VISN hierarchy no good for vets
The June 6 Public Forum letter titled “Reform system, cut VA bonuses” was a real eye-opener. As a past commander of the American Legion Earle B. Stewart Post 16 in Roseburg, I’ve been involved in the Douglas County Veterans Forum “Save Our Hospital” campaign. It started five years ago, trying to get the intensive care unit back at the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
The way the VA is structured with its VISNs and acronyms, it’s very confusing. Let’s just say for anyone who missed the June 6 letter, VISN is the boss of Roseburg VA’s boss and before VISN, there were no huge bonuses to VA leadership. When the lack of an ICU story blew up and finally made the news, our elected officials at local, state and federal levels got involved. Senator Wyden demanded an investigation into the ICU shutdown.
That investigation cost half a million dollars and the man who invented the VISN concept, the guy who started the entire thing, was in charge of the investigation. The head mouse was investigating the cheese, so we knew we’d been had. We had lots of information from employees willing to talk to us, but no way to nail anything down with proof.
Then we found out about the large bonuses the leadership of VISN and Roseburg VA received. At the time, the DCVF was told very loudly by VA leadership to lay off the bonuses, that they had nothing to do with the ICU, and once again we had no proof.
But now, starting in Phoenix, we learn about the VA credibility gap, wiggling the truth to fit the story, the deception and lies, and suddenly it fits in Roseburg. Thanks to the June 6 letter writer, now we know the truth.