Audit: Oklahoma Veterans Affairs has poor leadership

August 2, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A state audit has found that Oklahoma’s Department of Veterans Affairs has poor leadership.

The department’s three-year audit was released Wednesday, The Oklahoman reported . Auditors spoke with more than 250 past and current employees.

While the department’s seven long-term care centers each had effective leadership, staff felt that there was “a culture of fear and intimidation” at the central office in Oklahoma City, the audit said.

“This is the most punitive, negative, secretive, dysfunctional environment I have ever worked in. I feel my job is in jeopardy every day that I go to work,” one employee told auditors. “The ODVA is run from central office by lies, deceit and secrets.”

Department officials are reviewing the report and that corrective action will be taken for certain matters, said Shane Faulkner, a spokesman for the department.

The poor culture has caused staffing shortages, which have led to a decline in patient care, though there haven’t been violations of state regulations, the audit said. An outside firm has been contracted to run laboratory services, limits on specialty diets have been imposed and doctors no longer take sick calls, investigators found.

The Talihina Veterans Center was a major focus of the audit amid discussion of relocating the facility.

The state Veterans Commission should work to address the toxic management situation and improve communications, the audit recommended. It also calls for some financial changes, such as having an independent evaluation when relocating care centers and running a cost-benefit analysis before outsourcing services.


Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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