What Is Something Veterans Can Do To Help Reform Veterans Affairs?

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VA Reforms

For eight decades, veterans have watched as the Department of Veterans Affairs evades reforms to the embarrassment of taxpayers.

Veterans feel desperate, and their desperation is well justified. VA receives $170 billion each year in funding, loads of press exposing scandals, and mountains of oversight from Congress and watchdogs.

Yet, the problems persist.

Special interests still use veterans and our data like researchers use guinea pigs to create experimental medicines.

Our benefits systems are intentionally broken by policies designed to restrict benefits payouts for various purposes.

The health care delivery system picks and chooses how to give us services in a manner that would not survive public scrutiny if fully exposed.

Whistleblowers who are well-meaning VA employees and VA executives are retaliated against by evil men and evil women intent on maintaining the status quo or padding their own pockets.

With all the exposure, interagency reforms and funding, problems veterans face never seem to go away.

And, with all that said, many of my readers are saying, “Now what?”

“What can we do to reform an agency that seems impervious to changes?”

“Is VA too complex to reform?”

I promised one of my readers last not to provide at least one thing veterans can do to encourage reforms. I have two things that veterans should continue to do. (There are obviously more, and I encourage you to write them below in the comments section.)

Remember inertia – – my proposed solutions are two of many solutions and will not reform VA immediately. Nothing can accomplish such a goal.

  1. Record VA Interactions
  2. Self-Advocacy

Record VA Interactions

Veterans are liars according to many VA employees.

Whatever we say is given little to no weight if a conflict arises about benefits or filing a complaint. VA employee testimony is almost always given more weight.

If veterans record the interaction, using either audio or video, the weight issue is blown out of the water.

Most states allow the use of recorders for veterans with disabilities to help remember medical instructions even in states that generally require consent from all parties to a conversation.

RELATED: State Recording Laws

Take a look at your state recording laws to ensure you are not violating any state laws even though state laws generally do not apply to actions on federal property. This will keep you out of trouble.

When you catch something, put it on YouTube and send it to people like me to expose to the public.

The more veterans shine a light into the darkness and catch evil people doing evil things, the more likely VA is to enforce the law.

Self-Advocacy

Albert Einstein supposedly said the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.

A friend of mine said that during my divorce and it has taken on new meaning in light of the present state of VA.

For many decades, the system has pushed veterans to be dependent on controlled veteran service organizations or the agency to get justice.

This has been a largely failed relationship.

For many decades, the system has received more and more money that has not been spent responsibly.

This has been a largely failed investment.

Public use of the internet has increased the number of self-advocates who fight for their own rights and research issues to improve the system.

Platforms like mine and HadIt.com are hundreds of millions of dollars cheaper to run that anything VA or veteran organizations have put forward.

We do it on a shoestring budget and are dependent on our readers for revenue rather than taxpayers.

Veterans should continue to research their issues or concerns and publish their findings on these inexpensive solutions or create their own to publish on a specific topic.

Make a point to share articles you like on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn. Cross-post articles into comment streams on VA’s Facebook page, VA’s blog, on Congress’s Facebook pages, etc.

Grab the URL from this website using Control + C and paste it into the comments section pressing Control + V.

Facebook

– https://www.facebook.com/VeteransAffairs/

– https://www.facebook.com/VeteransHealth/

– https://www.facebook.com/VeteransBenefits/

– https://www.facebook.com/HouseVetsAffairs/

– https://www.facebook.com/VAChair/

– https://www.facebook.com/HouseCommitteeonVeteransAffairs/

VA’s Blog

– http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/

Next Steps For VA Reforms

This one falls into the self-advocacy camp but could also be used whenever veterans submit recordings of interactions with bad VA employees.

I am planning to publish a new database of VA employees that will allow veterans to provide reviews of the services they provide.

Individual reviews of VA employees will force change within a few years. That is my hunch.

The website design I want to create is like a courtroom of public opinion similar to the function of the Better Business Bureau.

Veterans can file complaints. VA or the employee can provide a statement in response. Then we decide who is guilty or innocent.

Imagine that. Whenever a VA employee tries to get another job, the new employer conducts a Google search where the review page comes up for each VA employee.

Since courts have been unable to reform VA, why not use the courtroom of public opinion?

I like the idea, and my platform is big enough to get the right exposure of the plan.

But even if it does not help encourage reforms, it will help inform Santa each year when he makes his naughty list.

What are some ideas you have that can help reform VA, or the federal government more broadly?

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MurphysLaw
MurphysLaw
I certainly like the idea of your database and would love to help you with it and more than just finacially. All too often, we read only about the VA problems and most Americans are left wringing their hands asking themselves “What can I do?” so articles posting suggestions are most helpful. I also love the idea of us veterans marching or participating in some sort of “strength in numbers” demonstration. I say to my friends often, |If all the lawyers volunteered to help us veterans for just one month like they did for the immigrants, imagine what we could… Read more »
Lem
Lem
The Veteran’s Administration>Department of Veteran’s Affairs was never intended to benefit veterans as much as other special interests. From the pharmaceutical industry to the bankers that fund VA loans more of that 170 Billion goes to special interest than to veterans. Every benefit law past is a wink and a nod. The code gives something in one place and in another it is converted to benefit a special interest more. It is all wink and nod. The nod to the veteran and their families and a wink to the special interest to be benefited. Since that was the intent from… Read more »
DevilDoc2017
DevilDoc2017

Amen Lem, I couldn’t have said it better myself. This behaviour is nothing new with the VA. And as Gen. Smedley L. Butler once stated “War is a Racket”

Windguy
Windguy

Right on! Another read that will twist your knickers – “The Creature from Jekyll Island”. Lengthy treatise on the formation of the Federal Reserve. And now we have over 800 bases/outposts in over 135 countries. We used to wag a finger at the Brits and called it imperialism.

lily
lily

Napoleon Bonaparte “A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon”.

Warhorse
Warhorse
Amen Murph. What can we do?? At one time in all our lives, we assembled to serve what we love and hold dear. Whether it was Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corp, we were a force to be reckoned with. Now, to unfuck the current situation happening at the VA, maybe it’s time to assemble once again. Right on the doorstep at Vermont Ave, Washington Fucking D.C. Let the fat scrapple eating pogues waddling into the building see us and hear us. For many of us our days are numbered, mine included. I’ve volunteered more than once for the… Read more »
namnibor
namnibor
“[I like the idea, and my platform is big enough to get the right exposure of the plan. But even if it does not help encourage reforms, it will help inform Santa each year when he makes his naughty list.]” I like the plan as well but going back to that definition of insanity, those damn AFGE Thugs keep turning Santa’s lumps of coal into gold. Each and every time. I’m thinking Santa is in on a huge scam with the AFGE Thugs: Santa provides the lumps of coals and the AFGE Thug Alchemists turn that crap into gold. Santa… Read more »
namnibor
namnibor

Satan — Santa….see a pattern?

ANutterVet
ANutterVet
@Namnibor – Holy friggin shit Batman, find your buddy Robin, and then get to the Bat Car, and then lets clean up this dam mess, to bring the righteous medical care and proper uncorrupted claims filing for Veterans. The task is at hand to remove the dam criminals out of the VA system, and to keep the fukkers out. Set a dam line in the sand, and dare any VA employee(s) to step out of line by taking advantage of, misleading, or using any Veteran. Is the above so complex to do? Because those with the authority can give themselves… Read more »
cj
cj

@ANutterVet: Nutter, I don’t know what to say to that. It was a pleasure talking with you, and thank you for the kind words. You rock.

namnibor
namnibor

@ANuttervet– Paraphrasing The Joker in the first Batman movie, but replacing word ‘city’ with the ‘VA’: “This Veterans Administration needs an enema”!

However do take heed: The VA’s arch villain is quick with his words because he is none other than “The Riddler” in the VA’s Gotham. ‘The Riddler’ resides within the VA’s Public Affairs Office and can spin coal into golden fleece.

cj
cj

I agree with everything said here so far, that is “I concur”. BIGGEST PROBLEM AT THE VA IS THE AFGE. Next is POLITICALY APPOINTED HACK DIRECTORS AND ADMINISTRATORS. Next is QUACK DOCTORS. You know when quack doctors take third place, Houston we have a problem. I say put some doe scent on Santa, and let Rudolph have his way.

Dave Zimmerman
Dave Zimmerman

AMEN, Brother. Knock those two issues out would solve 75% of problem

Jane
Jane

@Ben forgot to the VA veterans are dishonest, liars, druggies and oh yeah crazy 🙁 that about sums up what veterans are to the VA besides waiting for us to DIE 🙁

cj
cj

@Jane: They ever say that about you in my presence, they can add “violent” to that list 🙂

cj
cj

<<<>>>
c[_] COFFEE BREAK c[_]

ANutterVet
ANutterVet

C[_] Take Pain Meds w/ Java, wife Practicing CNA Techniques, Recover from Pain, then Give Thanks C[_]

ANutterVet
ANutterVet

It’s starting all over again. Somebody help me, oh please help me, Omarosa is in the building.

MurphysLaw
MurphysLaw

Most Americans prove don’t know that the VA is unionized and the whole system is a money making (money sucking) endeavor for the 1 percenters but we could help let them know. Bell let’s pool our money and hire a PR firm. Like it or not the LGBT community banded together and got a LOT done. We could model off them and they have come a long way and have lots of rights now. Granted its not prefer but it’s better than waiting to Xie and suffer in pain. I say “let’s!”

fred locke
fred locke
Probably the best way to reform a system like the VA is through self advocacy. I have been thinking along the lines of filing a class action lawsuit. I did some Google research and came across an article written by Attorney Ben in 2014 titled: MMQB How to Sue The Dept of Veterans Affairs, February 3, 2014. After reading Ben”s article the reality hits home, hey you realize that this type of litigation costs. Class Actions can cost upwards to a million dollars. Still, I was hoping some of the commentators at this website might feel the way I do.… Read more »
ANutterVet
ANutterVet
@Fred Locke – What exactly do you mean when you wrote the following statements, and how to go about exposing the hustlers and scam artists, how they rake in the millions of dollars, and how to start a monetary enterprise? Thanks for explaining. ANutterVet [1.] “The ACLU is not totally to blame, there are hustlers and scam artists that are allowed to pimp out veterans and collect money for bogus causes and rake in millions of dollars.” and, [2.] “. . . and the only way the VA is going to respect us is if we begin the process of… Read more »
MurphysLaw
MurphysLaw

Yes! Organize! Class Action costs a lot but there are a lot of us. Spreads the money out.

fred locke
fred locke
To ANutterVet or anybody else, I am trying to express a viewpoint that deals with class action lawsuits and veterans. It would be nice if 250,000 vets would organize and put some money into a legal fund to pursue VA grievances. IF the veterans who post on this website and (Haddit.com) as well ever organized we could raise money and maybe get some VA benefits for ourselves and a lot of people. Ask Ben if his firm would represent us Veterans in a class action if a million or more dollars were available for representation. He might mull it over.… Read more »
ANutterVet
ANutterVet
@Fred Locke – I read your previous post concerning your anger with the VA, and I understand how you feel, but anger [an emotion based on feelings] is very well in difference compared to law [not a feeling or expressed emotion, doesn’t change as frequently as emotions]. Fred, I also felt a little frustration when you stated, “Read it again!!” Hey Brother, I reread my post, and there isn’t any ill contests mentioned. I know you’re taking my post like I’m giving you some sort of attitude, and this IS NOT the case. Sorry you took my comment this way.… Read more »
Thom
Thom
It is frustrating to feel like self-advocacy is our best option in trying to uncover & rectify the corruption. I say that because I think many Vets Advocates are overwhelmed with requests for help. I tried contacting Benjamin last year when having issues with the V.A. & had plenty of documented evidence of V.A. wrongdoing. From Leadership, Admin., & medical providers. I could never get a response. At some point, if no one seems interested, even advocates, you give up. Luckily I did not. I’ve kept up the pressure & even worked to expand V.A. Health Town Halls to the… Read more »
Just Another Combat Wounded Veteran
Just Another Combat Wounded Veteran
Problem with Class Actions is the law firm gets the vast majority of the settlement, if any. The members of the class rarely get much of anything. In the case of suing the VA, I think it far better to try a case in the “court of public opinion”. I can tell you that in the Twin Cities (MN), television station KARE11 has run a number of excellent investigative reports. These need to be iterated to other markets as well as get a national audience through shows such as 60 Minutes, 20/20, et al. If anyone has contacts with investigative… Read more »
Dennis
Dennis
“Albert Einstein supposedly said the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.” Nice quote, but what is lesson from the quote? Is the lesson that we should be listening to people more intelligent than us? Or is the lesson that somebody more intelligent than us is sane? Is the lesson that we should learn is that persistance is a form of insanity? Well, I suppose the answers to any of those questions first relies upon whether Albert Einstein was in fact a genius, right? He WAS the first to come up with… Read more »
ANutterVet
ANutterVet

@Dennis – At this point, I agree that the VA is so damaged beyond repair and control, but if it is removed, there are still Veterans that are in need of health care, so it [the VA] must be replaced with something. Access to Private Sector Health Care since the VA’s Choice Program is rattled with internal, physician availability, scheduling, and monitoring problems? What gives, any clear cut alternatives?

Dennis
Dennis
The alternative for veterans entitled to healthcare is to give them identical access to healthcare as every other American who is also entitled to healthcare.. We do not provide special govermrnt hospitals for the elderly or the otherwise disabled. We instead send them a card and it is up to them to choose from the multiple options available in every community. If the private sector doc maims a vet, the vet can hold hem financially accountable on a personal level. If the vet is unhappy about waiting they can take their business down the road. There is absolutely zero reason… Read more »
Just Another Combat Wounded Veteran
Just Another Combat Wounded Veteran
@Dennis: There’s not a “Reply” button at the bottom of your eloquent statement; so I’m actually responding to your comments with this one: Dennis: You are so very correct! Veteran’s Choice is a disaster, given they don’t pay their bills to all medical facilities. There is no reason for the VA medical system, or the VA as a whole, to continue. Role it into the Medicare or Social Security system, including their billions-upon-billions of $$$ in budgets. Simply create an identifying class for Veterans (if even that is necessary). Issue an account and ID, and it’s done. Only benefit I… Read more »
91Veteran
91Veteran
Good start on reforming the VA. On recording, I have an app to record phone calls on my cell phone, or to use as a stand alone recorder if needed. It doesn’t matter if I plan to release the recordings or keep them private, the recordings come in damn handy when the bureaucracy decides to address an issue months later. I also have another stealth recorder that will record audio and high resolution video. This also ties into self advocacy. Yes, veterans need to advocate for themselves, but it needs to be done with knowing the kind of monster we… Read more »
ANutterVet
ANutterVet

@91Veteran – Can you post the name or where to get the application for your cell phone to record conversations? For me, I hardly ever directly answer my phone without a message that states, “this call may be recorded for learning purposes.”

91Veteran
91Veteran

ANuttetvet, it’s called Smart Recorder and it’s on the Google Play store.

I don’t know if there is an Apple version.

The drawback is the phone has to be on Speaker for it to work, otherwise it just records your voice. It does work very well.

Jo3n

@Dennis, you paint a bleak picture and future for Veterans using the VA. Also, Lem made some good points. I know quite a few Veterans,, with a hundred percent, that pretty much stay away from Veterans and the VA. I like the class action, but; I don’t believe the VA can be fixed. Shoot it.

cj
cj

That is because Lem is one smart cookie.

MurphysLaw
MurphysLaw
I say we plan on a day. I was thinking June 5th or June 7th or whatever. If we spread the word, as fast as possible, on every site including sites like “Together We Served” that help veterans find and keep in touch with other veterans with whom they’ve served in the past. It would be best on Washington, (I would go) but most of us have mobility issues so march in your states capital. This is exactly how the Women’s March started. That was pretty successful. But we can put the information that we think needs to be put… Read more »
Jo3n

I wonder if they would allow me to put a flier up at my local VA clinic. All of, “Murphy’s Laws”, ideas, I’ve heard before. I’ve not heard of any of them following through. I’m near 70, and don’t look forward to marching on Montgomery Al., in muggy and HOT weather. Sounds like an excuse. It is. A nice long drive to D.C., is another story. I’ve always wanted to go to the Wall.

doug constantine
doug constantine

VSO’s should all have minimum qualifications starting with a College Degree from an accredited institution. They should also have supplementary legal experience, medical experience and the ability to work with and apply pertinent Federal Regulations.

Timothy Ramos
I filed a lawsuit against the VA here last week, after breaking the following laws below. Even my VA Neurologist, blew the whistle writing a letter stating that by not providing this FDA APPROVED PROSTHETIC ITEM, that I have 3 letters of Medical Necessity, and 2 trials with unbelievable positive results, the Prescott VA is causing my disability and home life to worsen, but they can care less. Even with the following laws, and VA regulations. Care Eligibility Reform Act of 1996, Public Law 104- 262, significantly changed the eligibility of veterans to receive hospital care and outpatient medical services,… Read more »
jessie phillips
jessie phillips

in my opinion, the va should be comprised of veterans, and not a bunch of civilian deadbeats that care nothing about veterans, from the top to the bottom hire only veterans. Who else is better equipted at helping veterans than other veterans.

Frederick L. Payne
Frederick L. Payne
One of the Major reasons we have the problems and corruption in the VA is that there is no independent accountability structure that can force the change needed to reform the agency. If Mr. Krause is really set on effecting change with the agency the veterans need a reform plan that effects the change needed. As someone who has been fighting the Disability Claims process for 25 years, my particular claim is one of the poster child’s for how the system is broken. I believe that there needs to be a totally separate agency to quality control both the claims… Read more »
Quancidine Hinson-Gribble
Quancidine Hinson-Gribble
The VA OIG should be shut down for starters. They are just “Circle Jerking” and taking notes when they feel like it. These people are not actually doing anything to help the Veterans and their Surviving Spouses. Just this morning, April 10, 2017, I called to file a complaint and to see where the complaint was that I filed a couple of weeks ago. The response was like a deer in headlights. These people are not following through on our complaints and are surprised that we are still calling about our benefits. My Compensation and Pension is showing an “EFFECTIVE… Read more »
cj
cj

For those wondering what Quancidine is talking about here is a video explaining it all, go to 16:34 of the video and watch from there. Your not going to believe what your about to hear, so pay attention. Here is the link to the video: “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6OAzGMV_wQ” remember start watching at 16:34 about the theft of benifits. Watch then entire video for some enlighenment.

Crazy elf
Crazy elf

Do as Dr. Ben Carson did with HUD!
He found OVER one/half TRILLION DOLLARS in fraud!

AUDIT the Veterans Administration by that same outside firm!
WHEN the MASSIVE WASTE, FRAUD AND ABUSE IS FOUND – THEN BRING CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST ALL THE PERPETRATORS!

There, that was simple, direct and to the fuckin’ point!
That’s my opinion brothers and sisters!

namnibor
namnibor

An Amen to that!

Genius H Kennard
Genius H Kennard
Fire almost everyone at the VA and start over with extremely trust worthy individuals such as senior citizens but not too .old maybe starting at around 55+ with no signs of heart disease or any type of illness. I would like to be Superman and handle all of VA’s problems my self from medical diagnosis to actual disability payments but I am only one individual and they have many, many individuals who don’t know what they are doing. I can guarantee that they have been trained to disrupt a Veterans life with the constant back and forth process of sending… Read more »
Chuck Vroman Jr
Chuck Vroman Jr
Honestly, I think that reforming the VA first has to start with the end of the absurdity that is government employees being able to unionize and hold agencies like VA hostage to the disadvantage of Veterans alone. Then, the entire upper echelon of VA ‘Executives’, who are really the ones that perpetuate the culture the VA is always criticized for, needs to be let go without any further benefits or payments for their lack of services from the Taxpayers. Thirdly, set up the ‘New VA’ with Veterans being heavily involved in the process and not just lifelong bureaucrats. This would… Read more »
namnibor
namnibor

Very well-stated! Also, I too, am in Columbus, OH area. Good to see you here.

ANutterVet
ANutterVet

6:25pm April 10, 2017, CBS Evening News with Scott Pelly – Veterans go scuba diving for the treatment of PTSD. Is the VA giving out FREE round trip tickets for those that don’t live near an aquarium or reside close to sub- or tropical waters? Please keep my updated on the VA’s new PR strategies. I never received an email that explained this treatment since it has been used by over 22,000 Veterans since 2008. Its only now getting media attention. Geesh!

namnibor
namnibor
Your name gets on a list then the VA will mail-out a pair of scuba goggles and a really fine glossy 3D underwater photo taken while some VA upper management were in Caribbean. Instructions: Place Goggles on. Sit next to the toilet. Now stare at the VA’s vacation underwater scuba paradise while flushing toilet. Repeat as required.
ANutterVet
ANutterVet

@Namnibor – I liked it when I pulled down on the handle, and but only once did I see a few odd shaped brown tropical fish go around circles, then drop out of site. Haven’t seen the fish since the first time I looked. What’s up with this? Any reasons that I don’t see anymore fish? And, these people didn’t tell me to bring a towel, nor offered me one. Did I do something wrong? Repeat flushing doesn’t help.

namnibor
namnibor

The toilet flushing is for the quasi-ambient relaxing sounds of the surf hitting the breakers, and you can make it even more diverse by dumping a bunch of ice cubes into toilet and enjoy the arctic while Coast Guard Icebreakers are paving an imaginary path to Antarctica.
Remember to only LOOK at the glossy photo, do NOT stick your head in toilet. You do not know who’s shat there. 🙂

ANutterVet
ANutterVet

“Who shat there,” friggin funny guy you. Sit plus shit = shat.

JOHN COKOS
JOHN COKOS

Let me be brief:EVERYONE just opt out of the system. No lab rats to work on, no need to show up at the office….

cj
cj

@ANutterVet,@Ex va: You guys around?

Ex va
Ex va

@cj, how are you doing? I hope well. Good day here in the 70s wind and threat of storms was making me crazy today. Can’t do much of anything on days like that. I hear thunder no rain yet.

cj
cj

@Ex va: Had good storms here this morning, till about noon. Went from the 70’s to the 40’s. I was going to ask how your doing, but you already said your having a hard time. Did you get my email?

Ex va
Ex va

@cj, the temps drop that stinks i will check my e-mail thanks.

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