Veteran Waitlist Deaths

The Daily News just came out with a report claiming data from lawsuits suggests the number of veteran waitlist deaths may be over 1,000 veterans.

Meanwhile, VA plays politics over the health care crisis, while stories of crimes against veterans fail to inspire President Obama to investigate the perpetrators.

After the media fall out from the Senate hearing last week, most Americans are now aware of the crimes VA committed against veterans by the agency charged with giving us care. It is making most local news investigations at this point, and the issue will likely be in play for elections this November.

So let’s hit them while the iron is hot. This November, we need to vote out the fakers and vote in real American leaders.

Hi and welcome to Monday Morning Quarterback for Veterans. I am your host, Benjamin Krause, Veterans Law attorney, investigative reporter, and creator of DisabledVeterans.org. This is the number one source of authentic and nonpartisan news affecting veterans across the country.

DisabledVeterans.org was founded with one purpose in mind, to give veterans the information they need to make educated choices about their benefits and about politics. Political parties and VA are well adept at manipulating the mass public, and this is where we cut through their manipulations to get our Square Deal after military service.

This week, we will cover the VA health care scandal with a slant. That slant will discuss how VA manipulates the headlines to sway public opinion and diminish veteran outcry amidst scandals.

Here are the topics this MMQB:

  • Veteran waitlist deaths alleged to be more than 1,000
  • Thanks, Senate hearing gave VA the sound byte it needed
  • Robert Petzel ‘resignation’ a media ploy
  • Upcoming Congressional Hearings

 

Veteran waitlist deaths may be higher than 1,000

VA has thus far admitted to 23 deaths related to waitlist deaths, but one quick look at VA lawsuits for malpractice paints another picture.

Daily News and WST-TV in Atlanta have taken on this task in light of Congress’s inability to get us timely information on the subject. The news agencies filed FOIA requests for malpractice settlements from 2002-2013. (Check out their database: Death Claims Against VA).

They found that over 100 payments per year were made where the veteran died while waiting for care. These are confirmed deaths where VA paid money for its failure. This means over 1,100 veterans died while waiting for care. The actual number is likely much, much higher based on aggregates where veteran families just gave up without suing.

After watching the Senate hearing last Thursday, it is painfully obvious VA is playing a word game on this one. Specifically, the agency is not clearly defining what it considers a “death caused by a delay in care while on a list” and what a “secret list” would be.

The question remains, how is VA defining the criteria of its searches for scheduling deaths?

The answer can be found when looking at how VA spins scandals. According to Robert Petzel (former VA health care head) some weeks ago, no deaths were found. However, CNN uncovered that the agency later admitted it was not searching for delays in follow-up appointments. It admitted this after grabbing numerous headlines that no deaths had been found yet.

According to VA’s old criteria, it would mean a veteran seen by the emergency room and scheduled for needed follow up care, but who died while waiting for care, would not be included in his search.

This issue is like the old studies looking for black swans amidst pools of white swans. By changing search parameters, one can potentially conclude no black swans exist – at least for your search. You can perhaps do this by limiting the areas for the search or the season during which you search.

Chemical companies have been accused of doing this. So have other manipulators. Why not the VA?

My fear is that VA using the white swan black swan test to avoid finding deaths, and judging from the earlier manipulations of Petzel to grab headlines, my guess is they are doing exactly that.

Read More: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/veteran-deaths-delay-treatment/2014/05/18/id/571963/?ns_mail_uid=37935091&ns_mail_job=1569662_05182014&promo_code=bkfryoc9

 

Thanks, Senate hearing gave VA the sound byte it needed

“We didn’t conclude, so far, that the delay caused the death,” said Richard Griffin at a Senate hearing Thursday on the state of the VA’s health care.

Are they not looking for black swans? It may be impossible to truly conclude that the delay caused the death. It really just depends on how you define “delay caused the death.”

The result of that quote was that numerous sound bytes across the country. For the second time in three weeks, the Associated Press has given VA another sound byte to cycle across all forms of medial, “Watchdog: No proof treatment delays killed vets.”

VA then sent across a mass email containing the following headline, “Independent IG: No proof so far Veterans died as a result of delayed care.”

The email included summaries that repeated the Associated Press title in a few different variations:

New York Times: Allegations of deaths due to delayed care have not been verified says independent IG

Mr. Griffin also indicated that the most serious allegations — that as many as 40 veterans died because of delays in treatment while they were on illicit waiting lists in Phoenix — had not been verified.

Navy Times: IG preliminary results: of cases reviewed, none conclusively show that the delays contributed to their deaths

[Mr. Griffin] added that the review to date has pulled together an initial list of 17 people who experienced delays of care in Phoenix, although none conclusively show that the delays contributed to their deaths.

“It’s one thing to be on a waiting list. And it’s another thing to conclude that as a result of being on the waiting list, that’s the cause of death,” Griffin said.

AP:Watchdog: No proof treatment delays killed vets

“It’s one thing to be on a waiting list, and it’s another thing to conclude that as a result of being on the waiting list that’s the cause of death, depending on what your illness might have been at the beginning,” [Inspector General Richard] Griffin told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

Wall Street Journal:VA Inspector General Says No Evidence Yet Linking Deaths to Wait Times

The acting inspector general for the Department of Veterans Affairs said no evidence had been found so far of patient deaths attributed to long wait times at the Phoenix VA Health Care System.

On April 30, 2014, the same manipulation tactic occurred. Petzel told reporters that no evidence was found to support the waitlist scandal. Major media outlets ran with the sound byte.

Here is the result of this game as it works in the media via grabbing headlines of major press agencies and outlets:

The Associated Press piece is broadcast across thousands of news media platforms across the internet – ABC, Washington Post, Boston Herald, Yahoo, Fox, etc. To give you an idea of scope regarding that specific headline, Google shows 8,650 results for “VA: We found no evidence of allegations in Phoenix” when you press search.

VA has been working to perfect the impact of its sound bytes since it became legal for the federal government to use propaganda schemes to influence public opinion last year. The agency spends at least $20 million every year on swaying public opinion through its Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs.

One company that helps with this mission is a DoD and VA contractor called Barbaricum, LLC. The company provides media tracking data to VA. The data allows VA to measure the effectiveness of its public relations team in diminishing dissent and negative press against the agency.

I just received a FOIA response back this past Friday that confirm VA uses basic propaganda techniques to influence public opinion and dissent about the agency.

 

Robert Petzel ‘resignation’ a media ploy

News media was a-buzz Friday with the resignation of Under Secretary Robert Petzel. “Wee-haw justice!” we all thought. However, there are some underlying concerns with this move since Petzel was set to retire this month, anyway.

Here is a little chronology.

First, Petzel was set to retire as of last September when he made the announcement. At that point, he was supposed to retire by the end of 2013 while the Administration searched for his replacement.

The reason for his retirement did not have to do with veteran deaths or other scandals related to harmed veterans. No, the reason he was set to resign was because he had given favored treatment to a government contractor for over $1 million.

Second, his retirement was extended to whenever VA found a replacement, which was announced May 1. President Obama selected a Chicago VA executive to replace Petzel.

Fast forward to Friday. The day after the Senate hearing, Robert Petzel’s resignation was blasted across all media outlets. Most of us felt like it was a victory, but was it really?

Petzel was already set to retire. He will likely get his pension. What I wonder is if this will be the first in a long sequence of events set to bury the scandal before the election cycle. Democrats will have a tough time this 2014 justifying the scandals and the Executive’s apparent inability to protect veterans. Congressional Democrats are likely nervous and seeking a few quick blood sacrifices like Petzel’s to satisfy the calls for justice.

But in Petzel’s case, where he was set to retire anyway, I think the move is really nothing more than a rouse. The rouse is a media move. The mass public will think justice was had. When coupled with other sound bytes that no evidence of deaths were found yet, the mass public go back to sleep.

One friend mentioned a curious question. Will Petzel’s “resignation” make it hard for Congress to call him back for questioning later? Good question.

Read More: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2631695/Veterans-Affairs-chief-Robert-Petzl-didnt-resign-FORCED-OUT-Obama-administration-amid-deadly-health-care-scandal-blamed-40-deaths.html

 

House Committee on Veterans Affairs Hearings

May 20 – Exploring Jobs for Veterans in the Energy Sector

May 29 – Defined Expectations: Evaluating VA’s Performance in the Servicemember Transition Process

 

13 COMMENTS

  1. LET THE GAMES “BEGIN” or “CONTINUE” ? MOST OF US THINK THIS IS “NEWS”, BUT FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED THIS(1979), WE KNOW THAT OUR GREATEST “SUSPICIONS” ARE FINALLY BEING BROUGHT TO THE “PUBLIC” FOR THEIR ENLIGHTENMENT.
    IT HAS BEEN A LONG TIME A COMIN, BUT “CHANGE” IS GONNA COME !!!!!

  2. The veterans I know blame Obama, Democrats, and RINO politicians for these death panels. To have the VA linked to over 1000 deaths is proof that the government we once served has orchestrated a strategy to condemn the most sickly of us to certain death. This is murder, folks. Plain and simple.

    And now with Obamacare in place against our will, our family members who are the most sickly will also find themselves on similar death lists as government bureaucrats decide to condemn them to death so that they can reward themselves with taxpayer paid bonuses.

    In effect, these one thousand VA deaths amount to government-sanctioned genocide, the deliberate and systematic extermination of US military veterans.

    Will you survive this brutal genocide the next time you use a VA hospital?

    • Good job and article, Ben! JUST THIS WEEKEND the Dayton, OHIO VA has **also** tracked the lawsuits for same period in the 10’s of MILLIONS of $$$ for Veteran’s deaths from inability to get much needed care and died on artificial waiting lists.

      Unfortunately, this is more than likely a diabolical practice that is one of the few uniformed practices across ALL VA Health Centers/Hospitals. Remember, they could just as easily use ben’s “search for white swans and black swans” technique by simply the VA looking at “VA Hospitals” and ***NOT INCLUDING VA HEALTH CENTERS***…something to think about. Collectively, it should all be included because **many** Veterans have to travel long distances from their “VA Medical Center” to a “VA HOSPITAL” for needed tests/treatment simply not available at the health center, which acts as a satellite, and are set-up much how a missile command center is with ten or more VA Health Centers in varied distances from the VA Hospital.

      My question now is: How do we in a non-partisan way MOBILIZE VETERANS to vote these bastards out and flush the toilet known as D.C.???

      Anyone???

      Collectively, we Vets are a voting force to be reckoned with and I do not think either side of the political aisle have clean hands…both are systematically at a huge fail at this point.

    • Your comment is excellent, to the point. More specifically, I am still waiting for investigators and everyone to realize that the bonuses are strategically planned bonuses paid for killing veterans. The whole thing is like death cards for killing high value targets, with different bounty amounts paid for different kinds of targets.

    • I knew from the beginning and even said in comments several weeks ago, that the bonuses the VA pays is directly tied to the waiting lists. There is a bonus system category of bounty paid for the death of a veteran, the same concept used to pay mercenaries or contract killers. I also commented here several weeks ago that it would turn out to be hugely higher number of these waiting list deaths. The thing that no one seems to really understand yet is that the bonuses are a simple reward system where the VA flat out pays staff to kill veterans which is a form of murder and a murder for hire scheme. The motivation is simple, to reduce VA costs by eliminating veterans through death by rewarded killing.

    • Thanks for the kind words Bruce. Please pass on this website – every bit helps to get the word out that veterans are getting screwed. But more importantly, we have a ton of free resources here that educate veterans about the truth regarding their benefits!

  3. Isn’t is great that the Gov. has this thing done so well that it all fits together so the people who never had any dealings with the VA think that it’s being taken care of & done in the correct manner. Something I noticed is that the hearing tried to make it sound as if the problem is the initial access to getting into the VA system & then it”s the best system to be in. Our fellow vets that died weren’t all trying to get into the system. These were vets who were in the system & it failed them. The hearing then quickly went in a different direction. The focused on getting into the system & not after getting in the system. I think the whole thing was a huge slap in our faces. They accomplished what they set out to do, “damage control” & make it look as if they’re actually trying to correct the problem. One of the ways to correct the problem is if they would have all resigned and we could get some new people who actually cared about us & not their political lives. We still do not matter & we never will. Any more of these “hearings” or whatever they want to call it, will continue to do damage control so they look as if they care, get re-elected, and continue to make more money than most of us vets will make in our whole life. Shinseki doesn’t care how we are treated even though he considers himself a vet. He gets better healthcare than any of us vets will ever get. If he was a true vet, he would get his care from the very organization he is overseeing. I am 99.9% positive that either nothing will come of this, some people will get re-assigned, and then it will all go away. The outcome will be to the people in charge “make a game that will not be able to be shown in any way” and that is what will happen. Remember to vote these people out, that will be a start.

  4. Due to pro-veteran attorney blogs like Ben has here, Obama has recently implemented a push to shut down any and all critical dissent of his corrupt administration.

    Obama has now instructed the FCC to discriminate against content on the Web they deem objectionable. Net neutrality has become too detrimental to an administration intent on centralizing political power while gutting the middle class of its means to a sustainable livelihood and the protections inherent in the US Constitution.

    To silence veterans’ advocacy blogs, the big money Internet Service Provider companies, that successfully lobbied the FCC to restrict the Internet for its own corporate use, have agreed to block anti-VA content and speech by reducing the available bandwidth to Ben’s blog.

    Furthermore, to help identify those visitors who frequent Ben’s blog and then leave comments calling out the administrations’ cruel death panels, the administration is going to implement Internet IDs that identify an online user and then automatically censors any anti-VA comments through Internet filters.

    In the likelihood that a visitor to Ben’s site posts negative comments about the VA, Obama will direct the VHA to reduce or eliminate that poster’s service-connected disability benefits as a warning to others to not challenge its absolute authority to govern every aspect of our lives.

    * All scenarios listed above are reasonably plausible considering the anti-privacy technologies being used in America today*

    • I think you are correct in your statement; however, it does not take the Pres. to punish me. My Dr’s at my VA (VISN20 Seattle) do that on their own. If I don’t jump through their hoops exactly like they want, I am punished. If I question a lie in my records, I am punished. If I disagree with anything, I am punished. I am lied to, I am put into situations where manipulation is used against me and if I resist, punishment follows. I never had this problem until I finally started to look back at my records and see what was put in there and then I started the above things only to have a form of punishment brought upon me. Did I stop? Hell no, I increased my questioning, finding lies and having them corrected, in general pushing back. If the Pres. wants to use my IP address to find me and punish me fine, al least I will not go down swinging. I am currently waiting for fee services to approve a procedure that the “we have it all VA” cannot do and doesn’t have the equipment to do. From my research, I think that my problem is not going to allow me to be on this earth much longer (thanks to the VA’s “do nothing but watch, wait and see” attitude) so I have nothing to lose and I don’t care. I also have a plan “B” in the works that the VA doesn’t know about so that I might get this taken care of before it does kill me. To anyone out there who thinks that our great Gov. and/or the Pres. will not do that type of thing is someone who will later see that they were wrong. This kind of stuff is already happening and we really have no idea what out Gov. is and will do just to keep the American people clueless. It is happening people.

  5. Welcome to the hell that is the VA. In my time dealing with the VA (1996), I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. No one deserves the type of treatment the VA is known for. Being female only adds to the hell! The mentality I’ve encountered seems to be, “females in the military as Veterans. Really?” From my perspective and from that of people I know, the entire VA needs to be dismantled and then start over. And I mean the WHOLE VA!

    The issues aren’t specific to a particular party, this issues are endemic to the VA and the VA alone. Yes American, you are writing checks on the lives of Veteran that can’t be cashed because of corruption!

    • Nancy, actually I would wish the VA Medical System on all our enemies. We are quoted regulations and the failed VA Medical System is bullet proof so it seems. No matter what has been happening with the senate hearing’s the VA here in Northern California is conducting business as usual. I have had harassing phone calls from a Rubin Soto at the Martinez, California VA Medical Health Clinic while he was on some sort of administrative leave, I have had a marginal at best medical doctor Rey Alba recommend a MRI for me when, I have metal in my body from shrapnel while in Vietnam and to tell the truth poor record keeping by the vary doctors I “DID” trust and now see I wasted my time and thank God they did not kill me! The bonus paid must have been pretty good because there are expensive car’s in the VA parking lots.

  6. VA ONE BIG BIG BIG FDERAL RICO CRIME RACKET FROM HELL THE MAFIA IS CHUMP CHANGE TO VA RICO RACKETS VA BUDGET 2015 169 BILLION $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ THE AFGE UNION THUG RAT CONTRACTS SCREW THE VETS BIG BIG TIME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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