VA Is Lying Billboards Patrick Kelly

Benjamin KrauseA leaked email from Minneapolis VA chief Patrick Kelly spelled out just how impactful the “VA is Lying” billboard campaign has become on local VA employees and nationwide.

In the email, Kelly described the billboards as broadcasting a “disparaging message about VA” health care and policy.

DOWNLOAD: Leaked VA Email From Patrick J. Kelly, FACHE

The VA email further served to reassure VA employees that veterans, like other Americans, also have 1st Amendment rights. “Like all Americans, Veterans have the right of free speech and are welcome to exercise that right even when we don’t agree with the message.”

@DeptVetAffairs #veterans have rights like other #Americans, too. #sot #tcot Click to Tweet

While I’m not shocked that Kelly had to inform his employees that veterans have rights, like other Americans, I am certainly disappointed.

The internal communication also intended to help improve morale after such employees are likely facing some embarrassing consequences of the campaign. “If you are asked by your family, friends or neighbors about the billboards, assure them that Minneapolis VA is committed to providing timely, high quality healthcare to our Veterans.”

Perhaps VA employees are getting shamed while covering up crimes and unethical behavior across the country? Or perhaps they, like other VA leadership, are searching for ways to shut down the grassroots campaign?

I believe the latter is more likely than the former – no doubt Secretary Bobby McDonald and his clan of public relations experts are searching frantically for a way to shutdown the campaign behind the scenes.

Coincidentally, Minneapolis VA is in the middle of a growing scandal where unqualified VA doctors knowingly performed traumatic brain injury exams on unsuspecting veterans trying to access specialized health care and compensation benefits.

At least 300 veterans were misled since 2010.

RELATED: VA Caught Defrauding 300 Veterans With Traumatic Brain Injuries

The email written by Kelly but delivered through his assistant Donna Carpenter, reads:

Team,

I want to update you on a couple issues being covered by the local media and provide a little more context.

First, there is continued coverage of the issue of initial Compensation and Pension TBI examinations for our MPLS area Veterans. As I stated in my 6 August email on this subject, we did use the wrong type of examiner as has been reported. Once we identified the problem, we acted aggressively, and in coordination with the VBA Regional Office, identified all affected Veterans and took appropriate actions to ensure they get the benefits they’re entitled to.

To ensure that we’re on the right track, we’ve reviewed our internal processes and have asked an external reviewer to assist us in making sure we’re not missing anything. One of our distinguished MN Congressmen has called for a nationwide review and we fully support this as a means to make sure we’re doing everything correctly going forward.

Second, advertising billboards in the area of HWY 62 and Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis are displaying a disparaging message about VA. One billboard is located across the street from a VA office building. Similar billboards have appeared near VA Medical Centers in Florida, Georgia and Illinois. Like all Americans, Veterans have the right of free speech and are welcome to exercise that right even when we don’t agree with the message. If you are asked by your family, friends or neighbors about the billboards, assure them that the Minneapolis VA is committed to providing timely, high quality healthcare to our Veterans. Encourage them to visit our VA, talk to Veterans and even volunteer to help us in our sacred mission. Anyone wishing to volunteer here should call 612.725.2050. The billboards have drawn the attention of several news media outlets. As a reminder, in the event that you are contacted by the press for comment about the VA, please refer them to Ralph Heussner, our Public Affairs Officer, at 612.467.3012.

You can all be incredibly proud of the work you’re doing. It’s an honor to serve with you in caring for our Veterans.

Respectfully,

Patrick J. Kelly, FACHE

Director, Minneapolis VA Health Care System

612.467.2101

Feel free to give Mr. Kelly a phone call to let him know how his words of encouragement in the email affect your view of VA health care or other things. His number is (612) 467-2101.

Wouldn’t it be great if the good VA employees could somehow infect that bad VA employees to encourage ethical and legal behavior across the entire organization?

Stu Seinberg

Ben–Have you seen the VA IG report from 9-4? “VA IG Review of Alleged Mismanagement at the Health Eligibility Center”. Absolutely despicable. The findings are damning and I’m betting the House Veterans Affairs Committee, wio called for this investigation, will do nothing. People need to lose their jobs, but won’t.

Robin Mitchell
I am sure the boards are infuriating Baghdad Bob McDonald as he goes on his summer Let’s Beg Congress Tour. Baghdad Bob thinks more money will fix the VA’s problems. In reality it is time to talk about halving the VA’s budget and really giving vets care in their own community. And, don’t let them tell you they can’t. CHAMPVA is already in place for dependents of 100% service connected disabled veterans. Expand it to ALL vets. Adjust deductibles for… Read more »
crazyelf
“Once WE identified the problem.” Who’s he trying to sell that to? It was because of an “external investigation” that caught the pukes. Had nothing to do with VA! Now that there might be a nationwide investigation over illegal C&P adjudications, maybe that will show tens of thousands of veterans getting screwed. As far as the “billboards” go, Shame (their PRIDE is being used against them as a weapon of mass destruction) them more. Find more illegal acts. Get those… Read more »
Robin Mitchell

I love it when self important people talk about themselves in the third person.

Let’s you hear the BS right away.

Fungus hates sunshine and these bulletin boards are a huge ray of sunshine that I am sure hurts. Evil should hurt and that is exactly what MN did to TBI patients..evil. All to save a buck.

Dan F

“…..to help us in our sacred mission.” Sacred mission? Maybe Mr. Kelly doesn’t understand what sacred means? If he thinks the VA has a religious mandate, I wonder what religion to which he refers. Possibly, Islamic extremists? They seem to have little regard for human life.

Ronald Nesler
I am a veteran advocate and the founder of VA is LYING Face Book group, and I am one of the central people behind the billboard campaign. Prior to putting up the first billboard, I had developed a working relationship with VA Secretary Bob McDonald, Dr Carolyn Clancy and Gen Allison Hickey. They were working with me to save sick and desperate veterans trapped in unnecessary VA red tape. I truly believe that by using the info I provided them,… Read more »
James

They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease, guess they figured you needed the whole can and to old to keep greasing and they couldn’t stop the squeak! It’s ok we need that squeaky wheel! Keeps up the good work! They will end up sliding on their left over grease!

91Veteran
I believe after reading what you and many other commenters here have said that the VA is doing this deliberately. By refusing to communicate with you, by refusing to order basic wheel chair parts, by taking away medicine, etc., the VA is counting on many veterans getting PO’d and demanding their Congressman do something to fix the mess. The VA is counting on Congress doing what they’ve always done…give the VA whatever billions they ask for in the next budget… Read more »
Vassilis Margaris

I will fwd this to all my Veteran’s Contacts!
The Florida VAs (and the rest of the Country) should follow, Mr Kelly’s Letter (admission of mistakes)
However Nobody talks about FIXING THE DAMAGE CAUSED, (retroactively)
“Apologies are Cheap”
MSG VAM

redturtle984
You know what I did when flagged bogusly as violent whilst they performed their sacred mission? I contact a reporter with the proving documents, then named her on the official VA Form designating her my Healthcare Power Of Attorney, and then she went with me on my doctor visits. It UNRAVELS them immensly. They do GOOFY things trying to stop this. This is because when the light of truth shines in a dark place….it scares them, and that Power of… Read more »
James

He talks about freedom of speech and then tells the employees what to say, when they are asked about the VA and then tells them not to speak with the media, don’t the good employees have the right to speak for themselves! Is something wrong with his message! Speaks with a fork tounge! Do as I say, if you don’t. We promise to retaliate!

Bruce Wallace

James, your points and responses to that shit head are spot on! Perfect! Genius analysis! He is a traitorous, smooth talking, Constitution trampling, worthless POS! We could replace him with a vet with a very bad form of PTSD/TBI and actually get something done for vets instead of the backstabbing, image protecting shit this fuck-up puts out.

namnibor
It would be just like the VA to counter the billboards by doing something nefarious such as having Blackhawks swing-in at night with a power sprayer and spray the billboards with agent orange, no less. I am waiting for *something* or *some attempt* for the VA to try to deface or take them down…just wait for it, am sure they are way more concerned about their “spin machine” than any Veterans going there for so-called “care”. Hope this is not… Read more »
crazyelf
To all, I heard the following from a ‘somewhat reliable source’, 1.) The state of Florida, is not allowing anymore billboards to go up anymore. The ones that are up, when the contract is up- no more!!! I’ve asked, emailed, Ben and Ron to verify this. I hope they get back to me… 2.) The State Health Board, or whomever issues physicians, nurses etc., their licenses here. Is not taking any more complaints against them. 3.) The Feds are telling… Read more »
namnibor
I was afraid something like this would take place. If it’s true, seems like the VA does not quite understand the very US Constitution that we all served/serve to protect, right?! If this is true, I think it will actually only shed MORE light on the VA’s ways and this billboard project. Remember, even BAD publicity can be made to be GREAT publicity because this would just place an exclamation mark on the VA’s Police-Action Mentality and Adversarial Attitude they… Read more »
crazyelf

namnibor, I’ve contacted my local news station to see if they could verify this news. I hope VA DID do something about these three things. It shows VA is breaking Federal Law big time…If it’s true!!!!!

Robin Mitchell

When you file against the VA you file against the secretary…as in Jones v.McDonald.

That is by statute. Unless congress changes it, and before a major election is not the time, then the Feds have no say. File the suit and let it work it’s way thru the court system.

I am pretty amazed and saddened that no lawyer has filed against the VA for their illegal fiduciary scam.

Bruce Wallace
It is a safe bet that the VA is spreading false stories like “No more billboards will be allowed in Florida …”. Billboards are invariably on private property, paid for by private funds from private citizens, so it would be a stretch for any state to be able to block any billboard unless its message constitutes a clear hate crime or terrorist threat, or is in some way explicitly obscene. Also, I don’t see how any state medical board could… Read more »
Bruce
“… our sacred mission.” You have got to be kidding me. Unless they mean satanic ritual or destructive cult kind of ass backwards “sacred”. Maybe he is talking about the mandatory paid admission séances and witchcraft meetings VA employees have been required to attend. Sure, sacred to Satan, maybe. He looks like the typical used car salesman who would cheat his own mother or his own kid and laugh about, then have something “ethical” to say about how honest he… Read more »
namnibor

Patrick J. Kelly, FACHE

Director, Minneapolis VA Health Care System

We should lease space for the Billboard’s Message on his forehead!

91Veteran

I’m wondering if the VA contacted the advertising company and put pressure on them, or exactly under what authority is FL saying no more billboards. They cannot single out an advertiser.
As for the medical complaints, I would force the state to go on record declining to take a complaint. I doubt they would open themselves to such liability. What if they declined a complaint and some quack killed someone?

John Ervin

45 days and still cannot get a pair of glasses from the va…nothing but excuses

Reuben Castro Acosta
VETS THE VA IS FEDERAL RICO CRIME RACKET BY THE AFGE UNION CONTRACTS AND THE CFR 38 FEDERAL LAWS AND CODS PENDEJO VETS YOU ARE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SCREWED THE MAFIA IS CHUMP CHANGE TO VA RICO CRIME RACKETS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Eric Rolston

DUDE!! This is getting old fast. Cant say anything new?????

Dennis

I’m surprised that the VA director says veterans have any rights. As a veteran, I don’t feel as though I’ve got the same rights as illegals and prisoners do.

Dina Padilla
The disabled workers of America have no rights whatsoever. That’s been proven because of no representation, although Bernie Sanders and Jack O’Malley who are running for president, finally did say that we we’re getting the short shrift by employers and the SSA. It was all planned out that way under the Reagan administration to not pay us comp benefits but the smallest amount under the SSA because the SSA gets to offset on something we get from employers but don’t…… Read more »
Philip

A vote for Trump will correct this!

James

Dump trump he’s a racist!

namnibor
@James- On that note, I would expect my current President, whomever he or she is, to use the Dept. Of Justice to fully investigate and clean out the VA as much of a priority as ‘other’ human and civil rights issues, but you do NOT see Pres. Obama utilizing his Executive Power to do just that, do you? With that said, and with how you feel about Trump, what does that make our current President? Dereliction Of Duty, is what… Read more »
James
I don’t just think it, I know it! How is he going to determine who is legal or not. Seen what happened in Phoenix and they stopped anyone who looked Hispanic. You don’t bundle everyone, hundreds of thousands of Hispanics have given their lives for freedom, this country is not just for the few! Trump is nothing special, we need someone to unite this country not divide it. How many nationality are in this country, we need to think what… Read more »
91Veteran

I’d be curious to know if he acknowledges veterans having rights when it comes to their little kangaroo court disruptive committee’s.

Frank Calderon

Dear Mr. Krause;

I just love the Billboards, “VA is Lying,” keep it up kudos to the one that originated the idea.

namnibor

I smell Troll

James

Ben has ever right to state what he wants, just like you can. At least he is trying to make a difference and the American people need to hear what is happening to the veterans whom have served this nation honorably and seeking justice for all! Thanks Ben

crazyelf

James, not only veterans, but the taxpayers also, needs to become informed as well.

James

In total agreement and the bill boards are the key!

Reuben Castro Acosta
VA ONE BIG BIG BIG FEDERAL RICO RACKET FROM AFGE UNION CONTRACTS THE MAFIA IS CHUMP CHANGE TO VA RICO CRIME RACKETS FROM AFGE UNION HELL
Eric Rolston

DUDE !!! Are u a robot just spewing this crap out?? Get a life….

crazyelf

Eric, I agree. I just skip by this person. Does sound robotic though.

mryoung30
The MN Director’s email reads ‘slick’ instead of willing to learn and be accountable based off of identified mistakes. I’m sure this is the correct framing to keep up the morale of VA employees (great) but does not remind them that mistakes were made under their watch and to be proactive in making things better (a keep on keepin’ on attitude instead of change to avoid mistakes, if you will). Having a ‘mistakes-happen’ attitude in this context where lives hang… Read more »
crazyelf
To everyone, If y’all are wondering the “who”, “what”, “why”, “when”, “where” and “how” to put a lawsuit on VA. Google the following Please>>> “VA malpractice dot info” (make sure y’all add the “info”)…….. Not only does this site give MANY negative articles on VA. It tells the hoops (forms etc., etc.) one has to go through to sue VA. As a matter of fact, this “info” site was where I learned of Ben’s site (disabledveterans dot org). For anyone… Read more »
Kirk
When is someone going to be held accountable for this incompetence? I’ve been experiencing the VA shuffle for the past 8 weeks just trying to get my CPAP. They never seem to run out of excuses. My primary care provider gets frustrated trying to get my treatments done. Sometimes I think it’s better to just drive to Mexico and the sneak back into America. The people who break immigration laws seem to get their ” entitlements” almost immediately. What a… Read more »
crazyelf

Breaking News:::
Mexico is going to allow the Middle East Refugees to come there. Can anyone see what’s going to happen next????

namnibor

Time for the Wall.

crazyelf

That’s a firm
10-4, namnibor!

91Veteran

There is all kinds of FOIA material here Ben. His August 6th email. Who the external reviewer is that he mentions. Any report generated by that external reviewer. What communications they have had with higher HQ regarding the TBI scandal and who ordered the review. The charter for that review team, what they are supposed to look in to and what is off limits.
Would be fun!

crazyelf
To, Ben and all on here. The following is my personal opinion. I believe what needs to happen is something SO DAMN horrendous at many VA’s (simultaneously), where ALL news medias, ALL veterans (disabled or not), ALL active duty military, ALL taxpayers and ALL of the VSO(organizations) become so outraged at VA. Where they call for 1.) “Multiple Firings Nationwide” and 2.) “Criminal Charges” (from McDonald down) are not only demanded by the court systems, but carried out systematically against… Read more »
meg

This is an interesting article:

McDonald said VA is unlikely to improve care for veterans, especially the nearly 10 million over 65, without strategic partnerships. Private-sector partnerships eyed
“In the past, the VA saw many of our private-sector providers as competition,” McDonald said. “We don’t do that anymore.”

http://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/VA-head-talks-about-the-greatest-challenge-to-6504393.php

Eric Rolston

ANNNND, on top of all this, the VA employee gets a higher reimbursement for travel pay then a NON-VA EMPLOYEE, which gets a paltry 41.5 cents a mile compared to 57.5 for an employee. the proof is in THEIR pudding:

http://www1.salary.com/WA/Seattle/high-school-teacher-salary.html

The OBVIOUS disparity continues……

Dan F

And, the VA employee doesn’t get $6. a trip taken out of the mileage calculation. To put it another way, for me compared to a government employee making the same trip, the government employee would receive 54% more (140 miles round trip) $80.50 vs. 52.10. I’ve been complaining about this for years and the Secretary can change it – it doesn’t need an act of Congress. Chalk up another, “Bob is looking out for the vets.”

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