According to a report from the Tampa Bay Times, VA workers at a local Florida hospital left the body of a deceased veteran in a shower for at least nine hours. Making matters worse, they allegedly tried to cover up their bad behavior.
Some hospice staff violated hospital and Veterans Affairs policies by "failing to provide appropriate post-mortem care," including proper transportation of a body to the morgue, according to the report by the hospital's Administrative Investigation Board.
Bay Pines ordered retraining and a change in procedures as a result of the incident, and "appropriate personnel action was taken," said hospital spokesman Jason Dangel.
"We view this finding as unacceptable," Dangel said.
He declined to elaborate on whether workers were fired or disciplined, citing employee confidentiality rules.
Based on current VA policy, it is unlikely the workers were fired.
Just last week VA officials in Wisconsin announced a dentist who treated nearly 600 veterans with unsanitary tools, may have infected them with HIV and a number of other life threatening diseases. Instead of being fired for clearly and repeatedly breaking VA protocol, the dentist was reassigned to an administrative position.
Back in September, the House passed legislation that would allow for the swift firing of bad VA employees. Currently, policy protects bad employees no matter how egregious their actions may be. The legislation was passed with a veto-proof, bipartisan majority 310-116. Here's what it would do:
-Shorten the firing/demotion/appeals process for rank-and-file VA employees from more than a year on average to no more than 77 days
-Remove entirely the Merit Systems Protection Board from the firing/demotion/appeals process for VA senior executives
-Provide VA whistleblowers with a means to solve problems at the lowest level possible, while offering them protection from reprisals and mandating strict accountability for those who reprise against them
-Give the VA secretary the authority to recoup bonuses and relocation expenses from misbehaving employees
-Give the VA secretary the authority to reduce the pensions of senior executives convicted of felonies that influenced their job performance
-Reform the department’s broken disability benefits appeals process
It's up to the Senate to bring the bill up for a vote and get it to the President's desk.