Trump creates accountability office at VA

Trump creates accountability office at VA

Trump planned to sign an executive order Thursday to create a VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, according to a White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the matter on the record.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin told reporters Wednesday that the office will review all VA employees and protect those who find employees within the agency who "have deviated" from the mission of serving veterans. "At the same time we will reward and retain the many VA employees who do a fantastic job, of which we have many".

Seekins, who stood next to Shulkin while he spoke, nodded along to Shulkin's praise and acknowledgment that Durham's VA is one of the fastest growing medical facilities in the country with a recent average of 900 new patients per month. Officials there were found to have manipulated appointment data and engaged in other schemes in attempt to cover up the backlog. But a similar measure faces opposition mainly from Democrats in the Senate.

But Shulkin told USA Today that he alone would oversee the new accountability office, and it would focus on the entire VA workforce, not just senior officers - the main subject of OAR's work.

Trump's short trip across Lafayette Park from the White House to VA headquarters in Washington is created to follow his campaign promises to clean up the embattled department, which lawmakers have criticized in recent years for being slow to respond to incompetence or criminal behavior.

"We're going to help and we're going to make this so good".

Carlos Fuentes, legislative director of Veterans of Foreign Wars, said his group was concerned the VA would overlook positions that didn't directly affect health care, such as staffing of its suicide prevention hotline. "Shulkin's hands will be tied until Congress passes strong accountability legislation, like the VA Accountability First Act, to let him get these bad VA employees out quickly". Lucas said the office was a "positive first step" but not enough to fix the culture at the VA.

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The new office will investigate allegations of misconduct, including retaliation against whistleblowers, and will report directly to the VA Secretary.

Shulkin, who served in the Obama-era VA before being named department secretary by Trump, has been particularly bullish on increasing agency firing authority over VA employees, many of whom are unionized.

The executive order is one of several Trump is signing this week as he seeks to score accomplishments before Saturday, his symbolic 100th day in office.

For the past year NBC Montana talked to veterans around Montana who could not get in to see doctors and were suddenly slammed with unexpected expenses.

Coleman said he was retaliated against by Phoenix VA directors, and hopes that retaliation will soon be made a punishable offense.

No new hiring will be done for the office.

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