VA Wait Time

Second Secret VA Wait Time Scheme Exposed This Month

OMAHA – Another secret VA wait time scheme has emerged from within the Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System obstructing access to mental health. VA employees...
Veterans Choice Program

Veterans Choice Program May Undergo Massive Change Soon

Veterans Affairs is looking to expand the use of Veterans Choice Program by removing the 30-day, 40-mile limitations currently impeding program use. VA sent new...
Art Levine just published a hard-hitting piece on continued problems veterans face in combating opioid addiction fueled by VA. His piece highlights some background and quotes from me and whistleblower Brandon Coleman amongst other advocates. Be sure to check it out, in addition to Levine’s recently published book, Mental Health, Inc. Relevant sections from the piece citing comments from me follow. My critique about President Trump keeping Shulkin, which de facto meant Trump would not be draining the swamp, at least in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Senior executives abiding by “the code” keep secrets quiet while law abiding employees cower in fear of retaliation: To some VA critics, Trump's selection of Shulkin to head the agency makes it unlikely that significant changes will be made. “For veterans who voted for Donald Trump, this is going to feel like a bait and switch,” says Benjamin Krause, founder of DisabledVeterans.org. “Keeping Shulkin will keep a host of flunkies and criminals who should have been part of the whole ‘drain the swamp’ promise.” (His own reputation as an ethically pure reformer was undercut by The Washington Post report in late September that he billed the government for his wife’s travel during a 10-day business jaunt that also included side-trips to the Wimbledon finals and a visit to Copenhagen’s “Little Mermaid” statue; these expenses were somehow approved by the VA’s ethics team but are now under investigation by the department’s Inspector General.) The fetid VA swamp has been spreading for years under the last three VA secretaries, including Shulkin. It’s an institution long notorious for vicious retaliation against whistleblowers and a penchant for falsehoods, obfuscation and delay, as well as rampant cover-ups of unsafe and sometimes deadly conditions—or even fraud—by the VA's watchdog agencies. This is all kept from view by what some longtime employees call “the code”—the institutional silence and protection offered wrongdoers. Likening it to the mob’s “omertà,” one high-ranking VA administrator, who insisted on anonymity, tells Newsweek, “You don’t break ‘the code,’ or your career is over…. It’s a fearful environment. “The code,” that VA official says, “is designed to do this: don’t fix the problems.” Whistleblower retaliation is still allowed because VA has failed to hold anyone truly accountable for their actions: All told, nearly 2,000 VA whistleblowers were forced in fiscal year 2016 alone to appeal to an independent federal agency, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), to protest retaliation while reporting fraud or unsafe conditions—more than the next four problematic federal departments combined. As The Boston Globe reported in September, these employee complaints included nursing home residents at the Bedford, Massachusetts, Veterans Affairs Medical Center allegedly being starved of food for hours or left to lie naked in bed amid the squalor of soiled sheets. Shulkin has established a new office given a mandate to protect whistleblowers, but that hasn’t yet halted the retaliation. “I don't know of a single instance when a VA employee has been held accountable for harassing whistleblowers," says Krause. This turf-protecting has perhaps been most apparent in the VA's belated response to the national opiate crisis it helped usher in. The VA doesn't even keep an accurate count of how many veterans have died of legal or illegal drug overdoses, even though it officially launched an Opioid Safety Initiative in 2013 that has brought the VA's opiate prescribing down 30 percent. Nor does it regularly monitor opiate use by its patients who seek legal or illegal drugs outside the VA. Be sure to check out the Newsweek piece - - and share the heck out of it on social media to show the magazine we notice and support when reports do a great job highlighting our plight. Source: http://www.newsweek.com/2017/10/20/va-fueled-opioid-crisis-killing-veterans-681552.html

Newsweek: How VA Fueled The National Opioid Crisis And Is Killing Thousands Of Veterans

Art Levine just published a hard-hitting piece on continued problems veterans face in combating the opioid crisis and addiction fueled by VA. His piece highlights some...
Fayetteville VA Sterilize Surgical Equipment

Veterans Affairs Fails To Sterilize Surgical Equipment Properly, Again

FAYETTEVILLE - A routine inspection at Fayetteville VA revealed VA failed to follow manufacturer standards when it did not properly sterilize surgical equipment. The medical...
Clarksville VA Wait Times

VA Staffers Create ‘Unofficial’ Secret Clinics To Manipulate Wait Times

CLARKSBURG - VA staffers at one VA medical center were caught creating secret emergency department clinics to manipulate wait times according to the Office...
Veterans Choice Program

Veterans Choice Program Almost Out Of Money, Again, After A Couple Weeks?

Since its inception, the Veterans Choice Program has been plagued by three things: 1) bad VA employees blocking access; 2) bad contractors not paying...

Walz Demands Action After VA Whistleblower Exposes ER Denial Scheme

Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) is now calling for an IG investigation into a non-VA emergency care denial scheme after watching KARE 11 coverage. Reporter AJ...
non-VA emergency room

Agency Spins Growing Pattern Of Non-VA Emergency Room Bill Denials

Reporter AJ Lagoe and the KARE 11 News Team is uncovering an alarming trend of improper non-VA emergency room bill denials by VA. Last Friday,...

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