The Department of Veterans Affairs continues its parade of poor decisions and bad ideas with their most recent slideshow shown to VA employees, which depicts veterans as Oscar the Grouch, the character from Sesame Street.
Perhaps the VA needs to bring in Oscar the Grouch’s Sesame Street neighbor, Count von Count, to give themselves a lesson and count how many veterans have waited far too long to receive the health care and benefits they have earned.
The cranky Sesame Street character who lives in a garbage can was used in reference to veterans who will attend town-hall events Wednesday in Philadelphia. The spokeswoman from the Philadelphia VA benefits office - which will host the town halls - said in a statement that the agency regretted any misunderstanding caused by the slide show.
There’s no clear answer as whether this idea came out of the Philadelphia VA or the national office. But so much for improving customer service to our veterans.
What’s more, the slide show contains a “coping with stress” and four-minute relaxation technique for employees if they feel angry or overwhelmed (by the veterans in attendance at the town halls).
Maybe some of the veterans in attendance would love to know about those “coping with stress” techniques as well, especially as they sit on egregiously long wait lists for care.
The bottom-line throughout all this unfortunate news coming out of the VA is this: those who have sacrificed so much for our country do not deserve to be treated like garbage. They are not grouches. Veterans are not “too demanding” or “unreasonable” when they get upset by the current state of their care. Many have lost trust in the VA.
Instead of slideshows depicting Oscar the Grouch and relaxation techniques for employees, perhaps a presentation on best practices, cutting wait times, and real customer service is in order.
Read more on this issue on Stars & Stripes’ website: http://www.stripes.com/news/philly-va-training-slides-depicted-veterans-as-oscar-the-grouch-1.300205