“No veteran should ever have to wait to receive the care they have earned through their service and sacrifice. As the President said last week, we must work together to fix the unacceptable, systemic problems in accessing VA healthcare. I believe that trust is the foundation for everything we do – VA must be an organization built on transparency and accountability.”
According to a June 6, 2014 USA Today article, investigators determined that more than 100,000 veterans nationwide were kept off waiting lists for medical appointments.
Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson, a 1975 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he earned Airborne and Ranger qualifications and served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army, said the nation will learn today how many patients were relegated to “secret lists.”
When young men and women agree to volunteer to serve this country and to subject themselves to a higher code of standards and ethics than that of their civilian counterparts, they do so with pride and honor – and with an understanding that those in leadership and in charge of care will honor that service with high regard.
High regard was suspended in lieu of bonuses.
But are bonuses the problem or is the real problem those who are in the position to execute care?
One opinion amongst journalists was that former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, a decorated General, relied on the word of his civilian counterparts – this stemming from his experience in the military, where in most cases, your word is your bond.
Apparently, some civilians in leadership positions didn’t subscribe to this position – and as a result, service members died and a decorated General had to resign his post. After all, it was on his watch that this scandal occurred.
Bottom line: Money reveals character. The character of those who were in a position to care for those who agreed to sacrifice it all was revealed. Perhaps it is time to subject all those who choose to serve, those who serve, and have served to boot camp – or some sort of service that requires sacrifice. After all, it is through selfless sacrifice that character is built.
— By Michael Schindler
Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.” He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.