KARE: VA bonuses may be based on cooked books

KARE 11’s investigation into why Veterans Administration records show a man who died while waiting for an appointment allegedly canceled an appointment four days after he died has led to a potential new scandal: bonuses that were handed out based on phony records.

In Minnesota, according to KARE, VA Midwest network director Janet Murphy was paid $99,465 in bonuses over a seven-year period on top of her $176,000 a year salary. She’s not talking.

Minneapolis VA whistleblowers tell KARE 11 scheduling performance numbers and the bonuses that came as a result of good numbers have been the top priority at the hospital. Letty Alonso, the former manager in the gastroenterology department at the Minneapolis VA met with the VA’s Office of Inspector General and the FBI last week. She tells KARE 11, “Numbers is all that really counts. Not the veteran’s lives.” Alonso was fired in June after questioning how the VA was violating its own rules regarding the scheduling of appointments. The U.S. Office of Special Council is investigating her claims and those of Heather Rossbach, a medical support assistant who also alleges scheduling fraud. Rossbach was also fired.

“The VA is continuously saying we need more money, we need more money for more doctors, we need money for more nurses, we need money for computers. You’ve got money,” said Jason Quick, the Minnesota director of Concerned Veterans for America.

Related: VA to fire 4 senior executives in response to wait-time scandal (Stars and Stripes).

  • Jack

    Precisely why, as an auditor, I want to know how folks are compensated. It gives great insight as to what should placed under a microscope.

  • It’s not about the money, it’s about the Veterans! In a bureaucracy, when a goal is established it tends to be met. The human desire to succeed is always enhanced when there is financial gain. A conundrum!

  • Our hearts goes out to the families of these Veterans who have died due to delayed appointments at the VA. But then think of all the thousands of Vietnam Blue Water Navy Veterans excluded from the presumption of herbicide exposure (Agent Orange) who have died because the VA refuses to give them service related status. This does not seem to provoke the conscience of Congress or the public. Does
    the Vietnam stigma still haunt these men and women Veterans? It’s like post war Germany when the citizens refused to admit the existence of the concentration camps and the atrocities committed there. So the next time you’re shocked by an article about one or ten or hundreds of Veterans, will you think of those thousands in the Blue Water Navy?

    For more information on exposure and the DVA read A Re-Analysis of Blue Water Navy Veterans and Agent Orange Exposure at http://www.bluewaternavy.org.

    Perhaps the plight of the Vietnam Blue Water Navy Veterans who have died because
    of a DVA ruling on herbicide exposure should be considered wrongful deaths and be brought up on civil charges!

    Exposure to Agent Orange has been linked to numerous health problems, including
    non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, prostate cancer, Type II Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and other issues. In 1991, legislation was enacted that empowered the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to declare certain illnesses “presumptive” to exposure to Agent
    Orange and enabled Vietnam veterans to receive disability compensation for these related conditions. However, in 2002, the VA limited the authority of the Act to only those veterans who could provide orders for “boots on the ground” in Vietnam. As a result, veterans who served in the waters off the coast of Vietnam were forced to file individual claims with the VA to restore their benefits, which are then decided on a
    case-by-case basis. After 40 years the evidence needed for these Veterans to obtain benefits no longer exists. Please help correct this inequity.

    I urge you, the public, tocommunicate to Representative Jeff Miller R-FL, the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, that HR 543, The Blue
    Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2013, now has 251 cosponsors. Call Phone: (202) 225-4136. This is enough for a discharge petition to force it to the House floor. This would be an embarrassing situation to this committee. After 14 years of
    being disenfranchised by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Blue Water Navy deserves its day on the House floor for a vote.

    The estimate is that 30,000 Veterans of the Blue Water Navy are being denied health care today. With the fiasco facing this nation with the deaths of Veterans in care of the DVA, let’s not add to the count. Please ask Representative Miller to bring forth this bill for a full vote of the House.

    If you are a Veteran , a Veterans relative or simply a person interested in supporting Veterans causes, click here Our hearts goes out to the families of these Veterans who have died due to delayed appointments at the VA. But then think of all the thousands of Vietnam Blue Water Navy Veterans excluded from the presumption of herbicide exposure (Agent Orange) who have died because the VA refuses to give them service related status. This does not seem to provoke the conscience of Congress or the public. Does the Vietnam stigma still haunt these men and women Veterans? It’s like post war Germany when the citizens refused to admit the existence of the concentration camps and the atrocities committed there. So the next time you’re shocked by an article about one or ten or hundreds of Veterans, will you think of those thousands in the Blue Water Navy?

    For more information on exposure and the DVA read A Re-Analysis of Blue Water Navy Veterans and Agent Orange Exposure at http://www.bluewaternavy.org.

    Perhaps the plight of the Vietnam Blue Water Navy Veterans who have died because of a DVA ruling on herbicide exposure should be considered wrongful deaths and be brought up on civil charges!

    Exposure to Agent Orange has been linked to numerous health problems, including non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, prostate cancer, Type II Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and other issues. In 1991, legislation was enacted that empowered the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to declare certain illnesses “presumptive” to exposure to Agent Orange and enabled Vietnam veterans to receive disability compensation for these related conditions. However, in 2002, the VA limited the authority of the Act to only those veterans who could provide orders for “boots on the ground” in Vietnam. As a result, veterans who served in the waters off the coast of Vietnam were forced to file individual claims with the VA to restore their benefits, which are then decided on a case-by-case basis. After 40 years the evidence needed for these Veterans to obtain benefits no longer exists. Please help correct this inequity.

    I urge you, the public, to communicate to Representative Jeff Miller R-FL, the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, that HR 543, The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2013, now has 251 cosponsors. Call Phone: (202) 225-4136. This is enough for a discharge petition to force it to the House floor. This would be an embarrassing situation to this committee. After 14 years of being disenfranchised by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Blue Water Navy deserves its day on the House floor for a vote.

    The estimate is that 30,000 Veterans of the Blue Water Navy are being denied health care today. With the fiasco facing this nation with the deaths of Veterans in care of the DVA, let’s not add to the count. Please ask Representative Miller to bring forth this bill for a full vote of the House.

    If you are a Veteran , a Veterans relative or simply a person interested in supporting Veterans causes, click here Join BWNVVA and fill out a membership application to the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association..