Secretary McDonald Refuses To Fix Computer Glitch Causing Delay Of Health Care For 29,000 Combat Veterans

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Secretary McDonald

Benjamin KrauseThe House Committee on Veterans Affairs (HVAC) Chairman called out Secretary McDonald (aka Secretary Bob) for his refusal to take action to correct a computer glitch that is improperly delaying approval for health care benefits for tens of thousands of combat veterans. A whistleblower claims VA is intentionally ignoring the problem.

In August, at least 35,000 combat veterans eligible for health care were missing out because their applications were mistakenly flagged as needing more development using a means test. A “means test” is a measurement of how much the veteran makes.

However, combat veterans are automatically eligible regardless of means to pay within five years of separation from the military. The total number is currently down to 29,000, but the agency stopped working on the problem in September for undisclosed reasons.

@deptvetaffairs - Will someone help Bob learn computers and math? #VAisLying Click to Tweet

VA claims it first learned of the computer glitch problem in April. But a “report of accomplishments” document from 2012 boasts that 10,163 combat veterans were mistakenly listed as pending but later fixed:

“Reduction of Veteran Enrollment Records in Pending Status HEC staff began efforts to reduce the number of enrollment applications in a pending verification status, initially focusing on pending records with combat Veteran eligibility. Records in a pending verification status do not confer enrollment status. A total of 10,163 enrollment records were positively impacted as a result of this concerted effort. Reducing the number of pending enrollment records will continue to be a focus for HEC.”

Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) called out Secretary Bob on November 2, 2015, for the failure to provide the list of combat veterans affected. Chairman Miller also wanted a list of all combat veterans on the eligibility wait list who died while waiting for health care.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/combat-veterans-va-health-care_5637b136e4b00aa54a4efbcb

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55 COMMENTS

  1. The VA is one giant cluster—-. Are we vets just supposed to get used to it? Sec. Booby should run away, even crawl away. Are our Senators and Congress scared? They keep sending us, whereever, to kill or die for, whatever, and show us cowardice behavior when dealing with our enemy, the VA. Mr. President, make it stop. Or, does Booby have somethng on ALL OF YOU up there in DC?

  2. I am acutely aware of how the VHA works at this level. This is a union. If Bob tells supervisor A to fix the problem, but supervisor B sees the opportunity to make supervisor A look bad…then it happens. Nobody knows why? Ask anyone and they will put a smart look on their face and say, “I will forward that concern to my supervisor.” Remember, these people are hired on the promise that any wrongdoing on their part will become the responsibility of the US government and not theirs.

    We do not have to break the union. We do not have to dismantle the VA because it will happen if we do but one thing. We discontinue personal immunity on an individual basis for the union members that work for The People. We simply say, if you get a Restraining Order put on to you because you molested a veteran, you will not get the Assistant Attorney General to represent you in a civil matter. You represent yourself. If you butcher up a patient, we aren’t responsible for the butchery. You are doctor. Represent yourself.

    We change the line to “…the US government takes no responsibility for wrongdoing on your part. You will represent yourself.”

    Within one month the congress would be forced to provide through medicare…nobody would remain voluntarily in sufficient numbers to work as a janitorial service, let alone surgical centers.

    • Better yet: Require *without exception* ALL members of Senate/House to utilize their VAMC’s in the individual States they represent…and no freaking “special treatment”, make any Senator/Rep. be in same lines and medical care, no “special rooms for them”….no, make this a form of accountability and eliminate the Senate/House’s special Medical Care Plans (since these asswipes already exempted themselves from Obamacare), and this will cause these self-absorbed asses in Congress to actually experience what Veterans do and guarantee the VA would be magically cleaned-up in matter of weeks/months.
      The VA would never make their Dr.’s or Staff be responsible for their own misdeeds and malpractice because the VA would very quickly claim that they would not e able to attract “quality medical pro’s” if they were not exempt from being held accountable…I state this because it’s actually going to take the Congress to be FORCED to experience the BS firsthand before anything is improved…they are THAT self-absorbed, otherwise we would have a House Veterans Committee with teeth but as it stands with scandal after scandal, people do not get fired or held accountable.

      Senator McCain should have taken the initiative and started exclusively using his VAMC in Phoenix, AZ when the scandals first raised their head and maybe things would have been much better there by now.

      • @namnibor,
        I also mentioned that yesterday to Congressman Mica (R-Fl).
        Read my comment below for what else I said to him.

      • If the VHA cannot attract employees without promising a “no accountability” clause in the contract, then this is the absolute proof that the system is broken beyond repair. In society, we even hold our plumbers accountable. Our carpenters. We even hold the vast majority of societies medical staff accountable.

        The only ones that are not accountable here, as far as their contracts are concerned, are the medical staff employed to treat US veterans exclusively.

        Tell me, why is the warrior class singled out for this exclusive priveledge? Isn’t it a violation of law to single out a class of people in this manner? The citizen class government funded healthcare holds their doctors accountable. How can it be constitutional to single out a class of citizen this way? These are the questions a congressman can address. My own congressman was taunted in a response to me, “…as for involving your congressman (Defasio) in this, let me ask you (the CBOC mgr said to me), what do you think that guy can do anyway??? NOTHING!” he shouted into the telephone to me.

        He was right. The federal government accepted responsibility for this managers wrongdoing, before he was hired. A congressman cant touch that directly.

      • You know, I would settle for Senators and Representatives just having a veterans only town hall at the VA hospital in their district or state once a month.
        Once that Senator or Congressman spent all day hearing veteran after veteran describe the pathetic treatment we get at the VA, it would not take more than 6 months for things to be cleaned up.

      • That’s a very good idea, no management, employees!

        Next day have them let employees tell their stories of how they are being treated one on one!

        VA employees and veterans should flood the committee with their concerns!

      • For the employees, I would like to see investigations similar to what the Army did, and other services do called an AR15-6 investigation. Select managers from the Regional office go to the hospital or CBOC. They meet with every employee of a clinic without supervisors and are given a survey. Those giving answers on the survey that warrant further investigation will be given a transcribed interview separately.The same process can be used for each clinic supervisor, and upper levels of management. The VISNs could do the same with regional offices and HQ could do the VISNs and higher. Those reports would go to the Secretary and Congress. Any substantiated reports of breaking the law like retaliation would result in immediate termination. I cannot fathom how any retaliation against any employee continues other than management at all levels condone it. If you look at your local VA hospital web site, every site has a page about Whistleblower protection and retaliation. Both continue because VA management condones it, or are too lazy to do anything about it, or are doing it themselves. That is one of the biggest problems the VA has. If you recall the PR lady in Texas or Arizona. She was retaliated against by management, had her duties taken away and her office moved to the basement. The VA can certainly move against people regardless of the union of they want to. Its just management at all levels of the VA is so bad, they just don’t want to.
        I also believe if someone has a successful Whistleblower case, they are given a substantial pay out similar to winning a court case for damages. I believe the losing federal agency pays those damages out of their own budget. That payout should come directly from any agency budget for any bonuses they think they need to pay out. Reduce their bonus budget by $30 million, remove any bonus from a manager for 5 years for retaliation if they are not fired outright, and you would see the VA turn around quickly.

      • That’s a very good idea, why don’t you write it out and send it to a few people on the veterans committee!

        Who knows they may see the benefits of doing this!

        Way to use your noggin!

    • @Redturtle984
      Your not going to believe this. Yesterday, after I read your comment on how VA’s healthcare, staff and clerical workers aren’t responsible for their screwups. I called (my) Congressman Mica (R-Fl) and expressed my concern over this very same issue. I wanted him to help change that “mandate” to where the Healthcare Professionals and ALL employees would be responsible for their misdeeds.
      I fully agree with you on this issue.
      Of course, right now VA’s everywhere are having a difficult time hiring all kinds of healthcare providers, staff members and clerical workers.
      I believe, down here in Florida, it’s due to something a reporter said on Channel 9 news one night. Quote; “Who would want to work for the VA?”
      He said this right after a very scathing article on VA healthcare! Then everyone one the “set” began laughing…..

      Lastly, I wonder how many veterans out there know about that “clause”? I didn’t until you posted it on here Yesterday. Thank You….

  3. @Ben- Great “Bad VA Art” today!!! Maybe Sec. McDonald should start his day counting Cheerios on his “high chair” and start out with -10- Cheerios pcs and explain to him if he eats -1- he MUST subtract that from the -10- and do his best to come up with the number of -9-….no adding a bunch of zeros. This will be “Hard” since he is SO used to dealing with frivolous Billion$.

    Sesame Street’s “The Count” may be able to help since Disney controls that now as well.

    • It’s your fault that Bob has different math. He uses the square root of negative one. Call him “i”. Besides the US government has already accepted full responsibility for any wrong math on his part, even imaginary numbers.

      I wonder what kind of war would be fought if we told our combat troops that the US Government accepted full responsibility for them for any “wrongdoing” on their part? It would be quick and bloody and brutal and very soon the combat troops would be in charge of everyone. hmmm.

      • MAYBE HE ONLY UNDERSTANDS HE NEVER WENT TO DISNEY? HE TOTALLY BOMBED IT AND I SURE DID POST IT! DISNEY AND DEATH? THANKS BOB YOU MUST ONLY UNDERSTAND WALT WAS FOR FUN AND WHEN DID DEATH AND WAR PLAY INTO IT? SAINTS GO MARCHING IN? I STATED “A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL PREFERRED?”
        NO “HITTING ON CHEERIO’S!” ( unless he had a mom like me with boys? “SINK THE CHEERIOS! YOU CAN DO IT AND WEAR BIG BOY UNDEROOS TOO!”) MAYBE HE JUST KNOWS “BINARY NUMBERS?” NO, TOO MUCH MATH AND DAMN EASY PROGRAMMING!
        HE IS A DUCK AND I UNDERSTAND ITS DUCK SEASON SOMEWHERE ALWAYS!

      • @crazyelf-
        It sure is “Fuzzy Math” the VA uses. Nothing “common” about it. Sec. McDonald indeed *ONLY KNOWS BINARY MATH*…this means LOTS of ZEROS and ONES as long s there is ONE BIG DOLLAR SIGN IN FRONT!

        Happy Veterans Day, my fellow Brothers and Sisters!!

  4. VETERANS DAY, the day politicians and society let us out of the closet say how proud they are of us provide parades food and discounts to buy things, then, at the end of the day pat us on the head put us back in the closet and close the door until next year. Not to worry about the closets that are empty because the veteran died, politicians make wars, the closets get filled……..WELCOME HOME BROTHERS AND SISTERS keep up the fight ours is a NOBLE cause………

  5. SHOULD I DARE THINK? NAH, BEEN THERE DONE THAT ONE! HICKEY CHICKENED OUT? GEE WHO WOULD I GIVE ALL THESE WELL DOCUMENTED CALLS TO? UTAH CALLS ANYONE ELSE? MY FLASH DRIVES TINY LITTLE THINGS! OH BUT I DID TELL A FEW….I PLAN ON TELLING MORE GET READY FOR “I MEANT IT POTUS I AM A TOUGH BITCH AND YOU JUST HIT THE WRONG PLAYER! KISS MY ASS! AND TO THINK HOW MUCH WASTED TIME I SPENT ON YOUR RE-ELECTION! SHALL COUNT MY HOURS OR DAYS POTUS WITCH HUNT DONE ON THE VETS WHO NEED NO LIARS NOR DENY VETS THE PROMISE!

  6. I can not recall any person who served in the Armed Forces of the United States being asked for asked to take a “MEANS TEST” when they entered the military!!

    • SERIOUSLY. YOU NAILED IT. GOOD ENOUGH WHEN WE GO IN AND A PROMISE MADE IS A PROMISE TO KILL OFF MORE VETERANS! HEY! HONEST I AM AND THEY LACK EDUCATED IDIOTS AT NORTH TEXAS! TELL THE REPUBS? THEY ARE HOPING FOR A SPLASH OF MY WORDS TO GRACE.A WIN? GO FORNICATE WITH HICKEY GUYS BECAUSE NATIVE NOT BUT A DAMN PISSED OFF BITCH! GO ASK ALICE SHE IS IN HER RABID HOLE LOOKING TO HIDE FIND HER AND GIVE HER A REAL WALK ON THE “WILD SIDE!”

    • It “MEANS” They are banking on you`re not being around to ask for anything. The Old Recruiter selling point during Vietnam was “Free Health & Dental for LIFE” Yep, I was stupid enough to Join at 17. During the Draft. 9 days after my 17th BD I was at Ft Knox KY. Only draft card I ever saw was on TV getting burned by hippies. Anyway, They get what they want from you, Then changed the rules. For the first 30 yrs or so (I`m guessing) No one ever had me fill out a “Means Test” I`m also stupid enough to want ALL My Rights so I purposely left PTSD off the list of my many health problems So I can carry a “Means” Of Personal defense. I will NEVER relinquish my sidearm. I believe I`ve earned it.

      I SALUTE You young Men & Women that have gone back Over & over again for multiple “Tours” I really don`t see how you can do it. THEN Come home to have to BEG & PAY for V.A. Care. Yet we feed Clothe & give free healthcare to anyone too lazy to work. It breaks my damn Heart. NO MATTER WHO you vote for it stays the same. NOT THEIR KIDS But willing to send everyone else`s. THEY Keep the country in Perpetual War Longest in the history of the U.S. FOR MONEY & Happily pay for the Bullets & beans and Completely disregard the Warrior EVEN Threaten to not PAY YOU Holding your pay as leverage to raise the Dept Ceiling. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
      ONE DAY, Probably not in my lifetime, But, One day, A Veteran will be able to go to ANY Hospital in the Country at NO CHARGE, The way it SHOULD BE.

      HAPPY VETERANS! DAY BROTHERS & SISTERS, GOD BLESS EVERY ONE OF YOU, AND THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY, I`M PERSONALLY VERY GRATEFUL.

      • I also think some Americans hear veterans telling them they did tour after tour and think those veterans are war mongers and become afraid of them!

        They should be hugging them and tell them how much they appreciate their sacrifices and offer them a job!

        If this country didn’t have so many men and women putting their lives on the line! The citizens would not have the freedom they enjoy every day!

        America is blessed with people who will die for them and ask nothing in return except a fair playing field!

        It’s just to bad some people just can’t see how much veterans have sacrificed and deserve respect, and do not deserve disrespect from employees who never did anything for this country and judge veterans that have problems, as a result of their service!

        Veterans are their brothers keeper and need to insure our children are treated fairly!

        Young men and women join the military because they want a America were their children can be free to accomplish anything their mind can imagine!

        Veterans have done their part and expect fair treatment for everyone, not just a few, who think they are better than every one else!

  7. The VA, I think, is deliberately keeping these veterans at bay in order to frustrate veterans and make them go away. It’s their way of manipulating numbers and figures to conflate the numbers that it wants. This is what I think “means testing” does, and it’s the formula that VA can orchestrate any way it wants to.

  8. On c span they were talking to private business on how important it is to hire veterans!

    That the public has been misinformed about veterans and PTSD!

    They told the business owners, they have to worry about veterans anymore than anyone in the civilian population!

    Stating veterans have a lot of good qualities, that would be beneficial to any employers that maybe considering to hire veterans!

    There is also a group that assist veterans in preparing their resume so the veterans have a better chance of expressing their strong points!

    Veterans have many qualities and job skills! Veterans know about structure and are dependable and are eager to learn new skills!

    This type of assistance to veterans is so important as many veterans may not know how to express themselves on paper!

    If business world give the veterans a job, not out of charity, but because they can learn very quickly and would only benefit that business in the long run!

    That veterans unemployment is very high, because of veterans being vilified as being dangerous!

    And nothing is further from the truth!

    I wonder who’s telling the country, that veterans are dangerous?

    Three guesses? Your first impression is correct!

  9. This was just on USA Today:

    Veterans Affairs pays $142 million in bonuses amid scandals

    The link below takes you to the story. Even the executives ove the Denver construction received bonuses. It just keeps getting worse.

    ww.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/11/11/veterans-affairs-pays-142-million-bonuses-amid-scandals/75537586/#cx_ab_test_id=16&cx_ab_test_variant=ctrl&cx_art_pos=3&cx_navSource=sechi-news
    add the “w”

    f8f

    • from the story
      — In Tomah, Wis., the former chief of staff of the VA medical center there, Dr. David Houlihan — whom veterans nicknamed the “Candy Man” because of his prolific prescribing of narcotics — received a $4,000 bonus in December.
      f8f

      • The very last paragraph of that article, which quotes Rep. Miller is priceless, but too bad Rep. Miller and rest of that Committee seem to be all TALK, no TEETH, because they are just as ineffective as the VA OIG.
        Here’s Re. Miller’s quote from that article and very last paragraph: “[“VA loves to tout its bonus program as a way to attract and retain the best and brightest employees,” he said. “Unfortunately, often times the employees VA rewards with thousands in taxpayer-funded bonuses are not the type of people the department should be interested in attracting or retaining.]”

        Thanks for sharing this article, f8f.

      • Also, in that article there’s s a link (“Search the full database of VA bonuses” by “Online Database by Caspio”) to find out how much $$$ the Healthcare providers made at all VA’s!
        I found that 8 made anywhere from $1,008 upto around $1,700 to $1,800 last year at the Orange City, Florida VAMC.
        In my opinion, I thought Congress and the Senate disallowed ALL bonuses last year. So, why the hell did Bagdad Bobbie grant it?

      • elf,
        here is the answer to your question

        Miller spearheaded – and the House passed – a measure last year that would have eliminated bonuses for VA senior executives for five years. But ultimately the House and Senate compromised on legislation that still allows the VA to hand out up to $360 million annually to executives, managers and employees.
        And what did we get?
        f8f

      • They (Congress/VA) actually only ended-up restricting VA Performance Bonuses for -5- years for ONLY Top Tier VA Executive/Managers. That was in that article f8f posted from USA Today article…a good read. Those bonuses actually have an “allocated pot of a few/three+ Hundred Million $$ as a yearly bonus pot…all employees continue to be allowed bonuses below those top tiers.
        Please correct me if I am wrong because until I read that I was under the presumption that ALL bonuses were suspended.
        Those bonus amounts are relatively *nothing* compared to what the Lobbyist Snakes funnel into politician’s pockets…makes one wonder who is paying Congress to act like Passive Pansies and not actually fix things? Hmmmm.

      • f8f-
        Thanks for clarifying that about the bonuses and I am almost certain that sled a bit below the radar of mainstream news…a Kardashian must have broke a nail that day or wrecked a car while practicing putting make-up on in traffic while towing a boat (Bruce/Kait)…something, that took the half-brain-deadened attention spans of people these days.

        There is absolutely no excuse for our USA to allow -1- Veteran to become homeless and be treated like an inmate in order to have a head over and privacy taken completely away!

        Too bad you could not get back out to Washington State where it sounds like that VA was taking care of you better.

        That’s the burn…there should never be ANY difference going from one State’s VAMC to another’s…it’s a System. It’s sick because it’s not Standardized and held Accountable. Fact.

        Yes, local church groups actually do way more outreach than the VSO’s or VA. Like Veteran’s Day, they have a Veteran Stand Down once a year and that’s about the only time you will see these VSO’s in the wild.
        Otherwise, they are rare as hen’s teeth.

      • You are exactly right! Don’t fill like home, sounds like a half way house! Same as ex cons do when they first get out!

        There has to be rules to every home, but respect is what makes a happy home!

        But people who have done nothing wrong, should be shown how to get a job, apartment, how to handle money! Not drug tested all the time, room searched without cause!

        Being homeless is a very scary situation to me! I am so blessed to have been able to find work and raise my kids and now my grandchildren!

        Everyone deserves to be able to have a roof over their heads! Those bonuses would have really helped those that really need it, to start a new life!

        VA social worker should be mandated to contact homeless shelters for veterans! Have a laptop and process them into the system!

        Get them medically checked and were needed hospitalized!

        Most of all the veterans need to be listened to! There has been to many times a veteran will seek mental health and the only way they can be admitted is to claim they are suicidal, if they don’t say this they would be sent right back in the street, with an outpatient appointment way down the road!

        On that day he may not remember the date and is considered a NO show and discharged from that clinic!

        The VA could solve this problem, if they actually try!

        You are right it seems that veterans are only thought about once a year!

        Veterans only ask for respect, dignity and honor from those caring for us and quit making the veterans as the villains!

        We are human too and have feelings, just like anyone else!

      • I wanted to state that I became homeless because of the Indy VAMC stopping my pain med cold turkey. My pain was excruciating. I had and continued to receive job offers but I could not take them due to my pain. I could have obtained employment and not had to go down this road. I do not have a substance abuse problem. I have a cash flow problem. A problem created by the Indy VAMC. That is all and I am treated like this. When I came back to my room today, it had been searched. I can always tell because they are not sneaky about it. They move your stuff, lift the mattress off the bed and do not bother to put anything back that they mess up.
        If the “natural” medicine would agree with me, I would take it and get out of this place and be able to keep my job. The only hope I have left is that the man upstairs will give me some grace.
        f8f

      • What is it your back! Is your injury from the military! What does the VA doing for you, therapy???

        If not ask for therapy and if your injury is caused by the service then apply for it!

        What kind of work can you do! Did you apply at the VA, five point preference for being in the service!

        Ten point preference if your disabled! They have to have something you can do!

        What do you do all day now! Hope you find some type of work, that would help you get your mind off the injury!

        Working makes a person feel better, especially when their helping others! Great satisfaction when you know you helped someone else!

        All you can do is try, If the doctor states your disabled, then you can apply for social security and human services can help you obtain an apartment and help you with other assistance!

        One way or the other if you don’t get help, you will always be homeless!

      • James,
        I am 40% service connected for both knees. The Indy VAMC refuses to recognize this disability and they are treating me for Osteoarthritis in both knees (even though the X-rays THEY took shows NO sign of arthritis). I had my pain med stopped by this VAMC after moving back to IN. Before moving, I lived in WA for 10 yrs. and was on a stronger narcotic.
        This VAMC stopped that med and gave me nothing to help. The refusal to acknowledge my service connected disability meant they came up with something, osteoarthritis. I was prescribed the weakest narcotic med and it did barley take the edge off. I am employed and I love my job. After I let them know I loved my job, the decision was made to wean me off of the narcotic. I have started this month. The only problem is that I was not given instructions on how I am to take the lesser amount of pills I received. I have contacted everyone at this VAMC several times about this and no one will help. I have tried four times through secure e-mail to get an answer. The answer today, “your Dr. is aware of this”. That helps, I still do not know how I am to step down the amount of pills and I am half way through this prescription.
        I am calling and e-mailing everyone again tomorrow. This is the nightmare I have had to deal with for a year now.
        f8f

    • I read that story, and thought about the machine I needed for physical therapy after knee replacement surgery, but could not get because the VA did not want to pay the rent to an outside company. I thought about the spouse commenting on VA is Lying about her quadraplegic husband who couldn’t get a contractor to give her a quote on adaptive housing because of massive VA red tape. I thought about f8f being homeless and all the vets who have had medication cut off, or cannot get certain medication because the VA does not carry that type.
      I searched the online database and read all of the 413 bonuses paid to people at the Grand Junction, CO VA, which is a smaller VAMC. Right at the top was Patricia Hitt, the prior director getting $5000 for not doing her job. She was absent much of the last months she had been here, and I wonder if she was shuffled elsewhere because of wait lists. I wrote two letters to her and hand delivered them. Both times I was told she was out. Both times she completely ignored the letters. I read about Paul Sweeney, the PR guy for the hospital getting $2000. Sweeney is also in charge of the Patient Advocates there, and they have yet to answer the question of who he advocates for if they ever got a call from the press about a veteran getting bad treatment…the VA or the vet. I read about one of the patient advocates getting over $1000. The same patient advocate who refused to do anything when I complained in writing about being discharged after surgery with the IV port in my arm, and having to return to the hospital to get it out, with no knee brace to support my leg in the car. He was also the patient advocate who showed me a folder full of other vets wanting to get reassigned from the primary care provider, a nurse, who was incompetent and falsified my records. He did nothing about it. I read about the nurse I had on the last day I was in the hospital getting over $1000. I saw him twice that day. Once in the morning when he gave me some medicine, and I believe he stole the pain medicine, and again shortly after the doctor came in. The nurse then disappeared and I never saw him again that day.

      No VA employee should be getting any kind of a bonus if there is a backlog of claims, or if vets are waiting on care, or if vets are being denied care, or if vets are being denied other benefits like VocRehab.

      Reading that list of bonuses makes it seem like if they show up breathing, they will get a bonus.

  10. Obama: Progress Made but Still Remains in Caring for Veterans

    by Halimah Abdullah

    President Barack Obama on Wednesday underscored progress in ending homelessness among veterans while advocating for additional reforms in helping them get an education and care.

    The president highlighted a veteran unemployment rate which has dropped to 3.9 percent, a seven-year low. Virginia was expected to announce it has become the first state to end veteran homelessness statewide. Earlier this year, Connecticut officials announced that they were the first state in the country to end chronic homelessness among veterans.

    “Still, the unacceptable problems that we’ve seen — like long wait times, and some veterans not getting the timely care that they need — is a challenge for all of us if we are to match our words with deeds,” Obama said speaking from Arlington National Cemetery. “And my message to every single veteran, to veterans all across this country is that I am still not satisfied, and (VA Secretary) Bob McDonald is still not satisfied.”

    The president stressed that more could be done.

    Related:VA Enters Stretch on Goals for Homelessness, Claims Backlog

    “Our tributes today will ring hollow if we do not ensure that our veterans receive the care that you have earned and that you deserve,” Obama said.

    The administration’s efforts have been part of a push to turn the page more than a year after a scandal at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs rocked the agency. In April 2014, revelations surfaced that at least 40 veterans died while awaiting care at a facility operated by the VA in Phoenix, Ariz. Reports also showed that long wait lists were manipulated, possibly to artificially shrink long wait times.

    Related: V.A. Secretary: ‘900 People Have Been Fired’

    The Department of Housing and Urban Development is expected to soon release the results of a national study on homelessness that will show a 36 percent decline in veteran homelessness between 2010 and January 2015, and a 50 percent decline in unsheltered homeless veterans.

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched the “Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, an effort that includes over 800 city and county officials signing on to end veteran homelessness by year’s end.

    Still, work remains.

    There is a backlog of approximately 76,000 disability claims, an 88 percent reduction, but still short of the administration’s goals. Earlier this month, the VA sent Congress a plan identifying potential reforms aimed at improving care.

    The president is renewing his call on Congress to reform the broken appeals process which the administration says “leaves veterans hanging — sometimes for years or even decades — waiting for a final decision on their appeal.”

    The president is also backing legislation by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., aimed at preventing for-profit colleges from collecting more than 85 percent of their revenue from federal student loans and grants. Currently, such schools can get 90 percent of their revenue from federal sources and advocates for the rule change say it will discourage the for-profit colleges from aggressively targeting veterans for recruitment.

    • So, they now qualify “Veteran Homelessness” by either: “Chronic Homelessness” or plain without peanuts, “Homelessness”????

      The way they mince words amazes me!

      A person is either “Homeless” or “Not Homeless”…trying to qualify it by using the word “Chronic” is just plain idiotic.

      I just spoke with some “Homeless Veterans” today. According to their own mouths, the VA is doing very *little* to help them and many are indeed “Homeless” because of the damn VA taking away benefits or tied them up with VA Red Tape so badly, out of frustration of the VA doing all they can to screw Vets…as long as they get their bonuses…and probably an extra bonus for saving the VA $$$ by keeping said Veterans “Homeless” by withholding their earned benefits….or worse…the VA appointing Fiduciaries that steal them blind IF they DO have any benefits.

      Homelessness IS a CHRONIC problem, particularly among Veteran populace. Mincing the words to lessor degrees of Homelessness does nothing but make some bureaucrat look good and doubt that bureaucrat has ever taken the time to talk with and help Veterans at a personal level.

      • You are so right on my brother, I know homeless vets from nam who don’t want to be helped let alone found. We affectionately refer to them as “trip wire vets”. A lot live in the pacific north west, hunting fishing etc. Now we have the current vets taking their place in the woods and in my opinion no matter what POTUS and Bob say we will never put an end to homeless vets. And we all know who’s responsible.

      • @Fred-
        Right on! The Vets I talked with today are from one of MANY “tent cities in the woods”, and there are several locations in my large metro city where these homeless live in the woods and yes, many are Veterans of past and present wars.
        The only times they get any attention are:
        1) Veteran’s Day
        2) When it gets *really cold*…meaning, people seem to be okay with them exposed to the weather elements any other time.
        or
        3) When some snooty ass complains they see homeless fishing off the sides of Scioto River or off side of a bridge and calls the cops to have them arrested or looked into.

        Since they KNOW many of these in the tent cities in woods ARE Veterans, why exactly is it the local VA and VSO’s are NOT out there trying to help them?
        When it gets *really cold* it’s only the Community Shelter Board “volunteers” that are shown on the news out there with flashlights and lanterns “checking on them”, asking “Do you NEED a blanket”?!!
        How about a freeing roof over their heads and a warm meal!!!????

        It really pisses me off because my city is one of a few in this USA that has well over 70,000 “Political Refugees” and they are ALL from Somalia…yeah, “Blackhawk Down” Somalia and THEY ALL have specially built Public Housing, do NOT pay a dime, get every freebie there is and have NEVER paid ONE CENT in USA Taxes, yet, we continue to allow Veterans to fall into homelessness and many times it’s because of the BS the VA exudes from their lips.

        Why have we still not yet heard what exactly VA Sec. McDonald did for the Homeless in Hawaii? I am thinking that was just an excuse for a vacation on Uncle Sam, nothing less.

      • Namnibor and others,
        As some of you know, I am a homeless disabled vet. I know from what the Indy VA determines “chronic” homelessness as someone who has been homeless more than five times in the last three years. So if you are homeless for five years, which counts as one time. So by VA standards, that vet is not chronically homeless. The notes below were taken from my medical records during my initial intake for transitional housing (I removed my answers).
        The VA does very little in my opinion. I have been in this housing situation for a year and it is almost like a minimum security prison. I feel as if I am a suspect, criminal, drug addict, alcoholic, and I cannot be trusted. I have never had a problem with the things I just mentioned but it does not matter in this place. I am randomly drug tested and I have passed every one. I get a call every night (AKA random room check) from the front desk to make sure I am in my room. I found out that this place gets paid (on top of the regular amount) for every person who is physically in their room for the night. I also have a curfew every day. I have to meet with my “case manager” every week and the VA liaison every six months. My room is randomly searched (I do not have to be present for he search. Knock, knock, announce who it is and they come in) and my person can be searched. I have no privacy. If I do not do as I am required, I am threatened with losing my housing.
        I am homeless because of the Indy VAMC. I did get a lower dose of a different pain med that allowed me to obtain employment. Now that medicine is being taken away because I am on the verge of leaving homelessness (my theory). I also do not get anything above basic healthcare. I have been told by my PCP that there is no need to do this or that when I know it should be done. It is as if the Indy VAMC looks down on homeless vets. We are treated as the bottom of the barrel.
        I could go on but I think you get the point.
        I will state that having a roof over my head is a great blessing. The other things that come with it are not. I have seen many vets come and go in the year I have been here. Most of them have the same complaint; because they are homeless, the Indy VAMC and this transitional housing treat them as if they are criminals.

        24. Housing stability: How would you describe your current housing situation?

        25. How long have you been homeless? Time homeless is amount of time since client had an apartment, room or house to stay in for 30 days or more minus time spent in institutional settings like hospitals or jail/prison during this time.

        26. How many separate episodes of homelessness have you experienced in the last three years? Include current episode of homelessness.

        Fred, I spent the last 10 years in Washington State and I will agree with you. Many vets and civilians are living in the woods and WA has a ton of woods to live in and never be seen by another human being. The weather is not too bad on the west side of the state and I think that is what helps with this.
        My church would go down to Seattle once a month to a shelter and we would help feed the homeless. I met many people, vets and civilians, and we would talk every time we went down. I went to “the jungle” which was along I-5. I had a homeless guy there to show me and to make sure no one would mess with me. It was an eye opening thing. I actually spent the whole night there. I did have a beautiful view of Seattle an night, lying under a tree.
        f8f

      • Kinda funny Obamy and Bagdad Bobbie are claiming this crap today. Because channel 9 news, Orlando just reported the opposite.
        Of course we all know Obamy and Mcdickwad don’t know how to tell the truth!

      • namnibor

        Event though congressional chartered veterans organizations are supposed to do outreach I haven’t seen much evidence to suggest that’s being done. In the 70’s DAV was very active doing outreach, but they were primarily nam vets and cared about doing their job not looking good on paper. When is the last time you saw a van with DAV painted on the sides at a tent city or for that matter any veterans vehicle representing a veterans organization?

      • figure8

        In the time period I’m referring too VSO’s had to be invited into the woods to do outreach. The reason for the invitation was to be escorted through the booby traps, trip wires. In those days the guys actually had compounds established just like in the jungles they came from. In my neck of the woods we knew of approximately 2500 trip wire vets, sounds a lot better to me then homeless. The difference today is vets are coming from a flat same colored desolate sandy environment unlike the overgrown alive green jungle we came from. The camps were their comfort zones. The saddest part of that whole experience was knowing these brave warriors of a very unpopular war that society blamed them for never came home. Born the 1000 yard stare, very frightening.

        I’m afraid because of the difference in the geography of today’s war in comparison to that of the nam war we can account for the higher incidence of suicide. The warriors of today’s war don’t want to set up a compound in the open, the desert, so they isolate themselves in a room until they can’t cope, give up, by themselves with no support group, no compound………

        I’m having a terrible time writing this shit but I guess this is the day to do it.If you’re having a hard time coping find someone to talk too, a church, a fellow vet, the vet center get it out your not alone, talk to your family friends talk through it DON”T GIVE UP PLEASE.

      • Thanks hopefully something, someone will take charge and do the right thing for once!

        Veterans deserve much better, than what’s happening to them right now!

        And have a very good evening! And God bless us all!

      • namnibor~

        Yes, VA employees get spiffs and; or bonuses for saving the VA money. I recorded the head of audiology at the Charleston VA while he explained to my husband (DAV) that he, the doctor, saved his last VA post more than a million dollars by not providing vets with the care they needed by placing the burden on employers by virtue of the ADA. My husband needed hearing aids because of a missile launch and Dr. Chin said if my husband needed hearing aids in order to have a job then it was his employers legal obligation to provide the hearing aids, not the VA. When my husband pointed out that he lost his hearing during service, Dr. chin said it didn’t matter. Dr. Chin went on to further state that if a veteran lost a limb to service and he needed that limb in order to be gainfully employed, it would be his employer or future employers obligation to provide a prosthetic limb, by virtue of the ADA, and not the VAs obligation. I listened to the recording a few days ago, an hour and a half long, and it is the most horrible thing I’ve ever heard. And this doctor is a VA doc and not a xerox contract employee. He does get paid for saving the VA money!

        SHortly after I took mt recording to someone for help getting my husband hearing aids the VA tried to ban all smart phones and large purses or back packs… Hey Bobby! I didn’t use smart phone and I didn’t carry a purse!

      • Since you have proof, call a news station and offer them the recording!

        Fox news was asking veterans to share their stories, I think it’s email foxfriendly. Something!

        Who did you let hear the recording a VA employee?

    • Hollow! !!!!! In all its been and going to be always!

      Veterans mean nothing, they give veterans zero increase cost of living!

      Veterans are dying, VA hurting veterans every day and our officials let it happen and then rewarded those employees!

      What the hell is going on. How can Americans be so disconnected!

      VA employees still getting BONUSES. That is observed!

      Bring home every troop, get them out of harm’s way! Americans should be outraged and demand all those bonuses be recovered and be held accountable for the way the department of veterans affairs is being run.

      Why is this country being silent and letting these people get away with taking blood money and they keep hurting veterans!

      This is just plain wrong, if Americans don’t demand a stop to this nonsense, then bring ALL our troops home!

      No more lives given for nothing! What are we sheep just waiting to be slaughtered!

      Citizens of these United states better wake up or it won’t be just veterans being hurt!

      It will be the average citizens and their children that will be next and they can only blame themselves for not doing something now to stop it!

      Hearing this has made my guts tight! I guess they call it sick to my stomach!

      • Like I’ve said before, there has to be something so HORRENDOUS to happen where the American public will finally realize ALL their freedoms have been stripped from them.
        Then and only then will the majority wake up.

        In my opinion, our politicians (the top 1% or 2 % of the wealthiest) know this. That’s why they aren’t in any rush to strip ALL of America of ALL OUR FREEDOMS. When that day comes, I pray it’s not too fucking late to regain it back!
        If you look at what’s been going on for the last couple decades. That’s exactly what’s been happening.

      • It’s going to take veterans and civilians to March on every major cities to demand things change now and those in power who objects is to be arrested and charged with treason!

        Politicians will be the first to fill the rath of the American people!

        They seem to hide until it’s time for reelection and come out in droves, spouting lyes, that there Fed up with politics as usual!

        If they get voted back in, you never see or hear from them again!

        You ask for a meeting and they thank you for contacting their office, but never meet with you!

        It’s a free for all and they make sure they get theirs!

        VA stating they need to pay bonuses to retain employees!

        Many of these employees are hurting veterans, why retain them, fire them!

        VA management knows who the bad employees are! And those employees must have dirt on higher management! Or they just don’t give a, “”,,,”‘

  11. Dear Mr. Krause:

    Mc Donald’s inability to fix a computer glitch means he is he is incompetent, so what do you usually do with an incompetent employee? you are right fire him/her.

    • You must not be a Veteran because you clearly haven’t learned anything about respect. The Secretary was the Chief Executive Officer of Procter and Gamble and I thank him for taking the position in spite of people who want to spit in his face and call him names which is inevitable with all the idiots out there. There is no space in his last name and sentences begin with uppercase letters. If he’s fired, who should he be replaced with? The highly competent Frank Calderon?

  12. 11/12/2015

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    Who is going to do the fix?

    A Lockheed Martin subsidiary?

    And why fix it? Everything is going to their plan!

    Delay, Deny, Disrupt, Deceive, and Destroy

    That is what I have seen since 1988 in many cases around this Country.

    Start applying it to your cases—see how many start to fall in place.

    Switching subjects:

    Phoenix Veterans Parade was very good as I walked through the crowd handing out CDs with 20 Books on the VA Hospital Scandal. Met at least 50 Vets only 2 gave me a run for my Money by deny there was a Problem at the Phoenix VA [VA Worker and a Vet] and an Eighty year old Vet from the Korean War in a Wheel Chair who stated going by the numbers is the wrong thing to do in this Crisis, you have to go down to the VA and Check it out [60 years of VA Care with no problem]. Good thing the 70 year old Vets around him listened to me and asked me why I was not running for Congress again? I told them I was out of cash.

    In general most Veterans know there is a problem, but how bad the problem really is escapes them; like a Steelmill worker in America back in the 1970s.

    The true reality is hard to see.

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg

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