Veterans Affairs Ripped For Firing ‘Almost Nobody’

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Veterans Affairs Shinseki

Benjamin KrauseHouse Speaker John Boehner ripped Veterans Affairs for failing to hold employees defrauding veterans, “Just one person has been fired. One.” Boehner went on, “What the hell happened to the rest of them?”

I’m not a huge Boehner fan, but I have to hand it to him for calling VA out for not following through with promises to hold evildoers accountable. Am I the only person to think VA would at least fire a few employees for unlawful behavior? At least two people?

Rep. John Boehner was referencing VA’s embarrassing failure to hold unethical employees accountable for participating in rampant fraud against veterans that resulted in death. Phoenix VA is the location that kicked off the scandal last year. VA promised results but has thus fair fired just one person for participating in the scheme.

Initially, Secretary Robert McDonald promised results. He told congress he “fired” 60 people connected with the scandal. VA later revised the estimate to just 14. In late April, New York Times reported that only one person was actually fired related to the scandal – VA director Sharon Helman. No one else was fired, and Helman was not even fired for the scandal. She was fired for taking illegal kickbacks from a government contractor.

Rep. Boehner hammered on VA for failing to not only fire unethical employees but also for not reducing the wait list:

Further, Boehner said, the number of patients facing long waits is about the same as it was last year, while the number of patients waiting more than 90 days has nearly doubled.

The VA’s problems are so deep that — despite a new law that overhauled the agency and authorized $16 billion in new spending over three years — it can’t even build a hospital, Boehner said, referring to a half-finished project in Denver that is $1 billion over budget.

Boehner said more legislation to hold the VA accountable is likely.

“But only the administration can change the culture from within,” he said.

And he is right. VA is an administrative agency. Changes need to come from the White House, and I for one am disappointed President Obama hasn’t taken a more assertive position on firing employees linked to the scandal. It is as if veterans did not die or something.

What do you think, if anything, could President Obama do to force its agency to hold more VA employees accountable?

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/05/20/what-hell-boehner-rips-va-for-firing-almost-nobody-year-after-shinseki/

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45 Comments

  1. If Congress believes that an agency has drifted from its original mandate, Congress can respond in a number of ways. Congress can pass a law to overrule agency decisions, or to narrow the agency’s jurisdiction. Congress can use its appropriations power to restrict the agency’s funding. Congress can also narrow the agency’s regulatory authority. For example, in the 1980s Congress narrowed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory discretion using detailed substantive criteria to limit EPA rulemaking.[3]

      • Congress is the only entity that can fix or change the VA. It’s the only entity that should address the short comings of the VA. The VA has nothing to do with current administrative policies.

      • Hate to clue you in oltz100. The VA is a department of the government which falls under the executive branch – hence it does have something to do with any administration’s policies. Congress enacts the laws – but the executive branch is supposed to enforce them. For example the president could order a DOJ investigation of the VA, he could establish a fact finding committee, he can make recommendations to Congress to enact legislation and he could, in some instances – which he has done with so many things – establish executive orders. Sorry, Obama doesn’t get a free pass here.

  2. I would like to ask Attorney Krause, instead what can veterans do to make a difference in fighting for their right and stop government abuse and inefficiency? Please tell us and give us some clue.

    • I have seen several good ideas on here but nothing that will get those ideas implemented. Here is what needs to be done. A NEW POLITICAL PARY…NOT UNLIKE THE TEA PARTY FOR A BEGINNING….WE COULD CALL IT THE PATRIOTS PARTY
      We run down every veteran and service member get them to join this new political party and we will have out own people running. We will have a voting block that they will have to contend with. We then put these ideas on here to work. We can not do anything with just complaining and not being organized. We all have a lot in common and we need to get the other Veterans involved and show them they have alot in common with us and to join our new political party.
      THIS IS THE ONLY WAY ANY OF THESE IDEAS ARE GOING TO BE PUT INTO ACTION.

  3. If House Speaker John Boehner who has more power than an ordinary disabled veterans can’t persuade VA Administration then how can we help to make a difference?

  4. There needs to be some veterans appointed to the OIG. It looks like there is a bunch of foxes guarding the henhouse. The OIG is supposed to be guarding us and protecting us from being taken advantage of or just plain ignored. No more bonuses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They need to just do their job.

    • The IG is part of the problem, they brag on their websites about criminal convictions. As stated above they downgrade your disability then go after these same individuals with criminal convictions , stating that they lied about their disabilities. Look at the dollar amounts. How can you collect upwards to six figures and not know anything. The give vets benefits, then nullify them by convicting them later on. UNITE VETERANS! In memory of the Fallen!

  5. I agree, in a time of US Budget Sequester, **ALL BONUSES ELIMINATED** would be a nice start because these very bonuses AT EVERY LEVEL OF VA are only enabling their sociopathic and greedy behaviors. The VA has lost it’s focus on “The Veteran”, as in SERVING VETERANS. As it stands, the VA is incredibly adversarial, which the VA somehow has replaced “serving Vets” with “opposing Vets”, and I agree that we Veterans should put in the positions of ALL VA OIG Staff as to be truly advocates and real accountability. No, I am NOT talking about placing Vets that are aligned with Lt. Col. Gade’s adversarial position on Disabled Veterans, as that would be two steps backwards and we definitely need to be moving forward in a Veteran-friendly way, not fueled by more self-serving bureaucrats.

    I too, am not really so much a fan of Speaker Boehner, but what he said this week really surprised me. The real question is: Is this just a ploy as the Presidential Election Machine starts-up, since this is first time I at least recall Boehner having actual harsh words for inaction of the VA?

    If we Veterans and our plight for fair treatment and promises kept are going to again be used as “political pawns” to garner votes, then let’s make damn sure that OUR VOICE and PLIGHT are coming FROM US and not just a bureaucratic smokescreen to garner votes then forgotten again!!

    Again I have to ask, WHY has Sen. McCain NOT been more involved in REAL ACTION, since the ignition point of this scandal was and obviously still is YET to be dealt with IN HIS OWN STATE???!! No disrespect to McCain, but the very fact that Sharon Helman was “sort of fired” for something entirely different and NOW is suing for her position back!
    This President Obama needs to take HARSH Administrative Action but I am of the belief he really has no spine and now has even let his Iraq/Middle East War Strategy become lackluster to point I am betting a new insurgence will need to occur with remaining force needed stationed there because even other countries and terror groups have figured out Obama is ALL TALK, no action, as disclosed to Congress yesterday in group admitting strategy has failed over there and we indeed are losing because of it.
    Will it take a new President to finally shake the VA into compliance to their own Regs and promises to Veterans? I think it’s time for Congress to override the President if he will not do right thing because Obama was JUST quoted last week as “…having FULL confidence in the VAOIG and Sec. McDonald”…wonder if his perspective might be different if it were one of “his own” that last their lives in the VA Health System?
    Note: interpret “His Own” any way is applicable.
    I am guessing we will only see Obama playing golf on Memorial Weekend…never mind Veterans.

  6. As hard as it is, POTUS speaks with a forked tongue. Just like the OIG and IG did with PROFESSIONAL LIARS CLUB. I worked endlessly on his campaign for re-election, my car, my gas, my phone and when done “peeling the onion” on his opponent. What I really find interesting is no one knew where my records were. I don’t expect a rocket scientist, ( yes, know some) but rather disturbing when you send in a copy of your exit exam, gee my SSN, MY DOB AND HOME OF RECORD, AND TRUST ME NOT THE “JANE DOE” LAST NAME. Just FYI when I stated I would report a lying supposed professional to the APA and I got a call asking if I would? Yes, wouldn’t you? I seem to have too much knowledge for the LIARS CLUB AT ANY DAMN VA! Trust me, I know my stuff, and I find it most intriguing that the VA IG stated a belly up company. But as I stated, got my active duty records, gee, what do you think, “THE TRUTH EXPOSED! ” Funny, “the IG realized gee, better give her a second damn C&P, which was written like I was a five year old telling a story, still not my story. ( no active duty record did they get!) Strange when a person leaves a message and the voice doesn’t add up at to the tone of speech when I met them, I would like to see all professional documentation, if an excuse is given, just know I will look you up! Or have??? ( music, my religion) actually I sang, piano and played a Cello, so hearing a person’s voice I know. (My mom also was an artist, so call the house filled with eccentric people, yes, writers, books turned to movies, and all the fun with artistic people.) I made sure someone was in the room, sure enough, I give the VA here? A MAJOR F. Sloppy records lying with entries that one should never do, oh and if they ask you for treatment records, lets call it Bill Maher’s new but not new rule. Medical Records belong to the Physician and they have a right to destroy them after 7 years. My Aunt in her 70′ s knows it. Call me a liar? You better make sure your willing to testify in a court, and as I stated back, “gee IG who are the gatekeepers?” The best entry by a doctor who stated opioid addict, mental issues, I wonder did he know I happened to step outside and speak with my rep? Can’t focus my backside! The dip for brains didn’t like the doctor sending me to the right place, better yet, he stated “no proof of a back surgery.” I realize it must be difficult to read the abnormal x-ray report I requested, gee, know how to read them, but he missed the CT-Scan too? Okay, I know, let’s make up a story, in the Navy instead of practicing suturing on an orange, we decided lets slice each other on our backs! NOW THAT WOULD BE A LIE! I don’t get people who lie, so now we have a two for one to report, gee, the credibility isn’t just with me. Funny, I injured my back pretty damn good, and the doctor wrote “exactly the location of concern.” That Doctor? He has some pretty good well noted kudos where he lives. I wasn’t raised to lie, damn did it once my mom transformed into crazy mom status! But, lesson learned, and my own know the rule, “if you did it, then OWN IT!” Seems they need some DAMN SERIOUS education in practicing what I learned and preached! When a doctor after that brutally long day, I pushed my limits, she thought the “Marine” was asleep. Um nope! He and the dog snore loudly, I caught it one night and sent it to one who knows, my statement? “And this is why I get no sleep!” If you wish to do nothing, well then, both the VA OIG and IG have proven themselves worthy! WHO PAYS THEM? THE AMERICAN PEOPLE! ( I am one that has always observed human behaviors, don’t mess with my inner beast!) By the way, I wonder, these so called people who were fired? How is it fired them when you throw the word retired? Just fyi, back to that damn doctor I never wanted to see again, the Marine worried about my ears, they were not infections but wax impacted! Oh, and the doctor(s) I have seen, want to know why the VA has so many “ducks!” My thanks? Law suit big time, and I really wouldn’t mind testifying so they too can see how much one celled species are at the VA! ( hey, I have taken chemistry, biology, and A&P, you see us strange medical people who like the A&P coloring book!) But I think wouldn’t it be a whole lot of fun quizing the idiots who crossed the line calling me a drug addict? (Um yeah, my doctor of 19 years destroyed idiot status because he knows my stance regarding drugs!) Unbelievably stupid lines what one has studied to become and it will be made certain they no longer will be able to, because you messed with a person who knows too many of the right people, who also know my character do I need to pull out all my kudos? Gee, have them, don’t care about them because most of my life I have dedicated to selfless acts without thinking twice about it! ( volunteering since my eldest was 3, but if we really wish to say when it began that would be the age of 10), my last even though the last one I thought for sure was drive me to a padded room and those nice white jackets, before 2 I gave him the name Son of Anarchy, and a friend can second it big time!) 🙂 I have offered my help, understand though with a medical record, I do know HIPAA and you would have to sign a form, realizing I cannot say my professional status, but damn I love the challege, paying attention to the tiny details! However, I shall say, I am dealing “REAL PROFESSIONALS,” because of a Freudian complex, the one who denied me to the right department, how many doctors will stand up to the issues because I am losing the use of my legs, will they? YOU BETTER BELIEVE THEY DAMN SURE WILL! ( Hey, it isn’t as much fun as I thought it would be to kiss the floor and I think the floor would state the same thing!!! 🙂
    Just FYI, ME THINKS THEY DO NOT LIKE IT WHEN I TEACH A PERSON HOW TO DEAL WITH PROFESSIONAL NOT! Will it stop me? HELL NO! I also enjoyed giving a ration of shit to a person who went off on me and I don’t care if you consider yourself a God. Oh please, flag
    Me! But as a Corpsman in the Navy a phrased used, “have your SOS or shit in one sock, but for the VA I say they are FOS!”
    Faux Pas Views I don’t watch, well none actually because its not news but selective topics and can anyone stop with this two only words I hear conservative and liberals? Ben I think you know it isn’t a two new party
    objective, truthfully? I am thinking leave this country, oh yes I am very much disabled. I will say however it is not the common worker, but what the hell is POW? You mean now I am believed? Cram it up your backside VA I respect you not and I prefer discussions of this manner with a priest. But remember I stated one cell organisms, I think we need to put them back in the soup, but carefully because the “soup” has spit back pebbles, rocks and worse, some mighty big!” So where is this money going to, denial of benefits with a new back log? I SEE THREE MONKEYS, ONE DOESN’T HEAR, ONE CANNOT. SEE AND THE LAST ONE, WILL DAMN SURE SPEAK! I don’t care if they realize oh yeah, one hundred plus disabled, but my stance from the start, “IF IT IS HAPPENING TO ME THEN HOW MANY OTHERS!” Enjoy your long weekend, damn I went earlier and I regret our last weekend at crystal cove! 🙂

    • Extensive musical background here as well. The VA not only gets a “Major F”, but is “Diminished 5ths” in all areas of accountability, and the VA OIG seems to view plight of Veterans as “Minor Chords”. The VA is totally out of tune and in need of a tuning fork where the sun does not shine! 🙂

      (music therapy with my home hardware synthesizer studio keeps me somewhat sane)

      • It consoles me when thinking some of these VA senior executives, nor politicians will NEVER MERIT A BURIAL at Arlington National Cemetery. And that’s Eternal

  7. Eric Shinseki is a veteran and he sold the administration of VA benefits to Xerox in Sept 2011. When shinseki retired, and he did retire 32 days early, a member of the Xerox Board of Directors was appointed Secretary of the VA, little Bobby “xerox” McDonald, by POTUS. the VA has been outsourced and now it has been outsourced again. Xerox, sold their wholly owned subsidiary, ACS and all of ACS government solutions contracts to a company called Atos origin, a French company recently thrown out of UK because their disasterous mis-administration of public health in UK. The slogan most commonly associated with Atos Origin is “Atos kills!” because Atos is famous for declaring disabled person to be no longer disabled and then taking all their disability benefits away from them. It’s a very well documented fact. When the severely disabled began to publicly complain in the UK, Atos launched a campaign of terror and began suing anyone who complained about the awful job atos was doing or complaining abut the number of people who died as a result of Atos taking their disability benefits away. If you think the president, the guy who voiced his believe that military personnel should foot their own medical bills if injured during service because they volunteered to go to war, is not thrilled at the prospect of Atos telling disabled vets that they are no longer disabled, then you’re lying to yourself and anyone standing near you!

    Atos further gained contracts through the purchase of ACS, they gained all the IT and network management contracts for the federal Court system. So a french company that kills disabled people is now in control of any case in the federal district courts that is filed electronically or stored electronically. How do you think that’s going to work out?

    Let’s look at how it’s going to work for veterans… a french company is now in charge of benefit records for every disabled vet, which means the VA administration can now say that they have no access to or control of VA records and Atos can say the records are stored out of country and therefore they, Atos, cannot guarantee the availability of any records. Second, america no longer has any control over who has access to those records and, based on Atos history, Atos will have no idea who has access to those records. Xerox/ACS government solution employees working the VA benefits calls center were never required to undergo background checks n the first place, do you think a French company will be required to put their employees through back ground checks? VA won’t require it because VA believes it will be too great a financial burden on Atos as VA decided when ACS government solutions (A xerox company) had the contracts. It s rumored that Peurto Rican call center employees working for ACS were actually selling digital jacket information to augment their minimum wage pay. And they weren’t shy about discussing it.

    Until we all stnd up and say “no” to the outsourcing of the VA, the nightmares will just continue. Republicans want to privatize everything, so they won’t say this is a bad deal. POTUS signed of on the OutSourcing of the VA, so he’s not gong to say anything at all. So vets need to stand up together and stop all of this. One person cant do it alone. Everyone has to be together on this.

      • Start filing complaints with DOJ. They probably won’t go anywhere because the guy who thinks vets should foot their own bill for their medical care is the one who appointed Lynch, but just start filling complaints. And don’t bother doing it electronically, the complaints just get deleted. Sit down, write out your complaint, mail it return receipt requested. And burples… providing information is not complaining. For the record, there’s something called the Federal Acquisition Regulations which prevent any vendor/contractor involved in litigation from entering into a US government contract. Start there. Xerox should never have had the contract, all along, but they jumped around the rules by refusing to disclose the miles of litigation they were embroiled in on their SEC statements. BS…. what the hell can we do? A hell of a lot more than most… if we want to. Don’t sit and wait for gov’t to fix it for vets because they’re not going to In POTUS mind, gov’t has no reason to. Don’t wait until the next administration because no matter who makes it into office, it will not get better until real people stand up and say “NO MORE”.

  8. Well, Boehner is right about this. It does look like no one is going to get fired for killing veterans. No one at the VA is going to ever be held accountable for anything. Mr. McDonald is a big joke as far as I’m concerned. The entire VA system should be placed under a federal judicial court order and kept under it until it straightens its act up. It’s going to take veterans getting united and pushing the Congress into this though. And I just don’t see that ever happening.

  9. I said it before, I will say it again. The only solution is private health care. Here’s an idea. Rename the VA, Medicade Recipient Care. Let all the people on Medicade go to the VA and allow the veterans go to private care. Is that too logical? Oops, they can’t do that because their are 70,000,000 people enrolled in Medicade – up 20% since Obamacare. (There are about 8,000,000 vets enrolled in VA healthcare). You want to know the real problem? Those 70 million are a bigger voting block than us.

  10. Id say that this is no surprise to those of us who have been dealing with the VA for 25+ YEARS or more. It was only a matter of time that once the smoke in mirrors cleared all the true VA – “fuck the Veterans ” campaign woild return. The only time the American taxpayer cares about its veterans is when they are DEAD! Thus, the suicides and VA killings will continue until there are such few to be heard from and the old ways of the VA will continue while the magnification blurs and fades, until thr next call for the working class and poor citizens to serve reappears. However, the next call to arms will be by draft because there are too many educated taxpayers who have seen the ttuth of how the AMERICAN GOVERNMENT and its taxpayers treats its veterans and services! GOD BLESS all my brother and sistrrs in arms this Memorial Day weekend and let us all remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice! Be safe and love.

  11. One of the best ways to influence Government is with the Press. If Veterans can some how get their stories and things that have been written about here in the media and then name names of people in congress not supporting us and the President that will certainly help. The next thing is for Veterans to Organize of Voting Block. How many Veterans do we have in this country? What of a New Political Party of Veterans? This will force the politicians to listen or not get our votes. We can also select our own to run for various offices state and Federal. I think Mr. Krause would make a great congressional leader and perhaps more. I am sure we have many qualified Veterans who could be elected to State and Federal Office. For Some REASON Senator McCain seems to have abandoned the Veterans. It is the same old story….FOLLOW THE MONEY TRAIL IF YOU WANT TO FIND OUT WHAT IS GOING ON.

    • My husband Gordon D. Youmans was a POW in Korea, he was in the Air Force from 07/14/1950 to 07/13/1954. he filed for benefits at the age of 76 he was fighting cancer. After about 2 years he was approved and given a 100% disability rating, then after another 20 months or so he was informed his benefits would be cut off. Why? Because and 2nd DD 214 had “surfaced” that did not show any of his OSI experience, his schooling or having been a POW. The 2nd DD 214 was a page 4 that did not even show the amount of his mustering out pay! In addition it did however the actives he participated in which would require the schooling that was omitted and his so called signature on it is a forgery! About 4 weeks before we were notified that the benefits were to be cut off. We had an unexpected visit from a Special Agent from the OIG, how proceeded to harass my husband, who called him a cheat, a liar and a forger, in addition he was going to JAIL for fraud! In addition the men who came to our home pressured my husband who was fighting cancer and demanded his Original personal “Onionskin” DD 214 so they could has it “analyzed: by the FBI in DC. At that point my husband was worn out and said “I have nothing to hide” and allowed it to be taken. However the 2nd FAKE DD 214 was given precedence over the original and his benefits were cut off on 11/31/2013. We have gone through the entire Appeals Process and will have a video Hearing on the 21st of June this year. Gordon is now 83 years old, we are in serious financial trouble so we were able to get the hearing a little sooner than some veterans are able to. The DAV will represent us and we are keeping our fingers crossed and hope this farce we have been put through will be over soon and we won’t loose our home! You are RIGHT IT IS THE MONEY TRAIL! The head Manager left his job in early 2014 with a VERY BIG BONUS!

  12. What could Obama do? Depends if he is serious or not. If not, he could appoint a Blue Ribbon commission to waste more money until he’s gone, or he could order his DOJ to investigate with the same intensity as they are rioters in Baltimore or Ferguson.
    Thank you though Ben for calling it what it is. Outright fraud. Every one who obtained a bonus tied to wait times conspired to create a wait system in order to obtain money under false pretenses from the government. Try filing a false tax return. Yet filing a false travel voucher. Yet every VA has warning signs on Vets defrauding the government in travel pay.
    What should be done? Boehner should direct the House VA committee to specifically investigate any secret wait list, compare that with reported wait times for bonuses and those involved, and any results turned over to the DOJ for prosecution. Anything less will mean the same conspiring will continue to go on. If Boehner were serious, he would do this immediately.

  13. McDonald is a big joke as far as I’m concerned. He hasn’t fired anybody for killing veterans. McDonald doesn’t give a hang about any veterans.

    • VA SEC HAS FORCED EARLY RETIREMENT for many already! The VA SEC DID FORCE early retirements, but because of UNIONS 🙁 the Director got to walk away with a large bonus money too 🙁 oh BTW he was a veteran himself, enlisted to officer, who refused to properly take care of other veterans! He was the DIRECTOR! Currently, the Chief of Staff is a very TOXIC LEADER at the Black Hills Health Care System (BHHCS-VA)(SD), if you can say leader 🙁 . She has run way too many great Drs & other staff away from the BHHCS-VA (SD) If the VA SEC did “FIRE” then open to TORT CLAIMS! (medical malpractice) need to get rid of toxic leaders who are running good medical doctors, nurses, NP, PAs out of this area 🙁 even refusing to have a Certified MD to Supervise new Drs &/or 4th year Med Students but nooooo they SrExecStaff did not take care of vets some & have died or still dieing for lack of proper care 🙁 TOXIC LEADERS in charge of VA Systems need to go!!!!!!!! The whole SES at the BHHCS needs to go! start with those who want to and will do a good job to take care the veterans!

  14. I hope you’re all finally figuring out; these Politicians ACT busy by giving the VA dirty looks and slaps on the wrists; while behind the scene it’s just a bunch of 1 percent-ers JERKING EACH OTHER OFF! All some n’mirrors…bull shit to appease us.

    • It’s called privatizing where Pols like Boehner and company, the 1% ,will be the usual recipients of profit. Boehner may say one thing but what has he done but block anything that would help the 99%.The theft and lies are immense, ALL thanks to the privatizing 1%..The VA IS now meant to be incompetent, so to privatize, then you’ll see what you get for medical care then, it”ll be worse and why we thrown on SSA/Medicare, the last chunks of money to steal from. That’s been the plan via privatizing..

      • Finally
        Excellent call. Politicians benefit from medical establishment lobby groups, especially Big Pharmacy, Providers can charge double or triple even though there are programs already in place and I am not even addressing the Choice Program. VA is one big conduit for money to flow out in the many racketeering schemes.
        Request through FOIL, last five years, ( statute allows) financial reports of any VAMC i.e., Cash Flow, Balance Sheet, Income Statement etc,, fourth grade arithmetic( not even Common Core, LOL, money is being siphoned off sometimes to a friend, relative owning she’ll corporations.
        There is no Separation of Powers, because no legislative authorities have enacted any real punitions.

  15. First of all, I saw this coming. I said that the time this legislation passed that the only thing it would accomplish would be to give the VA more money. This article states it was $16 billion, but it was actually more like $25B. A real political masterstroke by the career bureaucrats at the agency — it got more money to waste while devising ways to circumvent the spirit of the law before the ink was even dry on it. They pulled a Rahm Emanuel and didn’t allow a serious crisis to go to waste.

    With the obligatory “I told ya so” now complete. Here’s how we fix this. You hire outside consultants to audit the entire agency to find 10% of the entire workforce to eliminate. Make the consultants’ decisions non-negotiable and binding. You can start with mandatory retirement for those who are eligible to soften the blow. We need new blood in the agency, and too many old-timers are invested in the corrupt culture.

    Once you have eliminated these positions, you need to take the savings and create a new agency that has the responsibility to provide oversight to the VA. We have seen time and again that this agency CANNOT be trusted to police itself. The new agency should have the authority to fire (or otherwise discipline) any worker on the spot for falsifying information, “losing” documents, and other gross misconduct. Any employment at the VA for the past decade would automatically disqualify an applicant for employment with the new agency — except for whistleblowers who have moved on to other jobs.

    I realize this is a very “pie-in-the-sky” and drastic, but we need drastic action. I’ve read that some claims are now being evaluated by IBM’s Watson computer, but this is under siege because VSR’s consider that decisions too “veteran friendly.” Doesn’t the mission of the entire agency REQUIRE a veteran friendly agency? Sorry, guys, but I’ll take may chances with the computer. It’s called automation, you bloodsuckers, and it has saved trillions of $$ going back over the past couple of centuries. Industrial Revolution, anyone? VSR’s rating claims can, and should, be replaced.

    There are a lot of political problems with my solution, but the primary reason this will never happen is because of the Democratic politicians’ debt to labor unions. Obama and many other Democratic pols are completely beholden to unions, and the AFGE will have an absolute conniption if Obama tried to pull a Reagan on them. Other unions will line up with the AFGE to oppose a mass firing of VA employees, and Obama will not have the guts to bite the hand that has fed him.

    If Congress passes new legislation and Obama signs it, it is likely to amount to more of the same. The VA is corrupt, reactionary, and fully invested in its current culture. Its leadership is also comprised of masters of sleight-of-hand. To improve its performance, it needs someone from outside the agency to make the tough calls it has refused to make.

    • Maybe they should have used some of the money to approve some claims??? It appears that they deny, deny, deny, and then deny again and you have to refile and complain, contest, appeal and jump up and down in order to get just a small percentage of disability and then have to slog through the appeals process when the employees are not properly trained. This is ridiculous. I could fix the majority of the problems at the VA by helping them with a simple and easy to use type of database that will make life a whole lot easier, how to speed up the claims processes, and would fire who I thought needed to be fired and let HR deal with the union and other crap, but dang it, I would get this accomplished. I have been this way all my life and now that I have difficulty doing it now, my long term memory is good enough to whack it pretty good and make some improvements. It ain’t rocket surgery!!! Why the simple things can’t be fixed is beyond me. They are so hardnosed like it was their money they were spending and I firmly believe that people in the VA system keep valid claims from being paid because it probably costs too much for them to approve them. This is ridiculous and once that problem was taken care of, the number of appeals would definitely go down. They just deny people for no good reason and I have had it done to me several times and I had to fight to get it straight, but even after I got 100%, there are still things that are messed up. Why? Total incompetence comes to mind. Got to get people in there that can do the job. It is not that hard. I worked for the Fed Gov and it is not that hard…..maybe someday????

      • ” Deny for NO good reason” Never cease to amaze me how their denials are absolute works of fiction. Falsities, really. There must be a legal maneuver to criminally prosecute, especially when service connection was already established yet denial is based on a condition that does not exist and multitudinous medical documentation was submitted to state otherwise.
        Oppression of Office is a weak charge. Think.

      • Lambda — you have some great ideas, but I have to disagree with your statement, “would fire who I thought needed to be fired and let HR deal with the union and other crap.” Here’s my reasoning on this.

        HR is part of the status quo at the VA. I think we agree that the VA has proven repeatedly that it cannot be trusted to police itself. If you just hand out a pink slip, HR will have to ensure that the termination complies with the CBA, and you would likely be reversed. If you try to fire all the HR employees, they know the system backward-and-forward and they probably, with all due respect, would hand your head to you in court.

        Bottom line, you can’t rely on people who are invested in the status quo to change it. You would have to find people from the outside to make these calls.

        To accomplish this, you would need to impose the Labor Relations equivalent of “Martial Law” to the CBA’s, Reagan, when he fired that air traffic controllers back in the 1980’s, did something similar, and he literally changed the culture of that federal agency overnight. If Obama had the resolve, he could do ALL the things you talk about doing, but he won’t.

        You are also right that the government would need a LOT more money to pay claims at their proper rating levels, but, from a practical standpoint, this is a non-issue. If claims begin to be rated at their proper levels, the government will simply allocate more $$ to pay them. Although Congress has been extremely dysfunctional in recent years, it won’t cut veterans benefits because this would be political suicide. No politician wants to face reelection being perceived as hostile to veterans.

        I think that just about anyone could fix this problem if they had to godlike authority that you seem to assume would be granted. The problem is that only one man has that authority, and he will never use it to take on the unions that elected him.

  16. Throwing out the baby with the bath water? I think it’s time we threw out the baby (the VA) AND the bath water..(both parties) and started a new middle of the road party (The Unity Party) I am so tired of reactionary demagogues and ranting talking heads on TV and Radio ripping this country apart…

  17. I was medivac from Japan in 1975 with a stroke from SC/PTSD trauma. My father was called & said that I probably would not make it.

    I got paid in Feb 2015 (only 50% rating). Like everyone else: “WAITING FOR THE VA TO MAKE A FULL DECISION REGARDING IU/100% P & T”; in which they failed to rule on the entirety of the case, hoping I would go away, give up or die. I’ve been through so many trials and tribulations all negative with the VA. Including losing my file and claim.

    WELL, WHAT THEY DID THIS TIME REALLY PISSED ME OFF FOR GOOD. I went to the BOISE VAMC TO FILE BACK MED PAY & I was committed to a loony bend for 6-days at Safehaven. They tried to have me institutionalized. WHEN I WAS LOCKED UP AGAINST MY WILL: MY 2011 SUBARU “WRX” WAS BROKEN INTO! EVERYTHING I OWED WAS IN THEIR INCLUDING MY service revolver/45COLT. To make a long story short – I haven’t been able to file for the allowed med back pay due to my third stroke which is SC -SUBRACKNOID HEMMITOBA (ms/brain bleed). RESULTING IN A COGNITIVE-DISORDER. Meaning that I have a learning disorder; even though I’m a college grad it’s impossible for me to fill out a simple form to collect benefits because of these strokes and cognitive disorder. It gets worse. After th VA insist I take 28-METHODONE & OXYCODONE TABLETS A DAY FOR 10-years or so; “THEY CUT ME OFF COLD TURKEY JUST AFTER I GOT OUT OF THE LOONEY BIN ENCOUNTER. SO MY WIFE DIVORCES ME AND I LOSE MY HOUSE. My father dies and I have to go 700-miles to liquidate his estate. BUT I AM UNABLE TO FUNCTION BECAUSE OF SEVERE LIFE THREATENING WITHDRAWALS.

    I SPENT THE MONEY I FINALLY RECEIVED FROM THE VA LIVING IN A RED LION HOTEL GOING THROUGH LIFE-THREATENING WITHDRAWALS FROM NO PAIN MEDS FOR MY SEVERE PAIN WHICH WAS NOT FIXED (three bad disk – two in neck & one in back on an impinged nerve ending. Tons of arthritis and needing three surgeries. One surgery needed is bilateral knee replacement. I lost 150-lbs so I did not have to get this done. SINCE THE VA’s BULLSHIT I HAVE PUT BACK ON A LOT OF THE WEIGHTTHAT I PREVIOUSLY TOOK OFF. Which was a real fun accomplishment to begin with. If you think dieting is fun and easy when your disabled and can’t hardly walk, then hopefully you can become aware of how “BOGUS” the evil-spirited VA really operates. IS THIS THE VA’s IDEA OF HEALTHCARE & COMPASSIONATE TREATMENT FOR HONORABLEY DISABLED MARINE CORPS VETERANS? I STILL HAVENT RECEIVED HEALTHCARE OR TREATMENT SINCE ARRIVING MY DADS FINAL DESTINATION.

    I guess my PATIENT ADVOCATE is on the VAs payroll. Because, now that my MEDS are free – I HAVE NO FORMULARY! Previously I had ten medications on my list.

    • When you say your patient Advocate are you referring to the hospital patient advocates or service organizations such as the DAV or AMVETS? You need to get some help….from some one although I cannot speak highly of the service organizations. I had one and got a 20% rating and the service officer said he would not appeal other parts of my claim. Well being an Attorney who was now disabled after 40 years on practice I did my own appeal on the claims. Wow was all he could say when he learned I got a 100% P& T

  18. The Veterans Administration should be a stand alone agency like the postal service. If you are going to write to complain about the Veterans Administration outside of the Veterans Administration, who would you write, The President? Why? How much would a President intervene on one person’s issue? It would either be a senator or congress person. There should be a committee of those same officials which rotate periodically to assess the work of the Veterans Administration Secretary. For anyone to fully penetrate the VA and change culture and refocus the mission, it will take several years, at least six. But the Secretary can change with each presidential election and every scandal. This does not promote the needed stability for effective and necessary changes. No one is going to go to Washington and know exactly how things are run in all 50 states in four years or make all the needed connections within the organization in that time frame. The needs of veterans don’t change with foreign policy or external conflicts The VA needs long term direction and stability. How does one root out the bad apples? It will take long term stability and commitment. Going from Shinseki to McDonald insured what Shinseki was accomplishing would take longer or never get done. The replacement for McDonald will insure what McDonald is accomplishing will take longer or not get done. As long as everyone acts as if the VA Secretary can snap their fingers and everything can change over night or all scandals mean fire the Secretary immediately, the VA will remain same.

  19. It is very frustrating for any US citizen, whether a veteran or not, to see what has (not) happened in Washington DC. It is clear that no one in Washington actually represents what the American People want. All elected positions (and the appointed offices beholden to politicians) are only interested in preserving their positions, their political parties, get re-elected, repay lobby dollars and PAC contributions, align with other politicians to pass regional legislation and dollars, etc. The President, Congress, have a constantly shifting list of priorities only to assuage a constituent’s inquiry. Congress does not actually get anything accomplished, as anything that is passed is filled with watered down provisions, compromises, ridiculous pork barrel unrelated spending, and benefits for special interest contributors.

    Likewise at the VA, the VA is all about protecting the VA. There is a “ruling class” of supervisors within the VA system that perpetuates advancement of similar people into powerful positions without being qualified. The people who get the work accomplished are the lower grade journeyman positions, most of whom try to do a good job, trying to give claims the time and consideration they deserve. But the out of touch overstaffed DC Central Office people demand that x number of vets cases are completed per hour, whether they are complex issues with two dozen disabilities or a single disability.

    The VA of old wanted claims to be properly and correctly considered by employees, regardless of claim complexity. Veterans actually were important and meant something in the VA of old. The rush by VA Central Office to develop and implement, and then abandon, at least a dozen increasingly automated claims processing systems over the last 20 years has wasted millions of dollars. Interestingly, many retired top ex VA officials were involved in some of those wasteful contracts, at a nice payday for themselves.

    The answer? I don’t think privatization is the answer. It just opens the door for more wasteful dollars sideslipped to people who have a lot less interest than the current veteran populated workforce. I am not sure that what the VA is supposed to do can efficiently be contracted out, given Washington’s proclivity for nepotism and taking paying obligations to contributors.

    What needs to be done is Washington actually doing required oversight of the VA, from Congressional and Senate Committees, to the President, all actually caring more about veterans, actually doing what they were elected to do, than just assuring their re-election. Getting rid of the old boy network currently in place is a beginning. Putting people with VA operational work backgrounds into top positions would be a start, not promoting people out of HR, Voc Rehab, VA Finance, or Admin, Legal, or any non Service Center experience positions. Line Managers should reflect Operational Line experience and responsibility. I have seen Secretaries with little or no advanced education mysteriously quickly rise into GS 14 supervisory positions; people with Central Office only experience, but whose husband or wife is in a senior position, get promoted to Assistant Directors; or Directors with consistently poor records of performance at their current assignments, be promoted to larger offices and given SES status, then unsurprisingly lower the performance at the new assignment, yet astonishingly get rewarded with large bonuses.

    It is the culture at the top of the VA that needs overhaul, along with a protectionist attitude of the Executive and Legislative Branches, who quickly voice a hollow dissatisfaction with the VA, for the benefit of the media and press, but never taking any meaningful action and oversight to actually address issues and fix the VA.

    Regrettably, veterans and their sacrifice are forgotten as the percentage of vets in the population diminishes. Unfortunately, there is no one in Washington with enough guts or voice to stand up for veterans. Even John McCain, whom I have always thought to be the epitome of a veteran senator, has been quiet about the tragedies in the Phoenix VA. In Pittsburgh, the prior director at the VAMC and VISN director, when vets were dying of Legionella, who was allowed to sneak into retirement with no accountability for his poor performance, was just back at the Pittsburgh VA, representing a firm with a 275 $ million VA contract. There was also no oversight or accountability when construction at the VA hospital was incorrectly done and had to be redone.

    Is no one accountable at the VA except apparently the rotating position of VA Secretary?

  20. Michael Moreland was the head of VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System during a fatal Legionnaires’ outbreak. No longer employed by VA, Moreland recently returned to the same VA campus, representing a private company with a lucrative VA contract. In doing so, Moreland violated the criteria for those who leave federal service. Specifically, Moreland violated U.S. Code Title 18, Section 207, the penalty for which is imprisonment for up to five years and a hefty fine. Lawmakers “applauded pressure on Moreland to abandon the work.” Yes, lawmakers applauded pressure on Moreland.

    Michael Moreland should be arrested and prosecuted!

    The Rule Of Law in this country is in tatters, ripped to shreds by influential and privileged individuals.

    This country has many laws on the books that it rarely, if ever, enforces. Many of them, especially in this type of instance, are there for good reason.

    Enforce the law!

    Source: https://triblive.com/news/allegheny/8363817-74/moreland-pittsburgh-shipcom#axzz3aqZHvjpD

  21. Something on a higher, sinister level.
    Face it. Which class of persons represent a competent force against a New World Order. Communism in the good ole U.S.A.
    Veterans, combat-tested, priven, mentally battle ready.
    It would make sense from their view to make us poor, destitute, sick , want to kill ourselves. Align methodology used against Targeted Individuals. Even better, lets give them mental illness diagnosis si can prescribe toxic meds which function as chemical straightjackets. Bring their families on board. No Differential Diagnosis, label them mentally ill, without SUBSTANTIATING.
    Congress will only TALK about reform much less any prosecution.
    For Mr. Thomas Miller. BRO, I feel for you, lose the house, divorce but when children call their Dad a Loser, That hurts. And these slugs are living it up.

  22. I personally believe this disgrace to Veterans has gone on long enough,I am a Disabled Vietnam Vet rated 100% and after writing to the Fat Cats in Washington,DC not even receiving 1 form letter for my trouble I can only believe what I have all along and that is they are all rich at our expense and completely out of touch with reality and that being the case we are screwed with the present Administration all the way to the top because they Just DON’T care if there are no kickbacks.Having said that I will probably get audited next week!!

  23. Notice how Pres. Obama and his DOJ “Team” were on the Cleveland, OH “protests” Saturday, 5/23/15 IN A FLASH!!!???
    Never mind it’s “Memorial Weekend”, and definitely never mind the Veterans currently being screwed around by the VA.
    If we could only have THAT kind of responsiveness and attentiveness for we Vets that people now get from POTUS and DOJ now that **anytime** thugs and criminals start protesting the justice system making correct and fair decisions!!!

    But no, we Veterans have more pride and self-respect than to go to the measures these animals protesting possess…but yet, our President and DOJ care about THEM WAY MORE…with Veterans nothing more than a *possible* afterthought.

    These people in charge make me sick. I am not saying Veterans should riot, loot, and all that because we were not raised nor conditioned to be so. I am just pointing out the literal “800 LB Gorilla” in the room that perhaps nobody else wants to speak out about.

    I propose that the DOJ is definitely DISCRIMINATING AGAINST VETERANS by NOT taking OUR PLIGHT with same fervor they have anytime thugs refuse to obey police, get shot, then become animals…the DOJ cares more about them, and highly doubt too many in those crowds ever entered a recruitment office in their lives!!

    Sorry, but the ugly truth needed spoken!

  24. I truly feel they should go to prison, see a sentence to prison overrides any Merit System Protection Board (MSPB), which is a in the way process allowing criminals due process rights. This process needs to be perminently removed via prison time. Right or wrong because crooks protected by the process of (MSPB) violate Veterans due process rights.

    So Mr. President and Congress sentence criminal Veterans Affairs employees at all levels to prison and watch the Veterans Affairs flow freely to the liken of us Veterans and citizens of the United States.

    • @Chauncey Robinson-
      You said it spot-on, brother! The VA is in need of a MASSIVE…enema…to clean the pipes so it again can freely serve Veterans and not the self-serving bureaucrats. Today on ‘Face The Nation’, Senator John McCain, chief of Arm Services Committee, was on there…NOT A PEEP about the state of the VA…all politics in a self-serving way.
      I have lost a great amount of respect for him and the blinders he choses to wear…and the VA is especially a mess still in his own back yard in Arizona…meanwhile, he is more concerned about SENDING ANOTHER TROOP SURGE TO IRAQ…but of course, nothing about taking care of Vets upon returning, let alone cleaning up the mess it is in these days. FUBAR says it all.

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