Today, President Obama called for a broader review of the Veterans Affairs (VA) scandal, claiming that “we’ve got to do better” when it comes to the health of our veterans. However, he indicated he would like to wait for the conclusion of the internal probe before taking further action on the issue.
Why is it that in the face of overwhelming incompetence, the only answer that the Obama administration has is, “We need to get to the bottom of this,” or “We need further investigation”? If something is blatantly broken, you’re only going to uncover what you already know if you do a more detailed inquiry.
What I want to know is, why can’t we walk and chew gum at the same time? Why can’t we investigate something further, while at the same time work to come up with productive solutions? The private sector does it all the time. As a department chair of a major medical center, I don’t have the luxury of conducting an internal investigation of an issue without showing my superiors that I’m also actively working to fix the problem.
In health care, quickly remedying systematic problems is extremely important, because you have lives at stake. There will always be plenty of time to point fingers at who caused these issues, but in the meantime, solutions need to be made. Ultimately, I think this is why many veterans find the words of the president insufficient. I certainly do.
The Department of Veterans Affairs needs a complete overhaul, and in my opinion, that overhaul solution should come from health care leaders in the private sector. We can look to numerous national examples of thriving health care systems, including the Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, MD Anderson and more. These are places of excellence, great medical quality, and innovative ideas, which work day in and day out to provide optimal service to their patients.
Why didn’t the president immediately call for a blue ribbon commission of the top health care CEOs in the country representing the best health care systems in the private sector? He should have immediately announced that these top minds in the health care field would get to work on coming up with a more efficient VA health care system that could improve the health of our veterans.
To me, all of Obama’s announcements are mere political words. Mr. President, if you’re really serious about fixing the health of our veterans, we cannot wait any longer or try to learn more about this issue. The time to act is now.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.