MMQB: VA Spins, Second VA Whistleblower stops Illegal Plot

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VA Spin

Phoenix, VAMC – After VA denials, yet a second VA whistleblower has come forward to confirm acts taken by her and another VA staffer to stop an illegal plot to destroy evidence.

In what has become the most bizarre VA scandal in years, a second VA doctor not only confirms the existence of a list, but she also claims she thwarted a conspiracy to destroy evidence at the facility.

We will cover her story and other news about Veterans Affairs here this Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB) for Veterans. I am your host, Benjamin Krause, creator of DisabledVeterans.org.

This site is the leading source for VA scandal synthesis and benefits help across the web. We take the spin out of VA doublespeak to create clarity for veterans. MMQB is where we deliver highlights over the past week through our own unique take on the VA spin machine.

This MMQB, we will cover the following:

  • Another VA whistleblower saves evidence
  • How VA spins scandals
  • How VA uses media to spin American public
  • VA takes action in Legionnaires’ Outbreak
  • Recent & Upcoming Congressional Hearings

 

Second VA doctor blows whistle, saves evidence

A second Phoenix VA doctor came forward last week to support claims leveled by Dr. Sam Foote weeks ago.

Dr. Katherine Mitchell confirmed allegations related to manipulations of scheduling lists. The manipulations allowed Phoenix VA heads look good while veterans went without health care.

Allegations are that 1,400 – 1,600 veterans were removed from the main scheduling system and placed into a kind of secret list – more aptly called a shadow record. When an opening came up after numerous months, the veteran’s name was replaced back into the system formally tracked by VA Central Office for appointments.

VA has since been tasked with investigating the matter. Last week, Congress alleged VA destroyed evidence despite the litigation hold Congress placed on the agency to not destroy evidence.

Dr. Mitchell came forward Thursday following claims about the destruction of evidence and denials from VA officials about the allegations. She and another VA employee claim to have subverted attempts by other VA employees to destroy evidence. Dr. Mitchell believes the evidence they salvaged confirms the allegations about the existence and use of the wait list.

[Mitchell] and her co-worker reportedly asked officers at VA to secure the documentation. Police declined, but suggested they find a safe place to conceal the documents inside the hospital. Twelve hours later, Mitchell said, her co-worker delivered the evidence and a statement to an IG investigator, while Mitchell went to the Republic, asserting status as a government whistleblower.

VA managers previously retaliated against Dr. Mitchell for pushing back against bad policies that hurt her patients. Dr. Foote, the initial whistleblower, commented on this to IBTimes:

“[Mitchell] was an ER doctor there for a long time and kept raising absolutely legitimate concerns to administrators that were basically ignored,” Foote said. “She got so frustrated she presented her complaints to Senator John McCain’s office. The VA fired her, and then she went to the office of special counsel and McCain, too, got involved. She served a suspension and got her job back.”

On Wednesday, the day before Mitchell came forward, Dr. Robert Petzel told Congress there was no support for the allegations. Dr. Petzel is the Under Secretary for the Veterans Health Administration.

That same day, Phoenix VA heads Sharon Helman and Dr. Darren Deering also denied the allegations. More on these denials below.

Now that Mitchell confirmed that evidence does exist and that VA likely tried to destroy it, hopefully we will start to get justice. Perhaps the Dept of Justice would be better suited to investigate this scandal in light of the severity of the allegations.

Read More: https://www.ibtimes.com/phoenix-va-scandal-new-charges-second-whistleblower-1579839

 

How Veterans Affairs spins scandals

What I am about to say is very important to know in any VA scandal, but especially the current Phoenix VA scandal in light of VA’s clear avoidance of giving America and its veterans truthful answers.

VA officials have denied allegations related to the Phoenix VA last Wednesday, as stated above. We need to pay special attention to exactly what VA officials is saying when they make their denials. Always remember VA has an extensive team of lawyers and publicists working hard to keep a positive spin on all issues. It is likely that the statements I highlight below were well rehearsed and sculpted for their legal and psychological impact.

Let’s take a look at examples within the denials of:

  • Dr. Sharon Helman, Phoenix VAMC Director
  • Dr. Robert Petzel, Under Secretary of Veterans Health Administration

As we work through these examples, let’s agree on the following assumptions:

  • To “lie” means making claims that are knowingly false, reasonably known to be false, or to make a collection of statements that intentionally mislead when taken as a whole.
  • On the meta-level, the overall spirit of the allegations is that veterans were wrongly denied access to health care to the benefit of certain VA employees at the Phoenix VA – a potential conspiracy to commit fraud, wrongful death, etc.
  • This bad act was facilitated through some kind of scheduling policy and procedure that eluded traditional VA inspectors.
  • Veterans’ data was passed back and forth between different data systems that kept people waiting for health care and resulted in some deaths.
  • Finally, any denial should address this on the meta-level to clearly deny wrongdoing.

Now let’s take a look at Dr. Sharon Helman’s denial.

 

Director Sharon Helman spinning the Phoenix VA scandal

Example 1: Phoenix VA director Sharon Helman and her chief of staff, Dr. Darren Deering, denied the allegations last Wednesday during a CNN interview.

“We have never instructed our staff to create a secret list, to maintain a secret list, to shred a secret list — that has never come from our office as far as instruction to our staff,” said Deering.

“It’s never come from me,” added Helman.

Cited from International Business Times

Taken as a whole by a quick reader, this looks like straight denial.

We know this is likely a lie based on earlier statements from Helman. However, ignoring that, let’s focus on exactly what these two Phoenix VA officials claim in this excerpt of the CNN interview. Let’s break this down into parts to see what they are really saying.

Dr. Deering and Helman claim: 1) The duo never instructed VA staff to create a secret list; 2) They gave no instruction to maintain a secret list; 3) They gave no instruction to shred a secret list.

These are flat denials. However, these officials go on to qualify the statements, which usually indicates lying since the first three claims are either true or not true.

They then claimed: 4) That such instructions for 1-3 did not come “from our office as far as instruction to our staff,” (underline added for emphasis); 5) That any such instruction in 1-3 did not come directly from Sharon Helman.

Notice they do not say that no Phoenix VA manager implemented the policy that resulted in the delays and deaths.

Statements 1 to 3 indicate Phoenix VA did not get instruction to create a “secret list.” This seems plausible since I would find it surprising if Director Helman stated, “Hey everyone, create a secret list where veterans will die while waiting for untimely health care.”

What is more likely is a Phoenix VA policy was created, either informally or formally. That policy changed how they managed VA appointments within their computer systems. It was probably rather formalized since it likely involved collaboration between numerous staffers to pull off.

Statements 4 and 5 imply that Phoenix VA staff did receive some kind of information from someone at some time. Dr. Deering specifically states there was no “instruction” that directed the creation of a secret list or destruction of it.

Instructions are very real publications within VA that are used to instruct staff. By their very nature, they are not secret inside the agency.

Director Helman narrows this further by stating the policy did not come from her. However, she does not say that she stopped the policy and practice after becoming aware of it. When you watch the full interview, she uses doublespeak to avoid the obvious conclusion that she was well aware of the practice long ago.

Taken as a whole, this is a carefully crafted lie. A casual reader would be misled by the duo and possibly conclude that there was no foul play. In the full interview, they were mainly focusing on a notion that the policy in place was not secret at all, but then that they were unaware of what it was doing to veterans beyond normal deaths while waiting reasonable amounts of time.

It is important to note that Sharon Helman was placed on leave “until further notice” following her interview with CNN.

Now let’s take a look at Dr. Petzel’s denial.

 

Dr. Robert Petzel spinning the Phoenix VA scandal

Example 2: Dr. Robert Petzel, the soon to retire head of Veterans Health Administration (VHA), made a denial last Wednesday to the Senate. Dr. Petzel said VHA sent investigators to Phoenix to look into the claims of whistleblower Dr. Sam Foote.

Dr. Petzel claimed that the investigators found no evidence to support those claims, “To date, we have found no evidence of a secret list, and we have found no patients who have died because they have been on a wait list.”

As a reminder, the claims referenced here are likely Dr. Sam Foote’s claims – Dr. Mitchell had not come forward yet.

Dr. Foote essentially claimed VA had maintained a separate, secret list that covered up health care appointment delays. It makes sense that VA investigators would find no such list because Phoenix VA officials allegedly destroyed the records related to any such list weeks ago.  Or, according to Mitchell, they thought they destroyed the evidence.

Now, I underlined “those” because it summarizes the specifically limiting scope of the statement Dr. Petzel made. His statement focused exclusively on the claims from Dr. Foote and did not deviate into more broad terms on the meta-level. The broader terms would allow a denial on the spirit of the issue – that VA did not commit a wrong.

A great answer would have been, “We have found no evidence of wrongdoing.” Or, more specifically, “No veterans died as a result of inappropriate behavior by VA employees in Phoenix VAMC.”

It is highly likely VA did find evidence supporting related claims of wrongdoing and that veterans were harmed as a result of inappropriate behavior of VA staff.

If VA did find such other evidence, this limiter (“those” – ie sticking to the specific verbiage of the claim) does two things. First, it allows Dr. Petzel to make a true claim regardless of what comes out later in further investigations. Second, it allows Dr. Petzel to grab a sound byte and headlines (“No evidence supporting claim”) that makes VA not sound as terrible without really saying anything at all.

Dr. Petzel’s claims raise a warning flag that VA is playing a definition game, similar to Dr. Deering’s earlier claims. This would call into question the definition of the specific words as VA is interpreting them versus what Dr. Foote believed the words to mean.

How often do politicians evade trouble by using this maneuver? “It depends on the definition of ‘is’ is.” I think VA is using that tool to deceive, here.

Regarding definitions, it is clear that the list in question was not secret by VA standards because, as Dr. Foote stated, the list he refers to was merely a common practice and procedure in Phoenix that killed veterans.

In addition, the names were within a computer system as of summer 2013 according to Foote, so a more accurate term to describe this is “database” or “scheduling system” rather than “list.” So, if Dr. Foote said “VA had a database that was known only to VA employees that killed veterans,” that kind of claim may fit VA’s spin machine.

By focusing on specific definitions rather than the spirit or meta-level of what the matter is all about, liars are able to evade pointed questions and seem like there is “no evidence of allegations.”

I would call Dr. Petzel’s statement a half lie. It is technically true but by finely restricting the scope of his answer, he paints the impression no evidence was found of foul play.

VA likely proceeds to manipulate the public through its contacts in various press rooms that float the potentially misleading statement, as I explain below.

 

How VA uses media to spin American public

Recall my second point above, that Dr. Petzel was able to grab headlines by making the statements he made to the Senate last Wednesday.

Here is the result of this game as it works in the media via grabbing headlines of major press agencies and outlets:

The Associated Press piece is broadcast across thousands of news media platforms across the internet – ABC, Washington Post, Boston Herald, Yahoo, Fox, etc. To give you an idea of scope regarding that specific headline, Google shows 8,650 results for “VA: We found no evidence of allegations in Phoenix” when you press search.

Millions of Americans read and believe the news they read from those sources. Since most American’s never read more than the headline, they will at least subconsciously dismiss the scandal. After all, there was “no evidence.”

It is vital here to note that VA did not expand its scope to include veterans seeking follow up medical appointments. Further, VA was unaware that Dr. Mitchell saved evidence despite alleged attempts from VA employees to destroy it.

As an aside, Associated Press used an odd choice of words since the headline should read, “VA: No evidence supporting allegations in Phoenix found yet.” Instead the headline specifically tells us there was no evidence of allegations.

This is clearly not true since Senator John McCain’s office received over 2,000 allegations about Phoenix VA problems in the past 18 months before McCain’s people took action.

 

VA finally punishes employees in Legionnaires’ Outbreak scandal

Some of you may recall the Legionnaires’ Outbreak scandal that surfaced in Pittsburgh from February 2011 to November 2012. Six veterans died and sixteen veterans became ill. No one was penalized for the scandal until now.

“VHA leadership has initiated actions with careful consideration of the statutory protections and rights of employees, including due process,” VA spokeswoman Ramona Joyce said.

“While we are focused on completing this process in a timely manner, VHA’s priority is to complete these actions objectively and consistent with applicable administrative guidelines and due process. When this process is complete, VA will update Congress, consistent with appropriate privacy protections for the individuals involved,” Joyce said in a statement.

She declined to say what actions were being taken or how many employees were involved.

Congress has been very critical of VA for not taking any administrative action against these employees. The recent actions could be seen as a response caused by the additional pressure created vis a vis the Phoenix scandal.

Read More: https://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/05/02/va-pursues-discipline-in-legionnaires-outbreak.html?comp=700001075741&rank=5

 

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21 Comments

  1. THIS “OUR GOVT” AT IT’S WORST OR AT IT’S BEST ? A LOT OF THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED IN MY ASSOCIATION WITH THE VA ARE NOW “CLEARER”, DOES NOT EASE THE “PAIN/SUFFERING”, BUT TAKES AWAY SOME OF THE “MYSTERY”. HANG IN THERE BROTHERS, BABYLON IS ABOUT TO CRASH.

    • AGIN VETS VA DEATHCARE ONE BIG FEDERAL RICO CRIME RACKET RUN FOR @ ONLY THE AFGE UNION CONTRACTS VA DEATHCARE DONT GIVE A RATS REAR ABOUT VET HEALTH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Two things stand out like elephants in the VA scandal room.

    What has VA done with the huge funding/budget increases from Congress over the past several years? Why is there such a shortage of staff that this patient backlog occurs in the first place? What have they done with all that additional money? With these huge increases there is no excuse for VA to have this problem. And all their ballyhoos about the best healthcare around are clearly based on LIES. VA can and does issue Fee Basis cards to many veterans so they can get care at private sector medical providers. Veterans should now demand a huge increase in issuance of Fee Basis cards, especially all veterans who have made serious complaints or had complications due to bad VA doctors.

    • Congress must now pass a special whistleblower statute just for VA doctors and staff that protect any of them who come forward with reasonably credible evidence of wrongdoing by VA management, whether ethical or criminal civil rights violations. This is the only way to get the VA cleaned out of all these evil, corrupt people. Both Drs. Foote and Mitchell related the fear of retaliation by VA management to VA doctors and staff, and even suffering unjust termination of their employment. This coercive threat MUST be removed immediately so the floodgates of truth can pour out and everyone can see just how corrupt and deceitful the VA has become as an institution.

      Mark my words: If such a statute is passed, the public would call for the immediate privatization of the VA, and prosecution of all those who committed these horrendous criminal civil rights violations.

    • I agree 100% with your suggestion of fee basis (now called purchased care) for VA beneficiaries. If the VA cannot provide an appointment within a reasonable time frame (compared to private health care in the geographic area), the should be mandated to provide purchased care. Also, it is unreasonable for any veteran to travel hundreds of miles for care, when private care is available locally.

      I recently had occasion where I traveled 80 miles to my primary care doctor who recommended a consult at the main hospital which is located 100 miles from my home (and is about a 2 1/4 hour drive due to traffic). The appointment was made seven weeks out. I am fortunate to have Medicare and I made an appointment locally to be seen within a week. I feel badly for the vets who don’t have an alternate source of coverage.

      I also was informed my VA Medical Center is going to experience an 8% cut across the board (all departments). In the meantime the directors keep getting their bonuses.

  3. I am wondering if Benjamin Krause or anyone knows the answer to these questions two question:

    1) Since, according to the US Supreme Court, the VA is not subject to any government oversight like other agencies, and the Supreme Court itself has ruled that they, the Supreme Court, also do not have jurisdiction over the VA, how could this affect criminal charges against VA staff and administrators if this scandal moves into the legal system. (For example, does this make the VA exempt from civil and criminal charges or review in regards to violating Constitutional rights and Constitutional case law?)

    And,

    2) Speaking of the Supreme Court and the Constitution: (and I think this is a much bigger question, possibly one of great importance that may have never been asked before):

    How can it be that members of the US military must take and uphold an oath “… to support and defend the US Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic”, AND federal workers take the same oath that members of Congress take, but somehow the VA is deemed exempt from following the Constitution? (I am presuming that VA employees are not exempt from taking this federal oath.)

    So, here we have the very people who put their lives on the line, and in many cases lose their life or become badly injured and disabled, do not get the protection and advantages that the Constitution would otherwise grant them.

    Think about it: If the Supreme Court does not get involved in VA cases that very well may and obviously sometimes do involve serious civil and/or criminal law-breaking, how can the Supreme Court claim they are serving the veterans who took the oath and upheld it, and protected the very existence of the Supreme Court (including from domestic enemies who happen to be working for the VA)?

    I point out that it cannot be argued that the reason the VA is exempt from Supreme Court oversight is because veterans are government issue/property — because they are not, they are civilians (if they are no longer reservists).

    Here is another question: How can it be that veterans who served in sensitive classified sectors face criminal charges if they divulge their experiences (which include medical injuries, PTSD injuries/symptoms and their sources, etc.) to ANYONE including VA doctors? I recently found out about this after years of abuse by the VA. That is, two VA doctors flat out told me and my wife that it is a crime for me to try to discuss my experiences or issues relative to my service-connected PTSD.

    These two doctors made threats to have me arrested while they were supposedly doing a PTSD therapy session with me at the start of a “new, ‘golden opportunity’ to finally get PTSD therapy’) that happened to take place at the VA police department and VA Criminal Investigation Division office. I no longer serve in the military nor do I work for the US Dept. of Defense; I am a CIVILIAN!

    So, how is it that I do not have the benefit of the protections of the US Constitution that includes administration of that Constitution should the need arise by the court that oversees its interpretation and applications? If this is legitimate, then why not have it go both ways? Should sensitive classified service sector veterans be exempt from laws that are overseen by the Supreme Court? Why not say such a veteran is exempt from murder charges, speeding tickets, or bank robbery charges? After all, the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction, because I am a veteran.

    I mean, if the Supreme Court ruled that a certain law has application to American citizens, it shouldn’t apply to such a veteran because the Court has no jurisdiction. Of course that is ridiculous, just like it is ridiculous for the VA to think they are really exempt from the confines and jurisdiction of the law of the land which is in fact the US Constitution.

    I am pretty sure I recall VA staff being hauled off to prison in the past, and that the US Constitution remains in full play in regards to their confinement, and the future confinement of VA staff and contractors involved in this current VA Hospital waiting list cover up scandal. What are your thoughts? What do you know about these questions I ask above?

      • I am not sure that I fully understand your questions re: jurisdiction of the Supreme Court but I will attempt to provide some basic information on the Court. Article 3, Section 2 of the US Constitution defines the scope of the Supreme Court’s power. Very important however are the terms “Original Jurisdiction” and “Appellate Jurisdiction.” The Constitution gives the Supreme Court Original Jurisdiction over “all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party,” and Appellate Jurisdiction to “all other cases.” In general, the “all other cases” are those which involve issues of constitutionality, i.e., the Supreme gets to interpret the Constriction and say what the law is.

        In the landmark 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court established what is called Judicial Review that gave the Court oversight of the Executive and Judicial branches of our government. What this all means is that the Supreme Court does have jurisdiction over the VA should a dispute fall within the jurisdictional boundaries mentioned above. In general, the Supreme Court gets to pick and choose the cases it will hear, and if you read something that said that the Court did not have jurisdiction over a particular case (something that only the Court itself can decide), it was no doubt because it involved a dispute that had not worked itself up to the Court through the proper appellate channels, i.e., lower courts. Hope this very simplified description of how the Supreme Court works helps, and the simple answer is that the Supreme Court does have jurisdiction over the VA.

  4. At Lawrence Kelly III: Sir, do you know of how I would go about getting a fee basis card, and if civilian doctors would accept them as payment in full?

    In my case, I have been terrorized by VA health care providers who have gotten things to the point that I am afraid to go to the VA. A private doctor last week warned me and my wife that I should never return to the VA. This is because recently two VA doctors threatened to arrest me (and possibly my caregiver wife). I thought I was there for PTSD therapy, but it turned out to be a special session at the VA police department to warn me if I try to talk about my PTSD or medical injuries I will be arrested.

    They stated that this is because they are “mandated reporters” to the Dept. of Defense, and my injuries and experiences, symptoms and condition are “classified”. For years I have been followed around VA facilities by heavily armed police who stand by while I was being seen by medical staff. Now at least I know why. Anyway, how can I get a Fee Basis medical card?

    (And, for the record, I have no intention of talking to civilian doctors (or anyone) about my PTSD experiences, so the Dept. of Defense can go back to doing whatever it is they do elsewhere. I am not talking about anything of substance at all, even if I think it is bizarre for VA doctors to tell a veteran this and for similar threats to arrive by mail from the DoD as they did after we went to that session.

  5. They need to check the VA health care system in Wa. St. I’ve been denied or have had things delayed so many times in the last two years that it’s the normal thing for me. It’s completely unacceptable and I complained to the Patient Advocate (PA) (I left a message for them to call me so I could let them know of my blood loss problem and how nothing was bring done) and the call came from my Dr’s staff wanting to know what results from what blood work I was wanting. I told them that call was for me and not them. I called the PA again and the only answer I got was “the Dr’s are taking care of it and we will see what happens”. So got nothing from anyone. And every time I’ve complained, I’ve received some type of “punishment” for doing so. My appt’s are pushed back, my pain meds are now being taken, I’m told to “not pick my records apart” when I find lies that are on my med records, my appointments are “lost” or I’m told I never made the appointment (I have a card they filled out showing my appointment that they ignore). Then when I do get an appointment, I am treated very poorly, made to wait (while others that have appointments go before me. Yesterday I checked in at the self-serve Kiosk, because you cannot check in at the desk that has someone setting in each stall doing nothing and getting paid, and they did not even know that I had check in, according to them, and waited 40 min to get into my appointment) This is so wrong, in my last two visits, I have casually asked other veterans about the VA in Seattle and most have complaints about so many things. The only ones that do not are the young vets who have not been in the system that long and haven’t had to experience what we have.

  6. They need to check the VA health care system in WA. St. I’ve been denied or have had things delayed so many times in the last two years that it’s the normal thing for me. It’s completely unacceptable and I complained to the Patient Advocate (PA) (I left a message for them to call me so I could let them know of my blood loss problem and how nothing was bring done) and the call came from my Dr’s staff wanting to know what results from what blood work I was wanting. I told them that call was for me and not them. I called the PA again and the only answer I got was “the Dr’s are taking care of it and we will see what happens”. So I got nothing from anyone. And every time I’ve complained, I’ve received some type of “punishment” for doing so. My appt. are pushed back, my pain meds are now being taken, I’m told to “not pick my records apart” when I find lies that are on my med records, my appt. are “lost” or I’m told I never made the appt. (I’ve a card they filled out showing my appt. that they ignore). Then when I do get an appt., I ‘m treated very poorly, made to wait (while others that have appt. go before me. Yesterday I checked in at the self-serve Kiosk, because you can’t check in at the desk that has someone setting in each stall doing nothing and getting paid, and according to them, did not even know that I’d checked in, and waited 40 min to get my appointment) This is so wrong, in my last two visits, I’ve casually asked other vets about the VA in Seattle and most have complaints about so many things. The only ones that don’t are the young vets who haven’t been in the system that long and haven’t had to experience what we have. I’m leaving the VA system and getting private care before the VA kills me.

    • I don’t know how the post got posted twice. I was re-reading it to make sure it was what I wanted and making corrections and then I looked and it is in here twice. Sorry my fault I guess.

  7. … speaking of “money” … this institution we call the VA has $700B a year flowing through it. Of that amount how much does the ‘veteran’ actually get in services and/or benefits?? You will find that we get a little less than 8%. Where does the rest of the money go? Over 90% goes to ’empire building’, ie, more employees, tons of computers, new edifices that the VA calls medical centers, a lot of medical equipment, warehouses of pharmaceuticals, an army of consultants, top heavy management, immunity from the law, public relations staffing, insurance companies, financial services — every big company eats at the VA trough. The GE’s, the Dells, the Aetnas and the Goldman Sachs’ of the world love the status quo and want it to get worse! ASK yourself a question: would I support a charity that gave only 8% of the money it raised to the people it is intended to help? Probably not.

    • As a totally disabled Vietnam Nam veteran, in principle I agree with you … but I am left wondering where you got your numbers? On many occasions while visiting a VA healthcare facility I have been struck by the number of VA employees in comparison to what I observed to be the number of veterans being served, i.e., it seemed to me that the VA was there to serve itself.

    • I have personally experienced the same nightmares that other veterans have shared on this and other blogs, and while I have managed to win all of my claims with the VA, albeit with a great deal of pain and effort, I certainly can, and do empathize with my fellow brothers (and sister) who have experienced a “social contract” gone afoul. The VA was never meant to be the adversarial system it has evolved into, a system whose standard answer to wounded veterans is “no,” and one whose attitude is “prove it to me.” At age 67 I am just finishing a Master’s degree at Harvard and considered writing my Master’s Thesis on “The efficacy of the 21st Century Veterans Administration,” but as one of the key rules of competent research is objectivity, I fear that my experiences with this institution would not allow for this; my attitude towards the VA has become ingrained with such levels of skepticism (putting it mildly) that I believe that for me this topic would be “an answer looking for supporting data,” just the reverse of what it should be.

  8. I am a 100% disabled vet for MST and PDSD. While waiting in the Loma Linda VA ER for suicidal ideations I was immediately placed in a windowless room for 9 hours. During that time I repeatedly asked if I could call home and was repeatedly denied. I was also denied anything to eat.
    Is that legal? After nine hours I was so stressed out that I put my clothes on and left.
    While walking to my car I was accosted by two VA cops who delivered me to the psych ward where I could home.
    During my short stay I watched a dead body being wheeled out of a locked “quiet” room.

    I have never understood why I was treated with such contempt by the ER staff and the doctor who put me in that room.
    It would be great to hear from some VA staff regarding veteran’s complaints.

    • Patricia, I’m sorry this had to happen to you but it is how the VA works. I can understand what you’re going through as my treatment from the VA is getting worse because I’m not jumping through their hoops. I was sent to the opioid safety committee because I had a few days of frustration with getting two VA’s (a CBOC and the VA Seattle) to get on the same page and I e-mailed my psychologist and let him know of the frustrations and how it was affecting my anxiety. My new PCP that I’d yet to see put in for me to the safety committee (he’d never seen me and didn’t know me) the result, my anxiety meds are now being taken away and my pain meds are going to be taken away. Both with nothing to replace them. I’ve been deemed “very resistant to change my meds or get off of narcotic meds” which is completely false. In my e-mails I state that I hate being on these meds but until something, anything can be substituted to help, they’re working. They put in my records the parts about me not wanting to get off these meds but not the part in which I say I hate being on these and am open to try something, anything to replace them.. So I’ve replied to their report and I am sure it will trouble.
      Is it legal for them to do that to you, I would say no. But it’s your word against theirs and they can put in their notes whatever they need to, to make them look good and be right and you;re the bad guy (woman in your case). The above shows that. If you’ve proof that you can use, I’d take it to them.

      Continued in the next reply. Not enough room in this one my post is gone.

      • I am so tired of their BS and playing God that I’m not afraid anymore to go against what they do if I feel or know it is wrong. Contact your Senator and they may help, but don’t hold your breath. Get your records first, go through that day’s report and if they did put anything to help go with it. Try patient Advocate and see if they will help (they most likely will stand behind their Dr’s. But it is up to you on how hard you want to push this or if you want to. I have had it with their BS and I for one am starting to fight back. I don’t care. I am doing it in an adult manor and not as a bunch of unorganized words that they can come back on. I think about how to respond in a way that I am firm, truthful, and give supporting things that show they are wrong.
        If you have ever gone onto the My Health e Benefit site and tried to download your medical records, you have seen the “it takes three days before you can get certain things”. Ever wonder why that is. Maybe (I’m pretty sure) it is because they have people who go over the notes certain tests noted and results to make sure there is nothing in them that can be used against them. Why else would it take so long. The Dr. puts in what went on in your visit and it is electronic so why isn’t it available by the end of that day? Because they have to check it. I have had secure e-mails that they must have forgot that I have copies in my sent folder that have parts missing. The parts missing are things that do not help the VA look good. Anything I put in that can make me look bad is left in. THE VA IS FULL OF CROOKS CHEATS LIARS, AND MONEY HUNGRY PEOPLE WHO DO NOT HAVE TO ABIDE BY THE LAW. My opinion and my opinion only.

  9. VA A MASSIVE FEDERAL RICO CRIME RACKET FROM AFGE UION CONTRACTS HELL BY FEDERAL RICO RACKETS LAWS VA VA WILL BE DECLARED A RICO CRIME ENTERPRISE IT WILL BE SHUT DOWN LEGALLY VETS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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