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VA Officials Exposed for Incompetence win Performance Awards

Pedestrians walk past the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, May 10, 2013. The department's funding has jumped more than 40 percent to about $140 billion this year, compared with fiscal 2009, a boost to help the agency cope with a surge of new veterans returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Awarding bureaucratic incompetency and poor performance…the way of BIG GOVERNMENT politics.

By Michael Volpe, The Daily Caller

Two top managers repeatedly cited for incompetence will receive performance awards at the scandal plagued Memphis VA Medical Center, The Daily Caller has learned.

Diane Knight and Rebecca England will be two of thirteen individuals receiving performance awards at a ceremony held by the Memphis VA Medical Center on Monday, March 16.

Both will receive the awards despite numerous media and Inspector General reports questioning their competence, including two exposes by The Daily Caller.

England was the supervisor of the medical records department in the business office of the Memphis VA when TheDC reported on two medical records backlogs from her department last summer.

C. Diane Knight, the director of the hospital, will be receiving a special recognition award despite numerous scandals under her watch.

“The hospital has been the subject of embarrassing news stories for each of the last thirteen months,” said Sean Higgins, a former employee of the Memphis VA and whistleblower responsible for bringing to light poor maintenance of the dialysis machines and other malfeasance at the hospital.

Higgins was terminated after making what were deemed racial remarks leading to a hostile work environment, but he believes he was targeted for constantly bringing forward wrongdoing at the hospital.

He’s currently appealing his termination.

In January, the VA Office of Inspector General (VAOIG) released a blistering report which made twenty-seven recommendations across eight areas: quality management, environment of care, medication management, coordination of care, magnetic resonance imaging safety, acute ischemic stroke care, surgical complexity, and emergency airway management.

A 2014 audit found the hospital had some of the worst wait times, forty-nine days, in the country.

“Knight said her team will be looking at their resources, staff, space and training to make sure no one waits longer than 30 days, which is the national standard,” according to report from the Memphis station WREG on the audit. “When the media asked Knight to be more specific about the changes, she walked away from the podium.”

Willie Logan, the hospital’s press person, said that the awards were strictly for recognition and carried no monetary value.

Higgins said he was dubious of this statement because he’s received the special recognition award and received money along with it in a subsequent paycheck.

In December 2014, Logan claimed to TheDC to be unaware she’d received a bonus only to be confronted with a hard copy of the bonus.

Besides the awards for merit, another fifty people will be recognized at the same ceremony for their years of service.

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