VA Budget Deficit Whooping $2.6 Billion

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VA budget deficit

Benjamin KrauseNew revelations of a $2.6 billion VA budget deficit has Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) worked up prior to Thursday’s hearing where the agency will come hat in hand.

Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson will face the full force of House Committee on Veterans Affairs, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why Secretary Robert McDonald will not be at the hearing. The Committee just confirmed warnings from the field that VA faces a $2.6 billion shortfall. Committee members have interrogated VA for the past 4 months about its budget but agency spokespeople played dumb.

Now, the chickens are coming home to roost after VA requested to pull $534 million to pay for its horrendous failed construction project in Colorado. Instead, VA is pushing Hepatitis C veterans into Veterans Choice to likely offset the shortfall.

The hearing is coming up at 10:30 AM on Thursday. Here is Rep. Jeff Miller’s statement about the upcoming hearing in a press release:

“VA’s continued lack of transparency and refusal to be forthright with Congress is unacceptable. It was not until I called a hearing in response to warnings from the field about the budget that VA admitted to a $2.6 billion shortfall. Secretary McDonald has testified 4 times within nearly as many months about VA’s budget, without ever mentioning a shortfall of this magnitude. Less than 3 weeks ago, VA came to Congress asking to remove $534 million from medical care to pay for the largest construction failure in VA history. Talking around the facts and alluding to the need for budget flexibility without justification or supporting data has become an all too familiar practice at VA. I look forward to discussing with Deputy Secretary Gibson how such a massive shortfall could have come as a surprise to the department, and how to put an end to these frequent cost overruns while ensuring veterans receive the care they have earned.”

Source: https://veterans.house.gov/press-release/chairman-miller-statement-ahead-of-va-budget-hearing

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51 Comments

  1. This would explain why, I just learned, that there are no funds for fee-based dental care for veterans who are rated 100%, total and permanent. I called my local dental provider, who the VA has been paying for 11 years, to schedule my semi-annual exam and cleaning and was told that they had been informed that there was no more funding for fee-based dental care. So, I called fee basis and they confirmed this. They told me that they had no idea when, or if, this program woulod eventually be restarted. Then I learned that the Choice Program does not cover dental care and that, according to a VA fact sheet I found on the web, dental care is to be paid for through the fee basis program. So, instead of firing the lowlifes and criminals behind the appointment manipulations that led to deaths, veterans, once, again, get fucked. I was told by the Portland fee basis person I talked with today that this will affect 500+ veterans in my region. This means that some 20,000 or more veterans, nationwide, will be denied dental care in a timely fashion. After I got done with fee basis, I called the dental clinic. They cannot get me in for an exam and cleaning until late-August…more than 30 days out. I also need two root canals, which my local provider was denied fudning to do. They can’t get me in for an exam on this until September, and the root canals would be another 6-9 months down the road. I have written my congressman and both of my senators. Sen. Merkley’s person got back to me. already, and said they will be looking into this tomorrow. I intend to call the House Veterans Affairs Committee tomorrow and ask them to ask Mr. Sloan…what the fuck!!

  2. Allow me to sharpen and shine the guillotine…I hope this Thursday meeting and a$$-chewing is made public!

    I find it odd Sec. McDonald is sending Sloan Gibson in his stead…my opinion, they should BOTH be before Congress, along with Under Sec. and whole VA OIG Team.

    I think a question to ask is: Would the VA happened to have had a “short-fall” if they did *not* have all that tempting Veteran’s Choice Card Program $$$ sitting there?

    ONE BIG AUDIT…and a line to the gallows.

  3. Ask him what’s he doing about the va using the disruptive committee to punish ex va employees by reporting they had been disruptive and never had to provide any proof of disruptive behavior on the part of the veteran and doing so with the oigs ok and no way a veteran has to defend themselves, and violates the veterans civil and constitutional rights to be able to a fair trial and not let hearsay into the process, the va needs to be held accountable for falsely accusing a disabled Veteran of anything without having to produce any evidence, they rush to judgment, not requiring any evidence, they need to be forced to produce the evidence they used and if they refuse or can not produced any evidence the veteran it to have his official records cleansed and the veterans made whole again to live the remainder of their lives free from having to worry every day if the va once again tell lies and slander someone’s good name without giving it a second thought. Thanks James disabled Veteran

  4. Easy solution, End VA! Pay 100% private insurance and comp for all veterans. 1 Happy vets, 2 happy taxpayers and 3 fuck the va crooks and their undeserved bonuses! Win, win, win!

    • @Tim-
      Rather than ending the VA, I am almost certain that if Congress ENDED THE VA BONUS SYSTEM, the rats would jump ship and do most of the cleaning-up on it’s own.
      It seems since the VA employees look at us as cash cows, it’s time to cease the motivating factor of KILLING or HARMING WE “Veteran Cash-Cows” by removing the motivator to begin with…their greed over quality and the very lives of the Veterans they are supposed to be there to serve.
      If Private Insurance were to take over with the same bonus system or merit system, (whatever candy-coated name you want to give it), we Veterans would also fall prey even easier to Big Pharma experimenting on Vets more than the VA currently does.

      I think the Civilians running the VA have had their chance and have FAILED generations of Veterans, and high time the VA was filled to the brim with Veterans that understand the Military Experience and more importantly, what we all have gone through, Adjustment from many years of Military Life to suddenly Civilian Life….that right there would quite possibly catch many Vets before they ever came close to the world of homelessness.

      If you ever take the time to talk to the many Homeless Veterans…or better to write it this way: you would be surprised just how many Homeless People are Veterans that have given-up because the VA has indeed either given-up on them or the VA has given them such a run around, including VSO’s, completely losing their medical records, et al…and most people with anxiety/depression and PTSD conditions and more from Military Experience(s) tend to find it easier to just give-up (this also includes suicide as well as Homelessness or even killed on streets), rather than continually hit the solid brick walls the VA is so proficient at putting-in-place of just trying to get medical care, let alone process and file their Service Connected Claim…and it seems to me that the VA uses intimidation, esp. from their so-called “Psych Dept.’s”, in a sociopathic way, KNOWING they will eventually just give-up.

      Lastly, just as you would properly discipline and punish in varying degrees of severity a child acting-up or an adult for their actions via the law, the VA really NEEDS HARD DISCIPLINE, *not Administrative Leave WITH Pay*…if Sec. McDonald and this President of the USA would PLACE THE FEAR OF GOD or FEAR OF LOSING JOB AND ALL BENEFITS by making a VERY PUBLIC FIRING, one would think that if these VA Employees actually saw where their actions could have ramifications that will follow them through life, as well as a swift push to unemployment line, then and only then, will a ‘change of culture’ take place.
      As it stands, there’s absolutely no fear of their actions and the VA OIG only just reinforced this by totally BLOWING OFF CREDIBILITY OF VA WHISTLE BLOWERS with this recent Tomah VAMC as well as Phoenix VAMC and on and on…it’s like rewarding a badly acting-out child with reinforcements that will only guarantee repeated behaviors…and if ANYTHING NEEDS TO GO, it’s the Gov’t. Employee’s Union, whatever that anagram is…they are a big part of the reinforcement of bad behavior…no civilian corporation down to a small mom and pop shop can in any way operate the way the VA does.

      The VA should be audited by a totally outside Accounting Firm…start there, start firing from those results, with no ability to Appeal…OUT!

      Why is this lack of real discipline with the VA System even tolerated? I as well as all other Veterans, REALLY LOVE our USA…and we would LOVE to be proud of our VA. Right now, I am so very ashamed and admittedly, pissed-off at the VA for allowing 12 Veteran Suicides a **DAY**, every day, through each and every YEAR as “an acceptable status quo”…and the VA has shown such disrespect and blatant disregard for Veteran Lives, they all deserve a one way ticket to Leavenworth.

      Audit the VA. Demolish the Bonus System. NOW. Sec. McDonald probably can see the writing on the dirty wall and reason he is sending Sloan Gibson instead. I hope they fire Sloan…but I highly doubt President Obama and his DOJ will not allow it.

      Remember, Pres. Obama keeps repeating that, “I have full faith and confidence in Sec. McDonald and the VA OIG and that the VA will do what is right for Veterans” (paraphrased)…and there lies another facet of the problem and how deep it runs and how completely disconnected from the reality of how the VA is doing more harm than good to our Brothers and Sisters and Survivors.

      Require even for a two year period, ALL members of Congress, no exceptions, to use the VA solely for their medical care…and even toss in the Supreme Court Justices….you will see changes and heads fly in no time flat…perhaps if there was not such a buffer and disconnect their self-serving asses would then realize we have been going through hell and make major changes.

      I am sorry my morning rant is a bit long-winded, even for me today! I am simply tired of seeing VA crooks getting off scot-free, no accountability for the taxpayer’s money and criminal behavior and the VA “Policing Itself”…THAT is just as bad as allowing the VA to manage BILLION$ and keep coming back to Congress with hands-out for more…just like they wanted MORE $$$ for the Choice Card Program when they were told to stop using “as a crow flies mileage rules”…I think that thee would have NEVER BEEN A DEFICIT if the VA did not have their eyes set on all that Choice Card Program’s cash.
      The VA has wanted to do with what they will with that $$$ from the onset and have been public about it, and even belligerently deciding to steal from Veteran’s Medical Care to pay for the Denver VAMC grossly mismanaged construction project and the many other over-budget construction projects.

      • This is what I have been saying, and repeating, for a long time.
        If all veterans, MILLIONS, were to converge on their local VA facilities, (on a specific day and time), I bet someone would listen then! Remember, we veterans outnumber the VA facilities by a considerable amount.
        We cannot, and must not, be coersed into failing to get the point across to the lawmakers. We are not happy with the current administration (Congress, Senate AND the Veterans Administration).Which has failed not only veterans, but the taxpayers as well…..
        When will it end?

      • See, if each State’s Senators and Rep’s and bureaucrats in each of 50 States were MANDATED to utilize the VA for ALL Medical, and no, can not be in Washington, D.C., where the President goes…no, Each of their respective States, then it would be even standardized from fair Representation and Reporting.
        Basically, the VA needs to not be left on the long untethered leash and it’s mismanagement of $$$ that could be helping our fellow brothers/sisters/survivors…and NO building contract such as the Denver VAMC over budget white elephant, no contract when originally set-up allows for several times stating it’s going to cost more, then it gets shut down and shut up0 then start again…this is War Profiteering 101…the crooks are running the jailhouse and bank vault doors.

        Rep. Jeff Miller–If you read this forum, please consider the above when having your meeting on Thursday with Sloan Gibson, if he even shows, would not surprise me.

      • Congress would not only have to stop paying bonuses, they would have to cut ALL employees pay, from top to bottom and stop allowing all VA’s from having conventions. Can anyone else suggest anything which should be abolished from the VA’s itinerary?
        I believe that would cause the rats to abandon ship!

  5. I think this totally explains WHY the VA was wanting that Choice Program $$$ diverted only a few months after implemented, and tried to quickly discount the fact it was ever needed and ALL Veterans are happy with VA Health Care!

    This does not even take elementary deductive skills to figure out, it’s that obvious. Sec. McDonald has had -4- direct opportunities to address this “shortfall” and said nothing. It’s mid-June, HOW THE HELL does the VA have THAT massive of a shortfall so quickly?

    Audit.

    Prison, no bonus.

  6. One thing interesting about all these debacles being discovered is that Congress uncovers all this mess through outside sources and never makes mention of the prosecuting body that can hold VA accountable. They are essentially have been telling VA to fix itself . Lamblasting VA in all these hearings is just a cover-up of a bigger governmental scheme to dupe veterans and the taxpayer. You have to remember VA is our inheritance as veterans. It is time for us to to these douchewads to get out our house through real veteran action by protesting at facilities. All these vsos and veterans groups should have been orchestrating these types of movements along time ago. The audit trail will lead directly to these fake ass posers that have recently been surfacing, that are in charge of various posts throughout the country.

  7. Instead of the ‘committee’ saying “BLAH BLAH BLAH “, Why don’t they call in the “law enforcement officials”, whoever they would be, and start prosecuting these individuals? Take the umbilicals right off the floor, straight to jail and have no bail.
    Is it that hard to do right by the Veterans and taxpayers?

    • P.S. I posted on here a few days ago a Channel 9 news report (Orlando, Florida) concerning the VA having a “$3 billion overage”. So it’s no surprise the VA would beg congress and the Senate for more $$$$$$$$$$$$ (taxpayers’ money).

  8. Just got done reading the following article on ‘you tube’- “March 2015 Was a Really Bad Month for the Veterans Administration!
    The author used only a few of the many stories which could have been used. The two which stood out in my mind were,
    1.) The veteran who “froze to death in the woods after he went to the VA for help in IOWA!” IOWA stands for “IDIOTS OUT WALKING AROUND!” The VA in IOWA sure lived up to that.
    2.) A veteran waited for 69 years to hear about his claim for a “service connected disability”. That is shameful!!!
    Everyone on here should check you tube for more shameful stories concerning the VA and our country’s “appointed officials”.
    All I can say to MacDonald and all the other @$$#$ is shame on you!!!!!

  9. Bob McDonald is Afraid, that he will make a mistake and end up loosing his job, will send someone who can lie better than he and he can blame it on someone else. He has learned that’s the VA way. He needs to stand up for veterans rights and not stick his head in the sand. Bob do your job and stop letting the VA hurt Veterans.

      • Ben, I somewhat agree with James. Because, McDonald was in the ‘private sector’all of what, 33+ years? Now he’s in the Government sector. I believe he’s not aware of the differences. It’s a completely different animal. I believe, if he continues to do what he’s doing, he might find himself in something he doesn’t want to be in. As President Trumans’ ‘desk plaque’ said, “The Buck Stops Here”. McDonald IS the top dog. So the buck stops with him.
        Look what happened to Shinseki, he wanted to take over Akakas’ (Hawaii) position in Government. That ain’t gonna happen. His career is basically OVER!

      • I see Sloan Gibson simply being the first person thrown under the bus…but the Obama Administration will NOT fire Sloan Gibson…guarantee it. I am hoping the Committee on Thursday simply asks him some accountability questions, chews his ass royally, and then DEMAND “Sloan’s Handlers”, as well as Sec. McDonald and Under Sec. Hickey appear before committee next week…pronto!
        Sloan Gibson, as I understood it, was ONLY a temporary “Acting As…” position, appointed by Pres. Obama. I find it interesting that the VA has found it relatively easy to keep throwing the VA Sec. to the dogs and under the bus…then…NEXT, repeat, rinse, and repeat again.

        We already KNOW from real-world experience that firing the appointed VA Leaders **is not a cure to the VA problems**…the cancer is within the core of the VA.

  10. I think I can’t help feeling sorry for myself and other veterans. I am ashamed that such a wonderful agency like this has gone the way of greed and corruption. The VA was established to help the veteran. Now it seems to only help the administration and employees.
    “GOD, have mercy on our veterans “.

  11. Just got off the phone with a nice lady at the House Committee and explained what was going on with the money for outside dental care. The Committee is aware of this issue and intends to ask Mr. Gibson about this at tomorrow’s hearing on the budget shortfall. I also said that I had learned that the Choice Program could not be used for dental care, but that I had read the act and it says nothing about not being able to use our card for this purpose. I told her that the VA had done this on their own and that I felt it was a direct violation of Congress’ intent in funding this program. For those who are interested, the hearing tomorrow starts at 10:30AM Eastern time and can be watched streaming on the Committee’s web site.

    • Stu, did you ask why McDonald wasn’t going to appear? Or, when is the committee going to ask, or mandate, the VA to provide documents as to “Where did all the BILLIONS of taxpayers money go, which was allocated to them last year?
      There would have been many more questions. Yet I believe that nice lady would’ve become less nice!

    • I good question to ask the Committee , is that out of all the veterans placed on a behavioral flag notice, what would a veterans options be to use the Choice Card. Makes sense for those vets to use it , since they claim these veterans are so disruptive. You have to make them eat their own words with their actions.

  12. Still waiting on my claim to be finalized from 90% to 100% They will be finishing their soap opera drama and lying to Congress this afternoon. Then Congress can build on the drama. Accountability always start at the top. But like has been asked over and over. What justice get handed out? A nice reposting and award to cause more harm some place else. OIG why do you send GS-12 to GS- 14 to do inspection??? Their answer they will not be intimidated by senior leadership.officials. Let the person be a boot on the grounds come in and discover the dirt!!!! They will really be shocked for how much more rotten things they will find.

  13. The VA blew upwards of $2 billion on just one useless incomplete hospital project. There is over $1 billion more in other well-known VA fiascos. So, they blow $3 billion and simply demand more. McD has made quiet deals with his Congressional lobbyists that assure him he doesn’t have to even show up at this hearing. Congress will give the VA more than they are asking for. All the kickbacks and payola has to come from somewhere, so it might as well be off the backs of veterans. Nothing to see here, move along, or the VA will put you on the Disruptive Behavior List.

  14. Rep. Miller: “I look forward to discussing with Mr. Gibson how this shortfall could go unnoticed.” Sure, discuss the problem to death, and vets along with it, as usual; . Do nothing but talk. BS artists, all of them. A GIGANTIC ‘dog and pony’ show.

    Gibson to Miller at a $2,000 lunch: “I want to be the pony this time.”

    Miller: “No, you were the pony last time. Tell you what though. If you let me be the pony at this hearing tomorrow we will make McDonald the dog. I’m sure I can talk him into it.”

    Gibson: “Sure. Perfect. A couple of weeks from now McD can just give all of us at Congress another verbal lashing like he has become famous for.”

    Miller: “I love it! These moron veterans and dumb taxpayers will eat it up.”

    Gibson: “Hey, you wanna’ try that $1,200 gold leaf covered dessert? It’s on me!”

  15. The VA is a hopelessly unstoppable organized crime syndicate that does nothing substantial for veterans.

  16. For the sake of transparency I would suggest that the person who makes the final decision on a compensation claim be required to sign the decision. The BVA signs all of their decisions, why shouldn’t the DRO’s?????? A continuing record of remanded decisions could be tracked and delt with. Accountability, a subject VA doesn’t seem to practice.

    • Sometime ago, around 10 years or so, I was made aware that the ‘board’ who adjudicates claims, receives money for denying the claim. I wonder if the VA calls that – “BONUS”? Maybe thats where some of the BILLIONS of dollars went?
      Stu, what was the phone number you called? Maybe everyone one here would like to contact that “nice lady”, and ask some questions concerning the VA’s deficit?

  17. All together, now — THE VA CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO POLICE ITSELF! It’s the height of irony that this agency routinely places unwanted and unnecessary trustees in charge of veterans’ finances while running red ink in excess of 2 1/2 billion bucks.

  18. Ch 9 news @ 4:48pm A group of veterans are going to use “social media ” to help veterans combat PTSD. JUSTIN GREY was the news reporter on this story. He’s out of Washington DC. The story said these veterans were going to help since the VA can’t!
    What do y’all think? I think it’s awesome veterans are doing the job the VA can’t or won’t do.

  19. Sometimes the answer to a huge problem is right in front of you. Today on Yahoo there is a major story about a doctor ordered to pay $500,000 in malpractice damages to what they said to a patient who accidentally recorded what was being said during their surgery. The patient didn’t even hear it directly, he only heard it later when he found it on his smartphone. Federal Tort claims against the VA by thousands of veterans could shut the VA down so we can replace it with private health care. You can see the video by using the link below. It is the same kind of verbal abuse and humiliation the VA uses on vets at compensation and pension exams, PTSD exams and so on. It is malpractice whether it is the VA doing it or a private doctor doing it. The VA thinks they can do anything, say anything to any veteran, tell any lie, make any misleading diagnosis, say and do anything, because they have learned that if they intimidate vets and retaliate when they complain, then they can get by with murder. This case on Yahoo looks like that doctor is a prime candidate for the VA. Most private doctors don’t do this sort of thing because they know it is wrong and they would not have any patients if they did so. So, we need to start suing the VA for this sort of thing that they do every day of the year, all day long. this link will take you to the video: https://www.yahoo.com/health/he-didnt-hear-the-insults-from-his-doctors-but-122340563062.html

    • I have filed two claims this way because of doctors hurting me and the va just turned them down. No way for me to fight them, I reported both to higher management and the director seemed to always unavailable and the chief of staff ran out of his office once he heard I wanted to talk to him and he sent someone to talk to me, talk no he just yelled at me. When I sent an roi requesting my records and asked for the emails from the patient rep, they refused to give me those emails. There’s no way the veteran can do anything when they cover each other’s back.

  20. Hey, I got an idea. Have Congress pass a law which says that all Senate and House Hearings MUST be broadcast on all VA TVs in all clinics and anywhere else a TV is turned on and it as at the VA. Maybe we can embarrass them into doing the right thing or, if nothing else, all vets would know what a cluster the VA is and get them mad enough to join hands with those of us who know.

    • That’s a nice thought but the plan is only flawed because how the VA would deal with that is all the sudden there would be a mass amount of VA TV’s “Out Of Order”, or purposefully blacked-out, blaming it on a “technological glitch”…thus far the VA has been entirely CONSISTANT with NOT doing what they are asked or told. Too bad, but it’s the truth!

    • Years ago, just after returning from the Gulf, I read an article about an ARCOM HQ that spent $75,000 on TV’s and other “audio/visual” equipment for their HQ, and they openly admitted it was because they found during the Gulf War, they often got better or more timely information from CNN. There was no comment on improving their internal communications or how telephones work. Meanwhile, if I sent an advance party to a location for preparation for a field exercise, I was told there was no money to feed them, and they had to pay out of their own pocket.
      Anyway, around that time the feral goobermint went on a kick to install TV’s everywhere, and if you look now, most of them are turned off and never used. The only TV out of many I see turned on at the VA is the one in the pharmacy scrolling when prescriptions are ready.

      • I was at the VA this morning and decided to look around waiting rooms for TVs. There were TVs at the PC waiting Room, Specialty clinic waiting room, Cafeteria, the Cardiac waiting room, and the lab waiting room. I am sure there were many more, but those were the only two floors I was on. Also, there is a TV at my CBOC. Maybe my VA just had lots of money left over? (sarc,).

      • How many were turned on? The only TV I have ever seen turned on besides the prescription TV is the one in the waiting area for talking to a pharmacist, and it showed the built in DVD player had failed. There are many others in the hospital, and every one turned off.

      • They were all on. Mostly tuned to CNN. The one in Primary Care was tuned to some women’s program so, I guess, the clerks could watch their favorite shows. Maybe it is just at my VA.

  21. Chapter 31 regional office is keeping the same people, but just moving them around. All paper work is lost and you have to start over from day one if anything was in process with the old staff who is available, but reassigned on the opposite side of the building.

    What a cost saver to screw Veterans. Look for the musical chairs game at your local VA. Shouldn’t this game be illegal? There is not even a good alibi like the person quit, moved, or died. They are just down the friggin’ hall sitting behind another stack of papers hiding!

  22. As I read Ben’s articles as I stroll through the halls of the West Los Angeles VA and experience indifference, incompetence and negligence, I am amazed the deficit is only 2.6 Billion of the taxpayers hard earned dollars!

    • Be careful with your wording the va could try and use this against you or make your fellows veterans more of a target, would not trust them to understand you are just expressing your frustration with the va, they have used much less to go after veterans, you have a right to be upset, I don’t like the word crazy, were not crazy just fed up with them hurting veterans, trying to portray us as crazy already.

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