Flu Vaccine Maker

The flu vaccine maker Sanofi-Pasteur will pay the Department of Veterans Affairs $19.9 million for overcharging the agency.

The pharmaceutical company was caught overcharging VA under two contracts between 2002 to 2011. The amount it billed was higher than the maximum allowed under the Federal Ceiling Price (FCP) for covered drugs under 38 USC § 8126.

“It is important that pharmaceutical companies provide complete, accurate, and current information to the VA about the pricing of their drugs,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Department of Justice will ensure that pharmaceutical companies follow the rules for drug pricing when selling to the government.”

“Overcharging VA depletes funds that are available to care for our veterans,” said Director of the Healthcare Resources Division Mark Myers of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General. “We will continue to hold companies accountable for errors in drug pricing.”

Flu Vaccine Maker Research

In 2014, the company released new flu vaccine research supporting use of more expensive, higher dose vaccines for elderly Americans including veterans.

VA later concluded the agency lacked the data necessary to decide whether to use the more expensive version given the higher cost when weighed against the benefit of an increased dosage for the most elderly veterans.

For that end, VA conducted its own research on 165,000 veterans to determine whether the higher does was effective. According to a 2015 VA press release on point:

If you’re age 65 or older and go to your doctor or pharmacy for a flu shot, you may be offered two options: the standard vaccine, or a high-dose version that packs a stronger wallop to activate the immune system, which is weaker in seniors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says either vaccine is appropriate for this age group.

But is the high-dose version really more effective for older folks? A new Veterans Affairs study says yes, but only for the “oldest old”: those 85 or older. For those between ages 65 and 84, the standard vaccine seems to work just as well. The findings appeared online March 31 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The study included more than 165,000 VA patients who got either the regular or high-dose vaccine during the 2010 – 2011 flu season. The study tracked hospitalizations and deaths — indicators of the flu’s more severe impacts.

About 25,000 of the veterans had gotten the high dose, and the rest the standard vaccine.

“The main overall outcome was that we didn’t find a difference between the groups,” says study author Dr. Darren Linkin, with the CDC Prevention Epicenter Program. “But in a secondary analysis, there appeared to be a strong effect for those 85 and older.”

Linkin is also an infectious disease specialist and the hospital epidemiologist at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, and an assistant professor in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Lead author was Dr. Diane Richardson, co-director of the Biostatistics and Informatics Core in VA’s Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion in Philadelphia. She explains the rationale for doing the study: “Older adults have reduced immunity. So a natural question is whether the specific age bracket within the older population makes a difference. That’s what we wanted to find out.”

Linkin adds, “Sixty-five and older sounds like one homogenous group, but it could be that the oldest of the old may respond differently.”

The new findings contrast with those from some other recent studies, although the researchers say some variation may be due to the particular flu seasons that were studied.

For example, a study just out in The Lancet, funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and focused on Medicare patients, found that the high-dose vaccine was 22 percent more effective at preventing flu-related hospital admissions. The study examined the 2012 – 2013 flu season.

In a study of older adults reported last year in the New England Journal of Medicine, a group with Sanofi Pasteur, the company that makes the high-dose vaccine, found it provided better protection against lab-confirmed flu illness than did the standard vaccine. They also found it triggered stronger immune responses–that is, more antibodies. The two-year trial, which included nearly 32,000 people, stretched from 2011 to 2013.

The FDA study was far larger than VA’s — it included more than 2.5 million U.S. adults. And the Sanofi Pasteur study was a randomized, controlled, blinded trial — the gold standard in clinical research.

Notwithstanding those factors, the VA authors say more research is needed to arrive at definitive answers.

“It would be good to have larger VA studies looking across multiple years,” suggests Richardson, whose group examined only one season. She notes a multiyear effort would help control for variations from one flu season to another. In any given season, the effectiveness of the vaccine depends on how good a match there is between the viruses used in the drug’s production and the strains that are actually circulating that year.

The VA authors note other limitations to their study — for example, they looked only at VA hospitalizations. It could be some of the patients included in the study had non-VA hospital stays that were overlooked in the data. The researchers say, though, that it’s unlikely there would be major differences on this count between the veterans who got the standard vaccine and those who got the high dose.

Also, the VA patient population was almost all male, and tended to have more chronic disease than the groups looked at in other studies. But those factors may not necessarily affect the comparison between the two vaccine options.

Whether the CDC — and in turn, VA — are likely to change their flu shot recommendations based on any of the latest studies is still unknown. There’s a financial stake for large health systems like VA’s, in that the high dose vaccine is much pricier.

Linkin says that for individual older patients, given the data from studies so far, it’s not unreasonable to go for the high dose. The difference in side effect risk is very minimal, he says, and there are data suggesting the higher dose does in fact do a better job of preventing symptomatic flu infections.

But from an institutional and public health perspective, he says, the jury is still out on whether the high dose truly does a better job of preventing major flu impacts like hospitalization and death for older people.

“In terms of looking at these more serious outcomes among older Americans, more research would be helpful,” he says.

Richardson adds, “I don’t think we have the final answers.”

Pimping Out Veterans For Research

Maybe Sanofi-Pasteur will offer to pay back VA with high-dosage flu vaccines?

Either way, I am seeing a disturbing trend on the increased pimping out of veteran health care data and veteran bodies for the purpose of research.

How do you think VA is protecting our interests? Or, are they allowing access to veteran health care data for the benefit of special interests?

Source: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/sanofi-pasteur-agrees-pay-198-million-resolve-drug-overcharges-department-veterans-affairs

71 COMMENTS

  1. “Overcharging VA depletes funds that are available to care for our veterans,” said Director of the Healthcare Resources Division Mark Myers of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General. “We will continue to hold companies accountable for errors in drug pricing.”

    Ben, how about all the money that is lost to the VA for paying an outlandish price for parking lots. How about holding those VA employees accountable. Another smoke screen to get the attention off of the real problems that is happening inside the VA’s highways and byways.

    I stopped reading the article right after I read the above statement. I smell it, know that it is knocking on my door, stepping back before I load some steel up and finalize the matter. Something is always happening at the VA. VA should start its own Reality TV Show. They make a lot of bucks by putting their lives out to the public. Hey, what the hell, go for it.

    • Accountability? Why is it that the VA expects others to be accountable, when the VA isn’t accountable themselves? And, another thing, if the $20 million was lost due to a bank robbery, the MSM would be reporting it right off the bat.

      I’ve seen nothing on these networks about this matter; ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, or MSNBC. This matter should be reported as breaking news. This goes to show that there is a high probability that the MSM is purposely not reporting this incident. I strongly believe that there be an investigation to determine why the MSM is not reporting about this business. Maybe their are strong ties between the managements of the MSM’s and the leadership of the VA.

      I’ve been homebound for over a year now, and I watch TV continuously [no quixotic (romantic) thespian soap operas]. I’m surprised pertaining to the amount of rumpuses [a real word] that Ben has divulged, that these discoveries aren’t broadcasted on the prime-time news. What comes to my mind is why is it that the MSM’s are keeping almost all the brouhahas that are happening within the VA, and purposely keeping these types of depravities out of the public’s eyes.

      Wow, I’m going to treat myself by eating some hard boiled eggs covered with oyster sauce [don’t tell anyone, but this is what I eat when I want to build up some gaseous compounds in my digestive system].

      Why is it that the VA always debases [cheapens] their own violations, when they are committed against those that are cur’ curers [vets]? The VA is very clever on how, when, and why they enshroud [cover, protect, hide] their infringements. In my opinion, the VA behaves like a member of the Mafioso family.

      • If I were to eat hard boiled eggs covered in oyster sauce the local explosive ordinance team (EOT) would need to be dispatched and a 1000 Ft. cordon established with an entry point upwind. Oh, and gas masks will not make one ounce of difference for these silent but very deadly blasts from my intestinal past. 🙂

      • @Namnibor – Your looking at the gas masks that have expired. The VA Shipping Coordinator said that he is going to rewrite another expiration date on the masks.

        Do you know what, I wonder if the VA does such a thing.

      • ANutterVet, I can only speculate on why the MSM doesn’t cover some of these issues, but I think my speculation is accurate based on experience and lots of observation.

        Years ago when I was much more active nationally on veterans issues, there were maybe 8 MSM reporters that consistently covered veterans issues. A guy at the LA Times, one at USA Today, one at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Army Times did until the reporter got worried about her access to Pentagon briefings.

        The best coverage was by a small town newspaper reporter in southern Illinois. He was an Army vet turned reporter and very good, enough that his articles were often picked up by the AP or UPI newswires.

        A huge majority of media outlets do drive-by reporting…little local articles here and there, with the rest of their reporting coming from the very few large newswires that still exist…AP, UPI, Reuters, etc.

        Unless those news wires are interested, any reporting will not get beyond a local market. Local News Editors like the idea if their smaller news market gets noticed by the news wires, so if there is a chance it might get picked up by one of them, then the editor allows the reporter to work on it. Otherwise, that reporter might be assigned to work on the lost dog story, or the 3 car wreck out on the bypass.

        With today’s media, most are owned by corporate conglomerates where running a story is decided on by whether it might affect part of their company. Next, today’s media has gotten so biased, decisions are made on reporting on whether it might embarrass certain politicians or contractors who are donors to certain politicians.

        Years ago, when the Pentagon finally admitted we were exposed to chemical warfare agents in the Gulf War, many media outlets covered it, but carefully blamed the CIA or Pentagon so it wouldn’t reflect too badly on Clinton. Shortly after, the media went back to reporting other things.

        Today’s media are filled with young millenials who think the Kardashians or Mama June are more important. Those reporting on other issues follow the rest of the herd by reporting on the agenda they and others are pushing.

        Their current focus is locked in on Trump and Russia, so to them, nothing else exists. At some point, they might get around to other topics, but then only if it’s a slow news day, and maybe only if it can be viewed as an attack on certain people.

        Long gone are the days of investigative reporters that really dig in to an issue and provide any substance. Most of those willing to do the hard work are like Ben, posting on web sites or blogs and working with other local media trying to get an important story out.

        The problem is, most in the corporate owned media don’t care for one reason or another.

        How long did the 40 vets who died waiting at Phoenix get covered? A week maybe? Then it was back to maybe one or two news outlets?

        Why is it a veteran burning himself to death on the front lawn was only covered by local news media?

        $20 million is a drop in the bucket in DC. Reporting on that might affect the stocks holdings in Big Pharma some companies, and even some reporters might have.

      • @91Veteran – 91 thanks for sharing about how the reporters had articles about the VA in the past. I agree, that MSM don’t care about Veterans, but yet they’ll report on many things that are so trivial. Who cares about those things. With the cost of airtime today, the MSM could at least keep the American public up to date per what is going on with the VA since Phoenix. Ass wipes that they are. ABC now is stating that they are REAL NEWS. Bull shit. I watch them every night, and catch mistakes and misleading statements all the time.

      • @Nam – – – The reason is because military recruiting “for an exciting career that has a high probability of getting you killed/maimed for life on the job before you can retire” figures are down.

        Seems the young folks today do not want to become cannon fodder in large numbers.

        We all saw the “breaking news” yesterday regarding Syrian Gas Attacks. The drumbeats towards the next war we have no business sending our youth into, have begun.

        The MSM is purposefully withholding these stories from the country. Can’t interfere with the military recruiting pipeline for unjust or unnecessary wars now, can we?

  2. *Off Topic* Yesterday name post a song that describes me to the tee. I felt so insecure that I wanted to go back to my childhood, because my parents were both very supportive and was ALWAYS there when I needed I needed guidance and help.

    Acting like kids, when my moms wasn’t around the house [playing cards, craps, bingo, or the racetrack], my father and I would always eat potato chip sandwiches. Man, were we creative. How about you, did you ever eat potato chips sandwiches? If so, do you have an sandwich recipes to share with us?

      • Talk about songs, every time I see Shulkin, I literally can envision ” Howdy Doody playing! “It’s Howdy Doody Time” Talk about a Mannequinn Challenge. That guy is a full pledged meathead!

    • I still eat potato chip sandwiches. The best are BBQ hamburger with potato chips stacked high, then crunched down when you put the top of the bun on.

      • Sounds good 91. I’m going to try it. I’ll put on mayo, ketchup, and cheese too. Ahh, what the heck, throw on some lettuce and tomato too.

      • @91Veteran – – – Never tried one. Sounds interesting. I’ll try one this weekend with a teriyaki burger. Just burger, chips, and bun? Or do you dress it up as well. Gotta know that I’m having it “91 Style”.

      • I haven’t tried chips on a burger. I should have been more clear….sloppy Joes and chips.

        But a burger sounds good with chips too.

        What is good with burgers is thinly sliced ham on a burger, with onions, jalapenos and mustard.

        A little restaurant in WI made burgers like that. Called them a Blooming Idiot. They were tasty!

      • @91Veteran – – – Sloppy Joe’s and Chips, Aye Aye!

        Going to try one this weekend. Canned Sloppy Joe’s. I have not had a sloppy joe since small kid time in St. Louis back in the ’60’s.

        Should be fun!

    • For a “Stress Reducing, Comfort food” Sandwich, I tend to favor a Peanut Butter, Gherkin Pickle, and Mayo Sandwich on Buttermilk bread. Hits the spot!

      • @Disgruntle Veteran Dam you sound disgruntled. Is someone expecting in your household. I dunno, its the PB and pickle mixture that I can’t get over. LMAO . . . funny dudeskie.

      • Been a favorite sandwich in our family to remind us of our Scottish-German heritage since WWI when my maternal grandfather returned from a six month respite in England after the battle of Belleau Wood.

      • @Disgruntled Veteran-
        I’m starting to worry about what kind of “experimental research” the VA has been doing to you.

  3. I am not surprised, just a little of the terms being used such as “accountability” be upheld when the majority of the time the va does not hold any accountability. So many individuals would have noticed the price increase from purchasing agents to visn contracting officers and no one stopped the purchase of the higher costing flu medicine.
    The purchase costs violated an united states code law (38 U.S.C. Section 8126) and it was still purchased. The idiots at the va don’t do their jobs and have to save face and fight it in court and conduct their own study on Veterans.
    The big pharmaceutical companies do a lot of free studies on the Veteran population thru the va on various medications and Veterans most likely have no knowledge that they are being studied.
    The Veteran population is monitored and numbered in so many ways. That is what the government considered us just being a number. They are the sickos.
    Some studies of pharmaceuticals are done on Veterans before they are given to the public population. That act alone shows that a Veterans life is worth less than a civilian.
    Their unethical and immoral acts towards the Veteran population. Testing on a Veteran like a lab rat. What gives them the right to do such things to us??? Why are we being treated subhuman and without any respect or consideration?
    Veterans, i think we need are own bill of rights because we are treated as if we have no rights. We can’t just sue until we go thru their hellish processes. And then maybe some justice if you can call it that by being compensated for the pain, suffering and injury. A life in pain and suffering is not much of a life to live. We Veterans endure and continue on.

    • Believe it or not, there actually is a Veterans Bill of Rights. I believe the VVA was instrumental in getting that passed.

      At one time, it used to be displayed prominently at VAs.

      They’ve been replaced with posters accusing all veterans of committing travel fraud.

      • If you stand still too long waiting for pharmacy order at the VA you will find a travel pay fraud warning plastered on your ass cheeks.
        Those posters coupled with the fraud & corruption at the VA is what keeps those walls standing.

      • @91Veteran, thank you for reminding me of this and i remember a little about it. I will have to research it. I would like to know if it is legislation or laws protecting a Veterans civil rights and who enforces it.

      • @91Veteran – – – I remember seeing those displayed. Haven’t seen them for awhile either. But the Travel Pay fraud posters are all over the place. Like if I lived Outer Island I would ever want to come to Honolulu for fun.

        More like, get me to the Outer Islands to reduce the stress. Too many damn concrete high rises can make a man crazy . . .

      • But the Travel Pay fraud posters are all over the place… thats because if you don’t claim your travel pay it goes into there bonus money. here at my VA hospital say you have 3 appointments in a month the first one of the month i get full travel pay lets say 35 dollars and the next 2 I get 30 dollars WTF … does this happen to anyone else???

  4. What the VA fails miserably at with vaccines and infectious disease is no matter what they may say, they do NOT keep-up with current treatments and warning from…the CDC. The VA does it’s own thing with we Veteran nonhuman test subjects.

    Example: In the timeframe of this article going back to 2008-9, I recall a VA hack (medical assistant acting FOR the M.D.), telling me that I should take the flu vaccine in the nasal drops they were going to give me and I had to remind them that my private infectious disease specialist I was using under state Medicaid, strictly told me under no circumstance to accept anything BUT the normal SHOT and *never* the nasal spray/drops because of CDC guidelines for people such as myself living with a couple chronic viruses.

    The VA did not care one bit, the VA hack even chuckled and said, “Well, those are only guidelines.”!!! WTF?!!
    The VA has a God Syndrome in a collective way that’s killing Veterans when the VA only views outside guidelines as only that- something to follow or not follow, and usually not followed. FYI- administering a live nasal spray vaccine to a patient that’s already positive for a couple other infectious diseases may make such a patient develop full pneumonia or worse…but “the VA cares. Right.

    I refused the nasal spray, the VA refused to change it to a regular flu shot. Guess where I got my flu shot that year? My County’s Dept. of Health. I told them there what the VA was trying to do in spite of knowing of my specific health conditions, and even the foreign hack at Dept. of Health shook her head and then said, “The VA does what they think is best for the VA…not so much the Veterans”. That was about ALL she said in her Northern African accent. She repeated it twice while shaking her head.

    The sad thing is the private medical world seems to acknowledge that the VA is completely rogue…it seems to be an ongoing joke that those that perform crappy in med school ALWAYS have the VA as a last option for work…WTF? Yes, I have heard private medical Dr.’s joke about the VA in that respect…last in class hacks. WTF?

    That overcharging for vaccines by that Co. to the VA just shows what kind of value and respect they have for Veterans. We are nothing but tickets to their never-ending-cookie jar. Had the VA overcharged that co. for the vaccines we may never had heard of it but since the VA was overcharged, whole different story because…it’s not about cutting into Veteran’s healthcare costs, it’s all about cutting into potential nonperformance bonuses.
    Today’s article reminds me of the ridiculous costs of that VA developed Hep C “cure drug” that NOW is advertised on TV with that unexpected warning of side effect of activating Hep B in patients…it brings to mind the insane costs of that ‘cure’, which I think made $20 Million look like chicken feed.

    This makes me wonder if the VA is already hurting for cash since they seem to be looking for money in a mad scavenger hunt? Maybe they would like my idea for an Easter Egg Hunt using live grenades as eggs? Could spray them all kinds of colors and stripes….*BOOM*…

  5. “Do you value your online privacy? Recent legislation repeals privacy rules, allowing your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to share and sell your browsing habits without your permission.”

    My internet security program reminded me of this recent change in privacy laws. Maybe this explains why I am suddenly receiving all kinds of junk mail from the VA on various different VA Mortgages and asking if I am a Veteran looking for benefits earned…all coming from the VA while all along am a 100% Compensated Disabled Veteran…the disconnect is very large because when I click on just about any of those links it takes me to either dead web pages or pages with so much spam and attempted hacks my antivirus program disallows any navigation because they are so rife with ads and crap…THIS is what the VA is doing with Billions in IT “fixes”?
    Anyway, just wondering if others have been experiencing the same type of junk mail from the VA at an increased volume as late? I also am getting a salvo of online colleges to use your veteran benefits and G.I. Bill…it seems like the VA has sold our info or something.

    • namnibor,
      I’ve noticed that also. Only, I never click on anything other than what I’ve subscribed to.
      That way I hopefully won’t be inundated with bullshit!

    • @Ex va @Namnibor Right on pertaining to the contents of your posts. The VA surely needs to be reformed and reorganized. Its amazing how much corruption occurs in this Federal Agency. Most likely, it is also occurring in other Agencies as well. Geesh.

    • @namnibor: To avoid your isp doing what it wishes, yoiu can cut the head of the snake off with, hostblock:
      “https://hostblock.codeplex.com/”

    • Yahoo is one site that will look at the cookies on your computer, and provide tailored ads and news to you. Google is another one good at that.

      I was shocked one day when I looked on Amazon for something, then went to the Drudge Report or some other similar news site. All 3 ads on the site were for the exact thing I was searching for on Amazon.

      All ads served by Google as services.

      The only way I know of to stop that is to set your browser to clear all cookies when exiting, possibly using an Incognito tab in Chrome, or putting bootable Linux on a thumb drive with the Tor browser.

  6. I have three things of interest this morning!

    1.) I read today’s blog on “military.com/Daily News”
    If y’all want to google it, the title is;

    “DOJ: For Decade, Sanofi Vaccine Unit Overcharged VA on Meds!”

    3 April 2017
    Associated Press | by Associated Press

    In the article, besides what Ben has written, is that “Sanofi” said they wouldn’t seek remittance for “…meds they undercharged for…!”
    How gracious is that from them?!?!

    2.) “Senate Agrees to Extend VA’s Program of Private Sector Care!”

    3 Apr 2017
    Associated Press | by Hope Yen

    In this article, the VA will extend its Choice Program until next year. If it’s shut down this year, in August, there would be lots of taxpayers monies left over. That’s why the VA is extending it.
    Of course, how many actually get to use it would be a more proper question!

    3.) “Shulkin: Porn-Viewing VA Employee Highlights Need for Firing Authority!”

    4 April 2017
    Stars and Stripes | by Nikki Wentling

    How many out there can think of other, more egregious acts, (criminal activities), which should have VA Employees fired!?
    I agree the pervert who watched porn with a patient should be fired. Maybe even put on a “sex registry”!
    Only:
    How about those who caused the deaths of veterans by manipulating wait times? OR, how about those who get paid when they cause problems by stealing drugs (opioids) and using and/or sell them?
    There has to be many more egregious acts committed by VA employees more important which would be cause for Firing!

    • A new and grossly inappropriate joke just came to mind after reading your post Crazy elf;

      A woman from the new Task Force on American Health was being escorted by the prestigeous Dr. Ben Dover Andgrin, PHD, down the halls of various hospitals in one community in rural Oregon. As she was walking down the hall she looked into a patients room and noticed that the nurse was manipulating the patients genitals briskly! She asked in an alarmed voice, “Why is that woman jacking off that man?!?” The PHD answered calmly, “He has prostate cancer and research shows that doing this will increase his odds.”

      They then travelled to the next facility, a more upscale hospital in town. As they strolled down these corridors she peeked into a room and the femail nurse was on her knees in front of the patient performing oral sex! The woman exclaimed, “My God! Why is that woman doung that to him!?!?” The PHD answered calmly, “He also has prostate cancer, but has a much better better plan.”

      They then travelled to the VA hospital. Once again she timidly peeked into a patients room….

      She saw two male VA nurses holding a patient, while the third nurse was making “love” to the patient in the manner of the movie “Deliverance”. “Oh my God, explain this one!”, she exclaimed.

      The PHD answered calmly, “He also has prostate cancer and extensive VA research shows that this is both an effective way to help veterans, and a REAL cost saving to America. They are able to serve many more veterans this way.”

      • Something like your #3 was actually going on at the Leavenworth VAMC just last year…not kidding…’Deliverance’ Style…. Medical staff to Vets. However, my bet there was also a raccoon involved in the activities…it is the VA after all.

  7. Here is the problem that I have with any statement from the VA – there is simply no way to know if the shit they print up is the truth or is a complete fabrication, and when the lies are exposed they just issue another press release…and more vets dies.

    Let’s face facts; Ben you are concerned about the “increasing” use of vets and our bodies for research at the hands of the most corrupt agency that the United States has ever known. It is an agency that forces itself to hire and retain the scumbags that absolutely nobody else would ever hire, or the scum that has consistently harmed patients outside of VA and are therefor unemployable.

    Let me ask you something; when a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare specialist outside of VA REALLY screws the pooch and harms people, where do you think they go after the civilian hospital fires them? When a med students grades are consistently at the bottom of the class, do you honestly believe that they actually balk at an agency that as a punishment places you in an empty cubical for a quarter million dollars a year? When substance abuse grabs the ass of a nurse, doctor, or other medical professional (an extremely high risk occupational hazard) the VA cannot fire them on the ABSURD notion that the union rules prohibit discrimination on the basis of felony crimes if in fact they have not fired EVERYONE for the same felony crime (and the ines in charge of firing are the ones with the felony records!) – so vets get to see ankle bracelets from felons on house arrest (but NOT from OIG. The felons are being tracked by the civilian world who DO care about felony crimes).

    In the statement from VA expressing “concern” that vets will suffer from a reduction of funds was tossed out like they toss the shit out from a Disruptive Behavior Committee, i.e. “Our concern is that you are taking up time that could be apportioned to other veterans…” They in fact toss this line into nearly EVERY justification for holding back SOMETHING. From the drug companies they hold back payment. From vets they hold back services earned and therefor often life itself. From doctors that tell the truth about this vile crimnal organization funded by The People, they hold back careers. ALL in the glorious pursuit of serving the noble veterans whom they honor???

    Ben, the ENTIRE VA approach to medicine has been called a “dangerous experiment” to my own face by at least one doctor, and the litany of other doctors reflecting similar opinions to me personally is uncountable! My outside VA prescriber needed in Oregon to obtain the already outdated medical marijuanna card (we passed recreational marijuanna law so the card is a moot point now), was a man from Central America. After he read my records, his comment was simple; “If a veteranary treated a dog this way you could have them arrestdd for animal abuse, but you are veteran so you can’t.”

    The VA IS NOT “increasingly” using vets as part of a dangerous experiment. This is not a matter of the train pulling out of the station, because the train arrived at the destination decades ago. The VA is a cruel, petty, and viscious experiment that America would not tolerate being released upon the animal population unless the animal is a United States veteran. God Almighty we have bodies strewn across the land, rotting in VA shower rooms, and being infected with God knows what disease when they just want a tooth pulled, and the VA claims in this letter that if we only squeeze drug vendors for twenty million it is going to make things better for vets??? DO YOU BELIEVE SUCH INSANITY?

    The VA is in no way increasing the use of vets as their lab mice because brother they went to that place decades and decades, and body after body after body a very long time ago. The organization is corrupt down to the core and the laughable idea that they are the guardians of cash in favor of caring for veterans is honestly not that funny. The VA guards cash like the fox guards the hen house then laments over dinner that the chickens are getting the screw job? Just who the hell do you think negotiated for all of these contracts!

    The VA is a catastrophic failure of The People. So we staff it with the lowest of the civilian scum because doctors with a soul will not work there or the ones discovered to exhibit ethics while on duty are sent to a quarter million dollar per year cubical for a time out to think about it? Insanity! The People have turned a blind eye to the atrocities perpetrated onto veterans, and the OIG is concerned that somebody outside the VA is screwing over American vets???

    Holy God.

    • @Dennis: Thank you, unbelievable, but true and to the point. If my vet treated my dogs, the way the VA treats me? I would cut his fucking balls off. My dogs have ME to watch over them, and to protect them. Who do we have? To your other point, and namnibors, amazing how the damn VA doctors DO NOT want to treat me, and yet they get PISSED that I am getting outstanding healthcare elswhere? Fuck them.

      There is another old joke, and it is more true then just a joke. If you have the best doctor in the world, then it stands to reason, that there also much be a worse doctor in the world, and today, someone has an appointment to see them. We all know exactly where this “worse doctor” is employed.

      It still pisses me off to no end, how the VA is constantly wasting billions, while crying they need more, have no problem handing oout billions in bonuses, and yet does everything in it’s power to NOT give a veteran a dead red cent, even when they get the scent of a red dead vet.

      Your history lesson dating back to the Roman Empire, is all anyone needs to know, regarding the VA.

      • Do you know what the word “bonus” means in the context of VA employees?

        It means that if they told the American Public what they REALLY pay each VA employee (instead of what the official pay scales published for public pay) that public outcry would shut them down.

        If you bought the explanation that “bonus” means better employees and better healthcare then their Public Relations team definately deserves a bonus. If it sickens you that they brag about recovering from a corporate drug giant 20 million dollars from BILLIONS then hang on when you consider how far that pays into the “bonus” program for VA.

        Tell me, who is really raping America at VA? Drug companies or the folks who hide wages behind the word “bonus”? I think I’ll go tune up my bango now…

  8. Off topic

    It took almost 11months (with me calling records every two weeks) to get my latest MRI images and report sent to an out of state Neurosurgeon. I had my old Lt. helping on that end as he wasn’t a shitbag while I knew him on deployments. Here is what I sent him in an email just now:
    ————
    So, I believe I’ve figured out why your pals wouldn’t recommend a surgery based on the MRI reports.
    I changed doctors to get away from one that had a fit about entering information into the computer…she said,”I don’t have tI’m for you. I don’t have time to get this into the computer and talk to you and do exams!” All while raising her hands in the air and shaking her head.
    So, I went into this other doctor (after a month of being ignored and having calls dropped when trying to schedule an appointment with a different doctor) and without reading more than my name and birth date to verify my file, she went into in my prescription section, looked at the ONE medication I’m on and told me she would be discontinuing it….

    Don’t worry it gets better.

    After I stopped myself from violently acting out, I told her that she didn’t read my file, examine or even talk to me before making a decision like that. She said it doesn’t matter, the pills are Now considered a narcotic and she’s stopping them. I told her that she should really read my file. At a minimum she should look at my latest MRI report before calling the pharmacy.
    She pulled it up and looked at two lines. The ‘impression’ section on the report.
    It Now said I had arthritis…
    The original that I no longer have said COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!
    They changed my files! Again! But, this time instead of “purging” the files, they went in and rewrote the the damn things!
    I believe the reason it took so long for you to get a copy to give to those doctors was that these fucks were scrambling to get these records changed. Period.

    ————–
    So, now what? Go into the office and raise hell about the doctors being shisty?
    Try to get documents with proof of access dates and times my files were changed? Hunt the shitbags responsible…I use a cane to walk. Or a walker on any trip more than a block…so that last one is out for now.

    • Not sure what direction to suggest to you. How do you know the records were changed? Did you have a copy? Or was the original report given to you verbally?

      If it was verbally, you could write a letter to the Privacy Officer explaining that the report you were shown has been changed, does not reflect the same as what your records do, and that you are requesting under FOIA and Privacy Acts the record in question, along with any computer records showing who had access to that record and any logs showing who changed it and why.

      State that your request is urgent because your doctor stopped your prescription due to incorrect information now in the record.

      It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a copy of the original report before it was changed. They don’t know whether you have a copy or not.

      Create a written record of this by writing that letter to the Privacy Officer. Perhaps the doctor who cut off your prescription will get worried over the documentation being created, and come up with some bullshit excuse about making a mistake.

      I seriously see no other way of holding anyone in the VA accountable for what they do other than putting things in writing.

    • LP, My PC said old injuries heal over time. The orthopedic doctor said this will never heal. Therefore injury heals into arthritis, which is just as painful if not more so.

      • Yeah, my new PCP told me that All injuries heal…really? Have you ever left this office? Please say that to the 20+ Vets stuck in wheel chairs out in the lobby. Or Anyone missing a limb…or you can try to tell me that one more time and see how it goes.
        I had 12 herniated discs…now I have 11. (Had one replaced) they don’t heal. They got worse. Tore apart more. Degeneration flattened a few.
        Fuckin tell me all injuries heal and smile at me.

  9. Ok, I will post this comment a third time since I copied it before posting. I will leave off the link that was in quotes, but it is still disappearing.

    Ben, you may have a problem with comments posting.

    Ok, I will retype my comment again. For some reason my comment was lost, but with good signal, I assumed it would post. I guess assuming made an ass out of me and me..

    Anyway, I haven’t read the column yet and this is off topic, but AP has an article on Yahoo about how the VA has fixed the suicide hotline…by ignoring the IG report.

    Seems there will be testimony to congress today about this.

    The quotes in the article suggest the IG is starting to figure out what his job is.

    Of course, there is the obligatory smarmy comment from a VFW spokeshack at the bottom.

    It must be hard on their ass to sit on the fence like that.

  10. Test.

    “”https://www.yahoo.com/news/dismissing-auditors-va-says-suicide-hotline-problems-fixed-080315225.html””

    • @91Veteran- “[It must be hard on their ass to sit on the fence like that.]”

      Holy Bat Crap! The VA has gone entirely rogue and the piggy VSO’s have plowed a path for them sitting on all those fences and smashing them to ground-level. I bet barbed wire is a real pain in the ass. But the VSO’s have had plenty of time to build-up callouses like a good guitarist. 🙂

      • Nam, I was thinking more it was the VSOs sitting on the fence.

        They look to see if the VA throws some green at them on one side, while trying to figure out if the grass is greener on the other side from the vet buried under the turf.

  11. I subscribe to this news letter from DOJ: “U.S. Department of Justice ”

    Over a billion per month in collections for overcharges to the VA, Medicare and Medicaid during the Obama Administration. Cut back to less than 100 million per month during the present administration. But at least they are focusing on the VA. But given the study needed, even this one was probably the result of the Obama DOJ.

    Aren’t we lucky to have the Trumps shouting for the veterans? Maybe it would be even better if we could get some action that doesn’t belong to the past administration. I voted for Trump in that hope and I’m willing to wait for the first year to end before I announce that I have been conned. But it doesn’t look good.

    • [email protected]” Email address didn’t take. You’ll have to google to get the subscription site.

  12. On your question of being pimped out Ben, I suspect that happens regardless of whether we want it or not. I think Shinazi set a dangerous precedent where any VA researcher will be looking at dollar signs. Veterans and informed consent Are an afterthought.

    Am I surprised the VA says more research is needed? Hell no. Even RAND concurs.

    The question should be, why is the VA doing this research rather than putting that money towards other research such as brain injury. I mean, the CDC, FDA, vaccine makers and half the planet is researching flu vaccines. Why does the VA need to do their own duplicate study?

    Why not research the common cold? Surely that has not been done before.

    If the VA insists on researching this, I see no reason why it could not be as simple as a records research project determining who got the shot, what age they are and whether it did any good, then working with the CDC and FDA on their projects.

    Finally, I wonder if any of these researchers chasing dollars have thought about the flu vaccine becoming like antibiotics…where an infection mutates requiring stronger doses causing a mutation requiring stronger doses until the dose kills the patient before the infection, or there is no dose left strong enough.

    What is laughable about the VA doing this research is that there are too researchers in the world at the CDC and elsewhere doing this flu vaccine research every year to match the next strain, and a few years ago, even they got it wrong.

    Remember how half the planet was going to die a horrible death from Swine flu? Then Bird flu?

    On yesterday’s topic, isn’t it interesting how the VA can make a whistle blowers life a living hell, but those like the ER nurse letting vets lay on the floor for hours in pain get reassigned to an administrative or other cushy job with less work?

    If they can go after a whistle blower so harshly, why can’t they do the same with those who are incompetent? Corrupt? Lazy?

  13. I have found the perfect video as an answer to anything VA related:
    “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2F33hksTfek”
    Save it, watch it, savor it, the genious is in the simplicity of it all. The cast is as follows, the “VA” played by the young boy, and “Ben” played by the boys mother.

    • @cj I’m sending you a box of ‘Lamb Skins’ so that you can pass them out to the employees at your local VA. Before I send them, do you want the variety box or just one size? You crack me up. LLLMAAAOOO

  14. The strength of a ‘Flu Virus’ is determined by how a persons ‘T or B Lymphocytes [White Blood Cell]’ attach to the binding proteins that are located on the outer layer of the virus cell. When we get a viral vaccine [virus has been attenuated – supposedly the same virus but with a decreased or lowered viral activity, less active virus], your body will produce antibodies that recognize the active virus.

    The antibodies are programmed to attach themselves to the active, by recognizing the protein receptors that are located on the outer layer of the active virus. The antibody then will stop the virus from replicating. Antibodies can also tag viruses so that other cells in the body will recognize them and kill them. The ‘Immune Response’ is one of the most interesting protection process that the body has.

    That we be all for class today. Don’t you’ll be responsible to know the things that we didn’t cover in class, that will more than likely be on your test on Monday. Have a nice weekend.

    That’s how it is when you attend Graduate School folks. Just a heads up.

    • I need to get some sleep. Sorry about the grammar. Just had in-home Physical Therapy and I’m sore and tired. Now I’m going to step outside, and smoke the stuff that Dennis was nice enough to share with me. After a minute . . . cough, cough Just did a few tokes. WOW !!! Dam Dennis that’s some good up high sativa strain that you have. You folks living up in the Northern West Coast grow some good buddah’s.

  15. Here is some more garbage the va is wasting money on… found this in my healthevet mailbox…

    ——Original Message————————
    Sent: 03/18/2017 05:54 PM
    From: EDMONDS, SHANTEL
    To: Dorn Bro-Brow
    Subject: LGBT Community Resource Fair – March 30

    Upcoming Event Announcement for all veterans and staff of Dorn VA

    Event: LGBT Community Resource Fair

    March is LGBT Health Awareness Month. The Mental Health Diversity Committee at Dorn is excited to be hosting a LGBT Community Resource Fair this month. This is an opportunity for veterans and staff to learn about LGBT-supportive organizations and resources in the community.

    Date: March 30, 2017
    Time: 11:30am – 1:15pm
    Location: Bldg. 106, Room D100

    Organizations attending will include SC Equality, the Harriet Hancock LGBT Resource Center, Palmetto AIDS Support Services, and the Dorn VA LGBT Special Emphasis Program for staff.

    The organizations will have resource tables available with information about programs and services in Columbia. Later during the event, each organization will provide an overview of the resources and services that they offer. Representatives will be available to speak with you one-on-one and to answer any questions that you might have. We invite veterans and staff to attend. Here at Dorn VA, we serve all who served, including the LGBT community.

    Questions: You can call Dr. Shantel Edmonds, LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator, at ext. 7329. Please call Dr. Edmonds directly versus responding to this message. Thank you.

    Hosted by the MH Diversity Committee. Message sent by Dr. Shantel Edmonds, LGBT VCC, at Dorn VA.

    • Is this resource fair before the CBNBC (Celibate But Not BY Choice) resource fair this year or is that coming next? What about the HAGM (Heterosexual And Got Married) resource fair? Is that still on this year too? I guess the VA doesn’t officially recognize the VACHI (Virgin And Can’t Help It) crowd, but honestly they should at least extend this offering to their own employees, right? It would be “diversity” and fairly well suited.

      • VA Voluminous Hacks (VAVH) will be filling the hallways after eating all the tasty snacks at the tables, whatever the group.

      • @Namnibor – Did you ever think about making an ‘Abbreviation Book’ with all the acronyms that you come up with. It would be a good reference. Other Veterans and Local Libraries may want a copy, or two.

    • All is far @Rick B. The VA is having Celebrating Days for those that are heterosexual. I don’t have the dates for these wonderful parties that helps everyone to get together and have a nice time. I’m happily stoked that the VA has these types of get togethers. It creates a good time for all of us to have fun, and to meet really nice people. Who knows, you might even find someone there.

      I’m going so that I can meet people who think like me. And, I may be able to find some VA employees that has some connections to help me out in getting my claims to run through the system faster. I might even be able to get a higher rating so that I get more money, even though I don’t deserve it. I know that I will be able to find someone there that I can trust. The VA and the Party Coordinators accept people from many backgrounds and those with different sexual orientations. The VA is now promoting a ‘Trust’ theme to establish better communication between Veterans and the VA.

      Shootz, I can even wear rainbow clothing if I want too, and they will all accept me for who I am. I’m so excited about these parties that I’m already getting all horned up and ready to go. I’m ready for meeting and hooking up with some new skin. Yippie. Are you going Rick B? You never know, like they say, once you have dat, you’ll never go back!

      Hey @Rick B, I’m just razzing you man. This is nothing but a fucking waste of money. You don’t see those that are heterosexual prancing around and getting together celebrating their sexuality. The LGBTQRSUVWXYZ people has but one goal, ‘to infiltrate all segments of our society to promote and increase the amount of people that have the same beliefs.”‘ Watch your younger love ones. They are the ones that these people go after.

      I get so confused about this matter, that now I don’t even know what bathroom to use. I think I’ll take the women’s lavatory. ‘See ya at the party, gotta go, gotta pee, there’s a woman I got to see.’

      • I just use the sink, whether it’s #1 or #2 and regardless of label on front door of bathroom, makes all sinks fair game and it’s remarkably more ergonomic. 🙂

      • The potty issue must be settled!

        No longer can we exclude either sex from any restroom soley on the basis of sex or orientation! I say we define the restroom use using the snowy signature method. All humans who can sign their name in the snow without leaving footprints beside each letter use one restroom and those who cannot use the other.

        That way nobody is shocked at what they see. Unless it’s an Eskimo village – then all bets are off.

      • Yellow Snow Cones today at the Canteen Cafeteria or at your Starbucks location in the lobby. Waste not, want not.

  16. @Dennis, good analogy of the VA. The VA OIG is happy to report on something outside the VA. Every other day the VA OIG reports atrocities by numerous VA’s around the U.S.. Nothing happens. The VA OIG has to report to the same people who are responsible for the problems. This is part of the VA’s propaganda machine. The VA OIG is doing it’s job. It just doesn’t do it’s job well enough when investigating in its own house.

  17. The VA is sure good at going after someone who they say owes them money. Not so good when they have to pay it out. The VA spends so much on things other than veterans. Hey I lost my Arm in the military can I get a disability ? 2017

    Yes you can apply ! It may take awhile maybe you will hear from us in 2060 or not. You Veterans don’t understand if we give you all your deserved disabilities, how are we to live ! Oh by the way if you should get your disability, Please save your money, because we will ask for it back. Administrative Error.

    And God Bless all you Veterans, without you we would be homeless !

  18. @Ben: Either way, I am seeing a disturbing trend on the increased pimping out of veteran health care data and veteran bodies for the purpose of research.

    that trend has been steeping uphill on the curve chart for quite awhile…no end in sight. the stories and infractions are decades old and still continues. its insanely absurd on so many levels.

    let’s see, if Navy pilots can strike due to safety concerns, i think it high time they strike due to the safety concerns of veterans dealing with the VA/VBA. some of these active duty personnel are certainly going to be veterans attempting to make use of the VA/VBA someday, right? no doubt mil flying is a dangerous job, wait till they find themselves under the thumb of the VA/VBA system, they might think that a bit dangerous too? ya think?

  19. The top few people at each VA hospital and the pharmaceutical head shitbag, get fat checks to push pills. The top few and one other I can’t recall right now get similar funds for pushing P.T.
    Even though the VA doesn’t really make a profit from ‘customers’ directly, they don’t and Won’t fix people because it cuts into their individual pockets…

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