


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