Veterans Affairs Yelp App

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced they spent taxpayer dollars developing a Yelp app for veterans that should help fix VA.

On the one hand, this sounds like a good idea and is being sold as providing veterans the opportunity to review the quality of care they receive at various facilities. On the other hand, the app will apparently limit review to only the facility and not the service provider.

This is what I have been calling for forever. Not surprisingly, VA has persistently resisted micro level critiques of employees by veterans.

But this is about to change.

I plan to start a fundraising campaign to cover development of a new database tool that will allow veterans to review facilities, employees and the overall trend of salary increases against ratings.

Sound like a more comprehensive solution VA could create but will not?

The House Committee on Veterans Affairs asked VA about this today during the suicide prevention hearing. I guarantee any solution VA provides that combines transparancey with data on VA employees will not cover the bases needed because of the AFGE union and its strangle hold on VA poliicy.

While not cheap, this is a kind of solution needed to really shed a light into every corner of VA moving forward. And, it will allow veterans an opportunity to track VA executives regardless of where VA shuffles them to after a scandal.

All it will take is a little money, and a heck of a lot less than VA wastes each day in frivolous contracts and bogus bonuses.

Why doesn’t President Donald Trump just pay for it along with the White House super-phone he has yet to implement?

I could probably get it done well for less than $15,000, which is likely a whole lot less than what they will spend on the less comprehensive Yelp review app.

VA Comments On Yelp Review App Idea

According to Task & Purpose:

The VA is expected to roll out a more novel change in the next few weeks, according to multiple sources: a public-facing, searchable database that rates and ranks every VA medical center and outpatient facility, along with nearby private care facilities. “It’s a real effort to have VA compete with private sector providers,” Gillums said.

“I love this,” Chenelly of AMVETS said. “It’s like Yelp for VA facilities.”

The site will provide data about safety, wait times, and appointment availability at each center. The grading system is expected to work hand-in-glove with an automated, online appointment process that could make it easier for vets to access their care — and harder for VA workers to doctor their appointment books.

Augustine of DAV says the ratings site is part of Shulkin’s push for efficiency through transparency at VA: “He thinks that this will not only help veterans get their care, but it also helps employees understand where they’re falling short.”

Ready For Your Feedback

So if you had an opportunity to give feedback directly to VA, what would you ask them to include in their Yelp App? Would you want to review union employees and VA executives?

Or, do you believe federal employees should be reviewed only in secret?

I cannot help but wonder who VA is talking to about creating these fixes.

We here at DisabledVeterans.org tend to hear about these projects after they are released and well on their way to flopping.

Will this Yelp app be any different?

Source: http://taskandpurpose.com/trump-veterans-affairs-new-policies/

115 COMMENTS

  1. The review information should go directly to the union as well as “evidence and notice” so they won’t have a leg to stand on when they are fired.
    I would ask the VA to just close its doors, it is a lost cause. Veterans can work on their own model of a VA. They just have to organize with a willing hospital or clinic and have veterans that will help other vets process claims in a space within the hospital or clinic.This concept can be done on a small scale and tweaked based on community needs.
    There are a group of certain civilans that are more apt to help veterans than our own government. Certain VA employees really think they are equivalent to military service.
    They should be ashamed of themselves first all as an American, yet alone as a person.
    Fatbacks

    • Hang a Big ROGER on that, Doc.

      I have actually had VA employees tell me that “their service is equivalent to military service”. I just laugh in their face and tell them they are fucking clueless. They are naught but corrupt, greedy, stupid, and work less than banker’s hours.

      One of the fat 400 lb. Tuna Beast miss their lunch once a month, in order to properly finish processing a veteran’s claim? Yeah, that’s a REAL hardship.

      They don’t know how good they got it . . .

      • VA DEATHCARE KILLS VETS FOR THE BONOUS $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ VETS GET OVER IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. “”Malum In Se””…nothing solely prepared by the V.A. Will solve this major issue of “transparency ,trust and past vicissitudes…continuously applying Band-Aids to a ”Cancer”is what the V.A. Prides it’s self on intentionally!! Benjamin please know that you are “more” than what the. V.A. thinks you represent!!! The platform you’ve created via your accomplishments foster the “flames” of ‘promise’. It’s time you “”test the waters”” upon which you so ‘boldly’ navigate!!! Brother what are you waiting on??? It’s truly time for your “”” MILLION VETERANS MARCH “”on Washington DC. Put out your request to the vet’s whom follow you on this cite yearly!!! You haven’t even started your “Campaign”!!! Stop asking the V.A. for the ‘promise’!!! A real man(woman) doesn’t “ask” for ””respect “” they demand it!!! With your present focus there ain’t no Stoppin you!!! Above all the obvious….God is on your side??? If you doubt my words then “‘test the waters brother”..Lastly to all the vet’s that were stationed at “”Fort. Ord California”” Please be advised that for years the V.A. has known that this base was highly “”Contaminated with toxic chemicals in both water,grounds and air. Worse than “‘Camp Lejeune’s'” contamination. So bad that the fort was closed since it began in 1917!!. These facts(in part) have been provided to “”Benjamin/Disabled Veterans. Org””. It’s far past time to tell the Dam Truth!!

  3. The limit of review is only to the facility and no one else? Well that is the problem. The va medical centers do not clean their own houses. I see this as a way to continue to retaliate against Veterans who complain of poor treatment. This is what the va facilities want to be able to see who is complaining about whom.

    The managers and doctors would love to have this yelp information because they are incompetent and do not want to follow the standards that are in place in va/vha directives on how to deliver health care. I knew of providers and doctors that didn’t even have to show up for work and still were paid.

    The administrators are not going to correct the bad behaviors of doctors or providers on a Veterans behalf. That is not how the system works. What about the rules and standards that are to correct these deficiencies already? They do not enforce them even at the cost to a Veterans life. No they are about corruption, crimes against Veterans and gross mismanagement of funding. Yelp will be disastrous to any Veteran believing he will be treated better by yelp.

    The database you design sounds like it could be of benefit to help Veterans. Ben, as far as a database built to input i believe the credentialing and priveledging of doctors/providers is one of the most important issues to save Veterans lives in va medical centers. These bad doctors/providers the va opens the door wide open for abuse to Veterans with these incompetent professionals. The movement of these individuals when they abuse Veterans should be tracked in the va system. With a database you could see trends of what facilities are shrouded in with certain types of corruption. These articles you post could also be part of data collection to show possible patterns within the va.

    • @ex va – – – Agreed. I think Ben’s Idea for database development is a very good one. Probably the first of its’ kind to be VetCentric, rather than VACentric. I would like to be able to input some micro-level critiques of any employee who works for the VA here in Honolulu.

      @Ben – – – Agree with you that VAYelp! will not work due AFGE Choke Hold. Reverse will be true. Weapon to assist in retaliation against trusting veterans. Make sure we all get the word as to how to contribute to the fund-raiser. I’ll be glad to kick in what I can afford.

  4. ‘[So if you had an opportunity to give feedback directly to VA, what would you ask them to include in their Yelp App? Would you want to review union employees and VA executives?]”

    Firstly, as long as the VA is limiting review data to *only* the facility, then we Vets may as well be considered as outside interior decorators or something rather than the ability to review individual medical providers at the point of contact and service. The VA’s new YELP App will be nothing but an extra layer of frosting on that chocolate covered turd the VA serves cold. I also worry that the VA’s YELP App will only serve the VA in being able to more easily pinpoint exactly whom is complaining and then the VA will hit their other super secret App, their Disruptive Behavior Committee App, which is linked with the YELP App to send a series of electrical shocks at random intervals to the complaining Vet with the option of Inner-App Purchases of life-ending lithium battery fires activated by the DBC App in VA parking lots.

    I do not see how the VA’s App will gain Veteran’s trust and make the VA the panacea of healthcare on it’s own behalf unless the YELP App has a user-interface similar to Angry Birds but instead of slingshots and boomerangs, I am thinking Stairmasters would be more fitting and see if your review will make Isakson fly off his Stairmaster in real time while the VSO piggies chuckle and sneer.

    Lastly, why the HELL does the VA and Shulkin think that limiting the feedback to just the facility as a whole will make one iota of a difference? Will it help the groundskeepers plant more flowers? Cause the bathrooms to be cleaned?
    If that YELP App allowed ANY individual working in ANY capacity at the VA to be directly reviewed, a Vet could even review that extra large VA hack working the intake desk that spends way more time on her 3 inch long nails, which in-turn prevent her from ever typing accurately, while she talks about the last Veteran she dealt with while sharing all their information while she finishes another chicken and licks every 3 inch nail and repaints them while Vets are 26 deep in line behind the hack beast.
    Not allowing individual providers to be directly reviewed by Vets on this YELP App makes this yet another abysmal waste of time and money because nothing will change one bit, except the VA will be able to zero-in more accurately with their DBC App.
    I like Benjamin’s idea of his database with true reporting at every level of encounter at the VA. For the interest and well-being concerns of current troops (future Vets) and all current Vets and Survivors, it would make more sense if the DoD paid for Benjamin’s database but if it takes fundraising from Veterans and public, I will of course contribute without a blink because I have no reason to not trust Benjamin to not only develop this, but I am predicting that once the AFGE piggies realize what Benjamin has brewed-up in his App, we may have a good fight on-hand with AFGE Pres. “little” Cox.
    Bring It ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have an alternate suggestion to the VA’s YELP App. How about developing an Accountability Ray Gun (ARG), which is really only the full spectrum of disinfecting daylight with 4000% more ultraviolet light for identifying these stains in Veteran’s lives. It would be very much like shining an ultraviolet light in any hotel/motel room in USA or a forensic crime scene team shining light rays to locate bodily fluids…except it will be keying on fraud, abuse, and incompetence.
    When the Accountability Ray Gun (ARG) is aimed at any fraud, corruption, or dishonesty, the VA hack will immediately be turned into a urinal cake so Vets can relieve their bladders on their concentrated corruption, and like water dripping onto stone, that urinal cake (once a VA hack) will go down to the depths of the swamp forever.
    (WARNING: The Accountability Ray Gun (ARG) does induce a rather loud “ARG” sound from any VA hack found to be infected with fraud, waste and abuse before they shrink into the urinal cake to be pissed away, so we suggest practicing your aim so your aim later is more accurately streamed)

    Technology + The VA mixes like water and oil in a cement mixer. No matter how fast you spin it, it will never thoroughly mix to amount to anything except money spent and more Vets spent.

    Bring-ON your App, Ben. Fundraise away. I’m in.

    • @namnibor: Introducing the new “namnibor VA ARG A-1.0.K’
      o
      .\_/\o
      ( Oo)…………………………………………………….\|/
      (_=-)…===O-namnibor~ARG~A~1.0.K.-~~~O-
      /…..\_/U’………………………………………………../|\
      ||….|_/
      \\….|
      {K..||
      .|…PP
      .|…||
      .(__..\\

  5. The VA policy for travel to another location in the community for over night has got to change! Now as of Oct 1 2016 reimbursement is now 25% of the Govt allowance for food in what ever the city is!!! It was 50% further when mandatory to stay in a hotel Veterans only get 50% of the govt rate paid back !! Try going in season to many locations in the US and find a place for $50 per day that is not roach or bed bug infested!!
    These rates have to change!!! Travel pays for fuel and maintenance on ones vehicles such as oil changes tires etc, having to use this part of moneys to break even is unfair to disabled veterans!

    VA Employees when they travel get full Govt rate for hotel , food and travel they work I and many others are too sick to work and loose money!!

    This needs to CHANGE as well!! If the local VA does not provide medical care needed regardless if in the community 2-20 hours away the VA needs to pay for the hotel bills upfront! and not at a FLEA Bag roach infested location either! not asking for 5-start would be nice yes but basic comfort!

  6. Make sure we all get the word as to how to contribute to the fund-raiser. I’ll be glad to kick in what I can afford……I’M in on that BEN …….I am still sending out the article on the doc in Missouri sitting in the penalty box………….. Issue: VET
    Subject: why is this going on…I am a MARINE VETERAN 1972-1976

    Message Text:
    Why Is This VA Doctor Paid $250k To Literally Do Nothing? By Benjamin Krause, JD – April 3, 2017 … just sent this one out to congressman mark meadows N.C…. i get his monthly B.S. news letter… haven’t received a reply yet any of the others yet

    • @OLDMARINE; Same here, still sending out, and zero replies. Not a damn thing on the toob either. They can instantly put out unsubstantiatied bs, on G.W Bush. But not on an easily confirmed article having to do with Veteerans health care.

      • @cj at least we tried…….. Omerta is the Code of silence when dealing with the government……they must be the new and improved gangsters the roles have reversed

  7. I doubt that this will help make things any better… and why would it… hell we are still hearing about waiting list etc… does anyone really expect things to get better with an app? Just more money out the window while the veterans wait for real care. Factually, rating the va medical centers compared to the Private sector is like comparing apples and oranges….. plus you will always have the priority 8 veteran who actually thinks the va is doing a good job because he gets his free meds on time….. and that is all he cares about….. so the ratings are BS before you even start….

  8. In regards to the story on Dr Klien, Pain Dr with no job another location for pressing the information would be the VHA Acting National Pain Director Friedhelm Sandbrink, MD (as of Nov 1, 2016)
    Detail provider information for Friedhelm Sandbrink, MD Field: Neurology
    Board Certifications: Pain Management (Anesthesiology)
    Neurology
    Clinical Neurophysiology
    Education: MD, MEDICAL SCHOOL HANNOVER (MEDIZINISCHE HOCHSCHULE H
    Licensed In: District of Columbia
    Provider Type: Physician
    Gender: Male
    Location: Washington DC VA Medical Center
    50 Irving Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20422
    202-745-8000

    This is from the VA Washington DC VAMC provider info his email is Friedhelm.Sandbrink DOT va.gov

    He now helps set all policy for opioids etc and what can and cannot be paid for y the VA for pain management as well! with the The Defense and Veterans Center for Integrative Pain Management their web page is DVCIPM dot org

    • JANE thanks for the link, i will send it to him also if i get no response from anyone then i will know its one big crime family being paid off by the VA’S P.R. firm….your tax dollars at work..LOL

      • No Problem OLDMARINE!
        I have had to write/email the foromer VHA Pain Management Director Rollin Gallagher and to Dr Chester “Trip” Buckenmaier MD, Col USA-MC Ret Director of DVCIPM to get the special treatment for my pain of CRPS! That is being done at only 7 VAs in the USA yet those VAs refuse to treat veterans outside their VA which by VA regulations is ILLEGAL 🙁
        BTW info for Dr Chester ‘Trip’ Buckenmaier III, MD COL (ret), MC, USA
        Program Director,
        Defense and Veterans Center for Integrative Pain Management (DVCIPM.org)
        Department of Defense Center of Excellence
        Professor Anesthesiology,
        Department of Military Emergency Medicine,
        Uniformed Services University, USU ’92
        Email: cbuckenmaier AT dvcipm.org
        chester.buckenmaier AT usuhs.mil = He teaches at Walter Reed National Naval Medical Center- Bethesda aka Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
        301-816-4710
        DVCIPM issues:
        can also be addressed with Kelly Kiser at 301-816-4711. The need for emergency communication can be passed through this individual..
        Kkiser AT dvcipm.org
        For assistance call my cellphone at (301)379-8661 “or” contact
        Megan Vaughan at (301)816-4718 or mvaughan AT dvcipm.org
        ===============================
        more info on Acting VHA Pain Management Dir and staff:
        Dr Friedhelm Sandbrink, MD = Friedhelm.Sandbrink AT va.gov
        Interim VA Deputy National Director of Pain Management
        For urgent patient-related issues, please contact the
        Neurology and Pain Clinic office
        at 202-745-8145 or 202-745-8148 //

        For urgent patient-related issues, please contact the Neurology and Pain Clinic office at 202-745-8145.
        For natianal VHA Pain Management related concerns that cannot wait until my return, please contact Pam Cremo who may assist you further.
        VHA Pain Management Program Coordinator, Pam Cremo; Pamela.Cremo AT va.gov , 203-937-3841

        most of this info I get in their automated email returns when out of office!

        Hope this helps others as well here especially chronic pain patients!

  9. I wonder which VA upper management relative is receiving the contract for this B/S!? Are the VSO’s receiving anything?
    Where’s the transparency and accountability within this bullshit! Because, I also agree it’s just another way for VA employees to find out who they can FUCK OVER when a vet tells the truth about a specific facility!!

    Ben, I’ve not been able to send anything for awhile. Hopefully, that will change.
    I do agree you should start something.

    I think a – “MULTI-MILLION VETERANS MARCH ON WASHINGTON D.C.” – would be appropriate in the coming months. Especially before the end of the year (2017)!
    Because, “IF” President Trump doesn’t follow through with his promise to help veterans, to clean up the VA, then we need to do more than just bitch about it on-line!

    Everyone has great comments on here this morning. I just wish SOMEONE at the White House was “…listening to our pleas for help!”
    For too damn long, our “pleas for help” have gone unanswered! For many, THEIR “PLEAS” CAN NO LONGER BE HEARD! Their DEATHS, by the hands of VA, should not and will not be in vain! We, the living, should see to it by raising our voices in Washington DC!

    • I agree CRAZY ELF thats why i am sending out that article to see if i get a stir out of anybody since it is one of there own. if it was one of us they would just toss it in the round file……. ………this is off topic but i need this guy as my neighbor ………The Most Armed Man in America , Weapons Tour …….its on u tube

    • @CRazy Elf & @OLDMARINE there is a group currently just for this! web page can be found here: It is a start!! pass the word

      www DOT vetsmarchonamerica DOT com/

      VICTORY FOR VETERANS
      Veterans March on: America
      WE will be heard MAY 20, 2017
      in CAPITols and other CITIES ALL ACROSS AMERICA

      WHAT WE’RE DOING

      It’s time that We as Veterans, including our Veteran’s families, Communities & Civilians all came together as One to be the Voice of Awareness and Change combating the many challenges our Veterans face daily.

      -We will march for Veterans from all branches and of service and all eras of service, who are currently facing many issues with our broken Veteran support system & healthcare.

      -We will March to be the voice for our large population of Veteran homeless. We will March carrying the memory of all of our Brothers and Sisters who have been silenced by their war here at home – Suicide.

      -We will March to bring Awareness, Change & Hope for the solutions to All of these battles our Vets face in the battlefield they now call home, America!

      -We will march and assemble in a peaceful, respectful manner reflective of the character of our military service. This march will NOT be politically partisan, violent, discriminating, or divisive in form.

      We Welcome All of America to join us on May 20th, 2017, Armed Forces Day!

    • !Ditto! can’t add much to the conversation that hasnn’t already been written.

      count me in, i’ll donate to @Ben’s new project.

      • “Malum In Se”…I told you Benjamin us vet’s won’t let you down!!! Just test the waters brother. ..we got your back and I think you’ll see where im going with this!!! It’s time to pull some “teeth”!! I use to be a Union Organizer and we’d do “‘assessments”” before a campaign. Benjamin ask!!! Vet’s will we support you!!! It’s time for the. “” Million Veterans March””. If any vet’s would “”March”””let’s say so now!! Here right this moment…are we sick and tired of the “”bull-shit””…those agent provocateurs are reading these comments so let’s give them something to “report”!!

      • I noticed that Honolulu was NOT one of the cities listed on that website. Filled out the volunteer form, awaiting contact. I personally know several of our local, state, and Federal Politicos having gone on “Neighborhood Citizens Patrol” with them.

        We spend about three hours weekly scrubbing off spray-painted graffiti in our neighborhood.

  10. From; “military.com/Daily News”
    dated: 4 April 2017
    Titled:

    “VA Defending Work to Fix Troubled Veteran Suicide Hotline!”

    Associated Press | by Hope Yen

    More bullshit from VA in a Committee meeting yesterday! Are they lying under Oath? I think the answer is – “YES!”

    • “”Malum In Se”” ill put my $$$ on the table only if “”Benjamin” ” kicks it off!!! Hell ill do anything accept more dam talking!!! Im ready to “”March”” and keep on “”marching” ” until something gets “”Done””. Im sick of all tthis’b.s.’ and current Legislatures need to know that we vets ain’t playing these games any longer!!! Time to start pulling “teeth”. No help/action..no more political jobs!!??

  11. You have to be very careful on Yelp. If you curse, name names or rude to anyone in any way you will have your comments removed and won’t be able to commit on any discussion of any kind good or bad. You have to delete your account totally and get a new account under a different email address and name.
    The rules of Yelp tells you no specific names or cursing. Yelp is a way to make sure you don’t do any bashing.
    This happened to me. I didn’t curse. I wanted everyone to know that DAV here in Florida was not for the Veterans after what they had done to my husband and his fellow Veterans at their Chapter. At first I didn’t mentioned any names just facts. Nothing was being done to prevent these monsters from doing it to other chapters. One of their top men of State Department was on heavy norcodics and was driving the Vets to and from their appointments. I don’t know about you but having someone on the road on purpose driving our Vets and just being on the road with that person it’s an accident waiting to happen. Everyone in the meeting heard him say it. I wrote to everyone I could to try and see what we could do to keep him off the road. No one would help. So finally I wrote his name and all of the State Department heads of DAV in another comment on their website. It took about 3 weeks so many people had seen it.
    Yelp contacted me to tell me I went against their rules so the comment was removed. What they didn’t say is you won’t be able to commit good or bad on anyother businesses as long as you have that account.
    I tried to comment on my experience at a restaurant. It was a good restaurant but it wouldn’t let me. After a month I deleted my account. Decided to see if I could use that account a couple of months later. It allowed me to open that account again but I couldn’t comment still. So I closed it again and used my other email address and name.
    It sounds to me this is why VA wants Yelp so they can control what the Veterans can and cannot say on their Yelp account. So be careful what you say on there.
    Sorry this is so long. Just had to let you all know.

    • Good to know. It would surely make more sense for a Google+ App, or some other affiliation without any censorship…we are Veterans, so flowery words just do not usually fit when describing the VA and if Yelp censors comments effectively, then the VA will always look spanking clean 5 stars…kind of way the Better Business Bureau had become in last 8 years, where a given company like a bank that just ripped-off customers by opening fake accounts in their names…BBB still lists that major bank as 5 stars, regardless of fraud and corruption.
      The VA would be absolutely no different with Yelp.

      • BBB collects money to give a 5 ? rating. So in order to get a rating you have to pay the piper. The more you pay the more ? rating is.

    • It doen’t need to be a “yelp” app. It can be it’s own stand alone app, with it’s own rules etc. Kinda like the Democratic party.

    • @KatterKat Cooper – – – Everything you said is correct. Additionally, if you do not frequently post (at least once every 90 Days in Honolulu) they flag and delete your reviews – – – no matter the star rating. Experienced that with several of my 4 and 5 star reviews.

      • “Malum In Se”…if you’ve never participated in a “Massive. March” please don’t down play it!! The news media loves massive veterans coming together for a “cause”….Each year the’stand-down’works for veterans. 3/4 months planning yeah the 4th of July. 2017 “”Million Veterans March””. If they even truly thought that the 4th was going to produce such an event it gets real serious very fast!! If nothing else we learn which legislators are serious and which are “”fake”” like some of the “double agent’s “on here already!!??

  12. comments are closed.

    ??? is this why only a few people post here? are other commenters not commenting because they believe comments are closed?

    • @VeteransCannabisRanch – – – Comments are NOT closed. Some wonky thing with the software tat still needs to be run down.

  13. I used to program deteministic real operating systems in my duties as a control systems engineer. I have written countless thousands of lines of mostly C code, in essence creating the operating systems for the robotic machines my employer built and sold into them sawmill industry.

    I am also a registered Apple developer. Creating the app is not the challenge. Defining precisely what you hope to accomplish is the problem to solve. Unless the app can grow a set of balls on Congress then what other problem identified with VA misconduct, malfeasance, and malpractice is there to be solved?

    The VA does not have ideas, either good or bad. The VA has money. Lots and lots of money. The VA has armed guards. Lots and lots of armed guards. The VA has union corruption. Lots and lots of union corruption.

    Let me tell you how a corrupt union might handle this….they corrupt the data as they always have, because once an organization finds its niche for existing they stay with the same game plan. You go with what works, right? Think about this; The union is way over a quarter million strong. The number of Vets who might use an app are difficult to calculate, but lets look at this blog to see how many of the millions of vets choose to participate. What is to stop a coordinated effort by AFGE to get the union brotherhood from doing what they have done since AFGE was created in the ’30s, which is to obfuscate the data and make it impossible to know if anything at all they say is truth based or public relations based? What is to stop AFGE from padding this database with data they choose? What is the evidence that AFGE will not continue to be AFGE (which is one of the most powerful unions directly impacting Americans and which tacitly controls how BILLIONS get spent)?

    The way Yelp handles this problem with folks like myself that rate the apartments they live in, is by instituting algorithms to detect “spamming” or “flaming” and they actually pull your post into a sub directory if it triggers the code that you might be a fraud or otherwise be posting faulty data. I posted a number of photos showing maintenance deficiencies at my apartment. The post was immediately flagged as suspicious and a “not recomended” review. However I know with certainty that my post was legitimate. It is damn aweful tricky to read the minds of database users with a program and in my case Yelp got it 100% wrong. So the real problem comes down to how do you persuade an agency that has demonstrated for decade upon decade their willingness to engage in deceit and treachery to all of a sudden play nice?

    There is no app that can ever be made to prevent corruption from keeping its steel grip around the tit that brings the milk. For every $15,000 you invest in ANY project that the AFGE sees as a roadblock to their grip on power and the wealth it brings, they can and will invest a million if they perceive that you are approaching your goal Ben. For every one programmer you hire to maintain the database, they can throw one thousand people at it on a daily basis to render it useless.

    My proof? Look at this blogs past. VA folks, while on VA time have been outed by Ben for coming on here and attempting to pass themselves off as something else in order to,do what? In order to obfuscate the truth. They come on in an attempt to corrupt the data and in fact it takes a fairly significant effort to confirm this and counter the attempt. This will not be possible if indeed thousands upon thousands of false and misleading reviews are entered. Same with the VA app. The majority of users will be VA folks who pass glowing reviews of their facility.

    The same with provider a provider by provider critique, and besides who cares? My own VA PCP was already reviewed on the internet from a previous employer. He got fired because he persistently preached the gospel of Christ during exams. I knew this before my first visit because I looked him up on webmd. If I knew it, do you not think VA knew it?

    On my first visit he began preaching lolz, and went further – he gave me the ordering information for a book on Amazon called “May God Bless You”, by Joel Jiminez. The authors name in the moment was not familiar. It took about ten minutes searching facebook to discover that the author of the book was the good doctor himself and he wrote under the assumed pen name of Joel Jimnez! So the doctor was passing out God’s word for a small remittance of $34.99 to Amazon – just press the One Click Buying option.

    Irregardless of how I feel about God, there is no other way to portray this except gross attempted deception in search of personal gain while on duty. I promptly caused this to be documented by appealling to the VISN chaplain who wrote a letter to me in response confiriming the doctors misconduct along with a “promise” to advise the doc to cease this.

    Absolute insanity to believe a man devoted to both God and Amazon sales who has an easily verifiable public record of doing this will care one godamn bit about what anyone thinks! In his case he only lied (that I know of) by omitting from me the fact that the book he was pushing was his own, but here is the carrot – I went onto Amazon and posted what I knew about his deception thusly as a review of the book. In response, almost within hours, there was multiple glowing reviews (unverifed purchases) of this magnificent spiritual tome. Clever man, huh?

    We do not yet have the technology to out think the corrupt minds of AFGE and the VA. VA must cease to exist if the goal is to rid America of VA corruption – the VA and corruption cannot exist independently.

    • Good point on flooding the site with fake reviews…and you can bet your ass it will happen.

      Perhaps a prominent notice that IP addresses will be captured might slow them down, but that is doubtful.

      Capturing valid email addresses with a link to click emailed to you to continue the review might also help…or might not.

      What would the AFGE thugs care if there is no accountability?

      I am noticing this happen more and more on news articles about how lousy the VA is. Invariably you will see comments from several of how they have gone to the VA for years, and never saw the horror stories other vets report. Some even report their affiliation with a VSO which immediately makes them suspect.

      In the Yahoo news article I posted the link to here a couple days ago, there were a few comments like that.

      One comment was as I describe above, but it was obviously a planted comment because it was so vague…but her VA was great!

      But she didn’t mention which VA, what she was being seen for, or anything about her service, or suggest she wore any kind of uniform that didn’t say “Taco Bell” on it.

  14. There is a website for reviews of va facilities and anything you want to say about your care or providers. It’s ” vareview.net ” it was developed by a disgruntled vet that was fed up with terrible care at his va hospital.

    • That is the site I mention below.

      I think it’s a great site and could be very useful for veterans, but I think the guy putting it together is struggling without much help.

      I think some of the shifting map issues should be worked out as well with just a search feature, but I don’t fault the guy since clearly he has done a lot of work on his own to put the site together.

  15. Yelp won’t matter one whit. Sorry – this site won’t matter one whit, other than to illuminate the scores in the Win column that Ben (and others) have made against the evil empire. Look at any of these sites – we’re preaching to the choir. Absent a coordinated and cohesive national campaign, the VA will remain what it is. Congress will get teary eyed during election cycles. we’ll start another war and throw chump change at the chumps who served their country so they can drag more chumps into the fray.

    The VFW and American Legion are dinosaurs waving the victory flags of the Greatest Generation, and it will continue that way because they too are a Beltway institution, vying for political access, an annual visit from a president, and a few seats at the next State of the Union.

    Nothing happens until we Southeast and Southwest Asia vets hit the streets. We can piss and moan all we want on this and other sites, but our audience is still just us.

  16. Many veterans don’t realize there is a site called healthgrades dot com where you can grade your provider. And, boy do I. Like my PCP who I gave 1 star and wrote a review where she gave me two medications which were contraindicated which could have caused convulsions and death. Fortunately for me, before I take any medication, I do an internet search to see if they have interactions. I urge vets to review their providors – even if you happen to run across a good one.

    • I have done the same, including going to state licensing web sites to see if they have been sued or had any actions against their license.

      It seems many more states are requiring any adverse action be available to the public, which is certainly much better than that lame web site the VA directs people to.

      Docinfo dot org or some such nonsense. They claim it is in association with state licensing boards, but curiously the Docinfo site leaves out a lot of pertinent information.

    • @DAN F i just checked out that site this is someone else’s review of my va doc…..Asheville, NC | Dec 22, 2016
      I’d give him zero stars if I could. Absolutely the worst doctor ever. You have to be bleeding out of your eyes for him to care, and even then, I doubt he would. He actually prescribed laxatives and antacid for diarrhea!! And even though my husband has had serious gastrointestinal issues for years, he refuses to refer him to a specialist. We had to request a different doctor and file a complaint……….and this is the asshole i have to deal with ……..i could get better results talking to a ant LOL … don’t we get the finest care at the VA. they really had to scrape the bottom of the barrel for this guy

  17. The app I want to see is the one that details ALL of the VA FOIA offices phone and fax numbers, along with a FOIA “wizard” to fill out a perfected FOIA request, as well as ALL appeal paperwork and numbers and contact info when the agency refuses to comply with FOIA requests. The app ideally would also provide a “wizard” to fill out a form to send to hhs dot gov to formalize a FOIA or privacy Act violation complaint.

    Furthermore, the app would link directly to every state medical licensing board(s) by providing a link to each site along with a “wizard” to guide the patient through the process of identifying for the licensing boards the docs who harm. Every state now has online physician complaint forms going directly to the licensing board. Every State nursing licensing board as well as every state LCSW board would each have similar “wizards” and links to help the user complete then report to the respective licensing agencies the details of the harm done.

    The app would provide the Civil Rights violations forms available from VA along with help to fill them out as well as the address to send them to. The app would notify the user that VA will not honor a civil rights complaint without first sending you yet another VA form to fill out (which is frankly the way they torpedo most CR complaints) and will warn you that if you do not respind d to the second form within 15 days of when they send it then the VA will consider the complaint unperfected and toss it in the trash. The CR wizard will already predict the finding of no infraction and will have already filled out the appeal form.

    The app would detail the process and also have a wizard to file an appeal of a clinical decision with VA as well as the contact information on where to send it.

    WHEW! ….but wait, here’s more!

    The app would have a function in which a text file can be passed to it by the user. If the file is validated by the app as data obtained using the “Blue Button” feature, then the user would be faced with options. First, the app would pull the names of EVERY person who made entries into the record and would optionally allow the users to rate each and every person with a “turd” rating system (like stars), and the file would also be parsed for the relevent information used in any of the preceding functions. So if you have fed the Blue Button data into the app, then the app itself could sort for you which providers and which entries to include to state licensing boards. The app would also screen for possible violations of the Controlled Substances Act and provide a link and a wizard to DEA dot gov to report suspicious VA employees directly to DEA.

    Further, the app can allow the user to select “national update” which would send the Blue Button data stripped of personally identifiable info, or any portions of the data the user selects (like all entries made an individual) into the Ben Krause database. This would represent validated data and identifying individuals who are moved around the country would then possible. ALL reports produced could also be linked either by email, or snail mail (send to printer) to the respective congressmen and senators of the location the person lives as well as giving accurate contact info for them. Finally the app would provide the links to every newsroom in America allowing the user to further his pursuit of the scum into the media.

    Each form could be sent from the app to either a printer, or to an online FAX service for sending.

    In other words, if we created an app to give the assholes a middle finger they cannot ignore then I think there may be a much greater impact than simply giving vets an app that has the net effect of only venting frustration. We no longer need to bare our fangs, we need to sink them in. The app is possible and I predict if given the functions mentioned would be a huge success.

    • The “Nuclear Option”. As I am ignorant of software development (as a profitable industry), how much money (very roughly) would it cost to develop something that would achieve those goals? How much time (man hours) would be required?

      • With an Apple Developer license most of this stuff is pretty much off the shelf code already developed. The front end (how the user interacts) is a few days. It is creating the database that the programming would need to be hired out. Just like growing tomatoes, in theory nothing could be easier, but…my tomato plants have a survival rate only the VA would claim is a victory.

        I can create an app within minutes, as can all Apple Developers. However the time is not so much the coding as it is PRECISELY and definitively outlining the EXACT things the app will do and when it will do them. Validating a file from the online medical record obtained from VA that they call “Blue Button” is pretty simple because the text file always spits out in a known format. Mostly just a series of string comparisons along with a type of “checksum” routine to spot obvious errors or fakes would be how to do it. The rest (as nearly all Apple apps, even games) is primarily a database program that links all the piece together by relationships (relational database).

        It is the definitions that the programmers work from by those who pay them that nearly always lack the real attention to detail that is needed. For example, if I simply told a programmer, “Make me an app that will file a complaint automatically” the programmer would have no real idea of what you want. So really, to answer your question, you first need to draw on paper how each screen will look, where each button will be, what will happen each time the user pushes any button, and so forth. It is typically a lack of complete definition of the exact desired behavior that causes real problems, especially with cost estimates.

        Once the project manager can define with great precision exactly what defines “mission accomplished” then at most a competent programmer would likely tackle the nuts and bolts of it in a few months. This means it will take VA years and years, but a veteran group willing first put in the time to define the required output then the time to market for BETA would be a few months at most. A few months of wage for a decent programmer is not cheap but certainly would fall into the expense realm that Ben proposed. However, if the functionality is not well defined the cost will later skyrocket.

        The question is this; what is it worth to have one click filing of multiple complaints to multiple agencies/organizations in the format required and do it all from one app while sitting at home? What is it personally worth to extract a measure of revenge for harm done? I am guessing a lot.

      • @Dennis – – – Thank You Very Much for the explanation.

        A very long time ago, I used to code in C and Assembly language. However, all the code that I wrote belongs to the military – – – so have not kept up with the “software as a living” trend over the past few decades. Last time I wrote any code was 1986.

        I certainly agree with your last paragraph. My guess is that if you developed a package like that, many vets would be willing to PAY for it – – – and you would sell them in the hundreds of thousands.

    • @Dennis- You’ve just invented the “Turd Wizard App”. (TWA)

      I would only naturally assume that the TWA has a facial/fecal recognition software ability to take a selfie of my morning dump and the TWA will instantly match the provider’s info to the facial/fecal database?

      Such a wonderful technological time to be alive!

      • I prefer Dennis’ app be called the Cyber Poo Cannon, or the Stairmaster Six Shooter, or the Flying Monkey Flinger.

        But then, if the VA gets wind of this, they will let a contract to at least 3 contractors for $36 million each to develope an app that won’t talk to anything else and will be down for maintenance daily from 12 noon until 11:58 am.

    • That would be an awesome app that would get a lot of use…particularly the CR complaint and forwarding function to state licensing boards.

      It would be even better if their were tracking capability to see exactly where your complaint is in the process of being ignored.

      As for the FOIA listing. You can already find that on the VA web site. I found it last year when I submitted a FOIA to McDonald’s office for a copy of any record they had showing what action he took on a complaint of mine.

      That FOIA listing had every VA FOIA officer in the country, including one handling FOIAs for the Executive Secretary, their addresses, telephone and fax numbers and many had email addresses. Granted the email addresses were generic, but I know for a fact they went to the right people.

      Their response made for some interesting reading, and really lit a fire under some.

      • as far as tracking e complaint, the app would track the time since submission and compare that to the known laws regarding VA’s legal time limit to answer. Once the timeer reaches T+1 second the app could generate the appeal of the decision not to comply with federal law and at the same time generate the FOIA/Privacy Act violation complaint to hhs dot gov. Both would be ready to FAX or print/send/email at exactly one second past the deadline to comply. The apps database can easily scan the VA websites or rely on a central computer database maintained by the Ben Krause Corp. in order to list the name of the person responsible (in the case of he CR complaint, whoever the facility Director is). This would not track the CR complaint per se but would name the facility Director as the violator of the law.

        Furthermore, each complaint generated could itself trigger a database entry with that persons name attached. Each act of non compliance in which the same name was involved could easily tracked on its own and for each act of non-compliance with the law, the size of the rating symbols could be adjusted upwards. In this case the rating of the Director might be an unprecedented three turds (an unlikely score) but they would be huge turds owing to known violations of federal law. Sort of an audio visual feedback thing.

  18. So I have read the column and now my comment, before reading others comments so this may have been mentioned.

    Ben, before you spend money, perhaps you want to look at vareview dot net, and see if you can partner with him. That site appears to have everything we are looking for.

    If I had any additions to that site, it would be the ability to subscribe to a specific hospital using email, and receive email updates whenever a new review is posted.

    I don’t recall if that site has it or not, but I would also add individual forums for each hospital so veterans can compare notes and help each other.

    As for the VAs Yelp BS, it’s a complete waste of money if it’s only at the facility level, unless a veteran can leave comments and name names.

    Why would that be any different than their SAILS data, where data is collected but it is so generic that it’s meaningless?

    Who would the VA hold accountable? Nobody, unless specific names or clinics were reported.

    If I wanted to review the VA hospital I go to, I would want to review any clinics or department at the facility, including the Patient Advocates, Release of Information, billing, pharmacy, etc. Anything less is just an exercise in creating data so as to make it look like something is happening.

    As for comparing to private hospitals, why is that needed if a veteran does not or can not go to a private hospital? All one needs to do is to walk into a private facility to see what a third world shithole the VA is in comparison.

    Besides, the VA likes to claim now they are better than private facilities, based on misleading statistics generated by the VA.

    Finally, will the VA use this to determine the identity of the veteran reporting on it? If so, wouldn’t that be an easy way for the VA to gather names to add to their Disruptive list? Or screw with their claims? Or screw with their rating? Or screw with their appointments?

    This app won’t even generate a squeak from some lazy AFGE thug let alone a Yelp.

  19. @Cj, about that art; Not on Yelp, although, you are getting better. @ Dennis, you are correct in that, yelp app for information on Veterans, and the VA’s got enough information on most of us already……………………….. @Ben, after reading 91Veteran, you appear to have options. I will give what I can, just let me know. About comments by newbies, I don’t know how to trust…. I don’t want to, just can’t.

    • Jo3n, you should check out that vareview site and see what you think.

      I think it could be a lot better if veterans knew about it, and posted reviews.

      • That website indeed could be improved upon but to already have a basic site set-up it either could be merged as a template or something else entirely.

        There lies our plight as Veterans.

        We could very-well locate 9 different websites set-up locally by some disgruntled vet(s), and the VA has several different “report card sites” and various State-specific VA sites, and a slurry of other websites…nothing is really centralized, it’s as scattered brained as the VA is…a direct reflection, if you will.

        I have said this before in that the veteran population is one VERY diverse polulation with differing political to socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, then take into consideration local State nuances in culture…and the VA being entirely non-standardized…by design, I’m certain these days, to again prevent that thing called accountability from easily seeing any trends against policy and law.

        Attempting to get a massive amount of Veterans on-board a singular project would be akin to herding cats, sorry to say, and reason I even wonder how effective any march may be on D.C. along the swamp.

        But we cannot ever give-up. Ben’s database and vareview may have many redundancies/duplicate functions, but I have to ask this: Would such a database take into account whether the VA decides to follow local State Laws or Federal, at a given VAMC location?
        I still believe a total standardization of the entire VA System is in due order and yes, I realize it’s supposed to already be as such but it aint so.

  20. If they want unbiased and honest reviews, why not just PARTNER WITH YELP instead of creating something new? It’s because VA wants to filter the message. You know there’s going to be a VA employee managing the collateral damage and reducing/deleting the number of complaint reviews.

    Then, VA will use this filtered review site to tell everyone “see, we’re awesome! this is what vets say about VA health care!” They will use this data to reduce the number of changes to their system, ask for more funding, and worsen health care for vets in general. This is a cleverly disguised marketing tool for VA. I won’t trust it at all, and I’m glad you are designing something unbiased and out of VA’s control, Ben. I’ll donate a bit towards that, and you can use my legal fees (if you want) from my previous requests for your help with my claims (which after the third reminder have still been unanswered) towards this as well. You said you would call, but didn’t get around to it yet.

  21. @91Veteran, thanks, and I will. I think what bothers me most, regarding VA/yelp, is, like everything the VA does, the plan is anti Veterans/pro AFGE. That’s the recipe the VA has been using way too long now. It’s not working.

    • I agree it’s pro AFGE, and agree with the other commenter about it being little more than a marketing tool.

      If you only have a vague rating tool, and those ratings are averaged over the entire hospital, we will be right back where we are now with either a couple good employees or clinics carrying the dead weight of the whole hospital.

      For example, if I can only rate the hospital, will I rate it good based on the physical therapy clinic which I think is good? Or do I rate it bad based on the Patient Advocates being useless bags of meat that should be fired?

      • Use the comment section and rate the departments. That will single out department heads that don’t get the best out of their personnel.

  22. It is a step in the right direction but more is needed by far. Accountable care is just around the corner if you count in decades of centuries. (outcome based health care)

  23. test ascii for namnibor:

    ######################################
    ##############—————————–############
    ###########—————A.F.G.E.———————########
    ########————————–__——————.-.————-#####
    ######—————————.-“`..`’.————-/\\|—————–## #
    ####——————–_(\-/)_”.,……….,\———/\\\/—————–####
    ####—————{(#b^d#)}……../,——-|/\\\/——————-####
    ####——————`-.(Y).-`..,..|..,..|………\.-`——————#####
    ######———————/~/,_/~~~\,__.-`——————#######
    ########—————//—-//~….//…~\\————-#########
    #########……….==.==….==`…==`—-###########
    ######################################
    ##
    ##
    ##
    ##
    ##

    • @cj — Maine Coon Mix rendering accepted and fully approved! Will also simultaneously alert all raccoons that the VA is still the primary target for occupation and bags of mayonnaise shredding. Great job!

      Speaking of animals, my cat sensed I was having severe leg cramps in bed this very early hour in morning, just *as* the cramps were onslaught and evolving into incredibly painful cramps. He jumped up on bed and was diligently trying to wake me and I was thinking this is even way early for the cat to awake me, then as I realized what he was doing, trying to comfort me, as I immediately had to get out of bed and just stand and stretch until it passes…then at 03:20 my cat takes off running in turbo mode into other end of apartment and back, doing his very best to make me laugh…it worked. He’s also been working overtime since he’s well-aware I am going through some tough emotional family crap right now…animals rock.

      So this goes to prove that if you’re very good to your pussy, all is in balance in your household and the universe. 🙂

  24. @Ex va: Hows you? It is supose to be a racoon. I tweaked to hind leg, but it won’t let me post it again. Maybe it is too big. Namnibor will have to use it wisely lol.

    • @cj, i thought it was his cat. ROFL!! Sorry, it does look more like a raccoon since you mentioned it. The face and eyes makes it look like a raccoon. How are you doing? I hope better. My knee is causing me problems, can hardly walk right now. Sucks and makes me angry. Oh well.

      • @cj, old injury. ROFL!!!! some that i knew would be more than deserving of one. ?
        A ? in the ?house will have chicken dinner everytime. ??. i avoid the va at all times. Too much anxiety. are you going to do the march in may????

      • @Ex va: Yes to the march in may. He said it will be in different cities and DC at the same time. I need to find out more. I will have to go back and look at the links he provided. Are you thinking of going?

      • @cj, i would like to go and thinking i would have to get more physically able if i could. I feel like i need to do something about all of this. Talking helps need to stand up for this.

      • @cj i would have to take interstate 57 North and then 64 east across to st. louis, then go south i think for popular bluff. there might be a shorter way i don’t know. i would have to map it out.

      • @Ex va: Okay, I see where it is. I thought if it was in IL, that would put you pretty close to where I am at.

      • @cj, i am all wrong i was thinking it was up by St. Louis. Interstate 57 S into Missouri then looks like 60 to popular bluff.

  25. @Ex va: Remember we were talking about VPN’s? That is a virtual private network, it makes your os more secure. There is a free app in the app store called Open VPN, it is free and very easy to use. I use it on my iphone.

      • Thanks, I Google “yelp VA” and found a lot of interesting inside stories from vets about poor care at their local VAMC.

      • @lily: Same here, some of those reviews are heartbreaking, left by family members who have lost their hubby or father or brother. There for everyone to see, and nothing is ever done. That is what has everone riled up, there is no accountablility, and so many wrongs that go unpunished. What else can we feel but stress? at not beinng able to strangle the people responsible.

  26. @lily: I have seen the yelp reviews for where I go. Alot of veterans do not have a clue what is going on around them, and they think they are getting the best of care. Yelp reviews for that place have 2 very bad, and the rest are either clueless, or it’s union asswipes spaming the reviews. Noway of telling what is what.

    • The VA is too shady for me to go to. If a doctor puts the wrong notes in your file you have to write them to correct it unless you want to get the infamous reduction letter for your disability from the regional office. From what I can tell it’s best to be lay low and see a private doctor to cover your ass. I learned more about my health from Google than doctors.

      • @lily: Same here, private doctors, I only go to the VA so I don’t lose the benefit. They have the wrong info in my file. I have filed to have it corrected, and they refuse. So any care provided, is based off of false medical information. This is how veterans are killed by the VA.

      • It cost me $75 to see my private doctor who is 5 minutes away. The VA is 30 minutes away in a bad part of town. I get anxious even thinking about going to the VA. The VA wants me to do a physical. I almost faint when giving blood.

        In basic training I was tortured when I gave blood, literally. I got sick and one of the nurses forced me to handle everyone’s blood viles.

      • @lily: Yes, the VA has that effect on people, their stress levels go into the stratusphere, me included. I am glad you have a doctor, and don’t have to put yourself through the BS known as the VA. Goodnight Lily, hope you sleep well.

      • The Army at ft sill reception. It was after getting for ed to carry that one foot needle they shoot in your ass.

      • I got service connected for being sexual assaulted by a military doctor. If I go to the VA and the doctor is rude or anything I might run out of the office.

      • @lily, i do not go to the va anymore. They cause me too much anxiety and i do not trust any of their doctors.

  27. @Ex va,@lily: I have an appointment early tomorrow, so I have to say goodnight. Hope everyone sleeps well.
    God Bless everyone, and:
    ∩ │◥███◣ ╱◥███◣
    ╱◥◣ ◥████◣▓∩▓│∩ ║
    │╱◥█◣║∩∩∩ ║◥█▓ ▓█◣
    ││∩│ ▓ ║∩田│║▓ ▓ ▓∩ ║
    Goodnight Ben’s World

  28. Ben, why not set up a “gofundme” account to get this done, I would be honered to be the first to contribute.
    Walt

  29. off topic..just read it what do you have to loose……………. Amazing Cancer Therapy Wipes Out Prostate and Bone Cancer
    Conquer Fear and Live Free

  30. This has already been created. Check out VAreview.net. I (a veteran) created it, it cost a fraction of the cost, and completely solves all of the problems the VA Yelp will create.

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