NASCAR Hall Of Shame

VA recently joined forces with a young firm to help diagnose and treat veterans using artificial intelligence (AI) that is run by a “Hall Of Shame” former NASCAR owner.

Flow Health, an artificial intelligence company, just signed a five-year deal with VA to analyze its 30 petabytes of longitudinal clinical data to improve personal care plans.

CEO Alex Meshkin said, “Our mission is to advance healthcare by applying the latest artificial intelligence techniques to improve the detection, diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases.”

Before founding Flow Health, and numerous other companies before it with unverifiable histories, Meshkin ran the Toyota NASCAR team.

That team had great success at first, but numerous lawsuits revealed questionable management practices leading to fraud allegations against the then young owner of the team.

I will get more into this below.

Now, based on VA’s deal, Meshkin’s company will strip out personal information and then aggregate the data into the cloud for analysis. That analysis will be used to diagnose and recommend treatments for veterans care plans, a process previously administered by doctors.

Like nurses and pharmacists, these new AI systems will also serve to erode the role of doctors in everyday healthcare for sick veterans.

RELATED: Doctor AI will see you now: US military vets will be diagnosed by deep-learning bots

The effort is the next step into genome studies at VA but separate from the Million Veteran Project. Earlier this year, VA announced a separate deal to partner with IBM Watson to analyze data for cancer research using AI.

RELATED: VA Taps IBM Watson To Give AI Fix For Its Healthcare Records

But all may not be as it seems for this company.

A quick dig into the background of Flow Health revealed some possible skeletons in the closet of its founder, Alex Meshkin, that VA should assess.

Meshkin went from being a supposed whiz kid day trader to an infamous Toyota NASCAR team lead to now running a genomics company that will handle your data.

According to Bloomberg, at least in 2005, Meshkin was best suited at promoting himself while refusing to provide any clear references to support his accolades. Now, even his company Flow Health contains little information on him.

Yet, VA plans to trust your electronic health records with this daytrader, whiz kid, NASCAR failure turned AI designer? What is going on here?

@realDonaldTrump - Why is 'Hall Of Shame' former NASCAR owner accessing my VA health records? #cv4a Click to Tweet

Quotes From Flow Health On Deal

Our first stop into this query should be to see what Flow Health says about itself and the deal they struck with VA. Flow Health’s Chief Medical Officer provided some feedback.

“Developing artificial intelligence which can automatically identify the best diagnostic and treatment pathways will assist clinicians in delivering precision medicine to every veteran,” said Robert Rowley, MD in a statement. Dr. Rowly, Chief Medical Officer at Flow Health, continued, “To build artificial intelligence you need huge amounts of data to feed deep learning models. This is why this partnership between the VA and Flow Health is a watershed moment for deep learning in healthcare.”

According to an excerpt of an interview by GCN of CEO Alex Meshkin:

“Imagine having artificial intelligence that is clinically validated that can help individualize medical decision-making,” Flow Health CEO Alex Meshkin said. The technology can facilitate more personalized care planning by using all of the data resources that the VA has, he said. It can look at past events, “learning from that continuously to help make doctors better doctors.”

“What’s really unique about the VA dataset versus a lot of other private-sector health systems is that they’ve seen these veterans before being diagnosed with, say, lung cancer, so we’re able to find those patterns and early symptoms,” he said. “I think that’s going to be one of the really powerful aspects of our data analytics work here.”

The graph will make possible what humans can’t, he added. “It’s something that would be impossible to expect a doctor to digest all the history of every patient who’s ever been seen,” Meshkin said. “It’s basically the understanding of the aggregate relationships.”

Once the graph is made, it will be available to VA workers via an application programming interfaces integrated into their workflow. “The idea is that tight integration back to the [electronic medical records] so they don’t have to start using another interface, which is always very challenging,” Meshkin said.

This is what we know presently about the deal according to what Flow Health says.

Flow Health Website

My usual second step in investigating any company is to review its about page.

The Flow Health website is full of blog posts but light on detailed content about the company with no “about” page – – at least not one that is labeled as such as of the day of this publication.

That seems strange, especially for a company selected to review medical records of all veterans. You would think the outward profile would be well polished.

I did a little more digging into the company but could find very little about it or its corporate structure other than Meshkin and Dr. Rowley run it. Flow Health used to be called GroupMD but changed the name around 2014 to Flow Health.

Alex Meshkin Background

GroupMD was apparently a company founded by Meshkin, like Flow Health.

At first glance, Alex Meshkin appears to be somewhat of a cyber ghost other than a blip where he ran a NASCAR team called Bang Racing. The team did well at first but eventually folded. That is what I found at first.

Little shows up about him on his LinkedIn account regarding his education or pre-2000 background. No college is listed and no hometown can be found. His LinkedIn profile seems incomplete. This is strange for a CEO of a tech company using AI to evaluate medical records.

Meshkin’s Bloomberg executive bio leads to a 500 error page. Again, that is strange but not necessarily something a non-Bloomberg employee could affect.

Dr. Robert Rowley

Dr. Robert Rowley has a long history working in the same arena, formerly with Practice Fusion before taking up with GroupMD, now called Flow Health.

Dr. Rowley used to have a firm website that is now also unavailable. Notice the trend here?

Is There A Story Here?

It is possible there is something behind the scenes with Flow Health. After some digging, I came across another source from Bloomberg.

It was an article covering Meshkin’s unusual rise and fall in NASCAR that also exposed some questionable claims the entrepreneur made at the time that hopefully VA vetted prior to signing the contract.

The 2005 Bloomberg Businessweek article, titled “A Wild Ride At NASCAR: How a whiz kid talked his way into owning a race team – – and then hit a wall.” starts out:

Alex Meshkin’s story was so good it almost glowed. A precocious kid races through high school, graduating in three years. With his parents’ blessing, he passes up college to become a day trader, quickly converting a tuition fund into a fortune. More money is made with a dot-com started up and sold in the boom years. Then on to NASCAR, where at 23, the boy wonder becomes the youngest team owner in major-league sports.

Meshkin has been telling versions of his Horatio Alger tale for years, and the media have been all ears. Profiles have appeared everywhere from Wired to The Washington Post. Last June the Fox Sports (FOX ) show Totally NASCAR called Meshkin the sport’s “whiz kid.”

It all sounds so sensational, so motivational. And it would be — if only the Meshkin story hung together.

But Meshkin, now 24, didn’t graduate from a Maryland high school in three years, his day trading profits can’t be confirmed, and he won’t reveal the name of the outfit that he says “merged” with a Web site he co-founded in a deal worth $24 million.

Now, Meshkin’s racing business has a big hole in it, too. Besieged by angry investors and stung by sponsor defections, Meshkin’s once-promising Bang! Racing is reeling. On Jan. 21 the team shuttered its 35,000-square-foot shop in Mooresville, N.C. In the garages in and around Charlotte, a hub of NASCAR racing, speculation is thick that the upstart team may not race in 2005 — if ever.

Apparently, the Meshkin debacle at NASCAR is one that will never be forgotten. His story is now listed on the NASCAR Team Owner Hall of Shame. As recently as 2016, his successes after NASCAR were likened to those before it:

Meshkin wound up shutting down the team before the start of the 2005 season, and has since been involved in a number of business ventures.  Much like his earlier “successes” very few of these activities have much proof of success or profitability.

The article is worth a read, and I sure hope VA did a little digging before inking a deal to allow Meskin to dig through our medical date using AI to ensure these allegations proved false.

Let’s be honest here, the 2005 article made Meshkin out to be more of a conman than a businessman who can be trusted with our most private information. He was allegedly sued for misleading investors about his background and his ability to run a NASCAR team.

After his NASCAR failure, Meshkin went on to set up a company called Bopaboo that landing him in hot water with the recording industry for reselling MP3s. There, Meshkin’s business model was to profit off the resale of digital music asserting the practice was allowed under existing laws just like selling used CD’s.

Copyright Alliance executive director Patrick Ross called that business model both “flawed” and “illegal”, saying “I hope (Bopaboo) crashes and burns before it gets sued. It seems like a flawed business model as well as an illegal business model.”

Bopaboo did crash and burn, and it had nothing to do with the horrible name of the company. Instead, Meshkin found out later that he had to pay record labels for their permission to resell the MP3s. Ultimately, the business model was flawed.

Will Meshkin Sell Our Scrubbed Data?

Two things seem clear. Meshkin has created a number of opportunities for himself to make money using other people’s resources, remarketing those resources, while ultimately failing to create a sustainable success that is documented in plain sight.

For the music industry situation, Meshkin could not bypass copyright infringement without facing lawsuits. That was his hurdle. For NASCAR, he could convince investors to invest and believe in him despite having zero experience. That lasted about a year before it imploded resulting in lawsuits. In his previous endeavors, little if any of the claims can be documented.

Despite this apparent shortcoming, VA is willing to overlook this unusual background to grant Meshkin a shot at redemption. His new plan looks to be quite profitable so long as Flow Health is granted some form of ownership or copyright in the new data it creates from our data.

And best of all, VA will likely not seek payment or require remittance to the veterans’ data Meshkin plans to use. What a sweet deal. It’s almost as clever as selling free water back to the people who own the natural resource to begin with at a premium for the bottle.

We have two options here. Send President-elect Trump a tweet to at least look into this business deal to ensure Meshkin and Flow Health is on the level or do nothing. If VA did a due diligence review, it should probably be evaluated for completeness. If it’s complete and correct, then I wish Flow Health the best.

If not, I hope the contract gets canceled.

What Did You Find?

Something about this deal seems suspicious. If you guys find anything, please post it below for those within VA who diligently read this blog for actionable intelligence.

Does Meshkin really have the infrastructure in place to pull off such an important topic, or are his promises to use veteran health records for the greater good more hot air?

Is his a genius finally hitting his stride or is his planning to resale your medical history just like an MP3?

Sources:

http://hitconsultant.net/2016/11/30/va-flow-health-partnership/

https://gcn.com/articles/2016/12/19/va-big-health-data.aspx

UPDATE:

One of my regular readers, Seymore Clearly, came across this “protective order” filed by the Meshkin family in the case involving the NASCAR incident. It lists the company names and identifies some of the relevant issues. The judge denied the protective order.

We also found this unusual exchange between Alex Meshkin and a Czech Republic business owner Jan Castek where Castek is inquiring about some kind of invoice. Based on the question and its placement, likely done to embarrass Meshkin, I assume it’s another unpaid invoice issue.

The comment was under an article published by Meshkin on time series data that appeared on LinkedIn.

161220-alex-meshkin-business-dealings-unpaid-invoices

67 COMMENTS

  1. Does anyone know if the VA is authorized to use your veteran information, despite not being enrolled in VA care and my numerous notifications to VA that they are not authorize to use any of my data to any 3rd party entity.

    Any information is helpful. If there is no relationship, they should not be able to use your data to create these bogus schemes and maintain your information in a database without your consent.

    • Yep, Benjamin and all, I am for sure digging into this one. Sounds so much like someone investing billions of dollars or even thousands of dollars into Mutual Funds and losing his ass. Then, of course, committing suicide at time of loss. Selling our medical data will be a suicide of the veterans. This decision by the VA sounds insane but I will further determine my take on it after I dig into it.

      • I forgot to mention about the neural engineering with using in vitro implants to establish and monitor the flow patterns of the brain neurons and neural networks of the human brain. This relates to the clinical determination using artificial intelligence to treat and diagnosis and medical conditions. One thing though all conditions are unique to an individual not as a whole. This might could be used a a basline. We already have baseline databases though to triage veterans but still does not establish severity of conditions because there are so many symptoms related to a condition. Yes, the genome process would fine tune conditions with the DNA and we already are doing this now though. I will further comment later.

      • @BenjaminKrause Is this a ploy to further sabatoge the Veterans Administration? Sabatoge the veterans with using and selling of medical data?
        Any decision made is never to benefit a human life these days. It is made only to continue to line the pockets and finish trying to overturn the country to become under the control of George Soros. This is another way to destabilize the TRUMP administration????? Lots of questions.

      • “To build artificial intelligence you need huge amounts of data to feed into the learning models”. Here we go again using the veterans data instead of helping the veterans right now. Many veterans need help right now not when they get further artificial intelligence developed to use for future clinical treatments and diagnoses. If they even ever do.?

      • The VA absolutely will share your data.
        I have a FOIA response showing the company name of the contractor the VA shared my information with, and I never authorized it.
        The VA claimed I signed a form authorizing it when I sought care from them, and when I requested that form through FOIA, they said they couldn’t find it.

      • That is probably like becoming an unwitting research subject. Someone needed numbers so they put you in asserting you signed in. A form was probably forged to go with the records but the forgery is not included in your record. It will only exist in the company’s record if at all in the case of records transferred electronically.

      • Not wholly true. Your data will be share in research. But your specific identity is removed and you become Patient x000….. which only identifies your condition not your identity. In some cases a patients concurrent conditions could be used to investigate his identity but because there are so many xx year olds with your identity and concurrent conditions in a given study in a given year one has to know the year the report was generated to even come close to you identity. Sharing data for research is how we progress and find cures or mediations of conditions.

  2. I would like to know “WHO” authorized this (possible illegal) ‘contract’ and what the total amount of taxpayers monies, over the next five year course, will be spent!
    ___________________

    Also, how about “…making doctors better doctors…” by having them attend credible medical universities! Instead of hiring (alleged) doctors from third world countries. As Seymore Klearly let us know about recently!
    ___________________

    To Seymore,

    I read the article late last night over;

    “Gingrich urges ‘straight-out war’ on federal bureaucracy”

    by Joe Davidson of the “Washington Post” 12/19/2016

    First, it’s already known the “WaPo” is run by: ‘extreme-liberal-left-wing-radical-butthurt-democratic-crybabies’ who got their feelings hurt over PRESIDENT ELECT TRUMP’S WIN. And the win yesterday by the Electoral College!
    Upon reading the article, I noticed the head of the AFGE, David “Little” Cox and the DAV, (Disabled American Veterans) attacked Gingrich over minor details.
    First, for all the butthurt RADICAL snowflakes out there. If y’all aren’t aware of what the DAV is all about, go to the website; “DAVREFORM.org”!
    It’s literally an organization which has allowed a few asswipes to become very wealthy at the expense of the average veteran!
    As far as David “LITTLE” Cox is concerned, he’s nothing more than a punk-assed individual who has gotten away with helping VHA employees, from top to bottom, murder veterans. I hope P.E. Trump puts his ass to the fire!
    I also wonder if “Little” Cox will threaten P.E. Trump as he did McDipshit a few months back?!
    These are my opinions this morning!
    _______________

    Finally, last night President Elect Trump won the Electoral College by 304 votes to Clinton’s 237. Next stop is the White House on 20 Jan 2017!
    Hopefully, the demonstrators, sponsored by Soros, Clinton, Michael Moore and other butthurt crybabies won’t be a nuisance come inauguration day!
    From what I’ve been reading, and watching on Utube, the bikers (“Patriot Guard”, “Biker’s for Trump”, “Eagle Riders” and others) will be there to insure a peaceful transition!
    At least I hope it’s peaceful. Yet, we all know the “left” does anything peacefully! As has been shown throughout this election cycle!

    !!!!! There it is, in a nutshell !!!!!

    • From how Munchkin describes his new idea, we won’t need doctors. We just need data entry clerks and his whizbang machine will spit out the diagnosis like the little take-a-number machines at the pharmacy.

  3. The pressure to move fast because of the “VA Crisis” opens the door to fraudsters. I hope you emailed a copy of this article to several upper level managers at the VA Central Office.

  4. I was a control systems engineer and designed/programmed advance 2,3 and 4 axis motion control systems. My last system before retirement was coordinated motion control on 5 axis programmed on top of a Unix type deterministic real time operating system.

    Several hundred thousand lines of ANSI C code written in a deteministic real time system is like programming a human mind. It takes tangential thinking and the results can be fantastic when you get the knack of interacting with a deterministic system. It can twist up your thinking trying to get the hang of a real time operating system. It is like programming code that never stops running. No start. No stop. No function main();

    Those are credentials for my opinion of the sentence “…latest artificial intelligence techniques….”; In laymens terms it = “..if you cannot baffle them with your brilliance, then dazzle them with your bullshit.”

    ANYTHING that spits out of ANY computer made by humans is simply called a PROGRAM. There is no “Johnny 5” robot out right now in Oregon helping hippies live the tye-dye life and craving more input. Data in. Data Processed. Data Stored. Data Out. = “…latest artificial intelligence techniques.” or I call it a “program”.

    Those words are called in the industry “clear blue sky”, because it has as much value. It sounds good. It has no meaning, except the government is buying yet another program of a type known as an “Operating System”, which (because it is the latest) wil not interface with any other system on Earth. Then we will need IT to hire GE to employ RAND to study the failure using “transposed matrix data” (remember they said Hillary would win using that method?), and when the final number of $$$ is exposed in ten years, OIG will release a report that better communication training is needed.

    OIG will then recommend a task force to clean up the petrabytes of data that got dumped publicly onto the internet, bypassing all patient privacy, including all personal data of every veteran which was used by crooks to drain bank accounts.

    OIG will label this “bad veteran outcomes” and update the ICARE initiative.
    VA will concur.

    • Goes something like this:

      Welcome To Veterans Artificial Intelligence Kiosk
      We Are Your Friend
      (Smiley Face Screen)

      “Please swipe your Veteran ID card”
      Waiting
      “Please enter your birth date”
      Waiting
      “Do you have private or other insurance”
      Waiting
      “Do you still have ZXX insurance?”
      Waiting
      “Are you Veteran Sam Doe?”
      Waiting
      “Please wait while I retrieve your records”
      Waiting
      Waiting
      Waiting
      “Are you here for your appointment with Nurse Practitioner Abillabulah?”
      Waiting
      “Please verify you have been taking the following medications”
      Waiting
      “Please select reason for medication change for XYZ”
      Waiting
      Please select reason for medication change for XXY”
      Waiting
      “Please select option which best describes your problem”
      (Veteran enters back pain)
      Waiting
      Waiting
      “How long have you had this problem?”
      Waiting
      “Please select symptoms from drop down menu”
      Waiting
      “Please type in any additional symptoms”
      Waiting
      “Please enter pain from “1 to 10”
      Waiting
      “Do you feel safe at home?”
      Waiting
      “Have you ever been a victim of abuse?”
      Waiting
      “Would you like to speak with a mental health specialist via phone #3?”
      Waiting
      “Do you have Advanced Directives?”
      Waiting
      “Are you able to prepare your own meals?”
      Waiting
      “Do you need assistance getting dressed?”
      Waiting
      “Please step on the scale to your right”
      Waiting
      “Please enter reason for 3 pound weight gain”
      Waiting
      “Would you like to speak with a dietitian via phone #2?”
      Waiting
      “Are you interested in being scheduled for an exercise program?”
      Waiting
      “Please insert your arm in the blood pressure cuff”
      Waiting
      “Error, please try again”
      Waiting
      “Error, please try again”
      Waiting
      “Please wait for an assistant to help with your blood pressure reading”
      Waiting
      Waiting
      Waiting
      Waiting
      Waiting
      “Please press your forehead against the temperature reader”
      Waiting
      “Have you fasted for your labs today?”
      Waiting
      “Please enter the amount of hours you have fasted”
      Waiting
      Waiting
      Waiting
      Waiting
      “There were errors with your responses, we do not understand your response (Back Pain) system timed out, please try again.”

      • Except the VA would have only paid the IT Contractor in Pakistan that specifically codes the language/voice recognition to only do the default dialect of many from Pakistan in machine, forcing the VA to require all Vets to learn an Arabic language or snooze you lose policy. Not even the crows want to speak Arabic.

        I think vending machine therapy would be just as effective. Fortune Cookies are much more like good chicken soup for the soul. The VA’s medicine more like eye of newt.

      • @Just Another Veteran- Will the VA pay us $1 per answer so that we can get medications from a reliable source? Tire of taking dam generics with substandard efficacy ratings.

    • How many lifes will be wasted testing the code? I am a 30 year system programmer and the code is only as good as the people who program it. Dont believe me, how is vets choice working gor us.

      • Bill see your point. All this crap is bullshit and flapdoodle. The VA needs to get to the basics and get to the bedside manner instead of looking for a technological fix. The VA just does not want do their jobs. Some are even incapable. The VA wants all this technology so the technology can do it for them. Never seen the likes of it. Squander those taxpayer dollars. Hey, are we called the Venezuela Veterans Administration yet? If we were the new Venezuela, the VA would seist to exist and there would be no technology. We would have our dumpsters to live in and banana peelings though. No joke.

  5. “Hall Of Lame and Shame”—–Another pilfering of the Veteran Cookie Jar because if they do not spend it the next year’s budget would be possibly lessoned, so MUST spend cookie jar $$$….never mind getting *real* Dr.’s or helping Homeless Veterans, et al.

    HALL OF LAME. War Profiteers come in all sorts of flavors when we have wars lasting 15+ years and this guy seems as shady as that dweeb that bought the Pharmacy Co. and jacked the price of a few $$ generic med to $750. a tablet immediately. Some are death and illness profiteers and with the VA you get that and war profiteering…greedy sticky fingers just LOVE this shit.

    I also here that Bernie Madoff is available in prison for financial consulting…for a fee of course.

  6. Shit coming from VA’s mouth so much so that it is now flowing out of they Ass, shit is shit no matter what hole it comes out of. And we know they talk a lot of that. Artificial intelligence is what they are using already its called employees.

    They seem not to have any.

  7. Do y’all want to know how insanely sick the MSM News is-
    Check this out from “The Horn News” today.
    “CNN blames conservatives for the terrorist attack in Berlin”

    Today it’s reported 12 people are dead, and over 50 injured by a “RADICAL Islamist Terrorist!”
    By claiming Conservatives, and therefore Christians, for the attack, it’s a con game of ridiculous proportions.

    Also from the “Horn News” today. Some of the Russian Representatives are blaming the Obama administration for the assassination of the Russian Ambassador in Turkey.
    With new evidence coming to light, it’s not too far-fetched.
    As Seymore reported yesterday, the organization the assassin belongs to is directly connected to the Clinton Foundation.
    Remember when the Clintons sent $1.8 BILLION to that bank in Qatar? I wonder if she, and some of her inner circle, knows her time being free is coming to a end?!?!?

    • Keep an eye on it, Elf, as what seems to happen often around such people is many of the key ‘would-be’ witnesses or low-hanging loose-strings in Clinton periphery, will start dying mysterious but plausible natural causes…nature given a push….wait for it.

      • @namnibor,
        I’m waiting and keeping my eyes and ears open.
        This mystery isn’t hard to figure out, though.
        The Clintons and Obama’s administration are really stepping up their game plans! I really do believe they want to start WWIII.
        ONLY, the finish isn’t going to be to their liking!

    • Haven’t started checking out any of this yet?
      I just do not get it. Benjamin, what in the hell is the VA doing? Benjamin, Why? Don’t they even have an IQ of 70? And this is low? But, I believe whomever made this decision has a IQ of about zilch!

    • Where is flow incorporated? When was it incorporated. Who are the officers? What does the corporations D&B look like?

      Something smells big time.

  8. As a veteran seeing a VA doctor, do I have to participate ? I checked the site out also Ben, and it is not real. As always, the information in the computer, can’t be any better than the information you feed the computer. That should kill this project. Seymour, the “Newt” article was good. Ben, who recommended this? Is this a payback for something? Were there bids? This is wrong. Personally, I don’t want to be cared for that way.

    • It is a strait up scam. Will post more on it latter.

      Everything that Alexander Meshkin is claimed to accomplish have all been scams that ended badly.

      The Doctor involved Dr. Robert Rowley should have his license revoked.

      They have been working this scam for about a year now putting out bogus information about themselves to make it seem like they could handle the contract. They can’t.

      One thing is certain if they get their hands on our records they will be sold complete with contact information.

  9. On reading about “Flow Health” I don’t understand what it’s about. Quote, ” The Flow Health system is capable of sifting through massive amounts of data, and can answer patient-level or population based questions to personalize how care is delivered and reimbursed, and transform how treatments are discovered.” Do we need this? Without Dr.’s, this is not a good thing.

    • Jo3n,

      It is all BS hype he stole from an article that was published three years ago about Watson.

      A great article worth reading about Alex Meshkin and his con to get into Racing. Total con job just like what he is pulling with the VA.

      “A Wild Ride At NASCAR”; “How a whiz kid talked his way into owning a race team — and then hit a wall”,
      ‎Bloomberg Business Week, February‎ ‎06‎, ‎2005‎

      “https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2005-02-06/a-wild-ride-at-nascar”

      Small part of the article on this con. “It all sounds so sensational, so motivational. And it would be — if only the Meshkin story hung together.”

      “But Meshkin, now 24, didn’t graduate from a Maryland high school in three years, his day trading profits can’t be confirmed, and he won’t reveal the name of the outfit that he says “merged” with a Web site he co-founded in a deal worth $24 million.”

      The $24 million was total bullshit. The company never opened up and was never sold it just die.

  10. Interesting.
    So Meshkin claims humans just cannot digest a patients history to properly diagnose a medical condition. Its interesting because he glosses over the fact that it is humans collecting that data, and we all know how well the VA does that.
    Two things result from this, bad data being put in to his AI model so the common cold is diagnosed as a broken leg, or the input interface will be one size fits all that a VA provider cannot deviate from, so they will click the box indicating flu, and miss the veteran report of chest pains. They can claim precision health care all they want, but it will only be as precise as the data fed into it.
    As for the VA providing this data, it appears from your post Ben that the VA is relying on this munchkin to strip identifying information from the data. Uh, yeah, that doesn’t seem scary. Who is liable for breaches? Why not strip that before it’s ever given to him? Then the liability stays where it belongs, with the VA who collected it.
    As for the VA collecting and giving this data to a private entity who has a rosy vision for a business venture, does anyone else see the irony?
    The VA will give my data away freely, yet they refused to publicly release data showing the quality of their hospitals? WTF?
    Meshkin? From what I see on the net, it seems he is a front for someone else. All the right recently created social media accounts showing nothing, but mentions here and there in web sites whose domains appear to be primarily set up by marketing companies. Its as if they are creating their own internet chatter to convince someone they are buzzworthy.
    Of course, they have a ready made application for health care professionals in both an Apple and Android version…likely coming to a VA hospital near you soon. The veteran can download it for free, after the VA pays a small, yearly license fee. The Apple app shows 13 downloads since Dec 2015, and the droid app indicates none.
    Finally, I would like to hear more about this contract. It appears as if there is some large entity behind this with this conman as the front.
    You mention copyright Ben. Is there anything in this contract to prevent Munchkin from manipulating this data claiming the process is proprietary, copyrighting the output and licensing it to the highest bidder? Bidders like say, Shinazi?

    Gee, for $100k per year licensing fee, you too can access my crunched database containing detailed medical information on 22 million subjects. Just sign here.

    • Look at the upside. No more attitudes. The kiosk will always call you friend and it comes preprogrammed with smiley faces to put the veteran in a pleasant mood.

      • The VA would also have it fitted with several aerosol jet gun nozzles so when the machine determines you are anxious or depressed it sprays something to give every Veteran a permanent Joker Smile until next time, but the facial recognition software would have to be further updated after each visit due to the newly acquired Joker’s Grin. 🙂
        Think the last 10 minutes of the movie, “A Clockwork Orange”, that’s how the VA would use such ‘tools’.

  11. One thing I forgot to question is, how is it this guy can do this without any history of having the infrastructure to pull it off?
    So he goes from whiz kid to day trader to NASCAR to this, but where in his history does he show access to the massive data farms needed to store this information, or the supercomputers needed to crunch the data?
    I could see IBM Watson, but this contract is like awarding a space shuttle design contract to the local 14 year old because he just got a new, external floppy drive for his Commodore 64.

    • Let’s not forget its app is on our phone and has access to all our locations, activities, pictures, texts and phone log

    • There’s no business like government contract business. The recent contract given to corporate companies to work on the claims backlog was in the billions with the parent company #6 on the Forbes list.

  12. @91Veteran- I don’t want to keep your information, I’m a reseller. Oh my, the data base now goes into the hands of a third party. Geeish, frigging nincompoops!

  13. @Seymore,
    There’s just sooooo much wrong here!
    I’m with all of you,
    “WHO” is behind this?
    “WHO” authorized it?
    “How” much is it costing the taxpayers?
    “WHEN” will it be implemented throughout the U.S. VHA’s?
    “WHAT” will be the total cost? We all know with government contracts, the costs always spiral out of control!

  14. Was the VA looking for this type of bullshit? Or, does Meshkin have someone on the inside? The only thing I’ve read that would answer this, is the Vet who wrote that the VA has to spend THEIR MONEY.

  15. To All My Fellow Veterans- Even if the New VA Secretary wants to change and revamp the system, does any one have an opinion pertaining to the amount of time that it would take to better serve us [Veterans]?

    I know that there are many variables to answer this question. Give it a shot anyway. I have my own projection [10-20 yrs.]. Does this sound reasonable given all the problems that the VA has?

    • If the correct authoritarian LEADER was put in-place that could instill the fear of God Almighty in these bastards in the entire system and start firing…and enable the situation to further reward whistleblowers, to encourage the great VA employees to stay-on while helping drain the swamp…this could happen well within a year’s time, if not swifter.
      No fear of retaliations, no fear of fraud. Neuter the AFGE from the VA and like a self-cleaning oven…OH…very important to have both a President and DOJ that will actually prosecute. As it is now and has been, no fear of punishment, no fear of wrongdoing.
      Human nature needs bitten in the butt at the VA. They have lost their mission statement and it’s self-serving meat train for them. (we are the meat)

    • If given the full backing of Trump and a competent SecVA, 6 months.
      The first couple weeks would be surrounding themselves with competent help, and firing a few SESers within the first week, just to get everybody’s attention.
      Form 3 person teams to evaluate each VISN reporting back to the SecVA within a month.
      Fire more dead wood.
      Use existing laws to fire any union hack breaking the law in any manner. Force them to hire attorneys to get their jobs back, same as a veteran has to hire an attorney to finally get benefits promised them years before, but never provided.
      Form a separate team to audit everything from CBOCs on up to the SecVAs office. Any misuse or theft of funds results in an immediate referral to the DOJ for prosecution.
      Halt all bonuses. Examine employee performance evaluations and reform them so they are honest and factual.
      Fire anyone previously involved in any retaliation whatsoever.
      Anyone with any criminal conviction for any reason will be re-evaluated, put back on probationary status if the conviction was within the previous 10 years.
      Review every contract let in the past 10 years to determine if they are performing according to the contract. Suspend any that are not. Halt any that is clear waste. Refer any that show outright theft to the DOJ for prosecution.
      Reevaluate any payments for any kind of malpractice made in the previous 10 years.
      Reevaluate credentials of every provider with the VA. Give anyone not meeting requirements 6 months to meet them. Fire anybody who falsified any credential.

      Do a few of these and the message will be clear to everyone within a month, and it will make a night and day difference.

      • Don’t forget we’re talking about making changes in a bureaucracy. What were the timelines of other issues that were reformed in our Country?

      • The timeline of any issue “reformed” in our country depends on the priority set by who sits on the White House.

        A good example of that is Obama’s priority of ignoring illegal aliens, resettling “refugees”, and his pardoning of drug offenders, which his count stands currently higher than the previous 15 Presidents combined.

        The VA can be reformed and it can be done quickly depending on the priority set by the next President.

  16. Although I do not see anything yet obvious, but I am betting with “Munchkin”, there’s a trail leading to nepotism with someone high-up (or not) within the VA system. His past alone should have barred him from any Federal Contracts. Hmmmm?!

    I also agree with 91Veteran in that they may be sewing and patching their own golden parachutes before the sustaining swamp water is drained from under these rats. They are basically doing from with the VA to the VA what Obama is doing to America in his last few weeks. (yet more prisoners set free by POTUS yesterday)

  17. Anyone else see this on the VA releasing data story? Before I place link I want to quote what VA Sec. McDonald said, “To be clear, no VA medical facility is bad or failing,” McDonald wrote in a letter to the editor of USA TODAY.”
    “VA reverses course, releases health care quality data”
    “http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/va-reverses-course-releases-health-care-quality-data/ar-BBxny4Q?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=AARDHP”
    “[WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs has quietly released quality-of-care ratings for its medical centers across the country, despite years of refusing to share them with the public.

    The move follows a USA TODAY investigation that revealed ratings for 146 VA medical centers for the first time earlier this month. VA Secretary Bob McDonald complained at the time that their publication across the USA TODAY Network caused “unwarranted distress” to veterans and could dissuade them from getting care.

    But last week, according to an internal memo obtained by USA TODAY, the agency posted updated ratings on its website and also included indicators of whether hospitals were improving or declining, allowing members of the public to see for the first time how their local VA medical centers have been faring over time.

    The VA rates centers on a scale of one to five stars, with five being the best and one being the worst, and bases the ratings on dozens of factors, including death and infection rates and wait times.

    The newly posted ratings show VA hospitals in Albuquerque, Detroit and Los Angeles received one star as of June 30, 2016, down from two stars on Dec. 31, 2015
    At the same time, the VA medical center in Fayetteville, Ark., jumped from three stars to five, and the VA in Orlando, Fla., went from two stars to four.

    “I am glad to see these ratings finally made public,” said Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., who has been pushing for the release of more detailed VA quality data for more than a year. “This not only helps veterans know basic information about their health care options, it allows stakeholders in the community and members of Congress to demand better of the VA when improvement is needed.”

    Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., who wrote to the VA demanding the release of five years’ worth of ratings following USA TODAY’s story, said “it shouldn’t take news reports and public pressure for the VA to make these ratings available to the public.”

    “These are important tools for veterans and the community to see quality of care at the hospitals they depend on, and I hope this transparency continues,” she said.

    Until USA TODAY’s story, Dingell did not know that the Detroit VA — which is named after her husband, former congressman John Dingell — was among the worst-rated in the country. She is now “working with leadership at the Detroit VA to ensure the issues that led to the facility’s poor star ratings are addressed and that our veterans are receiving the best possible care they deserve.”

    Read more:

    The VA did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Tuesday. VA officials have previously said the star ratings were an internal improvement tool and not intended for the public because they worried hospitals with one star would be unfairly tarnished.

    “To be clear, no VA medical facility is bad or failing,” McDonald wrote in a letter to the editor of USA TODAY.

    In addition to star comparisons with other VA medical centers, the newly posted data show whether centers have improved compared with their own performance a year earlier. Five hospitals had declined in the year ending June 30, 2016. They are facilities in El Paso and Hot Springs, Texas; Fargo, N.D; San Diego, Calif.; and Tomah, Wis.

    The VA says on the new ratings web page that overall, 120 of the 146 medical centers showed improvement since 2015.

    Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has been investigating the VA for nearly two years — ever since the revelation in January 2015 that a veteran had died after doctors at the Tomah VA prescribed him a fatal cocktail of narcotics.

    “Let’s face it, none of this, none of these abuses — the wait times, the opioids, these types of things — none of this would be known were it not for a free press, people like yourself digging and publicizing it,” Johnson said. “The natural tendency of any government bureaucracy, probably I think any organization, any human being, quite honestly, is not to be forthcoming, not to be transparent. Nobody wants to air their dirty linen.”

    Johnson said he plans to continue in his committee to push for more transparency to identify problems and then hopefully solve them. “It’s a target-rich environment of things we have to deal with, the problems, it’s like a mosquito in a nudist colony.”

    Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said the VA’s release of quality data is a “positive development” crucial for improvement, but the agency should have released it long ago.

    “Imagine the hassle the department could have saved veterans, employees and taxpayers if it would have just done the right thing and made these ratings public from the start,” Miller said.]”

    • I found the ratings some time ago minus the * part. Raw data on a spread sheet. It was obvious some facilities fudged their reporting. so what is new?

    • Yes, this is exactly what I have been saying. If the VA would just cut through the bullshit and quit trying to finagle every damn thing, then, the VA just might see the light of day with ethicality. All this vindictiveness gets the veterans no where and the VA just remains as a cesspool in the gutter festering at it’s all time daily with a continuous infinity high. If the VA would do things right from the start, billions of taxpayer dollars would be saved and quality health care would exist.
      The communism attitude still exists within the VA from the Stallin years of the Soviet Union. I guess the answer is to kill many veterans as possible. If though they would calculate their numbers, they might find is really cheaper to promote life than always trying to sabatoge everything. However though, this may not even be the objective. The objective may be to sabatoge the country as a whole by continuing to drain the taxpayer dollars into the VA with the squandering of it here. The VA has no sense of accountability and frugality because they believe the VA will continue to get funded. no matter what. Afterall, it is not the VA’s money, so they do not care. The VA just throws it away with the sabatoging which involves doing tasks over and over to put on a front of trying to do it right to appease the veterans. In reality though, evaluating over and over does contribute to lack of productivity. The evaluating over and over does also just waste money. Doing it right the first time but lead to an overall effective and accountable environment may even save money. No joke. I do not believe these are their intentions, though, and has never been their intentions. The Stallin leadership style from the former Soviet Union leader still exists in the VA. For one to recognize this, one has to be exposed to the VA for awhile due to the forefront phonyism that the VA illuminates.

  18. What do they call “failing” how low can a facility go? There is no zero so they received a one out of 5??? And that is Not failing???? I guess no one can hold them to any kind of scale. So ridiculous!!! What is the point??
    This article shows the no accountability of who knows what again. Veteran/Patient identifiable information is to be confidential and against privacy laws. HIPA is to protect our records.

  19. “Something about this deal seems suspicious.”

    To the author, your sentence “Something about this deal seems suspicious” takes a moment to consider…

    1) It involves VA.
    2) It involves a race car driver.
    3) It involves something only the Great Wizard of Oz can grant (a new brain and it helps to be made of straw).

    Ben, are you just being paranoid? I look at those facts and will feed it into Siri on my iPad to see what she says. Is that racecar driver just giving them a Siri App? hmmmmm. I am gonna ask Siri; brb…

    Ok, Siri just returned the top internet hit. “Virginia is for lovers” website computes with her when I told her those things, so it must be reliable. She is a highly advanced and the latest form of artificial intelligence written by an ARMY of Apple programmers and nailed it first try! (I only have the Mini 4 and VA will likely have the iPad Pro. Is Siri different as a pro?)

    • Is Siri different as a pro?

      That depends on whether she has a pimp or is on her own.

      If Siri is a part of the VA stable, she definitely has a pimp.

  20. Just wandering how many of you have written Trump Yet, Go right to the top and now is the time. Please write him, he has to know from each and everyone of us, how the VA has harmed you, me and your love ones. We as veterans have a chance to let our New President that we matter and deserve way better than receiving denial letters one after the other.

    Lets help him drain the swamp, if you don’t at least try, then we have noting to complain about and will only have ourselves to blame, should have, could have. Enough is enough right !

    PLEASE TELL THEM YOUR STORIES ! HELP STOP VETERANS ABUSE !

    Thanks

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