Flow Health Inc Veterans Affairs Deal

A vetting failure by Dept of Veterans Affairs resulted in a cancellation of its agreement with Flow Health Inc to research veterans’ genomic data.

Last week, I published an article following an investigation into a small company called Flow Health Inc, a San Francisco company.

Numerous news outlets highlighted interviews with the company’s founder, Alex Meshkin. In the articles, Meshkin was boasting about a deal it inked with VA to build an artificial intelligence database to analyze genomic data of veterans.

RELATED: Innovation Under Trump And What It Means To Partner With VA

Later that day, VA canceled its agreement with Flow Health because it “may violate regulations, VA policy, and VA’s longstanding commitment to our Veterans to protect their data.”

The agency apparently failed to vet Flow Health before entering into the agreement.

RELATED: VA Hires AI Firm Run By ‘Hall Of Shame’ Former NASCAR Owner

Was VA asleep at the wheel? Did they fail to conduct the same Google searches I did when evaluating the company? How many other companies have slid in under the radar without being vetted like Flow Health did?

How Was The Deal Struck?

I have a pending FOIA on this but what I can tell you is Meshkin claims VA approached him to help the agency with its data in a recent interview with Health IT News. But why would VA approach a company it failed to fully vet?

According to the Q&A published:

Q: What does partnering with the VA mean to an emerging company like Flow Health?
A: 
The VA approached us and said ‘imagine what you can help us do with our data.’ It’s super exciting to be working with the largest integrated clinical data set in the United States: 22 million unique people, spanning 20 years so it’s a rich longitudinal data. With that we want to understand people before the onset of disease, through treatment, and hopefully when they’re cured. You can’t personalize individual treatments until you get a more granular definition of the disease you’re treating – better understanding the similar characteristic of one patient against a population.

Q: Are there specific diseases you will be focusing on in the work with the VA?
A: 
The long-term goal is to advance artificial intelligence — use knowledge as a basis for more advanced AI research like artificial-general-intelligence such as human reasoning — but along the way I think there’s the opportunity to save a lot of lives at the VA.

From the quotes, it looks like the long-term plan was to use some kind of artificial intelligence system to help diagnose patients including doctors by sifting through the genomic data.

In essence, the goal is to further reduce VA health care’s reliance on doctors using AI to augment the care needs of veterans.

Flow Health Inc Deal Cancelation

The company’s founder, Alex Meshkin, had an unusual background that raised the hackles on my neck to say the least.

Publicly, Meshkin was a known serial entrepreneur whose history online reveals he also has a long history of serial entrepreneurial failures he would later spin in the press as successes.

One Bloomberg article from 2005 really summed it up, “A Wild Ride At NASCAR: How a whiz kid talked his way into owning a race team – – and then hit a wall.”

From there, I learned about Meshkin’s series of failures or missteps where he repeatedly failed to anticipate market realities while spending investors’ money. The company list included:

  • SurfBuzz.com – a now defunct website idea focused on paying website surfers fake money they can use to bid on real products like Porsches. The company reportedly closed after Meshkin and his brother ran out of the $3.5 million in seed money. That experience earned SurfBuzz.com a place in a “dot coms to dot bombs” list published in 2000. “The online auction site informed its customers that it ‘will no longer be operational nor continue to exist’, after burning through its cash.”
  • Bang Racing – a now defunct Toyota NASCAR truck racing team where the self-proclaimed “whiz kid” raised $15 million to run a race team that later flopped after Meshkin reportedly stopped paying his employees and vendors. His performance as owner earned him a spot on the “Hall Of Shame” list of NASCAR owners.
  • Nutzz.com – a now defunct website development company that was paid over $1 million to build a NASCAR membership website. Investors recalled their contribution after becoming concerned Meshkin would not deliver. The matter was resolved in arbitration.
  • Bopaboo – a now defunct software company focused on selling used MP3’s. The recording industry did not respond well and forced the company to change its business model. Meshkin later acknowledged the flaw in the firm’s economic model.
  • GroupMD – a company dubbed the Facebook of health care communications. It focused on turning your health care communications and related records between you and a doctor into a supposed secure version of Facebook.
  • Flow Health Inc – basically GroupMD with a new name. On LinkedIn, Meshkin described the company as, “Flow Health is building the world’s largest knowledge graph of medicine and genomics from over 30 petabytes of longitudinal clinical data drawn from 22 million people.”

That LinkedIn summary described the genomic information Meshkin planned to glean from electronic health records including the Million Veteran Program. Can you imagine the value of any company in possession of VA’s genomic data? It would simply soar.

Luckily, someone at the Department of Veterans Affairs read my article and immediately canceled the agreement before any private health data was shared. His various AngelList investors and partners can be found here related to his present companies: https://angel.co/alexmeshkin

Value Of Independent News Media

This is proof that independent news media like DisabledVeterans.org is a valuable part of the conversation and can effect change without a multi-million dollar budget like other publications considered the mainstream media.

Here, companies like mine are self-funded by selling products our readers buy such as the VocRehab Survival Guide. That money directly funds this operation, and it contributed to keeping companies like Flow Health from getting their hands on our health data.

VA Statement On Flow Health Inc

Issued December 29, 2016

VA STATEMENT

On December 20, the Department of Veterans Affairs terminated a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Flow Health Inc., a San Francisco-based company. We took this action after it was determined that the agreement, which involves genomic data from the Million Veteran Program (MVP), may violate regulations, VA policy, and VA’s longstanding commitment to our Veterans to protect their data.

It is important to note that no Veteran data were shared nor compromised.

Entering into such an agreement with any company requires additional research, consultation with medical and privacy experts and appropriate, senior-level signoffs to make sure the use of the data comports with the letter and spirit of applicable regulations and policies while also protecting Veterans’ sensitive data. That was not fully done in this instance.

Launched in 2011, MVP – with more than 500,000 volunteer participants – is the largest genomic database of its kind in the world. Participants donate blood from which DNA is extracted. MVP will accelerate our understanding of disease detection, progression, prevention and treatment by combining this genomic data with rich clinical and environmental data. MVP will allow the nation’s top researchers to perform the most cutting-edge science to treat some of the nation’s most troubling diseases – not just among Veterans, but those that impact individuals worldwide. 

Randy Noller
Dept. of Veterans Affairs
Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs
810 Vermont Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20420
[email protected]

Now What?

What is our takeaway as stakeholders in VA health care and benefits systems? How many other companies were approached by VA to “help” without the burden of comprehensive vetting?

Given VA’s admission that the deal may have violated numerous laws and policies, what would have happened if I did not notice the few press pieces on the agreement?

The process of learning about Meshkin and his companies took me a few hours of searching on Google. I did not earn a dime to write that story. Meanwhile, someone inside VA was paid a great deal to vet Flow Health before agreeing to share our electronic health records with that company. That process did not happen in a satisfactory manner.

We may have dodged a bullet here, but some readers may want to consider filing a complaint with VA OIG to ensure our genomic data is protected, not only from Flow Health, but from other similarly situated companies with similar agreements.

@VetAffairsOIG Why did VA enter agreement that violated laws on genomics with Flow Health Inc? Click to Tweet

UPDATE: 1/26/17, 4:20 PM. I was contacted by Brian Meshkin today about his brother’s company and past business practices. See that story here.

92 COMMENTS

  1. Maybe Mike Missal can send Lin Halliday over there for lunch. That would be a sight! (Hungry Hungry Hippo theme song playing in the background and shit)

  2. Just want to thank you for stopping this potential catastrophic event. You did the research when people in those positions in the va should have done the work. It is kinda a scary thought on these deals and what is going on behind these agreements.

    • Speaking of work, if you take this at face value, that it was a reviewed VA project, imagine the amount of effort that went into this scheme to the point Meshkin is touting it all over the press.

      That should have been hours of review by VA flunkies before Meshkin ever said a word to the press.

      …and NOT ONE of those VA flunkies recognized the regulations, policies and privacy problems.

      Whoever has the authority to sign off on spending that kind of money needs to have that authority revoked immediately. They are too friggin incompetent to be trusted with anything more than their own lunch money.

  3. Mahalo Nu Loa (Formal Hawaiian Thank You) Ben. Ex va is correct. Someone in the VA should have done that work. I will file a complaint with the OIG.

      • @Disgruntled Veteran – Bruddah, you wen forgot let me know ow can get n touch [its been awhile, tried my best at pigeon]? Been getting screwed over at VA.

      • Be here soon. Then all here can know 95% of my story if they so choose. Will share it out publicly. Just have a few pieces (personal identifiers) of info like SSN to redact. I truly enjoyed my service – – – all 17 plus years. I had the best job in the world. Right up until the last three months. Had things gone the way they should have for the last three months, I would not be the Disgruntled Veteran I am today.

        I call it a clusterfuck. Maybe legal, but not even close to being fair or right.

      • Here you go:

        “https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BwW3GYHN5AtcQ0dydlJoV052Unc”

        Presidential Letter

      • @Disgruntled Veteran
        I shouldn’t feel as stunned as I do after reading your letter. Ben Kraus exposes the underbelly of the VA system and I share the site with anyone who will listen. These are the things most Vets are unaware of and I encourage Vets to check out the site so they see the kind of corruption they are up against.

        I understand your despondency. I work with Vets and frequently refer them to a VSO for assistance with filing a case. Your letter made me realize there are times when no matter what action a VSO may take, it may not work at all since they do not have the power to fight the system that has made up its mind to be unjust, if for no other reason, because it can. When there is no accountability as in the VA (and the military), meaningful change for the Vet is impossible since it makes it easy to ignore the Vet. It would seem there is collusion among the principal parties involved at the highest level. Normally I would think your case would be a slam dunk rather than the tragedy it is.

        Do you have any sense of why they all closed ranks? Did something happen that makes sense? The whole thing defies logic.

        I am a 60% SR Vet, have been in the system since 1972 and I tell Vets to be their own champion and fight wisely for their entitlements but seeing how powerless we are has struck me like a blow to the solar plexus and slammed home the truth is that nothing is a slam dunk. We are still at their mercy.

        Our government has been diluted by the corruption of corporate America and, in fact, could be called the United States of Corporate America, “sending young men to die in wars we create to protect our interests.”

        I am so sorry to read your story and would like to know if you received any correspondence from the White House or if you’ve finally reached someone with the power and reasonability to assist you. Obama has sold out long ago and I don’t think his office will help. If this treatment you are receiving is a concerted effort systemically, you could be DIW as they say in the Navy. It would certainly seem so.

        You may want to send a letter to Trump. Although he flip flops on issues frequently (because he can) he has indicated he intends to “help” Vets. If you have a shot at catching someone’s eye, I would suggest you do not send a ten page letter.

        I wish you well

    • i discovered this yesterday 1/6/17. I hope it helps.
      Upgrading a Discharge due to Error or Injustice
      DoD ensure veterans are aware of the opportunity to have their discharges and military records reviewed for all veterans who believe they have experienced an error or injustice to request relief from their service’s Board for Correction of Military/Naval Records (BCM/NR) or Discharge Review Board (DRB).
      For discharge upgrades, if the discharge was more than 15 years ago, the veteran should complete DD Form 293 (http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/forms/eforms/dd0293.pdf [1]) and send it to their service’s DRB (the address is on the form). For discharges over 15 years ago, the veteran should complete the DD Form
      149 (http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/forms/eforms/dd0149.pdf [2]) and send it to their service’s BCM/NR (the address is on the form).

      For corrections of records other than discharges, veterans should complete the DD Form 149 and submit their request to their service’s BCM/NR (the address is on the form).

      Key information to include in requests:
      1. Why the veteran’s discharge or other record was unjust or erroneous–for example, how it is connected to, or resulted from unjust policies, a physical or mental health condition related to military service, or some other explainable or justifiable circumstance.
      2. Provide support, where applicable, for key facts. If a veteran has a relevant medical diagnosis, for example, it would be very helpful to include medical records that reflect that diagnosis.
      3. Third, it is helpful, but not always required, to submit copies of the veteran’s applicable service records. The more information provided, the better the boards can understand the circumstances of the discharge.

      BCM/NRs are also authorized to grant relief on the basis of clemency.
      Veterans who believe their post-service conduct and contributions to society support an upgrade or correction should describe their post-service activity and provide any appropriate letters or other documentation of support.

      Personnel records for veterans who served after 1997 should be accessible online and are usually retrievable within hours of a request through the Defense Personnel Records Information Retrieval System (DPRIS). To obtain one’s personnel records from DPRIS, go to https://www.dpris.dod.mil/ [3], then select “Individual Veteran Access” on the left side of the website and follow the instructions. Veterans will need to register for a logon and verify their current mailing address before requesting records. The whole process usually takes less than 10 minutes. Those who served prior to 1997 or for whom electronic records are not available from DPRIS, can request their records from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) using the eVetRecs website at:
      http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/ [4].

      • @ESA – I found your post while searching on another VA issue. I know Disgruntled Veteran [DS] as well. As you read DS’s letter, it clearly states how he has been cheated out of his pension, true disability rating, and then DS is force to pay back monies that he received previously for his pension. Thought I would share that your post was read. Its appreciated.

  4. Great Job, Benjamin! With this situation you can now surmise just how the VA”s new Denver/Aurora VAMC has become incredibly over-budget and still counting the beans, right? I am betting that the VA rarely does ANY vetting or real digging in the awarded contracts and with this “Munchkin”, I still would be very surprised to later find that “Munchkin” was not related to someone at the VA or some other form of nepotism because just what kind of large agency awards contracts that would’ve made Veteran personal data the prize for the highest bidder (Big Pharma, Shinazi?), while not fully vetting said company? Oh, I have the answer…THE VA!!
    What Morons!!
    Another FAIL. Sec. McDuck!!! Better have that golden parachute ready, McDuck or would that now be made of aluminum foil these days or pantyhose? Am thinking your golden parachute must look more like a ratty patchwork quilt that’s stained with Veteran’s Blood…yep, quite colorful. Maybe P&G will let you come back as a detergent taster to eventually cleanse you of that Veteran Blood on your hands?! 🙂

    Great Job, Benjamin!!!! Grass Roots wins another one!!!

  5. With respect to the author of the article, your use of the legal term “vetting” is difficult for me to picture. So I have taken the liberty of translating that word into “laymens speak”;

    “vetting” = “hide from The People an insanely stupid, costly, and nearly untracable backdoor deal made with the cousin (who used to race cars) of an associated member(s)of the AFL/CIO labor union(office staff) in order to fund a NASCAR return.”.

    VA failed to properly “vet”.

    Am I way off here, because I only have endless reruns of watching Perry Mason to base this legal decision on (Mom was a huge fan)?

    • Perry Mason is right on target, Dennis! Even ‘Columbo’ and Angela from ‘Murder She Wrote’ agree, and the ‘A-Team’ required heavy sedation via reptile tranquilizer blow-darts because they wanted to go all-out recon on the VA. RAND concurs that “vetting” has absolutely nothing to do with actual “vets”.

  6. Kudos, Ben!
    It’s about time the VA was held accountable.
    Only one question, “Was any taxpayers monies given out before the contract was cancelled?”
    I agree namnibor, seems to me there might be something going on we don’t know about, as in ‘nepotism’!

  7. Folks, I just opened this video, dated 29 Dec. 2016 (3:27 minutes), from “The Connors Report Media Network”
    It’s coming via “InfoWars”.
    Y’all have got to google it. The information is important to all “Patriotic Americans”!
    Titled:

    “Spain Says ISIS Raising Cash in Latin America to Attack US”

    Their getting their info from reputable news sources!

  8. Breaking News: Wall Street Journal released report about the VA fail at excessive opioid prescribing. “[The VA Hooked Veterans on Opioids, Then Failed Them Again

    The agency overprescribed painkillers to returning soldiers, fueling addiction; now rehab facilities are overwhelmed]”

    “http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-va-hooked-veterans-on-opioids-then-failed-them-again-1483030270”

    “5 Things About Veterans and Opioid Addiction ” “http://www.wsj.com/articles/5-things-about-veterans-and-opioid-addiction-1483033025”

    • The Wall Street Journal writer must have been paid by the VA Public Affairs to paint all we Veterans as 10x more likely to be opioid abusers. Is this the VA lashing-out passive-aggressively? Also seems to favor McDonald, but maybe need other eyes to discern and confirm that nuance I got. Nowhere in those articles does it tell the story of how the VA has outright stopped pain meds on Veterans, causing them to go into withdrawal and sometimes then to the streets for pain relief. Nope. Not a mention about how the VA actually causes the problem, then asks for $ to make the problem more problematic. Nope.

      • Hey, namnibor, want to watch a real man tell it like it is? He’s from the New York city area and is part of the educational system.
        He’s got some BIG BALLS!
        It’s from “Political Madness”, dated 29 Dec. 2016 (13:18 minutes long).
        Titled:

        “Trump’s Manager Defends Hid Racist Obama Comments: “It’s Time To Say This!!!””

        As I listened to him, he made perfect sense as what the Obama’s have gotten away with for eight years! Whether you agree or not, you’ll probably be surprised at what you’ve forgotten over the “promises” Obama gave, then reneged on!
        Maybe it is time for “Political Correctness” to go the way of the to-do bird!!!!!!!

    • Hell the VA was prescribing me 180 mg per day morphine on top of 40 mg per day hydrocodone, on top of Clonazepam, and a variety of psychiatric drugs. I was never allowed to meet the doc prescribing these because I got banned from my clinic before our appointment. So the pharmacists entered a phoney pain contract (I never saw or signed one) into my record, and voila! Dennis was locked to the couch and subdued on life shortening doses of US government provided opiate/opiod drugs. It’s the good shit that even the rich junkies can’t get. My dealer had he very best connections.

      I finally saw the writing on the wall and asked for the drugs to cease. I sent a fax to the by now third doc prescribing I had not met). They kept sending them. I sent another fax to the doc who I did not know to cease. He kept sending them. The following month I filed a Civil Rights complaint with the VA against that doctor. I explained that I would never be free of the addiction if they kept sending them and I knew of no other way after he ignored my faxes.

      They stopped sending them and immediately altered my DBC flag to terminate all local care, including local psyhiatric services. It was the price of filing that complaint.

      I am one of thousands who took the poison. Very few make it out of that hole unharmed.

      • When I used the VA Medical, the pain Dr. had me at first on high doses of Methadone, which did *nothing* for my various pains, so next step was massive doses of Morphine, which made me even more nauseated and rather deal with pain than that crap but I also had all my pain meds stopped by that pain Dr. because he claimed my urine came up positive for THC so I had to bring the asshole Arab Dr. at VA the huge RX Fold-Out of my three drug cocktail, which specifically states that one of the three drugs WILL cause a false positive and a certain specific test, and expensive test the VA does not utilize normally was required to confirm it was indeed a false positive for THC.
        The asshole Arab Pain Dr. at VA refused to even look at it thinking I was making it up and told me if I ever wanted to be in VA pain management again I would have to successfully complete a drug addiction course…WTF?
        I left the VA and used Medicare for everything and private medical every since.
        And the VA wonders just why 22 Veterans approx. daily commit suicide?
        Rat Bastards!

      • @namnibor

        I told them that THC helps with nausea because it did. At the doses I was on the mornings were vomitting and the night time sheer panic attacks trying to get to sleep also seemed to help using by vapor THC. Morphine dosing at high levels is precisely like a heroin addict – night time terrors and morning sickness.

        Since Oregon is a marihuanna state and I had a card they simply ignored the THC as being a “presumptive positive” , then officially ignored it as a factor in prescribing anything at all (by the book). It was deemed in Oregon not to be a factor in distributing services.

        My friend, it sounds like our federal government did not offer you and I equal protection under the law. This is the other problem with federal services inside state boundaries, and it is a Constitutional crisis.

        Happy New Year to all.

      • VA SCHEDULED ME FOR A PHYSICAL THERAPY EXAM ,AFTER REQUESTING A COLONOSCOPY FOR MY LEFT SIDED COLOSTOMY ,AS OF 1996 ,I RECEIVE COLOSTOMY SUPPLY ,DO THE STUPID FUCKERS THINK A PHYSICAL THERAPY SESSION WILL CURE THE PAST REMOVAL OF MY COLON//

  9. Simple question which I already know the answer

    Why does it take exposing the nit wits in the VA to force the VA into doing what their job is suppose to be?

    Thank you for the good work Ben

  10. First thank you Ben you have done an excellent job of bringing this issue to light of day.

    A deeper look finds that the only Vetting that went on here was when a Congressional representative cashed Brian Meshkin’s checks. If the checks were good, then he got the records through his slimy brothers organization.

    The Meshkin brothers are working this scam together. Before showing the documented payoff let me first provide a little background on the oldest brother Brian.

    Brian is the founder of a company that was named Salugen which is now Proove Bioscience. The name change came after several events.
    First an article published through Science Direct pointed out that Brian Meshkin and his company Salugen was nothing more than snake oil salesman selling snake oil as science through his company.[1]
    Second an order by the state of California to cease and desist all sales and marketing of his services.[2]
    That is the reason for the change in the businesses name.

    Now to do an end run around the state of California and the scientist who called his product nothing more than snake oil. Brian sleazed his way into becoming and author with articles listed on PubMed that are listed as peer reviewed articles. Although the only degree he holds is a Bachelors in Government from some Podunk school he has 13 articles listing his name as a co-author on what are supposed to be scientific publications in peer reviewed journals. Not!!!

    For example, he is listed as a co-author on an article titled “Neurogenetic interactions and aberrant behavioral co-morbidity of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): dispelling myths.”. The lead author is named Comings, DE from the Carlsbad Science Foundation. Turns out that Carlsbad Science Foundation IRS filings show that it’s total income for the year of the article was $300 and that the address for the foundation is actually the residents of an 82-year-old retired physician named David Comings. His California medical license history shows a few problems that stem from his drug usage.
    All the remaining articles listed for Brian Meshkin are basically noting more than advertisements with no real research or qualified individual connected to him.

    As far as the payoff to obtain the contract and our medical records it is demonstrated through the lobbying of a congress person who went to bat for him at the VA. The payoffs were paid under the name of his company Proove Bioscience.[3], [4], [5]

    Also I would like to point out that the brothers already have their hands in VAs pocket playing pocket pool with McDonald.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    [1] “Negotiating the boundary between medicine and consumer culture: Online marketing of nutrigenetic tests”; “http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953609007904/pdfft?md5=2acf3129996208085b6a7a4ff78377b9&pid=1-s2.0-S0277953609007904-main.pdf”

    [2] “Gene tests raise legal and ethical questions: State stepping in to halt practices”, By Terri Somers, The San Diego Union Tribune, July 24th, 2008
    “http://legacy.sandiegouniontribune.com/uniontrib/20080724/news_1n24genes.html”

    [3] “http://disclosures.house.gov/ld/ldxmlrelease/2016/Q1/300802345.xml”
    [4] “http://disclosures.house.gov/ld/ldxmlrelease/2016/Q2/300810612.xml”
    [5] “http://disclosures.house.gov/ld/ldxmlrelease/2016/Q3/300828563.xml”

    • Great sleuthing, Seymore Klearly. Excellent sleuthing!!! What a slime-ball couple of brothers already playing pocket pool with the VA and Sec. McDonald. Damn! The VA either never ever vetted “Munchkin” or what’s more than likely, is the VA *knew* all along but it was the disinfecting qualities of daylight/truth/Benjamin Krause, that hedged this hog with lipstick into the VA backing-off.
      How many additional things like this bogus contract go completely unnoticed by the VA or the VA turns a blind eye to hoping to not get caught? Pretty confident that answer is plenty!!

    • Ho Lee Fuk.

      …and to think PubMed used to be some respectable medical publication outlet.

      I’m curious who the Congress critter is. This is an elaborate scam involving quite a few people, and I believe is just scratching the surface.

      It explains why Congress just can’t seem to perform proper oversight. Too many of these bastards are lined up at the VA back door with their hands out.

      • This begs an answer over, “Who received ‘kick-backs’ from the taxpayer’s funded VA?”
        Something is wrong with this whole scheme!

  11. Seymore,
    Here’s an article, with video, showing our State Department’s credit card is about to come due for payment.
    It’s from “GOPtheDailyDose.com”
    dated; 30 Dec. 2016 by William Smith.
    Titled;

    “Traitor Among Us: Obama Spends
    $770 Million To Build Foreign Mosques As American Soldiers Die (Video)”

    I would hasten to add, “while Veterans, due to the VA, are also dying!” Obama’s contempt of our military and veterans is not only widespread, it’s soon to be history.
    Too bad more articles like this don’t make it to the Main Stream Media!
    All of Obama’s failures will be part of his “legacy”!

  12. What’s the takeaway from this?

    I still think it’s the same as I commented before…that someone thought they had an opportunity to be the next get rich quick off of veterans Shinazi and tried to sneak this through using Meshkin.

    There is no way this kind of supposed research went through any kind of formal review if it “violated numerous VA regulations, policies or laws”, particularly in privacy.

    Either it did not go through any review, which means some VA thief should be held accountable, or it did go through VA review, which means their process is so sloppy that EVERY research project funded for the past 10 years should be reviewed to see what “regulations, policies or laws” were ignored to grant the funding.

    What a friggin clownshow.

    Excellent effort Ben.

    • I think an AUDIT of every contract entered into by VA should be done.
      It’s like this. When new voted in representatives go to Washington, they may or may not be wealthy. Yet, at the end of their ‘terms’, they seem to be filthy rich! How? From special interest groups, ie; lobbyists and big pharma and business associates.
      This is the main reason why most Democrats were voted out this time.
      I wonder, how many upper VA management have gotten wealthier since they made their ranks?!?!?!

      • I think upper VA hacks get rich the same as Congress, on both sides, did.

        Likely the same way certain VSO flunkies make money.

        Insider trading.

        They know when a law will be passed, or a contract will be let benefitting a certain company greatly, so they invest in the company just prior to the law or contract letting, and make piles of money on the other side.

        It was not illegal for Congress to do this as recently as a few years ago, and may still not be illegal. That news story quickly died.

        Its the same way Warren Buffett made billions from investing in companies just prior to Obama passing his TARP stimulus. Talk to several insiders convincing them TARP is needed, invest when you know it’s going to happen then laugh all the way to the bank.

      • @91Veteran,
        One name——–
        “Martha Stewart!”

        The one ‘thing’ I admire she did, (before, during and after her guilty verdict on “Insider trading”), is she went to prison keeping quiet for “the good old boys”!

    • I do hear clown music when reading those links Seymore Klearly posted about the scheming Munchkin Brothers. Definitely circus music with very evil clowns.

      Every over-budget VA Contract Project must be rife with more circus, err, circle jerking the tax-payers and ripping-off Vets by proxy. AUDIT the VA by an entirely independent corporate accounting firm in Sweden or something as to make sure the VA cannot taint those results because I am thinking when it all comes undone, the VA will not actually NEED such a large budget or at least not misappropriated as it were.

      AUDIT THE SWAMP!

  13. The VA’s laws and policies….I don’t think they are aware of them. Privacy? You mean our privacy? Ben, another great article. How did the VA get out of the contract? Does the VA think Veterans believe all these new signs and cropped grassy knolls, new golf carts, and guards everywhere makes us believe the care is better? Sounds like the VA is searching for another research and development scheme like the hep-c fiasco. Doesn’t the VA have an oversight committee for contracts? The VA is really good at lying, and spending taxpayers money.

  14. Note the deal is being made by John Hoskins Medical Center and Mayo Clinic and 5 other Non-profit Hospitals that are world renounced. Don’t get happy yet !!! Flow Health Inc., was never really in play – just to keep some reports busy.

    Dan Martinez For Secretary of Veterans Affairs

      • @Namnibor – Here is a link for Dan Martinez. Don’t know about the trustworthiness of the data.

        “http://www.disabledveterans.org/2016/12/30/vetting-fail-dept-veterans-affairs-cancels-flow-health-inc-deal/”

      • Nope. That link you posted brings one right back to this article on Ben’s site posted today.
        Don Martinez posted a long post earlier this week in promoting himself for VA Sec., but with no mention of the VA AFGE Union being renegotiated and he never replied when I mentioned that glaring omission from his “manifesto of sorts”.

        Hence, my post of ???????????

      • @Namnibor – Sorry about the brother. The correct link is below.

        “http://www.insuranceclaimsconsult.com/secretary-of-veterans-affairs-Dan-Martinez.html”

      • @Namnibor – Yea, I was skeptical as well. Below is a link that Dan Martinez met with Donald Trump. A lot of ?????

        “http://insuranceclaimsconsult.com/martinez-s-talks-with-trump-sec–veterans-affairs.html”

      • @ANutterVet- Thanks. More ??????? than substance and it seems the only photo is of a congressman, not Dan Martinez. I smell ring-knocker.

      • @ANutterVet @Namnibor – Thanks for the 411. Took a look at the first link. My Bullshit Detector is clanging so hard it has brought on a Major Migraine. Had to take something for it.

        When I tried the second link, it returned a 404 – and we all know what that means. Three different browsers all returned the same result.

      • It is also interesting that Dan promises “This savings can be used to bring down our national deficient or to be used to support Trump’s infrastructure plan in creating Jobs”

        The word deficient vice deficit is neither correct in context or spelling on the man’s website. While I understand human error, in this case – – – the verbiage used changes the whole construct of the conversation.

    • So are you really saying that “the world refuses to recognize, or abide by any longer” info that emanates from John Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, and five other non-profits? That is but one of the definitions for the word “renounced”.

      I looked at your site, and I smell a BIG RAT!

      • @Disabled Veteran – I doubt that Dan Martinez replies to your question. He doesn’t want to get pinned down in specifics. And, if he truly was interested in serving Veterans, he would be posting his qualifications, agreeing with Ben, and calling out the unjustified actions of the VA, Branches of the Military, the many different types of Military Boards and Hearing Panels, and companies that are ripping off our Government, therefore shafting Veterans from the blink side. Go get’em Ben!

        @Disabled Veteran – See below. I posted some remarks about your PDF file that you shared on this blog.

      • I hear ya, Brother! You are so right.

        Read and replied to your comments re my letter to POTUS. My list of enclosures to that letter (Documents the US Gov had generated) made the total package about 90 pages long.

  15. Isn’t this wipe…uhhh…David Shulkin… supposed to review, ask questions and sign off on new, unknown vendors to be using this kind of data about veterans? Geeee,… I know wipe-face himself thinks he’s an entrepreneur – what with his one-time invention of a data-base to judge the quality of healthcare practitioners and all – which he bucked out of after a year and really didn’t make a goddamn cent on because nobody used the fucking thing, although he insists everyone did. Guess wipe-ass gave meshkin’s Flow Health a pass because it reminded him of his ass-wipe self. Maybe, just maybe, he intended to become an investor-partner after supplying core big data to validify the product, and making it sellable to other “honest government entities” as the “product” with BIG DATA behind the AI machine – unlike any other product out there. And then flip it a year later. I’m just connecting the data dots. What the fuck am I thinking. Never mind.

  16. Great Investigative Work and Results and none too soon! Looks like Alex Mechkin’s brother, Brian Meshkin, is also in the genome data mining business: “Proove Biosciences and Specialty Health Announce a Positive Coverage Determination by Leading Nevada Insurer for Genetic Testing” 2016 article.

    • Ben,
      Is it possible to find out ‘IF’ and ‘WHO’ (possibly) received taxpayers monies where someone in VA entered into this contract?
      It seems to me, taxpayers monies were changing hands. If true, then could it not be argued (someone or many someone’s) could have committed criminal activities against taxpayers and veterans?

  17. VA DC HQ IS ONE BIG BIG FEDERTAL RICO CRIME RACKET POTUS TRUMPER SHUT IT ALL DOWN ASAP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. @Disgruntled Veteran – I read your whole story. Let me honestly and whole heartedly say, “thank you for serving our country with great leadership skills, and your dedication and commitment to other military personnel, and your devotion to your family while you were on complicated and sensitive military operations.”

    It is my hope, that one day you’ll find someone that will be able to rectify all the errors in your total military jacket. And, that the U.S. Government will retroactively pay you back all the monies that were unjustly taken back from you, and restore your true retirement benefits that you earned. Plus, award you the medals for achievement and injury during the time of reconstruction of the facilities and battle.

    @Disgruntled Veteran, I have the same symptoms that you do, and I know how you feel. Those long nights when you can’t turn the neurological engine off in your mind can take its toll. This is something that I’ve been trying to get across with my own medical care that I receive from the VA.

    I truly can’t put into words how I truly feel after reading your story. When I got to page 4, I had to take a mental break. Too many memories of injustice, the wasting of a hopeful career, and a retirement at an earlier age than normal. Keep your head high, and know that this Veteran believes your story.

    And, like a good man that you are, always stand by your wife who has always stood by your side. Personally, I’m sorry for all the bullshit that our Government and the Veterans Administration has put you through.

    @Disgruntled Veteran, like you, my wife has also been by my side. We are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. Wishing you and your wife a healthy New Year. And, I want to thank you for sharing your story. May God richly bless you and your wife.

    • @ ANutterVet – I truly appreciate your investment of time to read my letter to President Obama. I knew the White House had indeed received it, when they had a few females call to “urge me in the strongest possible terms” to call the suicide hot line. Somehow, I cannot believe that the suicide hot line would be able to effect the changes necessary in order to put things right.

      Especially since on a night when I truly was in crisis about a year before sending that letter – – – I called and got an answering machine. Left my message, and NEVER heard from them – – – until AFTER the WH staff received my letter.

      Because should I ever find myself in that dark place again, calling anybody would be self-defeating to mission accomplishment.

      As for the medals, they would be for the family. I personally would choose NOT (for most occasions) to wear them.

      But, yeah – – – the money would be a real game-changer. I have looked for attorney’s high and low to no avail. Had friends suggest a “go fund me” page, but my moral compass does NOT allow for begging. Plenty of people in this world worse off than I am. Try to help the one’s I can, when I am able.

      But this worthless VA has got to go. As I said before – – – I CAN easily understand how a veteran could get it into their mind to take a weapon into a VA facility in order to make them “listen to me”. I have never done such a thing, never will. But I can understand how the thought would get into a man’s mind . . .

      Precisely because of my experience . . .

      I wish for you, your wife, Ben, and everyone on this blog – – – a Blessed and Prosperous Year of the Rooster.

      • @Disgruntled Veteran – I’m not surprised on how the VA, White House, and other governmental agencies, don’t respond in kind to one’s requests. Workers of such, think that they own the offices and the operational work protocols involved. DV, your situation really needs someone to review your case, and hopefully that person will truly give you a fair and honest re-evaluation of your retirement status, and the retirement monies that were reneged by the Government. I hope that someday, you’ll find an individual that really wants to bring justice related to your Honorable Military Service.

      • @Ex va – Thank you my Brother. We met in college located in one of the islands in beautiful Hawaii. Yes, I married a wonderful island girl. Hula, hula! Then a fantastic luau! @Disgruntled Veteran, you should pick up on this. LMAO

      • @Disgruntled Veteran – I meant for you to chime in about having a Hawaii local woman as your best friend and soul mate. I re-read my post, and didn’t want you to take my comment in a negative way. This can be a problem about interrupting messages in emails, blogs, and forums. The writer tries to express one thing, but the message can say something else to the reader. To be upfront, I’ve had some problems myself in discerning messages posted by others. Human mistakes. Happy New Year Brother!

      • @ ANutterVet – First, Congratulations on your 30th Wedding Anniversary. Any woman that can put up with grizzled old bastards like us for extended periods, probably ought to be nominated for sainthood. My wife and I will be celebrating our 20th this coming June. We did not meet until I had been out of the military for two years. She is a local haole who came to Hawaii from Chicago when she was two.

        Second, I am one of these folks who do not have to be “connected to the world” with an electronic leash 24/7. You have never typed anything to me yet that required a social sorry, and certainly not an apology. From time to time, I just walk away from the electronic leash for a day or so – – – in order to get other things done. But I have things set up in such a manner that I do not miss much – – – and try to respond in a reasonable amount of time. So, if you do not hear from me for a day or so – – – try not to read anything into it. It most likely means that I haven’t read your missive yet. After reading my letter, you should have enough info to find me on facebook. Send me a PM that clearly identifies you, and I will add you to my list of friends. I get on there at least once or twice a week. And I tend to post a few “Hawaii Today” photos.

        Hawaii Woman as best friend? Possibly. Soul Mate? Mine has four legs.

        Happy Christian New Year to you and yours! My New Year is Jan 28th.

        A Hui Hou !!!

        I am one who will NEVER own a smartphone for many reasons. Unless the dumb phone I have eventually goes the way of the dodo bird.

  19. VA Sec. Robert McDonald is notably very nervous on the first day of The Year of The Rooster. Why? The VA recently redefined Roosters to include McDuck, which both could easily meet the chopping block journey to a P&G New Year’s Dinner, so let’s all hope and pray that ‘McDuck” will be served and served cold and a brand new VA Secretary will rise from ashes in 19 days.

    Happy New Years to all and may the VA have a much less ‘foul’ new year to come. No more schmucky ducks!!

    • Here’s something interesting.
      I watched “The Doctor of Common Sense” this morning. He’s upset about these “Sanctuary Cities” going to use taxpayers monies to hire attorneys to defend the illegal immigrants.
      In California, it is estimated to be anywhere from “$10 million to $80 million.
      Of course, it’s Democrats and a few Republicans pushing this agenda.
      The question arises on one issue.
      “Why would taxpayers want to be burdened with this illegal scheme, over those who are entering our country illegally?”

  20. I’m going to be putting an article on tomorrow from “The Daily Caller News Foundation” about the following.
    Titled;
    “Contender For Trump’s VA Secretary Bows Out Of The Running, Cites Health Concerns”
    by Jonah Bennett
    01/01/2017

    Good article. The comments section blasts VA!

    • Really great article, Crazy elf. The comments are priceless, even some Veteran ex-VA employee’s posting they will not use the VA….if you count the comment section, pretty damning for the fearful rats at the VA. 🙂

      • What’s of importance here is Quinonez is “…a businessman in the health care industry and a veteran of the Vietnam War…” as the article states. It goes on “…with Quinonez out of the running, the next leading candidate is likely Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove.”
        Does anyone know anything about Cosgrove?

      • Ben had an article last month, near a week ago mentioning Cosgrove from Cleveland Clinic. I posted a detailed account of how Cleveland Clinic was extremely exclusive and picky about insurance accepted, catered to Kings and Prices from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with several suites made for a king, literally.
        Cosgrove’s Cleveland Clinic would also outspoken about Obamacare because Cleveland Clinic did not want to have to be forced to accept Medicaid and Medicare patients…fact. I lived up there in those pre-Obama/Obamacare years and there were often news stories about people needing ambulance and closest trauma hospital would be Cleveland Clinic but if the insurance was not gold clad, warm or tepid bodies would go to the County Gunshot Hospital ER instead…all about the $$$$.
        Now, it seems Cosgrove is a shrewd businessman, but ask yourself WHY someone with his salary and perks would ever consider stepping way down in pay into the swamp unless…the Cleveland Clinic gains unwilling VA non-human test subjects in the deal; Vets?
        Dunno, Crazy elf–on Sunday talking head news shows they had a talk about the VA and cleaning it up and there were these jerks again saying, “Most Veteran LOVE the VA and great changes taking place…blah, blah…” Eyes wide shut. Just like Obama is going to Chicago shortly to give a speech on his legacy yet has no plans of addressing the shy of 800 homicides in his own home town….it was on 60 Minutes as well yesterday about Chicago and how Obama’s own Raum Emanuel Chicago Mayor has allowed the cops to do nothing, allowing the gangs, drugs, and now all out gang wars…but Obama is not going there to denounce any of this…it’s a bit like how Obama has allowed the VA to fester and also allow his DOJ to ignore all fraud cases….it’s all about Obozo’s legacy.
        Let’s hope Pres. Elect Trump’s VA Sec. will be a pleasant surprise.
        Rant Out.

      • Speaking of Chicago…I wonder if their Police dept. is under federal oversight like so many other cities under Obama.
        Its quite surprising how many cities he forced into federal oversight.

        Anyway, after the body count on Chicago this year, you have to ask if they are not under federal oversight, why not?

        On the other hand, perhaps they are and the higher body count is the result.

      • Hey Namnibor,

        I guess with Cosgrove one major change would be the change in the second language spoken at VA Health Care Facilities. From Hindu to some middle eastern dialect.

        With all the phony degrees coming from India to train on Veterans at the VA. They will be swapping them out for middle eastern degrees coming to America to train on Veterans.

        “https://www.clevelandclinicabudhabi.ae/en/pages/default.aspx”

      • @91Veteran- Last night’s ’60 Minutes’ addressed that succinctly, when they stated Chicago Mayor Emanuel refused to be interviewed by ’60 Minutes’, so instead they had right there on the program the former Chicago Police Chief in which the first thing Emanuel and under DOJ push, to make the police chief a scapegoat and fire him, when it was (according to former Chicago Chief) the huge fail of new Chicago Mayor Emanuel (whom jumped from ranks of Obama Admn. to Mayor), in keeping entire city a gun free zone, while the predators come right in and feed and related violence, and do nothing because sanctuary city liberalism on steroids.
        He said the DOJ was more apt to press charges against police than to go after the thugs and thuglets because “poor victims of society…”….blah, blah…

        So yeah, it seems there was overreaching oversight from DOJ/Obama and the handy ex-Obama Aid, Chicago Mayor Emanuel. (guess his religious affiliation…)

        Don’t mistake my rant for anything other than disdain for any violence such as what we have all seen an uptick in last few years. I want to see every human being to aspire to be all they can be…the gravy train needs to end. Imagine just the yearly cost for the Obama Phones program is alone?

      • Hey 91Veteran,

        In mentioning the body count in Chiraq. Since Rahm Emanuel became Mayor in 2011 arrests are down over 50% for all crimes. Also with his new policy of relaxing rules on hiring criminal offenders as police officers. It is surely going to double the body count for next year.

      • I should add that the relaxed rules on hiring criminal offenders as police officers is for minorities only, or non-white applicants.

      • See: “Emanuel opens the door to relaxing police hiring standards”
        “http://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/three-powerful-aldermen-push-for-relaxed-police-hiring-standards/”

      • Another good read on what they are applying in Chiraq law enforcement and why the body count is rising is:

        “Obama administration’s Advancing Diversity in Law Enforcement initiative.”
        “https://www.justice.gov/crt/case-document/file/900761/download”

        The report suggests that police departments across the nation should disregard minor criminal offenses of candidates from “underrepresented communities,” revise the controversial psychological exam and lower the bar for written and physical exams.

        “Certain barriers — including background investigations that treat all arrests and criminal convictions alike regardless of type of offense or how recent the occurrence, or even screen out those voluntarily admitting to drug use alone [without any conviction] — can prevent the agency from hiring the diverse officers it needs to connect with and serve the entire community,” the report says.

        Likewise, psychological tests and credit checks put up “discriminatory employment barriers to women and racial minority applicants,” the report states.

      • Essentially if you are white and living in Chicago you are now starting to face the equivalent of being a Christian in a Muslim country.

  21. It seems, namnibor, there’s no bounds Obama will stoop to, in order to make his legacy look good!
    I received this today. Although it’s from December 31, it shows how DHS employees and these Sanctuary Cities are getting rich. Not only from taxpayers monies, but from “bribes” from ???????!!!
    Check out this video,
    titled;
    “Hannity Bombshell: Illegal Immigrants Bribe Scandal: Hundreds Obama Gov Workers Sold Out America!”

    Notice the ‘word’ – “SOLD” – as in ‘past tense’! Which means the bribery was, and is possibly still, going on!
    Tens of millions of dollars paid to these corrupt individuals to allow criminal elements to stay in country.
    There’s also mention of Obama being the first President to commute violent offenders back onto the streets in record numbers! I believe you’ve mentioned this in the past.

  22. I see the Obama administration is playing wiki leaks with Israel. Including leaking documents that tie Netanyahu to Iran in a joint money making scheme behind the backs of all Israelis. Now have to wonder what other leaks to foreign governments they have planned.

    “Benjamin Netanyahu Questioned in Israel Graft Inquiry”; New York Times

    Kind of a weak article that doesn’t mention that police went to his home to question him and were armed with warrants to searching it for documents and that a special barricade has been setup during the questioning and search. Kind of like when they were reporting on Hillary’s email with that nothing to see here attitude.

    “http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/02/world/middleeast/benjamin-netanyahu-israel-corruption-investigation.html?_r=0”

    Obama is going all out to stir some shit up in the world on his way out the door.

    Get ready for some major leakage of information aimed at starting conflicts. Maybe even some leakage on individuals in our own government. I am sure Netanyahu has a lot of dirt he can throw back to retaliate.

    • Seymore, the next 18 days are going to be “VERY INTERESTING!” And this is going to be one of those “OH SHIT” moments, to be sure!
      Regarding; The massive build up against the Russians by our military in recent months and weeks.

    • Something I either read or heard on the news this morning is interesting.
      Seems Obama just passed, within the past few days by executive order, a ‘law’ called “The Path Act” (or something similar in name. I was half asleep when this came out)!
      What it concerns is because of all the fraud being committed by taxpayers, ie: dead people filing, or people using other people’s social security numbers, or 2 year olds filing, etc., the IRS won’t start paying off until at least Feb 15.
      It seems he’s getting serious over the fraud, waste and abuse in the last 20 days of his presidency!
      So, if y’all know someone out there who has filed, you might want to explain what’s going on!

    • Amen to that, Dennis.

      I would love for Benjamin to FOIA the VA for very specific numbers on the VA’s Disruptive Behavior Committee. I am betting those numbers are these days kept locally and not VA wide somewhere but I could easily be wrong. Would be interesting to see what the 2013–present tally is on this under McDonald’s Glass Menagerie called the VA.

  23. Is there going to be a log of sorts, like a record of ALL the things that this President has done? Like the last 28 days? There are a few Veterans out there that have a good perspective, and could perhaps explain the MANY things that are going to happen in the next few days. If so, let me know please. I’m not saying y’all can’t write now, …

  24. Have been reading your website for over 2 months now and glad you/y’all out there doing great job. Thanks for the work you do.

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