VA Flag System

Benjamin KrauseMichelle Malkin of Fox News exposed the scandalous VA flag system using stories of DisabledVeterans.org readers. Malkin reviewed our coverage here of the VA flag system, how it impacts veterans and then called to get the inside scoop.

VA uses secret Disruptive Review Panels that evaluate veteran behavior following complaints from VA employees. The decision of these panels can result in a veteran having their access to health care restricted in a variety of ways. These restrictions range from forcing veterans to embarrassingly check in prior to appointments to flat out refusals of access to health care. The veteran is notified of the flag only after the panel has reached a decision without allowing a due process review by the veteran of the allegations and evidence prior to the administrative procedure. One veteran was informed she was flagged because her health care was too expensive. Outrageous.

Malkin’s coverage of this is significant because it gave those of you who reported experiences to me the opportunity to help America learn more about this secret, Soviet-style program once I relayed those experiences on. Malkin was shocked at what she learned – enough so to write about it yesterday:

Disabled Air Force veteran and veterans advocate/attorney Benjamin Krause has been raising questions about the system for months and warning his peers. Under the VA policy on “patient record flags” (PRFs), federal bureaucrats can classify vets as “threats” based on assessments of their “difficult,” “annoying” and “non-compliant” behavior.

The VA manual says the flags “are used to alert Veterans Health Administration medical staff and employees of patients whose behavior and characteristics may pose a threat either to their safety, the safety of other patients, or compromise the delivery of quality health care.”

That last phrase is priceless. Untold numbers of vets are dead, and legions more have languished because of the VA’s failure to deliver “quality health care.” The Office of Special Counsel just confirmed to President Obama this week that vets across the country were exposed to contaminated drinking water, dirty surgical tools, untrained doctors and neglectful nurses — and that whistleblowers were retaliated against or ignored.

Yet, the VA’s soulless paper-pushers seem more preoccupied with flagging and punishing “disruptive” vets who have dared to complain about their disgraceful treatment and abuse.

One brave veteran is fighting back. Longtime veteran and advocate Lawrence Kelley III was brave enough to come forward for the piece by Malkin. Kelley was helping veterans get educated about their right to sue VA for malpractice by handing out legal fliers at VA – a gutsy move by any estimation.

After VA confronted him for his 1st Amendment speech on federal soil, he was flagged for the legal “threat” he posed, “Once you complain, you are on their hit list forever.” Kelley is now challenging the flag due to the VA flag system’s unconstitutional nature:

“This discussion of patient record flags has me fired up,” Krause explained, “because of the clear unconstitutional nature of the program. It reminds me of the old Communist techniques used to keep Soviet citizens in check, since I am aware of more than a few veterans who are flagged merely because of their threat to sue VA.”

We are going to hold VA accountable and blast their communist system using our laws under the Constitution. Check back soon to see what happens and click below to read more of Michelle Malkin’s coverage.

Read More: http://townhall.com/columnists/michellemalkin/2014/06/25/exposed-how-the-va-redflags-disruptive-vets-n1855420/page/full

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Voc Rehab Survival GuideBenjamin Krause is an award winning investigative reporter, Veterans Benefits Law attorney, and disabled veteran of the US Air Force, where he served in its Special Operations Command. He attended Northwestern University and  the University of Minnesota Law School using VA Vocational Rehabilitation.

While in law school, Benjamin won his decade-long fight for full disability benefits and now helps others do the same with this website and his guide, the Voc Rehab Survival Guide for Veterans. Since its first publication in 2011, the guide has helped the veteran community receive millions in untapped benefits through the VA Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment program. 

Connect with Benjamin on  Google+,  Twitter,  Facebook and LinkedIn.

20 COMMENTS

    • Vernon, after the President signs it. Not to sound negative, but don’t hold your breath, and don’t expect it to be accessible. The current administration’s focus and priority is on illegal immigrants. These people watch movies like Elysium, the action film starring Matt Damon (2013), that has a message about Mexican immigration and health care. It is a wonderful story and would be great if it was possible in this lifetime. The almost realistic thing about the movie is that it is set in the future with all sorts of advanced technology, including in the field of medicine. The point is, it is set in the distant future, and that is the point the liberal extremists miss. Namely, that it is not possible to do the things the movie portrays, neither physically or from a social perspective.

      • I have been made to suffer the past two years at what I thought was the worst VA in the nation until the Phoenix story broke. I am sure I have been flagged because I complain too much and too hard about all issues dear to me: employee rudeness (at all levels), incompetence, and unwillingness to treat. These three things just seem to be near universal at my VA so I have a lot to be mad about. I didn’t realize what was happening to me until I read this article. Last year (2013) I fell and seriously injured myself and my Primary Clinic insisted I go to the ER. After the ER I knew I needed an MRI since I could not lift my arm. My nurse practitioner spent 9 months keeping me away from an MRI! Those were nine agonizing months which she graciously granted me one extra pain pill a day. Even after getting the MRI report which clearly showed surgery was indicated she did NOTHING. I was really steamed and bashed out a four page complaint covering a lot of issues including all the redecorating and remodeling in the building while I walked around in pain. I asked to see our director three times and was denied. Finally, I got some action and was assigned a new provider only to find out that she is now ignoring my requests for medicine. It seems like the PRF Fairy has visited her. I am utterly frustrated with this treatment and I in no way deserve it. I would say 80% of the staff at my VA need firing for various reasons. They think they are above Washington and show no signs of changing other than now acting friendly in the hallways.

  1. The VA also lies and says there is no flag when there is, because they know it is illegal. The VA has terrorized me AND my wife with heavily armed VA police, exactly like the Mission Valley harassment example recently reported by Ben to the mainstream media. They even have K-9 units with 4 or more guards, all for one veteran, me. They do this to me because I have spent years applying for a certain benefit that the VA itself has repeatedly told me that I qualify for (Regular Aid and Attendance). They are trying to fabricate a way to get me shot or jailed in order to avoid paying this benefit. It is a long story, but my wife has seen all of it and it is absolutely true. The VA is hopeless corrupt, and “Soviet” style flag system is a perfect way to describe it. The entire VA is ran like something out of the old Soviet Union. It sounds paranoid to say that actual Russians are here in America running such a system, but they in fact are. We have millions of Russian immigrants in America who look, talk and act totally like native-born Americans. There are many others who are not Russians but might as well be.

  2. Here’s a thought, Ben.

    With investigative findings coming out that the VA has a systemic strategy to deny, lie, and conceal poor management and bad healthcare, I would think that there would be an opportunity for you to present the facts in a coherent and damning manner that can be accessed by complainants to help them win their case against the VA, whether as a military veteran patient or military veteran employee.

    Say for an equal employment opportunity situation where a military veteran VA employee complains about discrimination, reprisal, or a hostile work environment, and is then subsequently placed on a flagged list by the VA as retaliation.

    Since there is now current, empirical data showing the VA’s propensity to punish whistle-blowers, many military veteran VA employees could benefit from statistical information that shows objectively how cruelly the Master treats the Servant in a VA facility.

    In fact, a recent landmark ruling by a federal judge might be of some help in understanding the illegality of these patient flag lists.

    This week, the government’s No Fly List was found to be unconstitutional. The federal judge stated that being placed on this list was a violation of the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process.

    More importantly, the judge ordered the government to explain why people were on the list and to give them an opportunity to challenge their placement on the list.

    The similarity between the VA’s patient flag lists and the No Fly List is something that you might possibly address in another blog article.

    I am sure your insight into why the VA’s patient flag lists are in violation of the Fifth Amendment would be greatly appreciated.

    This No Fly List ruling can be found below.

    DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney. I am not giving legal advice. My posts are my opinion.

    • Robert Hadley, you must be a VA person, you know a doughnut in one hand and a supply of KY for the next veteran (Male or Female) who demands quality medical treatment in the other! If it was up to this President there would be no American Flag’s allowed and the Veterans Administration Health Care would be used to take care of the public under The Obama Veterans None Care Administration. I can’t believe that everyone getting $$$ that works in the VA Medical System insist that the VA Medical is getting better! We have people that refer to themselves as doctors and there mission is to make sure that the veteran with a medical problem never gets taken care of and dies trying to receive the Medical Benefits they have earned. FTVA and it is up to the president to know what is taking place in this country. He lies as do leader’s of the VA and think’s of his job as a game of golf but instead of a golf ball he uses the United States to put further into a hole. Obama, will send your son or daughter into harms way in a instant but he won’t ever walk the walk or have that Colonoscopy he so much is in need of performed by a VA person! I just can’t write doctor any longer when referring to the fakery within the VA Medical System…FTVA!

    • The President or POTUS, can write and make an Executive Order at anytime and DOES NOT NEED THE APPROVAL OF ANYONE-civics 101? How about 7th grade learned years ago? And yes again in college, thank you, I aced the course. Look up Bush, how many did he sign as an executive order? Just FYI, POTUS just signed a new one, and I truly wonder if it is because the so called PTSD/MST mental well being is not working. WHEN IN DOUBT, JUST “GOOGLE IT.”
      Of course I do hope you realize that all we stated to China regarding internet access to research should be a right for one and all. But guess who speaks a Fork Tongue with all his babbling on regarding the Constitution, was on the side of the cable companies allowing access to what you can or can’t research as you should be allowed to do.
      And from my son whom drove me crazy, young Alpha Geek, you can thank him for those two words-“GOOGLE IT.”

    • Nope, not anything of that nature since my education has been put on hold.
      Mr. Hardly, I DID TAKE POLITICAL SCIENCE AND THE PRESIDENT CAN DO THIS REALLY COOL THING CALLED AN “EXECUTIVE ORDER” AND IT BECOMES THE LAW! AWESOME RIGHT?
      HOW MANY DID BUSH DO?
      HOW MANY HAS OBAMA DONE?
      WHY ARE THE IDIOTS IN THE OTHER TWO HOUSES SCREAMING AND BEING BIG BABIES?
      Seriously, they can get anything productive done because they’ve been so busy working on how to undo anything that has been done, GEEZ you talk about CIVICS 101?
      THEN WHAT DOES THE CONSTITUTION SAY IS THE RECOURSE FOR WE THE PEOPLE?
      ( I just love a good challenge when some smartass makes a comment, because I am already in the process of making sure some professionals have a marked record and hopefully will never practice medicine again, or anything that has to deal with people and even pets, unless it’s a pit viper. Because there is ALWAYS another way around the things that you believe to be a challenge, do you wish my youngest to teach you about physics who proved this very fact to his teacher? Poor teacher, he felt a little put out, but hey, at least the kids did learn! Sucks to be someone who knows much, but it’s the ones that have done what they’ve done who will say ,”damn this sucks!”

  3. WOW! COOL! Because I sure hope they flagged my record! And it would be the nurse who I meet the first time, “why are you here again.” Now, do you think if you were in a civilian hospital that would fly? Even a military hospital, we like to keep the rank going please, not reverse it! I have purposely stopped answering their calla so they must leave a message. This nurse? A gate keeper! And the doctor talked about pain management, you know a massage, I am not quite sure how you could attempt to massage that part of the anatomy, and really didn’t want to know. You see, he had no ability to listen, hear, repeat back what you thought you heard nor did he asks, when I had stated, I have tried everything, you don’t get it. A good doctor would ask “what have you tried when you say everything?” Not very hard to do. You see, I know my body, I guess because I have been in it for so long? That even when I have seen my own doctor and no, I DO NOT WEB MD, explain what I think it might be, and he has stated numerous times over the past 19 years in HADES, that as a patient, why do you need me? Well, it generates income for the clinic, but I can’t legally write my own now can I?
    I made a very clear, very concise, I have done this, and if I have to, I will go and testify I will not back down! That ain’t arguing, but I guess the nurse wanted it known because of this, and witnessed-she tells me more gel-no thank you please stop sending it, then she states a heating pad, again, no thank you I have four, you know 1-2-3-4!!!! Well she decided to go against the patients desires of collecting tubes of Vic’s vapor rub gel, exactly what my doctor called it, he asked, “how does this help nerve and bone?” Good question as well as not having another heating pad, heck I could stretch it out!
    But Ben, PLEASE DO KEEP ME IN MIND ABOUT RECORDS THAT HAVE THINGS I NEVER ANSWERED NEVER STATED AND NO WAY IN THIS HADES STATE, IS IT EVER POSSIBLE FOR A SHOT TO “HIT YOU UP”THAT QUICK. My record? Is funny with all this crap I never stated including the Social Worker who called, and I was asleep, reported my “voice was slower and parts of words were not understood or some crap!” She is Lucky, the one I wish to nail is at the Whacko Regional Office, because I didn’t understand much, I truly was dead to the world because the pain crap drives me crazy, so some Saturday, I may sleep 12 hours, and since it can be testified to, and has made the snoring partner stop and look at me, he would up and go to the couch! My record is filled with some extremely juicy TID bits- and I want each one fired who has delayed my care!

    (JUST FYI, YOU WILL KNOW WHEN I WILL ARGUE, BECAUSE I WILL KEEP IT UP TILL YOU RUN FAR AWAY FROM ME-AND THAT IS A VERY TRUE STATEMENT!

  4. My situation most veterans can appreciate (Chronic Pain) Here is how my (PCP) and Pain Management fight for my well-being (PCP) at this time will not increase Pain Meds talk to (PM) We at this time well talk to your (PCP) for increase in Pain Meds at this time you need alternative methods.(Veteran) only thing left Acupuncture (PCP) Get (PM) to give you a console for acupuncture..(PM) AT this time we well have your (PCP) give you a console for Acupuncture.. (Veteran) can you increase Pain Medication just a little (PCP) not at this time.. But we have a Pain Management class that is 4 weeks long if you like you can sit in a chair for 1-1/2 hours while your experiencing your chronic pain so we can let you know about alternatives..You mean like what I have done….Physical Therapy,Chiropractor,Meditation,Stretching,Relaxing,Shots..Well it is upper Management that doesn’t allow for (Pain Meds) you know cause of (Addiction).. (Veteran) But I have done all the Urinalysis,Blood Tests Me been a Good Boy.. Sorry go out on the street to get your drugs not here at your VA Medical Clinic?????? Oh thank you for your service. My Disability is 100% Total/Permanent…… Please tell me your (Chronic Pain) story

    • You know what? I can totally relate with you! I really never knew my back surgergys in the civilian sector to connect with my back, because truly I really did hurt the damn thing! There are the facts, right there before them stating injury, also abbrieviations that yes, morons, I didn’t go run to the VA and do what “I was told to do.” ( which many more will lie on this one can it can be hard to notice with test will not show up unless you are cut open and a doctor shocked by the amount of arthritis you know you had already, even put on a medication to help suppress it, damn, didn’t work and one more chemical that takes a ride on the wild side!) But, there also mitigating circumstances, like being to a “the south will rise again, use of a certain word I found appalling.” He also abused me. My parents gave “us” a check, which was put in the bank. But a Christmas baby, not only my mom stating “cough it up ladies my turn!” But when you have realized you have married a psychological naracisitc sociopath, ( just so you know, his older sister, my own mothers age, we would talk quite frequently, and when I called her brother that, I never heard such a roar of laughter, because she knew it to be true), you realize real quick, I can’t drive across an ocean, he won’t let me use “his truck” when my newer car with four doors and gee, smarter have when you know a child is on the way? It came a point, they sent good chunk of dollars with many zero’s and I would sign, under his scrutiny, amazing the tools you can get! But my parents are not stupid. Actually my mom has passed on, and this EVIL SOB, oh I so waited at a perfect time to hit him back and dish it out, taught me well, but time, it definitely was on my side. I could turn him in along a shall we say working and having sex with which all the base know because it stated “Bills Truck!” I know when my parents came, he began to expect an entitlement to more money. And it really did call for a “exclusive he wasn’t there discussion). My words, when you put it in both our names, who do you think shall spend it? They noticed the behavior of “Denise let’s go to the mall and get you something’s you need, like bear basics, of course my parents saw through this facade’ probably because they knew? ( don’t worry, they bought me items as well as my two young babies. My dad is not stupid, we do not get along and a reason for that too. Like that “Pink Pig” in Jersey, I knew it watching the sopranos, but I also wanted to run the hell out of there. I bring that up, you can google it, then maybe you’ll understand that I will not tolerate his lectures, his “if you say it enough is true,” nor will I nor The partner deal with his laws, gee, imagine that one? ( pink pig, sopranos, New Jersey) .
      I do not believe Ben did not catch an executive order, maybe a reason to delay ( I have no respect for those who dare decide I lie, say that one to my face!)
      Friday 13, 2014, he signed an effective immediately executive order that any MST ( it certainly does coincide with PTSD Too!) it is allowed to investigate how many sexual partners a person has had. “WAIT ONE SECOND POTUS! “You who are all for LGBT rights, and women equal wages, you’ve decided that you wish a victim to suffer more?” Why aren’t you asking the person who did the “deed” those very same questions and also make than tell the truth regarding how many they raped? That is THE VERY SAME LOGIC TO STUNT AND STOMP OUT THAT NO PENTAGON OFFICIALS WILL REALLY BE CONCERNED WITH IT! Jackass! When I read that, does that mean every single encounter, like making out when a teen? And many men will lie, to however many encounters or rapes they have done, very few females go around and say “SCORE!” One more name to scratch off my list. I am really appauled by such an underhanded move on this one. First, how would you know? Will you go back in time with your “magic bus” and find those you were with? And not only that, just because you know the opposite sex does not mean you slept with them! I had a male friend come help me paint a duplex my roommate and I shared, I still know his name and “why” he got busted to an E-3 from an E-5. I told him, help me paint, it won’t take long and I will cook you a really great meal! ( my mother in law and numerous others to believe I do it well, but, when a previous boss wanted the recipe, ( being told she sold hers for 10granf) I stated this, “you know, we all have our ingredients when experimenting, but this one shall remain in the family). Just FYI, PBS had a show of a scientist and how she applied science and cooking, tried her ideas and totally awesome results!
      So why we debate immigration, and the whining of not fare, which is not because my Auntie lives in a senior community, and there sure seems to be a hell of a lot of these individuals who live rent free,collect a social security check, and never put into the system like those of us who still do or have. The woman upstairs doesn’t understand scraping a chair across the floor to use as a step ladder is annoying. My Auntie worked extremely hard in business, I know, I was a 1099 employee, as well as my two cousins were. ( all six months apart, including the tail, my brother who has been gone now twenty years) This woman was sought after for her talents, she was all over the state in California. She gave conferences, I have attended, and she “climbed and broke that damn glass ceiling!” But, she came to Texas once, and declined their offer to work with them, gee, could it be they ran the facilities poorly accounting wise? Now imagine, she did have health insurance, which has turned to we cover all but now we don’t so fork out the bucks on the 20% of the hospital bill, the insurance will only pay the allowable charge. And wouldn’t you know sitting next to a Finlander, or a Finnish male, we discussed his country verses this one. The thing was we both had surgery, but his he went to an ER, who sent him home only to be back because beside the pain, not just gall bladder but let’s just fun with pancreatitis too! When he got his bill, he stated it absolutely made no mathematical sense! And my response was? “Welcome To America, we shall do everything in our power to screw you over!” ( just FYI, Finnish children they have computer lab, but they actually teach their children as I was taught, and guess who lags in the department! Second to no one? Um, USA, I doubt buying computers for every class room will help, check out the European way, or farther north, and you shall have to wonder, “why are kidding ourselves?” My Aunties, doing laundry, falls and begins to have a major gran-mal seizure. She was in ICU, she coded a couple times, but she did pul through. Now imagine, all that equipment you see in those areas, you get billed and man it is a giant size huge ball of twine with tons of zeros and that is only the hospital bill. Sure, insurance paid the DRGS ALLOCATED LIMITS, but guess who pays the rest? She couldn’t work, my cousin run it now, but for a woman who had been audited many times and it is laughable because her records were definitely well kept. Now, she paid a whole lot in taxes, back then milage, office equipment could be a tax write off,but, this took place after all of that. Now imagine, she had very nice things, do mean as I can’t afford that! But due to ability not to work, she basically sold all she could to help pay the bill down, lost it all in the end.
      So I question, “WHO IS LIVING THIS FANTASY ISLAND DREAM SAY THE PLANE THE PLAN?” ( actually, that small house where television works wonders, is at the Arcadia Arboretum) she must live very frugally, which pretty much always had, but she is now disabled and limited it by it, and “lucky her and her terribly damn giant of a husband, ( 5 feet her, him damn tall) they get to pay to live there and gee, worked her ass off doing so.
      -for some reason, that just baffles me. You’re born here, you work hard, you have savings, 401k and have a nice home, but only in this country do we make you pay as you put in a hell of a lot, you get to meet those who pay nothing, & get a check too!
      It goes back looking for your sexual activities, why, consenting adults who one is not forcing another, who decides it’s your F-ING BUSINESS OBAMA! I swear, he must have two sides, maybe a personality disorder, like the movie Sybil.
      So, because I can and did, and may not be my final-I hope nothing like that happens to his daughters, because rape doesn’t care about your money, but sure the hell messes with ones head! Below my email for the day! Oh, and the YouTube song Nirvana not a fast beat so he should get the words, or his other personality might.

      POTUS, I worked hard to elect you, I researched and found all I could on Romney, so my words of ammo were clear. Words, they are a funny thing, sometimes due to the wonderful loss of my active duty records, and the copy that was in the reserves is missing. But, to add insult to an 18 y/o thanks, like you too. To have a life of torment, you have no clue, can I ask you, how many did you screw around with? FOIA!
      New policy-and my thoughts-not fast, but you should get it-http://youtu.be/wt0qhMEg-Xk

  5. II didn’t threaten to sue VA first… Instead I straight up sued VA & I won. I’m not flagged & I get pretty good healthcare now. In addition to that, they service connected me @ 100% Total & Permanent. I’m a prominent veterans leader & advocate. Makes you wonder what I know right? The thing is Ben you catch more flies with honey than vinegar… But you’ve already ruined any chance of making headway with VA because you’ve set yourself apart as abrasive & go after the low level employees @ VA. You should have taken a page out of my playbook & made friends @ the top. I thought you chair force guys were supposed to be smart… Yet a little jarhead like me figured that out. You can get what you want without pissing everybody off. I did it & continue to do it for veterans every single day across the country.

  6. I have been an extremely reluctant patient at the VA for 21 years. I have never been the least bit confrontational. Recently I had the receptionist cut me off because I was getting frustrated by her clearly orchestrated response…I really hate it when I get “canned answers. I am pretty good at recognizing a script being read to me. 21 years and now suddenly I am confrontational? Just before she cut me off she stated she marking her my file to “cover herself.”. She actually used those words. (medically unethical). I don’t care that they need to do this at times, but they need what I learned as “2-man integrity”. It’s too easy for them to just make up something without a witness. I also hate “THE WALL OF IGNORANCE” when calling because I need help. I don’t go there ever unless it is my last choice. The VA is a miserable place and I don’t just go there for fun. ( I was a spook people and I know what ” disinformation is.)

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