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VA (Department of Veterans Affairs)

The United States has the most comprehensive system of assistance for veterans of any nation in the world. This benefits system traces its roots back to 1636, when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony were at war with the Pequot Indians. The Pilgrims passed a law which stated that disabled soldiers would be supported by the colony. The establishment of the Veterans Administration came in 1930 when Congress authorized the President to "consolidate and coordinate Government activities affecting war veterans." (Source: www4.va.gov/about_va/vahistory.asp)

This forum also includes the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

Perhaps you are working for the VA or interested in working for the VA. Here is a forum to share your experience with the VA.

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dumaka  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, September 21, 2011 4:04:12 AM(UTC)
dumaka

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Joined: 7/29/2011(UTC)
Posts: 30

What is it like working for the VHA? I currently work for HRSA in HHS. I'm thinking about applying to the VHA to gain more experience in Healthcare management. Anyone have any stories they'd like to share?
Administrative Officer<br />HHS<br />USAF Vet 7 years
USAF  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, September 21, 2011 5:34:05 AM(UTC)
USAF

Rank: Senior Member

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Joined: 7/25/2011(UTC)
Posts: 220

Stay far away from VHA!!!  I worked there fo 4 years and I took a transfer to DFAS and never looked backThumbs Up We had 4 people here at DFAS transfer to the VHA and within 60 days they transferred backLOL We all share our horror stories of that place.
You have to be seated at exactly your start time, exact break and lunch time, get up from you seat at the exact moment your tour ends. Any deviation from these exact times affords you a letter of reprimand. The VHA is heavily union and for good reasons.
  1. No talking
  2. Nothing at your desk... not even family pictures.
  3. Strict dress code.... for example no jeans. They do have "Jeans Day" but you have to pay a $2.00 "donation"
  4. Getting leave approved takes an act of Congress!
  5. Co-workers call in sick or get approved leave, expect to do their work on top of yours!
  6. Employee parking is a joke.... you'll get a nice ticket.
  7. Expect to see violations and if you question them you're doomed. Good old Boy systemShocked
  8. The VHA has their own police force but I think it's used to harrass employees... nothing like working with uniformed police officers hanging over your shoulderAngry
  9. ulmmm.... you get a cool government ID
  10. upward mobility.... ya right
Just stay where you are, but you be the judge. Never know until you tryTongue
dumaka  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, September 21, 2011 5:45:49 AM(UTC)
dumaka

Rank: Rookie

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Joined: 7/29/2011(UTC)
Posts: 30

You can't possibly be serious. I'm referring to the headquarters in DC.dumaka2011-09-21 16:44:54
Administrative Officer<br />HHS<br />USAF Vet 7 years
YaFace  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, September 21, 2011 6:44:31 AM(UTC)
YaFace

Rank: Senior Member

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Joined: 11/6/2008(UTC)
Posts: 1,082

I have stated this before, it all depends on the local VAMC, everyone is different. When I worked at the VHA I had none of these problems that USAF speaks of, but stuff like this is not unheard of. The only way to truly find out is to go down there and ask the current employees how it is, or watch them in action to see if they are happy. Either way it is a crapshoot.
Go government!
porcupine  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, September 21, 2011 7:59:01 AM(UTC)
porcupine

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Joined: 3/20/2011(UTC)
Posts: 94

Huh.  Now, please note that I have been a VHA employee for about eight days now.  But I'm having a blast!  My boss is very cool, and his boss is a high powered, demanding executive.  Who can be managed, if handled right - most of what they want is reasonable.  They just want it now.  We do have some problems, but mostly with folks who try to NOT work.  "Yes, you sent me to training to do this type of work, and it is always done by people with my job title, but I don't want to do it."  And "Stop calling me at home for emergencies.  I know that I'm a key member of the emergency team, with unique skills that are needed at all hours at a hospital, but I don't want to be called off normal duty hours."
 
Folks making $60-$70 thousand a year, who are constantly submitting complaints.  THOSE folks are, quite reasonably, held to a stricter standard.  Any decent organization tries their best to rid itself of such refuse.  But the slackers know the system, and while you document their many errors, they know how long to "act good" for, and not get fired for their incompetence.  Man, get rid of four people in my large section and we would all be smiling non-stop.
 
Everyone I have met so far has been pleasant and helpful, and nearly all are hardworking and conscientious.  We go out of our way to help our people and each other.  We go out of our way to help the veterans that we are there to help.  I just arranged a chili cookoff for next month, and the boss extended the lunch hour this day to two hours for it.  Snap!  Easy.
porcupine2011-09-21 16:08:33
Knight  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, April 04, 2012 10:13:53 PM(UTC)
Knight

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Joined: 1/2/2009(UTC)
Posts: 5,886
Man

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Was thanked: 8 time(s) in 8 post(s)

I find this one comment interesting.
Quote:
You have to be seated at exactly your start time, exact break and lunch time, get up from you seat at the exact moment your tour ends. Any deviation from these exact times affords you a letter of reprimand. The VHA is heavily union and for good reasons.
If this bugs him then don't come to my AF shop. I do allow some wiggle room but you will be at your duty position at the start of the day and stay until the end. I have had people try and shave time off either end. So far the union has backed me when I have had to take action. I had a guy try and combine lunch and breaks to leave a hour early. Claims he did it all the time with the old supervisor. I showed him the union contract saying that is not allowed, he grieved and lost.
Cianhydle  
#7 Posted : Thursday, April 05, 2012 9:04:21 PM(UTC)
Cianhydle

Rank: Rookie

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Joined: 12/8/2011(UTC)
Posts: 29



We had an employee who just couldn't figure out his tour.  He was hired to work a later shift.  He came in two hours early and started working with the expectation he could leave two hours early -- I told him he couldn't do that because our job required him to work from a specific time to a specific time.  He said he understood and decided to come in two hours early the next week and start working.  He was told again that he was assigned to a specific shift and that deviation from those times was not allowed.  He complained that he just wanted to help veterans like himself, but we had to explain that if we knew he was working outside of his tour then we had to pay for his overtime -- which was not authorized.  Finally he came in the next week, three weeks in a row, and started working early.  He is no longer employed with the VBA. 
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