Wednesday brought about another personnel change at the White House.
This time, long-time Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin was shown the door and not too soon for many veterans who believe Shulkin should have been fired when former President Barack Obama left office.
Shulkin has been under fire lately for alleged potential ethic violations namely those involving irregularities regarding his travel expenses and use of staff for personal business.
In February, Shulkin’s chief of staff stepped down after it was determined by the VA Inspector General that she had doctored an email and misled ethics officials about the payment of Shulkin’s wife’s expenses which allowed her to join Shulkin on a taypayer-paid trip to Europe in 2017.
Shulkin recently repaid the amount and indicated at the time that he had offered his resignation but it had not been accepted according to reports.
However, fast forward to Monday when a new report by the VA Inspector General delivered another report.
This time, the report and other issues may have been “enough” for President Donald Trump.
The report titled, “Veterans Health Administration Audit of the Personnel Suitability Program” found the following, in pertinent part:
“The OIG projected that about 6,200 employees who were working at the facilities did not have a background investigation initiated. The OIG also found that adjudicators had not been reviewing background investigations timely and suitability staff were not maintaining official personnel records as required.”
In addition, “These irregularities were not detected and corrected timely because the Office of Operations, Security, and Preparedness (OSP) did not monitor or ensure compliance with program requirements at VA medical facilities. In addition, OSP’s Personnel Security and Suitability (PSS) Program Management Office, responsible for evaluating compliance with the suitability program requirements, lacked sufficient staff to conduct regular oversight.”
Also, “Without sufficient staff, the Director of PSS also did not delegate oversight responsibilities to VHA for nearly six years.”
While Shulkin was not VA Secretary for the entire six years, he did hold a position within the VA during that time which would have at the very least, allowed him to recommend changes which would bring about compliance.
Here are two examples that the report cited to demonstrate violations.
- At the Dayton VAMC, a registered nurse worked for 1,452 days before a
background investigation was initiated. The delinquency was identified as
a result of the OIG’s site visit and case review, and the facility took
immediate corrective action to initiate the background investigation.
- At the Charlie Norwood VAMC in Augusta, GA, a registered nurse had
been working for 774 days before a background investigation was
initiated. The facility became aware of the delinquency and took
corrective action as a result of the OIG’s site visit and case review.
According to the report, “In the absence of a completed suitability determination, VA lacks assurance that the VHA workforce is properly vetted and appropriate for providing health care to the nation’s veterans. In addition, initiating background investigations in a timely manner is critical to mitigate the risk to VHA and ensure that unsuitable staff may be removed during the probationary employment period.”
History seems to have repeated itself in a similar vein to when “waiting lists” were discovered after veterans died waiting to be seen by a VA doctor.
It seems that the significant number of employees reportedly who did not receive background checks within the mandated first 14 days of employment and the risk to veterans could not be ignored.
While Shulkin may have had other issues negatively impacting his leadership, including rumors that many White House staff did not like him, the recent suicide of a veteran may have been the final straw.
On Monday, a veteran killed himself in the waiting room of a Veterans Affairs hospital in St. Louis.
Shulkin immediately canceled an appearance that had been scheduled at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Elsmere, Del., which is an annual event hosted by U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, (D-Del.).
Shulkin told organizers that he needed to “get back on the road to Washington.” It appears that D.C. was to be his final stop.
Trump has nominated the physician to the President, Rear Admiral Ronny Johnson to succeed Shulkin.
Johnson is the physician who recently gave Trump a clean bill of health, both mentally and physically, after the Left tried to spread the false rumor that Trump had mental issues.
Prepare yourself to potentially hear the Left spin the “theory” that Trump nominated Johnson after Johnson “lied” for Trump about Trump’s mental and physical health following his recent physical.
I know what you’re thinking. Who would make such a ridiculous claim?
Remember, it’s the Left and they will make any claim, no matter how absurd, to advance their anti-Trump agenda.
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