The chairman of U.S. Megabank walks into a bar. Guy comes over, says “You know what, pal? I was just in your branch in Kalamazoo, Michigan and the line was out the door. Took forever for me to cash my paycheck.”
“Good heavens!” says the CEO, “thanks for letting me know. I’ll have it fixed right away, and here’s my card. If you ever have trouble like that again, call my direct line.”
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs walks into Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington. Guy comes over, salutes, says “You know what, General, sir? I was just down in Phoenix and the line at the VA hospital was out the door. Took eight months to get my cardiogram and a prescription. In the meantime, I had to go to an emergency room for a heart transplant and I almost died. And the sergeant just ahead of me in Phoenix? He actually DID die, right there in the waiting room.”
“Huh?” Asks the Secretary.
Is Megabank’s chairman supposed to be aware of every little thing that goes on in every little branch in every little town it has one? If you DO run into him in a bar or a bistro and tell him about a problem, he’ll fix it.
Isn’t the VA as important as a bank? Certainly, especially in this age of troop worship. Anyone in camos is automatically a hero, even if his service is patrolling Penn Station.
But in all fairness, you can’t expect every CEO to know what goes on everywhere.
So after a relatively stellar career in the army, Four Star General Eric Shinseki, 71, takes the hit for the book cooking at the VA facility in Arizona. A head had to roll when bonus-hungry peons decided to lie about wait times instead of fixing them. No BMW for you this year, Mr. Appointments Scheduler.
Is this going to satisfy anyone? No. The VA remains overloaded with patients and underloaded with doctors and other health professionals.
You meet this man, Shinseki, you like him. You meet this man, you respect him. By all accounts, he’s that kind of a guy. Did he cause the Arizona backups? Or the lack of doctors? Or the useless wars that spat out more injured wounded and sick vets than GM and Ford combined have recalled cars in the last ten minutes?
No, no and no.
The President’s fellow Democrats in congress screamed for a beheading and got one. You’d think the flag-lapelled Republicans would be just as loud. But someone clued them in by whispering into their collective ear “It was you schmucks who didn’t provide the funding. Be happy they just pick on Ric.”
Shinseki’s parents came to this country from Japan in 1901. Good thing they’re gone because stuff like this is a face-loser of face losers.
--The VA is not the only medical service with a crummy office system. Medical offices are all backed up and hidebound. The doctors themselves often are unaware but you can help yourself and others by telling them about wait times… if you live long enough.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them ®
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© WJR 2014