Minneapolis VA Mental Health

A whistleblower disgusted by the lack of regard for the recent suicide of a Minneapolis VA mental health patient leaked the VHA Issue Brief.

According to the brief, the suicide victim was an unnamed Gulf War Army veteran who committed suicide before the Christmas holiday using a gun. The disabled veteran was aged 38 years with a 10 percent disability rating.

The most recent suicide assessment on August 1, 2016, which listed the suicide risk as “Low risk”. How thorough was this assessment? Or did something happen after the assessment?

The whistleblower contacted me yesterday after seeing what happened at the VA medical center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, hoping I would shed some light on the matter and provide some form of recognition for the veteran’s apparent mental distress.

New Mexico Veteran Suicide

There, VA has engaged in a virtual stonewall against the press while keeping any witnesses in a state of perpetual fear of reprisal should any of the relevant fact be leaked to the press with official quotes and the name of the veteran.

In that suicide, VA alleges it will keep the name of the veteran who committed suicide by gun on December 22, 2016, private to protect the dead veteran’s privacy. Due to the predictable delay in securing FOIA information, the local Albuquerque press is losing interest as the suicide is no longer timely news.

As for Minneapolis VA, did clinicians fail to address the Minnesota veteran’s risk of mental instability? What happened between August and December, when the veteran committed suicide?

The veteran contacted VA for help in June. The veteran was referred to psychiatry and subsequently received various assessments. The veteran was assessed for suicide risk by a social worker (not a psychologist and not a psychiatrist) on August 1, 2016. On August 25, 2016, the veteran failed to attend the mental health appointment. VA sent a no show letter. On December 10, 2016, the veteran was dead – – death by gunshot wound (GSW).

When the veteran failed to show up for an appointment later in August after his suicide assessment, other than sending a “no show” letter, what could VA have done differently if anything?

RELATED: VA Fails To Help Ft Lauderdale Shooter Before Shooting

We may never know.

Breitbart On VA Failed Mental Health

It may be noteworthy to point out that Breitbart ran with my position on Ft Lauderdale shooter Esteban Santiago-Ruiz – – that VA and the US Army (ie DOD) failed to provide him with the mental health services he clearly needed after his discharge from the Army in August:

DisabledVeterans.org, a website founded by veterans advocate and lawyer Benjamin Krause, suggests Esteban may be one of the many veterans who suffer from severe mental health issues and are not receiving treatment at the VA or the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

The deadly incident “certainly highlights failures between DOD and VA where veterans fall through the cracks who obviously suffer from mental health problems,” reports the organization.

VA and DOD have known histories for failing to provide desperately needed mental health care to veterans suffering from PTSD or depression who may be suicidal or worse.

As best we can tell, Minneapolis VA did not adequately follow up with the suicidal veteran in meaningful way that could have prevented the suicide.

No Media For Minnesota Veteran

One of the three factors highlighted in the leaked VHA Issue Brief from Minneapolis VA and VISN 23 caught my attention. The third bullet read, “No media”.

No media? As in, no one is looking into it and evaluating what the agency may or may not have done to help prevent the suicide?

Where is Star Tribune on this? What about Pioneer Press? These are major organizations that have covered veterans’ issues in the past.

Was this veteran’s death not sexy enough to warrant a short article? Or, did the Department of Veterans Affairs and the State of Minnesota merely do a solid job keeping a lid on the suicide?

I speculate the suicide would have received coverage locally if VA or the state felt such coverage was warranted. But, since when do we trust the government to tell the people what warrants coverage? Oh, that was World War I.

After a search, I could not find one mention of the suicide or death of the veteran that occurred on December 10, 2016. This is concerning, but it is a reflection of the Department of Veterans Affairs newest tactic to combat suicide – – do not report on veteran suicide to the public.

While I do not condone sensationalism of suicide, I firmly believe VA and DOD are exploiting politically correct suicide reporting guidelines the agencies follow to diminish overall reporting of suicide.

The desired effect, of course, is to make the public forget VA and DOD are failing to provide adequate mental health care for veterans and servicemembers suffering from anxiety and mental distress.

Minneapolis VA Mental Health Contact

Those curious about the suicide should reach out to Minneapolis VA suicide prevention coordinator Lindy Fortin-Case. She can be reached at 612-467-3620 or emailed at [email protected].

I am attaching the VHA Issue Brief below for veterans, reporters and policymakers to evaluate if for no other reasons than to see how the reviews are cataloged and what the documents omit or include.

Why Cover-up Suicide?

At the end of the day, this is all about recruiting while keeping the image of military service as being one solely of honor, dignity where the veteran goes on to live a happy life later.

VA fights the public affairs battle DOD creates with bad policy while it shortchanges soldiers of the tools and tactics they need to fight safer battles.

VA then is forced to diminish scandals and negative imagery after the servicemember returns, broken, with the goal of helping DOD sell economically disadvantaged kids on the honor of becoming cannon fodder to fight the fight of global elites and bankers while they hang out at Martha’s Vineyard.

There, many of you are thinking it; I said it.

Last week, I promised to start hitting on the suicide issue because, after 8 years of failed opportunities, President Barack Obama’s policies on suicide did not make an appreciable dent in the number of veterans committing suicide each day – 20 per day.

As veterans read this tomorrow, 20 of us will make the deciding to meet our maker early. That is a tragedy and VA is not doing enough and not being honest about what it is doing with the money allocated to help us.

Let me tell you, much of that money is going to fund sexy online advertising campaigns like “Make The Connection” or “It Matters” to combat suicide and other problems.

The agency did this with its limited tax dollars rather than funding real doctors and real psychologist and real investigators to investigate why suicides are still a problem.

RELATED: VA Awards JR Reingold $87 Million Advertising Contract

While veterans are dying from lack of adequate health care services, the agency is paying tens of millions in taxpayer dollars to advertising firms each year for advertising and propaganda.

Is that a good use of your tax dollars?

235 COMMENTS

  1. I see that the Minneapolis Star Tribune is to busy to report on the suicide, instead they are trying to pit a Congressman against Ben.

    “Rep. Walz, poised for top VA post, prepares to fight privatization of care”
    “http://www.startribune.com/rep-walz-poised-for-top-va-post-prepares-to-fight-privatization-of-care/410336285/”

    • Are you/Ben advocating privatization of the VA?? I certainly hope not, and I hope there are other, stronger advocates out there who oppose privatization as well!

      As an 80% disabled vet, I have received all my care through the Minneapolis VA for the last several years. I have nothing but good things to say about this system, and I would be loathe to have it converted to a system where for-profit entities become the arbiters of the care I receive. Mark my words–if you are eligible to receive your health care through the VA, and it becomes a privatized voucher system, there is NO WAY Congress will sufficiently fund such a system to ensure that you continue to receive fully covered health care on the private market. Right now, my health care treatment decisions are made by physicians and staff with a quality of care focus, without regard to how much or how many exams, diagnostics, consults, or treatments are required. If I’ve needed something, I’ve received it.

      I freely admit that it took awhile to be connected within the mental health team, but once I got into the “right” part of the system, I am happy with the mental health care I’ve gotten.

      Regarding the recent veteran’s suicide here in Minneapolis: A tragedy, pure and simple. At the same time, speaking as someone whose thoughts are never far away from choosing that final option, assessments are not science–they are not static, and a veteran’s mental state can change dramatically within a short period of time. And there are veterans who won’t necessarily admit exactly what their mental state is, or what their intentions are. (I am one of those, and refuse to share with the MH team what my “plan” would be.) Yes, the VA is tasked with providing that assistance, but you also can’t force a veteran to go into into the building for help when s/he might be teetering on the edge.

      I agree–we need more qualified staff across the board, including within the mental health teams. At the same time, based on my experience, how much follow-up can we reasonably expect from the mental health care providers? Maybe a case management system should be put in place, with a case manager responsible for regular check-ins with at-risk veterans. At one point, I know that would have helped me, since the key POC for MST at the MSP VAMC is a freaking cold fish and sent me one of those same stupid no-show letters. (“I understand you have indicated that you need mental health assistance. If we don’t hear from you, we will assume you are no longer interested in receiving mental health assistance.”) I specifically requested to be assigned to the broader mental health team, and not to the Women’s Clinic, based on that letter. Again, speaking from experience, I’ve made up my mind that when I hit “that point,” there will be nothing a mental health professional could offer me–regardless of their talent or skill. So again I ask–short of being highly intrusive with insistent veteran contact (which a veteran may not want), how much do we expect these people to do, given that we as veterans have to make a decision to seek and accept help when we are struggling?

      We all know that more funding is needed. That’s up to Congress, and we need to keep the pressure on for that. But there are unlimited needs and limited resources. I’d like for us not to forget that there are lots of good people in the VA working as hard as they can. Not everyone in the system is a lazy, no-good bureaucrat as so many are characterized. They are trying to do a challenging job and balance the priorities and needs of a very large and very special population of people.

      • You make a good point about how much they should do.

        To which I respond, whatever they are doing is insufficient since veterans keep committing suicide outside of VAs. This is at least the third I have read about just this year.

        Also, you sound like you have been going to the VA for awhile, so it’s possible you have been told often that they are underfunded as a bullshit excuse for why they cannot do X or Y or provide some other care.

        I say the claim of underfunding is bullshit, and is proven by reading just the last 6 months of Ben’s articles here showing just how much money the VA wastes.

        Hell even this column shows they have wasted over $80 million in a failed PR campaign that has not done much at all to reduce veteran suicide.

        Its not an issue of funding, but one of setting priorities for where those funds are spent.

      • 91, you are referring to pork given to campaign contributors by congressman and senators through the VA budget. The VA Secretary and budget department have no access to those funds. Neither do they have authority to address the employee pay scale to be competitive. There is some authority, on approval at higher levels, to increase the level (and thus the pay) of a particular position but this only provides a minimal increase.

        The purse strings are in the House where the emphasis is on reducing entitlements including non cash compensation such as medical care (VHA, Medicaid and Medicare). Plus “privatization” to pay off lobbyists and contributors on both sides of the isle. Nothing has changed unless it has gotten worse. Listen to the news and the statements of congressmen and senators about “entitlement” addressing in order to give “tax breaks.” Ask yourself if you are going to get enough of a tax break to compensate you for what is being taken away from you in compensation for your service. Instead all employees of the government as well as citizens are being encouraged to give you a “thank you for your service” instead of the compensation and benefits promised.

      • Are you saying the VA has no input into that worthless $80+ million contract for Rosemarys company?

        Or in many other ways they spend money?

        I agree Congress directs a considerable amount in BS spending, but I cannot see Congress directing an $80 million line item to Reingold.

      • I’m not privy to the negotiations with the Ways and Means Committee on the VA’s budget. I have no way of knowing whether this “Pork” was the idea of the VA budget officer or the input from the congressman of “Rosemary’s” District. Clearly it was the result of a lobbyists efforts if analyzed to purpose and result.

      • RRSinMN,

        Speaking as a veteran who lost the use of his right hand, arm, and shoulder due to a surgery at the VAMC Minneapolis for more than 13 years. All due to a doctor who used my hand for an unapproved experimental surgery to further his research instead of preforming the minor tendon repair that was suppose to be done.

        Also as a disabled Veteran who had to suffer the total absence of care that was never provided by the VA Health Care System to help with the problems and the pain they caused me.

        The bogus claim system with the disappearing medical records they steered me into so that I could get a that true after burn of total injustice. With the bullshit mental health care they felt I needed because I felt they should be repairing the damage they did to my hand arm and shoulder so I could get on with my life.

        Of course never treating the problem but continually trying to addict me to pain killers and psych drugs. After one year of that bullshit I paid out of pocket for what medical care I could afford to treat the problems caused by VA health care.

        13 years latter I was eligible for Medicaid assistance and did receive a necessary surgery that restored limit use of my hand, arm and shoulder and also eliminated most of the pain I had been living with complements of the VA.

        As a condition of filing for medical assistance I was required to file for Social Security. Of course all of my medical records never made it to the Social Security office compliments of the VAMC Minneapolis. So I had file an appeal and wait another 28 months to see a judge. During that time they did release some of my Medical records. Most of which were bogus and certainly did not match my copies of the medical records.

        Now you want to come on here and tell me how great your experience is with the VAMC Minneapolis and how I am wrong for wanting private Health Care because I will never walk into a VA Health Care Facility again.

        Personally if you want a bed pan specialist for your primary care physician go for it. But don’t come posting on my comments that bullshit useless VSO line about VA Health Care.

        Fuck the VSOs and their claims about what will happen if Veterans are given a choice of having Private Health Care instead of VA Death Care.

      • RRSinMN my experience is the same with a few exceptions. I was referred by the Denver VA for admission to Luthern Medical Center in the Denver area from the VA because the VA had an inpatient psychiatrist quit. Normally I would have been an inpatient at the VA for over 1 month. Instead I was given 3 days and a change of medication that went against protocol for the start up of the medication at Luthern Medical Center. Luthern Medical Center Charged the VA for 6 physicians during that 3 days. Over $20,000.00. The likely cost of keeping a patient at the VA would have been much less if only variable costs were considered. Essentially by doing this referral the VA picked up the allocated fixed costs LMC plus added physician costs (spreading the wealth which is a primary insured medical problem). I eventually developed Stevens-Johnson syndrome symptoms which could have been deadly from being put on Lamotrigine at too high an initial dose and too rapid of increases in the dosage.

        An intake person in the psychiatry unit at Hot Springs recorded my statement, in response to a question, that the longest I had gone without sleep was 5 days without recording the qualifier that it was during a sleep deprivation study in a telemetry unit at the West Los Angeles VA during the study on veterans with “sharp wave” EEG presentations in the temporal lobe were being studied by Yale University Neurologists at VA facilities on the VA’s theory that such presentations were not partial and complex partial seizures but were pseudo seizures AKA psychogenic seizures AKA “fake seizures”. Since Yale had received the use of the telemetry units to do studies on non veteran patients with status epileptic and Parkinson’s disease using brain surgery Yale complied and gave the VA the requested conclusion that the VA’s theory was valid thus denying a lot of veterans compensation and placing them in a suicidal mode.

        To go back to the Hot Springs erroneous recording of a sleep deprivation history, I was diagnosed, subsequently, with manic depressive disorder in spite of 30 years of individual psychiatric progress notes that never recorded a manic state in my record, only “lack of effect” and states of having “latencies” (indication of partial seizures). The “lack of effect” probably were indications of the organic depressed state following a major complex partial seizure. The problem with having seizures is that you are unconscious during the seizure except for partial seizures called “ticks” and stuttering. Thus how are you supposed to know you had a seizure and that the seizures are what are disrupting your life.

        Also, I was never adequately medicated for pain by the VA during the years my spinal disc disease, brought on by an MVA caused by an absence seizure while I was the driver, which caused spinal disc sacks to rupture and fragments of the disc to enter the spinal canal and settle on the sciatic nerve in the neural foramina. In Japan, I was hospitalized for exacerbations, adequately medicated with injections for the up to 3 weeks it took for the fragment to be dissolved by the spinal fluids chemistry change orchestrated by my immune system. This doesn’t happen for everyone. Many require surgery which often leads to scaring strangulation of the nerves at the surgical site and a life of severe pain.

        Under medicated pain of this type leads to suicide ideation. It is the unrelentingness of the pain that leads to suicide. This is true for both physical and psychological pain whether from a psychic state or induced by others. The more severe the pain the quicker suicide will occur if a means is available.

        Above is from my 3+ years of study in the NIH Library in DC trying to understand my personal condition. I have written papers with foot notes on the subject and will provide copies to anyone interested. “[email protected]

      • I am happy that you got the care you needed. But it sounds like 20 veterans dying a day is their problem. They treated you good, so the 20 veterans a day did something wrong, they did now seek care.

        How about the Veterans that applied for care and the VA denying their disability claim and that denial, authorizes the VA to not provide care. Lets say mental health for PTSD, ok the veterans must have an adjudicated claim before they can be seen.

        Say this goes on each time the veteran applies for a service connected disability and they were shot in the Head and the VA keeps denying that claim, UNTIL the veterans finds an attorney who would fight the VA and after being denied for 40 years finds out that the VA had lied for those 40 years and finely obtain their deserved disability.

        I know first hand, what that does to a person, by not getting treatment. This is not an isolated case !

        500,000 veterans applied in 2015 and before they could get their claim or application looked at, OVER 200,000 veterans died before obtaining care.

        Let me see (one) veteran states they received good care ! Well over 200,000 would disagree. They would tell it to your face, but they are 6 feet under.

        If you don’t believe me, look it up. How do you think we got to where were at and all the negative that has been reported, by various sources. Sorry we, they cant all be wrong. If a veterans wants to be cared by the VA, Fine and at the same time. Veterans who want to seen by someone else should have that choice.

        Please take time and read more from veterans on this site and other sites. We have a Major problem and VA employees whom have made the VA their own and do hurt veterans, because they can. These people must be let go.

        Enough is Enough !

      • That is one change that could have been positive but wasn’t. The VA now does military discharge examinations simultaneously (supposedly looking at all potential disabling problems). But you have to answer a question sheet detailing your potential disabilities. How many of you knew the day you got out of the service which items were “hidden disabilities” like PTSD? And how many more of you just want to get the fuck away from anything to do with the military including the VA only to later find yourself not nearly as able as you thought you were, especially those of you who had a TBI or cerebral malaria or were on an artillery site/shipboard gunnery that fired 1,000 rounds or more.

        How can you expect a damaged or stressed out brain to evaluate itself properly?

        And then to have those exams be done by unqualified personnel. And the failure to re-examine you with the same induction tests you took in induction and boot camp so that discrepancies could be highlighted and examined.

  2. The only ones they will be reporting, are the ones that have homicidal intents as to the one In Texas, Florida. When they have those that are suicidal, but act on the homicidal ideations, their bitch asses get scared and will quickly report those types of incidents.
    The VA will always try to keep things under wraps if it makes them look bad. They already look bad with theirs nurses and the previous OIG fartbox looking like a pigeon toe swayback , knocked kneed, edematous belly aardvark, with no sense of direction.
    Girl…… Bye!
    VA sucks manatee dick! Fuxk Bob, Fuxk Sloan,
    Put all VA employees in a uniform, just like the Public Health Service with a uniformed code of justice , and maybe then , you might get some respect!
    Orherwise then that, you can smoke an oregano chia pet, resembling BOb , who is crooked as they come!

  3. Benjamin, great article, unfortunate circumstances. “NO MEDIA”….the VA sure is not being shy about their media blackout.
    I also noticed in last night’s Presidential Farewell Speech from Chicago, Obama did not mention Veteran Suicide once, not once. Nor did he even speak of his failure to clean-up the VA, instead he used most of that opportunity to fan the flames of racism in USA. Obama made NO MENTION of the very homicide rate of 800 in Chicago in 2016. Instead, this was ALL ABOUT his controlling the dialog of his LEGACY.
    While giving that speech, another 20 Veterans have taken their lives from shitty Psych Care or lack of care entirely.
    January 20th could not come fast enough.
    Out of words, when our very Commander-In-Chief is so self-absorbed that his legacy comes before Veterans that have fought the battle and continued to, only to be failed by same gov’t and tossed aside like used bubble gum. Sad.

  4. Yesterday I read an article about the “Ft. Lauderdale Shooter”. It is now being reported, by the FBI, he “… intentionally flew…” there, because it is “…a gun free zone!” This, in my opinion, is a “play” to garner more gun laws.
    If we don’t enforce the ones on the books already, more incidents like this will continue. Rep. Trey Gowdy has made this perfectly clear during committee meetings!
    As far as VA not reporting veterans suicide, how else can they continue to receive the TENS of MILLIONS of taxpayers monies each year.

    I believe since “Breitbart” reported this, the ‘Trump Team’ is fully aware of the many illegal activities committed by VA employees, from top to bottom! I believe this scandal will be their downfall.
    I also believe, the VA employees, from top to bottom, will do anything they can to keep their cash from disappearing. They realize they’re on shaky ground. Or, why else would they attempt to hide evidence of wrongdoings?!
    As my wife asked yesterday. Wouldn’t it be a Godsend if many, say 20%, VA employees were to become Whistleblowers. I don’t think VA could stand the press.
    These atrocities against veterans needs to take center stage!

    • @Crazy Elf- The only thing the VA needs to do or our new President’s Admn. is to announce to the VA that only upon at least 20% feedback from VA Whistleblowers reporting all fraud they are aware of, will they be eligible for ANY future Performance Bonuses. Done.
      The swamp will become somewhat self-cleaning once VA employees realize all these bad VA employees definitely are holding them back from any future Performance Bonuses or raises of any kind…the swamp will appear to have the water boiling by the bubbling churning of the Whistleblowers shedding light on all the corruption….the rats will be exposed, convict, and move-on. Repeat. (in an ideal swamp cleaning)

  5. Benjamin and all, if this VA had had proper protocol and when the veteran did not show up for his mental health appointment, the VA should have immediately contacted the local law enforcement such as a sheriff or police to do a wellness check. They should have taken the time to send a law enforcement official with a medical professional as well to the veterans’s home.
    Benjamin, in the past, the VA used to do wellness checks. The VA even used to send emergency services to veterans’s homes if a crisis was determined to be happening. I am serious.
    President Elect TRUMP press conference being held today at 11am. Mr.Trump will announce the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs today in the press conference.

    • Angela, recently, when and if the VA sends local law enforcement, as what happened here in Ohio last year when a Veteran was on a VA Suicide Hotline the Veteran made “concerning words” to the VA Hack on other end so she sent suicide by cop to his home.
      He and his wife and kids were surrounded by SWAT and local police when he was shot 4 times…in front of his wife and kids…dead.
      ^
      With that said, the VA has NO CLUE these days, on how to conduct a proper “wellness check” in my opinion because it’s a confrontational approach, which NEVER works with any mental health situation, ever.

      • Angela, here’s the link to the story from Summer, 2016: “http://popularmilitary.com/veteran-killed-officers-shooting-va-suicide-hotline-called-police/”

      • I agree with you. This is why the law enforcement need to be properly trained as well. It is a partnership between both the VA and the law enforcement. I know this can be done and I know it has been done successfully because I have witnessed it. It is a way to improve the approach to handling crisis situations and save lives.

    • A mental health condition is never to be taken lightly. In depth evaluations should always be done by professionals who understand the symptoms with their varying degrees of severity, and who understand the procedures outlining the immediate actions that are to be taken based on the symptoms seriousness presented at that given time.

      • I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, Angela.
        Only, in my opinion, the VHA has hardly NO real professionals in the mental health services. And law enforcement is over extended on just about every issue taking place. Plus, law enforcement is being hampered by all those butthurt RADICAL libertard snowflakes taking to the streets protesting President Elect Trump and Vice-President Elect Pence!
        Therefore, sending law enforcement and an “alleged mental health professional” to a vets home. Could very well be a deadly mistake for the veteran!

      • It is done all of the time. And not just on veterans. And yes, the cops sometimes come shooting on misinformation. Or haven’t you been watching the news videos?

        So, who are you going to call? 911 gets you the cops and the ambulance. Always the cops in potential suicide circumstances.

        Been there and done that.

      • I agree, that’s a good way to get a veteran killed. All that has to happen is a Disgruntled employee with retaliation on their mind, could call the police at will and tell them the Veteran is out of control and maybe armed.

        And the veteran could be sitting watching a movie, not doing nothing else and then go to the front door and police with hands on guns, telling him what they were told. This more than likely piss off the Veteran and they get mad and tell the police the VA, was making a false report and the police don’t believe them and that is very dangerous.

      • It happened to me and a false report was filed. Point is when you call 911 for an ambulance in the case of a veteran the police usually arrive first, often with guns drawn.

        So who you gonna call dude?

    • Angela, I disagree in this instance of sending LEOs to his house since it appears from Ben’s post, he only had an initial intake exam, and supposedly was a no-show for the follow-up with his mental health appointment.

      If that is the case, the only thing I think the VA should have done was to pick up the freaking phone and trying to contact the veteran. Did they even bother to do that? Or did they just quickly mark him as a no-show to get back to Facebook?

      In my experience the VA has really gotten bad at using telephones in the last several years. After transferring to Grand Junction, I gave them both my home and cell numbers to call, have told them repeatedly to call my cell, have asked them to remove my home number from their records to try get them to call my cell…and they insist on calling my home number, likely because they know they will always get voice mail, and won’t have to speak to me.

      I’m curious how many times this veteran may have tried to get care at the VA.

      • The director here a few years ago was called out for time and attendance fraud. Ben posted about him a couple weeks ago.
        When called out, the guy claimed discrimination, and was paid off to resign.
        Ben’s post was about the guy being rehired elsewhere.
        That director was gone before I started going to Junction in late 2013. A flunky named Hitt was acting, and then I was told she moved on somewhere, only to find she was still here as #2. Not sure where she’s at now and I don’t care. The director I was familiar with was MaGill, but I found out he moved on to be the director at Hines last year. He had been here at most 2 years.

        I don’t know who the replacement is.

        I also see our Chief of Staff has moved on. The new one comes from the Montgomery, AL VA.

        Hungry Hippos on a national scale.

      • Seems these people do this over and over, spend a little time here and there and that would free them up to mess up and move along. If something happened when they were in charge and the New Manager can say when asked if any VA employee was held accountable and its been done over and over.

        Well, I’m in charge now and what happened was the responsibility of the spot before I cam here. So the answer is NO ! And that’s the end of the story. If you like to see it first hand, go to you tube and watch the Veterans committee interview VA management and VA employees.

        Every veteran and or elected officials should watch, especially the new secretary, so he cant say I did not know this was going on.

        They are playing Musical chairs to try and stay out of trouble. Who was it then, I don’t know, but it wasn’t ME. He, He, Ha, Ha,

      • Since I was looking at the Grand Junction VA web site to see who the new director might be, I clicked on their Accreditation and Achievements.

        I am happy to see GJVAMC received a Presidential Award for Quality…16 years ago in 2001. The text assures me it’s noteworthy.
        I also see GJVAMC was accredited by the Joint Commission (formerly JCAHO) 10 years ago in 2007. The text tells me it’s good for 3 years.

        But hey! VA is just underfunded and understaffed.

  6. Angela, the police did prevent my suicide once. Then transported me to an abusive psych ward at the Long Beach VA. From the level of abuse by the ward psychiatrist I’m not surprised that she had a group suicide of 4 in 1996.

    Calling the police is not an end all. Accurate recording of history, accurate diagnosis and fair adjudication and rehabilitation will cut Veteran suicides in half.

    Contact for Further Information
    Lindy Fortin-Case, LICSW
    Suicide Prevention Coordinator
    612-467-3620
    Took out the email address because links cause “Your comment is awaiting moderation”
    Try calling her. I’ll bet she has no authority to do anything thus you’ll get a stone wall.

    • @Lem,
      If you want to put an email address on here, put quotation marks,
      ex:. “xxxx.com”
      around it! Most who come on here know to remove them

  7. Here’s an interesting piece of fact coming from “The Next News Network”, Gary Franci reporting.
    It seems that all those 17 security agencies, who say Russians influenced the election, by hacking the DNC, for Trump, have missed something.
    For example: the Russian TV show they used as “proof” was NOT proof at all! The “article” they ‘used’ was dated in December 2012! That’s correct, a “FOUR YEAR OLD RUSSIAN NEWS REPORT”!
    Question, “Who had just won re-election in Dec. 2012?” Why, it was our “beloved divisive, race-baiting, Saul Alinskite, (sic), protégé community organizer – Barack Husien Obama!”
    And, of course, the FBI has now told the American People the DNC REFUSED them access to their computers.
    “What a tangled web we weave, when first we try to deceive!” This should be the ‘moto’ of these posers!

    President Elect Trump has hit the agencies hard yesterday, or the day before, over this false narrative!

  8. In my opinion the “no show” probably in time frame where Veteran did not receive an appointment letter in the first place. More likely than not Veteran never knew he had an appointment. Report VHA brief states “No Media”. The disabled Veteran negligeted as so many. The va system is sick. When Veterans are committing suicide on the grounds of a va medical center they are sending a message, hence the no media to protect va. I pray for comfort for this Veterans family. Another tragedy, so sad and heartbreaking.

  9. From “The Horn News” dated 11 Jan. 2017.
    Titled;
    “Veterans remain at risk as Trump considers VA picks”

    There’s good and bad news in this article.
    The GAO, Govt Accounting Agency, has once again placed veterans at “High Risk”. When it comes to healthcare. Possibly even in other VA facilities.
    Trump may keep Shulkin. Yet, that’s not been confirmed.
    It’s actually a straight forward article. The writer doesn’t pull any punches.
    Check it out.

    As I type this, President Elect Trump is readying himself for his first press conference. I hope the news medias report facts and not fake news!!!!!!!

    • Here we go again, I have a funny feeling there is going to be more veterans are going to be left out in the cold. Sorry but I don’t think anything is going to change in favor of the veterans. Once again I believe its all going to be about the VA employees.

      I’m not going to hold my breath for anything to help veterans.

    • Actually, no real change. He has been Under Secretary for Health. Don’t expect a mental health care improvement. “Internal Medicine”, everything is a problem of what you eat.

    • Here’s one of Ben’s Blog articles “Does New VHA Head Have Antisocial Personality Disorder?”
      “http://www.disabledveterans.org/2015/08/31/does-new-vha-head-have-antisocial-personality-disorder/”

      another: “New Mexico VA Caught In ‘Herculean’ Waitlist Manipulation”

      “http://www.disabledveterans.org/2015/12/01/new-mexico-va-caught-in-herculean-wait-list-manipulation/”

      I will rely on Benjamin’s further digging, but I fear another cut from the same flock will potentially be a continuing problem at the VA, I hope to be wrong.

      • @Namnibor , @Crazy elf – I feel the same way. If there is going to be REAL changes at the VA, Mr. Shulkin should reveal this at the get go of accepting the position of VA Secretary. If he doesn’t, he is out of touch about the problems that are occurring with Veterans healthcare from the VA. PERIOD . . . . Simple as that!

    • ANutterVet – I am not sure how I actually feel about the new VA secretary decision. I am reviewing him. I know he lists his 2nd priority as the employees with his 1st priority as waiting times and access. This approach is still catering to the VA itself and gearing to exhibiting a non veteran centric objective . The VA is still presenting a false personae. I mean it is still to make them look good.
      This leads me to believe that he will still cater to the employees and they will not be held accountable. It is still about the VA as the objective and the veterans are not the sole purpose of the objective. The approach is still not valuing life. After further diving into David Shulkin’s background, I will add to my comment later. I will come back later. At this point, I am not sure if I agree or disagree. Veterans look at his priorities and consider my points so far. Do you see what I am saying? Not sure yet.

  10. How many of us have any use for David Shulkin?
    I agree namnibor. I hope Ben digs real deep on what’s about to happen within VA.

  11. Crazy elf, from what I have read do far, I am not impressed. He has great achievements in medicine but even medical doctor can be like a business man. I mean just knowing a bunch of business principles and science theory but still yet does not validate one having a personable humanistic approach in what one would call a good bed side manner. David Shulkin mentioned that a doctor and business leaders are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Yes, they can be but not always. So I do not agree with David Shulkin’s position on how he explained that a doctor is always passionate with the patient at the forefront. I will continue to speak later once again. He is still part of the corruption but we will see.

    • Everyone… Google the new VA secretary David Shulkin. His previous priorities are listed in his questioning and his biography is also listed.

    • @Bill- I hear you and yes, let’s give him a chance. However…why exactly has he not been a trailblazer for real change while warming yet another V.A. Titanic deck chair in past? Does that make logical sense why I ask that? Or is he the new “Manchurian VA Candidate”, home-brewed on the VA slab down in the lab?

    • We gave him a chance and he traded doctors for nurses and orderlies. Have fun with your bed pan specialist that is now your primary care doctors.

      • However, you can thwart that possibly by eating a lot of pork products, as that once-bedpan specialists is bound to also be from an Islamic country and may take it to the AFGE Union if they are required to touch Vets that consume pork products. You are what you eat, after all? 🙂

        I truly was expecting something entirely different, and nobody from the same V.A. Titanic Deck Chairs. Not that I am finding doubt in Pres. Trump’s thinking, but I almost wonder if it was really THAT hard to find someone from outside the VA to take on such a mammoth job of cleaning-up the VA.
        Maybe I am not seeing the entire picture but is this not pretty much the same as if Gibson were made VA Sec.? Or McDuck remained? What’s significantly different and if Shulkin has had ideas in past, who did not want to listen to them?

        Come-on, do the job or not at all already, we do not have time to wait any longer. Veterans are dying and the VA indeed is lying.

  12. Yep, he will be given a chance because we have no choice when it comes to the VA unless one leaves the VA. I am keeping an open mind though. We will see.

    • Actually he has all ready had two years on the side we’ve been talking about, Health Care. Now he will also be in charge of adjudication and rehab. If you want to get rid of McDonald you are not. If you have seen no improvement in the facility you use, Why? Cheyenne was under the gun. It is a small facility and change was easy. But what about Albuquerque, Cleveland, Denver, Loma Linda and so many more that are bigger and no change has even been attempted?

  13. This is a major let down from Trump for all Veterans.

    Personally I do not believe I need to give the person who has been replacing doctors with unqualified nurses and assistants to do the work of primary care doctors, a chance. He has already contributed to making the VA nightmare health care system worse.

    Let’s see now, a attorney General who is recusing himself from any and all Clinton investigations because he once said during the presidential campaign, that he believed that there should be a full investigation of the Clinton email scandal and a full investigation of the possible pay for play at the Clinton Foundation.

    Now taking the piece of garbage that helped prevent hiring doctors at the VA. So he could get his nurses and PAs in as Doctors at the VA. Trump is going to put him in as the head of the VA.

    This is utter fucking bullshit.

    • @Ben , @Seymore Klearly , @Namnibor , @Crazy elf , @Angela , @Ex va , @Bill , @Lem – What Seymore stated is exactly what I was concerned about. I’m trying to think positively, but it is really hard. I’m very skeptical about David Shulkin, and I’m sure that Ben will write an article with additional and accurate information. Like you Seymore, I don’t like the flip flopping on issues committed by President Elect Trump as well. I’m still hoping for substantial changes at the VA. Enough of all the let downs!

    • It is profoundly clear that what Drudge report is asking need to be seriously considered. Is Trump now being black mailed by the intelligence Agencies.

      It is truly a major victory for all VSOs and VA employees.

    • Agreed. It is a major slap in the face to me. Shulkin’s main concern has ALWAYS been waitlist’s and employees. NEVER once have I ever heard any concern for the veterans they are supposed to serve from him.

      MY VA = AFGE Owned/Operated. CHOICE = I have none.

      • Disgruntled Veteran and all, I did not know that David Shulkin made the decision to hire Nurse Practitioners instead of physicians. I am just now checking into his past decisions. When the decision was made about the Nurse Practitioners, I almost thought Secretary McDonald had the final implementing authority on this issue. Who is to say who really made this decision? My concerns are he is still part of the corruption. This is the problem

      • Dr. Shulkin also has a history of CEO of an Accountable Care Organization. Probably the reason he was picked by Obama and head of VA Health Care. The ACA was running ACO trials. Apparently the VA was one of them. The problem is they didn’t use an accountant to help. The controls for monitoring reporting that bonuses are still inadequate. The Kiosk for checking in is one of the controls that didn’t exist when it was rolled out thus reports of appointments were falsified. But ACO bonuses aren’t only based upon timely appointments. They are also based on customer satisfaction and morbidity report line items. As in are you actually performing better than last year in keeping people from dying.
        t

      • Angela,
        In today’s comments, you have asserted that sending law enforcement to Veterans homes would in some insane way help with the suicide rate.

        You have also showed clear support for Shulkin.

        Now you are insinuating that I am wrong and the VA’s undersecretary of health had nothing to do with the decision to use bed pan specialist at the VA as primary care physicians.

        It is seeming that you are little more than a fricken Troll.

      • Seymore, I believe you need to re read all my posts. I will further speak in detail why trained law enforcement as well as medical professionals are to be used in wellness checks. I never mentioned that I agreed with David Shulkin. You have not read all the facts that I have presented. I will present more to explain to you where I am coming from. You do not have all the facts before you are making a judgement. My facts are from my personal experience.

      • I never said you were wrong. My comments were interpreted from Shulkin’s questioning answers from his biography. This has nothing to do with you.

      • I will go into detail my reasons a little later when I have a chance to type. Furthermore, if you would really like to know the truth and due to Mr. Trump’s decision, I am removing all my healthcare out of the VA except one provider. So I believe you need to get your facts straight before you make a judgement.

      • Seymore,

        With Respect, Angela did post this comment: “Disgruntled Veteran and all, I did not know that David Shulkin made the decision to hire Nurse Practitioners instead of physicians. I am just now checking into his past decisions. When the decision was made about the Nurse Practitioners, I almost thought Secretary McDonald had the final implementing authority on this issue. Who is to say who really made this decision? My concerns are he is still part of the corruption. This is the problem”

        After re-reading all of Angela’s posts on this topic today, I think she meant well, but was possibly somewhat uninformed. Particularly in view of her quoted comment above. She did state she is now researching “ShitferBrains Shulkin”. She also stated she meant you no disrespect.

        Angela has in the past provided valuable anecdotal info to this community. Troll? I just do not quite see that.

      • @Disgruntled Veteran – Where did you get this equation from? The propaganda mathematics text book for VA Image Building Consultants? Funny you!

      • @ANutterVet – Hope you received my e-mail, and find it useful. Your situation is actually an easy tweak to the records. And I believe you are correct.

        Fo dem bookstuffs dis da kine? – MY VA = AFGE Owned/Operated. CHOICE = I have none.

      • @ANutterVet – Or were you referring to my post to Seymore WRT Angela? A bit confused here. Help get me straightened out, please.

        Mahalo’s !!!

      • @Disgruntled Veteran – Sorry for the mix up. I was talking about Angela’s comments. I backtracked and reread posts, now I feel a little confused. But that’s ok. No biggie. I just posted a comment to @Angela how sometimes writing in blogs, letters, and emails, that the content can be taken out of context. This comes along with the turf. No problem bruddah!

      • @Disgruntled Veteran – I received your email, and sent a reply. I’m trying to get things together. I probably need to take a breaaaaaak! No need to reply. Thanks bruddah.

    • This is for everyone you still have a place to express your concerns. Make it short but to the point.

      Contact him yourself. %^&&(@realdonaldtrump)4400

      All of you send him your thoughts. If we knew who was going to be interviewing this guy, maybe veterans can contact them with our concerns and maybe they can ask him questions from a real veteran.

  14. Trust me I am no fan of the va and the way they treat us.

    This guy has been at his job less than 2 years. He does have some history but maybe the things he has done he had no real choice in doing. Lets see what legislation is put into
    Place either to help or hurt us and how that legislation is put into practice.

    If I had known the things that I know now when I was 18 I would not be a vetetan. Well I sat that nut at 18 I was young and very dumb.

    I do have my fingers crossed.

    • You go ahead and keep your fingers crossed bill. I guess you can’t be what late 20s since you are saying how much you have learned since you were 18.

      I am a bit older and apparently much wiser. This pick is nothing but a slap in the face to all Veterans.

    • Yes, Bill and all, I have also have had second thoughts about having signed on the dotted line. With how my life has turned out due to the unfortunate circumstances and the current state of the VA, I now at times wished I were not a veteran as well.

      • I started contacting my senators and congressman, Bennett’s office recording. Corey Gardner left an e-mail.

        Tried to contact Mike Coffman via E-mail, a pop up came on stating I was not in his district, so I called his Washington number, an aide answered, I told him I was a disabled veteran and that his site said I was not in his district. I asked the Aide, Does Mr. Coffman work for all the citizens in Colorado, The Aide response, NO just those in his district.

        I always thought our elected officials were there to help all its citizens, I was wrong !

        If they all think this way, as a whole were in a lot of trouble. Separate officials for each section and only that section. I thought this was the United States, Not the Divided States.

        anyway contact your senator and congressmen, for the people by the people.

        God help us all.

      • Senators should respond to anyone within their states, congressmen only respond to those in their district…unless you are writing them as the chairman of a committee.
        This is why the VA likes to move some claims issues out of state, because then they have an excuse for not responding to your senator.

        Years ago, I contacted various district offices of congressmen in Wisconsin on a veterans issue that affected many veterans. Every one of them except my own congressman refused to even listen unless I loved in their district.
        The worst response was Rep. David Obeys office. They were downright nasty about someone outside his district contacting his office.

        I have found both our Senators here in CO to be surprisingly worthless.

        …which is why I comment on their Facebook pages.

      • These days it seems like only those that letters that contain a contribution or are published in your local paper get any more than a form letter response saying they got your letter. Nothing ever is returned that indicates it was actually read. Even if you send an email via their web site.

        Most do have a form for you to fill out for vets seeking service granting them the ability to look at your file.

        If you get a letter published you’ll receive a letter telling you how they would like you to state your case.

    • Bill,

      I would not trust “ShitferBrains Shulkin”, nor be too hopeful that he will have either the intelligence, nor cajones to place the VA on the fast-track to reform based upon integrity. Just another lackey being rewarded for not being able to do a competent job.

  15. He Elf,

    Did you happen to catch the article on the ring leader for the employees at the VAMC Battle creek MI VA just got sentenced to ten years? Where the VAMC employees and others were using Veterans Patient information to file false income tax returns. 34 people where indicted for the more then 4,000 bogus tax returns for over $22 Million and change.

    “Tax fraud that targeted US veterans, inmates lands ringleader 10 years in prison”, John Hogan, WZZM 5:50 PM. EST January 10, 2017
    “http://www.wzzm13.com/news/crime/tax-fraud-that-targeted-us-veterans-and-inmates-lands-ringleader-10-years-in-prison/384904228”

    More about the VAMC crime ring.

    From the Department of Justice news release.
    “34 Defendants Charged With Conspiracy To Commit Fraud In Battle Creek”
    “https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdmi/pr/2016_0301_BattleCreek”

    “Michigan inmates, veterans used in $22M tax fraud”, John Hogan, WZZM 9:38 AM. EST March 02, 2016
    “http://www.wzzm13.com/news/crime/mich-inmates-veterans-used-in-22-million-tax-fraud/63300312”

  16. Outrageous! Many veterans at risk for suicide while the VA spends untold millions on false advertising campaigns to assure America we are being taken care of properly. I call BULLSHIT on that!!!

    How about knocking off ALL the TV ads I see for the VA – – – and spend that money on hiring REAL Doctors. You know, ones that have their medical licenses, are semi-proficient, etc. ?

    Was this veteran REALLY a “no show”, or was the veteran unaware that they actually had an appointment? I could not count the times that has happened to me over the years. Out of the blue, I receive a letter stating that I failed to attend an appointment at the VA – – – and I am scratching my head, and staring at my calendar that reflects no such event. I have had appointment notices, and cancellation letters for those same appointments arrive to my mailbox the same day.

    When it comes to the VA – – – is the Right Front Hoof aware that the Left Front Hoof even exists? We know all too well that the Snout exists. Piggies always have it dipped in the money trough!

    The “No Media” policy if continued, should have the statistical veteran suicide rate to zero within the next six months. Government loves positive statistics!

    In the real world though – – – the suicide rate among vets will be much higher than 20 per day.

    Veterans Die and the VA Lies! Heil VA!

    Rat Bastards.

    • The VA just last year magically lowered that number of Veteran Suicides from 22 to 20 with no real substance to back it up other than a RAND study, if that. You are right, the VA is going to try to recede the dialog of Veteran Suicide to desensitize or attempt to the public and guess what….we are not going to allow that to take place!
      No matter what David Shulkin does, says he will do or outright does not do, we have to be the angry dogs up his ass letting him and Pres. Trump know what is *really* taking place, rather than what the Deck Chairs are feeding the President. Veteran Lives Matter, dammit!

    • Well said. It saddens me to know we gave up a portion of our lives and our health gor this country just to give very undeserving people a job so they can lie to us, cheat us. Kill us and call us non humans.

      There are some days I do not trust my brain very much, other days I trust my brain but with reservations. I honestly do not trust anyone inside the va. I know what they have done to me over the years and without even an attempt at an apology for what quacks did to me.

      I received an emal from the battle creek facility trying to explain away their 2 star rating a gew eeejs ago, but I never received any heads up that my information may of been compromised in a tax refund scheme this clearly brings to light what their priorities are and they are not the veterans. We are just an obstacle for them getting an undeserved pay check.

      Sad, Very sad.

    • @Disgruntled Veteran, you and every Veteran has every right to be angry over scheduling. It is a crime!!! Keep appointment letters and envelopes with date sent if possible. If they cancel your appointment make sure they designate it as “cancel by clinic”. Not a “no show”, which hides their negligence.

    • Last year the Government spend over $1.4 Billion on public relations cover-ups.

      “Taxpayers Spend Thousands On Poorly Used Gov’t Public Relations Jobs”, by Luke Rosiak, The Daily Caller New Foundation, 01/10/2017

      Read more: “http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/10/taxpayers-spend-thousands-on-poorly-used-govt-public-relations-jobs/”

      “Federal employees spend more than $1 billion a year boosting the government’s image, including the salaries of an estimated 5,000 official “spokesmen” who often ignore questions from reporters about agency operations and try to distract public attention away from embarrassing scandals.

      “A good product sells itself. So what does it say when more than $1.4 billion is spent every year promoting federal agencies and services but trust and confidence in the government have plummeted?”

      “Federal agencies could improve their public relations at no cost whatsoever by simply conducting themselves efficiently and effectively,” the Arizona Republican wrote.

      “But too often the response of federal departments and agencies to scandals and reporter questioning is to either ignore the queries or to seek to shift public attention to other matters by hiring additional public relations people.”

      “The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), for example, increased its public relations staff from 144 to 286 in the past eight years, according to Wastebook. One of the projects the staff came up with to counter coverage of VA bosses retaliating against whistleblowers was propaganda materials based on the theme of “I will talk positively about my workplace to others.”

      “At another VA facility, officials said they would call the police on any roaming reporters who might ask employees uncomfortable questions about a disgraced chief of staff being given his job back despite having a suspended medical license.”

      • Where does the credentialing and priveledging come into effect on a suspended medical license in the va system? A doctor couldn’t practice on a suspended medical license in private sector??????

      • That was the Candy Man at Candy Land. also known as Dr. David Houlihan at Tomah VAMC.

        One of the main reporters they were trying to keep out was Ben.

      • See Ben’s article:

        “Veterans Affairs Threatens Press Over Houlihan Hearing Circus”
        By Benjamin Krause, JD –
        April 11, 2016

        “http://www.disabledveterans.org/2016/04/11/veterans-affairs-threatens-press-over-houlihan-hearing-circus/”

      • Also see Ben’s article:

        “McDonald ‘I Care’ Propaganda Stuns VA Whistleblowers”
        By Benjamin Krause, JD –
        December 21, 2016

        “http://www.disabledveterans.org/2016/12/21/mcdonald-care-propaganda-stuns-va-whistleblowers/”

      • If you recall when Obama came into office, many media companies were barely staying afloat.

        Shortly after, there was a huge number of government advertising spots on radio and TV. You still can’t listen to a radio show without hearing some commercial playing advertising for some government agency, and “paid for by X government agency and the Ad Council”.

        The very worst of this BS that I have seen to date are the USDAs food safety campaign, such as their “cook it safe” idiocy. You can still go on YouTube and find them. If I were a government flunky that produced those ads I would be ashamed to show my face.
        They are a number of videos, often depicting college kids being informed of how to safely microwave food.

        FFS if you are that damn stupid that you don’t know how to operate a microwave oven, you deserve to starve!

        I seriously believe throughout the 8 years of Obama, he had federal agencies feeding media or advertising companies piles of cash to keep them afloat, payback for getting him elected, and payments to keep certain reporting to a minimum.

    • Throughout the years of going to various VAs for appointments, I had always gotten letters for my appointments. It didn’t matter what it was for, if it was 3 days after another appointment, I always got a letter.
      Since I started going to Grand Junction 3 years ago, I can count on one hand the number of letters I’ve gotten….and I think one of them was for a C&P exam after surgery.

      If a veteran is truly scheduled for an appointment, why is it that act of scheduling does not automatically kick off a flag resulting in the form letter being sent? Its not like anyone writes the letter or signs off on it.

      As for Shulkin…I said it before. No matter who Trump picks, we will have to hold his feet to the fire, and I believe the media will be more than willing to report on any scandal, even suicides, if for nothing else than a chance to smear Trump.

      Out only hope at this point is Trump keeps his eye on the VA, and demands Congress gets behind supporting Shulkin.

      I still think we are screwed.

  17. I just read that the new VA secretary believes that obstetrics and gynecology should be considered for treatment outside of the VA. Great! I am happy for the female veterans. There goes the Veterans Choice option for the guys. Need more feedback.

  18. I assume him being 38 was a mistake, unless him being a Gulf War veteran is in reference to the war in Iraq starring in 2003.
    The first Gulf War was 25 years ago, making him 13 at the time.
    I am not at all surprised his assessment was low. Can anyone else see a veteran going to the VA for the first time trusting them enough to tell them information that would warrant a higher rating?
    What would warrant a higher rating? Showing them the gun?

    I think at this point, the policy of not reporting on veterans committing suicide should be deemed a dismal failure. How many suicides has that prevented?
    I bet it could be argued that it adds to suicides.
    No reporting means no thorough investigation into when he presented, how his assessment was arrived at, how soon after his initial assessment he was offered a follow-up, whether there is a delay in follow-up, who provided the assessment and if they were qualified, whether the follow-up shrink is qualified, etc.

    In other words, there is no assessment into whether that clinic, any other clinic or anyone at the VA actually delivers adequate mental health care.

    For those raving VA defenders, the current suicide rate shows they are not.

    Why cover this problem up? Because to investigate it thoroughly and honestly, it would result unwanted scrutiny to the VA, such as with their budget, and how it’s pissed away on things that have no chance of preventing a suicide.
    Budget items such as the $87 million contract to Reingold let in 2010 in between Rosemary Williams stint as a senior flunky at VA in 2009-2011, and her current stint. Embarrassing questions might come up for her on how the company where she served as Vice President from 2012-2013 landed this contract, yet in 6 years has done little to reduce veteran suicide.

    Any VA excuse of not reporting on veteran suicides is a bullshit excuse and they know it. Its a missed opportunity to see if there are problems in their delivery of care, and to inform veterans that help is available.

    Will Trumps selection of Shulkin change this?
    I highly fucking doubt it.

      • Yes, Lem, the Gulf war was in 1991. I was on active duty during the Gulf war. The information in this report is not correct.

      • He is not a veteran, but as Ben pointed out previously in another column, VA secretaries who were veterans have not helped veterans much.

        The last veteran VA Secretary I recall actually show concern for veterans was Jesse Brown, and even he had hs hands tied by Clinton’s white house.

      • If I am reading correctly, Lem meant Shulkin is not a veteran, and you meant the veteran Ben mentions in his post.

  19. I believe that the VA suicide rate just went up. Personally I feel sick. This is a sad day for Veterans. Somehow, some way, Veterans NEED to be a voice in selecting the Sec. Of VA. Obviously we are not. Apparently, our words have fallen on deaf ears. Hell, I am angry. Between Sessions and Shulkin, I really am lost. Ben, your article is great. Seymore, I just don’t know what to say. God Bless the Veterans, please.

    • Apparently the only veteran voices that mattered with this selection are those ass kissers at VSO headquarters.

      Anyone have any information on how those VSOs are reacting to Shulkin being named?

      If they are quiet about it, you know they got who they wanted. He may not have been their first or second choice, but he’s someone they agree with.

  20. 01/11/2017

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    President Elect Donald Trump has nominated David Shulkin to be the next VA Secretary—at his televised Press Conference, today, around noon.

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg

  21. First, No Seymore, I hadn’t heard about the VA employees pulling that IRS scam on veterans.
    Here’s another thought on that. Were any veterans, who were receiving “unemployability”, (I.U.), affected. As in their disability compensation being taken away?
    The IRS and VBA do work hand in hand, right?
    That said, what tipped off law enforcement on this?

    Secondly, David Shulkin will need to help get rid of the union. There’s absolutely no way, if he’s such a great guy as Trump says he is, the VHA side of VA will ever change.

    Third, fuck the VA. They MURDER veterans.
    I’m tired of all the bullshit coming out from their mouths!

    • at first impression, i felt veterans just got blown out of the water via the Trump pick of David Shulkin. being an obama appointee along with all the negative VA dealings of just the past few years that Shulkin has been onboard.

      sorta leaves me a bit numb. was really hoping a “true” reformer would have been picked.

      unless Trump fires him after awhile for not doing Trump’s VA reforms, he so often spoke about during the election, i’m gonna have to read more and get more insight into this guy Shulkin. on the surface just for today, i don’t like this pick at all.

      he has a long list of credentials, but like obama who can speak so eloquently to make folks think he is so great he was short on action, so i don’t hold Shulkin’s credentials in high regard at all. like we know, he has been there for a few years and what has really changed?

      i’ll stop there for now, read some more and see what this guy does but no reason to hold my jaded breath. waiting on @Ben’s in depth insights on this choice for more point/counter-point. but considering some of @Ben’s past articles i think i sort of know where @Ben leans on this one.

      • I don’t think there are many with any hope left.

        The only sliver I have is that Trump continues to demand reform and Shulkin acts on it, or that Shulkin is simply a placeholder until Trump presents a better plan for veterans.

  22. About suicides, Locally, Walker County, Alabama, I hear about suicides quite often. Mostly from neighbors. Our newspapers/local news/radio, never put it out there. There is no blog site where one can go to check Veterans suicides. 20 suicides a day, should have it’s own place. I’m not saying that Veterans who commit suicide should have a Wall, but, ALL Veterans deaths should be remembered. I thoroughly believe the VA is responsible for many of these suicides. In fact, many should be labeled wrongful death. Personally I feel responsible for a few that I may have had a chance to save. The VA is my enemy, and most likely they will go on the way they are now. That’s a crime. I relate to suicide, more than I want to.

  23. “VA then is forced to diminish scandals and negative imagery after the servicemember returns, broken, with the goal of helping DOD sell economically disadvantaged kids on the honor of becoming cannon fodder to fight the fight of global elites and bankers while they hang out at Martha’s Vineyard.”

    Your above statement says it all Ben. When we as Vets realize that the enemy is not hiding in some cave,third world country or cyber-attacking us, but the slick car salesman turn politicians that want our votes. Then all will wake up and confront the real enemy.

    The media is still pushing the “crazy veterans” narritive and its working. There is over a two million or more veterans in this country, just imagine if we all came home and went nuts and shot a civilian citizen just because ? Yeah exactly ! That`s not going to happen because we`re more emotionally mature than that.

  24. My first encounter with VA healthcare was in 78. I called Fort Snelling VA Hospital – ask for psych help for “my friend” and explained “his” suicidal ideation. I was told, “tell your friend that next time he should pull the trigger”. That was my last association with the VA Healthcare system until the last few years when the dreams came back, and depression set it.

    It took me over 18 months to get real treatment. I wasn’t at the point of intimacy with a pistol, but thoughts were always there, and my consulting practice died – no income. Things got a lot better when “they” plugged me into a group session conducted by The Vets Center. Then, the Vets Center set me up with one-on-one counselling who then communicated with the VA shrink. Minor meds, and talking it to death worked. Hope to get back to work soon.

    Truth to tell, my PCP labeled me as PTSD Chronic. I was the one in denial. That indeed delayed my journey toward getting to the right resources. Should the VA have been more aggressive in my treatment (this time)? Perhaps. The first “counselor” was a social worker with little to no PTSD experience. Had she been better trained/skilled, I might have pulled out of my nose-dive sooner – or not. Where do we/they draw the line? Anything more aggressive e.g. intervention, might seem overbearing.

    Trust me – I won’t be an apologist for the VA. There was a time that I wanted to hunt down that SOB at Fort Snelling. But – my absolute anger drove me away from suicidal ideation and I got on with my life, great career, married for 38, two great sons, no ATF (alcohol, tobacco, felonies) etc. So, the sunset of my career got a lot ugly, but the VA in their awkward way helped me out of it. I’ll give 70% credit to The Vets Center which is some strange adjunct of the VA.

    Move along folks, nothing to see here – move along…

    • Yes, Windguy, I have alot to share about with your message. A little later when I get settled down to respond. And, too, Seymore, I will also respond back to you a little later about why I have the position that I have. Details of Forensic psychologists in law enforcement. ….and later I will continue my message. 99% of what I share on this blog is all my knowledge and experience.

      • @Angela – I read your comments. Remember all, sometimes when writing in blogs, letters, and emails the content can be taken out of proportion. It’s no one’s fault, it comes with these types of turf when communicating.

    • @Windguy – Where do Veterans go for healthcare? Shouldn’t Veterans not have to worry about treatment modalities and to be able to trust the VA system? Veterans have the right to be treated well. When getting help, Veterans should not have to be preoccupied with trust issues on their minds.

    • I would agree vet centers might actually be more helpful than the VA themselves. From what I have heard over the years, they have been praised by veterans much more than the VA.

      Which should be a lesson for the VA, but they don’t learn it. Clearly.

    • @Windguy, didn’t mean to offend you or anyone else. If i did sorry, these posts can be taken out of context and without sincere meaning. PTSD is a emotional subject to me and i do not want to be wearing it on my sleeve. You were explaining your fortunate experience and i wish you the best in life and success. I have had a bad day here and others sound like they have too.

    • @Windguy – “Move along folks, nothing to see here – move along…” I am glad to see that you got the help you required, and are basically doing alright. I hope that you continue to do so.

      You bring up a very good point in relation to chronic PTSD. A lot of PCP’s will miss the subtle signals. As I had related a few days ago on Ben’s Blog – – – my PCP was sure that I could not possibly have PTSD. Right up until the day when I experienced a trigger that caused a flashback in the VA. Some folks were amused, most were scared shitfull. Some flashbacks can be violent. Shortly after that episode, I went into group therapy once a week, and individual therapy twice a week for a few years. And of course, medication.

      Never wanted PTSD. Never liked PTSD. But now have to live with it. A funny animal, indeed.

      Peace!

  25. “NewsMax TV” put an article on at 11:46 AM, about David Shulkin. Titled;

    “Trump Nominates David Shulkin for VA Secretary”

    It’s a VERY short article. Just a few paragraphs.
    What’s interesting is the “comments section”, 31 so far.
    Some are ‘for’, some are ‘against’ Shulkin’s nomination. Some write about other ‘issues’ not related to the topic. Kinda like what we here have expressed over the “appointment”!

    Just thought you’d like to know!

  26. @Windguy – I don’t believe that you were [are] a typical case with someone that had [has] chronic [extreme] PTSD. There are many gaps in your story. You mention a “first” counselor that had little experience in diagnosing Veterans with PTSD. You didn’t mention anything about other counselors that treated you, although you pointed out that the group counseling at the Vet center helped you out tremendously.

    Your story tells me that most likely, “you weren’t a Veteran with chronic [extreme] PTSD.” And, I do realize that some Veterans are able to overcome debilitating PTSD symptoms to carry on with a normal life. You are an unusual case, and I’m happy for you. But, many Veterans NEED help from the VA and they are truly not receiving proper care. And, they may not have family, friends, or no where else to turn too.

    And please sir, don’t try to tell me that you overcame chronic PTSD all by yourself, with no help from a qualified therapist that treats Veterans with PTSD. It doesn’t add up.

    And, who should know more about treating Veterans with PTSD? It definitely should be the VA. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. Brother, don’t undermine the struggles of your Brothers and Sisters who are in dire straights. There are many Veterans who need Behavioral or Mental Health Services. Just to let you know, I’m one of them! Geeish.

      • @Bill – Your welcome Brother. I’m a Veteran in waiting. Been crying out for almost a year. I’m sure there are other Veterans that are doing the same. I’m very suspicious of the newly appointed VA Secretary. Too many indicators connecting David Shulkin to the old stock. Rotation please!

    • @ANutterVet – Windguy never once mentioned that he had extreme PTSD in his post. He only said he had Chronic PTSD.

      @Windguy – I heard a story that was about 85% similar to yours here in Honolulu back in 1996. Different cast of characters, of course. And you are most certainly correct about the Vet Centers being some strange adjunct of the VA. I have never quite understood the relationship with regards to that. . .

      PTSD is a funny animal, isn’t it?

      • Vet Centers were centers started back during the Vietnam era as a place where veterans could go that was not the VA.

        Vet Centers are paid for by the VA, but they are separate in some manner, although some of the staff at vet centers are VA employees. I don’t know how they are separated from the VA.

        I used to work with a female veteran who recently got her Masters and went to work at the Vet Center counseling veterans. I believe she is good at it since she has the experience to better relate to veterans.

        Unfortunately for her, her job is only temporary, unless the VA finally decides to make it permanent.

        She said if that happens, that her job is eliminated, she might go into private practice and continue counseling veterans.

        Both her husband and her son are veterans.

      • @Disgruntled Veteran – In my post I equated chronic = extreme. My mistake due to no measurable legend of PTSD being discussed. And, due to the complexity and severity of PTSD symptoms, it probably can’t be measured and applied to a legend for everyone. Sorry @Windguy and other Veterans, I didn’t mean to be disrespectful.

      • And too, PTSD is usually the specialty of the vet centers. The vet centers fall under a different leadership. Of course all finally ends under control of the VA secretary.

      • @ANutterVet – You did not offend me in the slightest. I sure hope @Windguy reads your post that I am replying to.

        Some Numbah Deory for you: Chronic = Alla Tic-Toc. Extreme = Garans Ballbarans da fucka choke hurtz!

        A Hui Hou !

    • ANutterVet, not wanting to speak for Windguy, but I believe what he is saying is that group therapy sessions at the Vet Center helped him much more than the VA initially did years ago.

      Group therapy as in talking with other veterans from the same era.

      I know it helped me much more than any VA mental health clinic.

      • @91Veteran – I hear ya Brother. Maybe where I got stuck at is when @Windguy stated that he had chronic PTSD, and only indicated that group therapy was the main factor in his getting on with life [medically and physically getting well]. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for Windguy, I wish it could happen that way for other Veterans as well.

      • ANuttervet, I agree. Its unfortunate that treatment that could start out so easily such as going to a vet center is not even mentioned by the VA.

        I get the impression the VA would do away with Vet Centers tomorrow if they could. I don’t believe they like the money going to them, and likely don’t like a much smaller facility doing a better job than they can do in their gilded palaces.

      • @91Veteran – That was precisely what Windguy was saying.

        Let me amplify my statement to Windguy of “And you are most certainly correct about the Vet Centers being some strange adjunct of the VA. I have never quite understood the relationship with regards to that. . .”

        Here is why: Whenever I go to a Vet Center, I experience people who are FAR MORE HELPFUL to me running their operations out of a “little grass shack” than what the VA is in a big, multimillion $$$$$ facility.

        Additionally, these vet center folks seem “much more connected” and tuned into the needs of veterans such as myself. And they understand the local culture here in Hawaii as well. They are Kama’aina (one who belongs).

        Now, think about my past comments regarding VA as a whole. I know you read them. Add to that your “technical” explanation of how the Vet Center works. See my confusion?

        Vet Centers have been a big help to me over the years. The VA – – – nope.

      • I hear ya DV.

        Rather than continue guessing, I did a search on Vet Centers.

        The VA has a short, but good explanation of them.

        One thing I did not know of, because the VA does such a shitty job advertising Vet Centers is that they have a Vet Center Call Center staffed by combat veterans or family members of combat vets that will talk to other combat vets OR their family members about their experiences.

        Yes. Vet Centers also provide help to families of veterans.

        Vet Center history shows they were established by Congress in 1979. I thought it was much longer ago. They may have existed longer ago, but may not have been formally established.

        The history shows only certain eras of veterans were eligible to use those centers, with Congress or the VA extending that eligibility often since 1991 when Gulf War vets were extended eligibility.

        There is a map at their web site showing their various locations all over the US, Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, American Samoa, Phillipines, Peurto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

        I am not positive, but I recall some move years ago to get rid of vet centers by the VA, and Vietnam vets raised serious hell over that scheme.

      • PTSD for even fireman and other non military individuals realize you have to talk to others who have been there to get any results. Some therapists at the VA managed good group therapy that served that purpose in LA in the 1980s. But the therapists themselves had a back ground or were amputees.

    • Where did I say I overcame PTSD all by my lonesome? Where? Quote please. I was the one in denial. My PCP picked up on it – that is my VA PCP. My first counselling was only effective to the point where she got me into the Vet Center – group, and one-on-one counselling. I never said “Extreme”. In 78 I was giving noggin to a 16 ga Stevens bolt action, called the VA and got pissed on. I stayed away, never really dealing with my PTSD. I succeeded in life beyond my dreams. But, I always carried a shitty attitude, my kids have well aligned moral compasses, but they’re just as cynical as I am. I had health problems, stayed away from the VA. I was self employed and uninsurable. That cost me a ton of money. Don’t think for a fucking minute that I don’t know what this shit did to me. There’s high functioning “distracted” ptsd where you get on with life. There’s Chronic that usually develops into depression. Five-ish years ago my nightmares came back, and shit spiraled downhill from there. I succumbed to my attitude and went to the VA for healthcare that I fucking earned. The Vet Center helped the most. You want to talk about gaps? Maybe you should consider the gap between you ears. KMAMF

      • If you wore the uniform in service to this nation, you belong here.

        Sometimes it takes a thick skin though.

        Stick around Windguy.

      • Wind guy We need you to share your story and I like your post name. Windguy when Dennis drops his po po. You can help spread it out.

        Just kidding. If your a veteran. Your welcome. We are just veteran’s. Trying to help other veterans know they are not alone.

        Many of the veterans come up with some good information and it may help you and other’s.

        Veteran’s must help each other or the VA will continue to harm us.

      • Windguy, hang in there 99% of deal with the same shit. Amazingly your path through life and my path run parrellel.

      • Steve. Having PTSD and a tbi and not being treated for 40 year’s. I agree with that statement Congratulations I do know that we can never be rid of it.

        But. It can be managed. After treatment and medication. I am able to do a lot more. Than before. I know it will never go away. But I’m happier now and it took me a long time to understand. That everything was not my fault and the one’s that were to be the sane one’s. Ended up to be the one’s that needed help.

        The normal people are just plain crazy they just don’t know it or won’t admit it.

      • Yes,, my story is a story that would of killed me except of having a Dad who was shot in the Head and became paralyzed all my life,, and learnt how to deal with it,,, as also I have is it better as you have said,,, I will say between 1990 and 2000 I to this day have no ideal why I’m alive,, that was the period of 20 year after when I could work,, but it came to a dead end,, I could no longer push my PTSD,,, who helped me,,, I and God not the VA,,, they gave me a cubical to protect myself from myself during those years,,, and then the next ten year,, woofta,, anyways since I have moved on this 15 acrea farmstead I have been able to chose my days,, that is my savior as of today,,, I am today able to learn to live with it without man interfering with it,, what will be the next day,, I don’t look that far ahead,,, just right now,,, and maybe do the dishes,,,and if I can do more I will work at it,,, in which somedays if I can concentrate on what I’m doing without all the past flashing through my brain,,, I actually have done really wonders today,, By the way even have a better Hope then before that I agree,,, but very very fragile,,,, for me,,,, hey thanks for saying ,,,,,,

      • I asked the same question. Shot in the head point blank and was sent right back to work.

        After 40 year’s. I came to the conclusion God saved me for a reason and I felt I had to help other’s and I tried. Until the VA put so much pressure on me I had to quit due to my PTSD.

        I’m not done though. They VA PTSD program helped me cope. With medication that God put on this 🌎. Now I can laugh every once and a while.

        The country life. Should help you.

      • Yes it does,, there is no one around for miles,,, and those who are ,, are wonderful people,,, If you didn’t know my Dad was shot in the head in the Korea war came back whole right side paralyzed,, He relearned how to lie with his left side,,, which finally gave in also,,, but I also have a wonderful Wife who no fault of hers can’t get no help through SSI disability due to not enough credits,,, Funny after her Heart Attacks and did die twice and been brought back to life,, they sent her to college but do to all the health problems she also had she could not get a job,,, so she depends on me for getting her around,, its a real real struggle to take care of me and her,,, and every year her health gets worst,, there not much could get worst except death,,, but I have this HOPE yet how long,,, only GOD has the time,,, and in the mean time in my better minutes I keep trying to finish the handicap bathroom and bedroom,, for her,,,, and all the kitchen so she can get around,,,, I have done a lot but,, I feel it takes me 365 days to nail a board up,,,, and of course money is not enough,,, but we do a lot of very smart shopping to spread every dollar,,, I will make it have to,,, the most freighting think is money buying power down the road,,, and the way the government can’t put the true inflation factor in all us DIsabled Vets income,,, in 10 more years do to my background it won'[t work what they will give all of us,,,, but it night and my really strength periods are only in the morning,,,, Yep PS I could tell you a story on another Vet who tried to stop the corruption in the VA and he is no longer functional,,,

      • Congratulations don’t know how that got posted. Mistake on my part. See it’s not so hard to admit a mistake happened.

        If only the VA could see that. But no they will tell a lie. So they won’t have to admit their human.

        Nope God syndrome.

  27. @ Windguy, i am glad you are stable and healthy. Unfortunately, that is not the state of a lot disabled Veterans who suffer daily from their injuries.

    Are you talking about an accident when you state “move along folks”????? We are not staring at the “accident” because i do not feel or do i think the majority of abuses being discussed on this forum are accidents.

    We talk abuses that are deliberate and no justice for them. How does a young man injured, traumatized from war who can barely handle taking care of himself get healthier or stable with substandard care??? Or an older man or woman for that matter? Why is he/she left to continue to suffer in pain and disability when there is medications and care that they cannot receive because an agency denies their right to it? I believe the majority of discussions are identifying problems and possible solutions for the betterment of all Veterans. Sorry, to me in my opinion one Veteran lost in the system is one too many.

      • @ANutterVet, is there anyway you can get on the choice program and go back to your private sector physicians? If the new medications are making you worse try to get on your old meds.

      • @Ex va – I have a Nurse who is supposedly checking with her supervisor to get information on how to get medical in Private Sector. I’ll tell you my Brother, I’m really discouraged. This goes against everything that I was taught and mentored by other Health Care Professionals. Whether fair, good, or ok employees, the system is dangerous. The incompetency compounds other health issues. I feel like I’m stuck!

      • @ANutterVet, i can understand the discouragement, my brother in law had to jump thru a lot of hoops and finally he was able to get his heart medications he needed thru va. I know when you have to wait it seems like forever and it is awful i know. I had to file bankruptcy because of delays of benefits and medical bills.

      • Before I found this website last year I thought I eas the only person padelling this one oar canoe. Your story sounds just like mine.

  28. An estimate of 10-20% of PTSD diagnosis never stop suffering from their symptoms their entire lifetime. The va close to me has a WWII Veteran group that still suffer from war zone PTSD. Sorry, that is the ugly truth with PTSD. IF you have a TBI or other diagnosis they really do not know the statistics of dual diagnosis and treatments.

    • Also, consider when a given Vet has chronic PTSD and also a chronic long-term ticking time clock infectious disease infection. How that synergistically makes both even worse. I had a *private* mental healthcare resident M.D., (who consequently left to work for the VA after she graduated), tell me that a chronic long term illness should not have any affect on my PTSD or anxiety…WTF? Yep, right to the VA after she graduated. She was Pakistani, and so was the witch I saw at the VA. That one took the stack of files from my previous civilian mental health Dr.’s, which by the way, the VA made me go all the way up and get them myself, that witch at the VA took my stack of file and pushed them off her desk into the trashcan. Then just looked up at me and squinted. She was Pakistani as well. The VA loves witches and so please, where’s the flying monkeys? The munchkins are playing in the poppy fields again, with the damn flying monkeys but at least the wizard of oz Shulkin has to answer to President Elect Trump. I am really hoping there was a “You’re Fired” Clause in his signing agreement. Shulkin does not seem like the union busting type and almost seems as recluse as McDonald…what’s up with that personality type for that position?

      • @namnibor, PTSD is an anxiety disorder and any stressors is like putting more fuel on the fire. Any disease will make a body weaker and with PTSD that is a double whammy, the insensitivity to what you were exposed to is inexcusable in my opinion. Sorry to hear of your illnesses.

        These doctors couldn’t pass any American Psychiatry Association test with that mentality. I had to go to a lot of doctors before getting a proper diagnosis. And when you get the diagnosis they can only help you treat your symptoms, no cures…

        I do not know what personality type maybe narcissistic personality disorder for the position?? Lol. Hard to say, probably years of tests and blood work, maybe an enema. (This town needs an enema) that was great. Lol. Where is Batman hadn’t heard from him in a while?

        People want change and the possibility of changing an agency is possible like they did with the IRS and FBI, but, it took years because once they have that authority they don’t want to give that power up. That is what disgusts me with an all powerful OZ of va. I guess if we had the flying monkeys it would be funny.

        All the power and control makes them feel safer not how it affects others. That disturbs me the most. Congress has to change this and others have to help too. I blog here because i am a Veteran and sympathetic to others who suffer too from this madness in the va system. Bens’ site gives me some hope and the other bloggers do too, because they keep standing to the storm. I get a kick out of some of yours and other posts. Some good reads too.

      • @Namnibor , @Ex va , @Bill , @Disgruntled Veteran – I can identify with you Namnibor. Same situation with PTSD and another chronic health issue. I was doing really well in Private Sector. When I entered the VA, they changed my medications, and my health got worse. Then they expect me to pick up the pieces.

        TRUMP, rotate the useless union and incompetent employees out of the VA system. NOW! Use the Holman Rule. The VA muskrats need to be skinned, and shown the front door for the last time.

  29. Windguy I am happy for you. Personally, I have been alone for the past 40 years. I’ve struggled through every one of them. The VA has complicated my life. I have never been able to, “move on”. Shulkin must have known about at least some of the crap HIS EMPLOYEES are getting away with. He wasn’t a whistle blower… To me, that alone tells me he doesn’t belong as the boss. If, in his position he didn’t know, again, he definitely doesn’t need to be the boss.

  30. We alll predicted this,,,,all of in chronic pain due to a medical condition all predicted suicide would sky rocket,,,but Noooooo,,,,the media propagandized witch hunt continued everyday on our MEDICINES,our doctors,, terrible headlines meant to demonized our medicines and our doctors,,,outright slander and contamination of potential jurors,,,{Poisen pens of propaganda was everywhere,,still is,,,and NOW,,, finally,,,the dead are speaking,,,,The media is partially responsibly for this mess,,,,now help clean up ,,by documenting truth and not continue the witch hunt on our medicines,are doctors and us ,,the medically ill w/painful medical conditions,,No-one wants to live in forced endurement of physical pain,,,NO-ONE!!!AND THATS WHY THESE MEN/WOMEN ARE BEING FORCED TO USE DEATH AS THEIR ONLY MEANS OF STOPING THEIR PHYSICAL PAIN,,,,FOR THEIR MEDICINES HAVE FORCIBLE BEEN TAKEN FROM THEM,,,ITS CALLED TORTURE AND GENOCIDE UPON THE MEDICAL ILL,,,,THE PENNHURST MENTALITY ALL OVER AGAIN,,,,,,,,MORE WILL DIE,,,,SADLY,,,UNTIL WE AS A SOCIETY RECGONIZE THE TRUTH,,THAT IT IS PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR ANYONE TO PHYSICALLY FEEL THE PHYSICAL PAIN OF ANOTHER,,,THUS NO-ONE,,,HAS A RITE TO DECIDE WHO SUFFERS IN PHYSICAL AND WHO DOES NOT,,,NO-ONE!!!!!!!WE CAN ONLY AS A HUMANE SOCIETY LESSEN THEIR PHYSICAL PAIN W/WHATEVER WORKS FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL,,,BE IT OPIATES,,,,,,SOOOO WHAT!!!!99% of us use themresponsibly,,as we are adults,,not children,,,IT NOT YOUR PLACE TO FORCE ANYONE TO SUFFER IN PHYSICAL PAIN!!!maryw

  31. I just read Trump’s idea of how to make us richer. More like a commercial. I’m guessing if every Veteran had a computer, and the money to give OUR President for the formula, …….. This is not one of my favorite days.

  32. Here’s something I just remembered. Did y’all know that Nixon “…ran on a law and order platform…” for POTUS?

    We all know how that turned out!
    ________________________

    Also, some female Democrat out in Texas just came out with a real
    barn-burner of a statement;
    Quote: “Homicide is the leading cause of murder!”
    WTF are they teaching these people in college or universities now?!?!?
    __________________

    • Saw the meme on Facebook earlier today. “Proof positive that having a Big Degree does not mean you are intelligent – – – it only means you paid for a Big Degree.”

      Knuckleheads. Every single last one of them.

  33. No Media Suicide
    Thanks for this story; it don’t get much sadder.
    I’m just wondering what the family will say after they see this and realize their loved one didn’t even deserve a fair shake in the local newspaper? I would call some ‘crazy’ if they had told me stories like this years ago; I would’ve called them conspiracy nuts. But when it is in black and white, and when one has experienced cover ups, lies and more– what and who can you believe?
    Could the Battle Buddy system work in this situation, as in the AA where a person can ask for a sponsor? Since the veteran, supposedly, had appt w/therapist, was the veteran given option of immediately attending a group that day?
    @ Angela, I understand your belief that the intervention of EMS with Police help can stop a suicide, but in some cases things have been known to go the other way. In my opinion, they should be contacted as a last resort and any other kind of de-escalation should be used first; that’s just my opinion. I haven’t worked for a long time and I know things must have changed a lot.

  34. For I my mother drove me to Fargo North Dakota 3 time in one day an Asian Doctor I assume was the decider of weather they were going to let me enter with my PTSD or not she refused 3 times MY MOTHER was taking care of my DAD who is also 100% Disabled shot in the head Korea War She needed to be by him,,, but drove me from Valley City ND to the Fargo Va 3 times,,, I begged to let me in I need help,,, My PTSD was hitting me hard I couldn’t handle any more that day,,,, Finally I was omitted,,, LOOK I’m a Viet Naum Vet that has gone thru over 42 years of Hell with the VA,,, but I see still nothing today helping us,,, I am left with just two medicine and God,, and my Wife,,, for making it through each day,,, have no Ideal if what is going to be tomorrow except that I havn’t lost all hope,,, you say Cracks its the Grand Canyon at the VA dang it,,,,,,

  35. During President Elect Trump’s Speech today, he spoke about the horrendous wait times of VA.
    He specifically mentioned vets being in the first stages of cancer, (treatable). Then having to wait for an appointment, until the final stages of cancer, (non-treatable) to die!

    He admonished the VA over this.

    BTW, this is how my close friend and ‘brother’, “Hangman” died. He was misdiagnosed many, many times over the past few years. Then, after many apologies by VHA employees, to die a very painful DEATH. The VHA medical staff in Daytona Beach, FL. were responsible for this miscarriage of justice!
    Yet, not one of those son-of-a-bitches has been held accountable!
    Am I angry? Hell yes, I’m pissed! The wife and I watched this man DIE! WE HAVE NOT, AND NEVER WILL, FORGIVE THE VA FOR THIS TRAVESTY!
    That’s all I have to say about this!

    Now, this “Shithead” Shulkin better get his act together, and fix this criminal enterprise, also known as the FUCKING VA!!!!!!!!

    • Elf I know just how you feel. I am going through a similar situation with a Veteran who I have known since I was a kid. Thankfully he has Tri-Care but things just get any better for him. I provide him transport to and from the hospital so it is connected to me. The overall injustice of it all can be so overwhelming at times.

    • Thanks for the additional detail Crazy Elf.

      Do you know of a YouTube showing the whole thing? I would like to watch that.

      His comment about cancer suggests he is aware of veteran treatment in detail, and suggests he has made it clear to Shulkin he wants it fixed.

      About all I’ve seen in the media about his press conference is the bed wetting media whining about calling out the reporter from CNN for being a little bitch.

  36. What really bothers me about this Shulkin nomination by Trump is the manner in which it was done. Trump had a press conference, and from the headlines I saw, it sounded as if he said, “speaking of veterans,” Shulkin is my SecVA.
    As if it was an offhand remark he just remembered.
    He made it on a day that Sessions was still testifying and the hearing on Tillerson was starting, and the media going batshit crazy over Russian hacking and a fake Buzzfeed story.
    If you wanted to bury news about an announcement, I cannot think of a more opportune time to do it than today.
    Why not wait a day or two and announce it then to get a bigger splash out of it?
    It almost seems as if it was a pill Trump is being forced to swallow by other politicians, and the VSO’s, and Trump wants to make sure nobody sees the look on his face when he swallows that pill.

    Again, is it possible he is doing so knowing he has a much better plan for veterans?

    • I would not think that Mr.Trump would hang the vets out to dry due to the way he is fighting for justice everywhere else in his administration. His actions certainly does not indicate that he would unless something is going on that has not been yet revealed. This is really hard to understand. Could his hands be tied in someway? Or like you guys mentioned maybe a plan is coming down the pike by the TRUMP administration to be later implemented. Remember the Ensuring VA Employee Accountability Act has only been passed by the 115th Congress so far and is moving up to the Senate to be signed by Mr. Trump when he takes office. If the new VA Secretary really enforces this act when it becomes law with the Trump administration nailing him if he doesn’t could improve the accountability if they blow the union up. I am in question. I honestly do not believe Mr. Trump would let the veterans issues go array. Who knows though? I just do not believe he would do that because it would reflect on him. Although, he could still being fed dishonest information about the VA.

      • If you read my comment elsewhere where I posted the transcript of what he said, it certainly appears as if he is serious about fixing the VA.

  37. To All – After Ben publishes an article on this blog, all that one needs to do is to read the posts that follow. With that, they will know that the PROBLEMS that are occurring within the VA are alive and are well documented.

  38. Hey Elf,

    Did you catch the article on the social worker from Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Southwest Portland named Ami Diane Phillips. She tried to force a Veteran to have a sexual relationship with her.

    After the Veteran reported her she tried to claim he was on his way to kill her at the VAMC. She was trying to have the Veteran locked up and discredited.

    “Prosecutors said it would have been a he-said/she-said story if not for 4,000 text messages sent between Phillips and her client over three months. The text messages corroborated the veteran’s story that he was the victim, prosecutors said.”

    An indictment in November originally charged her with third-degree sexual abuse for allegedly touching the veteran’s groin and accusations of felony first-degree criminal mistreatment for allegedly withholding medical treatment from the veteran.

    “VA employee made up story that client was on his way to kill her”, by Aimee Green, The Oregonian, 01/06/2017
    “http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2017/01/veterans_affairs_social_worker.html”

    Utube vid
    “VA social worker falsely claimed client wanted to kill her”
    “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK62-WP1Hf8”

      • @Seymore yes that is Red Turtle country!

        Sadly the VA here in the Black Hills did “claim I said I was going to go home get my gun and come back and kill everyone” this was in Late-2008! I literally had to call my local US Senators office and tell them when going in and when got off VA Property so as to avoid being locked up as they were trying everything they could then ! Main reason I will not use the Patient advocate at the Hot Springs VA or see the “Head RN in Primary Care” as they help make up this lie to slander my name and has caused me serious pain emotionally and physically ever since! This VA here has tried not to truly help me medically for which I was medically retired from the Marine Corps with Systemic CRPS! I did not ask nor want this disease it is one I truly would not wish on my enemies but lately yeah give if one could give it away get the CoS here! and the AFGE Liars here!! Many of the VA Employees/AGE literally laugh at the COS with her toxic environment!

        I only wish I had Medicare 🙁 When I got out it was not recognized by the SSD then. It is now and an automatic but now not enough credits I am told so that government agenciy too go fuck yourself come back if alive in 15 years or so 🙁
        TriCare oh cant go to hte East Coast as that is out of Region, where I could get help within 2-weeks! No has to be a West Region only yeah cant get care until April or May I do not want to live in this amount of pain TriCare! See what VA has for me on Friday!

      • Erika,

        On the SSDI, You can still file a claim that goes back to when you first were diagnosed with Systemic CRPS. Although the will only pay back pay up to something like a year. But for the date you were first diagnosed they then have to use the time prior to that date to qualify you for SSDI.

      • Erika,

        Also you may want to read the following article about the up coming reduction and closure at Hot Springs.

        “McDonald decision: VA’s preferred alternative”, By John D. Taylor, Updated Jan 6, 2017

        “http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/communities/hot-springs/mcdonald-decision-va-s-preferred-alternative/article_02adffce-d456-11e6-b8fa-2713439b1eab.html”

      • @Seymore Was Med REt Nov 92 for w Systemic CRPS n other not sure about hte SSD?? as did not apply nor informed I could until much later then no credits even now hen worse no credits 🙁
        Glad te newer med ret vets are being told to go to SSD right away!

        I am glad Hot SPrings VAMC being shut down! Way too much nepotism, cronyism in their hiring practices let alone the COS so toxic ran the last Chief of Primary Care Physicians out last Friday here for the Black Hills HCS ! She lasted barely 7-months moved here from Fl! pretty sad this CoS so toxic many staff here knows the immoral, unethical, problems she causes yet so cared to do the right thing for fear of no job in the area!! Sad really sad.

        The VA in DC will rent a place hence no construction funds over $1 million so no delay from congress for this “new Rapid City” location, one way around the loop holes!

      • The rent will be paid by reduced expenditures on travel pay by opening a clinic in Rapid. The reason for the “nepotism” at Hot Springs is the population base from which to hire. If you have limited retirement income Hot Springs SD will become a great place to retire. Prices on homes will drop through the bottom with the closure of the VA Hospital which is nearly closed.

        And you are wrong about no construction. Fort Mead, between Rapid City and Deadwood (about 30 miles from Rapid City) has a major hospital under construction to take place of the 150+ year old facility at Hot Springs. I suspect the Hot Springs facility will still be used for homeless veterans and substance abuse rehabilitation.

      • Erika,

        I strongly suggest you contact an attorney who handles Social Security Cases.

        Here are two links to webpages at the Social Security Administration Website. That show if you were medically retired in November of 1992 with a diagnosis of Systemic CRPS you are likely eligible for SSDI. The first webpage is on the qualifications of the disease meeting eligibility.

        The second is on establishing eligibility through Established Onset Date (EOD) for SSDI determination. Your EOD would be back in November 1992 when you were medically retired from the Marines. If your work history Prior to November 1992 qualified, you to be insured by Social Security. Then you are very likely eligible for SSDI and Medicare.

        That is even if you file past the time limit of when you were insured. That is because you first were disabled while you were insured by Social Security.

        ________________________________________

        DI 24580.025 Evaluation of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (RSDS/CPRS)–SSR 03- 2p
        “https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0424580025”

        A. BACKGROUND

        On October 20, 2003, SSA published SSR 03-2p, “Titles II and XVI: Evaluating Cases Involving Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (RSDS/CRPS).” This Ruling is published in its entirety in DI 24580.025B.

        ___________________________________________
        DI 25501.300 Established Onset Dates (EOD) for Disability Insurance Benefit (DIB) Claims
        “https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0425501300”

        See Items 1,5,6,7

      • @Seymore Thank you on the EOD for SSD! I will try it No one has ever told me this nor I have I read this info!!! I knew about the auto for CRPS since OCt 20 2005!!

  39. @Mary Yes when one has so much pain for far too long and the local VA ones is at especially does not believe in CRPS nor think that I have yet many VA Drs some she has sent me too agree I have it! 🙁 Sadly, for the past 6-months I have prayed, even more in the winter someone takes me out i an auto accident when driving around to appointments!

    @all …was called by local VA told “they have made a decision” about me getting the medical care I need. Still have to drive 2.5hours one way approximately to be told in person, as that is how the Chief of Staff wants it” that could be done on the phone! FRAUD WASTE & ABUSE is what I see. If Yes, then tell me where I am going or can go if civilian provider, and do any required labs they may need or want. IF NO, tell me why, so I can appeal. Already have that in the works ready to “FIRE OFF THE PAPERWORK.”

    @Ben, and @ everyone else here, David Shulkin and I have emailed information to him and there have been a few times he has appreciated me informing/teaching CRPS updates on treatments by the top Drs in the USA on this matter also appreciated me letting him know how ketamine is being used for Pain and for mental health (PTSD, depression and other) be it in the ER or daily as well. His last communication via email with me was on Mon Jan 9 2017 trying to do everything he can to advocate for me to get my much needed ketamine infusions as I have it in the past paid for by the local VA and there are 5 VAs doing this service BTW, that I and other veterans with CRPS are aware of. Some are provided ketamine others are not.

    @Ben d a FOIA for OCT 2015 at Fort Meade VAMC Strugis, SD as a male veteran died by GSW on VA Ground s then total media and VA blackout!! Think it was an Iraq Vet as he was friends of an Iraq vet I am and this is how I was informed of this matter. (Further, told the Sr VA Staff there, knew this Vet wanted MH help and was denied even stated he was suicidal came back to that VA later in the day and died of GSW. I am told the “Save the Hot Springs VA Committee” knows more information as well on this matter too.

    On Shulkin not being a vet I do not care as too many vets have passed the Doors into the VA Sec and have stolen monies, did for more after that job over high society with no real idea of how VA works, or the first one, to too many ring knockers having no idea on medical needs as not being a “medical professional” hence true money costs for budget really on obscure YES MAN information. First thing needs to be done get rid of the AFGE! Trump needs to sign executive order kinda what POTUS Regan did for ATC in the 80s!

  40. I see one reason for picking Shulkin. That is if the GOP ACA replacement health care plan is an ACO approach. But the abysmal role out in the VA leaves some questions. But Shulkin was the CEO of an ACO.

    The only thing that will make an ACO approach work is small contract areas that would allow a person to pick his provider area from multiple contractors and frequent enough rebidding for the contracts to keep the ACOs competing with each other.

    My guess is Shulkin sold the President Elect on the ACO approach to health care. Question is can they get it right or will the insurance companies, big provider companies, big Pharma, and big appliance companies can break it before it can get in service.

    Ie., the breaking of that approach in the ACA. It is probably the biggest reason for the failures in the ACA. Sabotage by corporate interests.

  41. Hey Namnibor,

    More Bad News about that VA murder.

    “Harris and Johnson, a psychiatric Manslaughter trial of VA assistant continued for sixth time”

    The trial of a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs nursing assistant was continued for the sixth time on Monday while some defendants accepted plea deals in their cases.

    The trial of Fredrick Kevin Harris, charged with manslaughter in the 2013 death of 70-year-old Charles Lee Johnson, was continued on Monday to May 1. It had been scheduled to begin this week.

    The state, represented by Rapides Assistant District Attorney Brian Mosley, objected to the continuance.

    patient, got into an altercation on March 13, 2013 at the Pineville VA facility, and Johnson died in a nursing home on May 1, 2013. An autopsy ordered by the Grant Parish Coroner’s Office found that Johnson died of blunt force trauma to his head, which led to Harris’ arrest.”

    So that murderer is still pulling a paycheck at the VA.

    • Seymore, so you have a link to that news? Am I reading that correctly that others accepted plea deals?
      I thought Harris was the only one charged.
      Am I missing something?

      • Sorry for got to include the link.

        Here is a link to the article. The other cases mentioned were from other court cases not connected to the VA.

        “http://www.thetowntalk.com/story/news/2017/01/10/manslaughter-trial-va-assistant-continued-sixth-time/96370578/”

      • Thanks Seymore. I had been searching once in awhile for any updates on this and couldn’t find any.

        Its shocking that this BS has been delayed 6 times. I would really like to know how his lawyers are managing that…and who is paying for them.

      • I truely believe in innocent until proven guilty, with that said is this piece of shit still employed by the va?

        Last I knew stinking pile of shit was

      • I searched again using the thugs name after reading the linked article from Seymore.

        I have no idea why it’s so difficult for me to find current news searching using his name.

        One article I did find was a post at a site called weaponsman dot com. It had links to Daily Caller articles which I didn’t read. The article said the VA was playing games with him being on paid leave. It said he had been on paid leave for a year, they brought him back to work to close out his paid leave status, then put him back on paid leave so him being on it for 2 years would not raise flags.

        Only in the VA can you commit a criminal act, and the VA will assist you in scamming the system while awaiting trial for that act.

      • So in other words in every employee break room at every va there is a poster that reads “kill a vet(non human), get an all expense paid vacation”? After all as Dennis said we are just ticks on a dogs ass.

        yet thousands of veteran disability claims are rejected every day. What a system.

      • So, Harris is on ‘Paid Leave’ while the trial is delayed now 6 times…what a gravy train. This sure is not any deterrent for future VA medical assistants to not kill Veteran inpatients.

        Want to bet the VA’s AFGE Union appointed attorneys are screwing this up and causing delays?

      • Imagine being the veteran mentioned in this post, or his family, who was rated at 10% by our gracious and benevolent VA.

        Since the VA does such an excellent job at squashing any media reports about these veterans, we don’t know if he was homeless or struggling in other ways.
        Now imagine reading about this thug, being paid to sit at home for 2 years after beating another veteran to death, and this thugs sole requirement to continue collecting his paycheck of between $40 and $54k per year is to simply “check in” at the VA once a day.

        Check in is not defined, so either he leaves a voice mail since nobody at the VA answers phones, sends an email, bangs on a hollow log or sends a smoke signal.

        Yep. Veterans are our first priority.

      • Who was the medical assistant charged. If he was charged for killing a veteran and home getting paid.

        There VA may have a reason for not firing him. Maybe they are trying to figure a way to blame him for all veteran’s deaths.

        Telling him to admit to be the cause of all death’s and they will tell the justice department to file genocide charges on him.

        Telling this guy. Take the blame and you Will get only 10 year’s and 2 year’s off for good behavior. And when you get out and for you taking one for the team. Your old job will be here.

        After all someone else broke the law and their working. Remember the employee charged with armed robbery. Well we will claim the same thing.

        Hell you can do 8 year’s standing on your head and before you know it. You will be back at work.

    • @Seymore Klearly- Thanks for the update. Delayed 6 times now? Sounds like they may be playing the “Judge Lotto” to avoid a certain “bad outcome” or are blatantly rescheduling in the hopes it will be tossed-out and forgot about entirely….or a smart prosecutor wants to ensure Obama cannot commute any, if any at all, sentencing, so ensuring all is post Jan. 20th??
      I cannot fathom why the VA would continue to employ Harris unless he already threatened the VA with a NAACP Lawsuit? I ask because the NAACP would definitely defend this piece of crap’s actions. I think swamp alligator justice is quite fitting with this awful story. Set in swamp and forget it. The gators will even clean-up the resulting mess. Done! 🙂

  42. In the interest of informing others here, below is what Trump stated today during his press conference about veterans. This was cut and pasted from the transcripts I found at NPR, simply because they had the full transcript of his press conference.

    This is really encouraging to me and makes me a feel a bit better, particularly his comments about aligning with other clinics, and getting people to “help out” Shulkin.

    “And that was a beautiful scene on November 8th as those states started to pour in. And we focused very hard on those states, and they really reciprocated. And those states are going to have a lot of jobs, and they’re going to have a lot of security. They are going to have a lot of good news for their veterans. And by the way, speaking of veterans, I appointed today the head Secretary of the Veterans Administration, David Shulkin.
    And we’ll do a news release in a little while, tell you about David — he’s fantastic. He’s fantastic. He will do a truly great job.
    One of the coming commitments I made is that we’re going to straighten out the whole situation for our veterans. Our veterans have been treated horribly. They’re waiting in line for 15, 16, 17 days. Cases where they go on in and they have a minor early-stage form of cancer and they can’t see a doctor; by the time they get to the doctor, they’re terminal. It’s not going to happen, it’s not going to happen. So David is going to do a fantastic job. We’re going to be talking to a few people also to help David, and we have some of the great hospitals of the world going to align themselves with us on the Veterans Administration, like the Cleveland Clinic.
    Like the Mayo Clinic, a few more that we have. And we’re going to set up a group. These are hospitals that have been the top of the line. The absolute top of the line. And they’re going to get together with their great doctors — Doctor Toby Cosgrove as you know from the Cleveland Clinic has been very involved. Ike Perlmutter has been very, very involved, one of the great men of business. And we’re going to straighten out the VA for our veterans. I’ve been promising that for a long time. And it’s something I feel very, very strongly. So you’ll get the information on David. And I think you’ll be very impressed with the job he does. We looked long and hard — we interviewed at least one hundred people, some good, some not so good. But we had a lot of talent. And we think this selection will be something that will, with time, with time, straighten it out and straighten it out for good. Because our veterans have been treated very unfairly.”

    Of course, the jackals in the media immediately followed that up with bullshit questions about Russia and hacking. No other mentions were made of veterans.

    • President-Elect Trump is looking more and more like a real (not just titled) Commander-In-Chief every day. Just listened to the news conference I recorded today.

      For starters, he is going to “partner” the new SecVA with some of the finest healthcare institutions in the country. Will take some time, and we must all stay vigilant. My gut feeling is that in four-more years, big strides will be made in the area of Veterans Reforms.

      I feel a bit better now. Shulkin as SecVA alone? Yuck. Shulkin “partnered” with Cosgrove, Perlmutter, AND P-E “Crazy” Donny Trump?

      Good chance. Real Good chance.

      • @Disgruntled Veteran – I sure hope they [Shulkin and others] set up a realistic timeline, and outlining the changes needed in a broad range sweep. We all know, that many of the problems in the VA system are deeply rooted. As it sounds, that Holman Rule may be a good thing to immediately reestablish as “actively implemented.”

        Hey Bruddah, we warmer tomorrow, den da kine white stuff stay. May be.

      • I don’t know where you receive your care, Disgruntled Vet, but the VA is all ready partnered with most Medical Schools which include such renowned facilities as UCLA Medical, Yale Medical, George Washington Medical, San Diego UC Medical and allied research facility (can’t remember the name but polio vaccine developer) etc. Saying that the VA is going to ally itself with other facilities is not likely true because the VA all ready has links to almost all, especially research medical facilities. This is another false taking credit for something that all ready exists. But it may make more of you aware that the surgeon doing surgery on you at West LA is actually from UCLA medical and the Surgeon DC VA is from George Washington. The reading of your MRI in Denver is done at the University of Colorado Medical School, etc. And this has been true for a very long time. Over 50 years that I am personally aware of.

      • VAs have been aligned with research schools for a very long time, for the benefit of the VA and the researcher.

        If I understand what Trump is intending given his speech yesterday, the alignments he plans will be for the benefit of veterans.

      • 91, Ie: referral to Mayo Clinic, 91? Is that perhaps over rated intending to transfer wealth from the very wealth to physicians? Are we now going to transfer wealth from the poorer taxpayers to the Mayo Clinic? What real values is there in this other than propaganda? Or perhaps Cedar Sinai? Do you buy that branding is more important than factual data?

      • @91Veteran – Precisely. Trump is going to shift the benefit from the VA to the veteran re med facility alignments.

      • @Lem – You Sir, are correct. Here is the difference. VA is “partnered Up”, yet does many costly internal studies – – – that basically arrive at the “same or nearly so” conclusion of research that has already been completed by one or more of these top medical universities. How much $$$$$ does that cost?

        My guess is were the $$$$ from all of those “internal VA medical studies”, “Bad VA Artwork (you should see the abortions hanging on the walls of my clinic. They could not pay me enough to hang even one piece in my living room) for the clinics”, and “Employee Bonuses” actually given to the deserving veterans who earned them, we would ALL be a lot better off.

        As 91Veteran has observed many times, it is NOT that the VA does not have enough in their budget. They choose to pyss their budget away foolishly . . .

  43. “Army Leaker Chelsea Manning on Obama’s ‘Short List’ for Commutation”

    “President Obama has put Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified material, on his short list for a possible commutation, a Justice Department source told NBC News.

    A decision could come as soon as Wednesday for Manning, who has tried to commit suicide twice this year and went on a hunger strike in a bid for gender reassignment surgery.

    “I have more hope right now than I have the entire time since she was sentenced,” Manning’s aunt, Deborah Manning, told NBC News.

    “I do think it’s the last hope for a while.”

    Manning — then known as Bradley — was locked up in 2010 after swiping 700,000 military files and diplomatic cables and giving them to Wikileaks. ..]”

    And Obama has the audacity to be butthurt about Russian Hacking, yet will likely commute this traitor?

    • I hope Obama does pardon Manning. Kid did the right thing for the right reason using wrong methods. I think he is weird with the Chelsea thing, but that is his business. Not mine.

      The net effect of what Manning did was to “Jump-Start” getting truth into the news. Once that happened, then guys like Edward Snowden, John Kiriakou, Thomas Drake, etc. began to Whistle Blow on what was really happening within our government. And Ben is continuing to do the same re the VA. Had Manning not gotten whistle blowing on a mass-scale started, do you REALLY believe that we would have been able to read Shitlary Clinton’s e-mails?

      I damn sure would grant the kid a pardon. This nation needs people who are not afraid to speak up knowing they will be punished for their actions.

      Principle over Party.

      • @Namnibor – – Understood. Bo Bergdahl and Ehren Watada are both COWARDS and Deserters in the first degree who merit a firing squad. No reason taxpayers should have to continue to support them. Worse, Watada was raised in Hawaii, and was an Officer. Nor should either be allowed to “hawk their books” or partake in Hollyweird profits from the movies that will surely be made about the traitorous slime.

  44. @Namnibor – Chelsea Bradley Manning would be a good prospect for employment at ANY VA facility. Would you like to interview him, her, shim, she, kimchee, mahu, vert [oh sorry, no more vert], pee pee, wee wee, are the champions my friend, and we’ll keep on fighting to the end. Sorry, I caught myself going off on a tangent. The medicine I receive from the VA are generic, and are not as affective-effective as brand name medications. In other words, the medication no work!!!

    Only the last sentence is true. The other sentences are for entertainment purposes, and has no meaning, and is not directed to anyone.

  45. After 40+years, I can wait……., I just have to remove any expectations. Like it’s been for the last few years. I do like the way POTUS elect Trump gets around. Test of age.

  46. David Shulkin what a piece of work.

    Look at just several of his accomplishments at the VA.

    1.) Like turning bed pan specialist into primary care doctors.
    2.) Replacing all chief of staffs at all the VAMC with faculty from the universities so they control all the hiring of Doctors and bed pan specialist at all VAMC. So they can use the doctors at the university hospitals on the VA budget.
    3.) Removing the fear that some one will hack the VA for our med records by just hiring the crooks to use them at the VA.
    4.) The sweet heart deal to give away our med records to the Meshkin brothers.
    5.) The roast a Vet Tele medicine for Mental Health care.
    6.) The 10 year sole provider contract for pharma purchased by the VA

    Well the list can certainly go on and on but time and space is limited.

    In closing an article on what some records were being handed off to the Meshkin brothers for.

    “Called ‘hogwash,’ a gene test for addiction risk exploits opioid fears”, By Charles Piller, Stat News,
    December 13, 2016
    “https://www.statnews.com/2016/12/13/proove-opioid-risk-test/”

    Nothing like knowing the new Secretary was going to release your medical records to enriching several crooks who are operating through a loophole in the Federal Law.

    • Now that he is Secretary and after the bed pan specialist for Doctors thing. Do you think that maybe we will start seeing janitors and maintenance personal handling Claims?

      • One last thing!

        Who do you think at the VA came up with the idea of not reporting veterans suicides as a way of dealing with the problem?

      • Looks like it is not the Veterans suicides that is the problem being addressed by the VA. The problem that the VA is trying to fix is the bad press the VA receives for the suicides.

      • The only time the va says it is making changes is after bad press. This is called the path of least resistance. This is the same path electricity takes before it kills you.

        Looks like the va and electricity have something in common.

    • He will be the first non veteran to Sec or Director of the VA (Director before the VA became a Department). You are getting misinformation.

  47. I just received an email from Veterans Health with links to reports on “recent” veterans using the VA for PTSD.

    Apparently they will not be concerned about us old dogs until, like the WWII veteran in 1984, who woke up from a night mare of hand to hand combat, reliving choking a Japanese to death in a fox hole by hand, realizing he had choked his wife to death in bed next to himself. Post means Post. some experiences you never get over. If you have had such an experience I suggest you get in a separate bed from your wife to sleep.

  48. This is a joke,,, We have nothing ,,,but to give up our future our talents, a life to grow,, to participate in the wealth of America,, to enjoy,,, and all that at least I was told,,, and here I am,,, struggling ,, with getting my Medicine on time,, to having a doctor to talk to without calling the Bismark ND to find out why I’m not able as it once was to keep the communication I use to help with my PTSD,,, fighting each day for a reason not to end it,, but hope that the VA is for once going to be cleaned up since I started in 1974,,, and what is happening another worthless leadership being placed into the correction area of the VA ,, that is nothing more then a nother day of the VA,,, maybe after all of us die off at a faster rate or someone start shooting the Doctors that are spose to be doing there job,,, just maybe they will notice,,,this is a bad situation growing,,, I sure hope not but as I have watched things have to get really bad,,, before there changed,,, problem is ,,, it never gets fixed into the middle of correction,,, I guess to mush work,,,, mad ,, hurt ,,, and all the above feelings goes threw me every minute,,,,

    • Steve have you been on here before you. The only reason I ask is you mentioned PTSD I my question are you service connected at this time.

      If not Ben or another attorney can help even after all these year’s.

      • I fought for over 20 years ,,,, lost all and when I said I was debt free,, and they VA before giving it to me ran me up over $350,000 dollars into debt,,, but the worst was giving it to me then taking it away for years till they gave it back and NO they did'[nt give back to were it started,,, and YES 100% I’m 66 years of age ON my records after NAUM it stated this problem which they wouldn’t except not even the Doctors signature,, I had to get that signature verified,,, and the list goes on and on,,, I struggled for the first 20 years working got a colledge degree Architect,,, and today can’t even look at it,,,, I pushed PTSD for the first 20 years then in 1990 I totally stopped cold,,, then more hell,,,, as said,, over the years,,, the VA had nothing to do with my ability to find a subdue way of coping with a lifestyle of PTSD,,, actually I believe I am better off without the VA,,, as long as I can live were I live and able to live in the world that is going to be my life,,,,, beside the angels of good are holding me up also,,,, YEP

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