VA Health Chief David Shulkin

Donald Trump announced he will nominate David Shulkin, the present under secretary for VA Health, to lead the struggling Veterans Affairs.

I did not see this one coming, but I am glad Trump did not pick another general from the Army to perpetuate the agency’s Army good-ole-boy system. After Danny Pummill left, there are still some lingering Klingons that need to get flushed.

If Trump fails to churn out the corrupt holdouts who steer contracts to their buddies, VA will continue to waste millions of taxpayer dollars while failing its veterans.

@realDonaldTrump Don't forget the promise, remove fraudsters still at VA under Shulkin Click to Tweet

Assuming Shulkin is confirmed, the medical doctor turned entrepreneur will be the first Secretary of Veterans Affairs to have never served in the military. He is known to be a scholar, entrepreneurial and internal medicine doctor who was nominated to lead Veterans Health Administration in 2015.

In 2015, Shulkin replaced interim under secretary Carolyn Clancy. Clancy was appointed after the sudden resignation of Robert Petzel following confirmation of the wait list death scandal initially uncovered in Phoenix, Arizona.

Most interesting, Shulkin founded a company website, DoctorQuality.com, that allowed users to check in on physicians’ backgrounds. He also served as head of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Medical College of Pennsylvania.

The focus of Shulkin’s work tends to be on practitioner accountability:

Shulkin’s work has frequently involved looking at managed and accountable care, in which patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors. In 2008, for example, he studied why patients who are admitted at night are more likely to die than patients admitted during the day. Also in 2008 he edited the book Questions Patients Need to Ask: Getting the Best Healthcare.

Since July 2010, Shulkin has been president of the Morristown (N.J.) Medical Center, which is part of Atlantic Health System. One of his innovations there was to champion 24-hour visiting hours for its healing effect on patients.

Shulkin is heavily involved with Atlantic Health System, as he is president not just of Morristown Medical Center, but of Goryeb Children’s Hospital and Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute, as well as Atlantic Health System Accountable Care Organization and Atlantic Health organization Primary Care Partners, and he is principal shareholder in Practice Associates.

VA Secretary David Shulkin Background

Full Name: David J. Shulkin

Age: 57

Birthplace: Born on an Army base in Highland Park, Illinois.

Family: Shulkin is married to dermatologist Merle Bari, MD. He has a daughter and son.

Education: He graduated with his medical doctorate from Medical College of Pennsylvania.

What He Does Now: Under Secretary for Health for VA. President Obama nominated Shulkin in March 2015 and confirmed in June 2015.

What He Used to Do: Previously, Shulkin was president at Morristown Medical Center located in New Jersey from 2010 to 2015. He also worked closely with other organizations in an executive capacity during that time including:

  • Goryeb Children’s Hospital
  • Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute
  • Atlantic Health System Accountable Care Organization

Before that period, he was CEO of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City and founded a doctor quality ranking system called DoctorQuality.

What You Might Not Know About Him: Shulkin comes from a long line of veterans but did not serve in the military himself. Both of his grandfathers served in WWI. One of them went on to become the chief pharmacist at Madison VA. His father was an Army Captain.

That is enough on his background.

Shulkin On Important Issues

The real deal is his position on various topics of high concern to the veteran community right now. I pulled the following from ABC, which covered his various statements to the news media with some of my own additions: 

ON VETERAN SUICIDE

In a September 2016 op-ed, Shulkin wrote, “Losing even one veteran to suicide is unacceptable, which is why suicide prevention is a top priority at VA.”

MY ADD – It important to note that despite spending tens of millions of dollars to address the suicide epidemic each year, veteran suicide is still a massive problem. President Obama had 8 years to address it head on. Taxpayers spent hundreds of millions to fix the suicide problem but we still have 20 veterans per day committing suicide.

VA’S INTERNAL RATING SYSTEM

In December, USA Today made public the VA’s internal ratings of each of its 146 medical centers around the country. Before the ratings were released to the public, patients didn’t have a way they could easily assess performance. Most of the lowest-rated VA hospitals are in Texas and Tennessee, USA Today found.

In a December interview with USA Today, Shulkin cautioned, “My concern is that veterans are going to see that their hospital is a ‘one’ in our star system, assume that’s bad quality and veterans that need care are not going to get care. And they’re going to stay away from hospitals and that’s going to hurt people.”

He also called the rating system an “internal improvement tool” and discouraged using the star ratings as a “ranking tool.”

“It is essentially a system within VA to see who’s improving, who’s getting worse, so we can identify both,” Shulkin told USA Today.

Shulkin also said that since his tenure at the Veterans Health Administration, 120 of the 146 medical centers have made progress, and all but one of the VA’s one-star medical centers have improved.

MY ADD – I always find it interesting how VA likes to play the paternalistic agency that needs to shield veterans and the public from the truth. Quality rankings that are a 1 in a 5-star ranking system should alarm veterans who are forced to get their health care only from those lowest rated facilities.

Do you ever by the lowest rated lawnmower? If you had a choice, would you send your child to the lowest rated school? Would you by the car with the lowest quality and reliability ratings?

In many instances, Americans have the opportunity to select the lawnmower, school and car of their choice. They can generally select their own doctor and their own health care system from which they get care.

Meanwhile, veterans are not allowed that same choice of probably the most fundamental rights – – to select the doctor who gets to touch our junk when we are sick.

It seems like a fundamental right. Veterans want a choice. We also want to make that choice based on quality rankings and facts.

ON MOVING VETERANS’ CARE TO PRIVATE SECTOR

In response to recommendations that the VA medical centers be shut down and instead have veterans get their care from the private sector, Shulkin told the Daily Press in April,

“This would be a terrible mistake, a terrible direction for veterans and for the country, to essentially systematically implement recommendations that would lead to the end of the VA health-care system.”

Shulkin told Philly.com in May 2016 that from his time with the VA, he’s come to realize the agency provides “”a different model of care, which treats the physical along with the psychological, the social, and the economic aspects of health, all of which contribute to the well-being of the patient.”

MY ADD: Same as above. Veterans should have a choice whether to stay in the VA system or to get their health care from a civilian facility. This is especially important for veterans who were victims of malpractice or who were victims of the disruptive behavior committees.

ON VA WAIT TIMES

In his interview with USA Today in December, Shulkin touted that the number of veterans waiting over a month for urgent care has decreased from 57,000 to 600 since he took office.

In May 2016, Shulkin and the VA proposed giving full practice authority to nurses with advanced training, something doctors pushed back on.

“The purpose of this proposed regulation is to ensure VA has authority to address staffing shortages in the future,” Shulkin said in a statement.

MY ADD: VA actively obfuscated the investigation into wait time frauds committed by its employees nationwide. Numerous veterans died as a result of the scandal. VA has not fully resolved the problem. VA OIG provided wildly inaccurate numbers to Congress following investigations, and actively spun the results to diminish public awareness of the scandal.

My Take On Shulkin

As a practical matter, most veterans who voted for Trump did so with the impression Jeff Miller would take over the agency. Instead, we ended up with the same team Hillary would have likely had run the agency. It certainly left me with the “bait and switch” vibe today.

Now, VA can only get better than where it was at before with the wait time scandal and backlog scandal related to disability benefits.

RELATED: VA Paints Veterans As Crazed Psychos

Then you have the scandal where employees actively committed fraud or at least violated numerous ethics rules but the agency was unable to discipline them. VA says you cannot fire yourself to excellence. But you can also not-not fire yourself to accountability.

Some heads need to roll.

Compounding matters, you have agency union employees from AFGE and elsewhere who are actively engaged in acts of simple sabotage to undermine the agency’s mission.

RELATED: CIA Sabotage Manual At Veterans Affairs

The obvious goal is to demoralize the veteran population while making the American public feel impotent in following through with its promises to veterans. Totalitarian schemes that rob veterans of their rights like disruptive behavior committees and the fiduciary program are travesties that need to be uprooted.

That crap would not fly in a civilian hospital. Veterans victimized by those policies should be allowed to get health care from non-VA providers.

Keeping Shulkin will keep a host of flunkies and criminals who should have been part of the whole “drain the swamp” promise. Instead, numerous high-level senior executives will engage in contract fraud and deception over the next year where they steer contracts to their cronies.

Taxpayers will lose millions and veterans will suffer. Let’s hope Trump clears the bench for Shulkin to create savings while also ensuring veterans do not get screwed out of services.

VA has done a great job of self-promoting to create the appearance of accessibility. But it just ain’t so, at least not yet. I hope Trump gets the picture.

Michael Heslop
Benjamin, I have a case involving a misdiagnosed TBI, with pituitary failure that went untreated for 5 years. I am now battling the VA for proper treatment yet the first doctor ended up ignoring me and after two formal complaints I now have a doctor that ran a test and ran it for the wrong condition. This ties into our Veteran suicide issues as even once a condition is diagnosed it takes over a year for proper treatment and literally… Read more »
namnibor
My thoughts and fears exactly, Benjamin: “[Keeping Shulkin will keep a host of flunkies and criminals who should have been part of the whole “drain the swamp” promise. Instead, numerous high-level senior executives will engage in contract fraud and deception over the next year where they steer contracts to their cronies.]” I do not get any vibe from Shulkin that he would stir the rats living in the VA swamp. Just as you stated above, am afraid that all those… Read more »
namnibor
The media ‘fake news’ and their ilk, will no doubt be somewhat helpful to Vets these 4 years in that the ‘fake news” and all huddled snowflakes of the DNC will HAPPILY hold Pres. Elect Trump to his word in cleaning-up the VA and making it better for Veterans. We may see the media coming to Benjamin for original stories if Trump’s appointment of Shulkin does not do anything more than further embolden the AFGE and VA Rats and the… Read more »
VAISLYING INC
SHULKIN SAME OLD VA NASTY FAT PIG JUST MORE LIPSTICK VETS SCREWED AGIN BY THE POTUS TRUMPER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PENDEJO VETS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Donald Yorkd

You have no evidence to back up your claim. Sounds to me like you are a sore liberal loser.

James Gallegos

I think he wanted to say. NO VA management has done anything for veteran’s and with their wrotten track record.

He Will be just another employee. When we see him fire Many employees. We not believe things will change.

Time will tell !

You can’t hide the truth. They sure try though.

John Cokos

Does Shulkin have any connections that would raise a Red Flag ? Any CVA or Koch Bros stalking horse associations ?
This is an arms length transaction for me.. We will see what we will see. Is there a man behind the curtain ?

Dennis
The lead article today on AFGE website mentions nothing at all about the new VA chief. Instead, it claims that the very first act of our new congress was to attack “working Americans rights…” citing the accountability act and so forth. Here is what the AFGE has printed as their top website story, the very day that the new head was nominated; “…It’s been called “a backdoor way … to dismantle the federal workforce,” by Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia,… Read more »
91Veteran

I guess it may be a plus that Little Cox isn’t threatening to kick Shulkins ass.

Yet.

Dennis
From his photo I doubt Cox can reach around to wipe his own ass let alone lift his own leg high enough to kick anyone elses. The man is bloated, full of hot air, and is complicite in the bilking of America for untold $$$. My hunch is that Cox has never engaged in personal hand to hand combat with anyone. I am netting he gets winded just walking out to his Rolls Royce. I have engaged in personal combat… Read more »
Donald Yorkd

Good VA workers deserve a decent wage, as does everybody. Multi million bonus’s doled out to all VA AFGE workers is, in my opinion, not justified.

James Gallegos

Let’s see the average worker gets what 8.50 an hour to do the same job. Veteran’s should not have to pay with their lives. So VA employees can live decently.

They should spend the money on veteran’s and not your new car.

It’s blood money !

Employees should be patriotic and demand trump to pay one dollar to each employee.

Bill

Thanks for your less than helpfull insight, I guess your one of the ggod ones?

Why not get a real job and find out what it is like.

james gallegos

How about 3 years active duty, shot in the head. 5 years national guard, where I was able to make our unit of medics all EMT qualified through the state. About 22 years with the VA. Now what !

Bill

The va IS NOT a real job. Its noce you like the status quo, just not here

james gallegos

I use to be a ho’er, before I went into the army. You would not be able to do that job. What’s your real job. Don’t be shy. we know Troll

Bill

Very sick of people who say how hard they work then to find out it is a government job. So today is a school day jimmy why are you playing here?

Your a joke and fuck you

james gallegos
What’s the matter Bill, such language ! tell us what is a real job. Tell you one thing when I worked for the VA, I trained in every aspect of medical Administration service and when you know your stuff and show you actually care. Higher Management tried to write me up for things like watching TV and had to EAT their claim, when I told them they were airing an emergency announcement. They looked so foolish ! Any way I… Read more »
Dennis
Can you point out a single VA worker who,is not aware that their employer is corrupt? VAs own internal pole shows that “good” VA workers believe their management is corrupt – so what does that make them? Knowingly taking orders from a corrupt leader and knowingly working for a corrupt institute makes every single “good” VA worker either suspect, corrupt themselves, or people who have cast aside personal morality in order to milk the sweet honey $$$ from VA. By… Read more »
Lesley

I feel he is a TERRIBLE candidate!!! His comments alone are inline with the current administration. I’m convinced that the VA will forever be corrupt, and continue to keep secrets from the public. Can you imagine how many settlements the VA makes with patients that are NOT publicized? I bet the number of misdiagnosed cancer is more than we think, and the level of gross negligence is beyond fathomable.

Dennis
A man walked in front of a VA facility recently and blew his brains out to make a point. Another man soaked himself in flamable liquid and burn himself to death an the lawn outside a VA clinic to make a point. Another man suicided directly outside of a VA ER (and was left there to rot) to make a point. Here in Eugene the grossly high number of vets who step onto the train tracks and get smeared over… Read more »
John Cokos

This will sound cruel, BUT THESE OUTCOMES should be taken into consideration before sighing up. You know the deal. If you don’t, you need to smart real quick.

Dennis
Tell a young man fresh out of high school and full of procreation fluids that they are likely risking their lives by becoming a warrior and that young man will sign up in two seconds. How can any fresh recruit possibly understand the long term consequences when they have barely ten years after learning to tie their own shoes? We are sending children to war and that is the way of it, but we cannot expect children to have any… Read more »
91Veteran

You know Dennis, perhaps if veterans organizations didn’t ignore their members and the shitty treatment they receive at the VA while throwing candy to little Johnny during the parade, little Johnny wouldn’t grow up believing that this nation promised their service (and promises) would be honored.

John, your comment essentially says we veterans were stupid for believing those promises.

Lem

91, That is what my WWII uncles said before I put my signature on the dotted line in 1961 and also before I “volunteered” to be a “Plank Owner” in NAVSUPACT DANANG in 1965. And what I told my son when after had served in the Navy and spent some time in the private sector he signed up for the Gulf War.

We know better but somehow we need to do it anyway.

John Cokos
YEP: There is just no data that I’ve seen to indicate otherwise. Shulkin has just encountered the Borg, and he WILL BE ASSIMILATED. I am the Zen Master of the reality of the the things I see. You may observe data points moving in and out of the Black Box, but you will never get a glimpse of the inner working’s of the Black Box. You and I don’t have the Clearance for that kind of peek into the inner… Read more »
Crazy elf
Yesterday, I informed y’all how my “Brother” died a horribly painful death due to cancer. The wife and I watched as his “life” drained from his body. The VHA clinic in Daytona Beach, FL was responsible for this. His wife is now in pursuit of a law suit. Hopefully, she will receive something that will spread light on this matter. Until Shitferbrains Shulkin turns things around, it will be “business as usual” at VHA’s nationwide. These asswipes need to be… Read more »
Bill

I am really sorry for your loss, and I to would like to welcome any and all trolls with a hearty FUCK YOU!!

Disgruntled Veteran

@Crazy elf – – – I am sorry for your loss. I lost someone yesterday, and will have another marathon reading session on Ben’s Blog next week sometime. Need a few days to support the family of the bereaved.

Cantigny

@crazy elf:: honestly, sorry for your loss.

ANutterVet
@Crazy elf – I want to express my sympathy to you, your wife, family, and friends for the loss of your “Brother.” It is my wish that you folks get justice against the VA. And, I too have some doubts about Shulkin. I’m concerned, like others, that Shulkin will protect those VA employees that really should be disciplined and terminated from their employment [cleaning house]. And, I truly believe that there are many Veterans who feel the same way. Hang… Read more »
NiteWish
VA’s great job of self-promoting to create the appearance of accessibility & the number of veterans waiting over a month for urgent care goes like this: I know 2 combat Iraq vets because they are my sons who have been given medical appts, waited 3 mos & longer for their appt only to receive a letter 2wks or less before that appt notifying them the appt had been cancelled – reasons unknown – & that “they are sorry for any… Read more »
Dennis

Well said and true.

james gallegos
I believe this has been noted before that the VA is doing routinely, where they make an appointment and can cancel it and have placed canceled per veteran. I stated a report that I believe it was 500,000 veterans applied for care and over 200,000 dies before getting their application looked at. Stay on them and all of your family members write your congressman. Get a copy of you appointment list from the start. And you are correct the VA… Read more »
Bill

Great post jim

Ex va
@Nitewish, do you know why she asked you “how did you get this appointment?”. Because that is part of the scheduling scheme that doctors and providers are in on. They do not want to treat and care for Veterans. They want to cancel their clinics with “no show” appointments so they don’t have to work. It is the free ride on the government gravy train that is in effect in clinics across the va medical centers. They want to be… Read more »
James Gallegos
Write you congressman. Not the VA. Yes you run the risk of it being swept under the carpet With the new rule all of us veteran’s need to fill the senator’s and congressmen office all over the country and tell them how we been treated If they are flooded with letter. They will be forced to act. For veteran’s. They have the authority now to take action against any government employee. If they refuse us all. That official need to… Read more »
NiteWish
James Gallegos My son was held in Iraq by “stop loss” when his ETS date came, he stopped receiving his pay & got tossed out of the system even though he was still active on duty. Once home we did everything we could with the VA to get him his money due. When that failed, the Congress representatives we went to were useless, one aide even seemed to be annoyed she had to deal with us, eventually he got some… Read more »
Lem

That is why you need to get your letter published as an open letter. Even the local street rag will help because you can cut it out and send it to his/her office and to more widely distributed media.

91Veteran
I have heard this before, that congressmen and senators are unresponsive. I ran into that myself with one senator, and the other senator here in CO, Bennett, I got a smart ass response from the snotty little bastard that answered his phone in his Denver office. I have since taken to going to their Facebook pages, liking their pages, then commenting about veterans in posts that they make. I don’t care what the topic is of their post, I comment… Read more »
91Veteran

Good post Nitewish. Don’t let the bastards grind you (or your sons, for which I am grateful) down.

CorpsmanUp!
Old Heisman Head, That meme is hilarious! Ridiculing is still the best approach to these fatbacks and meatloafs who self loath their work. A disgrace to modern day medicine. The best way to make a case for bad Pharma is to make the public aware of the controls on medicinals produced outside the USA, it truly is a National Security issue if there is a risk to taint the medicinal supply of the US. This is where investigative work on… Read more »
Crazy elf
First, During Trump’s media exposé yesterday, he mentioned about the big pharma ‘lobbyists’ and companies which operate outside of the US. He wants to bring them back. Secondly, until VA is brought to their knees, and the AFGE Union is ‘broken’ completely, it will operate “business as usual”! In my opinion, Don’t y’all believe Ben should set up a meeting with President Elect Trump and Vice-President Elect Pence, to discuss the multiple failures perpetrated against the very men & women… Read more »
ANutterVet

@Crazy elf – Your suggestion about Ben meeting with President Elect Trump and Pence makes perfect sense. Why not have a sit down with those who know a lot about the inside workings of the VA. Not a bad idea at all. At least Ben’s input is not connecting to a bonus, pay upgrade, or a transfer to a cushy job. No conflict of interest.

Lem
I’m encouraged by his service at: •Atlantic Health System Accountable Care Organization. The rating system is a necessary portion of that and it is not a comparison to the private counterparts. If we eventually get a rating system for all heath care facilities based on morbidity reports that include death, outcomes, and quality of life of persons served we’ll get there. I’m encouraged by what has happened at the small facility in Cheyenne under Shulkin’s watch. Hopefully, at the top,… Read more »
Jo3n
So, he’s been #2 at VA for two years? He never blew a whistle. Was he any help to whistle blowers? This may sound…insignificant, but, he sure is a smooth talker. Ben, has he been part of the problem? He makes things sound like….he’s been part of the solution. I kinda like the VA run by committee. There’s a whole lot of, “wait and see’s out there. Just hope I can hang on that long. Our POTUS elect, other than… Read more »
steven g larson
JUST GREAT,,, another do nothing leader,,,, the VA is set up to help a portion of us,,, but if you as I fall in the above area of there rules,,, You are thrown in a dead zone period,,, this is not going to stop,,, what does it take to make this point across,,, its getting sad that Doctors are nothing more today as a EMPOYED personal not a Doctor,,, FACTS happening in Private and VA,,,, and just getting worst why,,,… Read more »
FLB

Not Again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seymore Klearly
As for the pick for VA Sec. Trump choose the 2nd worst person on the planet. Elf Have you caught the news on McCain? From Breitbart News: “The UK Daily Mail on Wednesday reported that Senator John McCain (R-AZ) pushed the dossier full of unverified claims about Donald Trump to the FBI: Sworn Donald Trump enemy John McCain admitted Wednesday that he passed the dossier of claims of a Russian blackmail plot against the president-elect. The Arizona senator issued a… Read more »
Seymore Klearly

Fricken McCain.

VAMC Phoenix where he is the senator representing the area is still totally screwed up and this War Monger is working overtime to create more dead service members and disabled Veterans.

Seymore Klearly

They should hang this War Monger along side the Clintons on the same fricken gallows.

namnibor
I really am starting to think Senator McCain is mental, and not in a good way. RETIRE ALREADY! He’s but one example of dinosaur politicians that need to just step back and let the new order try something entirely different. Their way has only made things worse. I think it’s such a lost opportunity for someone such as McCain that could easily had used his influence and access to help Veterans and clean-up the VA. The fact this major scandal… Read more »
Disgruntled Veteran

No worries, Gents. Rima Nelson will et the Phoenix VA on the fast-track to Veteran Satisfaction, now that the incompetent bitch is back from doing her penance in the RP for screwing up the St. Louis VA so badly.

And McCain will fall in love with her like a schoolboy . . .

I pity veterans in Arizona.

When will the madness stop?

Disgruntled Veteran

Were he not in such a dangerous position – – – what I see on the TV of McCain would be quite funny.

Totally bonkers! I believe that by watching Senator McCain these last few years, the public is getting a fairly decent education on just how undiagnosed Alzheimer’s disease progresses over time.

Truly sad to watch, and McCain is truly a danger to our country.

Crazy elf

Seymore and all,
“TATTLE TALE SONGBIRD MCCAIN” sure has earned this ‘title’!
His reputation is far reaching. “Maybe…”, as one commenter said on an article about this, “…Vietnam will want him back!”

He’s definitely a fucking Democrat in Republican clothing.

ANutterVet

@Crazy elf – You’d think that McButt McCain would have been all over those dipwits at the VA facility in Phoenix. He is a lame buttfart.

Dina Padilla
The D.C. legislators with the loudest voices against Trump’s business connections should be investigated for all of their and their family businesses with federal contractors including HMO’s that profess to get 5 stars from Medicare. The medical killing fields are ripping off taxpayers at an alarming rate as well as through insurance premiums that some of us have to pay to medicare out of our pithy social security benefits. Nothing like tax payers paying for their own demise which of… Read more »
Bill

One must guard their thiughts from those people. Their primary focus is themselves CYA. We are just an after thought.

I wish your brother well

james gallegos
This nomination of Sulkin, hit me like a ton of bricks, so much for cleaning the swamp. You leave one Fox to watch the Hen house, the chickens are still in danger and The Fox will have such a big smile on his face. Boy that farmer is dumb. I bet the chickens were not happy, what’s this guy doing not getting rid of the Fox, he’s still going to try and eat us. I was wondering if anyone else… Read more »
Jo3n
So, has anyone pinned this Shulkin down on any major issues? Just knowing he’s been in charge of hospitals, and with all these suicides, inflated contracts, rehired pukes, illegal shredding, bogus bonuses, and so many other crimes, where was he? After all POTUS elect has said, and promised, I am feeling that this is an ugly joke, but it’s not. I’m having a tough time finding anything about Shulkin and what he has been doing for Veterans. He seems to… Read more »
Bill

Hey, always here, thanks for hangin with us

Lem

Wait for his hearing. I suspect we’ll find out a lot because he’ll not only be grilled on his past before the VA but on his tenure as Under Secretary for Health.

Several news channels and CSPAN are carrying hearings.

James Gallegos
Do you know the date of this hearing. As many veterans and citizens need to flood all of our senators. Congressmen in Washington and tell them how we feel Employees have alway had the upper hand. Time to rise up. Before the hearing. We must have a voice. No just one veterans all must do their part. ☎ calls. Letters. E-mails Now. We have one shot. Contact VA is lying and the other group’s. It’s the American way. If we… Read more »
Erika
Shulkin has been the only person from Wash CD to respond to any of my 100+emails since Aug for proper medical care that my local VA started to deny me illegally. He responded twice in Oct then 3 times during New Years weekend! Then his next email back to me was on Monday Jan 9 saying he would advocate for me to get proper care was about 4 hours before he saw Trump that Monday based on a newspaper shot… Read more »
91Veteran
I too emailed McDonald starting March 2016. Shulkin was copied on all of my emails. I emailed at most 2 times per month. I got a single response from McDonald around the end of May 2016 saying they would look into my issue. I heard nothing more from anyone. In September/October, I sent a FOIA to McDonalds office asking for any documentation, communication, email, etc., his office has taken to resolve my issue. The FOIA was forwarded by VA to… Read more »
James Gallegos
Same thing here his staff member (McDonald’s) lied and told the employee no longer worked for the VA Sent 10 year’s of research and evidence right back to the employees harming me to answer me directly. Same old story. Pass the buck and do nothing. The Denver VA kept all my file I sent McDonald’s office. That information was to prove to McDonald’s office That I was rail roaded Why don’t they do their job’s right. If they would have… Read more »
Bill

imo…they just dont give a shit

John Cokos

What part of cognitive dissonance do most of these posts miss ? Trump is pathological. Trump does what Trump does. Keep on believing the six impossible things before breakfast, and you will continue to make the same dumbfounded observations.
Jo3n: Trump has a mysterious South Jersey connection. WTF is that all about ?

Seymore Klearly

Clearly all you know how to Troll.

To bad your so bad at it. All that wasted effort.

Bill

Just another butt hurt snow flake

Crazy elf

Damn, here’s that ugly smell again. Worse than rotten eggs and ham.

namnibor

But not to be confused with ‘Green Eggs and Ham’. 🙂

ANutterVet

@John Cokos – Explain what the six impossible things are. To broad of a trolling statement.

Disgruntled Veteran

@ANutterVet

It is from Alice in Wonderland

“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson AKA Lewis Carroll (1832 – 1898)

ANutterVet

@Disgruntled Veteran – Thanks for the follow-up.

namnibor

No matter how many times you close your eyes and click your heels together and say, “There’s no place like Hillary”, she in-fact is not our President-Elect. Mr. Trump is. This is not Kansas anymore. Wake-up!

~~gurgle~~

ANutterVet

@Namnibor – And what about those red shoes? LGBTXRZ & Sanctuary Cities.

namnibor

I DO happen to own some read leather boots but my name is not Dorothy, at least by day. 🙂

namnibor

*red*…damn spell check

James Gallegos

Please write to Trump and tell him who you are and that he’s full of shit and tell him you and the Union president will kick his ass. If he tries anything with VA employees.

Don’t have the nerve. Slither back !

Jo3n
@John; Here are things that took me a while to get. AMERICA’S NEW PRESIDENT IS TRUMP. That was tough for me, but, it is what it is. He does things different. He’s new at this. Inevitably he will make mistakes. This Republican party will accept most of his choices with few exceptions. ……… I’m just not against him. The Republicans seem to be afraid of him. The Democrats are dead in the water. So, as an American, I support our… Read more »
Disgruntled Veteran

Agreed. These ARE exciting times we live in. Yes, we need to give the POTUS-Elect (and his cabinet picks) a fair chance. The first year of his term should be sufficient. Having said that, we must all remain vigilant. I only seek major improvement within the VA system. I also acknowledge that it cannot, and will not ever be perfect.

Patience and equanimity are key at this moment in time.

steven g larson
Sorry I’m heading on to 66 years old I am tired of waiting,,, when I could of maybe recover it wasn’t there at all,,, just a bunch of stumbeling shrinks being placed in the VA,, to sit and smile at you ,,, while you told them flat out your feel like killing yourself or others,,,, and smiled and you left,,, I”M NOT JOKEING this was a real life ,,, when they had excellent help they FIRED them,,, and replace them… Read more »
John Cokos
You might want to rephrase that: He’s YOUR President. I don’t suffer from the True Beliver Syndrome so prevalent here. I don’t care who is President OR WHO HEADS UP THE VA. There is not shred of evidence that indicate that anything will get better for veterans. If we come back a year from now it will still be the same set of circumstances and the same outcome and chest beating. It’s like a BATTERED WIFE scenario for vets. You… Read more »
OLDMARINE

you could if you just left and came back in a year

namnibor

Last I heard your Snowflake Collective does not have their own sovereign country and leader so as long as you live under the U.S. of A. Flag, Pres. Elect Trump is OUR President.
California would be a likely candidate to break away from USA and become Snowflake Collective. That might work. Have a unicorn blowing fairy dust as your flag and your news will come from Teletubby Land into your dome. 🙂

Seymore Klearly
More than 95% of us have hit home runs on our predictions. Trump is now the President Elect. As for the VA getting better. It already has with the worst person in the world no longer running it. May you remember that each time you see those golden arches or hear about a Disney Character. Looks like your news channel is taking some major hits and not going to be doing business as usual in the very near future. The… Read more »
Rosebud

He’s 70.

James Gallegos
We veteran’s can not let him do everything for us. We have a voice and now is the time to be ?. We not dead in the water. They just gave us oars. All we have to do is paddle hard and let our elected officials hear us loud and clear. Let’s not look a ? horse in the mouth. We are so use to not having one. I think many of us have to get used to having someone… Read more »
Ichioku

Shulkin v. claims/appeals backlog? Anyone?

Lem

Wasn’t his jurisdiction. Was under the Under Secretary for Benefits. Question is what will he and a new Under Secretary for Benefits do about it?

Ichioku

Ben’s article was about Shulkin as VA Secretary.

So was the question.

Once again, then: [Secretary] Shulkin v. claims/appeals backlog?

Thoughts?

Vassilis Margaris

Ben, I agree with you!
This is a Big disappointment for all the veteran community (and the Taxpayer Communities)
The Non-selection of Jeff Miller Is a Big No-go for the Trump Administration!
I don’t think This administration wants to Solve the VA ‘s problems! Sad! Very Sad!
MSG, US Army Ret, Vassilis Margaris

Lem

This was an appointment for Accountable Care Organization experience in the Cabinet. The likely replacement of the ACA for the otherwise uninsured.

Jo3n

I can understand many of the feelings we Veterans are dealing with on a daily basis. I get the hurt feelings. I have doubts. I don’t have anger issues over this. John, he’s the man. Are we Veterans going to be part of the problem or part of the solution? That’s up to us. God Bless the Veterans. We endured.

91Veteran
In order of reading Ben’s post. Shulkin (which autocorrects to Still in) complains about the rating system data being released. I thought release of that data was required by law, so shut up and do it! Rather than looking at it as a rating system, I look on it as an Accountability system. For those hospitals doing well, perhaps the leadership in that hospital does a good job of holding their staff accountable for their performance. Those in a low… Read more »
Lem

He is not complaining about the release but how it is being taken and used. A 1 star VA rating may still be better and any choice you could get in the community or only reflective of the director of that facility. A 1 star rating will get the attention of Shulkin and probable action. (at least hopefully) And assuming that was the case for him in setting up the rating system.

91Veteran
If you looked at the data (SAILS) that goes into that rating, you would know it is a measurement of several areas in a VA hospital. It is not only a reflection of a bad director, but a reflection of more than one area in that hospital. If I saw a rating of 4, I might think it was an issue a director would fix easily. If I saw a rating below 4, I would think they (the director, Chief… Read more »
Lem
Any rating below 3 comes from the top. It is a moral thing and that is the most important duty of a Director. If he is not dealing fairly with staff they will feel like shit and shit on the patients. No single staff member other than the Director or Assistant/Associate Director can cause that kind of problem. A department director such as the Mental Health Clinic director may damage a department but it takes the top to damage the… Read more »
namnibor

@lem- That makes little logical sense as there’s way too many variables to contain it to a tidy formula. This is not game theory. It’s the VA, where substandard performance could come from the janitor moving the body to the shower to the director shredding documents and everything in-between.
The “Top” is not exclusive to fraud and corruption and lackadaisical indifference towards Vets. It’s equal opportunity ignorance at the VA.

Lem

That is what accountants are for. If you run a business open to fraud and abuse you go broke. No one said it is tidy and easy. And that is the reason the roll out in the VA left the doors open to fraud and abuse. The accountants were not called in to set up the controls.

Erika
I see the ratings for many locations to inflated? for South Dakota esp! %-star meeting all staff and equipment required to do job? but does not really count how well or bad say operations go or if any inpatient mortalites go anywhere on the VAMC or CBOC do on care anywhere! Some 1-tar to me looks like do not have staff to fully function properly but in some ares may have good surgery in 1 area but again these rating… Read more »
Ex va

@91Veteran, well stated.

Seymore Klearly
Hey 91Veteran, Very well stated. One exception though! they should be required to supply the reporting of the data that is required by an act of congress to be submitted and compared with all Medical Care Facilities. Not allowing them to get away with this bullshit separate rating system for the VA data. That way everyone can see that Veterans are getting the worst health care offered in America. Also that no matter how the VA rates themselves with there… Read more »
Ex va

@Seymore Klearly, i agree definitely all data should be publicly accessible. It publicly funded.

91Veteran

I would agree with that.

I can’t believe they think we would believe those ratings anyway. We know how the VA operates. If there is any chance whatsoever to hide something, they will do it.

That means the data used to come up with these ratings is data they were forced to report.
How much was hidden?

Bill

Problem with the va numbers on their performance

Figures don’t lie but sometimes those who do the figuring do lie. And since we all have been at the lying end of these people I dont trust this data one way or another.

Lem

You’ve got it Bill. That is why we hire accountants to make sure the made up figures from the liars aren’t accepted as facts.

Stephen LeMaster
I said that I would be willing to give anyone except McDonald a chance, and I will. That said, this is a huge disappointment. If there had been some big (hell, ANY) improvements at the VHA during his tenure, then I’d see the wisdom in appointing someone familiar with the system. Someone who’s been doing the job he’s been doing as long as he’s been doing it is almost certainly part of the problem. His position on choice is a… Read more »
Crazy elf

As someone said earlier, “Wait for the confirmation hearing!”
I would love to see & hear that. I have a feeling we’re going to hear some real good zingers from the committee members.

namnibor

I only hope the confirmation hearing questions are not all orchestrated to protect the swamp. Otherwise, it may be worth popping popcorn and watching that confirmation hearing. 🙂

James Gallegos

Do we know who will be on the panel for the hearings. Maybe veteran’s who want to can send them an e-mail and tell how we feel and what we want to see changed.

This may give them food for thought.

Lem

The Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee: “http://www.veterans.senate.gov/about/members”

I’ll be surprised if this panel raises and probative questions.

Crazy elf

“Military.com/Daily News” just printed this article.
“Trump Taps VA Undersecretary to Take Over Top Job”
11 Jan. 2017 | by Brendan McGarry

We all know the who what when where and how. That’s not the interesting part. Read the comments. I read the first ten or so. None were grateful as to who Trump picked.
Thought you’d like to know!

Crazy elf

P.S.
On the “Connors Report Media” yesterday, there were approximately 6,000 “Bikers For Trump” already heading to Washington DC for the inauguration.
Let’s see, 6,000 bikers vs 1 million (alleged) Protesters showing. That’s about even things up, lol!!!!

namnibor

If I were a flying monkey I would throw poo from the air down on the butthurt snowflakes protesting at the inauguration. So instead, it seems Pres. Elect Trump needs to get ahold of Dennis and procure some of those Oregonian Poop Canons to disperse the snowflakes.

91Veteran

I can picture those cannons firing.

“POO, POO, POO”!

Ex va

Poo away, poo away!!!! Good one!

John Cokos
I’ve had some contact with Chris Cox early in the primary, and you have to take take what comes out of “Biker’s For Trump” (I’m a Biker) with caution. The logistic of getting that many Bikers on the road and to the Inaugural given what Cox’s has to work with are slim at best. Many a slip twitx the cup and the lip dealing with Cox. Not much has really come out of Biker’s For Trump (Cox For Trump ?)… Read more »
Seymore Klearly

Elf

I worked for Harley Davison for a while selling Harley Owners Group (HOG) insurance for events such as this. Most of the groups were run by current and retired Law Enforcement, Veterans or Current Military.

The type of people who can melt some snowflakes legally.

Oh and Cokos. Riding a moped doesn’t make you a biker.

John Cokos

I rode 1% and a tricked out HD 70’S Roadster long before you had a thought’s about the Biker lifestyle. Get a grip poser…..

ANutterVet

@Seymore Klearly , @John Cokos , @Crazy elf – I got ya’ll beat. I ride a super tricked carbon compound Mongoose, and have 5 Male Belgian Malinois trotting along side me. Who gone kick ass ya hear! LMAO

Seymore Klearly

John with your mouth, the only thing you have ever rode was the backside of anybody hand while being bitch slapped.

No organization would ever have you as a member. With the exception of some of the VSOs. Don’t forget now they need your dues.

ANutterVet

@Seymore , @John Cokos – OK dudes, lets shift keys and make up. We got to band together. Remember, it is us Veterans who are still on the front line.

Seymore Klearly

ANutterVet

Your interference is not appreciated. Stay out of it.

ANutterVet

@Seymore – OK, I hear you Seymore. Carry on!

Crazy elf
@John Cokos, Huh, a sportster? That’s a girls bike! I still have my first 3 H/D’s, 1) 1951 FLH/with side car. 2) 1972 FX (“local boy” built by “Longy’s” and me in Hawaii in 1981 and 82. Won ‘best of:’ in 1983 at a bike show in Honolulu.) 3) 2005 Road King, Just recently, I’ve acquired a 1976 FXE, and added many extras, turning it into a FLH. And yes, I ran with a group out of ‘Wainai-Makaha’ area. “Na… Read more »
ANutterVet

@Crazy elf – R U one local boy still living on the Sandwich Islands? I’m a Kaimaaina living in the extreme right side of da map.

ANutterVet
@Crazy elf – I read the article that you posted. The contents listed has pushed me more into the optimistic side pertaining to the selection of David Shulkin by Trump. The article mentions that the VA is a mess, and swift changes need to be implemented. I hope that if Shulkin can’t produce the results that are needed to serve Veterans correctly, that Trump will hesitate in saying, “Your fired.” Changes to the VA is so well overdue. No more… Read more »
John Cokos

Talk about “low energy” and Shulkin just pops right into view. Unless he’s a Georgia Inchworm, he’s dead in the water and not even out of the gate.
If I wanted to maintain the status quo Shulkin would be my choice…..

ANutterVet

Mistake- Last line in 1st paragraph should read, WILL NOT HESITATE. Mistake was due to neuron synapses getting hung up with some other type of chemical. I’ll let you figure that one out.

wpDiscuz