A Rose By Any Other Name...: Can You Spell P.R.I.V.A.T.I.Z.E?

Written by veterans  |  12. September 2008

Money makes the world go around ...the world go around ...the world go around. Money makes the world go around It makes the world go round. P... We Veterans get the best care anywhere, at the VA. A given, known to most of us. And, this care is given at a cost significantly lower than similar care given at and by many other caregivers. Pr... There is an element within the current governmental bureaucracy that understands this: there is money to be made if a veteran s treatment includes others from outside the VA; Another given. Don t agree? Take a look at the Compensation & Pension (C&P) examination arena to mention just one area; one that is mentioned again, below. Pri... When the GI Bill for the 21st Century had not yet become law, certain high VA officials began suggesting the implementation of the bill from the VA s point of view would be problematic. Priv... VA Secretary James Peake, in a letter to the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), one of the VA employee s unions, National VA Council president Alma Lee, said, The implementation of this new program [the new GI Bill] and subsequent new work will have a profound impact on VA. The challenges of creating the procedures and systems to support a new program ... will tax VA s resources. Priva... It should be noted that: 1) it is the VA s job to administrate these types of programs; 2) they do this for other programs and do a good job, and; 3) they do so using existing procedures and systems which could be used for the new Bill s program, with the expansion of their existing employee base. Privat... Still, Secretary Peake continued in his letter, ...The decision has been made to seek private-sector support to implement this new program... We intend to move quickly to select a contractor.... Privati... Using the private-sector to implement the Bill s new program would prevent the VA from hiring new employees, and since some company is sure to make a good size profit, it would cost more than if the VA did it themselves; not to mention concerns over the quality of work that would not exist if the VA did the work directly. Privatiz... It is being said by individuals from the VA that in VA management meetings one company s name is being mentioned as a shoe-in to receive this contract. That company s name is QTC Management, Inc., which looks to make over one billion dollars with this new contract. Privatize... It just so happens that past VA Secretary Anthony J. Principi heads up QTC Management, with current VA Secretary a past key executive of QTC Management. Oh yes. Remember my mention of C&P exams? And the company who is currently providing that service to the VA, and making a tidy profit from it, is... wait for it... QTC Management. Privatize, N... AFGE has already responded: AFGE... sought help from Virginia senator Jim Webb after VA announced it will outsource the work of processing applications for education benefits under the new GI bill Webb championed. In a letter sent to Webb s office, [it] said VA has plans to transfer to other VA offices more than 400 employees working in the Education Division processing applications for benefits provided under the old GI bill. VA will then staff this office with contract workers, who will need to be trained to do the work these 400 employees already know how to do. [They] said this absurd move would waste VA s time and the taxpayer s dollar while uprooting workers, many of whom are veterans. [They] suggested that VA train the current workers to apply the new law while hiring veterans and temporary workers to help with the surge. AFGE also filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office... protesting outsourcing of federal work without competition. Privatize, No... The American Legion has also responded: To VA: Outsourcing is Not the Answer. [R]eports are circulating that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is planning to hire an outside company to implement the New GI Bill. There are also reports that VA may hire outside companies to inspect state veterans homes... Our newest generation of veterans deserves the benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, not outside contractors. Patients, critics and most media all cite the outstanding job the VA is doing. Outsourcing is not the answer. In a resolution opposing outsourcing the new GI Bill, The American Legion argued that VA should hire the staff necessary to fulfill the law s requirements. The Legion, which strongly opposes the movement toward outsourcing critical services that could be handled internally at VA, also passed a resolution opposing efforts to hire outside companies to perform inspections on state veterans homes which have always been performed by trained VA staff. The American Legion family is urged to contact their members of Congress at (202) 224-3121 and insist that VA be persuaded not to use outside contractors for duties that should be performed by VA personnel. Privatize, Not! Money money money money Money money money money Money money money... --- Regards, Walt Schmidt

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