The Virginia State Government may make the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal pale in comparison. Virginia state employees have become more concerned for their own self-interests and have become more unresponsive to the needs of the constituency.
Government agencies in the state of Virginia have a culture of complacency that borders on abuse and perhaps criminality. Complacent culture follows leadership and filters down throughout agencies led by political appointees and cronies. They apparently think that they are immune from critical condemnation and serious objective oversight. Unanswered correspondence or irrelevant and seemingly fabricated responses are the standard.
The Virginia Department of Health can take 12 to 15 months to initiate and investigate a complaint of a resident in the state-operated nursing home, Sitter and Barfoot Veterans Care Center….if they investigate the complaint at all. If Sitter and Barfoot investigates a complaint, it does not report the results of an investigation to the complainant — even if specifically requested. It is essentially stonewalled.
The Department of Veterans Services does not have any mechanism in place to provide independent, critical operational oversight of Sitter and Barfoot Veterans Care Center.
With the exception of an annual health department survey that only last three to four days and a superficial annual audit by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Sitter and Barfoot operates with little or no supervision and with impunity. Complaints about Sitter and Barfoot written to the Department of Veterans Services are re-directed back to Sitter and Barfoot for handling.
Sitter and Barfoot is mandated to make available the most recent surveys for public scrutiny, but to get prior surveys to find a pattern of violations are difficult to obtain. Once obtained one finds serious, repeated deficits in the area of Human Resources and hiring practices that could potentially put all veteran residents at risk.
Repeated abuses in the area of dignity and respect towards the veteran residents become evident in the review of several surveys. Continued abuses in the handling of mail have been brought directly to the attention of the administrator. She has never provided the required follow-up to insure that personal mail is handled efficiently, in accordance with not only federal regulations but Sitter and Barfoot’s own written policies.