Staff At Phoenix VA Pocketed Hefty Bonuses & Salaries

BarbWire BWIs the V.A. an employment farm, or a medical system? That’s a fair question being asked by Adam Andrzejewski and his “Open The Books” organization after their investigation into the records of the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Arizona. Emily Boyd-Walker also has a write up about it at the Fox News website here.

What follows is some of what “Open The Books” included in their own summary:

Salary data at shows clear evidence that the bureaucracy served the bureaucracy, not veterans.

Forty plus veterans may have died waiting for care, and up to 1,400 veterans waited months for critical appointments.

It’s alleged that the Phoenix VA ran a secret waiting list and key records were destroyed.  CNN broke the scandal and it’s been rocking Washington, D.C. in recent weeks.


  • Top 100 Employees made $70 Million in salaries (2011-2013)
  • #1 Bonus 2013 – Phoenix VA Director Sharon Helman- $9,345
  • 59% of Salaries Spent on Admin/Operations- not Medical Care
  • Only 1 Employee of 3,170 with Job Title of Quality Assurance
  • Millions Spent on Gardening, Public Affairs, Interior Decorating, Architecture


Top 100 Doctor/Executive Corps made $70 million in salary (2011-2013). None of them blew the whistle on the corruption. Is it incompetence or the perverse incentive of too much pay?  (Review salary database.)


In 2013, Director Sharon Helman received the #1 bonus out of 3,170 employees: $9,345! The next highest award was $5,000, followed by $3,975. 300 employees received less than $500. (Helman was recently placed on administrative leave.) (Review 2013 Phoenix VA Bonuses.)


1.  59% of all Phoenix VA salaries were spent on management, administration, or operations functions — not on veterans care.
(Review salary breakout.)

2.  A patronage jobs pool- outside of medical care: only 226 medical officers (doctors) and 576 nurses were employed by Phoenix VA out of 3,170 employees.

3.  More money spent on Gardeners, Interior Decorators, Architecture, Public Affairs, and other non-essentials- than for Quality Assurance. (Review total salaries by job title.)

This quote from U.S. Senator Tom Coburn was also included in the announcement: “Our nation’s veterans need access to health care and doctors, not interior decorators and designers. I’m proud of the work ordinary citizens and groups like Open the Books are doing to hold the VA accountable.”

Conservative activists have been clamoring for these kinds of investigations for decades — this kind of corruption can be found at all levels of government is one of many reasons they support limited government. For more information about Open the Books click here.