Senior VA employees

Benjamin KrauseHow would America respond if it knew the Department of Veterans Affairs was using totalitarian policies reminiscent of the USSR and Nazi Germany to silence veterans complaining of deficient health care delivery?

A totalitarian government occurs where the government attempts to control all aspects of its citizens lives, both publicly and in secret, with little to no ‘just’ accountability. In the mind of many veterans, current VA policies are not a far stretch from those exploited by these evil regimes in their day.

Yesterday, Journalist Angela Rae chose to interview me on DC Breakdown about our coverage here on VA’s secret Disruptive Behavior Committees, where reports indicate senior VA employees retaliate against sick veterans behind closed doors.

The interview should air on her show today, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. UPDATE: Here is the interview.

Angela Rae is a sharp journalist, and I will hand it to her for covering this issue. Many in this professional have chosen to back off VA police policies and how they harm veterans after area Directors plea with reporters about how shedding light on the harmful policy.

They cry that it will hurt VA in light of the current scandals…

[Read our earlier coverage on Disruptive Behavior Committees]

VA is now penalizing what should be considered protected speech by misrepresenting it as disruptive behavior, according to the reports I have received and analyzed.

Its authority to make regulations that governs “conduct” falls under 38 USC 901. Somehow, VA has gone from basic authority to govern conduct to the creation of secret committees without a single publication that shows the Disruptive Behavior Committees are working and/or justifiable. In fact, a recent OIG report concluded the committee rules are too vague to be properly applied across VA nationwide. OIG further reported statistics that indicate local administrators are abusing the flexibility of the program granted by the Secretary to manage local issues, much like the wait list scandal.

[Download VA OIG Report on Disruptive Behavior Committees]

How Disruptive Behavior Committees Work In A Nutshell

The reality is that VA has implemented a health care flagging system that illegally restricts the liberty of many veterans without trial. The restriction prevents veterans from easily accessing their right to health care whenever the need arises. Only after a secret committee hearing does the veteran find out whether or not they are “guilty” of disrupting business at VA by complaining.

If VA determines you are disruptive, they will send you an ambiguous letter that does not indicate the law, evidence or who the judge and jury were. The penalty may go on for a year or longer, so in many ways it resembles probation for criminals. However, at least criminals are given a chance to defend themselves prior to being found guilty through a trial.

Usually, the veteran then is required to check in with VA police, and he/she is only able to step on VA property if they have an appointment. There are no emergency services for these individuals, and further no access to veteran organizations housed within the VA facility since they do not take appointments, either. Some veterans are flatly prohibited from seeking VA health care all together without being given any other option.

In many instances, these secret hearings curiously occur after a veteran complains about poor VA health care. In the instances I have covered, a sick veteran first makes a complaint against a VA director or doctor for failing to treat. If VA determines the complaint is angry and hostile (the veteran is usually sick and/or in pain when the complain is made), they will likely flag the veteran by filing their own complaint rather than using common sense to assess the situation.

What we have here is a situation where VA senior managers abuse their police power in retaliation against sick veterans seeking care who file complaints after being victimized by VA, much like agency whistleblowers.

These veterans get none of the privileges and rights afforded common criminals. VA health care professionals have bragged that “This is not your father’s VA,” but just what kind of new VA is this exactly?

An answer can be found in recent headlines. Secret trials. No rights. Illegal wait lists. Retaliation against dissenters. Ballooning bureaucracy. No accountability. Rampant criminal behavior that kills and injures veterans…

This “new VA” resembles nothing less than Stalin’s secret committees in the USSR and Hitler’s tribunals in Nazi Germany. There was no oversight and victims of the policies had no chance at a fair shoot at getting justice.

Here, in many instances, the same veterans who are persecuted for speaking out are the same soldiers credited with taking down those oppressive regimes and the criminal tactics they used to silence dissenters. How ironic?

One Real World Example From A Veteran Victimized By Bay Pines VA Medical Center

Take a look at one real sample Disruptive Behavior Committee letter to a veteran found “guilty” of speaking out from Bay Pines VA Medical Center. This veteran gave me permission to publicize his story, but I did opt to remove some specific identifying information from his DBC letter.

The veteran lodged a complaint after being denied care for seven months and after being denied an opportunity to meet with the director of the facility to lodge his complaint directly. He wrote me saying:

I was speaking to the Primary Care Nurse Brenda Williams, I requested talking to the director. She informed me the director (Ms. Suzanne Klinker) did not meet with veterans at the VA. I was amazed. I told the Nurse I would meet her for breakfast, lunch of dinner, at Waffle House, McDonald’s, my house or her house.

I guess this is why the agents came to my residence and I was flagged.

After he said this to the nurse, the veteran reported that VA police stormed his home. He recorded the event on his cell phone, but the police then came over to him, took the phone, and deleted the evidence of their intrusion. They told the veteran he may be arrested and that his claims moving forward would all be “slow walked”. Apparently, “slow walked” is a common term used by VA against veterans who stand up for themselves.

Now, a competent professional would be able to determine that seven months of denials of health care was likely behind the veteran’s offer to meet the director wherever she would meet him since she refused to do her job at VA. Thus, the veteran was not a threat to anyone but merely desperate for health care.

Since the police action, the director did agree to speak with the veteran directly and he lodged a complaint with her. Only later did the veteran learn he was flagged after he filed the complaint.

Toward the middle of the first page of his flag letter, it reads, “VA staff members, and other veterans, have a right to expect to be treated with respect and courtesy in a safe environment.” It also indicates the veteran was flagged in the past, though he denies knowledge of this. Now, why does VA not apply their own rules their own employees? If what the veteran has reported is accurate, it is a clear violation of his right to free speech and to a fair evidentiary trial to ensure his speech was truly threatening, at all.

[Download PDF Disruptive Behavior Committee letter]

Questions About Disruptive Behavior Committees

And what about veterans? Are bad doctors flagged so that veterans can know if their doctor has received complaints? Or, is this a one way mirror scheme like at a cop shop for interrogation purposes?

Can you believe it? After your sacrifice, you are now squaring off against the same oppressive totalitarian policies you fought to destroy merely by complaining at a VA health care facility?

And this flagging scheme is not the only one out there. Another lawyer told me he is aware of a few different flagging systems VA uses that could result in harm to a veteran if they speak out or sue VA after an adverse event.


Such actions first to send police to the veteran’s home and then destroy evidence should be reported by an attorney to law enforcement. Cannot local law enforcement process the complaint since the VA police violated the law at the veteran’s home, not on federal property?


The 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals issued a written decision yesterday in US v. Szabo, Case 12-10520, which affirmed the VA’s right to arrest veterans for “disruptive behavior” at a VA clinic.


I have been used the VA hospital at Northport, NY as my primary care facility for over 10 years and have had nothing but excellent care. You have to hear some vets walk in without an appointment screaming to see a doctor and get some drugs. I saw one get arrested and he deserved it. No wonder they get flagged.

Apparently, you are one of the lucky few, Dan. I am the wife of the person this article was in reference to and I can tell you, I have been on the phone with him and the VA and in person with him at the VA. They are appalling to say the least. The care or lack of that he receives, lost paperwork, extremely delayed wait times, errors on the part of the this VA, disgusts me. I attended such… Read more »
Jeffrey A. Trueman

Beautifully said! I find it incredible that ANY Veteran especially those lucky to be treated fairly can doubt anything we 99%er denied justice under the laws of the DVA–especially in light of the DVA-Scandal can stand against US. Shame on them … their day will come … it only takes one bad VA employee to destroy their fallacy of justice …

Kevin Canada
Dan, God help us if you are ever in a position of authority! You have no idea what some vets have gone through, the complete apathy and indifference of VA personnel and doctors and yet you will make this blanket statement that the “Vet deserved to be arrested”. Bullshit, your either a moron or a shill for the gov’t. I can give you bucket loads of examples of the evil perpetrated on vets but with people like yourself it does… Read more »
Military Man

Agreed. Veterans go through such abuse at the VA


DUHmerica is a failed state. Nothing works there anymore. Never going back. Ever.

Dan F

One thing veterans can do about bad doctors is to rate them on the Healthgrades and Vitals web sites ( ). I rate the good ones and the bad ones .. the problem is that too few people ever check out who is treating them, let alone rate their experience. If every vet rated the doctor they saw, I bet the results would be shocking!

No doctor that is employed by the VA is found on Healthgrades or Vital web sites. Ever. Anywhere. I don’t think the sites accept. VA doctors are not graded on any doctor websites at all. I tried millions of them for hundreds of doctors working at the VA. I did see a dentist’s name on a website once with no information at all about her except the address of the VA hospital she was assocoated with. That’s it. No other… Read more »
Dan F
blizzard – everyone of my VA doctors is on vitals and healthgrades. Did you even bother typing in their name in the search bar? For example try Hittman, Mark – Lancelotti, Guy – Taylor, Thomas H. – and I could go on and on. Maybe you don’t know how to use a computer and then it would be useless to you. Go ahead give me a name I can verify with a VA role and show me they are not… Read more »
Alan Lubke

You have printed an inflammatory story without supporting evidence. Your duty now is to print the supporting evidence.

Alan, Here is the funny part and please don’t think this is being disrespectful. After months of trying to go through the patent advocates office, we finally learned that the patient advocate is not an advocate for the patient at all but they are actually an advocate for the director and provide protection for the VA system as a whole. As you and Mr. Rodriguez, patient advocate at Bay Pines, have communicated regarding this article today; I realize you are… Read more »
Jeffrey A. Trueman

Here is supporting evidence before Chief Judge Fox of USDC Wilmington NC. It supports by and through documentary evidence all claims made by Attorney/Veteran Krause:

Military Man

Alan We who served in the military are used and abused by the VA. I’m not sure why you disagree with this article. But I can site several horror stories I saw myself while taking my veteran brother to appointments at the VA.

james gallegos
Again, where do veterans go for help with a bad employee. We veterans have to wait for another employee to speak up for us. Not going to happen. Lets see how many employees kill another employee for turning them in. Wish we had someway to listen to what the VA employees are doing and thinking. The only way employees are going to get the message is to see hundreds of Bad employees fired or put in jail. and they see… Read more »

Curious, how do GS-5 level VA Police Officers that have no jurisdiction outside of VA grounds come to a Vets house and search? Sounds kind of suspect. Of course every Vet who gets one of those letter thinks they are right and maybe 1 out of 10 are but the vast majority deserve those letters for the disruption they cause to the hospital staff and patients.

Ron Nesler

Great article, Ben. And because I can read, I see that the piece includes supporting evidence in the body of the article. When VA employees such as Lubke howl in pain, you know you have struck a nerve. Keep up the good work, both veterans and taxpayers support you.

Mike Cramer

yes they do this to us in housing How do you think they gain inside information to take back to the VA, happening to me right now… Iam one step from being evicted and cant get them to call landlords who want to rent to me.. another way they punish us for reporting our living conditions..

Mark Arrowsmith
I don’t know your sources or any of your documentation, but I have experienced just the opposite of what you are describing here in Columbus Ohio. I started going to the VA in Oct 2012. Everything went well until the summer of 2013 when my primary doctor changed. I had contact with patient advocates 3 times, the chief physician once , the director 3 times. I have been to the local paper once. I would think that that would have… Read more »
Dan F

Just because you complain, doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to be flagged. The problem is that if you are, it is an arbitrary and without any due process. If you don’t think their are vindictive, little, a yes, even a little crazy people working at some VAs, then you are sadly mistaken.

Jeffrey A. Trueman

It’s always nice to hear when a Veteran has a smooth transition to the DVA. Pray it never changes … because it’s only one new PCP who doesn’t care …

Military Man

Mark Try working for the VA. Seriously. Go get a job there. You’ll see all you need to and more.

Kevin Canada



They only will rule against you as per Disruptive Behavior if you have zero community presence or zero social media presence – then there is zero risk of backlash; yet these are most likely the ones MOST need in care. It’s a sick, sick system we’re getting.

Kevin Craig Canada


VA management reported me to the disruptive committee, stating I would come in to our local cboc at least twice a month and become disruptive, that’s a lot of times. When I requested they provide me and the senators office with the proof they used to punish me with! ,their reply there is no written evidence. Do you know why, it’s because they had nothing because it never happened in the first place, not only did they not have any… Read more »
Reuben Castro Acosta
Reuben Castro Acosta