SPECIAL COUNSEL: VA Psychiatric Care Neglected Veterans For Years

25
3359
Advertisement
Get the Voc Rehab Guide

VA Psychiatric Care

Benjamin KrauseA new letter to President Obama verifies VA psychiatric care staff ignored veterans for years without providing basic assessments and care for their psychiatric conditions. This confirms suspicions that VA’s mental health care accountability systems are completely defunct.

When confronted by the US Office of Special Counsel (OSC), an independent oversight agency, VA claimed the neglected veterans were not harmed by the lack of care. VA’s own Office of Medical Inspector (OMI) claimed the refusal to provide health care had no “impact on patient care.” In response to the outrageous deception, OSC publicly slammed VA’s review agency in a letter to President Obama that is now circulating across the internet.  In addition to this confirmation, numerous other allegations were confirmed by OSC and reported in the letter.

While President Obama has yet to respond, Secretary Sloan Gibson issued a typical statement acknowledging the problem and then expressing disappointment. You can bet not much will come of the revelation unless veterans keep the pressure on:

I respect and welcome the letter and the insights from the Office of Special Counsel. I am deeply disappointed not only in the substantiation of allegations raised by whistleblowers, but also in the failures within VA to take whistleblower complaints seriously.

Read more of this criminal treatment of veterans and whistleblowers in the full letter to President Obama posted below:

[Download the OSC Report to President Obama pdf]

OSC REPORT ON VA HEALTH CARE INVESTIGATION FAILURES

June 23, 2014

The President
The White House
Washington, D.C.20500

Re:  Continued Deficiencies at Department of Veterans Affairs’ Facilities

Dear Mr. President:

I am providing you with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel’s (OSC) findings on whistleblower disclosures from employees at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi (Jackson VAMC).  The Jackson VAMC cases are part of a troubling pattern of responses by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to similar disclosures from whistleblowers at VA medical centers across the country. The recent revelations from Phoenix are the latest and most serious in the years-long pattern of disclosures from VA whistleblowers and their struggle to overcome a culture of non-responsiveness.  Too frequently, the VA has failed to use information from whistleblowers to identify and address systemic concerns that impact patient care.

As the VA re-evaluates patient care practices, I recommend that the Department’s new leadership also review its process for responding to OSC whistleblower cases. In that regard, I am encouraged by the recent statements from Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson, who recognized the significant contributions whistleblowers make to improving quality of care for veterans. My specific concerns and recommendations are detailed below.

Jackson VAMC

In a letter dated September 17, 2013, I informed you about numerous disclosures regarding patient care at the Jackson VAMC made by Dr. Phyllis Hollenbeck, Dr.

Charles Sherwood, and five other whistleblowers at that facility. The VA substantiated these disclosures, which included improper credentialing of providers, inadequate review of radiology images, unlawful prescriptions for narcotics, noncompliant pharmacy equipment used to compound chemotherapy drugs, and unsterile medical equipment. In addition, a persistent patient-care concern involved chronic staffing shortages in the Primary Care Unit. In an attempt to work around this issue, the facility developed “ghost clinics.” In these clinics, veterans were scheduled for appointments in clinics with no assigned provider, resulting in excessive wait times and veterans leaving the facility without receiving treatment.

Despite confirming the problems in each of these (and other) patient-care areas, the VA refused to acknowledge any impact on the health and safety of veterans seeking care at the Jackson VAMC.  In my September 17, 2013 letter, I concluded:

“[T]he Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has consistently failed to take responsibility for identified problems.  Even in cases of substantiated misconduct, including acknowledged violations of state and federal law, the VA routinely suggests that the problems do not affect patient care.”

A detailed analysis of Dr. Hollenbeck’s and Dr. Sherwood’s disclosures regarding patient care at the Jackson VAMC is enclosed with this letter. I have also enclosed a copy of the agency reports and the whistleblowers’ comments.

Ongoing Deficiencies in VA Responses to Whistleblower Disclosures 

OSC continues to receive a significant number of whistleblower disclosures from employees at VA facilities throughout the country.  We currently have over 50 pending cases, all of which allege threats to patient health or safety. I have referred 29 of these cases to the VA for investigation. This represents over a quarter of all cases referred by OSC for investigation government-wide.

I remain concerned about the Department’s willingness to acknowledge and address the impact these problems may have on the health and safety of veterans. The VA, and particularly the VA’s Office of the Medical Inspector (OMI), has consistently used a “harmless error” defense, where the Department acknowledges problems but claims patient care is unaffected. This approach has prevented the VA from acknowledging the severity of systemic problems and from taking the necessary steps to provide quality care to veterans. As a result, veterans’ health and safety has been unnecessarily put at risk.  Two recent cases illustrate the negative consequences of this approach.

First, in response to a disclosure from a VA employee in Fort Collins, CO, OSC received an OMI report confirming severe scheduling and wait time problems at that facility. The report confirmed multiple violations of VA policies, including the following:

  • A shortage of providers caused the facility to frequently cancel appointments for veterans.  After cancellations, providers did not conduct required follow-up, resulting in situations where “routine primary care needs were not addressed.”
  • The facility “blind scheduled” veterans whose appointments were canceled, meaning veterans were not consulted when rescheduling the appointment. If a veteran subsequently called to change the blind-scheduled appointment date, schedulers were instructed to record the appointment as canceled at the patient’s request. This had the effect of deleting the initial “desired date” for the appointment, so records would no longer indicate that the initial appointment was actually canceled by the facility.
  • At the time of the OMI report, nearly 3,000 veterans were unable to reschedule canceled appointments, and one nurse practitioner alone had a total of 975 patients who were unable to reschedule appointments.
  • Staff were instructed to alter wait times to make the waiting periods look shorter.
  • Schedulers were placed on a “bad boy” list if their scheduled appointments were greater than 14 days from the recorded “desired dates” for veterans.

In addition, OSC is currently investigating reprisal allegations by two schedulers who were reportedly removed from their positions at Fort Collins and reassigned to Cheyenne, WY, for not complying with the instructions to “zero out” wait times.  After these employees were replaced, the officially recorded wait times for appointments drastically “improved,” even though the wait times were actually much longer than the officially recorded data.

Despite these detailed findings, the OMI report concluded, “Due to the lack of specific cases for evaluation, OMI could not substantiate that the failure to properly train staff resulted in a danger to public health and safety.” This conclusion is not only unsupportable on its own, but is also inconsistent with reports by other VA components examining similar patient-care issues.  For example, the VA Office of Inspector General recently confirmed that delays in access to patient care for 1,700 veterans at the Phoenix Medical Center “negatively impacted the quality of care at the facility.”

In a second case, a VA psychiatrist disclosed serious concerns about patient neglect in a long-term mental health care facility in Brockton, MA.  The OMI report substantiated allegations about severe threats to the health and safety of veterans, including the following:

  • A veteran with a 100 percent service-connected psychiatric condition was a resident of the facility from 2005 to 2013. In that time, he had only one psychiatric note written in his medical chart, in 2012, when he was first examined by the whistleblower, more than seven years after he was admitted.  The note addressed treatment recommendations.
  • A second veteran was admitted to the facility in 2003, with significant and chronic mental health issues.  Yet, his first comprehensive psychiatric evaluation did not occur until 2011, more than eight years after he was admitted, when he was assessed by the whistleblower.  No medication assessments or modifications occurred until the 2011 consultation.

Despite these findings, OMI failed to acknowledge that the confirmed neglect of residents at the facility had any impact on patient care. Given the lack of accountability demonstrated in the first OMI report, OSC requested a follow-up report. The second report did not depart from the VA’s typical “harmless error” approach, concluding: “OMI feels that in some areas [the veterans’] care could have been better but OMI does not feel that their patient’s rights were violated.” Such statements are a serious disservice to the veterans who received inadequate patient care for years after being admitted to VA facilities.

Unfortunately, these are not isolated examples. Rather, these cases are part of a troubling pattern of deficient patient care at VA facilities nationwide, and the continued resistance by the VA, and OMI in most cases, to recognize and address the impact on the health and safety of veterans. The following additional examples illustrate this trend:

  • In Montgomery, AL, OMI confirmed a whistleblower’s allegations that a pulmonologist copied prior provider notes to represent current readings in over 1,200 patient records, likely resulting in inaccurate patient health information being recorded.  OMI stated that it could not substantiate whether this activity endangered patient health.
  • In Grand Junction, CO, OMI substantiated a whistleblower’s concerns that the facility’s drinking water had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria, and standard maintenance and cleaning procedures required to prevent bacterial growth were not performed. After identifying no “clinical consequences” resulting from the unsafe conditions for veterans, OMI determined there was no substantial and specific danger to public health and safety.
  • In Ann Arbor, MI, a whistleblower alleged that employees were practicing unsafe and unsanitary work practices and that untrained employees were improperly handling surgical instruments and supplies. As a result, OMI partially substantiated the allegations and made 12 recommendations.  Yet, the whistleblower informed OSC that it was not clear whether the implementation of the corrective actions resulted in better or safer practices in the sterilization and processing division. OMI failed to address the whistleblower’s specific continuing concerns in a supplemental report.
  • In Buffalo, NY, OMI substantiated a whistleblower’s allegation that health care professionals do not always comply with VA sterilization standards for wearing personal protective equipment, and that these workers occasionally failed to place indicator strips in surgical trays and mislabeled sterile instruments. OMI did not believe that the confirmed allegations affected patient safety.
  • In Little Rock, AR, OMI substantiated a whistleblower’s allegations regarding patient care, including one incident when suction equipment was unavailable when it was needed to treat a veteran who later died. OMI’s report found that there was not enough evidence to sustain the allegation that the lack of available equipment caused the patient’s death. After reviewing the actions of the medical staff prior to the incident, OMI concluded that the medical care provided to the patient met the standard of care.
  • In Harlingen, TX, the VA Deputy Under Secretary for Health confirmed a whistleblower’s allegations that the facility did not comply with rules on the credentialing and privileging of surgeons.  The VA also found that the facility was not paying fee-basis physicians in a timely manner, resulting in some physicians refusing to care for VA patients.  The VA, however, found that there was no substantial and specific danger to public health and safety resulting from these violations.
  • In San Juan, PR, the VA’s Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care Operations substantiated a whistleblower’s allegations that nursing staff neglected elderly residents by failing to assist with essential daily activities, such as bathing, eating, and drinking. OSC sought clarification after the VA’s initial report denied that the confirmed conduct constituted a substantial and specific danger to public health. In response, the VA relented and revised the report to state that the substantiated allegations posed significant and serious health issues for the residents.

Next Steps 

The goal of any effective whistleblower system is to encourage disclosures, identify and examine problem areas, and find effective solutions to correct and prevent identified problems from recurring.  Acting Secretary Gibson recognized as much in a June 13, 2014, statement to all VA employees.  He specifically noted, “Relatively simple issues that front-line staff may be aware of can grow into significantly larger problems if left unresolved.” I applaud Acting Secretary Gibson for recognizing the importance of whistleblower disclosures to improving the effectiveness and quality of health care for our veterans and for his commitment to identifying problems early in order to find comprehensive solutions.

Moving forward, I recommend that the VA designate a high-level official to assess the conclusions and the proposed corrective actions in OSC reports, including disciplinary actions, and determine if the substantiated concerns indicate broader or systemic problems requiring attention. My staff and I look forward to working closely with VA leadership to ensure that our veterans receive the quality health care services they deserve.

As required by 5 U.S.C. § 1213(e)(3), I have sent copies of the agency reports and whistleblowers’ comments to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Committees on Veterans’ Affairs. I have also filed copies of the redacted reports and the whistleblowers’ comments in OSC’s public file, which is available online at  www.osc.gov.

Respectfully,

Carolyn N. Lerner

 

Read More: https://www.cnn.com//2014/06/23/politics/veterans-care-va-report/index.html

#####

Voc Rehab Survival GuideBenjamin Krause is an award winning investigative reporter, Veterans Benefits Law attorney, and disabled veteran of the US Air Force, where he served in its Special Operations Command. He attended Northwestern University and  the University of Minnesota Law School using VA Vocational Rehabilitation.

While in law school, Benjamin won his decade-long fight for full disability benefits and now helps others do the same with this website and his guide, the Voc Rehab Survival Guide for Veterans. Since its first publication in 2011, the guide has helped the veteran community receive millions in untapped benefits through the VA Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment program. 

Connect with Benjamin on  Google+,  Twitter,  Facebook and LinkedIn.

Stay informed on VA news, scandals and benefits. Get our daily newsletter via email.

17343

DisabledVeterans.org

Get our free daily newsletter.

25 Comments

  1. If over a million Americans defected to Russia like the Russians defected to America after Glasnost and Peristroika, there would be millions of Americans in Russia, matriculated into their society as Russians, but still thinking and acting as Americans. They would be deliberately undermining all levels of Russian society, including in the military, government, and within veterans affairs. Does anyone get my point of what I am saying here? Can you guess what I am getting at?

    • I do get your point of view Bruce. I have read “The Rape of the Mind” by Joost Abraham Maurits Meerloo, a while back and Charlotte Iserbyt book, ” The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America” . But most of our fellow Americans are fat, dumb and happy with apathy.

      • MarinesDoc are you Navy? Asking as I was and medical. A young 18 year old who graduated a year early from High School don’t ask why my dream of the Navy and helping others because I’ve always helped in some form or fashion. Bruce, I deliberately do not watch the news, because it is doing nothing but making people believe “conservative or liberal.” Truth is as I’ve educated others most individuals are not far to the left nor far to the right. You can “google political designation of tests” to see where you stand. I am also very informed by actually reading and I do give a damn about our future. I truly think if you listen to JFK speech regarding aspects of a future country he is trying to state “people in groups” who wish to control the country. History does repeat itself as we are seeing, and George Carlin said it best regarding PTSD. Now, I did an FOIA and asked for every piece of detailed piece of information which means all phone calls, emails, post it notes and anything I had to get and have it sent to them. Now I do have PTSD, as I was assaulted, stalked, attended his Captains Mast then my life threatened. Not but a few months later, a creature of habit, after working on the med/surg ward I would see if any messages and I was just damn nice. I don’t understand why people can’t believe that, but it was just me. A new barracks room, a shower then I heard keys. My room mates were older, the room was just for duty, they would call out and let me know it was them. However it wasn’t, half wet, grabbed a quilt and tried to hold the door shut, well I shall let you think what happened next. I was numb. I feared for my life because I knew the crowd this guy and his wife hung out with, drug dealers. The young mind shuts down, protecting itself, and a door I locked but did ask to terminate my shore duty. I don’t want to discuss the negatives but a “sponge for knowledge,” I wanted to be a physician assistant, and I wanted to be far away from home. Now imagine, 32 years later, that door that gave me nightmares, made me constantly check the doors, and worry over my children. I went on and have continued learning, and my knowledge is expansive, but when “professionals lie,” when you see a memo stating “could be PTSD from MST, but check for other disorders.” Now my medical records can’t be found, exit exam and yes an injured back, I’ve caught these dirty bastards and I do plan on reporting each and everyone of them. A guy called me last week asking was I going to reopen my case and report her, I stated, “if it was you, what would you do?” Her obscure diagnosis, “attention seeking, not sure of her sexuality?” Seriously, I truly like men? Yes, you see I am a whistle blower, did she need to see the card from the Feds? Let me say this, when this is done to me, “how many others?” I don’t care about the rating now, it’s a matter of ethics and a code of conduct, and if they cannot abide by it, then you do not deserve to do the job were honesty, not harming as in “DO NO HARM?” People have committed suicide because they think they are crazy, and they truly have lost all hope. These morons are doing harm, and the base a large one, Orlando Florida and I am a plank owner of that hospital which is now a VA one. My daughter was born there, odd enough since I could work any area with ease, I knew some of the staff there, shocking to see they left but came back, including my Chief. Seriously, they don’t want to find the shore patrol records, why would they wish to see I am right? But this IS NOT THE COUNTRY I BELIEVED IT TO BE AND ALL POLITICIANS ARE NOTHING MORE THAN “GRAND STANDING” WISHING TO HELP. TRUST ME, A LITMUS TEST GIVEN? FAILED!!! But never think someone has no clue when she really has a big clue. My back and the VA? They assigned it as an MST event? WTF? Injury carrying a huge guy a recruit down three flights of twisting stairs. I don’t play well with those that lie, and I know how to speak calmly, then listen to how they reply. Their pitch goes up, their voices is a give away, especially if they start talking faster, damn, your nailed! I am a SAILOR, NO SOLDIERS ON THAT BASE, IT WAS NAVY! Now how I caught all this? By asking for my records-but even when I went in for my back, cunning and smarter. Imagine, I asked for an x-ray, I saw the swelling, not good, but falsifying documents? You are so burned. I do not give a damn if GODS were in charge, I FEAR NO ONE, I HAD THREE KIDS! I say what I think, blunt open and honest, and if you can’t take my heat? Then don’t tickle the dragon! But because of my 3 surgeries, an article I read, because I still love all aspects of well being, including mental well being. Now this is the tough part, as I really did my own detective work, when my fusion failed they put in a cage, with extra sponges. These idiots failed to read this? Yes, I truly feel superior to all these morons! I will now find a lawyer, we are talking millions, but what a price I shall pay and may never be able to enjoy my simple pleasures. I was going for Social Work, I wanted to advocate for Veterans, and I do not mean micro level, but macro, because of my own code of ethics and conduct that I believe in. This country has sepsis, a blood running infection that can kill rather quickly, much faster than any cancer. Yes they do wish you to sign a DNR, but my middle digit wants to tell them “this is for all of you whores who do the dirty work!” You can call me a psycho bitch from hell, it’s a compliment, because I was competent and care truly about others. I will never be able to run and play with my granddaughter, and I fear my children wanting to feel totally responsible for me, I don’t wish that. I’ve told them all, “this is your life, but, don’t be walking zombies to what is going on around you!” George W. Bush never was a fly boy, the only thing he was flying on was his cocaine high! How would I know this? Because no personal doctors can do a flight physical, all flight staff, and I do mean ALL, must have to pass the testing of a flight surgeon! My eldest and I argued over him and Cheney, I stated “wait and see, you’re not doing your adult homework!” Now think why I would say that? It is called an AMENDMENT, and if you need to check it, AMENDMENT XII. Jefferson was wise, in fact probably way ahead of his time, and he purposely as well as others, left the power to the people. That does mean, “IF ITS BROKE, THEN FIX IT PEOPLE!” But fat, dumb and working at a controlling wage-what better way to contrioll the “MASSES THAN INSTALLING FEAR!” The PATRIOT ACT IS “NOT PATRIOTIC!” So don’t blame just one side, it’s all sides, and time for the youth who are smarter, wiser, waiting, trust me, and shall see this country crumble. However if I do get awarded millions, I will fight high and I don’t fight fair when it comes to my body and the losses I will endure. Maybe I should tell them, you must leave this place behind, because this country is such a mess, and sadly just getting worse. It is a big universe, and since humans in charge wish to make themselves like dinasours, go for it who’s stopping you, the planet will regenerate and my suggestion, “sign up for Mars!” ( we are the axis of evil, truly, that is how we are seen, sadly, because I remember times when it seemed we would really do better, but full circle-as stated, “History repeats itself.” ) I value life, I value those who have fought, I also know a FACT-THEY DO SANITIZE RECORDS. TRUST ME, SADLY AND UNFORTUNATE BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE DO HAVE ETHICS, VALUES THAT ARE HIGHER, AND DO NOT THINK ANYONE WHO SERVES-SHOULD BE COUNTED AS COLLATERAL DAMAGE-BUT DAMN, VETERANS CERTAINLY ARE! “AMERICAN IDIOTS” go figure!

      • Yes I am, Denise. a Navy corpsman and the motto of the US Navy is lie & deny until you die. I was at the academy when that pederast Cdr. Kevin Ronan, was stationed and during his trial, no enlisted persons were allowed to testify, most of the corpsman’s at Bancroft Hall knew about his sex parties and that his conviction was about “his gayness” yeah right !!!
        Lets not get into his falsification of medical records of illegal drug use of Mids. I guess it pays to be ivy league educated gay doctor in the Navy.

      • Well, “I rest my case!” Just because you went to a “smart peoples” school, doesn’t mean you truly are smart at all. I say that in response to the “C&P” psychologist, who trust me, has no clue when, what, how or will I, ( cunning can truly be a most useful weapon) send in to her boards, to the APA and imagine, I shall pick each word a part and tell them how they take words and they mean something different. Example-there is no dumb in my family. My worst migraine day I can score 128 on an IQ test, but really, 135. However, I was blessed with “common sense” and I do retain my skills of service. Now, I can’t always do, what I once did, so instead I decided pay it forward. No I do not have a large bank account, but, I really do not believe “take it with you” works, do you? I decided, since I have used nooks of every generation, I bought nooks then more nook tablets, and decided give them to others. Those who did not have one, asked, “nook color and made into a device to also be a droid useful?” Yes, a Marine who has a “man-cave” but an old alpha geek too. ( there is old, then my youngest of course young, both despise apple-fun did I have whipping my first one out and young one saw it, as if anyone can control me?) I do not know how many, nor do I really care? But “life” is your best teacher. Humbleness, gratitude, and laughter I do so enjoy. Spot light no thank you, trust me, I may start it, but I will make it a joint effort so no one states “who.” I hated high school, gee, is it because the way classes were given out? When you go from a V to a B and asked would you like to retain your maiden name? Nightmares of that do-over, no thanks, I shall take a “B.” My responses “picked through” and words can take a new meaning. Because asked how I did in school, younger, could have skipped, mom stated no, damn tested out early! ( NOT A GED) In college damn constantly trying, but journey on and you never have a clue. I was asked to “pay to join” that GPA and local as well as national. Now, this is how words can be taken out of context, because I had said, “I shall not waste my money to grand stand nor shame others, I know for many who “do their best, but will out do anyone else in a chosen profession, because LIFE has been there teacher.” Define? Seriously, asked by someone who should get exactly as stated? I thought, “smart people who need to show others, but pay for it too? Does that sound like smart to you?” Maybe she and hell, so many others at the VA’s have no reality or clarity and cannot make a living in a competitive market when a consumer of any service people want the best, NOW TRUST ME-BEN, I ADMIRE! But again, wasn’t “LIFE” IS HIS TEACHER? Also “question my sexuality,” as I am not sure what I prefer? Um, 3 kids and my youngest I say maybe I should be a “cougar,” because I like Jax Teller! (Not a reality show, but I do like bikes with motors-my uncle ( maternal) raced and was state champion-and has done the circle of racing) I wore 501 Levi’s and baseball shirts, excuse me, did I miss the memo? I was suppose to wear a dress everywhere I went? ( I can’t imagine hiking, canoeing, camping or water skiing in one, can you?) As a Doc, who I trust my life to you better than any of these VA, um not ones but playing dress up? I told my own real Doctor, they are idiots at this VA. No one pays attention to details! I am sure you’ve heard that phrase? Gee, with all my records, and my detail oriented mind, “I HAVE FOUND THE ISSUE.” I will not be returning to these idiots in the system, one nurse only shall I certainly praise. I had told my doctor, just wait, he knows me, quiet means ruh oh, deadly. Now I shall bring it all home so he can have a record, I truly hope one I’ve asked will be willing. I will not say why. So obviously you’ve dealt with “stupid,” no matter where you went to school. But when I make my case and point against this highly unprofessional in a profession she is not worthy? Do you think when I make my complaint it will only hold my own words? Ah, this is no longer about me, but harming others. Not a bragging mom, but a fun one, and “knew how to listen.” When my youngest, and I mean 1st grade, 2nd grade, tested because he was bright, he failed them. So, “listen” as if you were a child, and a child states, I just want to be a normal kid, then by Gods he shall be one! Sometimes hell wait, most times those who are covered with Ivy? I rather think it’s not the kind one enjoys in a garden, but the one called “POISONED IVY!” NAVY-NEVER AGAIN VOLUNTEER YOURSELF! ( although that just means stay away from these idiots who won’t put themselves in harms way just “all of us” who are to die for their country, but won’t mind in the least even after service to try and kill you off! ) just FYI, all of my kids now adults are extremely smart but have common sense, and never did I say “follow” but always say “lead” and please speak your mind. My daughter did stand up in a 4th/5th grade class, she younger, but damn, smarter did say quite loudly she did not need math, she was going to be an artist! Imagine, a mom saying, “I get that, but, you do need math for your art, see mom makes quilts? That is math in my art!” She finished college in 3 years, ready now for where she works? A huge financial institution, ( started by Italians!) and a manager of many, sweet voice, but can cut the tallest man down using her words wisely in less than 30 seconds! Sorry for the long response, I always enjoy knowing my fellow Docs! Yes, the marine? I LIKE HIM IN HIS MAN-CAVE! 🙂
        Blessings and hopefully you are doing well, I really do mean I CARE ABOUT OTHERS!

  2. I HATE TO SAY IT, BUT “I KNEW THE CARE I WAS RECEIVING (JACKSON, MS VAMC) WAS SUSPECT. IREMEMBER HOW THE VA WAS AND HOW IT IS NOW.(1976 COMPARED TO 2005).
    THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN LONG WAIT TIMES, BUT IN THE “OLDEN DAYS” YOU GOT TO SEE A DOC, NOT A TECH. IDO NOT KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE 2, BUT THE CARE SEEMED TO BE MORE “PROFESSIONAL. THERE IS ALWAYS A NEED FOR ASSISTANTS, BUT THEY ARE NOT TO BE THE ONLY PROVIDERS.
    WE GAVE “PROFESSIONAL” SERVICE(ACCORDING TO OUR TRAINING/MOS), SO IN RETURN DON’T WE DESERVE PROFESSIONAL CARE ?

  3. On June 3, Ben wrote up an article titled “White House Babysitter sent to VA for Scandal and Transition Oversight” which explained that Obama had sent Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors to do damage control at the VA.

    In my response, I suggested that Nabors was a “cleaner” who is a political operative that creates false narratives to help fix messes that politicians create.

    Well, three weeks later, we now see the handiwork of Obama’s cleaner attempting to fix Obama’s mess at the VA.

    CNN is now reporting that VA officials are still manipulating scheduling records and hiding the body count of veterans who died while waiting for care.

    This suggests to me that Nabors is aggressively directing these VA officials to continue the usual VA pattern of malpractice to lie, deny, and conceal information detrimental to Obama’s legacy as President.

    With no shame, Obama has spit in the eye of every veteran who relies on the VA for their healthcare needs.

    Does this infuriate you?

    Are you ready to stop voting for elitist politicians who would rather veterans die than give them the medical care they deserve and then unashamedly cover-up these deaths?

    But guess what?

    It’s only going to get worse in the future!

    Hillary Clinton is next up to be an Obama II.

    If you think Obama was bad, Hillary will be 100x worse.

    She has a very long history of sacrificing others in order to advance her nefarious political career.

    And with her sitting at the White House desk, be prepared to be sacrificed to her own political legacy as she ignores you, the military veteran.

    The CNN link is below.

    Why did you surrender your veteran’s privilege to Obama? Will you surrender your veteran’s privilege to Hillary Clinton, also?

  4. Oh-oh.

    The Drudge Report is exploding right now with new links to extreme cases of abuse at the VA!

    “REPORT: Perverts, murderers at VA…

    Whistle Blower: At least 7 vet deaths covered up in Phoenix…

    Five month backlog in Memphis…

    AUDIT: Vet waited 8 years for PTSD treatment…”

    The VA system has now fallen to Dante’s Ninth Circle of Hell, which is reserved for those damned souls who committed treacherous and fraudulent acts while alive.

    The new VA slogan Obama has implemented is now “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

  5. I think the VA doesnt want to get any better. Look what they get from all these scandals. 54 Billion more dollars. They are like their own mafia, and there is no one willing to take them on. Congress is broken. Just watch a Veterans Affairs briefing. THe Republicans hammer the VA, and people like Corrine Brown from the Democrats say there is no problem in Florida. The McCain and Sanders bill is not strong enough, and now there is a conference committee to hammer out differences which will water the bill down to not much more than eye candy for the politicians. Look what a corrupt and criminal organization gets. $54 Billion. They were already carrying money over. Sharon Helman is still getting paid when she should be in jail on manslaughter charges. Nothing will change. The VA’s Medical office of Investigation seems to always substantiate allegations , but they always say it never harmed vets. Ridiculous…….

  6. I wrote to President Obama in 2009. He is the first President who failed to have a letter responded to. When where was no response for several months I wrote to Mrs. Obama who has a large staff. Same Results. No Response. My Story: I was dignosed with cancer in November 2013. I was told my next available appointment was in September 9 th. 2014. for operation in San Francisco. I could not wait. I went to a private doctor at my own expense. The longest time I was able to talk to a doctor at my local clinic in Clear Lake CA, which is one of the best in the VA system, the doctor did not seem concerned about the cancer, he spent nearly 40 minutes going over and trying to convince me to sign an advanced directive of what to do with my body and the advantages of doing a DNR, DO NOT RECITATE. The concern was clear to me DIE QUICKLY AND DON’T COST THE SYSTEM ANY MONEY. I was nearly killed in an accident in the Philippines in 1958 and had a TBI and no memory for some time. I was probably treated at the Naval Hospital at Subic Bay. The government lost all of my medical records, muster reports, after action reports of action in the shelling of Quimoy while on the USS DUNCAN where I was injured again. The VA lost my first two informal claims in Oakland CA filed in 1996 and 1997. Even though I have a social security dignosis of TBI, Stroke, PTSD and award in 1993 which is exactly the same as what was determined to be service connected in a VA award in 2004 the VA DENIED and Earlier Effictive Date with the excuse there are no records which support the claim! The Government Lost or Destoyed the Record and use that as a basis to DENY MY CLAIM.
    THANK YOU PRESIDENT OBAMA YOU ARE THE WORST PRESIDENT IN AMERICAN HISTORY.

  7. I’m not old enough to have made the Korean conflict,but I did experience the Vietnam era. Now let me clarify the fact that I believe we live in the most wonderful country in the world,or i would live somewhere else. Do I think the DoD,CIA,SOD,JCOS would evade the truth to the VA or GAO I know they have and will. One of the best example’s of this is plausability denial of any Raibow Herbicides on Okinawa during Operation Project 112/SHAD,one of the most researched internet articles I have read is( TEAD,RMA,UMDA,PUDA,CON,OKC)on speedydeletions,after reading it I wonder why the news media has not decided this is a sensational cover up story from the DoD and possibly the VA and GAO. If it looks like a duck,walks like a duck,quacks like a duck,flies like a duck,and swims like a duck then there is a better than average chance it’s a DUCK!!! I personally think it’s time some feet were held to the fire for accountability.

  8. The only thing we can expect to see from VA is more and more pathological LYING and falsifying of records — and more vets dying or suffering serious complications or even permanent disabilities due to lack of care, failure to diagnose, delays in treatment, etc.

    What should be abundantly clear at this point is that these VA Central Office officials, right on down to the local VA medical centers executive management staff, are pathological LIARS who actually believe their own lies. This is also known as sociopathic behavior that stems from a serious mental health condition. Quite literally these people are very sick in their heads and have no comprehension of their evil deeds.

    Perhaps the best way to define them is by using the old-fashioned terms we all can understand and agree on: Its called Wickedness and Evil.

    These VA officials are agents of the devil himself since God tells us in the Bible that Satan is the father of lies — and all who tell such horrendous lies are those that have submitted to Satan’s powers. They are doing his will — which is to see people suffer.

    I would not be surprised to have a story come out that there is indeed a large number of VA employees who are active Satan worshippers or involved in some screwy occult group that delights in doing such evil things to helpless, innocent veterans in need of medical care. I dread going to my VA medical center since it never produces any results and my suffering only gets worse.

    • Well said Lawrence. When I see what happening now with the VA, it reminds me of the demonology surrounding Lt. Col. Michael Aquino and NSA & ritual child abuse back in the early 80`s, sick and perverted people doing there masters work.

    • Lawrence, I guess I am a “strange one,” because since I was young I always knew Empathy, and imagine, in the 1960’s growing up Catholic, what else, but a very progressive priest way ahead of his time, from Ireland ( gee, my mom has some of that) thought it was completely acceptable to study other beliefs and encouraged it. It was stated in a way of, many roads to Los Angeles, but they take you to that city. So, I have. Now, you bring up the word Satan, interesting to say the least. The old Aramaic writing describes this, and are you ready to know what it means? EGO. Your EGO is the Driver of what you decide, desire, you know right from wrong, but if your EGO IS LIKE MANY WE HAVE SITTING REPRESENTING THE “PEOPLE” they are not acting like the “public servants” they should be. Do you ever wonder why we seem to not accomplish anything? I sure do. But I just see all these “EGO DRIVEN POLITICIANS WHO ARE PATHOLOGICALLY CHALLENGED IN SOME WAY AND LOVE TO KEEP THAT JOB BECAUSE HEY, WHAT BETTER PLACE TO BE THAN IN THE KNOW?” We have yet to see any real presentation except from a few. One, an Independent, which is what I am. A professor I had thought he knew me and asked if I had anything to do with politics, I stated I had, but, what he was referring to was when I had who knows which number on the back surgery! And the news bothered me greatly, especially 9/11, because that Friday before was the 1st of many, and I turned on the news and thought is this a movie? No, it was not. Yes, I am on pain meds, but, because I just have to be so damn different, I am about 2% of the population who does not get sleepy, but feels damn wired on them. And I can flip in a second when it comes to stronger drugs. ( ask my spine surgeon, he entered and I commenced operation puke on the Doctor! And he hates puke! I know, I worked for him) But you see, I was attentive when I realized it was happening, and for a reason. I noticed, a third building went down, and since that was so long ago, it baffled me. So, questions, tons of them, how did that happen? Now why I was concerned? A father fire fighter, a son fire fighter, the son was getting off his shift, but went in and never came out. You know Italians, you think every Italian is related after awhile. But it was extremely sad to hear his name called, and super sad for a father, a parent doesn’t get over a loss. So, when you say SATAN-THINK EGO. And then you certainly have described the narcissistic pathology that runs rabid amongst a group of individuals that are not “Public Servants,” but self loving individuals who wish nothing more than to be KING OF THE SAND BOX and do anything to out shine another! When I stated, lobbyist being appointed in positions, it really becomes a conflict of what is right, and what is wrong. You see, I have told my doctor on several occasions, “I REFUSE TO BE A WALKING PHARMACEUTICAL LAB RAT!” Now, why would anyone think that a doctor who is not a God, he really doesn’t see himself that way, he is trying to help, but I am one who will go home, look up this drug, see how many weeks were the studies, very important, trust me, ( because years ago studies were longer ) then I read what people say they are experiencing on this “new wonder drug.” If I see too many similarities of side effects, no way, and the drug is $200.00 a month? Oh hell to the big NO!
      I saw someone stated “fat happy and dumbing down of Americans.” There is a book on that. And just FYI, there are Americans who are leaving this country, that is a factual statement. They do not care for what is happening in this country, so, they are leaving. Do you know I have often thought of a book written years ago? “Everything I needed to know I learned in kindergarten,” needs to be a pre-requisite to read once a month by each politician and then make them present a paper of examples how they can apply that to “public servants” and no plagiarism, no same paper twice, must stand up and read looking at all of us watching.” But, I am a realists, and know, will never happen.”
      So, say SATAN = EGO and you do have it totally correct! Ben is going to hate me soon. I hope you all understand, I cannot sit without pain, I wish to play my cello, I want to learn the little mermaid for my granddaughter, and you know, there are a couple of Nirvana songs on YouTube if you care to listen, and they are playing the songs with what? A cello! Also, I wish to sew. And go see the child that “Graced” my daughter, who is now in her two’s and keeping two parents extremely busy, as my partner stated, my daughter was telling her to give SiSu ( it is a Finnish word, look up its meaning, damn stubborn he is) a hug. She was rather enjoying taking bits of paper off a crayon and dad was walking behind her picking it up. My partner stated, “is she ready for lipstick, I am sure you want her kissing walls right?” My daughter stated no lipstick! She had done this as a young child, unfortunately in an apartment, so we really couldn’t cut the wall and save it. But she does get why parents laugh at their children now, let us hope that continues, and see at 12-16 how well they laugh then!
      Yes, a story must be told. Because I am one who is concerned for the future, this young grandchild will be the only for my daughter, and we certainly feel blessed, but I don’t like the fact she is catching up to me in age, she turned 30 Monday, and I am only 36! 🙂

      Just FYI-she took some of my music with her, but mom? I LOVE ALL MUSIC!
      I play it loud and play it proud! And who cares? ( my damn annoying adult children!)

  9. I guess we shall call this “story time.” In 1976 The Bi-Centenial was celebrated, I was with family and for my Uncles marriage #2 ( his first wife had past away). But, since we were there, “Dad” wanted to show where they lived for a time but also to go see a friend. Now, I don’t know if anyone here watched the Sopranos Show, but in the beginning of that show you see this pig. I kept thinking, is that the pig where we had gone? It turned up again in a conversation so I had to look it up and see, “it was.” Since we speak of our System that is severely broken, let me tell you about meeting my dad’s friend, I am a bit shy around those I don’t know well, now with PTSD call it a bit cautious. I just wish he would hurry up because I was extremely uncomfortable there, and finely, we can go! We get in the car and he says, there sure was a lot of bodies that went through there, now I am thinking animals and I said yes to do what they do, I imagine they had animals bodies
    In the back. He stated, no not animals but humans. It is a long story regarding the mafia family that my dad “hung out” with. And he acted like the typical Italian male as the last child, that my other two uncles did not. He had his own rules, he dictated how long on the phone, he told me the places I could not work in, but I got a job that was not on his list. I am the very pale black sheep of the family and I have done things he opposed but as an adult none of your business!
    So, I would safely say, “yes, it certainly does act like an American Mafia that from the top to the bottom all “their fantasy I own it so I can do whatever the hell I wish to do with it.
    When someone steps down in a political system that is corrupted by lobbyists, the person is taking ownership for all of it. But, do you believe everything you see? Remember, a 15 year old girl, gee, thanks, and yes I know all about “the family” and all details that a book written didn’t know as much as I was told.
    The VA is extremely corrupt, you can’t even go to the emergency room without someone stating why are you in my ER? Imagine, I believe I stated, I was and will always be Medical. The information doesn’t disappear only is that I see, newer technology. But for a person who on the outside worked ER, ICU& CCU and more can be added. Was this an emergency? That is a question that can be a determining fact what one considers the situation at hand. YES it was an emergency! I was in and out in 20 minutes asked for an x-ray, see this is the problem, they do not know how to listen. I needed one for my t-spine, but since listening skills are lacking I got one of the fusion site, he the tech male stand bye, is a no go. And her and him state “there ain’t nothing wrong with you,” swearing about a VETERAN IN HER ER. I can read an x-ray, there was something wrong, because the soft tissue was very swollen, but I left. When it was read as abnormal, “quick back track, we have to cover our “assets” move but, I am sure she had no idea or the extent of my knowledge. In my favor, “SLAM DUNK!” Within a Mafia Organization, ( the Soprano’a will be the example and a bit that I may share) you have the Boss, the head of the family sometimes also an Italian Word for it so it is easier to talk out in the open regarding each position and the role they shall play. BUT, if someone doesn’t like the Top Guy, you do not know which level orders may come from and where or how they are distributed. Also within the organization, there maybe a few Captains who flat out disagree and will run it how they see fit , hoping along the way, someone will be “THE BOSS.” In this case of the last VA Head apologized for not knowing the depth of activities (ex:) for instance, you go in for an appointment, it is for your back, instead, you meet if I dare believe she is or what you call but, flip burgers? Making a diagnosis the patient states no, finally the patient stated, “I am here for my back.” You see, the test she ordered and for what she maybe hoped to find, you still have to have a “code” to apply for that procedure as well as the “complaint stated ONLY BY THE PATIENT. I guess when you mess up, don’t worry, they have the “fixer” who will look up some diagnostic code that is required or else you can find yourself not getting money for the procedure. This goes for all VA Hospitals, Clinics, etc… It HAS TO BE JUSTIFIABLE TO REQUEST AND HAVE THAT TEST. So “Who is the Fixer?” Because that is not a legal action as well. But to state that the “patient came in for their back, you don’t decide to replace it with an “imaginary symptoms” like bladder distention x 3 months. Now the delay regarding appointments, you are told to make an appointment to another clinic because you may feel “no one hears what I am saying, no one has asked my history or the number of surgeries I have had. That information is extremely important that a COMPETENT DOCTOR SHOULD ASK, BUT DO WE HAVE INCOMPETENT DOCTORS OR A SYSTEM THAT SEVERAL HIGHER UPS MANIPULATE AND EXPRESS HOW THEY SHOULD FOLLOW A NON-ETHICAL APPROACH AND MAKE BARRIERS SO IT MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR A PATIENT TO SEE A DOCTOR, COMPETENT OR NOT, YOU CALL THE NUMBER GET PUT ON HOLD THEN ANOTHER VOICE AND YOU EXPLAIN WHAT YOU NEED TO DO, THIS PERSON CHASES YOU AWAY, THESE ARE THE “GATE KEEPERS AND USUALLY A NURSE.”
    This is an example of what goes wrong when “greed takes over,” and it most certainly has, there should be no surprises that we have A “Boss” who has no idea of several fractions fighting beneath him because who reports to him may not be given the truth.
    In this story, I could use other mafia words, but I don’t want a huh? So, tried to keep it simple. You don’t know if several factions are all on the same page to replace the Boss, or more who won’t go against the rules and realize this job is extremely important, wants the best care possible for Veterans.
    Make the picture larger you begin to see that it isn’t just the VA, it is at all levels in a system of collapsing the “old system” because of one thing-GREED. We have the special interest groups as well as Lobbyists and scarier yet, a member of one of these becomes in charge of departments and when that happens, it works two-fold. One, they have who they wished for and two, they know they can get income generated for that company they worked for. Easy one here who did this-Dick Cheney.
    We see the propaganda being spread around that people fake PTSD do they fake MST too? I think someone is doing some back room deals so the VA implodes.
    You have involved many in this game, and some who may handle the finances in some way, sometimes they “deserve a raise.” So who will miss it?
    Sadly, there are some really great people out there who wish to work at a VA because they personally want to serve those who served their country and for them it isn’t money, it really is to give back.
    I believe I have mentioned, “get copies of your medical records” more than once. Now, I do not know if changes have been made to freeze a person from changing vital information but the one thing I do know, a computer “never forgets!”
    As for myself, I could not believe what I saw, I’m am very detail oriented when it comes to Medical, so I do know right from wrong, and there is a whole lotta wrong going on! If you have your records, and the VA offers to Amend the Records, say no. Because it is important that lie or lies unbelievably, you want there, it is “append the record,” which means the lie stays, my two cents? Don’t do anything with it, you know right and you will recognize wrong, I just happen to have a vast amount of knowledge, tons of books that I am waiting for the “perfect moment” to give and strike back. Every time you go to the VA you get a copy after each visit, and if you see an outside Doctor, you can always use the excuse “he/she just wants a copy for my record there as well. ( or, you? Ideas given and a good way to get, but you don’t have to give a reason at all).
    The whole system is corrupt, and right now what can the “average Veteran” do about it?
    Think of the Vietnam Veterans, they will pass a genome on the DNA strand that can lead right back to the government, “DO YOU HONESTLY BELIEVE THEY WISH TO PAY FOR GENERATIONS OF HEALTH CARE?”
    “Keep your friends close, but meet your enemy and look them in the eyes.”

  10. I’ve petitioned the chief judge in “Trueman v. Obama, DOJ/DVA-IG et al” to incorporate “OSC” as a defendant in the wake of their July 10, 2014 arbitrary dismissal of the very same abuses in the DVA mental health system explained above. Justice is for US Vets and loved ones to take if we truly want it!

  11. God and Country, is something this Vietnam veteran once believed in.I still believe in God. My last visit to the VA psychiatrist, I spent the 20 minutes, being screamed at by Dr Van Sickle, for complaining that my meds were coming a week late, since she took over. Then threatened with being banned from VA. I was granted 30 % for heart attacks in 1999, and my PTSD claim was lost. After reading all the treachery associated with VA, the number of people who are truly guilty of breaking laws to keep their jobs, and who knows the truth about how many vets have died because of the lies, angers the he’ll out of me. I’m open to options..

    • We have become a caregiver for my brother-in-law who is a Vietnam veteran. He was shot in the leg there. He is being given over 25 medications, including anti-depressant, antipsychotic and memory loss. He is receiving 30% disability. He has shot a brother, tried to shoot another brother, viciously beaten three wives, abandoned three children, will not bath, eats only from cans, throws trash and food on floor, toilets in his pants 75% of the time, the list is endless. We have tried to find out what exactly he is being treated for, so that we can better understand his behavior. The Doctors refuse to talk to us about his condition and have told us he has never had a psychological evaluation. They do not tell us what we need in order to receive this information as his caretakers and will not even return our calls. At this point in time, we have to do everything for him and if we try to get him to bath, or eat properly, etc. he become belligerent and threatening. He has taken over our life, yet the VA refuses to help us help him. Our lives have become a living hell.

  12. HTHE VA IS FEDERAL RICO CRIME RACKET RUN BY AFGE UNION CONTRACTS AND FEDERAL CFR 38 LAWS AND CODES THE MAFIA IS CHUMP CHANGE TO VA RICO CRIME RACKETS FOR AFGE UNION HELL VETS YO ARE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SCREWED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. We’гe a ɡroup of volunteers and starting а brannd
    new schewme iin oᥙr community. Уouг website offered սs wіth helpful inforation to wotk оn. Yоu’νe done a formidable
    job аnd oour wһole grooup ϲan be grateful tⲟ yօu.

Comments are closed.