Veterans Affairs Bans iPhones For Veterans

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Bans iPhones

Benjamin KrauseVeterans are now receiving leaflets from Veterans Affairs prior to diagnostic appointments that show iPhones are among a short list of “prohibited items” at VA medical centers. Other items on the list are pistols, knives and backpacks.

The decision is a violation of due process and numerous laws protecting the rights of disabled Americans. Let me explain why.

The key here seems to be that VA forgets that veterans are also Americans who are protected by the Constitution and who also possess unalienable rights. Did we sign our rights away forever by fighting our country’s battles?

#veterans need #iphones to help with their #tbi... VA should stop interfering. Click to Tweet

Based on the photo, does this mean iPhone or all cell phones are “prohibited”? Does that also include banning the well-known “Obama Phone”? I wonder if they called the White House before running this one up the flagpole?

Ten-year-olds across the country can bring a backpack and iPhone wherever they want… but a disabled veteran will need to leave her medications, records and iPhone in the car before reporting to her traumatic brain injury (TBI) exam?

According to the leaflet, veterans who show up with an iPhone (or presumably other cell phone types) will be denied due process rights including a disability examination, according to the leaflet.

VA Prohibited Items

The leaflet does not explain what to do if the veteran is prescribed use of an iPhone or backpack as an accommodative device that helps the disabled veteran with a disability.

Changes to policy like this are coming on the back of recent revelations that VA violated the due process rights of more than 300 veterans with reported traumatic brain injuries. There, at Minneapolis VA, at least one veteran (a client of mine) openly recorded his appointment with VA staff in a legal manner because it occurred in Minnesota. In Minnesota, it is legal to record so long as at least one person is aware of the recording. Federal laws do not restrict this. But don’t try that in California and some other dual party states where all parties to a conversation must consent to recording. (It is up to you to ensure you are legally recording a VA official.)

Based on the leaflet going around, VA is apparently afraid such transparency – (ie recording what VA staff are saying to veterans) – will cause some kind of risk severe enough to ban all iPhones. What kind of risk are they working to prevent?

Lately, VA has shown a deeper paranoia of veterans of the current wars and has implemented certain policies that infringe on our due process rights.

Previously, I reported on VA using secret committees when using its “patient flag” system. That system allows VA employees to limit a veteran’s access to health care without notice or an opportunity to confront the accuser. Instead, the veteran is notified only after VA makes a decision.

RELATED: Soviet Style Patient Flag System Exposed

Similarly, last October VA implemented a new policy that would restrict a veteran’s access to her disability compensation records – contained within the CPRS medical record system – under the claim that some veterans are violent.

RELATED: Paranoid VA Officials Paint Veterans As Crazed Psychos

The anecdotal claim is now used to justify denying access to the records until after Veterans Benefits Administration makes a decision on the claim. VA is trying to redefine a medical diagnostic exam as not being the practice of medicine where errors could result in medical malpractice claims.

RELATED: Fear Of Violence Justified Denial Of Medical Records

However, such policies limit access to electronic medical records and may violate HIPAA as a result. But VA never seems to mind making policy decisions that violate clearly established laws and regulations.

RELATED: Is VA Misleading Veterans About The ‘Blue Button’?

Now, VA will deny a veteran access to a lawfully mandated disability examination if that same veteran has an iPhone or backpack. Iphones are routinely used to help veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries take notes and remember appointments. VA doctors often prescribe use of these devices to help disabled veterans.

Additionally, veterans with bad backs, using crutches, or using wheelchairs will also be prohibited from using backpacks as accommodative devices under threat of losing our due process and legal right to receive a disability examination. Many paralyzed veterans will not be able to house their colostomy bags, apparently.

Does this seem strange or is it just me? How many of you receive leaflets like this prior to receiving non-VA health care?

I don’t know about you, but my next step was to file a FOIA request yesterday. It is important to push any Federal agency to follow the law. Otherwise, we will get nothing less then the Communist government we all fought hard to defeat over the years.

How ironic is that? While we fought the Cold War, the Communists were busy infiltrating the Department of Veterans Affairs to give us nothing less than the same horrific and hatefully oppressive treatment we fought 60 years to defeat?

Are current VA policies a sign that we actually lost the Cold War in an ironic twist of fate? When should we call Apple to let them know VA is unlawfully banning their phones?

UPDATE: VA issued an apology for its ‘ill-advised’ ban of cellphones

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/10/01/va-apologizes-for-ill-advised-ban-on-veterans-cellphones/

http://freebeacon.com/issues/va-ban-of-phones-for-veterans-was-ill-advised/

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namnibor
Sounds to me that the VA is trying to quash *any possibility* of any Veteran recording their medical visits, without overtly stating as such. Backpacks- That is a huge slap in face because *many* Veterans have to use public transportation, bike, or even moped to get to appointments and keeping these documents/files safe is important. Also, **MANY** Homeless Veterans pretty much carry their ‘whole life’ in a backpack, if they can even afford that. I do not intend this as a ‘sexist comment’ when I ask this question then: Why then would it be totally okay for a female Veteran… Read more »
John McCarey
I attended a disabled veteran with his companion dog. Th veteran was being manhandled a VA town hall at Bay Pines in Florida. After the meeting the VA cops were arresting a disabled veteran with a companion dog. The veteran was being manhandled by the thug cops and other veterans leaving the meeting were threatening anybody with a cell phone that it was against the law to take pictures on VA property. I have never figured out why there are full fledged police at any VA facility. These cops acted like thugs in the way that they treated any, and… Read more »
bruce wallace
bruce wallace

That would be the KGB secret police, posing as American police. I am not joking. Putin is meeting with Obama today, and he thinks this is funny. Part of the process of our intel community turning KGB to the American side is having our agents act like theirs, and vice versa. The problem is, we have gotten so good at it that our government offices have literally become KGB launching points, especially at the VA where their mission is to destroy our military by working downstream at the VA and then back up into the Pentagon from there.

bruce wallace
bruce wallace

You said: “They have created their own police state.” Exactly! Tyranny is doomed for failure from within. Hundreds, if not thousands of VA whistleblowers are proof of that.

ctusa
ctusa

People!! People!! People!!

These VA “police” thugs are nothing more than fodder. My respect for law enforcement is above and beyond, but these Va “cops” must be brought down a few notches….

Get it!!

They are abusive and physically, intentionally boasting federal authority. I say to all veterans, if you are at a VA facility, watch your veteran brother and sister and have their 12, 3, 6, 9……. a VA “cop” will wish he could climb back into the very womb from which he fell….

ENOUGH IS A ENOUGH… Anything VA is worthy of ZILCH!!

CorpsmanuP! (@Tang1967)

Ben, under CFR 38 17.107 the veteran can appeal the decision, but of course they do not follow the law. The best thing you can do is file a sf 95 for defamation and slander , give them proper notice , then sue them under the Equal Protection Doctrine.

Don Karg
Don Karg

09/28/2015

Dear Benjamin Krause,

Your next step is on the Senate Building doorstep.

Been tell you for months now.

The Court system is failing.

Sincerely,

Don Karg

namnibor
Ben, I also do wonder what Apple would think of their Brand-Specific Banning, use of their name to encompass ALL “Smart Phones”? The question also remains just *how* does the VA ‘define’ iPhone? Will it be all Android and otherwise as well? They all pretty much have digital recording capabilities as well as video, so see how the VA picks and chooses just how to interpret *any* term, (recall 40 mile as crow flies Choice Card debauchery, that still persists), and this continued blatant ignoring put-place procedures and also obscured at best, transparency and truth to Congressional Committees, I think… Read more »
Heath Williamson
Heath Williamson

So now the people who can’t get any of my benefits worked out, are always behind when I show up for my appointments want me to not have anything to do when I get there? Get out of here.

If I need to record my medical docs, type in some notes, or schedule a follow-up visit on my calendar, I should be able to. I’m bringing my damn phone and they can kick rocks!

crazyelf
crazyelf

In Florida, ALL parties must be aware of and give permission to be recorded.
I wish our laws were the same in Minneapolis. But their not.
I would also like to know how VA can use a trademark (“Iphone”) brand name without permission?

ian
ian

Exactly it seems to be trademark infringement. And some states are still 2 party consent under the wiretapping laws but only like 6 and not for long. with the new federal court ruling in 2011, recording government activity and employees is protected under the first amendment, no more qualified immunity ha!!

Tony
Tony

Can someone cite a source for this please..
I am outraged that the VA would do such a thing but if so I want this to go viral.

Brandon Coleman
Brandon Coleman
Ben Thank God the VA has banned cell phones! It will make sure there is no way to record meetings like on Jan 23 when the Phoenix VA Social Work Chief David Jacobson admits “5 suicidal vets walked out of the hospital this past week,” and “we are just really lucky nothing bad has happened yet, it was sheer luck.” This ban will also keep young combat vets from recording like the one in Georgia who was looking for help with PTSD but was told his clinic was no longer accepting veterans. Also has anyone thought what we as veterans… Read more »
Diane
Diane

Yeah, used to work at a local hospital, if you think today’s cellphones interfere with today’s machinery then you are severely mistaken. My brick mobile phone from 1994 would most likely cause issues with hospital machinery from the 1990s but today’s stuff, nope no way nada.
Then again maybe the VA is still using machinery from the 90s, over 20 yrs old.
That’s okay, I’ll just take my lil pocket digital recorder with me, & a paper calendar, let’s see how long I can make them wait like they do us.

Lee Kuxhaus
Lee Kuxhaus
You mentioned Vets with #TBI in your article, but what about all our Visually Impaired and Blind Vets that use their iPhones for its voiceover function. Taking it away is taking away their independance, just like our TBI vets. I am a lower extermity amputee, unfortunatly most of the time when I go to the VA it is in a wheel chair or on crutches. No matter how little I carry, it is in a backpack (even though I am a female). We have vets with upper extermity amputations that need both backpacks and smart phones. This was ill though… Read more »
Just another Jarhead in SJ

whew! my android is safe!

for once living in the silicon valley and owning minority hardware has helped me.

(humor intended)

Richard
Richard

As burns on Simpsons would say ,,,,,,,,, excellent I have an android also.

richard
richard

P.S. I’m just another warhead in arizona

burples
burples

I can see weapons and things that take pictures: nothing new there. But backpacks?

Every guy has a backpack like women have purses. There has to be additional information not disclosed in the article. Backpacks like everything else is x-rayed at entrance gates.

They must be smoking something in CO.

Ronald F. Kidder
Ronald F. Kidder

Everyone is wearing back packs? In Europe maybe, but not in my neighborhood.

bruce wallace
bruce wallace

Maybe male vets can start using a ‘man purse’ when they go to the VA. What will they ban next? Vests that have pockets? Fanny packs? Coats that have lots of pockets. Cargo pants? The VA is a gigantic social disease, ran by a bunch of lunatics who have taken over the asylum.

Modern Psychologist

Oh great…just like prisons do.

Don doty
Don doty

My VA issued hearing aids are connected by Bluetooth through my phone. I guess I won’t be able to hear the VA doctor or anyone while in the VA facility.

Ranger11bv
Ranger11bv

Here is some great info on who can record when:

http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/recording-phone-calls-and-conversations

bruce wallace
bruce wallace
THIS SMARTPHONE BAN IS ANOTHER VA ‘TAKE-AWAY’ PLOY, A CRUDE BUT EFFECTIVE WAY TO GET VETS ALL WORKED UP AND FOCUSED ON AN OBSCURE BUT VALID AREA OF COMPLAINT. THE TRUE PURPOSE IS TO DISTRACT FROM WHATEVER IT IS THE VA IS REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT, AND IT SURE AS HELL IS NOT SMARTPHONES. IF THEY CAN GET PROMINENT POLITICIANS TALKING ON THE NEWS ABOUT THE INSANITY OF BANNING CELL PHONES, THE VA IS LESS LIKELY TO TAKE HEAT ON ISSUES LIKE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS MISAPPROPRIATED/STOLEN FOR VA HOSPITALS THAT WERE NEVER FINISHED, OR HOW MANY VETS ACTUALLY DIED WHILE WAITING… Read more »
Frank Calderon

Dear Mr. Krause:

How long is the VA going to be permitted to violate our Constitutional rights, what we were ready to fight and die to protect they are doing this piecemeal, now they are taking our 1st Amendment right along with the rest?

Something has to be done, if they have to impeach Obama, he is a traitor as far as I am concerned we no longer have to worry about ISIS we have worse now; our own government betraying us.

Nick Savage
Nick Savage

Locked, Cocked and ready to Roll!!

Brett Barnett
Brett Barnett
Well all I have to say is let them try to stop me from having my phone on my person. I have a special needs child and if the need arises that his care provider has to contact me and cannot due to some BS tactic the VA is trying to institute there will be hell to pay. Not entirely sure that his problems were not caused by all the shit I was given prior to or during my service in the Golf War but guess I’m just paranoid!! To hell with the VA burn the damn system down and… Read more »
Robin Mitchell

The Spy Shop in NYC is a well known toy shop for adults who think outside the box. They have recording devices that look like Bic pens, rings, etc.

James F. Moore, Sr.
Its on 42nd Street, I believe, and many years ago, I was blocked from they web-site. Once the VA, in Manhattan, found out that I was visiting their web-site. Thus very old cell phone (pay as you go), that had a battery life time of two, or four hours. That was just how long I would have too wait before someone called me, for our section at the regional office. They knew that I made a computer program. That could record a conversation for up too two or four hours.. “Well, that’s what they knew but in fact that soft… Read more »
Alys
Alys
I guess it’s back to fanny packs! My digital recorder was prescribed by my physician and purchased by Chapter 31. Do you know how many disabled veterans I have been texting with before, during and after their C&Ps? More than a dozen. I have ‘held hands’ with veterans with anxiety disorders and have even translated Spanish to English during these exams in the past (and I might add successfully). Many of these vets had no support person that could be there in their exam, so I was it. I have a cell phone specifically for this purpose, so my move… Read more »
ian
ian

What VA’s are these? They wont let me have anyone present during my exams no matter how bad my anxiety symptoms are. And yes its with a woman doctor who doesn’t actually examine you for PTSD, rather spends an hour taking a historical background and then politely tells the VBA I don’t have PTSD, but um, she never examined me at all, never asked one question about symptoms or the traumatic events.

George G Sarris
George G Sarris
Although I am a combat veteran, I will no longer go to the VA for anything. Allow me to elaborate: In 2010, a veteran affairs drug addiction intern named Dawn A. Tanner attempted to deny me, a combat veteran, and my father-in-law, a Korean War Veteran, access to the VA hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. As a favor to her housemate, Ms. Tanner performed a covert, unlicensed, unauthorized, and improper mental assessment of me, a Federal Air Force employee named Mr. George Sarris. Six months later, Ms. Dawn A. Tanner filed a report with the Omaha VA police, falsely claiming that… Read more »
Dina Padilla
Dina Padilla

The VA but acts like the enemy of our American vets as in the Stasi, Nazi, and KGB, all combined.while trying to CYA, largely in fact because they know they are being scrutinized by the public. the media and some of the state and federal legislators AND ALSO largely in part that they know they’ve been screwing up on our vets ever so phenomenally. Thanks to Ben for his tenacity and eagle eye vigilance on all of the wrongs committed by the VA.

bruce wallace
bruce wallace

I bet someone like Crazy Elf or Ron Nesler, or Ben Krause, will do some serious digging and find out what the VA is trying to keep quiet right now by using this absurd smartphone take away. While we get all pissed about this, imagine the major shit they are covering up somewhere. It has to be something huge that has already been in the news, or something and truly diabolical. Dig, dig, dig.

Darryl Crouch
Darryl Crouch

The IPhone is a brand of smart phone. Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, etc, all have their brand of smart phones. Smart phones have an operating system and cell phones don’t. But what is significant about the IPhone that it had to be named and not just stated “smart phones.” If Apple doesn’t have enough money to look into this then no one can move the VA.

Alys
Alys

The photo shows a standard cell phone, and not an Iphone! Oops! Lol!

Alys
Alys

My bad. Upon looking closer, the phone pictured looks like both an Iphone and standard cell phone.

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