Veterans Affairs Blows $6 Bil Yearly On Unlawful Purchases

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Veterans Affairs

Benjamin KrauseEach and every year, Veterans Affairs spends at least $6 billion in violation of federal contract rules on purchases for medical care and supplies. The spending is not only a waste of taxpayer money, but it also puts veterans at risk if the product is inferior or unmonitored.

Agency head Robert McDonald received a 35-page document accusing agency leadership of gross mismanagement and general unlawful activities. Jan Frye wrote a procurement officer the document. DC insiders victimized Frye when he called out unlawful practices by other VA leaders.

RELATED: Congress Defended Disgraced VA Contractor

Washington Post highlighted 9 takeaways from the document written by Jan Frye from VA procurement:

  1. Veterans are at risk if the government does not have contracts for private medical care and something goes wrong.
  2. VA is spending billions of dollars a year on medical care and supplies without contracts, but the public has no way to see how taxpayers’ money is being spent.
  3. Top VA officials are ignoring the large discrepancy between authorized spending on medical care and supplies and spending that is done improperly.
  4. VA has failed to hold anyone accountable for the improprieties he cites, or put contracts in place once officials realized they weren’t negotiated properly.
  5. Senior VA leaders must be held accountable for the problems with purchase cards he cites.
  6. An analysis of purchase card data from the Veterans Health Administration and found improprieties.
  7. The purchase card program lacks oversight.
  8. National Acquisition Center says employees at the Veterans Health Administration are buying thousands of medical supplies in off-the-shelf transactions, without competition.
  9. The document informs McDonald that reforming VA will be challenging unless basic contracting problems are addressed.

When do you think these reforms will happen?

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2015/05/14/9-big-takeaways-from-memo-accusing-va-of-making-a-mockery-of-spending-rules/

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40 Comments

  1. They uncovered straw purchases for the “Bob” McDonald edition of Special Forces diapers (Depends) and the BobbleHead Pez dispensers capable of dispensing opiates. T-shirts and Richard Griffin action figures equipped with a detachable Pinnochio nose coming to a VA canteen near you. (corny TV announcer voice) Just close the place already! #AsYouWere

  2. It’s pretty sad that beyond the typical ‘War Profiteering Contractors’, the VA itself is acting in the very same egregious way, profiting from these wars we find ourselves in now as the longest war in our country’s history.
    These ilk have already the taste of huge amounts of unaccountable Billion$, meaning it’s NOT in the War Profiteering Scumbag’s interest to *ever* end these wars…but yet these same entities benefiting by outrageous VA Bonu$’s, outright, illegal unauthorized spending at a time of “Sequestion”, want to continue military pay freezes, and denying disability benefits of those fighting these wars for the very War Profiteers. Really sad state of affairs.
    I would think these revelations *should* bring our VA Secretary McDonald out from wherever he may be hiding these days.
    In all due respect of the VA Secretary–If he does nothing about all these fiscal, medical, backlog, and management issues, and continues on the status quo course of simply moving the blatant criminals around and PROMOTING THEM…well, the very VA Secretary and Under Secretary as well all of the VA OIG are culpable criminals no different than the Wall Street Criminals that essentially robbed America with eyes wide open.
    Maybe the VA Choice Card $$ was/is simply an accounting ruse to ‘buffer’ their illegal and out of control spending at a time when we in Military, Disabled Veterans are again looking at a 1.3% raise at best, if that, for 2016.
    A few individuals are getting incredibly rich off the VA Budget.

    Really interested in hearing what both Rep. Jeff Miller has to say about all this and what kind of candy coated response VA management comes up with. This is outright robbery. They are more out of control than any train wreck.

  3. What is worse is that many VA executives refuse to pay or delay payments to contractors with whom they have legitimate medical contracts. This means they lose good health care providers, who need to pay their bills, just to make themselves look like they’re managing. Tear it down, it is broken beyond repair!!

  4. This sounds like how the VA is run everyday of the year for as long as the VA has been here. These nine things will be relevant and true many years from now.

  5. There needs to be an audit to trace the funds and find who is responsible and then perhaps punishment such as termination or if criminal then other steps.

  6. When do I think these reforms will happen? Never until Congress gets serious about their oversight duties. Fire a few managers for misappropriation of funds and you might see some change. Fire a few flunkies for misusing their purchase card and you might see some change, along with their supervisors for not doing their job. Is there a CFO within the VA? If not, why not? If there is, why is congress not holding hearings with them demanding answers?
    $6 billion is a little less than half the $15 billion for the Veterans lack of Choice program, and VA leadership whines about that cost. Seems McDonald has been shown where he can save $6 billion.

  7. Bobby McDonald is nothing more than OBOZOs lap dog . when OBOZO tells McDonald to bend over he is happy to do so , with no KY

  8. So the guy in charge of VA procurement blows the whistle on his inability to develop a comprehensive supply chain management plan? He should be looking in the mirror if he wants to know who is responsible.

    • From what I read on military dot com today about this, when Jan Frye from VA procurement announced he was going to testify about all this to the VA Oversight Committee, the VA was actually going to send instead a person that’s only been on the job in his office, technically, Jan’s superior, only been on the job at the VA for ONE MONTH…the VA was NOT wanting Jan Frye to testify AT ALL.

      Does this make Jan Frye clean as a whistle? No! But it’s high time for some integrity, even if it’s in the midst of a storm or thereafter because HEADS NEED TO FLY!!!

      When ANY organization has those in upper management blatantly breaking the law, disregarding Congress Mandates, KILLING Veterans, stealing $ supposed to be used for Vets, et al…well, it absolutely gives NO MOTIVATION for those BELOW them to follow the rules…that does not exempt those below management from accountability either by them simply trying to claim, “we were just following orders…or following by example!” Nope, the whole ship is off-course, covered in ugly barnacles and needs an overhaul.
      With that said, I somehow think there’s an even BIGGER story that’s hiding below the ugly underbelly that the VA has become and I DEMAND CHANGE. We all do.

      Again, where’s VA Sec. McDonald and all other higher GS-XX employees in all this? What rock are they hiding under?
      Anyone wondering if stories like this could just be the VA’s way of fabricating ways to DIVERT $$ to compensate for massive VA construction projects that have gone BILLIONS over original contract…Denver VA, as just but one example?

      Lastly, at WHAT point does a VA Procurement Accounting Office start reporting discrepancies? Why wait until it hits the “magic $ 6 Billion Mark”? In a time of sequester one would think this would be reported WAY BEFORE the first $100 Million…anyone realize just how large $6 Billion actually is? Just happens to be VERY close to what the so-called VA Choice Card Program was to cost…is this just a coincidence that the VA wanted to see this program fail so quick?

      Ben, please be the angry pit bull attorney and Veteran Advocate and do NOT let this story get swept under the rug.

      • Why can’t va healthcare be totally out sourced to local medical care facilities. The savings would be enormous and the Vet would receive better care and not be humiliated by the providers, and rude personnel, who have no people skills. These people must have been hired off the street with little or no training. Many of the physicians and specialist couldn’t get hired by civilian hospitals due to malpractice lawsuits. But the Va snaps them up.

    • HORSESHIT!! That sounds just like THEM Passing the BUCK The Veterans and the non vet Tax payers are done taking Excuses This is a Govt Agency Employed by and For The American People. Veterans AND Their Family`s. This guy is a damn TRUE AMERICAN HERO, He said He was`nt going to be part of the “V.A.Games” Anymore. It`s THESE that bring the Sludge to the surface.

  9. I know ,from very recent experience ,the VA contracted hospice ,/nursing home they kicked my husband out of a local hospital and more or less told me he was going to ,neglected my husband to the point of me just grabbing him and taking him Home ,i did my best ,i told Alina hospice to go get F—- THEY WHERE GRIM REAPERS ,I GOT ANOTHER COMPANY ,THE ONLY PERSON I CARED FOR WAS THE BATH LADY ,WITH OUT HERE I WOULD HAVE LOST MY MIND ,HAVE YOU EVER WATCHED A PERSON DIE ,THAN YOU KNOW ITS NOT FUN,CLEAN OR MIND BENEFITING BUT I WOULD DO IT AGAIN ,EXCEPT I WISH A MIRACLE WOULD HAVE HAPPENED TO HELP MY HUSBAND ,IT HAS ONLY BEEN 2 MONTHS AND I STILL WANT TO JOIN HIM,THIS NURSING HOME WAS VA CONTRACTED,IT HAD NO RAILS ON THE BED ( MY HUSBAND WAS DYING ) HE HAD ONE LEG,THE NURSE CALL BUTTON WAS ON THE FLOOR!! THEY Gave him no insulin ,no food or water the 1st day ,I DID HIS WOUND Care,they had used catheters ,i took him out with out Dr orders ,if i had not convinced metro mobility that this was his last ride with them ,i would have piggy backed him home ,he had such a huge smile on his face when he left there.not even a local congressman could help me get him to the VA ,to help me watch him die/sorry ,my grammar and spelling is so bad

    • Mrs, Judy, Ma`am, Yes I have watched several Veterans die. I know the Helpless feeling of not being able to do anything to help them. But, I can`t say I know how you feel, By the Grace of God I still have the Blessing of my dear Wife. I`d go nuts should anything happen to her. She`s all I have in this world. Some people that work in Hospice care are true Saints. Some Unfortunately are less than honorable to downright disgusting. I had to say, Your pain seems endless, Your Husband would want you to have a life without this pain. Time and God will help you in this time if you ask, But, We do have to ask. I`m deeply Sorry for your loss. Sorry for the Suffering your husband had endured. I pray, God will give you some Peace. You have nothing to apologize for, Your words are those of a Wife in pain. “I” Thank you for being there for your husband. Many Wives & husbands are not. To me, A Fellow Veteran, A Brother to every Veteran. One, Is too many to lose. God Bless & Be with you.

  10. Of all the folks in the America how come the folks at the VA respect the veteran the least. WHY!!!. I boggles my mind. I sure am glad I hung on to private healthcare, I need to get my life back.

      • Pull the FBI off investigating marijuana violations and put an agent next to every OIG worker…When the OIG finds a problem the FBI investigates to determine if it’s a crime…Fire em, prosecute em and then sue em to recover the money they stole..Replace them with Vets, and if you can’t find a qualified Vet, send one to school on Voc Rehab to train them…

      • Had another thought…Add a forensic Accountant to the team and pay them all a percentage of funds recovered…You would have every FBI agent and forensic accountant in the country clamoring for the jobs. You’d have to beat them off with a stick…

    • Well said. In the More civilized years of 1776 These people would have been dragged out of the Building and Hanged in the courtyard`s closest tree. Or of something of this caliber Maybe “Drawn & Quartered”

  11. I watched this Hearing Before the Veterans Oversight Committee Yesterday and again this morning. That Disgrace followed by lame excuses The stuff just keeps piling up There`s no way to know how much these “Humans” have ripped away from Veterans. Some Died waiting on a denial letter, And these clowns Boozing it up in Vegas on Tax money with a card with no limit. See it yourself on USTREAM I feel like I need to puke. Vets Sleeping in a cardboard box and these people partying and buying big screen t.v.`s on the money meant to help these veterans.

      • I don`t know how to load a link But, You can try “UStream USHR 14 Committee on Veterans Affairs just went live” I (Think) I got it off Thomas Library of Congress and went to Videos and Committee on Veterans Affairs But I now have a subscription from UStream. Hope this helps, I get emails when a new video loads If you get this link you can watch it (live) Sometimes the Video & Audio are out of sync But, This one Ben`s talking about here was taped Thursday. Also, It shows a low Viewer number Not many people know about it I guess. AND Be prepared It`s going to piss you off My friend. 6 Billion could have helped a lot of Veterans.

      • Also, The Highlight was a Senior Exec Changing Colors (Thank God) And turned into a “Whistle blower” on the Folks sitting next to him at the table. He said he Reported this in 2012 and Recently sent a 30 page report to Sloan Gibson & Mcdonald (7) Weeks ago and has gotten no reply. (In other words, Gibson KNEW about this When He testified WEDNESDAY And never mentioned this “Small oversight” But, in 2012 The Whistle blower”went to a Congressman that is now a senator and It leaked to the Press. Wed, I think.

  12. So, where does this 6 billion dollars go, or, to whom does it go? Why? Is this just another way to move money from one agency to another? Personally, I am losing my faith in our system. Our politics, and our treatment of our veterans, are way out of whack.

  13. Meanwhile, while today’s report discloses $6 Billion *missing/unauthorized spending*, a formal report by Senator McCain, R-Arizona, does NOT ONCE speak of problems of spending and others at the VA…not one peep about the VA…not even at a time when the VA in HIS OWN STATE has revealed massive systemic problems that’s costing taxpayers Billions, many Billions, at a time of Sequester/Budget.
    Here’s Sen. McCain’s list…see what is glaringly missing? http://www.dodbuzz.com/2015/05/07/mccain-hits-bomb-sniffing-elephants-nascar-ads-as-wasteful-spending/

    (I do agree that “bomb sniffing elephant research” is beyond logistical commonsense)

  14. When I was forced medically out of the military and know what I knew it made me wanna go out and suck D CK’S on a street corner and gain myself respect back if this goes unaccounted for we’re in deep shit, how much more do we have to see, all these vets being abused shame on this administration how do you sleep at night how do you sleep. Just a game to them THIS has got to stop we need to take it too them all we’re doing giving them something to read and laugh about there’s power in numbers and there’s a lot of vet’s what we gonna do BEN stay on them we need you .

  15. Jan Frye is going to need protection for a long time. He is a Targeted Individual. Like they say ” Dead Men tell No Tales.”
    My prayers for his and family safety.

  16. DOD: Budget Billions
    DVA: Budget Billions
    Make War: billions to be made and hold hand out for more.
    Young Men and Women( Boys and Girls):
    deprive funds for education, living expenses. Many join military just to survive.
    Result: Continuous supply of ” bullet stoppers to make and keep war.
    Take a look in budgets for how much for student financial aid: pennies and much goes to foreign students.
    Law Enforcement: $ 164, million from the Federal Government. I wanted to scream seeing Boehner and Obama playing grabass after agreement over budget.

  17. some of us are dead already.
    take them right out of their bedrooms and let’s take a walk.

  18. I know where they are getting some of that six billion they’re wasting… The VA in Charleston told my husband yesterday that they would not replace his five year old hearing aids that the doctor admitted weren’t working correctly because he, the doctor, made the decisions about when old equipment was replaced and that he, the doctor, believes that it is the job of my husband’s employer to provide hearing aids if my husband needs to hear in order to do his job… the doctor said that in his opinion and in his audiology section, the standing is that because of ADA my husband’s employer has the duty to provide hearing equipment even though my husband lost his hearing to a lance missile… what they save at charleston, they spend on elf invested christmas parties at Indianapolis… My husband will immediately lose his job if he tells his employer he needs his employer to provide him with working hearing aids… then he can’t work to pay taxes in order to support the screwed up VA or Bobby McDonald’s vacation plans for the summer… Nice!

    • Spg, go in to the Patient Advocate with a letter detailing why your husband needs his hearing aids replaced. State what the doctor said. Tell the Patient Advocate if you don’t hear from them in 3 says about an appointment to replace them, you will take the letter to the Director. Tell them you will give the Director a day to fix that, or you will go to the media…then do it. You didn’t mention if his hearing is determined by the VA to be service connected, or what his total percentage of disability is, but the VA will provide hearing aids if he is over 50% even if his hearing loss is not service connected.

      • His hearing loss is greater than 50 %, something the doctor called minimal, and it is 100% service related. Would I get in trouble if I admitted I walked into the appointment with my husband and had a small digital recorder in my pocket? I am so sick and tired of their stories at VA always changing… So recorded the entire appointment. It comes across real clear what this audiologist thinks of vets and how much money should be spent on them. He was clear on his point that he expected my husband’s employer to provide and hearing aids, beyond the five year old broken ones… It’s an hour and a half of listening to this doctor her himself talk and he said things that just blew my mind.

    • Spg, I’m not sure this reply will go to you since there appears to be a problem with the page loading properly.
      Anyway, since his hearing loss is service connected, the VA is required to provide care which includes hearing aids. Not replacing admitted broken hearing aids is like not replacing a broken artificial limb or broken wheel chair. That quack is a damn disgrace! Even if they call you tomorrow and tell you to come in and pick up new hearing aids, I would still write a letter detailing the appointment, the doctors poor attitude, and his refusal to provide proper care to your husband, and take copies to the Patient Advocate and the hospital director.
      I don’t know how far away you live from the VA. If it is a distance or a hardship getting to the VA, I would forget them and call your Congressman’s office. Ask the Congressman’s office for his Veterans Affairs aid. Explain to them what happened, tell them you are fearful for your husbands job, and that you need urgent help in getting his hearing aids replaced for his service connected hearing loss. Explain you have been to an appointment there, and the VA refuses to provide replacements even after the doctor admitted they were not working properly.
      If you can go in to the VA, I would not admit taking the recorder into the appointment, but I would write a letter specifying in detail what the problem is (broken hearing aids and a doctors refusal to replace them), and then I would state 2 or 3 things of what your impression was of the appointment. You could state, “I was present with my husband on X date for his appointment in Y clinic. He is service connected for hearing loss, and his appointment was to determine if his hearing aids were working, and if they would be replaced if not working correctly. During the appointment, the doctor stated in front of my husband and I that they were broken, but said he believed my husbands employer should provide him hearing aids. The VA provided these hearing aids on X date. Also during the appointment, the doctor said A, then said B and after saying C, my husband and I clearly understood the doctors poor attitude towards veterans, and that my husband would not receive replacement hearing aids. We are very worried about his continued employment because he needs these hearing aids to perform his job. We would like to hear from you within 3 days on when the VA will provide an appointment for receiving new hearing aids. If we do not hear from you within 3 days, we will provide this letter to the hospital director.”
      Take the letter in to the Patient Advocate. If they are unavailable, I would ask for where the Director’s office is, then take the letter to his office. If you do that, you will likely have to deal with their Executive Secretary. Explain to them what the problem is. I would ask for a printout showing what your husband is service connected for. It will show his hearing loss. If you meet with the Patient Advocate or someone in the Directors office, show them the printout indicating your husbands hearing loss is service connected, then hand them the letter and tell them that the doctor refuses to provide proper care, and describe his poor attitude. If the Patient Advocate, tell them they have 3 days. If you go to the Directors office, tell them they have until the end of the next day to tell you when your appointment will be to receive the new hearing aids. Tell the Directors office that if you do not hear from them by the end of the next day, you will contact your Congressman’s office to request their assistance, and you will be going to the media.

      I just despise quacks like this. If you would rather just avoid the VA, go directly to contacting your Congressman and ask for their help. That is what their local staff is for. If you want to give the VA the chance to do the right thing, you can try the Patient Advocate or Director first.

      Regardless of what direction you go, I still would put what happened in the appointment in writing, and provide it to the Patient Advocate at some point. If that quack has enough complaints against him, perhaps the VA will do something about it.

      • Yes, something is wrong with this site, I guess. Oddly enough, this particular appointment happened because Mark Sanford, (R) (SC) demanded it. This doctor was not really impressed with Mr. Sanford’s involvement and was actually quite hostile about it. But we’ve been trying for months to get these hearing aids replaced. We even have, in writing from the VA, that my husband was approved for new hearing aids months ago and the On-Site (VA Vendor) audiologist in Savannah, GA, said she had no idea why the doctor was not replacing my husband’s broken hearing aids back in March, which is what led us to Mark Sanford, when even the hearing aid manufacturer said they could not fix them any longer because they no longer maintained a service part inventory for them because of their age. We pointed this out to the doctor and he said he didn’t care what the [vendor] or the manufacturer said, he, the doctor, was not going to authorize replacement hearing aids. The doctor continued on to say that he wasn’t concerned with the VA’s earlier determination that my husband was approved for new hearing aids and then assured us both that my husband was not going to get new hearing aids for two more years. My husband needs these hearing aids for his job working on drone simulators and “stuff” out at san diego. I don’t want to wear out my welcome at Mr. Sanford’s office but I don’t think there are a lot of other choices. Patient Advocate? That’s a joke at the VA! This guy might have a graduate degree but he doesn’t seem smart enough to figure out that his “value engineering” this situation is only going to result in greater expense. This doc was a moron and an arrogant one at that! How can my husband gt in touch with someone at Fox News? I’d bet they could gt him hearing aids and get this doctor removed from service at the VA.

        Sorry for going on and on but I’m willing to do anything if it means making sure my husband feels good about himself because he is a wonder person. He’s the best! He just needs to hear so he can do his job to the best of his ability while he continues to serves as a veteran and private citizen. We’ve now spent more time/money than the new hearing aids would cost the fucking VA, excuse my language. The recording would make your hair stand on end if you heard this doctor talk about how he thinks vets rationalize their need for care… elfs obviously live at the Charleston VA, too… Or trolls!

        I will go back to Mr. Sanford’s office but I don’t believe even the politicians care what happens to vets. They seem to use them as soap boxes to stand on but not much else. Thank you for your continued advice.

    • Sorry I cannot reply to your most recent comment Spg. It seems when there is a second comment to a reply, the Reply button disappears.
      Anyway, it certainly seems like you have done everything you can to get the VA to do their damn jobs.
      Given you contacted Sanford’s office…call his office again, remind them you contacted them before about this, and ask his office to contact the Director to arrange for an immediate appointment for your husband to get his hearing aids. Don’t worry about wearing out any welcome with his office, this situation is exactly what his staff are paid to do. Explain to them the doctors attitude after you first contacted his office, and ask that the Director also arrange for your husband to be assigned to another provider in the audiology clinic, or that he arrange for your husband to be seen by a private audiologist. Make clear that you have VA approval for the new hearing aids in writing, and that you have been trying for months to accomplish this. Explain that the Patient Advocate is worthless, and you believe only the Director will likely get action on this.
      Call Sanford’s office in the morning and ask that you get a response by 3pm tomorrow afternoon. There is no reason anyone should be fooling around any more on this, and you have every right to demand they get off their ass and take action.
      If you don’t get action by tomorrow at 3pm, you should fire off an email to McDonald and Allison Hickey at: [email protected], or [email protected]. Explain to them what happened, particularly after contacting Sanford’s office, and ask for a phone call from them on what they are going to do to resolve this. Good luck, and I hope you reply here on what results you get.

    • I submitted another comment Spg, but it is in moderation likely because I put McDonald and Hickeys email address in it. I don’t know how soon Ben might approve my comment, but I essentially said you should call Sanford’s office tomorrow morning and ask they contact the Director and demand immediate action to resolve this. This is BS that has gone on far too long.

  19. Wonder how much of these funds went to boost China’s economy as well. We have a law in this country, the Buy American Act. The feds are supposed to buy American-made goods. But we see a lot of made-in-China merchandise at the VA. Can’t the VA purchase American pill cutters instead of Chinese ones? And so forth?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buy_American_Act

  20. I think many are missing the point! They VA has made it tough for vets getting their earned benefits, because the vets are taking advantage of the system! How about we make it just as difficult for these business folks, ripping the VA off! The billions wasted might then be available to those of us who earned it! The whole system is screwed up and the fixing of the problem is a screwed up as the problem…

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