Shulkin Says Get Rid Of VA Optometry, There Is A ‘LensCrafters On Every Corner’

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VA Optometry

Behind closed doors, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, MD, suggested his VA healthcare directors get rid of optometry and audiology services.

What is the background of this proposed change?

Shulkin’s team is coming up with new ways VA can shrink while still providing veterans with timely access to healthcare either at VA or in the community. The savings from not providing optometry and audiology services, but instead farming those out to Community Care, could then be used to update struggling VA facilities.

At least, that is the argument put forth by the Secretary and his team last week.

Using this gimmick, VACO is basically encouraging directors to commit budgetary misallocations by using Choice, when VA should not, to cover optometry and audiology appointments. Then, those directors are also being told to use the money earmarked for optometry to cover facility repairs even though the cost savings will be mooting by the higher price charged in the private market.

One director shocked by the Secretary’s suggestion reached out to me last week to provide direct quotes and other information about the conference held in Leesburg, Virginia.

VA was contacted about the quote a week ago but did not provide comment before publication today.

‘LensCrafters On Every Corner’

In a closed-door meeting with his VA healthcare directors from across the nation, Shulkin suggested VA should stop providing veterans with audiology and optometry appointment.

This surprised many in attendance because audiology and optometry services are two of the most requested and most economical for VA to provided.

According to the insider:

[Secretary Shulkin] told directors in Leesburg VA today that we should get rid of audiology and optometry since there are “LensCrafters on every corner”. As I said there are our most popular veteran requested service and we do it economically. Veterans receive state of the art hearing aids that cost $5000 in the private sector. VA gets them for substantially less.  If you send patients to private audiologist you would loose all control what quality device they get. You’ve never heard a veteran complain about the quality of their eating aids. 

Shulkin Works Around Congress

The insider indicated Shulkin is forcing directors to play a game of hide the pea while failing to seek approval from Congress for the proposal and not giving directors enough funds to adequately repair older facilities.

In a given year, some facilities may get $30 million for their operating budget when they really need $200 million to operate and repair dangerous environmental or operations hazards.

This forces directors like our insider to choose between fixing boilers used to sterilize surgical equipment or making repairs to prevent Legionella.

The longer I cover VA scandals, the more apparent the issue is becoming concerning veteran safety. Directors are forced to choose between the lesser of two evils all the time when it comes to safety.

And, whenever we hear a scandal, that is a case when the director guessed wrong.

Basically, the inside baseball looks more like VA Central Office (VACO) calling the shots without really being taken to task. Those calls by VACO are then passed through the VISN, these are the networks responsible for many hospitals and community-based clinics.

According to the insider, the Washington DC VA Hospital that recently made headlines for horrible processing of supplies needed to provide care for veterans was a victim of VACO incompetence. Someone in VACO picked a bad vendor, and the local hospital director was caught trying to make up the difference.

Now, we see one of Shulkin’s solutions to create cost savings for his new boss, President Donald Trump. To meet the requirements of the White House mandate to shrink each agency, massive cuts will need to be made.

But how can these cuts happen while the spotlight is shining on VA after Trump promised such grandiose solutions? Easy, the cuts all occur behind the scenes.

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Robert Wilson
Robert Wilson

@Rick B
I’d like to talk with your brother. I’d guess he’d be way in the minority. I’ve talked with dozens of vets at White River Junction (VT) over the years, with nothing but positive reviews. Docs and other providers there (mostly vets)–at least in my experience–like working there as well. A great partnership exists between the VA Center and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital, the private facility across the river in New Hampshire. They freely exchange surgeries and other functions, depending on respective needs and schedules for specialists in various areas.

ANutterVet
ANutterVet

To All – – – Want to find and compare the ratings of VA Medical Centers? – – – Go and visit this website; ‘http://va-hospitals.healthgrove.com’ – – – Nutter

Rick b
Rick b

I would like to know who rated these hospitals. I Suspect these are VA numbers…. pure BS

ANutterVet
ANutterVet

@Rick b – – – Rick, how about contacting the owner of the website, and then ask them how they came up with their ratings, and if they are in any way related to the VA? Post if you find anything. I found that the VA’s official website is extremely biased. Like you, I don’t trust the VA as far as I can toss a hand held fart. I’m still practicing though, and I’ll post when I’ve had an accomplishment. – – – Thanks, Nutter

namnibor
namnibor

Fe Fi Fo Fum, I think I smell some VSO piggy scum!

ANutterVet
ANutterVet

@Namnibor – – – Nam, who are you referring too? I think that I have missed something. – – – Nutter

namnibor
namnibor

It’s probably just my acquired allergies to bullshit anytime I hear someone come on here and their repeated mantra is everything is farting rainbows out the unicorn’s ass at their VA so all must be okay…reminds me of living rather close and downwind from a large pig farm.
Then again, my allergies really have come with a vengeance last few years…but I was allergic to bullshit way before that… 🙂

ANutterVet
ANutterVet

@Namnibor – – – I see what you’re talking about. I missed it. That’s what lack of sleep, being bloated, then the effects of flatulence; while ripping silent burners that singe your next door neighbor’s nose hairs, and visitors who ask to step outside for some fresh air.

People post who think their VA Medical Center performs well, but others who are experts at rating hospital performance and medical deliveries say otherwise. Know what I mean? Can you hear me now? Floating posters trying to convince others that all is well within the system.

namnibor
namnibor

Floaters, indeed. Make no mistake, these are NOT Baby Ruth Bars. These are true swamp beast floaters, but equally packed full of nuts. 🙂 🙂

OLDMARINE
OLDMARINE

Constipated? Coca-Cola Japan launches a new line of fiber-filled soda

Jo3n
Jo3n

I’d like to know what people who are fond of the VA, think about Veterans suicides, the backlog, the missing billions of dollars, the wait times for Veterans, the laws broken to cover-up whatever it is. Today’s Friday, ain’t heard no bombs dropped on us……yet.

Jo3n
Jo3n

Did that Northwestern university study comparing the VA hospitals to other than VA hospitals, really find the VA hospitals to be better all around? How?

Crazy elf
Crazy elf

Hey, namnibor,
Yea, I got a whiff of the “Rotten Cabbage Patch” shit as well!
Of course, I’ll not feed it!

ANutterVet
ANutterVet

Off Topic – To All – I consider myself to be conservative, but there are some issues that I tend to lean far to the left. What I don’t like though, is when someone abuses their powers and influence. Especially when it comes to increasing one’s profit margin, when in fact, their already better off financially than others. I mean, how much monies does a person really need to live off of without seeming to be greedy?

Ivanka Trump’s jewelry was previously mentioned during a press conference on a major tv network. Then after China’s President visited POTUS and they ate that scrumptious chocolate cake [go ahead, search for it, look at the images of this cake, it’ll make your mouth water]. A little while after these Presidents broke cake, I mean bread, Ivanka was awarded patents in China for some of her product line. Then today on CBS, it was reported that Ivanka posted a tweet about her new book.

As far as I’m concerned, the Trump Family needs to hire a teaching constitutional product marketing consultant so that they can be instructed on what is a conflict of interest and what isn’t. How to ethically or legally product such products while a few family members hole Executive Office positions in the White House.

I get the feeling that some of the Trump family is ignoring this illegality, and feel that they can do as they please. Let me make it clear though. I don’t agree with everyway POTUS handles or presents some matters, but I do want him to succeed as our fairly elected President. Please don’t post any slack about the popular vote, that is not how or what elects any President, and for good reason. Any disputes, please read why the Electoral College was created.

But what I would like to see, is for POTUS to push hard to change the way the VA delivers medical care and to reform how claims are streamlined for prompt filing. Now you can post your thoughts. – – – Thanks, Nutter

Robert Wilson
Robert Wilson

@Nutter
That isn’t one of Trump’s objectives, unfortunately.

Jo3n
Jo3n

Trump is our President. My family has always prayed for our President. A few still do. We didn’t vote for the whole darn family. Some of his family has already gone way beyond what was acceptable. As long as Sessions is Attorney General, they will be able to do anything without fear. I guess it’s just the way it is. Other than Defense and State department’s, Trump’s picks are highly questionable. I do pray our President realizes we are people, not shareholders.

Interested observer
Interested observer

If SecVA Shulkin thinks that the same high level of medical eye care provided by VA optometrists (ODs) to veterans with multiple systemic diseases who are at great risk of sight-threatening eye diseases can be provided at the local LensCrafters, then he needs to get out a little more and find out what is actually happening in his own house.

LP
LP

For those Real Veterans on this site, a shirt you might like:

“http://www.11bravos.com/we-that-remain/”

No, I don’t get money for this…

Lily
Lily

You think they will be closing vet centers?

Robert Wilson
Robert Wilson

ANutter: I did check the VA med center ratings and see that Vermont is at 71+, or a bit under average. No mention is made as to how the ratings are calculated, other than allotting percentages to five or so categories of treatment–with few specifics, two being for wait time, where it ranks as average, and number of docs per thousand patients, where it is well above average. All I can say is, no complaints from me–nor from either patients or staff members I’ve talked with.

Ed Ball
Ed Ball

Public Law 104-262, the Veterans Health Care Eligibility Reform Act of
1996, changed eligibility laws to allow VHA to furnish prosthetic appliances to veterans.
However, that law further provided that VHA could not furnish sensori-neural aids (hearing aids
and eyeglasses) except in accordance with guidelines that the Department of Veterans Affairs
(VA) prescribes. Subsequently, the Department published regulations (Title 38 Code of Federal
Regulations (CFR), §17.149) in the Federal Register establishing such guidelines. In 2002,
VHA issued Directive 2002-039 to establish uniform policy for the provision of hearing aids and
eyeglasses.
VHA DIRECTIVE 2008-070

sgt11B
sgt11B

I’m down here at STVHCS south Texas. I’ve been coming to the VA since 2007. I have no real complaints about the VA besides it being under staffed and some Chiefs being dumbasses and not knowing what Vets really need. Besides that all the care I have received is awesome. I’m not some POG or drug seeker, or someone that complains just to complain. Here is my plan to “fix” VA. Stop seeing Veterans for non service connected disabilities. Its not the military’s/governments problem we are getting old. The VA is not your retirement plan, you should have acquired a job/career after service if you did not retire. Also, prosecute providers, vets and others who falsify claims and lie about what they did in service. I see and hear other vets trying to connect every little thing to the service. WTF? The military didn’t turn you into a whiny little bitch. The VA also needs to stop outsourcing veterans to private facilities because it costs twice as much and by the time the vet gets to see the outside provider he would have been seen by the VA. VA needs more providers, VA needs to cut waist. Further more, they can cut back on wasting providers time by charging veteran 5.00 for no shows. Its not going to break the bank but its the principle of it. Time is money and we just wasted the VA’s time. Civilian side would charge 30-50 for a no show. That’s why I don’t no show. I can’t afford it. lol

Mickey2942
Mickey2942

Hearing loss the the number one SC and non SC disability among veterans. Sure, farm out audiology, and quit wasting all that money on research for hearing loss.

Why not stop funding transgender surgery first? That would be a reasonable cost savings measure.

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