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Chairman Miller, Commander Koutz Condemn VA Exec’s $62,895 Bonus After Patient Deaths

May 2, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Chairman Jeff Miller (FL-01) and American Legion National Commander James Koutz made the following statements in response to Department of Veterans Affairs VISN 4 Director Michael Moreland’s $62,895 bonus in the wake of patient deaths at a hospital he oversees.

“When it comes to executive bonuses, apparently there is no limit to VA’s tone deafness. At the same time VA is dragging its feet in providing crucial information that would help victims of the deadly Pittsburgh VA Legionnaires’ disease outbreak and Congress understand exactly what happened, the department handed out a huge bonus to the executive who oversees the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System. Secretary Shinseki should do the right thing and immediately take steps to recoup this bonus. On its own, this incident is egregious enough. But unfortunately we’ve learned in recent days that multiple VA medical center officials have received bonuses in the wake of patient deaths linked to mismanagement. That’s why we are calling on VA to conduct a top-to-bottom review of its performance appraisal system to ensure outrageous bonus payments like this do not occur in the future. In the meantime, VA owes us all – especially the families of those who died – an explanation as to why the department awarded these bonuses.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

“The American Legion is concerned that the VA doesn’t seem to be taking their own Inspector General reports seriously.  It’s astonishing the VA IG report would find a specific facility failed to follow long-existing guidelines which resulted in the death of five veterans, and yet within a week’s time the Director of that region should be singled out for the government’s highest employee honor.  It defies all logic.  Even the government’s own guidance is clear.  The Office of Personnel Management clearly states nominees for this award must not be involved in any investigation or situation which would cause embarrassment.  I certainly think this qualifies as such a case.” – James E. Koutz, National Commander, The American Legion