VA ‘I CARE’ Slogan Slammed By Veterans, Employees as Mockery of Reform

The embattled Veterans Affairs Department, now ranked by a government watchdog as among the most troubled federal agencies, is reminding employees in a memo why they should care about their work.

The document circulating among employees is titled the “I CARE Quick Reference” sheet, and it spells out the desired core values of the VA: integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence. The memo says the VA is “a model of unrivaled excellence due to employees who are empowered, trusted by their leaders, and respected for their competence and dedication.”

But after a year in which VA officials were accused of keeping secret waiting lists and concealing delayed care for veterans, some agency employees and veterans are questioning the “I CARE” program as a cosmetic effort that will do little to improve services.

“Management has made a mockery of it,” said one VA employee, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation.