Paranoid VA Officials Paint Veterans As Crazed Psychos

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Paranoid VA Officials

Benjamin KrauseParanoid VA officials use hyperbole and fear mongering to justify an unethical policy to reduce transparency while at the same time confirming that vets scare VA employees.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is not only pioneering how to take down a disruptive vet (the crash test dummy is a simulated veteran), but they are now seeking to revoke a veteran’s right to his medical records after a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam because of a ludicrous fear of veterans.

Dr. Gerald Cross, head of VA’s Office of Disability and Medical Assessment, used outrageous and insulting hyperbole to get his point across rather than hard data when speaking with national media about the proposed change. His point is that veterans are scary so VA needs to revoke our rights:

“He walks past the [compensation-and-pension] clinic, and he’s very angry. Goes into the C-and-P clinic, and we have an incident of some kind,” said Dr. Cross. “Some of our C-and-P clinics are quite small, … and it doesn’t have much in the way of reasonable defense. We’re very concerned about that.”

Incident? What kind of incident would require violating a veteran’s right to review the C&P medical exam that is included in her VA medical file? I can only conclude they mean a violent incident, otherwise nothing else would warrant such an infringement. And why did VA, both explicitly and through implication, described a hyperbolic veteran with psychopathic tendencies who scares women without data or real life examples?

The article by the National Journal described a VA culture of paranoia and fear with its anxieties fixated on the same veterans the agency is sworn to serve. We now know beyond a doubt that VA officials are afraid of veterans. Apparently, at the core of this paranoid fear is the belief that veterans are so unhinged that we must be prevented from reading the results of a mere medical exam because there is a heightened risk we will act like crazed criminal psychos and cause an “incident.” According to the National Journal and related sources, “crazed psychos” is probably what a lot of VA employees think of us veterans these days as VA manipulates fears to justify a slow erosion of our rights and engage in training to take us down.

SOURCE: VA Moves to Prevent Veteran Violence Over Disability Claims

 

SO WHAT IS THE DOWNSIDE OF THE POLICY?

Rhetoric aside, this policy change proposal would withhold medical records created by the C&P examiner until after the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) has made benefits decision. The records would no longer be available to a pro se veteran through the Blue Button My HealtheVet portal, and the veteran would not be able to review them until after the benefits decision. VA claims this delay will reduce risk of assault against VA examiners, but in reality, it reduces transparency and oversight.

In light of Dr. Cross’s statements, VA officials appear to be doing little more than stigmatizing a protected class of people due to paranoid delusions created while under the influence of trash Hollywood psycho movies. That protected class of people are disabled veterans who where required to keep their cool while in very difficult and stressful situations while in military service. Now VA claims their fear of vets warrants a reduction in transparency.

Yet, how can VA call veterans “heroes” on the one hand while stigmatizing these same individuals by labeling them as criminal psychos VA doctors must be protected from? Is this a bigger sign that VA doctors are so disconnected that they no longer know how to interact appropriately with patients?

My take on this is that VA officials are using hyperbole and fear as a red herring to justify this reduction in transparency and violations of a veteran’s right to access their medical records in a timely manner. Medical records are, after all, the property of the patient.

I have a question. Why is President Obama letting his VA officials turn this agency into a perpetual Animal Farm where VA pigs are greater than everyone else? It seems like horrendous timing for politicians on the Left come this November’s election.

At the core of this is the premise that all disabled veterans must be presumed dangerous; so dangerous in fact that VA must keep them from their medical records. That is, VA must keep them from their records until after VBA makes a decision, then the presumed dangerous criminal veteran will be not as dangerous, supposedly.

This logic is lost on me. Somehow a dangerous veteran will be less dangerous after she is wrongly denied benefits because of a botched C&P exam? Why is VA presuming the risk is so great that it must deny access to medical records created during the C&P exam? What is the proof? Where is the data?

 

THIS FEAR OF VETERANS IS ONLY A RED HERRING

This new VA logic appears to be more of a shell game to impede oversight of the C&P process while using the notion that vets scare VA employees as a red herring.

Will violent veterans really be less violent after receiving bad news from both an examiner and VBA? Should VA be afraid of veterans to begin with? What kind of message does this send America? “If you serve your country, you will treated like a violent criminal later.”

The excuse for the proposed policy change is a red herring because it trots out this delusional and paranoid VA employee fear mongering of veterans to justify less transparency and less veterans rights. However, the reasoning is based on a flawed argument with no data support stated to the press. It is as if VA is saying, “Because of my delusional and paranoid fear of you, will you let me treat you like a criminal?”

 

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS OF NO C&P RECORD ACCESS

This policy change is illegal on its face because it withholds property (medical records) and it creates an environment of greater risk to a disabled veteran’s health. That risk is an increased risk of medical malpractice by not allowing a veteran to review medical records for accuracy prior to treatment. This should be a reasonable concern since C&P records are included for that purpose within VA’s medical health records system called VistA.

How often have you heard of a VA examiner making a horrific mistake during an exam? What happens if a VHA physician then uses that mistake to make an erroneous diagnostic decision? The veteran will be harmed or killed.

Further, the change would increase instances where a VA examiner’s mistake caused an improper denial of benefits and resulted in more bureaucratic roadblocks and backlogs. VA processes over 1 million claims per year. Do you have any idea of how many VA examinations contain material errors that a veteran would correct prior to a VA decision?

But apparently Dr. Cross and friends are comfortable with that increased threat to veterans’ health and due process rights. But can he really claim the reason is because his employees are paranoid and irrationally afraid of the people they have served for over 100 years? Are VA employees watching too much trash TV and playing too many video games like Call of Duty? What is so different today about VA employees than in the past? Are they smarter? Or more ethical? Or more sensitive?

 

WHAT CHANGED TO NECESSITATE THE POLICY PUSH?

One significant change is the use of VA’s secret Disruptive Behavior Committees (DBC) that utilize profiling and other strategies to identify “high risk” veterans under the VA Behavior Threat Management Program. This means VA employees are focusing more than ever on perceived “high risk” traits such as raising your voice and disagreeing with authority figures. The program has its roots in Portland, Oregon, and Lynn Van Male, PhD, psychologist and longtime VA employee, currently runs the program from her perch out there.

RELATED: Dr. Van Male’s presentation on Veterans as Predators

Veteran Therapeutic ContainmentAs noted, the program teaches VA staff about profiling veterans and therapeutic containment of veterans (VAnguard, pg. 14-15). Does that photo look therapeutic to you if instead of a crash test dummy it was a 65 year old Vietnam veteran? Do you think this kind of new training makes VA employees more scared of veterans than before?

Regularly, I hear of veterans being thrown to the wolves before these DBC’s because the veteran uttered displeasure at the decision of a VA health care professional. Sometimes the threat is real, but often the threat is either irrationally perceived or alleged for retaliatory purposes to blacklist an outspoken veteran.

At least one VA official did voice opposition to this unethical position to restrict access to C&P examination records. “I hate to say this, but what is the ethical justification of removing the C-and-P exams from the Blue Button?” asked Michael Simberkoff. He is the executive chief of staff at the VA’s NY Harbor Healthcare System.

 

ANOTHER VA OFFICIAL CONFIRMS PARANOID FEAR

Nonetheless, other VA officials clung to their story on this one without any stated data supporting the need for the unethical VA policy change:

But department officials tied the move to one factor: Potential risk to VA staffers. In addition to changing when a veteran can see part of his or her file online, they are also considering adding extra security to the clinics, such as requiring a code to unlock doors.

“Many of the C-and-P docs are females, and they seem to be the ones that seem to have the evening hours or are in these far-flung [clinics],” said Denny Devine, the VA’s project executive for disability and medical assessments. “Those are the ones on our weekly calls raising these concerns.”

But where is your data, Dr. Cross and Denny Devine? Are these VA employee fears justified? What studies have you run to compare these two groups? Will the policy reduce any risk at all? Have you done any assessment?

When you read the piece in the National Journal, the clear answer is, “No, and we do not care.” They do not care because their Animal Farm pigs are more important that veterans.

This begs a few questions. Are veterans more likely to be criminally dangerous than civilians? How about criminals who are innocent before proven guilty? Why does military service give a person less rights than those of a criminal?

Further, in this environment of criminal records falsification and wait list scandals, is it really a great time to create more barriers for veterans to review their medical records? Can we trust that VA employees will not tamper with records?

In response to this problem, I wrote Secretary Robert McDonald an email expressing my disappointment with this increased obfuscation and insulting treatment of veterans.

You should email him to and tell him I said “Hi”: [email protected]. Provide him with some of the answers to my questions above and send me a copy!

 

LETTER TO SECRETARY ROBERT MCDONALD

Dear Secretary Robert McDonald,

This is why your VA is broken.

VA executives are making decisions based on hyperbole, hypotheticals, and at best an anecdote or two while ignoring its long history of working with veterans and a veteran’s right to property in the form of their medical records. This decision must be ethical and justified with data. VA has lots of data. Why is VA not using its data to justify this decision to the public????? Why are you, Secretary McDonald, allowing this kind of unethical behavior?

My assumption is that this fear and panic is based on research of the Patient Flag System that originated at the Portland VA in the 80’s. However, this kind of profiling (secret Disruptive Behavior Committees – Category 1 Veterans) is unconstitutional, unethical, not justified and only increases fear and panic within VA employees across the country through unneeded training to profile veterans while not training them to understand veterans in a healthy and holistic manner.

What other hospital systems in the country do this the way VA does?

The medical records created are the property of the veteran. I have seen no justification beyond hyperbole as to why VA needs to change this policy now regarding access to patient records. Were there actual instances of a veteran doing this or are VA staffers so disconnected and fearful of the population they have served for 100 years that now suddenly this extreme disconnect has created greater fear and panic than ever before?

C&P exams are medical reports used by both VBA and VHA. VHA uses them to treat, and if there are errors — which we all know exist — VA will be liable for medical malpractice. Further, by allowing a veteran access to her property, it gives her a chance to get a second opinion or to address errors before her claim is processed incorrectly. This policy will only increase instances of due process violations and medical malpractice. So I am confused as to what the justification is beyond the outrageous hypotheticals posted by Dr. Gerald Cross?

If nothing else, this is a sign VA does not know its veterans anymore. What a shame.

I would appreciate a response, Secretary McDonald.

Thank you,

Benjamin Krause, Esq.

Founder, DisabledVeterans.org

 

American Veteran
American Veteran
Obama is laughing at us veterans for our powerlessness before him. Remember when President Ebola placed White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors as a “Cleaner” to whitewash the VA scandal, protect corrupt VA bureaucrats, and blame the victimized veterans as the problem? Well, here’s more proof that all you Obama loyalists are ignorant, deceived, or calculatingly ruthless in your support for the most anti-American veteran administration this great country has ever had! Per a VA whistleblower, “Unfortunately that… Read more »
Dennis
Dennis
Well, here we go again with some more adverse behavior by the VA against veterans. They realize how they’re low-balling us all the time on our claims and harming us, so now they figure they have to take more adverse actions against us by taking us down whenever we complain or try to question some of their actions. They’ve got their generic cops (VA police) they’ll call to take you down for doing something rather minor like raising your voice… Read more »
J. Edward Vernon jr.
J. Edward Vernon jr.
Well, well, well now how do you suppose the average American (MALE OR FEMALE) came to be such a GOOFBALL ? Let us look at the training we get, for free, and the SITUATIONS they force us into, for NATIONAL SECURITY, and all the other BS they put us through before they TOSS us out like OLD DIRTY RAGS. Hmmm, maybe there is a connection, for sure we were not that way when we were DRAFTED or enlisted. Our govt… Read more »
Ron Nesler
Member

—-> https://www.facebook.com/groups/390788321019815/

TIP FOR VA: To fix this situation in a just and ETHICAL manner, just STOP VA EMPLOYEES from lying, stonewalling and cheating vets for greed and financial gain. It is THAT simple

Dan F
Dan F
Without doing current research, I know the VA had courses at one time on line on how to deal with veterans with PTSD. It has generally been ignored. I am rated 100% for PTSD. I have anger issues and anxiety attacks, especially when I go to the VA. Even though I am non-violent, I am very careful not to raise my voice or become threatening in any manner. (Non-violent meaning I would never strike someone unless defending myself). Even though… Read more »
tlowm
tlowm
I’ve been treated poorly by several va staff members. I’ve never had the VA popo called on me, but I was sent to an advocate after raising my voice to a 20 year old snot nose tech who definitely disrespected me. I was wrong in that I called her a bleep so I did the right thing and apologized. She said she was going to reschedule me for a procedure because I was late. In fact, I was 5 minutes… Read more »
Ron Nesler
Member

FOLLOW THE MONEY TO DISCOVER WHY VA IS KILLING VETERANS.

—–>http://vaislying.com/

Denise
Denise
Well, I basically told them they were idiots and have prolong the scenario with my back for so long, asking me to come sit in a class for a test I can assist in means “oh joy” let me sit in a car then sit some more because I am ready to go “postal” on stupid and meant what I clearly stated-“I take no issue reporting each of you because a “medical record” in the real world of medicine, is… Read more »
Shirley Desmond
Shirley Desmond
Lets look at the history of medical records being withheld. They could be withheld for Mental Health reasons, all the way back to the 70’s. Today’s Veterans are smarter, they know how to look things up on the internet. They find their records are full of error, and when they confront the provider, instead of correcting the error and being accountable, the provider recommends the Veteran seek a mental Health evaluation. The withholding of records is far more serious than… Read more »
Jeffrey A. Trueman (@VERPA13)
Ben, Thank you for your incredible reporting and continued support of Veterans similarly situated … in the case I’m prosecuting “Trueman v. Obama, et al.,” and here is what I just shot off to the Defendant DOJ attorney covering up all RICO Act crimes and treason per se: NOTICE OF NEWLY DISCOVERED RICO ACT EVIDENCE & NEXUS TO SCOUS-FDM-SECOND RATIONAL (FDM-SR) FEDERAL RELATION BACK AND EQUITABLE TOLLING OF ALL 21-9/12 YEARS OF CASE OF FIRST IMPRESSION CLAIMS & REQUESTS FOR… Read more »
james
The V.A. employees can lie to dbc and get away with it, just by stating the veteran did something disruptive and they do not have to provide any proof at all, they are letting hear say into the matter and only hear say. In 2004 they the V.A. employee, who had a personel vendeta against me, from when I worked for the V.A. and had made a comment about how I felt that she had not done a very good… Read more »
tlowm
tlowm

I was considered disruptive when I refused to have a liver biopsy performed without ANY anesthesia. I really think at times we are treated like animals. It went from bad to worse when I over heard a nurse sarcastically comment to another that I must have forgotten to take my Xanax that morning. There have been times when a few poorly misbehaved unprofessional so called professionals have brought out the worst in me.

Frank Aguero

when are we as veterans going to stand up and protest in Washington???
guys you need to wake up and smell the burning of our rights administratively.

james
very good question Frank ?. I wonder if anyone here knowes that answer. If anything is going to happen we must have an outlet the news I quess, to put out there the word that a rally call to all veterans to meet outside the white house and demand the u.s. government listens to our real concerns. The V.A. needs to stop hurting veterans by their unethical programs. Disruptive Committees, they do not even have in place what Disruptive Behavior… Read more »
asknod
I suppose I am honored to sport the red flag on my VISTa record. I made the mistake of wishing to revert back to Dilaudid from Morphine for pain. My PCP informed me that would be a cold day in Hell reserved for those with sickle cell anemia or truly disabled. When told I would appeal her decision, I was queried ” Do I need to call security?” That was my last visit to utilize VA medical. I did it… Read more »
Kiedove
Kiedove

Ben, I’m a guest blogger on ASKNOD and posted about this as well. I have learned that the Washington journalist who broke the story attended the meeting. If she hadn’t, we probably wouldn’t know about this. I’ve requested the minutes/transcript/audio of the meeting from the VA but haven’t heard back yet.

I’d like to hear more about the legal ramifications of this ruling so please keep us informed. Thanks, Kiedove
http://asknod.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/faking-fear-of-veterans-to-remove-their-legal-right-to-claim-information/

Tom Poe
Tom Poe
Thanks for posting this issue for your readers. The claims process is unduly long and treacherous, despite technological advances, and should rightly be admonished at every opportunity. Veterans that wish to review the C&P exam results are potentially harmed at every level, considering that some veterans can afford to engage legal counsel to represent them and have early access to the exam results. This, of course, begs the question, as to whether some veterans with legal representation enjoy a special… Read more »
bd
bd

“Shiver Me Timbers!….Another disruptive veteran wanting his/her medical records? Bop him and Bag him immediately! They must be mentally insane for cry’in out loud! Quickly… let’s show ’em what us gas-bubbles are trained to do here at the VA! Where’s that take-down-the-vet manual they gave us all last week at our secret klan meeting? Let’s kick his ass good!”
Great letter to “Bob” though. I’d like you to post his response for us to read.

bruce wallace
On October 23, 2014, Fox News did a major story with the VA whistleblower that first appeared on Fox on September 2, 2014, interviewed then by Neil Cavuto, and then on Oct. 23 by another major Fox reporter. The whistleblower stated that about 47,000 veterans died waiting for medical care which vastly exceeds earlier figures of about 25 with some reports that said up to 400 or so, and others saying as high as over 4,000 but nothing anywhere near… Read more »
Crazy wife of a disabled vet
Crazy wife of a disabled vet
I really sympathize with you wonderful veterans. My husband is a VN disabled veteran and since I took charge of his health care with the VA, they have to deal with ME. I tell ya guys, you need to send your wives after them. My husband gets great care from the VA because they know they can’t push me around. I stand up to them, already having done my homework on all his health problems and TELL them what he… Read more »
Shirley Desmond
Shirley Desmond
Dear Crazy Wife, You are doing a great service, it is a shame that , this is necessary. I wonder if any one knows this is not just the VA. 1000 people die every day from Preventable Medical Error, and thousands are injured. This Problem is being addressed in the United States Senate, The first hearing was held on July 17 2014. Bernie Sanders is the chair, of the sub committee, this is on line if you want to check… Read more »
Jbasser
The issue with VA;s being requested to do C and P exams is not as these folks say. The examiners are really not employees (unless they are on loan) of the VAMC or the VISN. These folks are part of the VBA. The Regional Offices stacks its deck with loaded questions to downplay or dismiss a veterans disability claim in an errant attempt to undermine the Examiners opinion. This is the inner workings of a non-adversarial system. The VAMC is… Read more »
Ruu721 D

Veteran seen by the VA AND a VA employee… this article is so untrue. The VA is built upon your local healthcare friends, neighbors, veterans and relatives, just like any other one… except lots more regulations.

jimhadstate

Bravo, Ben! You know, if the VA did its job and provided appropriate mental health care for ALL veterans and if they didn’t make the veterans disability pensions so unnecessarily difficult, they wouldn’t have to worry about disgruntled veterans, because there would be none.

WGM
WGM

Not long ago the vA portrayed veterans as Oscar the Grouch; Now we are painted as psychos and a threat to vA employees.. It makes one question if there are more training episodes out there that we are not aware of, that paint Vets in a negative way.

The vA should be training their employees to be service oriented, customer oriented, professional, ethical, honest, and respectful,

figure8fan
This is not related to the C&P exams, but to the new Dr’s the VA is getting. I just moved to Indiana from Washington State and I was assigned a Dr. This “Dr.” was a new Dr. to the VA system and I have never in my 30+ yrs. with the VA have never had a Dr. like this one. She would put in my records in all capital letters that I “refused” something if I told her that I… Read more »
Ken James Carlisle

Whistle Blowers are taking you punks down!!! Your the crazy low life dirt bags who think you dont gotta bring vets home from the wars! F U !!

Ken James Carlisle

The pictures look like your suking the dumdums prick, get off your knees!

Ken James Carlisle

PICK UP THE STICKS CORRECTLY VA!!

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