BUSTED: VA Cancer Patient Fights Back With Smart Phone, Records Doctor

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One veteran armed with a cell phone secretly recorded his doctor visit after the Phoenix VA medical system failed to timely diagnose his cancer.

And guess what? The system at Phoenix just as broken now despite claims of improvement after “restructuring.” Surprised? The recording revealed that patients are not being afforded unobstructed access to qualified medical doctors for conditions like cancer. It also revealed the Phoenix VA system has been lying to the public about the success of its restructuring.

VA CANCER PATIENT

To keep wait times down, the recording suggests Phoenix VA apparently sabotaged its phone system so veterans cannot call in for appointments with their primary care providers. The option was possibly removed from the call options.

In a way, this post can also be aptly titled:

Dear VA – Every Veteran Is A Citizen Journalist Armed With A Recording Device

One veteran armed with a cell phone at Phoenix VA blew the lid false claims that the VA is a successfully “restructured government healthcare agency” by recording his doctor visit.

Veteran Steve Cooper got the run-around when he tried to access health care for cancer. Cooper is a retired Sgt 1st Class and recently diagnosed with late stage prostate cancer that VA allegedly failed to timely diagnose.

In one exchange, the nurse can be heard saying,

  • Nurse: “Have you ever tried to call in here?”
  • Cooper: “Yeah, it does not work and there’s no number to press for primary care.”
  • Nurse: “No. And it just irritates the living hell out of me.”

Then, the doctor Cooper was assigned to see reported that VA gave him 500 new patients in May, a work load that has made his job impossible, “I can only do what I can do. I’m given 500 patients on May 23rd, 500. So it’s impossible.”

Impossible expectations with 500 patients per doctor? A call center that does not let you contact your primary care provider? And Bob McDonald tells us Phoenix is fixed?

WHAT CANCER PATIENT RECORDED

In his recording, VA clinicians can be heard acknowledging wait time problems that VA is apparently trying to fix by not properly accepting incoming calls for appointments.

This summary came from Channel 12’s coverage of the story:

– A nurse calls the patient phone scheduling system “a nightmare,” admitting that even as an employee she can’t get a person on the phone line. 

– The doctor who saw Cooper admitted he’s “not a fan of the VA” and complained his patient load doesn’t allow him enough time with patients. 

– The doctor said that, as a new employee, he is still trying to understand how the “Choice” program works. 

– The doctor expressed a desire to check Cooper’s heart and lungs but said he misplaced his stethoscope.  The doctor ended up not using a stethoscope at all, but nonetheless stated that “key exam findings” on Cooper were negative.

VA RESPONDS TO CANCER PATIENT RECORDING

In response to the recording, Phoenix VA director Deborah Amdur said:

“The Phoenix VA Health Care System is committed to providing the highest level of patient care, and all employees are expected to uphold our core values. It appears the manner in which our provider staff communicated and interacted with this patient on this day was not in keeping with our values.”

Notice the tightly crafted ‘isolated incident’ type language she uses to minimize any belief that the problem is more systemic – – “this patient” and “this day”.

When questioned by Channel 12 News, Congressman Matt Salmon said he was not buying it.

“With this tape it was very, very clear the doctor he was dealing with did not understand the choice system. And I think the doctor frankly was not doing his job the way he needs to.”

It’s curious how VA is now being rebranded as a “restructured government healthcare agency.” This move is similar to the rebranding strategies used by Walter Lippmann when he rebranded the Tammany Hall Party in the 1930’s.

“This is not the old Tammany Hall your grandfather knew.”

What is Tammany Hall? That is the corrupt group of politicians in New York that were in the pocket of big business. Back then, it was apparently a small bunch. Now, we call them “Democrats” and “Republicans”, so maybe Lippmann was correct.

VA ON SMART PHONES AS RECORDING DEVICES

VA has bemoaned access to recording devices like this because they have no control over what the veteran does with his or her property. Though, the Denver VA system did try to ban iPhones last October when we busted them on DisabledVeterans.org and Facebook.

VA quickly apologized for the unauthorized violation of the Americans with Disability Act, which allows veterans access to accommodative systems like iPhones to help with memory loss.

RELATED: VA Apologizes For Smart Phone Ban

As for Phoenix veterans, I would be on the lookout for new policies from Phoenix VA about smart phones similar to what we saw in Colorado last year.

Good catch Channel 12. Keep an eye out for the smart phone ban if it happens again.

Source: http://www.12news.com/news/local/valley/va-cancer-patient-secretly-records-doctor-visit/307185216

UPDATE:

Hours after posting this, and two days after Channel 12 ran its piece, Deborah Amdur announced her retirement citing health problems that started after she began working at Phoenix VA this past winter. http://www.disabledveterans.org/2016/08/26/phoenix-va-director-retires-recording/

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Daniel Gray
Daniel Gray
I’d be very careful in doing that as the VA could sue. Under federal law, which they are suppose to follow; you cannot make a recording of another person without their knowledge and you cannot disperse it. Jim McDermott (D) Washington State was found guilty of federal felony wiretapping when he took an illegally recorded conversation and gave it to the press. He was fined over 1.5 MILLION dollars and just recently lost his bid to have this removed from his personal and Congressional record. Now if they can sue a US Congress member for dispersing a recording that others… Read more »
redturtle984
redturtle984
Dan, I record my telephone calls with VA. They even put into my record that I do so and they state in my record a refusal to speak with me on the phone because of it. Tsun Tsu said that if I know myself and know my enemy then I will prevail. He also said a lot of other things I was required to read in OCS. Mostly he said, “Do not be stupid.” It took about fifteen minutes and an iPad to determine from Oregon Statute that I had every right to record my calls from home. It took… Read more »
Reuben Castro Acosta
pPENDEJO VETS VA DEATHCARE ONE BIG BIG BIG FEDERAL RICO CRIME RACKET RUN FOR @ BY AFGE UNION CONTACTS STUPID DUFUSS VETS AND YO THOUGHT VA DEATHCARE WAS FOR YOUR HEALTH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SILLY DUFUSS VETS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Steve
Steve

Wrong Wrong Wrong! You can record any conversation secretly as long as at one point your voice
is in the conversation. You do Not have to tell the other party you are recording!!!

Don Avant

I think it’s gonna be business as usual at the VA, and not just the Phoenix hospital…untill they start firing and putting people in jail when the defraud the US taxpayer by wasting tax dollars and not doing their jobs….I’ve always found that the cure for bad behavior is SWIFT AND TERRIBLE RETRIBUTION…

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly
I am going to agree with you Don it is the same old stink just a different day at the VA. In fact, an article posted today by Alyssa Canobbio in the Washington Free Beacon opens with: “In a 2008 speech in Charleston, West Virginia, then-Sen. Barack Obama told a story of an 89-year-old World War II veteran who committed suicide in the parking lot of a Veterans Affairs hospital after he was constantly denied help. Obama called it a betrayal of the ideals for which troops that risk their lives. “We’ve all heard what it is like to navigate… Read more »
Crazy elf
Crazy elf
Obama is great at “words”! Where and What the fuck has he done to correct the VA in the past 7 and 1/2 years? I’ll tell you what he’s done, not a damn thing, except play golf or go on vacations, or how about that “Apology Tour” he took. Where he made all of America a laughing stock. Or how about that $1.7 BILLION he just gave Iran since Jan 2016! Google it. He gave 13 payments of millions of $$$$ on top of the $400 Million for the release of those captives! The way it went down was $1.3… Read more »
Hondo
Hondo
This is from a case brought against a non VA company, to bad the same logic isn’t applied to VA employees…………… “Companies must never benefit by using public officials to obtain a competitive business advantage,” said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Office. “The FBI will continue to root out corruption at all levels.” “This meaningful agreement holds the corporation accountable for the conduct of its leadership,” said Michael J. Missal, Inspector General, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General (VA OIG). “A $12 million penalty along with 90 months of prison time… Read more »
Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly
Hondo, I like how Michael J Missal act as though he had something to do with the investigation and prosecution. Truth of the matter is the case against Cannon Designs was done by the FBI as part of their Cuyahoga County corruption investigation. As a result of the FBI wiretapping the phone of a former Cuyahoga County Commissioner named Jimmy Dimora. As a result of the wiretap the former director of the Cleveland and Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, William D. Montague, was sentenced to 57 months in prison. He plead guilty to 64 counts, including Hobbs Act conspiracy, conspiracy… Read more »
james m. hanrahan
I FIND IT HARD TO TELL THE RIGHT PERSON OR WRONG PERSON TO TELL MY LIFE AND TIMES WITH THE va AND ANYONE WHO IS PART OF THAT SYSTEM WHY LOOK AT IT MONEY MAKES ALL OF THE DEALS IN THIS SYSTEM. YES EVEN THE dav IS HOOKED UP INIT. WHY I SAY SO THE 100 YEARS THEY ARE SAID TO BE PROUD OF FIGHTING FOR THE VET RIGHT IS A JOKE IF THEY TOOK ALL THAT TIME AND WAIST OF MAN AND WOMEN POWER TO SO CALL FIGHT FOR US AND DID MORE FIGHTING FOR THE TRUTH ABOUT THE… Read more »
merri busch
merri busch

What is really sad is the VA response will be to punish the employees who were critical of the VA. Maintaining a false front of ‘everything is fine here’ is what keeps the VA from getting to authentically good customer care where the employees are happy to work there.

ICARE values, but never ‘make the VA look bad’ by speaking the truth. The VA is doing its own job of that.

That said, it still does work well for the overwhelming majority of veterans. But I won’t rest until it works for everyone with no one left out.

namnibor
This is what the VA will do to sabotage access to healthcare with a mere phone menu system, now just think what kind of bowel blockages the VA can concoct with a few Billion in IT $$$. This new VA OIG was yet another deck chair nailed down to the deck of the V.A. Titanic, and it’s part of the “culture” at the VA and they ATTRACT THE SAME …ILK. Sludge attracts sludge. The system needs purged. Social Security definitely runs a much tighter ship. Like another Veteran posted this week, you do not see billboards being put up about… Read more »
Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly
Hey Namnibor, You asked: “What I am questioning again is, where’s all the money going if the turds are still in the punch bowl??” With the VA’s Genome project and other resent advances in how to utilize Veterans Health care as a non-human subject research pool. I am guessing I know where some of the money is going. Check out an article from yesterday in Bloomberg’s legal. “VA RESEARCHERS TESTING CHEAPER CLINICAL TRIALS USING TECH”, by Alex Ruoff, Aug 25, 2016 “http://www.bna.com/va-researchers-testing-b73014446881/” They are now opening access to all Veterans Medical Records across the country to researchers. In fact they… Read more »
Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly

Namnibor,

I forgot to add that I cannot for the life of me find any appropriations from congress to update the research software used by the VA. I wonder where that money came from.

Crazy elf
Crazy elf
I had a close friend, a “brother”, who died of “Stage 4 Prostate Cancer” a few months ago. I’ve mentioned this before! The VHA in Daytona Beach, Fl was responsible for NOT diagnosing it in time. As a matter of fact, they didn’t diagnose it at all. All they kept harping on was “diabetes”! When he began losing massive amounts of weight, he went outside, and by using Medicaid, found he didn’t have diabetes, he was in the early part of “Stage 4 Prostate Cancer”! He kept telling VA physicians about the pain he had in his lower back. All… Read more »
namnibor
@Ben- Great to hear and see a story where the evidence speaks for itself and the VA cannot redefine it as some sort of fluke. “Cannot find my stethoscope”…you wonder how that Dr. wipes his ass each day and if he even bothers to wash his hands afterwards because you know, soap is such a hard thing to find as well. 🙂 It is a systemic problem with the VA. Phoenix just happens to be one of the many “poster-childs”. I hope this gains traction and pray for the recovery of this Vet and safety of all Vets using the… Read more »
mary
mary
I did thee exact same thing w/my hospital..in Milwaukee,,There was a nurse ,my doctors nurse,,who did not like me for some reason,,1st she claimed I was filling my meds early,,,well dahhh,,the pharmacy has a record of every time u fill your meds,,My meds prescriptions is mailed out,,living 3 hours North of Milwaukee,,,records indicated she was 1 week late every month for 2 years..Then she tried to claim I called my Doctors office excessively,,again dah…got the phone records,,1nce a month for 2 years to simply ,”call in ,” my meds,,,At this point I knew this nurses motive was to get me… Read more »
Crazy elf
Crazy elf
A little off subject. Hey, Seymore Klearly, got something you may want to compare and contrast. It’s the “Teapot Dome Scandal” of the 1920’s vs. the “Uranium Deal Scandal” of Hildabeast’s doing, as Secretary of State, a few years ago. I looked up both. I’d like to get your opinion. Does it, or would it, be a violation of the “Dobbs’s Act”? When I read the article, on the ” Teapot Dome Scandal”, it wasn’t the “money transfers which were illegal”, it was the “contracts” which were illegal! Remember, the “Uranium Deal” is taking land away from ranchers and farmers… Read more »
James Gallegos
As they state you can hire new top management over and over. But the old management is still in charge and they are not going to change. They are God’s and act like it. You have people who will put their own mother under the bus. The good buddy system. Were top management hires people they know. That will do their bidding. No matter who it hurts. Let’s look at fort lyon vamc ? They closed it. Because the VA had to pay out so much money to employees making claims against the facility. Where employees were being targeted by… Read more »
91Veteran
91Veteran
I caught the same minimizing wording as you did Ben…this veteran…on this day. The VA are Masters at minimizing any situation to the point of blatantly lying. Veterans can see the lies clearly, then the VA wonders why we have zero trust in them. As for the Choice program, I have a letter from a Veterans Choice official clearly stating a veteran using Choice for any reason will have Medicare, other primary payer or their private health insurance billed first before Choice will pay anything, regardless of service connection. I had a congressional aide confirm that for me yesterday. In… Read more »
Frank
Frank

Ballpark, how many days’ delay in diagnosing a cancerous lesion constitutes failure to timely diagnose cancer? If a VAMC does fail to make timely diagnosis, and covers it up long enough to get past the FTCA statute of limitations, does a veteran have any other recourse?

Hmm?
Hmm?

Please elaborate more about the FTCA statue of limitations. Exposure problem here. Thanks

Frank
Frank

Nothing to elaborate.
It’s passed.
So, ballpark, how many days’ failure to diagnose cancer = failure to make a timely diagnosis?
Thanks.

Tom Freeman
Tom Freeman

I’ve done the same thing, recording conversations w/ V.A. in single party consent state. One time, an administrator with Outsude Care Office got flustered & said, “You only have proof of this call if you are recording this call.”, after she said I was insulting her staff by saying they needed to be more proactive when it comes to Choice Act.

Now if only I could get Mr. Krause to return the calls, emails, & even a text msg, I could get some guidance on how to deal with VA facility denying me a surgery I desperately need.

Daniel Gray
Daniel Gray

Like it or not Ben facts are facts so I am going to set you straight Ben, See 18 U.S.C. 2511(2)(d)

Remove spaces for complete link

McDermott found guilty and fined for wiretapping
http:// www. seattlepi. com /local/article/McDermott-violated-House-rules-with-leak-court-1226493.php

Minority leader awarded 1 million for violation of privacy
http:// www. cnn. com /2008/POLITICS/04/01/boehner.call/

Court settles illegal wiretapping
http:// www. npr. org /templates/story/story.php?storyId=9946755

You should NOT be telling Vets or giving them the idea that this is legal

91Veteran
91Veteran

…and YOU should not be using clear wiretapping cases to compare to a veteran recording a doctors appointment.

WTF do you not understand about illegally intercepting and recording a CELL PHONE CALL?

mary
mary
I disagree,,,if ,”Ben” is relating his jmo,,of recording/video ,what ever,,read my post ealier,,,RECORDING my doctors nurse lying,,,SAVED MY LIFE!!,,rather then facing a lawsuit,,the nurse who willfully lied ,, in essence hurting me medically,,,was fired because of me secretly recording her lies,,,and my life medically was literally saved because I choose to record in secret…Just because u record doesn’t mean you’ll have to use,,but it does mean u have proof in your back pocket,should YOUR LIFE was/will be put in danger because of a incompetent lying medical personel,,,Personally i choose the ,”spy pens,” off of ebay,,,they work well,,and have a lot… Read more »
mary

To Crazy Elf- Salute to Hangman, glad he was smiling at the end of his road. To Red Turtle- Keep that brilliant mind of yours hopping, it is a good one. Namnibor, I still want to laugh about the soap getting lost when he had to wipe that ass,,, oh hell! Good one! Wish we had more Stations like channel 12, telling America what is going on behind closed VA doors. Fun to see them scurry like cockroaches when the full light of day hits their lying arses.

mary
mary

psss,,,9 out of 10 times,,,no Doctor ,,or V.A employee will want to end up in a court of law,,,Now a days,,they prefer to correct the problem in private,,,,the last thing a Doctor or V.A. wants is to end up in a court of law,,thus privately recording will not even be an issue other then your true reason for doing it in the 1st place,,,which was to ensure your body got proper medical care to save your own life,,mary

PFC4EVER
PFC4EVER

The Phoenix,AZ. hospital had me wait 9 months before a surgery for lung cancer. They ended up removing 40% of my lung.I had good Doctors and all is well, except I have a hard breathing right. Perhaps it could have been no removal using a different procedure with more haste. they blamed smoking which I hadn’t did for 25 years prior, Agent Orange was never mentioned and I slept in places a few days after thy sprayed. And they asked me to re-up for more of the same . I laughed at the re-up Sqt’.

Georgie
Georgie
There’s no improvement at the Phoenix VA. If anything, I think it’s gotten worse. I’ve called the VA at least 4 times in the last 6 weeks to schedule the appointments my physical therapist told me to schedule. I never received a returned call from who is usually an older lady up front. I finally got in touch with someone today at the specialty clinic and they said that my consult has since been cancelled and I have to go back to my Primary Care Physician, who has been replaced by another doctor. This statement translates to, “you must start… Read more »
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