Is there a Magic Bullet Cure for VA Syndrome?
What was left of any positive sentiment toward VA on Capitol Hill is quickly drying up. Sadly, it looks like VA Syndrome of inaction and impotence has now infected all of D.C.
In recent reports, Congress appears to be recycling old party tricks to trump up voter support rather than really fixing any problems.
Politico reported yesterday that legislators across the aisle have had about enough of VA’s countless excuses for spending abuses and general mismanagement.
Even longtime supporter Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke out last week about VA’s new stonewalling tactic.
“Our job is to legislate,” Sanders said, “and we’re going to go forward with or without the cooperation of the VA and the administration.”
Senate Democrats are even starting to waiver in their support for the current VA administration. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) commented,
“The backlog is declining, but unfortunately we are nowhere near where we should be yet, and we have to remain vigorous and vigilant in ensuring that the backlog continues to decrease to zero, even before the projected date.” He continued, “No veteran should have to wait months and months or even years to receive a decision from the VA.”
Frustrated by continued delays and lack of cooperation on the Hill, some lawmakers are, well, taking the law into their own hands.
Unfortunately, the ideas and strategies taken by the House appear to be little more than old news.
Last week, the House passed a bill last week to form a task force. Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) has been pushing for yet another task force for some time. Meanwhile, every veteran advocate in D.C. worth their salt knows that another task force will have little effect.
It would be useful if VA had effectively implemented any of the recommendations from the last task forces, but there is little evidence that these really help. Instead, they lend themselves to grandstanding and political diatribes during election season.
A subcommittee of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs issued still another scathing report on VA misspending at conferences in 2011. The House ran that issue up the flagpole over a year ago, in September 2012.
With the speed at which the House is able to even audit VA and issue “scathing” report, it is no wonder nothing gets done in Washington.
When one stops to think about the staffer hours that went into just that subcommittee report, with that issue’s countless hearings, American taxpayers probably spent as much money to hold VA accountable as was wasted by VA at the conferences.
This news likely surprises no one. We have seen it all before.
Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.
With that logic, I think we can commit ever-single Congressmen to an asylum with little pushback. Or worse, maybe Congress knows the strategies don’t work, but they are hoping we will not notice.
The problem is that Veterans have no way of keeping the DVA accountable for their failures other than the processes we have now. We can’t suit them for much of anything because they fall directly accountable to Congress. Im a DVA VASH program veteran and they hate me! Why? Im assuming because I was forced to call the POTUS, SENATOR, REPRESENTATIVE, and GOVERNOR. to get them to help me when I was homeless for 11 years…that’s another experience. But they tried to get me to lose my VASH and I told the manager of the program that I would suit all the way to the supreme court if I had to. His response was very egotistical, he said, “I don’t care the VA is not legally accountable to legal action, so be my guest.” Im fighting for a roof over my head in the middle of winter and that is how the VA employees look at us Veterans! They are all set. They have a nice paying job and a home and a family etc. They, not all, never experienced any military and if they did they didn’t experience the military like i did. They’ve never been homeless or felt like they’re constantly walking into a wall of WTF. And they don’t care. Why? Because the management, the directors, and Congress have an arrogant and dangerous attitude of not being held accountable and therefore don’t give a damned of my or your suffering and pain. And that sucks and hurts….badly.
I know exactly what the problem is with the VA. It is not the backlog that is the real problem, it’s the woeful sorry state of the decisions that are made to deny, deny, deny and then deny again the Veterans claims. This is a bigger problem than just the backlog. They have people that are not properly trained, may have no medical experience, not a medical professional or trained as one, may not have been in the military, may never have served in a combat zone, never been deployed, have only a high school education and do not have a disability themselves and in my particular case, if they did serve and were not a Combat Arms Officer like me in Field Artillery, they haven’t a clue how much time I spent out in the field and the things that impacted on my health. These are the kinds of people reviewing these claims. I was an LTC, a GS-13 and have a 4 year degree and a Masters degree and I have trouble reading and understanding what the doctors wrote, so how can someone without any of the above fairly and accurately when they haven’t a clue what some of us have been through and the places we served? We have such deplorable decisions made that it is not only unprofessional, I call it “THEFT BY TAKING” because they just deny everything and they just don’t understand and they just don’t care. Typical of the VA. They could do a database with all the scanned files, but if the decisions on ratings are inaccurate, what difference does scanning the records and having all the info in the database if they cannot make the right decisions? They can’t and they won’t. I asked for the training information, education, medical training, etc., of the people who determined out claims, but the VA denied that information even though I sent a Freedom of Information Act Request, they just said no. I wasn’t asking for their personal details, just what the evaluators had as a group, no names or personal information. They used to just go with the person who determined your disability ratings and his rating and they were not reviewed by a medical professional. If you have a serious disability and it is in your medical records and you don’t claim it, you don’t get it, even though the VA knows you have that disability, but never told me or treated me for it, as did the Army who also didn’t tell me an didn’t treat me. They deny the service connection, but it is. But say it wasn’t. Didn’t they have a duty, responsibility or ethics to tell me and treat me? I wound up with a compression fracture of one of my vertebra that just collapsed upon itself. How much is a vertebra worth? To me and probably to you, it is priceless. I can never get that bone fixed as it is in pieces and the doctor told me it was the good kind of fracture. I asked him what he meant. He said because it collapsed on itself and even though it causes me problems with spinal stenosis, it didn’t cut my spinal cord or kill me, so I got the good kind of fracture??? I asked him why I got it from picking up some medical records to take to the VA, and he said it could have happened if I sneezed. Why I asked? Because you have severe osteoporosis. Well it probably could have been prevented if the Army and/or VA could have told me I had it and I wouldn’t have been sent to Afghanistan for 9 months with very brittle bones and I am lucky that I didn’t have a bone shatter while in Afghanistan and only found out I was – 4.0 on the osteoporosis which is very brittle bones. Sucks, just sucks, and yet they just continue to deny, deny, deny and then deny again. Maybe one day they will get it right??? Don’t count on it because even the Veteran’s Organizations can’t help how is it going to get fixed??? Good Luck!!!
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