White House

While the David Shulkin confirmation yesterday was no surprise, the simultaneous White House veteran “listening session” raised some eyebrows by excluding vet orgs.

Following what was described as a “breezy” confirmation hearing, David Shulkin MD was confirmed to lead VA yesterday. During the hearing last week, Shulkin seemingly rejected President Donald Trump’s position on allowing all veterans to choose where they get their health care but he maintained some degree of agreement on Trump’s 10-point VA reform plan.

Shulkin also seemed to support the tight relationship between VA and the traditional veteran organizations (Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, Veterans Of Foreign Wars all aka Iron Triangle) that have largely rejected Concerned Veterans For America (CVA) because of the organization’s support of full choice for health care, not just the present and limited Veterans Choice Program.

Background On Anti-Choice For Veterans (Not To Be Confused With Abortion)

For some background, traditional veteran organizations have existed for many decades and generally support expansion of VA services, union jobs, and spending, which pits them against expansion of full choice. This group tends to be “Democrat” in party alliance.

Under their watchful eye in the past decade, we saw an explosion of the wait list scandal where hundreds of veterans were killed by execution of a fraud scheme. We saw a ballooning of disability compensation backlog. We saw the rise in veteran suicides. And we saw countless fraud and scandal go largely unchecked by leaders in position of authority under both Democrat and Republican administrations.

Though VA scandals are nothing new, and they have largely spanned the past 80 years since the Veterans Administration was created during the New Deal expansion of the 1930’s.

The general argument against full choice for veterans is supported by Democrat-leaning special interests including the traditional veteran organizations and unions.

The interesting irony of this position is that Democrats strongly believe a woman should be able to choose what to do with her body, including seeking medical help from a doctor of her choosing to abort a fetus.

Meanwhile, many of those same Democrats align against a disabled veteran having a choice to seek the medical care they are guaranteed from doctor of their choosing. Instead, if they seek the benefits guaranteed by service including healthcare, they must use a VA doctor at a VA facility.

The argument against allowing veterans to received non-VA care is that it will remove some financial resources from VA and negatively impact the veterans who choose to only receive VA care.

I disagree with this argument and believe veterans should have a choice and that VA should be forced to compete for resources by putting the needs of veterans first (to include the need to select the doctor you want), not to be confused with the needs of special interest groups who oppose choice for veterans.

Sometimes, these two groups – – veterans vs the special interest groups – – have competing goals, which includes not necessarily putting the needs of veterans ahead of putting more money in their own coffers. That is how I see it.

These groups, excluding CVA, seemed to be getting their way after the election despite promises from President Trump to put a reformer into lead VA.

The only hang up now was the President’s refusal to have an audience with the Iron Triangle after his election while his team assessed the needs of veterans. He instead sent the traditional vet orgs to speak with his transition team.

That aside, Trump’s selection of Shulkin was seen as a compromise by largely retaining the same team put in place by former President Barack Obama.

So, the traditional veteran organizations won, so they thought.

Not So Fast On White House Listening Session

That was until the White House announced its “listening session” with veterans that excluded the traditional veteran orgs that started just before the Shulkin confirmation, yesterday.

While the Iron Triangle was stuck watching Shulkin get confirmed, President Trump had a meeting underway about next steps with the VA to which they were not invited.

The decision was likely made because of the anti-Trump position taking by traditional veteran orgs during the election cycle and while the transition team tried to find a replacement to lead the agency.

If his treatment of the press is any indication of how Trump treats groups that oppose his presidency, the Iron Triangle should expect a cold shoulder for the near future while organizations supporting full choice, like CVA, get a front seat.

That meeting consisted of a different group of veterans and advocates including hospital executives that excluded the press.

The President reportedly passed on the traditional photo ops with veterans during the meeting by kicking out the press, which is something of a regularity over the past few weeks. Now, traditional veteran orgs can join the club.

Toby Cosgrove, Cleveland Clinic CEO, was in attendance at the meeting. He said the discussion ranged “from governance to modernization to accountability across the organization.”

Toby Cosgrove was a top pick to lead VA before suddenly removing himself from contention.

Kellyann Conway, a top Trump advisor, said the President’s meeting was a “very productive conversation.”

David Shulkin was also there for a little while before the confirmation hearing, but none of the traditional veteran orgs were invited.

Behind The Scenes

I initially had serious reservations about Shulkin’s selection in light of the President’s strong position and promise to pick a reformer.

Instead, Shulkin seemed to support the status quo of submitting to union leadership, traditional veteran orgs whims, and government contractor demands ahead of veterans.

My initial conclusion may be quite true, but a bigger plan may be afoot.

A reliable source informed me that David Shulkin’s selection was a compromise with various Senators to help streamline approval of President Trump’s more controversial Cabinet selections.

I can say unequivocally that one of those nominees is none other than Jeff Sessions to lead the Department of Justice.

Now, what could Sessions do about the VA accountability problem?

VA Accountability Problem

As you may recall, numerous VA executives and leaders were implicated in agency investigations ranging from fraud to possible negligent manslaughter over the past two years while the Department of Justice did little to nothing by way of prosecuting the wrongdoers.

While then-Secretary McDonald said you could not fire your way to greater accountability, you can certainly prosecute fraud to ensure greater accountability.

If you do not, you will encourage the same scandalous behavior that let to VA winning the award in 2016 for being the most secretive agency or person in 2016.

I will say that again, VA was so corrupt and fought transparency so hard, that it won the Golden Padlock Award in 2016 from a major journalist organization.

Here are a few examples.

Remember Kim Graves and Diana Rubens, the two women who rigged the system as senior VA officials who pushed out two of their subordinates so they could retire in the locations of their choosing while also fraudulently receiving moving bonuses to take the orchestrated demotions?

Gen. Allison Hickey (ret) and Danny Pummill both resigned in the wake of their scandal as it unfolded for knowing about it and even taking steps to facilitated the moves.

No one was prosecuted. Graves and Rubens kept their jobs after a scuffle with the agency that really went nowhere. Despite evidence of fraud, the agency was unable to fire the duo because their superiors were implicated in the scheme but not punished.

Then there is the infamous wait list scandal first exposed in 2014.

Over 200 veterans were killed due to wait time manipulation fraud where patients were denied access to VA healthcare to help VA leadership get fraudulent bonuses.

No one was prosecuted for the deaths, including Sharon Helman, though she was prosecuted for failing to report kickbacks from a government contractor.

Then there is the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation scandal.

One VA attorney, J Thomas Burch, Jr, ran the sham nonprofit while working as a high-level VA attorney. His operation investigated and shut down last year. Despite confirming various allegations of wrongdoing, Burch was allowed to retire.

Burch was not just any attorney. He was the head of integration between Department of Homeland Security and VA.

He was a high-level VA attorney who used VA resources to further his nonprofit that in turn earned a “worst” rating from a leading nonprofit evaluation organization.

Burch’s nonprofit repeatedly raised million each year while only donating a few thousand to veterans. The majority of the money was retained by the robot fundraising company Burch hired to robo-dial donors.

RELATED: VA Attorney Allowed To Retire Despite Sham Charity

No one was held accountable within VA, at least in the manner any normal civilian would be held accountable for the same or similar wrongdoing.

Veterans voted for change when they voted for Trump. Part of that hope is for a strong prosecutor to go after corrupt federal employees rather than letting them off the hook by allowing them to simply retire.

These same veterans were largely disappointed with President Obama’s lack of prosecution of wrongdoers in the agency and federal government, more generally.

Curiously, despite rampant scandals, the Obama White House prosecuted fewer public corruption cases than the previous two presidential administrations despite having some of the largest scandals.

Rep. Matt Salmon, an Arizona Republican and member of the House Freedom Caucus, said highlighted this unusual pattern under Obama in an interview with The Daily Caller.

“What’s really interesting is that corruption is not a partisan issue,” Salmon told TheDCNF. “Republicans, Democrats, independents all demand integrity in their government. Yet during this administration, we’ve seen Fast and Furious, we are still waiting for answers on Benghazi, the IRS scandals, over and over and over again.”

He did not even call on DOJ to prosecute the Wall Street executives who trashed our economy in 2008 but ensured they received massive bailouts that led to incredible bonuses despite the crash.

The Administration seemed more concerned with prosecuting whistleblowers than any other group.

RELATED: Obama’s War On Whistleblowers

Can Sessions Fix VA Via Prosecutions?

Will Jeff Sessions do it?

Only time will tell, but I suspect we can only expect more accountability after eight years of little accountability under the previous Administration.

For the past decade, there have been whispers within the legal community that VA is a walking Civil RICO action waiting to happen – – maybe even an actual full blown RICO.

In 1970, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO for short), closed a perceived loophole that previously allowed superiors in a criminal organization to evade accountability when they ordered a subordinate to commit an unlawful act.

They evaded accountability because the superior did not actually commit the act in question that they ordered.

At the time, RICO was intended to prosecute organization crime syndicates like the New York Mofia, but use of the legal framework has been expanded.

Now, it is possible to prosecute a VA executive for orchestrating a criminal enterprise via conspiracy to retaliate against a whistleblower by concocting fictitious legal complaints against them for cooperating with the Office of Special Counsel or the VA Office of Inspector General.

One recent example is the whistleblower retaliation against Joseph Colon at San Juan VA in VISN 8 by director DeWayne Hamlin in 2013. Colon reported Hamlin for wrongdoing. Hamlin concocted a scheme whereby he unlawfully pressured a subordinate to falsify criminal allegations against Colon in retaliation,

Colon reported Hamlin for wrongdoing. Hamlin concocted a scheme whereby he unlawfully pressured a subordinate to falsify criminal allegations against Colon in retaliation, Rosayma Lopez.

Lopez refused, which resulted in Hamlin then retaliating against her using the same scheme of false allegations. When that did not work, he ultimately tried to pay her off inappropriately using facility funds to orchestrate her departure from the agency.

If Hamlin worked with another person in a conspiracy to engage in the unlawful acts, it is possible he could be prosecuted under RICO.

Just recently Hamlin was removed from federal service after a two-year investigation, but there is no word he will be charged criminally for his obvious and confirmed criminal acts.

Can Sessions fix VA by prosecuting wrongdoers?

I would think so, and maybe he should start by hammering Hamlin.

For decades, VA employees have evaded legal accountability because of significant prohibitions against suing individual VA employees in civil court under 38 USC § 511.

Perhaps replacing VA executives golden cufflinks with silver handcuffs might bring about a new set of reforms in the agency that veterans desperately need.

227 COMMENTS

  1. He did not even call on DOJ to prosecute the Wall Street executives who trashed our economy in 2008 but ensured they received massive bailouts that led to incredible bonuses despite the crash.$$$$$$$ thats because the bankers are the real WIZARD OF OZ that run our country. watch some of CATHERINE AUSTIN FITTS videos …

    • VA BUDGET FOR 2017 182 BILLION $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ THE VA DC HQ SEWAGE RATS ARE DOGS IN HEAT FOR THE $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ LET THE BONOUS $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ PAYOUTS BEGIN VETS SCHREWED AGIN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. As we’ve all said, “Follow the Money!”

    I also agree, Shulkin will be an “Interim Substitute” until President Trump, or his ‘Team’, can find a person with balls.

    The corruption is very deep in VA and the VSO’s! Yet, the amount of fraud, waste and abuse is getting that light shined right on it!
    Remember, President Trump was pissed when the “Leftist News Organizations” called him out over the $6 million he raised. His answer, at the news conference, was that he “… wanted to vet them!”
    I believe, because of what he did, he knows how corrupt the VA AND VSO’s are.

    I also agree, President Trump had to get many “Appointees” confirmed BEFORE he can tackle the massive corruption within VA.
    By disallowing the VSO’s in, he’s definitely made them “inconsequential” for now!

    I also believe there’s other (criminal acts) issues going on in Washington DC, New York, California and other states, we are possibly unaware of at this time.
    (There’s been some “buzz” going on within the “Alt-Right News Organizations” for some time over an issue I’m not going to discuss – YET. When it’s time I will let y’all know what I’m talking about! I’ve been keeping a “tally” over some real interesting shit.)

    • By leaving the VSOs out of this meeting, he is getting advice on what to do to fix the VA without having to deal with some VSO organization running to Isaakson sniveling about a change they don’t like.

      ….and causing Isaakson to fall tits up off his Stairmaster.

    • Everyone – Democrats and liberals losing their minds. They are really out of the real reality. Nancy Pelosi does not even know who the President is. She still believes Mr. Bush is still president. Maxine Waters can’t even recall the facts. Lord help them. The Democrats do not know their heads from their feet. The VA is full of Democrats and liberals. I am praying everyday for positive change to occur in the VA. This is going to be the most arduous task to ever occur.

      • Addendum to my comment.
        Democrats and liberals are not about law and order. They do what ever they want and when ever they want. They have no accountability. Only time they follow a law is the 38 USC € 511 which is the prohibition of suing the VA.
        They only follow the law when it benefits them. With Democrats and liberals there is no accountability.
        When a veteran has been slammed in past and if a veteran stands up for himself, he or she will just get slammed even more. I will never trust a Democrat or Liberal with their word. So this goes hand in hand with the VA. The whole system has got to be changed from socialism.

      • You have a very narrow parochial view of the problem. Your spending all your time and energy on the pointless distinctions of Democrats vs Republican’s. There is a SYSTEM out there that needs to be focused on.
        I don’t give a rat’s behind for either of them. They are only of value for whatever you can get out of them for a particular issue, and then move on.
        Your behind the curve.

      • Prohibitions against the suing of VA employees (statute 38 USC 500) needs to be modified or changed or eliminated. If this statute cannot be changed in any way to initiate accountability, then, all deserving veterans should be given a choice for their healthcare. Veterans are being treated like criminals.

      • Actually Angela, veterans are treated much worse than criminals.

        At least those in jail.

        Criminals in jail get 3 hot meals, a roof over their head and medical care for anything they want, including sex change operations in some states.

        All paid for by the taxpayers.

        If they don’t get the medical care they demand, they have the ability to sue, often with the help of a pro bono lawyer and a civil rights group like the ACLU.

        …and regardless of whether they win, the taxpayer still pays.

      • I mistyped. In my comment, I meant 38 USC 511. In one comment, I put 38 USC 500 in one comment. I meant 38 USC 511. Yep, all are correct. Criminals do get treated better than veterans. As matter of fact, even add a college education to this list and retraining for when and if they get released. The list includes food, medical, a bed to sleep in, legal counsel, sex changes and the list even continues.

      • Guess we need to commit armed robbery or at least confess to one that has been committed in order to get a bed and treatment. Downside is we lose compensation so we have to keep doing that or be willing to do the homeless bit.

  3. Your history is a little off, Ben: “Though VA scandals are nothing new, and they have largely spanned the past 80 years since the Veterans Administration was created during the New Deal expansion of the 1930’s.”

    Actually the VA was created under the Lincoln Administration. Not sure if it was completed before his assassination. The Hot Springs, SD VA Hospital was built to take care of Civil War Veterans who joined the Northern Army. They couldn’t be cared for in the North because of their southern drawl or in the South because they were “traitors”.

    • VA corruption has existed since the Revolutionary War.

      Veterans traveling home from the Civil War that were killed on the USS Main (river boat renamed but don’t recall the name) boiler explosion were denied benefits. Widows were denied compensation. So corruption with regard to veterans has existed since the inception of the United States and the inception of the VA. More than 200 years for the U S and more than 150 years for the VA.

    • The “General Argument” against Choice is more related to “curtailing entitlements” than consolidating union care. This comes from both sides of the isle and is engendered by lobbyists who want more budget money available to the military industrial complex and upper echelon tax relief.

    • The biggest lobbyist group against VA Choice and Clinic expansion is the Pharmaceutical lobby. They desire to maintain a maximum pool of human resources for experimental drug trials. Downsizing the VA hospitals connected to University Medical Schools (VA LA used to be called the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical and Research Center). Both sides of the isle respond to this lobby. Former Senator Daschle let the pharmaceutical lobby write the VA portion of the ACA which assigns veterans to the VA for ACA care irrespective of their service connection on a means test basis. (expanding that pool)

  4. On the claims side the biggest scandal is right at the top the Court and Board. When a vet files an appeal we receive a truck load of advertisements from lawyers promising the moon, many claiming to have worked for the Board or OGC in the past but have had their Jesus moment. Many later return to the dark side. One scam used is to get the appeal at the court remanded after a conference where the OGC and said Attorney agree horrendous errors occurred and to save precious Court time agree to a remand. Said remand then is given and all other issues dismissed. Lawyer then seeks payment for his work and gets it. Veteran is patted on head saying we will get it right this time. Its denied and back to the Court where again its remanded in the interest of precious judicial time. I have seen this over and over. I could name a few lawyers who have this new hamster wheel down pat. In the financial world its called “churning”.

    • Good research point. That little tactic should be expanded on and see if there isn’t a workaround for it. The Bar Card Mafia. Perhaps go after “The Card’ of the offending miscreant ? A little blood in the water for the rest of them to see.

  5. It is pretty bad when they involved the IG in their scheme to retaliate against whistleblowers with concocted schemes. And when a whistleblower goes through the EEOC and MSPB process, they use the legal system to obfuscate your claims by fraud and misrepresentation to the court. State bars won’t even hear your complain against VA attorneys and that douchebag Carlton Hadden at the Office of Federal Operations, because they are exempted from the Administrative Procedures Act. Clearly a RICO scheme among the executive branches.
    One day the hammer will come down on them. Swift, Silent………..

    • Just off the top on the APA, they have their own administrative courts and a separate channel for a “Internal Affairs Complaint” that you can use to interrupt an action that can challenge Jurisdiction and standing.
      All of this put’s you in the Tall Grass and your own your own.

  6. With all due respect, your advice Ben on not confusing the VHA with abortion is off target. VA is clearly an abortion that lived.

  7. Here’s another take on Shulkin’s appointment. It’s from, “military.com/Daily News” via “Stars and Stripes” by Nikki Wentling, 7 Feb. 2017.
    Titled:
    “Senate Committee Approves Shulkin’s Nomination for VA Secretary”

    In the article, it’s points out, Shulkin’s ideas of how to run the VA is going to run into problems, sooner or later, with the President’s 10 point plan (paraphrasing)! Especially when it comes to the “Choice Program”!

    I agree with Ben’s assessment over why Shulkin was an appointee. President Trump needs to get Jeff Sessions into the DOJ – ASAP!
    Once he’s confirmed, I have a feeling we’re going to see heads roll. At least that’s my opinion and hope!!!!!!
    ______________________

    Off subject,
    Do y’all remember the article I put on here within the last week? It’s about those “three IT specialists” who were caught “allegedly” stealing classified Intel and items from their job.
    Here’s a new video from the “Alex Jones Show”, David Knight reporting, (11:23 minutes long)!
    Titled;
    “Who Needs Vetting: Dems Owned By Muslim Bros”

    It goes into a little more detail than first reported. There’s a “voice recording” from one of the “Seal Team 6” members.
    It’s a great video of “WHY” our government needs to “vet” anyone and everyone who wants to come into our country. Especially those who are from any country which may want to cause us harm!

    • Your post sounds like Republican Talking Point’s. You still don’t get “it” do you ? Your screwed by either outcome. How is any of that going to benefit you or me ? As for Alex Jones insights into the way things work, He’s is the equivalent of picking peanuts out of Turd, you have to really like peanuts.

      • @John Cokos
        Evidently your “one sided view” of other news sources is mistaken for what the truth is.
        David Knight brought it out of three ‘Muslim brothers” (and one female) who may have been responsible for that failed raid recently.
        This “source” isn’t the only one talking about it.
        As far as believing in something. Why don’t you help fight against the corruption, instead of helping it along!

        The three major VSO’s, mentioned in Ben’s blog, are also responsible for the corruption. Which has reared its head at VA. They have, for decades, lost their primary reason; ie: to help veterans!
        In my opinion, the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) is the worst of the bunch. Ever since the early 90’s they have become more corrupt than the VA.
        Go to “DAV Reform.org” for what they have done to many of their own members. I believe Ben is friends with the MEN who began this website.
        Once you’ve been informed, then come back and spread your nonsense!
        _____________________

        namnibor,
        I hate it when someone comes on here and tries to spew bullshit.
        When I post a comment, I always give the correct information.
        The FBI has a “criminal investigation” going on with those three Muslim brothers. There’s also a Fourth individual they’re looking into. On that failed raid.

  8. Well, where do you start on a story like this ? The Animal Farm quote about all pig’s being equal but some pigs are more equal than others.
    It looks like there are two distinct vet’s camp’s involved, and both of them are mired down in the muck of personal politics. Who are the 80% of veterans who voted for Trump ? Was it the carefully vetted “Veterans Organization’s” that Trump donated 6 Million dollars of front money to, largely unknown when compared to the National VSO’s? (which I have no use for, for the most part).
    This issue is largely a Animal House style food fight, Veterans will end up the short end of the stick on this ongoing RICO known as the Veterans Administration.
    The VA entrenched mafia will tie Trump up into a ball of compromise as it has done in all past Administrations. They are a Fourth Branch and they roll anyway they want to with little opposition.
    Folks, spend some time in the world of Administrative State, and you won’t be so befuddled by the outcime’s

  9. Right on Dennis, another VHA surgical blunder. Do you think, at our advanced age, we’ll ever see a SUCCESSFUL re-birth of VHA???????????

  10. “[Perhaps replacing VA executives golden cufflinks with silver handcuffs might bring about a new set of reforms in the agency that veterans desperately need.]”

    Those silver handcuffs will need to be retrofitted with same technology utilized in dog anti-bark electrical shock collars and fenceless perimeter collars so that anytime their ratty hands come remotely close to the Veteran Cookie Jar or any Veteran, it sends high amperage/volts through those silver handcuffs to keep them in line.
    That goes for all the typical dinosaur VSO Groups…make those bastards get back to their original mission, as the VA is also forced to abide by original mission…to Serve Veterans.

    I ****LOVE THE FACT**** those ratty bad hatted dino VSO’s were NOT invited…. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Now, off with the heads of the lamprey VA AFGE Union. Drain that swamp filled with lamprey.

    Today’s article filled me with a new sense of positive hope and change. Thanks Benjamin. Great article.

  11. Breaking News: Satan and the AFGE struck a renegotiated contract that allows VA Upper Management SES Employees to assimilate amongst the fiery depths of Hell. AFGE Union Dues will be paid via community torture sessions 24/7. This eliminates the divide between lower/upper management in Hell. Same degrees of Hell, no more levels of hell…Dante was very wrong.

    If you have golden parachutes, better replace them with asbestos. 🙂 Jeff Sessions is coming for YOU…. 🙂

    ‘Hells Bells’, by AC/DC

    “I’m a rolling thunder, a pouring rain
    I’m comin’ on like a hurricane
    My lightning’s flashing across the sky
    You’re only young but you’re gonna die

    I won’t take no prisoners, won’t spare no lives
    Nobody’s putting up a fight
    I got my bell, I’m gonna take you to hell
    I’m gonna get you, Satan get you

    Hell’s bells
    Yeah, hell’s bells
    You got me ringing hell’s bells
    My temperature’s high, hell’s bells

    I’ll give you black sensations up and down your spine
    If you’re into evil you’re a friend of mine
    See my white light flashing as I split the night
    Cause if good’s on the left,
    Then I’m stickin’ to the right

    I won’t take no prisoners, won’t spare no lives
    Nobody’s puttin’ up a fight
    I got my bell, I’m gonna take you to hell
    I’m gonna get you, Satan get you

    Hell’s bells
    Yeah, hell’s bells
    You got me ringing hell’s bells
    My temperature’s high, hell’s bells

    Yeow

    Hell’s bells, Satan’s comin’ to you
    Hell’s bells, he’s ringing them now
    Hell’s bells, the temperature’s high
    Hell’s bells, across the sky
    Hell’s bells, they’re takin’ you down
    Hell’s bells, they’re draggin’ you around
    Hell’s bells, gonna split the night
    Hell’s bells, there’s no way to fight, yeah

    Ow, ow, ow, ow

    Hell’s bells” — AC/DC

  12. As Long as I can remember, the VA is full of scandal. Sure it has gotten worse over the last 8-12 years but it has always been there. I don’t know if Sessions will prosecute more VA officials I hope he does but that remains to be seen. As to Veterans organizations not being allowed in… I say Great! Its a step in the right direction. While I really think most Veteran service officers at the local level try hard to help the veteran, I also believe the VSO’s are in bed with the VA. There was a time when I was so proud to be a member of the 3 big ones, you know, VFW, AL, & DAV.. not anymore.. they all have at least one thing in common, who can get the most members to brag about when they go to congress.

    • If it were not for community projects or involvement by the VFW, Legion or others, the VSOs would dwindle away to nothing.

      I joined VFW and DAV as a life member in honor of a WWII veteran neighbor because back then, the VFW was a very strong community presence, and a strong advocate for veterans in Congress.

      I joined the DAV as a life member because the VSO I used years ago was a Vietnam or Korea vet who actually cared.

      All that has changed drastically in the last 15 or 20 years. The Legion started first by throwing Gulf War veterans under the bus by using the money excuse. I was a member for a few years until that happened, and refuse to ever be associated with them again. If Gulf War medical care is funded, it takes away from Vietnam or Korean vets care was their excuse.
      The VFW and DAV followed shortly after, with VVA and others after that.

      Their complete lack of demanding the VA fix the problem of veteran wait times and suicide during and throughout Obama’s terms shows how bad they have become.

      They all joined the free-for-all corruption that permeates DC.

      • A problem with the VSOs is “their war”. And they see other veterans competing for “their funds.” I also joined the DAV as a life member when represented by a caring member. But I have nothing to do with them since the increase in the Commander’s compensation was increased so drastically and they decided only veterans with purple hearts need apply for representation. There was all read a “Purple Heart” VSO.

        The ability to pay such huge salaries to the top 5 can only be maintained by a decrease in other costs (assistance to vets) and an increase in contributions (selling out to the military industrial complex that competes with the VA for budget $$$$.)

  13. One night, right after the November election, the wife and I met some American Legion VSO’s at a steak house.
    Every one voted for Trump. They were excited about it, also. One even said they were going against National. They said all their members were for Trump’s election.
    I know that’s only on chapter. Yet, it was confirmed by these individuals, the majority of chapter members nationwide were for Trump. Basically, telling National to fuck off!
    So, maybe it’s true on what the majority of veterans want from VA – great healthcare and a stop to all the corruption.

    • @Crazy elf — Just as it is with the upper management @ VA and lack of accountability that trickles downward amongst the ‘great’ employees, am thinking it’s the same with the dinosaur VSO’s. Their upper management is so entrenched with both the VA and AFGE that their original ‘mission’ has been compromised.

      Good to hear that some of the Chapters voted against National. I still will not afford my $$$ support via membership for *any* VSO Group. I rather support Veterans directly by bringing food and stuff to homeless camps and food banks and Activists for REAL CHANGE I Can Believe In, such as our own Benjamin Krause.

      Time for all Dino VSO Groups to start having Veteran’s six, not the VA’s. Rats are very adaptable to environments and I expect the VSO’s to behave accordingly. Not the AFGE though…

      • @namnibor,
        Maybe we might luck out on the “Strike” all those butthurt liberal snowflakes are talking about.
        Wouldn’t it be great to see VA employees walking out the door!?
        That would really put the squeeze on the AFGE.

    • I saw all I need to know about national VSO officers when I went to that bullshit Legion Save Our System town hall last year.

      I emailed that national officer again asking him why I hadn’t heard from him. His response was he thought my problem had been dealt with. He wanted my information emailed to him again because he was going in to a meeting with McDonald the next morning.

      I emailed him what he wanted, and never heard from him again.

      That was not the most disgusting of this event.

      The most disgusting was when a local female Legion officer stood up and asked about retaliation and being fired from the Grand Junction VAMC short of her 1 year probationary period in retaliation for her calling out the substandard and sloppy care the VA provided to other veterans.

      That weasel national Legion officer shut down that discussion quick and said he would meet with her after.

      I doubt highly anything was resolved. The Legion has stood by while many veteran VA employees have been retaliated against and illegally fired. I doubt this was any different.

      • As stated before I went to the DAV in my local small town and the paperwork was sent to the employee doing the false reporting.

        The employees not only answered the inquire. She hired the DAV rep as a patient representative.

        Nice job DAV !

      • I have stated that I contacted Senator’s Bennett’s Constituent Advocate. This person only accepted my cover sheet and not the whole file of evidence. Was told by the Aid that she was Afraid that the cover sheet would end up being seen by the Employee who made the False allegation’s of Disruptive Behavior.

        Why did the Aid say this and why did she not take all the evidence. Was told she would contact another Advocate in Colorado springs. The Aid in COS has 8 months of experience. I was told that this matter would not be looked at right away.

        Today I contacted Senator Bennett’s office in Washington and was advised to contact the Denver Office and speak with a VA specialist. I was contacted via Phone and asked some questions, If I wanted to be contacted by phone or in person.

        I explained if I used the phone, that the specialist would not be able to look at the physical evidence. Was told if I wanted to be seen in person that I could go to COS to be seen by the Aid who had 8 months experience.

        I advised Denver that I was willing to travel the 200 miles to see the VA Specialist, so they can actually see the evidence that proves my case. Denver Rep kept asking questions as to what happened and when we were done, She said ok !

        All of this has been recorded and you will be contacted by the VA Specialist within 24 to 48 hours. I was not told this was being recorded. I am Glad that I mentioned that I have a Traumatic Brain injury and they seemed to understand.

        This has proven to me, that if you can not get your local Advocate to listen to you or seems not to care. That you must contact your Senator or Congressman Directly in Washington to ensure they know about your concerns.

        I have requested a Mediation with the VA and the Senators office Advocate. Where the Advocate will be my Representive and this should allow me to provide all the evidence and hopefully this matter can be resolved once and for all.

        We all say never give up ! I will keep you all informed as to what transpires concerning this matter.

        Veterans should not be Threatened with Federal charges, Arrest and Banishment from all VA care just because a VA Employee does not like you. I am in hope that when all done, this matter will be brought to the forefront in Senate meetings and relief given to all Veterans that the VA has accused of Disruptive Behavior and punished and have all of their Civil, Constitutional and Human rights adhered too.

        Employee’s whom are hurting veterans, just because they can. Must be held Accountable. I am hoping this will be positive and not be treated as something Trivial. This is as Serious as a Heart Attack !

        Any Suggestion’s on how to handle the Case. Do’s and Don’ts.

        I have found out that the Denver VAMC Director and Chief of Staff are new to that facility.

      • Denver senior staff renewal not surprising. They have supervisory control of Cheyenne and other areas outside Denver. Too many complaints. Suspect Shulkin had them on his list from complaints he was unable to do anything about because of political considerations. The congressman or congressmen for the area were probably changed last election. They have a say in those appointments.

      • Thanks for the info James. Its good to hear how Bennett’s office might handle this.

        As for what happens, I would push for a meeting with you, Bennetts aide and someone from Denver VARO. And a witness.

        I would record the meeting citing your TBI as a need.

        I would explain what this act has done to you, and what you want to correct it.

        I would also request a letter stating you are not considered disruptive, and ask the VA to distribute that letter to the head of the hospital or CBOC where you get care.

      • Thanks. I am going to take 3 packets. One evidence on the disruptive committee.

        One with all the evidence proving the traumatic brain injury.

        One requesting that they help me with my clear and unmistakable error on part of the VA.

        Try to kill 3 bird’s with 3 stones. LoL

  14. Brutal honesty here;

    I have been at the receiving end of some real jack ass behaviour by men in little outfits and funny hats who without any question are given free run inside VA. Real pricks. I too was glad on that level that these bought and paid for men who disgrace themselves thusly were not let in to “clear the air” with their old man butt smell.

    Semper Fi

  15. If y’all are wondering how the confirmation hearing is going. Check this out;
    From;
    “Golden State Time” (an alternative news station!)
    Google this;

    “LIVE STREAM: Senate VOTE on Confirmation of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General”

    Check out the live stream comments section. There’s NO Censorship, PERIOD! It’s believed the vote will be tomorrow night.

  16. How many of you have contacted your Senator or congressman to complain about the VA lately. We must do this and remind them of the Holman Rule and we expect them to follow this Rule to get ride of Bad employees.

    We only have 1 year to get action, each day that passes by is one day less you have to get any results.

    The Secretary of the VA also has to be bombarded with letters and emails and phone calls to use this rule while they still can. You can not fire your way to success is wrong. Once VA Employees see with their own Eyes that they will be held Accountable (SUCCESS) will be achieved and the Good employee’s and all Veterans will be safer.

    Rico, that was Echoed by one of our veterans for years and dog gone it he was right. A man of few words

    • I used to do that YEARS ago. The vet’s reps that generally handle those type of inquiries consider you a third rail not to go near for fear of blow back from the Agencies and the VSO’s. As the reps are usually retired military with connections to VSO’s and don’t want to rock the boat as far as funding might go for these positions. Get the picture ?
      I had a barn burner of a request for documents from a local congressman, and his reps acted like that I found she was on the Grassy Knoll in Dallas.

      • To day is A New Day, Try, Try Again. OR Just give up ! That’s up to you. I say Never give up ! If your tired and need Rest, Just Remember one day you will be able to Rest for eternity and no more chances to get heard.

  17. Ben, this is one of the best articles of yours that I have ever read. You seriously need to shop this around as an editorial to major newspapers.

    From the top.

    I am very happy this meeting occured leaving the VSOs out. This tells me Trump recognizes the VSOs as having interests other than what their charter states, and he wants unbiased advice on what to do to reform the VA.
    This news is VERY encouraging.

    You make a very good point about Democrats demanding choice for women to kill but refusing veterans a choice to live.

    As for the argument about money not going to help veterans, it has been a despicable BS argument for years that is used as an excuse by the lazy to prevent change affecting their gravy train.
    The money will still be there to help vets, and maybe more, once the worthless bureaucracy is cut out of the funding stream.
    Cosgrove hit the nail on the head about accountability…which also tells me they are serious about reforming that problem at VA. That more than anything else will bring improvement to the VA.

    It also might be the reason he withdrew. No anal exam from worthless politicians during a confirmation hearing, but he can still play a major role in advising how to reform the VA.

    Shulkin had better take notice because he will be taking orders, and will be the fallguy if things go south. I have zero problem with that.

    The deal with worthless Senators to get Sessions confirmed is a nice rope-a-dope. They are more concerned with their contractors cash flow and not falling on their ass off their Stairmaster.

    Fine. Here’s your boy with Shulkin, but I get Sessions, and in the end what I wanted all along when Sessions starts prosecuting corruption.

    …and there is nothing a Senator will do to defend a corrupt contractor charged with ripping off money meant for vets.

    I used to think that it would take Trumps entire term to reform the VA. After my experience with the local VA over the past 2 weeks, I think that reform will happen much faster.

    Change will happen fast simply because an attitude of some VA flunky will change fast, and has changed fast, once they see their managers and directors getting fired. Imagine how their attitude will change once they see one prosecuted.
    The attitude of many was piss poor because they knew there was no accountability at any level.

    As for RICO charges….I soooo hope so. That too will cause a drastic change in attitude.

    As you defined it Ben, there has been RICO activity at many levels of the VA for years.
    Conspiring among many to defraud the system for bonuses.
    Conspiring among many on relocation moving expenses.
    Conspiring among contractors.
    Conspiring to retaliate against whistle blowers.

    I would seriously bet there is even a large conspiracy among many involving the fiduciary program. I saw it here locally. I see many comments from other veterans where the VA forced an unknown fiduciary on the veteran, and in many instances, ignoring their own wives/husbands or other family.

    How many friends of VA crooks are fiduciaries, and giving kickbacks to those making the theft from veterans possible?

    All around good news today.

    • I agree with you and Ben. I was watching the news interview freshmen senators and one from the southern part of the country was a lawyer. Like Ben !

      He told the story about how he and other’s did a sting on their elected officials and it concerned senator’s and other’s. Some from out of state and caught them taking bribes. 12 I believe. They were prosecuted.

      That person is the type of person we want to run this country.

      Ben. If you ever decide to run for office. I for one would contribute my time at no charge to help you.

      Again I must take the chance to plead with my fellow veteran’s and citizen’s to contact their elected officials and tell them your stories and put a bug in their ear

      That we know about the Holman Rule to get rid of bad VA employees and expect them to follow the rule or law.

      One day we may succeed. But that will never happen unless we let them know. We know.

      No more excuses from our elected officials. Our hands are tied

      • For All – The Holman Rule is a rule in the United States House of Representatives that allows amendments to appropriations legislation that would reduce the salary of or eliminate specific federal employees, or cut a specific program.

        “http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/labor/313629-use-holman-rule-on-federal-employees-that-work-full-time-for-union”

    • The VA has ALL the elements of RICO. It should have been charged with that act years ago. Why wasn’t it ? Don’t expect Trump/Sessions to go down that road.

  18. VSO’S being left out…a good thing. All this Democrat/Republican stuff don’t mean crap. Jeff Sessions is NOT the man…. I’m unsure about all of this. Another waiting game. We shall see. @Ben, Over the past few days, I reread all your articles and Veterans posts. Looks like most of us want the same thing. We want to be treated with respect and proper care. We are not receiving either from the VA. We ask for accountability, the VA has none. Some of the Veterans have figured out how to get their military records, many have not. I live in a Republican State, and can’t get an elected official to help at anything. When Sessions left Alabama, he had criminal charges against him, guess they were dropped. How does any of this help our claims? No matter what good comes out of this, I still live in Alabama, and this State doesn’t do what the rest of the Country does. Wait and see….

  19. 02/08/2017

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    Benjamin Krause states; “Under their watchful eye in the past decade, we saw an explosion of the wait list scandal where hundreds of veterans were killed by execution of a fraud scheme. We saw a ballooning of disability compensation backlog. We saw the rise in veteran suicides. And we saw countless fraud and scandal go largely unchecked by leaders in position of authority under both Democrat and Republican administrations.”

    This is a crime.

    This is homicide.

    This is premeditated.

    This is Treason.

    “If there is no caring there is no Democracy,” was a statement made by Travis Smiley’s guest today.

    As the HHS Secretary buys into McKesson [VA main supplier of drugs] it is a sign how things will go in the Trump Administration.

    Now Trump did not create this mess, and it will take years to clean up the crime scene.

    Will he destroy the evidence? You got your answer with Senator Sessions becoming the head of the Justice Department.
    All the organizations in your article have not done enough to bring any kind of change, and most of the organizations are sitting silent. Why?

    Who is to blame—everyone with a brain—-lately, that is not too many people.

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg

  20. @Don, in defense of Ben, and he doesn’t need one, he has awakened many Veterans to the atrocities committed by the VA. Without choosing Republican or democrat, I am extremely grateful for his continuous struggle. Don, I agree with everything else you said. We Veterans, mostly, aren’t doing enough. I wasn’t an officer, and I am not a leader. What do you suggest I do? Thank you Don…

    • I read Don’s remarks differently. He justly highlighted Benjamin’s primary point and seems to have an unstated opinion as to whether the appointment of Attorney General Sessions was good or bad. I can’t read his mind on that.

    • 02/07/2017

      Dear Lem,

      Thank you. During the Fight with Aerospace in 1988, everyone at the Alpine Village, Torrance, CA, many “non-citizens” who opposed our existence still had the ability & courage to say, “Do the right thing!”

      As I stood outside the Conference Doors in the Basement of the Carl Hayden VA Hospital after asking the New Secretary about the 293 Homicides at the Hospital over a hand shake [4 books of research handed off]—one Veteran who as sick to his stomach at what he saw and heard stated “At least someone around here has a backbone!”

      Everyone is different and everyone has a gift that God gave them, use it to protect your fellow man.

      My intentions are not to rip into our Host or the Articles but to use our energies and time wisely.

      Surround yourself with critical thinkers, and those who are moving forward.

      Go to Community Events and Talk to the Population.

      I was on the Campaign trail in 1992, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010—very few Veterans raised any issues– let alone any information leading up to the 2014 Scandal. I was the one in Phoenix who was going door to door talking about the Problems at the VA in 2008 (if not 2006). I addressed other issues about Hospitals in 2004 [John C. Lincoln refuse to provide a wheelchair to Pete Cepuch as he was having a Heart Attack (Honeywell/Allied Signal Employee)—“his son had to get it—after the paperwork was filled out —he was died,” on Christmas Day in 2002.

      I received all kinds of arguments many, “What hell are you talking about, my Doctors and Hospitals are great!” And there are many like me who are “INVISIBLE” and do not see Doctors or Hospitals until a pair of Pitbulls ripped my leg open in my frontyard just after Christmas, a few years back. On 01/01/2017, hours in, Phoenix Police arrived at my house to conduct an investigation on the Damage to my House [$1000.00] cause by a wild dog [attempting to eat a cat].

      Phoenix is a nightmare underneath the table.

      The Mayor has yet to repair my wall in the backyard after his frontloader slammed into it, two Christmas’ ago—-asked the Mayor about the 293 Homicides [the Police Chief responded/he is now retired].

      Then there is the Shootout that took place in my Drivway just before thanksgiving two years back.

      Do what you can. And Do the right thing! And Expect Company.

      Sincerely,

      Don Karg

      • Don, I started a letter writing campaign in 1988 for veterans with organic brain syndromes caused by subtle TBIs, extensive exposure to heavy artillery and ship gun out going that bounces the soft cranial bone between the sinuses and the lower temporal lobe of the brain, and cerebral malaria (p. falciparum).

        When the letter writing campaign didn’t accomplish anything I went to DC in May of 1995, got a permit to demonstrate overlooking the Vietnam Memorial and after that didn’t succeed I stayed homeless picketing daily in front of the VA Central office off and on for the next 6 years.

        7 years after I gave up a news paper reporter proved I was right about the TBIs in 2008 but the VA only wants to recognize it as a “current war” IED situation and not for those who had similar exposure to regular explosive devices such as artillery rounds, mortar rounds, land mines, etc from previous combat ribbon and including Purple Heart exposures.

        It is a very slow and continuing problem for activists. We thank Benjamin and the like minded for continuing the effort after we are no longer able.

  21. I just received a letter today from my little clinic. Moving my “PCP Appointment” from June 2017 to July 21, 2017!
    Which means, the amount of time between my last appointment till my next appointment is roughly 10 or 11 months!
    How’s that for expediency!
    Isn’t getting any better down here in Florida!

    • @Crazy elf — But…down in Florida, you have that brand spanking new VAMC facility or is it just a home-base for a really swell golf course around the perimeter?

    • @Crazy elf – I’ve been hearing mixed reviews pertaining to some Veterans VA facilities are changing for the better. I hear what your saying, and let me tell you, if my local VA indicates that changes are taking place, I’ll definitely give a loud shout out. It’s kinda hard to believe that the VA would change so quickly, but hey, anything could be possible with the VA. May be?

      Can we change the volume of a post? I can’t wait for tastavision when it comes out.

      Do you remember the mini car bars for cold and soft drinks in your vehicle? I was given one back in the late 70’s. Good for road trips when the kids were younger [your loveable rug rats].

      • @ANutterVet — The VA Labs have been fervently experimenting in anticipation of BIG $$$ Contracts for VA Telemedicine with several failed attempts at both “TastaVision” and the VA’s little beauty invented by an Infectious Disease Dr. in his garage in his spare time, called “VA SmellaVision”.
        The unfortunate mishaps with this new sensory technology ended with everything the VA pumped through “TastaVision” and “SmellaVision” all tasted and smelled like shit…

        RAND Corp. agrees that if it smells like shit it generally will taste like shit. VAOIG concurs that shit smells but do not have the authority to wipe it clean.

      • @Namnibor – A Sick Minded PRESS RELEASE – In case there is a catastrophe, and the sustainable food distribution has been severely effected, the VA has contracted with a chemical-food firm called, Bio-Poo. Bio-Poo produces a nutritious food alternative, that is made from the digested back end by-product of mammals [poo].

        The product is marketed as Bio-Poo’s ‘Textured Food Bars,’ and it stimulates the act of Coprophagia [the consumption of feces dirt, doo-doo, dung, excrement, excreta, feces, ordure, poop, scat, slops, soil, night soil, stool, dunghill, guano, manure, midden, muck, spoor, sewage].

        Bio-Poo is 100% generic, non-biodegradable, created by Big Seed Companies GMO’s [genetically modified organisms], and will be available in many different and preferable colors and sizes.

        Bio-Poo will be distributed to all VA Medical Centers for the use of catastrophic incidents.

        Warning; because of the corruption and theft that is occurring in the VA system, there have been reports of Bio-Poo products missing. Please inspect all purchases from the canteens and food bars when dining or snacking in all VA facilities.

        The above statements are for your sickening pleasure, and is not true.

      • @ANutterVet — “Bio-Poo Bars” will also have a rather enticingly bright orange glow to them, brought to you by the folks at Monsanto. No worries, BVA ‘Agent Orange Denier’ Murphy states these are perfectly fine for consumption during the VA Zombie Apocalypse and will be available at each Starbucks Coffee vendor at your friendly local VAMC lobby.
        Warning: Bio-Poo has not been found safe for non-human test subjects, but if it’s the VA Zombie Apocalypse, who cares, your stomach will be full and your body will enjoy that warmth of an orange glow from within working it’s way outward.

        Bio-Poo — The one thing the VA is excellent at.

      • @Namnibor – Right on Brother. Thanks for participating in Humor Night [the family of humorites]. I use to tick off the scholarly lab types who were so serious that jokes would fly way over the heads. LMAO, I almost peed ‘n pooed. Physical break, my stomach hurts from laughing.

      • Bio-Poo Bars can also be sprinkled around any vermin or pest nests you wish to exterminate. Very effective and kills anything that is NOT grass.

        Update: A few batches of Bio-Poo Bars were released under the Monsanto Label of ‘Round-Up’ weed killer. No worries, it’s completely safe for grass.

    • The letter is a cause for applying for Choice. A 30 day delay in an appointment. I’d apply for Choice. In the least it would mean you would never again get a cancelled appointment and a 30 day delay. This is typical of kicking appointments down the road of short handed facilities. Your application for Choice will signal the necessity to hire and provide adequate staff. And the inadequate staff is probably the top dogs avarice towards staff. Or it could mean some incompetents have been shown the road.

  22. Just when I thought the dude on my oatmeal tube was as pure as virgin snow, reality sets in….and an idea is born.

    Perhaps God himself inspires? At any rate, a study of just when congress decided to start allowing people to get away with wrongdoing reveals that such corruption goes WAYYYYY back. It also reveals in pure entymological terms God’s idea of how best to deal with the VA in my opinion. If an entire mob of us were to act? Who knows?

    Here is a copy and paste from wikipedia that describes both the start of and answer to the governments willingness to forgive wrongdoing by officials;

    “In the United States, the origin of the terms lynching and lynch law is traditionally attributed to a Virginia Quaker named Charles Lynch.[12]:23ff Charles Lynch (1736–1796) was a Virginia planter and American Revolutionary who headed a county court in Virginia which incarcerated Loyalist supporters of the British for up to one year during the war. While he lacked proper jurisdiction, he claimed this right by arguing wartime necessity. Subsequently, he prevailed upon his friends in the Congress of the Confederation to pass a law which specifically exonerated him and his associates from wrongdoing. He was concerned that he might face legal action from one or more of those so incarcerated, even though the American Colonies had won the war.”

    Sharpen up those pitchforks boys, I gots me an idea here!!!

    • @Dennis – I’m pleased to report sir, that many franchises have been finalized. Fortunately, all identities that purchased your services, are all ex-front line, lower-, middle-, and upper-management, and includes some ex-executive officers of the VA system. Sir, we project that the clean-up services will rapidly eradicate the corruption and theft problems that have plagued the VA Medical and Claims Services for decades. We will keep you updated with our progress due to the passage of the New War Law for the Exoneration of the Republic of Veterans.

      Update: Just in! In the last hour, our organization has received a donation of $500 Billion from an unidentified Veteran billionaire. With these monies, not only will the organization be able to award free franchises to interested parties, we will be taking over the services supplied by these Vaginotic Assholes [VA]. Interested parties need to call 1-800-Big-Hole for additional information.

    • @Dennis — To avoid any unnecessary exposure of a Veteran to the VA, may I suggest that the poop canons be retrofitted to accommodate pitchforks and torches with option for poop as well as a deadly threesome? Flaming Poop Canons. Would be a beauty to watch. “Is that the northern lights, mommy”, “No, son, that’s just the flaming poop canons over the horizon draining the swamp.”

      • @Namnibor – Cover up, the downfall of the poo is a pouring out of the tubes of the retrofitted poop canons.

  23. No surprise that Team Twump will turn two blind eyes away from the VA. I’ve said it before – it’s a long honored tradition in DC to throw veterans under the proverbial bus. There are louder and juicier voices in Washington demanding and getting bandwidth. Follow the money. The VA is merely a very large budget, chunks of which can be parsed out to their buddies for mythical services and vapor-wear.

    It’s only a matter of time before Double-Double Deferment Donny gets us into another shootin-war. Where we gonna get the troops? Twenty percent of the white kids are entitled – they won’t go. Sixty percent of the white kids are too fat to pass the physical. And the other twenty percent couldn’t pass the piss test. Ditto the black demographic with a slight spin on the numbers, but the net result of “availables” is pretty low. Can’t count on the Mescans any more because – well – the ones promised citizenship for serving in Muslim Crusade Part 1 got stiffed. Not to mention the fact that the Carrot Top Pinocchio in chief has dissuaded them from ever serving. Also – consider the same fat, ignorant and drugged issues equally applies as with the white and black demos.

    Imagine what happens when VVA boys hop on their Harleys and show up at the local recruiters offices or high school job fairs (media tipped in advance) with modest signs saying “Don’t Do It Kid, Your Country Doesn’t Honor Its Obligations”. Short of violence – that would likely backfire, it’s the only thing that would get adequate attention in DC. Waiting for VSOs or other “champions” is a waste of time.

    • Windguy, Do you mind if I use your words for the title to my next letter to the Editor: DON’T DO IT KID! YOUR COUNTRY DOESN’T HONOR ITS OBLIGATIONS!

      • Lem. All we have are pens and voices. Institutions including VSOs have failed. The underpinning of the VA is the military. The underpinning of the military is people. Shake that faith, and institutions might change. Relying on political magic every four or eight years has proven futile for – ohh – say – 150 years. Go for it.

  24. Just featured on Tucker Carson tonight on Fox News was an interview of the new Phoenix VA director. The VA status was discussed such as its rating and retaliation against whistle blowers. As long as this system has this union and it is a socialist system, there will never be accountability. Remember when General Kelly accepted responsibility for not delaying the implementation of President Trump’s executive order. He said it was on him. He was owning up to the fact that it could have been handled a little more effectively if he had consulted with Congress etc. Now would the VA ever own up to a mistake or take personal responsibility for any medical mistake, no way would this ever happen. I believe the vets should have a choice with their health care decision. If they want to force me to have all my care in the VA, well we are going to have a hell of a fight. This country is built on freedoms and liberties. The veterans are not in prison. This is a free country. I disagree with David Shulkin. President Trump and Attorney General Sessions, please implement accountability, law and order. Please honor and value the lives of the veterans and freedoms that all have fought for. The veterans deserve healthcare of choice and deserve not be dictated, deserve not controlled and deserve not stepped on. Please for once VA show some respect, some regards and value for Veterans lives.

  25. Anyone online tonight? Give a repost. We’re waiting for the snow storm to hit the Tri-State area of the NE coast. Hasn’t even started to snow, and many schools have cancelled class for tomorrow. Expecting 4-8 inches.

      • @ANutterVet,@namnibor,@Ex va: A non profit foundation would better suit our needs, in fact, since I know that this is a problem with veterans the world over, you could even have chapters in every country. You could over night become the largest group of people in the entire world.

      • @Ex va – hey brother, we were just talking about you. all good that is. joking. doing better than the other night. little depression issues. how about yourself? we’re expecting the biggest snow storm of this year tonight. not looking forward to it. damp, spasms.

      • @ ANutterVet, we got a little snow today. My back was killing me today. Barometric pressure up and down. Negative space in joints reacting i think that is what gives me spasms too. Hope not too bad for you.

    • @ANutterVet: I did a little. Not a good day to try and concentrate, I did however save those links you provided, and will get to them eventually. I maxed out on Morph today, first time in a very long time for that. Still I would only rate it as 10% compared to other days. How has your day been? Hey you mentioned in one of your prior post’s something about buiding a page? Are you building a website?

      • @cj – Hope u start to feel better. Review the links on good times. Yes, I’m sketching out the site. It’s like editing a paper. Complete, edit, redo, edit, redo, . . .

      • @ANutterVet:I am lost when it comes to buiding websites, like I have a mental block when it comes to that. I am an expert when it comes to the inner working of a computer, built my os from the ground up. Strange how the mind works.

      • @cj – I know the feeling. when I purchased my first site building software in ’96, I learned code by going through the back door under View and reading the source code of other websites. now the programs are really top heavy with many useful techniques. It is going to take a while to learn most of them. i’m a little slow with my responses tonight. did extra GABA, melatonin, ashwagandha [spelling], 5htp.

      • @ANutterVet: Not to bad, I was able to take the edge off of things. Thanks for asking.
        I read a lot of the comments today, Was a busy day on Bens world. I am in awe of the people on this blog. Smart, witty, and a force to be reckoned with. How was your day?

  26. @cj – 7 out of 10. Geesh, VA talk. Kinda wears and grinds into ya. Trying to relax tonight. Dealing with the dam residuals of depression. Meds cause so much additional symptoms. I’m working on a sketch for a future website. A lot of work. Hope this posts.

    • @ANutterVet: Depression is not a good deal any way you look at it. It does help to just talk about whats bothering you. Lift that weight off your chest and it will set you free.

      • @cj – may be minor to some, but I get ticked off because I can’t spend the active time that I want with my k9. along with my wife, that boy means a lot to me.

    • @ANutterVet: I hear you. Today I did a little research into filing a lawsuit against the va. Funny how you only have 2 years form the date of the incident, yet your appeal takes longer? Sounds like a built in safety net for the VA.

      • That’s because everything about the VA is an oxymoron or circlejerk, if you will…it’s what keeps the gears churning the shit in the meat grinder.

      • @Namnibor – hey brother, how its going? yeah, the va sometimes brings out the best in me and worst in me. form of personality circlejerk

      • The two year statue of limitations is a standard. The only way to get around that is called “tolling the statute”. If you discovered information that was either withheld or discovered after the 2 year period you can file a “motion” to have it extended.
        Ben should weigh in on this, he know’s the deal….and besides, I watched ” My Cousin Vinny ” enough to know this legal mumbo jumbo.

      • With held or alternate facts presented with an intent to deceive.

        TITLE 28, U.S.C.
        §2401. Time for commencing action against United States
        (a) Except as provided by chapter 71 of title 41, every civil action commenced against the United
        States shall be barred unless the complaint is filed within six years after the right of action first
        accrues. The action of any person under legal disability or beyond the seas at the time the claim
        accrues may be commenced within three years after the disability ceases.

        TITLE 41, Section §7101
        (9) MISREPRESENTATION OF FACT. The term “misrepresentation of fact” means a false
        statement of substantive fact, or conduct that leads to a belief of a substantive fact material to proper understanding of the matter in hand, made with intent to deceive or mislead.

      • I have material for veterans who had p. falciparum malaria and the intent to deceive. Correction in December last year gives you a 3 year window. I didn’t have malaria but have seen many in PTSD groups that did and were not treated for “anosognosia” or “temporal lobe partial or complex partial seizures” including sudden shut downs of energy (enervations) short space outs (are you paying attention or frequent losses of trains of thought” acts expected of someone intoxicated but who was not intoxicated, etc.

        The “disability” exception ends when you discover the disability as in anosognosia. The false sense of well being and denial of disabling effects.

        Will pass on free: “[email protected]

  27. @cj – and then you have to make sure that you have all your records, then check them for accuracy. full time job, with more double bs.

    • @ANutterVet,@namnibor: Good evening Namnibor. Yes, I think they know exactly what they are doing. It’s one of those things that angers me the most. Intentional infliction of “fuckoveredness”.

      • @cj , @Namnibor – I haven’t brought it up, but I’ve been thinking, what is the possibility of creating a union of Veterans? is it possible? upside, downside? I still don’t feel comfy wit lawyers hand picking at things, then the va’s jerking tactics. just wondering. I believe the numbers might be there.

      • @ANutterVet: Unions I know about well. It is no trouble to Unionize, all you need is a group of like minded people, and a desire for representaion, then apply at the labor board. Only trouble is they only deal with labor issues. We need another avenue other than a Union. I am not sure what that would be. A non profit Organization I believe would better suit our needs. We could even get a certain amout of funding from the Gov. Pluss I can’t think of many corps that wouldn’t want to go on record as being “against” a veterans group.

      • @cj – that’s the other reason for learning the software to build website. there so expensive to contract out, plus up keeping and maintenance costs. a non-profit that deals with focusing on the dam issues that blocks the circle jerking. something to think about in the very near future.

    • @ANutterVet,@namnibor: You know? It’s funny how everytime you request a complete copy of your records. You receive less and less each time. this last time they sent 11 fucking pages, and 3 of those were explaining the rest. I called the Records Archive to inquire as to where were the rest, and the answer was “that’s all there is” Fucking incompetent assholes. How are you suppose to ready for battle if they refuse to issue any ammo?

      • @cj – I know, every where you turn, your run into something that is amuck. they want to get you into a paper circlejerk mode. all on you to check their work, then you have to deal with the incompetency on top of it. its been brought up many times about a veteran union. we should play their dam game.

  28. @ ANutterVet, @cj, i think we need a counsel of lawyers to help Veterans who have no voice. Have pamphlets or just flow charts on how to get access to benefits. Also, the ones who are disabled that are being jerked around. Identify common problems, possible solutions. We need representation with teeth, not the usual avenues.

    • @Ex va – I remember that our student gov’t in college did the same thing with professors. they had a database of the professors performance, pet peeves, hobbies, old tests, and how to pass their class, etc. same idea with the va. we need some bulldogs that know what to do and beat them at their own game. like us, were tied up with our disabilities and their taking advantage of our weaknesses. frigging asswipes.

      • @John Cokos: I think if enough are willing to give this a go. You should be there with them. You would be a valuble asset.

      • I run a 501 non profit for legal aid issues, which was Veterans Court issues centered at the beginning. I discovered that the system was pre-empted and that there was little if any impact that you can have even locally. The system has geared up and all the hoops that vet’s are required to jump thru have been set up by the gatekeepers to keep you and me from actually having any impact for change. This goes to veterans homeless issue’s and the like where the federal money is channeled to PRE SELECTED Agencies that are already in place.
        You can’t get up early enough to get a jump on them. They own the internal gears. I concentrate on other issues that can have some impact.
        Veterans issues aren’t on my To Do List…..

      • @John Cokos: John, I am sorry it has taken so long to get back to you, appointments all day, All I can say then, is thank you for the information. It seems we are screwed no matter. What a great system!!!! Again, thanks for your input.

  29. We need lobbyists with our interests not washed out representations like these VSO’s. they started out good now they are bought out.

    • @ANutterVet,@namnibor,@Ex va: A non profit foundation would better suit our needs, in fact, since I know that this is a problem with veterans the world over, you could even have chapters in every country. You could over night become the largest group of people in the entire world.

    • @Ex va: Sure they turn bad. You need to have in place someone that is beyond reproach……such as “https://aclj.org/” to head you new foundation. Notice they also have offices around the world.

  30. We need legal advice and people who understands the statutes concerning Veterans where the strengths and weaknesses in the laws concerning Veterans and benefits.

    • @Ex va , @cj – I know it is a tall order, but it is something to seriously consider. we may want to post during the day time to get a feel from others. what do you think? I know one thing, i’m going to have to change my time management in order to get things in order. problem is that due to health, it a day to day thing. but i’ll tell you, i’m at the point where I’ve had it with these people. getting out of gas with their screw ups and circlejerking. like to put a stop on this bs and or let them know that they are going to have a dam fight on their hands due to messing with veterans lives. one attorney that has impressed me in his style, is jay sekulow. he is a bulldog Christian constitutional law pc. I like his approach. he don’t play.

      • @ANutterVet,@namnibor,@Ex va: If every veteran in this country gave a whopping 5 bucks. That would be in the millions. Add to that what you could get from corps. Citizens, and grants. Your talking some serious cashflow.

      • @cj – sekulow is the only attorney that takes no prisoners. goes for the carotid artery all the time. doesn’t like rework. my style completely. well, for starters, at least we know what type of counsel that will do best for our needs.

      • @ANutterVet,@namnibor,@Ex va: Not for fighting for individual veterans, but to make law, seriously force the change of policy, and to force the prosecution of corruption and criminal behaviour.

      • @cj , @Ex va – yeah, dam legal beagles chasing their corrupt asses through the briars, low bushes, old railroad tires. oh hell yeah.

      • @cj , @Ex va – that’s not too much money to ask for. one thing, and I think you both hit on it, is to protect the monies so that it totally benefits veterans. admin costs are a given. I’m going to really concentrate on learning the software. this means that I’m really going to buckle down on my time.

        cj, we’ll let you bump off those that get out of line, and Ex va, you can give the orders. I report back on the success of the mission for future campaigns.

      • I believe Veterans have lost their civil rights not gained their civil rights. Also, their human rights as well. We are somehow lesser than a civilian counterparts. Did the va do this to us or the VSO’s or our congress?????

      • @Everyone? I tested various instant messengers, The easiest, and it is very easy to setup, Is called wickr, it is a secure instant messenger, and would be easier to converse with than having to keep hitting reply and having to look for the comment. I have it set up on my machine. My id is dillinger34 if anyone cares to give it a try, send me an add request, and I will add you.

      • @cj @Ex va – what is the Dillinger and 34? you have fire power and bad ass on your mind. you’re hungry for payback brother. I don’t blame you. mr. cj, dr. mental will see you know.

      • @ANutterVet: dillinger was always a favorite Chicago character for me growing up. 34 was the year he was gunned down at the Biograph Theater, and Dr Mental will not help………..he is my cousin lolllllllllllllllllll

      • @cj @Ex va – I forgot it runs in the family. like I got to run out of here. getting tired, good night my brothers. snow in da morning. k9 laying by portable heater. temp dropping.

      • @ANuterVet: You just place them a mile away, I will take an apple off their head, and you see how fast they get back in line.

      • @ ANutterVet, @ cj, i would like Ben to be on the dream team too. That is if he wanted to be on it. You know when aarp came out they were laughed at now they are one of the biggest lobbyist in congress.

      • @Ex va @cj – I never knew dat. possibilities. and I agree, up to Ben. he likes a dam good fight when they want to THINK THEY CAN PUSH BACK.

      • @Ex va: You are correct on the loss of any civil rights, particularly on Federal V.A. property, you have no rights on that property. I have seen the V.A. police drag a guy into the er at gun point, and order the doctor to pump his stomach, because the guy apparently swalloed evidence. He was screaming the entire time ” you can’t do that, I have rights” the cops replied “this is federal land, you have no rights here” this is a true story. Happened at the Lovell FHCC.

      • @cj @Ex va – this is true. if the va doesn’t have to comply with drs. being regulated in the state where the va med. ctr. is located, they can do what they want [so to speak] they get away with a lot. and our rights are extremely limited.

      • @ cj, @ ANutterVet, I know you would include Ben @ cj. He gets some great information on what is going on in the va. He has a lot of great resources and people trust him too.

        It is a tall order what we are talking about. I believe the story cj. They can do anything they want to a Veteran on va property. It is out of control, their methods and attitudes towards our nations heroes.

      • @Ex va @cj – cj, when I get a chance, i’ll check out wickr. Ex va, I would like the va to know that they can’t take advantage of vets anymore. so when they push, they get shoved to the ground, quickly. cj, I hear you about hitting the reply buttons. finga slip sumtime too.

      • @ANutterVet: Not as a replacement for Bens blog. Just an enhacement. You still need to see what people are talking about.

      • @ANutterVet, we could see what others think about organizing and finacially supporting efforts to improve care. I know Veterans for common sense took the va to court with a class action suit and should have won but the courts claimed they lacked jurisdiction to tell another agency how to run its business. So, the class action was lost. Bs!!!!!

    • You first need to get familiar with the Administrative Procedures Acts and all the rules that govern agencies. It’s a Separate Universe. You can’t beat them at their own game unless you KNOW THE GAME….

  31. @cj, @ ANutterVet, i know sometimes it happens that i post or someone else posts the same comments. I think its a trip because Veterans can see the same things. It makes me laugh sometimes.

    • @ cj, i would like to see all of this change that Veterans are taken care of without being treated as they have been. This issue is a huge undertaking, maybe if a lot of Veterans got together we could change things

  32. @Ex va: I could understand how that class action was lost. I hate to say this, but that is a valid reason to dismiss the suit. I think what we are talking about is going to the source of the problem……..the lawmakers. We need to effect change in the law, advocate new law, and demand exsiting laws dealing with coruption be enforced. If there is no law to enforce then we advocate to get that law enacted.

      • @Ex va: If this endeaver would come to light and turn into a big animal, it would all be ANutterVets fault……….he started it LOL

        How is your pain tonight?

      • @ cj, ROFL, yes, you would have to have a fall guy for the potential failures. Poor guy ANutterVet! LOL!!!! That was a quick vote!!!

      • @Ex va: I meant ANutterVets fault in a good way lol

        What do you usually do for the pain? Is it all back pain? or throughout your body?

      • @ cj, i am checking out tonight. My back is spasming and i need to get some rest. Good discussion. Thanks, talk tomorrow.

      • @ cj, i know you meant teasing about ANutterVet, He is a good guy, Hate all the bs he has been going thru. It is just wrong what the va has put him thru. I feel for him and you too. Too much bs. I have ra, bone erosion and is throughout the body. The disease is painful.

      • @Ex va: Go on and try to get some rest. I hope your can sleep, and feel better in the morning. Goodnight and God Bless.

      • @ cj, i take low doses of pain meds. Not real strong meds. Probably need to step up my medications. See dr’s next week. Cj, you do good for all the meds you are on. I take a lot of meds for a lot of diseases and disorders. Get sick of it. I was on humira one year almost killed me.

      • @Ex va: Ouch at Humira. I always make fun of that commercial…….try humira it could help but most likely it will kill you, but what they hey, flip a coin what have you got to lose but your life. We at Humira are not concered with shit, if we were any good we woudln’t need to have commercials like the ambulance chasing lawyers you see on every channel…..LOL I am glad you stopped taking it. For me Ex va I have been living with this pain since I was 17 so it is normal for me, I am just use to it is all.

      • @ cj, God bless you, at seventeen? So sorry. You are a brave soul. My life started getting bad in 2010.

        Those medications i have taken make me feel like a guinea pig. They suppress your immune system, make you weak. Yes, it is like flipping a coin with your life. On the commercial it says life threatening infections as a side effect. Any flu or infection can kill you. Geesh. And about 3 grand an injection too. Big money in that treatment.

      • @Ex va: You can’t sleep can you?
        Yes 17, I was at Ft. Carson 1st/20thFA Svc btry 4th infantry. We were dilivering supplies such as pro jo’s powder charges, fuses. small arms blanks, when our truck broke down. This happened in the middle of a dilivery of pro jo’s 155mm, they come on a pallet of 8 and wiegh 197 lbs each x 8. We would just slide them to the back of the truck and let them teeter off. One pallet was about at it’s halfway point. A mechanic showed up and was working underneath the truck, the truck rocked forward enough to cause the pallet to start to fall off. I wasn’t thinking, I just reached and grabbed the pallet, and I swear you could hear every disc in my back pop in the next county. By the next day I couldn’t move. They put me in traction for about a month. What happened is I herniated every single disc in my back, fractured a vertabrae, and completely destroyed the two disc’s on each side of the fracture. Like they say…………time heals all………….or in my case………time gets you use to the pain, and your mind learns to block it out.

      • @ cj, that is not your fault, sounds like a terrible accident, you just reacted and tried to save the load. You may have saved some lives, you don’t know. With ammo crazy things have happened. The pain must be unbelievable, so sorry. Can surgery help you with the damage to your back? Back surgery is dangerous i know. I did get some sleep, the last few days has been bad for me. I got some kind of flu on top of everything else. At least i haven’t pooped my pants yet. LOL! I have this sinus thing too. Tired of being sick. Next week see some doctors, maybe some adjustments with meds.

    • The ONLY way to change Agencies is thru the legislative process. THEY created the Frankenstein Monster that you have to deal with…

  33. @Ex va: I can’t think of any veteran that would be against all this. I think just about all would gladly put differences aside to get this done. It might be a huge undertaking, but it would be historical as well.

  34. There needs oversight on “TriWest” Phoenix. A waste of $10 Billion. $10B approved for Vets outsourced, & $10 for TriWest to?? Mostly they were finding medical care the would accept sub_medicaid prices. Some of the providers said no because they did/do not need more business. Result sub_standard care for the Vet. Who is TriWest, Phoenix (owners dividing up the $10B/ 5 year contract). It smells like corruption.

    I hope they look into the lopsided demographics in Clinics & VA Hospitals.

    I look forward for a Credit like Card so the VET can pick their own Primary Care Physician. The Dr could refer the VET to the VA for specialties like heart, hearing.. ECT. Then outsourcing of procedures that are over 30 days or more.

    Change the method of combined ratings. Why does two ratings one 60% the other 50% = 80%. If the top rating is 100% then cap the combined rates at 100%. To move an 80% rating to 100% takes additional condition rated ?? 50%.. Veteran with Spouse Only 50%= $919.64 60Y%=$1,159.27 TTL $2078.91, however the Vet is given a combined rating of $1686. A 100% would be $3078. Also 100% the Vet could receive Dental.

    Some states offer 100% property tax relief to Vets rated at 100%. So it would be nice if the VA show the state the Veteran exampled with a 50% 60% ratings they were awarded. Not 80% the VA combines.

    When a person is trained to do something that does not come natural and that person does what they were trained to do then our Country has an obligation to care for that Veteran.

    I Pray the time has come to care for our Veterans.

    • If you are talking about Choice, it is a $10-17 billion dollar boondoggle passed as a result of the wait time scandal in Phoenix when 40 vets died.

      A recent news article and post by Ben puts that figure at 118 vets, or 200 depending on who you believe…whistle blowers or the VA.

      Another interesting report on Choice is a VAIG report released just a few days ago looking at Choice. Yes, there are plenty of excuses made.

      That report shows the different parts of the US split up in regions so TriWest, HealthNet and possibly TriCare all get a chunk of the pie.

      The report is interesting in how much they have spent just on administrative bureaucracy compared to actually paying for care.

      It also makes excuses or blames veterans for the sloppy way the program works.

      Cui bono? Who benefits?

      Well, George Miller had been a Congressman from CA for about 30 years and good friend of Pelosi retired just around the time congress passed this turd.

      George Miller now sits on the board of HealthNet.

      They have a huge presence in CA in the private or Obama care market with lots of complaints from citizens similar to veterans.

      This is an equal opportunity slush fund though since they also have a big presence in Phoenix, likely at the demand of McCain who spoke loudly on getting Choice passed, and has been silent on the disaster since.

      I don’t know about TriWest or any other contractor involved.

      If you want to know more about either, go to their web site like for HealthNet and look around for their investor page. Look at their SEC filings, and you will see their bragging about the chunk of taxpayer dollars they are getting, and how it benefits shareholders. You will also see reports of potential problems that could affect their bottom line, like losing several hard drives containing lots of private information.

      If you want to find out more about who benefits, go to OpenSecrets dot org and look through congressional disclosures. There may be some tasty morsels there on which thieving congressman is invested in these companies, or who is getting donations from them.

      By the way, I was just referred to Choice again because again, the VA does not have a certain specialty on staff…neurology.
      I got a letter yesterday spelling out what VA is requesting, including evaluation/treatment/procedures along with clinically indicated diagnostic tests/procedures to assist in identifying a diagnosis. Authorized visits to not exceed 12 or 8/7/17.

      That suggests the VA is learning how to write a referral/consult, but I am sure vets are still being referred where obvious tests are not allowed because the VA didn’t specify them in their sloppy consult.

      It also makes clear I am required to provide my health insurance in case it is found it is not service connected. I am service connected for it.

      They have also learned in telling vets they will get a call from a non VA phone number to set this up, rather than some strange phone number calling asking for your SSN and other personal info.

      The last time it took 57 days, constant calling and a congressional inquiry to get care through Choice.

      Since I have been service connected for this problem for over 15 years, and this is the first in over 20 years the VA has shown interest in trying to diagnose it, I think I will wait to see how this plays out on its own instead of calling 2-3 times per week and getting BS excuses from HealthNet. Or calling my congressman.

      I don’t need the aggravation any more than what will come naturally from navigating this disaster.

      • Hey ’91, did you receive your “Survey of Healthcare Experiences of Patients – VA Community Care 2016” for your experience with your provider while using your Choice last time? It’s a questionnaire designed by a research firm (Ipsos) for the VA asking “skewed” questions about your experiences on how they (VA), you, and your providers found the degree of satisfaction using Choice. It’s so fucked up I had a shit fit and called the number on the back to the Topeka, KS VA Healthcare the form said to call if I have questions understanding the freak’in form. The rep I spoke to agreed this was an absurd shit of questionnaire and really didn’t know what the fuck they were talking about either. He agreed the Choice program was passed in haste in answer to the Phoenix debacle and said he too had all the fucked problems I’m having. Wait until you get this survey…fill it out the best you can with caution. You can bet they will be using this feedback to fuck you some more.

      • After my Choice appointment last year, I never got the questionaire.

        In fact, I never heard about that appointment again after that until several months later when the head of the patient advocates called me. He confused what I was actually calling about, and thought I was calling about a bill for that Choice appointment…which I was not.

        Anyway, he told me the provider sent the bill to Montana instead of where it needed to be sent.

        It was a bullshit lie because the provider is St. Mary’s hospital, and has been involved in Choice since it first started, so they know where to send the damn bills.

      • I got a call way back in early ’16 from the VA hospital in Columbia, So. Carolina (another state) from a choice champion informing me all my stuff was sent to their hospital’ file and would take forever to straighten out. I had to complain very, very loudly ! Yes indeed !
        Read below these news clips that aired last year on “wbtv On Your Side”(CBS) here in Charlotte NC where On-Your-Side investigated the many problems doctors and veterans are having with Choice. Investigated at Salisbury VA Hospital, NC, my main VA hospital. Enjoy with a bowl of popcorn >>Remarks from Senators trying to run “fix-it” bills through Congress and went NOWHERE. Remarks and interviews with HealthNet spokespeople and their excuses. Explanations of mix-ups and time-spent-on- phone (resources) and on hold by the providers who wound up not accepting new Choice referrals. HealthNet using antiquated not-of- 21st century-technology to relay info. The authorization and reimbursement problems local practices are experiencing. And on and on. It’s like everyone in the world knows Choice is a FAILURE – yet the VA sends you a questionnaire that costs them many millions to produce by Ipsos – 7 months after your surgery and begins each question with “In the last 3 months do you feel…” Completely out of the time frame – late as hell. They (Shulkin) want to get a feeling if veterans think it’s a failure, ‘cause, for sure, He’a gonna fix it. He can’t fix his ass. He’ll be worse than McDoushe-Bag.
        HealthNet explains “ As we rapidly expand our operations and services to meet the demand of veterans, there may be situations where a veteran does not get the care as expeditiously as we would like” Providers explain “HealthNet should have never taken this contract if they didn’t have the staff, the means and the technology to handle it. And the VA probably shouldn’t have hired them without vetting them to see if they could handle the situation.”
        Slow VA Choice authorization, reimbursements frustrate … – Charlotte
        “www.wbtv.com/…/slow-va-choice-authorization-reimbursements-frustrate-doctors-office…” Mar 22, 2016

        New proposal would expand VA Choice program – | WBTV Charlotte
        “www.wbtv.com/story/31987048/new-proposal-would-expand-va-choice-program”
        May 16, 2016

        Breakdown in VA Choice program leaves some veterans … – Charlotte
        “www.wbtv.com/…/breakdown-in-va-choice-program-leaves-some-veterans-permanently…” Jul 14, 2016

      • YesIComplainloudly, I don’t care what kind of excuses they come up with for how bad Choice is, rapid rollout, lack of training, antiquated systems, etc., it does not excuse their intentional sabotage of the program.

        From the excuses I got the first time, both from the VA and from Choice, their poor performance was intentional.

      • Yes, the Choice program was put together to fail. Many of us realized that a while back. I stated that on this blog as I was going through my 1st operation thru Choice back in Oct. – Dec 2015. I certainly know you stated that a long time ago too.
        I used the above “On your Side” reports to confront my VA provider with in a useful way however, to get me switched from “Choice” to “fee-basis” right in mid-stream. I was hoping people would pick up on all that is told to the audience by the media, even if it is a bunch of shit, and try making use of it fir their own benefit.

  35. CHOICE FACT SHEET
    Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014
    Title I: Choice Program and Health Care Collaboration

    On August 7, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-146) (“VACAA”). Technical revisions to VACAA were made on September 26, 2014, when the President signed into law the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-175).
    The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) goal continues to be to provide timely, high- quality health care for Veterans.

    Section 101 of VACAA requires VA to establish a temporary program (“the Choice Program”) to improve Veterans’ access to health care by allowing eligible Veterans to use eligible health care providers outside of the VA system (non-VA care). Sections 102 and 103 of VACAA are also discussed below.

    Background
    In order to improve VA’s ability to deliver high-quality health care to Veterans, section 101 of the VACAA requires VA to expand the options for eligible Veterans to elect to use non-VA health care for a period of up to three years, based either on the distance a Veteran lives from a VA facility, or if he or she is experiencing wait-times beyond the 30 day standard. This is referred to as the Choice Program. Veterans who meet certain eligibility requirements will be able to elect to receive care from eligible non-VA entities and providers through the Program. VA must enter into agreements with eligible non- VA health care entities and providers for them to participate in the Program. Prior to VACAA being passed, VA had mechanisms in place to purchase non-VA care, which are still available to VA. VACAA will enhance VA’s non-VA care options.

    Choice Fund and Choice Program
    VACAA includes a $10 billion fund from which VA must pay for non-VA care furnished as part of the Choice Program. VA will provide a Choice Card to all Veterans who were enrolled in the VA health care system as of August 1, 2014, and to recently discharged combat Veterans. Eligibility criteria are discussed in greater detail below.

    Eligibility
    A Veteran must have been enrolled in VA health care on or before August 1, 2014, or be eligible to enroll as a recently discharged combat Veteran within 5 years of separation. Additionally, a Veteran must also meet at least one of the following criteria.

    a) The Veteran is told by his/her local VA medical facility that he/she will need to wait more than 30 days from his/her preferred date or the date medically determined by his/her physician.

    b) The Veteran’s current residence is more than 40 miles from the closest VA health care facility.

    c) The Veteran resides in a location other than Guam, American Samoa, or the Republic of the Philippines and needs to travel by plane or boat to the VA medical facility closest to his/her home.

    d) The Veteran faces a geographic challenge, such as extensive distances around water or other geologic formations, such as mountains, that presents a significant travel hardship.

    Cost Sharing
    If an eligible Veteran has another health-care plan, VA will be secondarily responsible for costs associated with non-service connected care and services furnished to eligible Veterans through the Choice Program and primarily responsible for service connected care.

    Medical Records
    When a Veteran receives care from an eligible non-VA health care entity or provider, the entity or provider must submit to VA a copy of any medical record information related to the care and services provided. This information will be included in the Veteran’s medical record maintained by the Department.

    Indian Health Service and Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems
    VA will work with the Indian Health Service (IHS) to ensure that certain medical facilities operated by an Indian tribe or tribal organization are aware of the opportunity to negotiate reimbursement agreements with VA. This is in accordance with section 102(a) of VACAA.

    VA will enter into contracts or agreements with certain Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems (NHHCS) for reimbursement of direct care services provided to eligible Veterans. This is in accordance with section 103 of VACAA.

    Implementation
    • VA submitted a report to Congress the week of October 6 redefining the wait- time goals of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The report establishes the wait-time goal as being within 30 days from the date requested by the Veteran for the appointment, as long as that date is clinically appropriate.
    • VA hosted an Industry Day at the VA’s Denver, Colorado Acquisitions and Logistics Center to seek input from the private sector on how best to provide administrative support in the process of issuing Veteran Choice Cards. VA recognizes that partnership with the private sector to implement this new law will be important.
    • As of October 2014, VA has streamlined how we pay for hospital care, medical services, and other health care furnished through non-VA providers. This marks a significant change in the way VA conducts business as required by VACAA.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: How long will it take to implement the Choice Program?
    A: In order to ensure Veterans receive high-quality and timely health care, VA is working to implement VACAA, including the Choice Program, as quickly as possible. VA will be staging implementation of the Choice Program, with the first round being implemented on November 5, 2014.

    Q: How will Veterans get their Choice Card?
    A: VA will mail the Choice Card to Veterans enrolled in VA health care as of August 1, 2014, and to recently discharged combat Veterans who enroll within the 5 year window of eligibility. Not all Veterans who receive the Card will be able to participate in the Choice Program – they must meet the criteria established under the new law. VA will implement this program in stages.

    Q: When will Veterans get their Choice Card?
    A: The Choice Card will be issued in three phases. The first group of Choice Cards along with a letter explaining eligibility for this program will be sent by November 5, 2014, to Veterans who may live more than 40 miles from a VA facility. The next group of Choice Cards and letters will be sent by November 17 to those Veterans who are currently waiting for an appointment longer than 30 days from their preferred date or the date determined to be medically necessary by their physician. The final group of Choice Cards and letters will be sent between December and January to the remainder of all Veterans enrolled for VA health care who may be eligible for the Choice Program in the future.

    Q: Is the criteria 40 miles or 30 days?
    A: Eligibility for the Choice Program is based on the Veteran’s place of residence or the inability to schedule an appointment within the “wait-time goals” of VHA, which have been established as 30 days from the date preferred by the Veteran, or the date medically determined by his/her physician. A Veteran could be eligible under one or both of these criteria. Please note that Veterans who are eligible based on their place of residence may elect non-VA care for any service that is clinically necessary.
    Veterans who are eligible based on “wait-time” may select non-VA care only for an appointment for the service that cannot be scheduled within the “wait-time goals” of VHA.

    Q: Does the 40 mile rule refer to whether the specialty need (for example, Orthopedic Surgery) is available within 40 miles, or 40 miles from any VA facility, whether or not the specialty, in this example Orthopedics, is available there.
    A: The law is clear that eligibility must be based on the distance from the Veteran’s residence to any VA medical facility, even if that facility does not offer the specific medical service the Veteran requires for that particular visit.

    Q: What are the criteria used to determine the 40 mile radius? Is it similar to the Dashboard used to calculate mileage reimbursement?
    A: VA will calculate the distance between a Veteran’s residence and the nearest VA medical facility using a straight-line distance, rather than the driving distance. VA is developing an interactive tool that will be available on va.gov beginning in early November for Veterans to determine their potential eligibility for the Choice Program based on their place of residence. Veterans will enter their address information into the tool, and the tool will calculate their distance to the nearest site of VA care, and provide that mileage and information on their eligibility for the Choice Program to the Veteran online.

    Q. How will eligibility be determined for those Veterans who receive a “Choice Card,” and are there limitations on what service they qualify for outside of the VA system?
    A: Once a Veteran receives a Choice Card, they will be eligible to use the Program if they meet the specific eligibility criteria discussed above and call to receive approval for use. Veterans who are eligible based upon their place of residence will be eligible to use the Choice Program for any services that are clinically necessary. Veterans who are eligible because of the “wait-time” criterion will only be able to receive a non-VA appointment for the episode of care related to the service that cannot be scheduled within 30 days from his/her preferred date or the date medically determined by his/her physician.

  36. I think both get paid for processing fee based claims and so perform add ons to up their profit. See Bens article from June: “http://www.disabledveterans.org/2016/06/14/va-revokes-triwest-veterans-choice-duties/”

LEAVE A REPLY