Hillary Clinton Doubles Down On Veterans Affairs While Obama Says Problems “Unacceptable”

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Veterans Affairs

Hillary Clinton

Benjamin KrauseOn Veterans Day, President Barack Obama admitted that problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs are still at “unacceptable” levels in some areas while Hillary Clinton pledged to protect VA against privatization. How can Clinton claim to protect against the privatization that she help set in motion in the 90’s and that increased more under a Democratic presidency than ever before?

Despite record-setting scandals, the agency still paid out $142 million in bonuses last year. So perhaps this is where we need to start looking? Who is getting the money?

President Obama said, “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.”

Meanwhile, candidate Hillary Clinton accused Republicans of wanting to privatize the agency because of the “unacceptable” problems. Two weeks ago, Clinton claimed reports of problems within VA were merely a contrived device of a Republican conspiracy to withhold funds while demanding output.

Two days ago, she doubled down after receiving a lot of flack from veterans groups following her statements that she divorced from reality.

Clinton stated, “As we work to improve the VA, I will fight as long and hard as it takes, to prevent Republicans from privatizing it as part of a misguided, ideological ‘push.’” She continued, “Privatization is a betrayal, plain and simple, and I am not going to let it happen.”

It is true that after seven years, President Obama has presided over the most scandal-plagued VA in history. It is also true that a larger portion of the VA budget was allocated to the private sector under Obama leading me to two questions.

Now, does Clinton intend to protect VA from Republicans and her party leader when it comes to privatization? Did Clinton ever play a role in reshaping VA and the Federal government that can be traced to today’s scandals?

I have some data on these points that I will discuss in great deal in the future, but I wanted to provide some Cliff’s Notes here, so no one is deceived.

Want to know some tidbits on what is behind this great curtain called Oz, er VA?

Despite VA receiving more money than ever before, those funds failed to resolve problems. Instead, VA employees received significant bonuses / work incentives that led to manipulation of performance numbers, a backlog, and a wait list scandal.

Veterans died, and VA lied. No one went to jail.

[easy-tweet tweet=”@deptvetaffairs – Where is the jail time? #VAisLying”]

“Betrayal” to privatize, says Clinton? What is behind Clinton’s new claims? Should veterans who want private health care instead of captive, VA health care be denied a choice? Would it be cheaper to scrap VA Health Administration all together and move to a private insurance model where all health care is still free?

Over the past 20 years, we have seen an increasing privatization of the agency’s tasks year after year. Hillary Clinton was a big supporter of changes to a VA framework in the 90’s that is still alive and well today.

For example, in 1993, Hillary Clinton was the chairperson of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform that focused in part on revolutionary reforms to expand health care provided by VA to veterans. All the major VSO’s bought in. The result of the task force was the famed Health Security Act also known as “Hillarycare” that moved America closer to “Obamacare.”

Didn’t Democrats support Obamacare? Now Clinton claims the Obamacare model is unsuitable? What about the Veterans Choice Program model?

At the same time as creating Hillarycare, the Clinton Administration embarked on a campaign to “reinvent” government called National Performance Review and later renamed National Partnership for Reinventing Government.

One of the significant end results was a dramatic reduction in government employment. But it was not the desired kind of reduction that people might expect.

The reduction was so dramatic it outstripped workforce abilities resulting in an overreliance on the private sector to perform services as government contractors at inflated prices.

According to 20-year retrospective article by Government Executive on reinventing government:

Another Clinton-Gore team goal—shrinking government—turned out to create problems, Kettl recalls. “The reduction didn’t happen in a way that matched workforce needs because they used a strategy for downsizing to hit a target,” he says. “The effort got in the way of the ‘making government work better’ piece. Many with special skills left, and people who stayed might have been those we’d have wanted to leave.”

An unintended consequence was that “bench strength was lost, particularly in Pentagon acquisition,” says Stier, who contends the damage remains visible today.

Good or bad, I thought Hillary Clinton claimed to be a big supporter of a growing and powerful union?

Much of VA’s IT and strategic planning is privatized. Government contractors now perform many disability compensation exams through QTC Management. Sterling Medical and companies like it manage the health care process at smaller VA facilities.

At most primary VA hospitals, many of the clinicians are government contractors from private sector or on loan from universities or residence in training.

VA does not do much of the work on its websites. It does not do much of its public relations support and spends tens of millions each year on commercials and other forms of marketing productions.

The next stage in this privatization will likely happen regardless of who is elected. VA is quickly working to integrate rules-based decision-making platforms and strategies that will seamlessly allow Artificial Intelligence systems, like IBM Watson, to assume many of the jobs currently performed by union workers.

But this process was set in motion during the Clinton Administration if not before. Plans drafted at that time created partnerships with private sector giants like Xerox and IBM to create solutions for agencies like VA. Those partnerships have continued and American taxpayers have largely funded the transition.

While union employees think Clinton is their savior, history says they may be surprised at what is in store for them if she is elected.

But either way you crack it, her position is largely disingenuous at best or a complete distortion of reality with the intent to manipulate those unfamiliar with how VA works.

The Clinton Administration set the ball in play that has already resulted in a massive privatization of the Federal government. All that seems to remain are union voters who are true believers in anything on a Democratic ticket.

To those true believers, look past the hype and do your research. The data is out there, and if you care enough about your job or veterans, you should do some digging.

What do you think about Clinton’s campaign promise to stave off privatization? What remaining parts of VA will she prevent from being privatized? The mid-level bureaucrats?

If privatization of VA is a betrayal, hasn’t Hillary already participated in betraying the same veterans and union workers she claims to want to protect?

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/11/obama-says-still-not-satisfied-with-department-of-veterans-affairs

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59 Comments

  1. I think that politics is still politics and an outhouse is still an outhouse even if it’s made of blue plastic and smells nice. I think that a well oiled politician that was married to the President that his own constituents called “Slick Willy” says things that are told to her to say as part of some sort of slimeball outhouse scheming. That’s politics.

    The truth is, there is truly but one group that is empowered to foster change, though this is going to be painful. Tsun Tsu, Art of War author said, “Know yourself and know thy enemy and you shall prevail in a hundred battles.” Because of the fortress that VHA is hiding in, there is honestly only one way to truly know thy enemy: it is us, the veterans that they cannot truly bar from roaming the halls of VHA. We need to use OUR access, not Hillary’s, or Congressman Defazio, or anyone else that you might name. They are too well known. They could not collect the truth about “the enemy” even if they so desired. We veterans can.

    The VHA behaves like a PTSD patient. The are prone to fits of colic, irrational behavior under stress, they isolate, they are irritable, and they disassociate from reality like a bunch of school kids playing hungy hippo on the floor. Understanding that we have almost as good access as a VHA employee whistleblower is understanding that we have the unique tools to foster change.

    Use your Secure Messaging to let them know how you feel. When they tell you to stop, double your efforts. When they terminate secure messaging, FAX them your concerns. When they tell you to stop, double the FAXing. Start sending Freedom Of Information Act requests. When they stop complying with them, send double the amount. Give them all the rope they need. They will tell you exactly what to do if you listen for it. The Devil hides in plain sight. aLike the master Tsun Tsu said, the enemy will give you everything you need to defeat them.

    I am honorably discharged from the US Marine Corps, and the Oregon Army National Guard. I served under the flag of my country and the flag of my State with honor. I will not forget the oath I took to uphold and defend the Constitution of either my Nation or my State. The duty falls to me, the veteran, to honor that pledge once again. I accept the challenge. I am of the warrior caste in my society. I will do my part for my nation. I do not fear the VA anymore.

    • +1^
      Very eloquently said, redturtle984.
      This brought to forefront a memory of a rock song from 80’s by Dokken, “Breaking The Chains”. (music is kind of my thing these days…play keyboards) Here’s the words to that song and simply replace pronouns with “The VA”:

      “[Sit there thinkin’
      In your room
      You feel the pressure
      You’re goin’ crazy too
      The walls around you
      Closin’ in
      You need a change

      Claustophobic
      Feelin’ scared
      You need somebody
      But no one seems to care
      A one way ticket
      A change of pace
      You’ve had enough
      Can’t take no more

      Breaking the chains around you
      Nobody else can bind you
      Take a good look around you
      Now you’re breaking the chains

      Got this letter
      Came today
      From my baby
      Who left me yesterday
      Said she loves
      She’ll come back
      She wants to try

      I won’t let her
      She’ll be upset
      I know it’s better
      Than somethin’ I’ll regret
      She’s been dishonest
      And insincere
      I lost my mind
      Twenty times a year

      Breaking the chains around me
      Nobody else can bind me
      Take a good look around me
      Now I’m breaking the chains

      Woke up today
      I’m alone
      I look around
      But baby you were gone
      But I don’t mind
      And I don’t worry
      I will survive

      I’m alone
      Now that you’re gone
      Don’t need nobody
      To hold or tie me down
      I broke the chains
      So let me be
      I’ve gotta be free

      Breaking the chains around me
      Nobody else can bind me
      Take a good look around me
      Now I’m breaking the chains

      Breaking the chains around me
      Nobody else can bind me
      Take a good look around me
      Now I’m breaking the chains]”

    • YUP! I DO BELIEVE I HAVE STATED THIS: “KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE, BUT YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER!”
      ( DAMN! MEDICAL! WHY I GET THAT GEE POSSIBLY TELLING OF WAY MORE OF MY SECRETS!) SCREW IT! “WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE.” Now who sang a line at an infamous concert? Actually Vietnam should be a clue?
      LETS ALL GET SLOPPY!
      OH WAIT! THAT YOU ONLY GET AT A VA NEAR WHO??? CAN WE HIT ALL 50 STATES? WE SHALL SEE!!!

    • WELL WE CAN FOSTER CHANGE AND I WILL SEE TO IT. CALL IT MY BIRTH STATE BUT I HONOR THE CONSTITUTION WHICH IF ANYONE WAS AWAKE DURING BUSHIE NOT A FLYBOY BUT COCAINE MAKES SOME THINK THEY CAN? NO FLY BOY DID HE EVER MAKE! ASK ME-GO AHEAD AND MAKE IT SOMEONE’S DAY TO LEARN “WHOM HE SHOULD HAVE REPORTED TO?” BACK TO BUSHIE AND CHENEY WHICH AMENDMENT DID THEY BREAK? NO BRAINER STATUS!
      I AM A DAUGHTER OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR-I THINK MY ANCESTORS BLOOD IMPRINTED ON THIS SOIL. “WHAT DID WASHINGTON DO?”
      WE REALLY ARE LAGGING AND DRAGGING OUR BACKSIDES TO KEEP UP BIG TIME! I BELIEVE THEY WOULD APPROVE OF MY DECISIONS-DOUBLE IT UP AND LETS GET FREAKY? APACHE!
      OH MAN MUSIC? I LOVE IT ALL! CELLO/PIANO AND CAN ENJOY ALL OF IT!
      “YOU KNOW I LIKE GREEN DAY, WHO IS THE ENEMY?”

  2. Great idea. I tried to tell Linda Halliday the IG about the transgressions that Rep Lee Zeldin has tried to get an answer to from Baghdad Bob McDonald.

    Her assistant Dwight told neither she nor her Special Assistant Joanne talk to veterans, to call the hotline.

    Her number is 202-461-4720 I think EVERY veteran should give Dwight a call. Let me know if ou get anywhere.

    Fox News tried to call Baghdad Bob’s cell phone this morning and got this box is full and can’t take any more messages and had a good laugh at Baghdad Bob his cell is 513-509-8454

    • I tried calling the IG last year before Griffin was allowed to retire. I got a snotty response from the female who answered the phone telling me they only investigated financial wrongdoing or fraud involving financing. I’ve been around long enough to know that was a blatant lie.

  3. You cannot even pay me to vote in repeats! Do not tow a party line and NEVER WILL BECAUSE “SHOW ME THE WASTED MONEY?” DID SHE HIRE THE VA IG? ONE NEVER KNOWS TRULY DO THEY!
    POTUS HAS KNOWN BUT THEN MAYBE YOU SHOULD ASK ME “HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN WATCHING THE VA?”

  4. My thoughts are;

    1.) Remove the “clause” or “mandate” of;
    “The Federal Government takes full responsibility for any alleged malpractice or egregious act(s) committed by VA healthcare professionals” —-( I’m paraphrasing)!
    They, the Healthcare Professionals, should be held responsible for their screwups. No one else. If caught doing harm, THEY must retain council. Not be given special treatment by the government.
    ◀◀◀◀◀◀◀◀◀◀◀◀◀◀
    Side Note:
    I showed that “paragraph” to a Commander of an American Legion post last night. He didn’t know about it either. He “claims” he will contact National about it. He agreed that the Healthcare Professionals should be held responsible, not the government.
    ◀◀◀◀◀◀◀◀◀◀◀◀◀◀

    2.a.) ALL VA healthcare professionals, who didn’t graduate from American Universities, must complete a minimum of four year “post graduate studies from the civilian medical fields or medical facilities” on their own dime.
    This MAY insure these individuals are “up to par” with current medical procedures and standards, et cetera.
    b.) This would also pertain to anyone applying for a pharmacist position with VA.
    Note; If a pharmacist receives a prescription, and it is not conducive (profiled) to the patients file. (ex; patient is allergic to the medication.) The pharmacist, if he/she fills it, will be held responsible.

    3.) No more bonuses for anyone…. It’s already, many times now, been proven “Bonuses do not improve performance”!

    4.) Only those who have graduated in the top 10% of their class, will be “considered for employment”! It doesn’t mean they “Will be hired, just considered”!

    5.) Any veteran who wishes to go outside for their healthcare, may do so at the expense of VA. No questions asked. This includes ALL healthcare, including dental, mental health or anything else!
    Highly trained economists have stated this “…will save taxpayers millions of dollars!” There will be a “set price” healthcare providers can receive.

    6.) “Travel pay” will be granted for/after all appointments. No questions asked. Veterans receive this the day of their appointments after completion. Not two or three weeks later!

    7.) Any healthcare professional who receives a complaint, will be asked to leave the premises immediately! Under no circumstance will they be sent away “with pay” to sit a home. They are to be terminated immediately.
    It has been reported over 1,400 to 1,600 VA employees have been receiving pay for months, some for two years, while sitting at home. No one can explain why this is!
    There were two separate reports. The first report stated over 6,000 government employees have been receiving pay while sitting at home. Again, no one can explain WHY? In my opinion, that is unacceptable to the max!

    8.) Anyone in “administration” or in “healthcare” who “enters fraudulent data into a veterans file will be charged with a crime and terminated immediately” with no pay!
    Wasn’t this the “reason” behind the “Great VA Scandal of 2014”? It seems it continues even today! Yet, no one is contesting it, WHY?

    There’s plenty more a person could suggest. But I believe y’all get where I’m going with this!

    If y’all notice, this isn’t “privatizing” anything. I don’t think?! It’s basically giving us what we were promised “by contract” when we entered and left the military.

    !!!!!RANT OVER!!!!!

  5. The article highlights the fact that everyone in government including Hillary already know the taxpayers can’t keep feeding the VA monster bureaucracy much longer. Everything at VA will (and should) eventually be privatized to save money and improve the quality of health care. But the VA bureaucrats want health care to be the last thing privatized, because the health care part of VA provides the excuse for the rest of it existing.

    • Indeed. All qualified Veterans should be treated as federal employees in respect to health care. Federal BC/BS. If you crunch the numbers, you would be able to cover the families as well and still save money.

  6. 142 Millions in bonuses? For what? For FUCKING UP?
    I agree with you Ben, we need to “follow the money” and see who is benefiting from SCREWING UP the Veterans and their Families!
    and PUT THESE MFs IN JAIL (after returning all the stolen money.) This money is allocated to go to the Veterans and their Families!
    MSG VAM

    • Vassilis,
      if you google the USA Today article from yesterday about the $142 million bonus monies given to VA healthcare providers. You’ll see a “link” that allows you to put in the VAMC near you. It will show the Physician or healthcare provider or whoever and the “amount” the person received.
      For example, in Orange City, Florida eight (8) people received bonus monies. Two were;
      Dr. Yasmeen, who received over $1,700.
      Dr. Fare, who received a little over $1,000.

      At the VAMC in Orlando, Florida, the amount of people who received bonuses was 1411.

      I’d like to know why anyone received anything?

      • You have to be careful with searching that database since it may return far fewer names than you think. For example, if you searched using Orange City and FL, it will only return those specifically listed as Orange City, but not if it’s listed as Or City. I found that out searching for mine where Grand Junction listed only 2, but searching using GR Junction listed 413.
        Search on the entire state first, then look for how the city is listed and use that listing exactly.
        As for why they got anything, they got bonuses because Congress lied to veterans about them getting any bonuses in order to get veterans to shut up after giving the VA another $15 billion.

    • As I said before, I searched that database for all bonuses paid to VA staffers at my local VA…413 total. The absolute worst I had personal experience with got the biggest bonuses, but not all. It appeared to me if they could show up and fog a mirror they got a bonus. My primary care doc, who I never saw may have been a good one. He never got a bonus, but returned to private practice after a short time at the VA.
      The bonuses ranged from $200 for clerks to around $750 for their police officers to $2000 for the PR liar to $5000 for the no-show Director.
      This no bonus thing pushed by Congress was the biggest pile of BS PR manipulation I’ve seen in a long time. McDonald has responsibility for that, but the bigger responsibility lies with Congress who blatantly lied to veterans about bonuses being cut off. From what I saw in that database, it would be easier to count who DID NOT get a bonus than who did.

  7. I just got a heads up from Bernie that Republicans and Koch brothers want to privatize VA healthcare like that’s a terrible thing! They’re playing games with us! And a week from today I will finally have gotten surgery I needed last year. This would explain why my caregivers got so nasty this past summer — thinking a great thing (VA medical) is being destroyed! I needed Veterans Choice and I still do because people are driving over mountains and wearing their snow boots to jump through Reno VA’s hoops. My March surgery date was canceled by a bully RN that Hitler would have loved. Someone once said “Confusion is of the Devil.” We can’t give up on ourselves or on other veterans. And, alas, those to come. Oh, Hillary? Funded by Monsanto. Evil. Will say anything in the moment. Write her off.

  8. 11/12/2015

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    Cutting out Middle Management in the 1980s in Manufacturing was part of the plan, this followed after the Engineers where cut in the 1970s [Most Americans at that time did not know were Dubai was as the contracts for the Oil Platforms were issued].

    Now, in the Medical Field we have seen a forced downsizing since CA State Attorney John Van De Kamp was complaining about the Nurse shortage in California in the 1980s.

    The Crisis still exists existing after 30 years, since Reagan was Governor of California.

    America’s corrective action is slow and indiscriminate.

    It is all about the Money.

    It is going to take great pressure to Turn the VA around on a dime.

    It is possible.

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg

  9. HILLARY CLINTON? You got to be Shittin Me!
    Make EVERY Federal Employee (Congress & Senate Included) Use ONLY THE V.A. And It would change overnight. A Combat Veteran having to fill out a “Means Test” Based on how much they have to pay for Health care is SO WRONG On so many levels It makes me need to Puke.

    IF You believe Clinton Gives a rats Ass about Vets You`re delusional. This Hippie HATES VETERANS. Billie “The Draft Dodger” Clinton Was washed out of a Nest he made in a tree (In Protest) That got so bad the F.D. Had to water down the Area because He was shitting like a bird on the Ground to the point the Stink prompted a F.D. Response. I know Personally a Marine Corps Major, That was Awarded the Navy Cross That Bill Clinton Purged out of the Corps because he (My Friend) was a “True Warrior” And this Coke head SOB-POS did`nt like his politics & Basically forced him to retire (While) He was Hospitalized from a Chopper Crash, (Shot Down) In Service to our Country. You can`t replace these kind of Warriors.

    Hillary Clinton is not only a Communist Shes A Murderer. THIS Is on her way to the White House, IF She gets there We`re DONE. Not ONLY THE VETERANS But the Whole Damn Show. (REMEMBER BENGHAZI) This was to cover her Gun Running Chris Stevens was about to EXPOSE. See: Robert Tosh Plummley, Ex-CIA Flew the C-130 that Delivered the Weapons (1500) Of which 500 were Stinger Missiles. And the Money went to the Clinton Foundation. OR See: Larry Nicholes. Nicholes, Worked for them both that KNOWS TOO MUCH & DID TOO MUCH Now in hiding. Turned Whistle Blower. VINCE FOSTER WAS A HIT. Nicholes has the Proof.

    SO VOTE! IF YOU WANT A COUNTRY! WE CAN`T LET HER IN THE W.H. Period. WE can ONLY Be destroyed from Within. If Obama don`t get it done, SHE DAMN SURE WILL.
    If she Plops that “Ample Duff” (Tryin to sound British) in that Seat.

  10. Some very good points in here Ben. Privitization is betrayal? So it’s better to be captive to lazy, unaccountable bureaucrats than private doctors accountable to each state for their license to practice?
    Reinventing government has been a joke and nothing more than a numbers game used by politicians claiming they are reducing government, while enriching their well connected contractor donors like Raytheon and others. I watched over the years as Clinton and Gore claimed they were reducing the size of government as measured by the number of full time employees counted. It did not matter that this was a game where some employee who had 30 years as a government employee retired, then came back to work the next day as a contractor. The government did not hire a full time employee to replace them, so that was counted as a reduction.
    Contracting IT work is an ongoing disaster as anyone affected by the OPM data hack can attest.
    As for the union, it won’t matter to Granny. She will take their donations right up to when she gets rid of them, then she will take donations from whatever contractor replaces them.

    • So true, 91veteran.

      People that are under the assumption that The Koch Brothers have the “best interests of our Veterans” is sorely mistaken. Privatization would actually make things profoundly worse….no matter what catchy mantra the PAC comes up with to try to convince Veterans otherwise.
      War Profiteering on Steroids is what would happen and make these times look like better times compared to how they would bleed us dry then grind us into fertilizer and sell us to a Third World as protein shakes while smiling all the way to Wall Street.

      • Like I’ve said.

        Something so HORRENDOUS will have to happen before the American Public and many veterans wake up and realize we’ve all been “sold down that proverbial river”!
        I just pray it won’t be too late!

        namnibor, I think you’re talking about “Soylent Green”!

      • @crazyelf-

        Yep! Brought to you from the Koch Brothers; Made of blood and tears of Veterans, but will tell the Third World “Made By Veterans”. “Soldier Green” this time around.

        Yeah, that sounds more than a bit flippant but am telling you, The Koch Brothers DO NOT have Veteran’s best interests in-mind. They are as self-serving as they come. They are like that older great Eddie Murphy Movie where two old super rich fuckers make a $1. bet to see if they could take a homeless bum into a financially responsible monster just like they were.

        That’s the Koch Brothers. Or…better yet: The two old farts in balcony of the Muppet Show, Waldorf and Stadler.

      • You may have misunderstood my point, or I wasn’t clear. I think privatizing medical care would be good for vets since it would bring competition for providing vets health care. Word would get around quickly who could provide good care and who were quacks. Doctors would be held accountable through state licensing boards, and a veteran would have a clear recourse through the courts for malpractice. The VA raters would have a tough time denying claims of the exams were provided through competent private doctors rather than contracting quacks one step ahead of a malpractice suit. The VA could still provide care, but they would have to seriously improve in order to compete with it. I am actually surprised private doctors do not sue the government over the VA providing routine care. There are laws against the government competing with the private sector. But then, perhaps they have experience with bureaucracy and billing the government and want no part of it.

      • I hear you, 91Veteran. I just do not agree about the privatizing benefiting Veterans. Privatizing just about always benefits the 3%.

        My own private/civilian primary care Dr., whom actually teaches pharmacology at University told me that even MANY providers have had severe problems getting paid for Tricare/CHAMPVA care given and often he said it requires actually sending it to Collections in order to finally be paid by VA in same year.
        My downstairs neighbor has to use that as a Surviving Spouse and in last two years she has been shuffled around to 3 different Dr.’s because they simply got frustrated with the VA either taking forever to pay or not paying at all.
        I would say that Dr.’s are a bit Fed-up with the VA and trying to get paid by them.
        However, if ANY of US owe the VA anything, the VA seems to move as quick as a gazelle in issuing a bill with threat to deduct it from whatever benefit a given Vet may receive.

        How about simply ENFORCING EXISTING LAWS AND REGS ON BOOKS?
        They are there. Just like it is with the Immigration Issue. Laws and Regs already exist but are not properly enforced…just like it is with the VA.

      • I don’t disagree, but I do believe if the VA truly had to compete they would be forced to improve. Its just infuriating that the lack of Choice program was not structured to do that.
        As for billing, I believe there are laws requiring prompt payment by the government of its bills. I don’t know what the penalties are, but I believe regulations could be written that would mandate payment within 30 days. The VA can do this now, they just choose not to. They can bill a veteran, bill their insurance or take away benefits very quickly, but can’t seem to pay their bills on time.
        Yet I saw several financial clerks that received bonuses at my VA.

      • namnibor,
        The only way for “privatization of VA” would work, concerning the pay remittance, in my opinion, would be for VA to pay the Healthcare Professionals quickly.
        How this would happen is simple. The department that takes care of financing would receive the “bill”, along with the medical procedures done, and within one week to ten business days a remittance would be sent by that tenth day. If it isn’t received on the 11th day, the Healthcare Professionals then has the right to (sue) submit a grievance to VA for up to five times the amount. The VA then has no more than 30 days to remit. If not by then, then the Healthcare Professionals are paid by the Federal Government. Then the Feds go after VA for remittance. In total, the Healthcare Professionals would/will be paid within a 40 – 50 day period MAX!
        A few times of that the VA would never do it again.
        One might say this idea would bring out the crooks. Well, hell, we got that going on now.

        As far as using outside healthcare professionals, (privatization of VA), I would rather go to some, not all, physicians here in Volusia County, Florida. We have a number, not a large amount – but adequate, of GREAT physicians of what I believe would benefit my healthcare.
        I do believe there are GREAT healthcare professionals nationwide who would jump at the chance to treat veterans.
        And as you’ve said, the only reason most don’t is over the way VA is negligent on paying them. Get that fixed and all would be well again!

      • Again, I believe there is a law, possibly involving Medicare that requires prompt payment. I believe I have heard that is the reason for so much fraud in Medicare. That too could be fixed by Congress, but more and more you are hearing how Medicare fraudsters are usually big donors to politicians.

      • @crazyelf-

        See, you are just making way too much logical sense there! LOL! A very great analogy of how the VA VA/DoD has trouble getting things right even after MANY tweaks, are the various different versions of the G.I. Bill and how students will not have their tuition $$ paid to college timely, meaning classes would already be filled/registered or the universities de-registering students, let alone the VA/DoD not paying the veteran’s living expense/book $$$ until classes already well into second week. I know because I experienced it as my work-study job in college was also my small college’s class pres. for three years and worked as a College Advisor/Registration.

        Hopefully they have fixed the above but knowing that makes me seriously doubt if the VA could pull it together and pay all the various medical providers on time and even logistically…the VA does not do technology very well…not even calculators:-)

        What would the ‘private medical sector’ DO without the willing/unknowingly participants of cutting edge medical “research” that the VA so loves to tout?
        I am starting to wonder if we are akin to lab rats, and the VA is simply following-up on what was already done and followed to Vet while in-Service.

        Paranoid? Nope. Living it.

  11. It seems that we Veterans and Active Military are ALSO only “brought out of the closet” routinely just for Elections as well as the annual Veteran’s Day.

    Regardless of side of political aisle or in-between, pretty much everyone running for POTUS really have absolutely NO CLUE to the depth and levels of corruption and fraud that exist in the VHA…or that’s what they WANT us to think their perceptions are.

    I am also really starting to believe that this is all by design and it’s the only thing I think of that would explain why the House Veteran’s Committee seems to have always been ALL TALK, no teeth…even when all the evidence is right before them and VA Officials lying right to their faces in testimonies.

    This change we desire for the betterment of the VA will have to come from Veterans, not bureaucrats or politicians I am afraid, otherwise, we are going to continue fooling ourselves that these “Committees” really care. If they did, we would have seen people fired and thrown in prison.

    If anyone watched BOTH Republican debates a few nights ago, you would have seen that it was ONLY the “lessor candidates in first debate” that said really anything about the broken VA.
    The “Top Tiered Candidates” in second debate that same night an hour later, NOT MUCH TALK about Veterans or Military AT ALL.

    Maybe it IS time for ALL Veterans to “come out of the veteran closet” and march in force on D.C. to get National Attention? There would be arrests and pepper spray or worse…am certain of it. Then the VA would exploit that as we Vets are VERY “dangerous”…

    This seems it will be yet another Presidential Election that will provide the choice between different varieties of Bull $hit.

    Perhaps America requires yet another full scale Revolution?

    • I don’t put much stock in the debates since they are all pandering, or only responding to what the moderators think are the popular issues of the day.
      As for what would work, I thought the visual protest yesterday at the WH would be effective, but the reason behind it was flawed. The news covered several vets dumping empty pill bottles at the WH saying vets are over medicated by the VA, and that if vets would be allowed medical MJ, they wouldn’t need so much medicine from the VA. Yes the VA over medicates, but how is that compared to under medicating? Also, rather than pushing just for medical MJ, they could have made clear a majority of VA “care” is providing a prescription and shoving vets out the door.
      Oh well, I shouldn’t complain because I didn’t organize it or even know about it.

      • Yeah, not a very intelligent presentation or message when the other side of the ugly coin is not talked about as you so rightly mentioned, ‘UNDER-Medicating Vets”…which would have to be qualified as the VA not only preferring to leave vets in pain, but also fact the VA abruptly cut-off said pain meds, which is not even remotely the proper medical way to do that, and matter in fact, such abrupt cessation of pain meds would have more than likely caused those that are addicted, to go directly to the illegal street drugs.
        I also knew nothing about that protest yesterday. However, I also do not nor will not use Facebook or Twitter…just not my way to hand over my privacy to the NSA and I have better things to do than that form of social media.

  12. The ONLY NEWS about the VA I heard on the local and national news today was just now and guess what it was?
    It was about how the Cleveland VAMC is spending $$$$$$$ on placing a “Transgender Medical Clinic” within it’s facility for both hormone replacement therapy and surgical procedures!! I am open-minded, but WTF?
    Next thing we will hear about how a given vet went to Cleveland VAMC for an Appendectomy and came out with essential organs missing and gender changed! WTF?!
    So in VA-speak, does this mean that Kim Graves could have herself changed to a man and then the VA would no longer be able to hold current charges against her because she is no longer a she but a he?!!

    Un-freaking-believable. Nothing about current scandals…but a VA sex change clinic? WTF?

    • As if any of that procedure is essential to the survival of the veteran unlike Phoenix where veterans died for lack of essential medical care.

      Congress will say nothing because they are too afraid of calling out this lunacy. Trannies are the new flavor of the month protected class.

    • Meanwhile, I cannot get to a VA Infectious Disease Clinic at the huge newly built VAMC because the VA refused to place such a clinic within it using the excuse that, “Veterans can travel and hour and half to Dayton VAMC for that”…all well and good but for fact that MOST people needing to use an Infectious Disease Clinic are often WAY too sick to travel great distances nor wish to be forced to use dirty public restrooms on way there.
      So I consider the Cleveland VAMC Transgender Clinic a fat slap in the face by the VA.

    • The following is “Rated R” not for those under the age of 16!

      So, Cleveland VA is going to make “Queers outta Steers and Steers outta Queens”!
      Huh, makes one think doesn’t it.
      Well, hell, that PFC in the Army who leaked all that “classifieds information” to wikileaks, or whatever it was called, was turned into a female (queer) while in Federal prison. So, this doesn’t surprise me in the least little bit.
      Then there’s the Kardashians. Can’t say enough about that dysfunctional family. And how their turning the American public into idiots.
      Then the wife saw something about many actors and actresses being bisexual or some sh!t today.
      Then think about what Obamy’s been doing! The LGBT, or whatever they call themselves now, are a “protected class of citizens” I believe.

      God, I hope America wakes up soon!!! Our damn country is going down the toilet real fast! Y’all ever watched a toilet bowl right as you flush. It starts slow. Then builds up speed swirling clockwise . Then it starts to suck the shit faster and faster.
      Well, I do believe we’re about half way in the ‘spin cycle’! Once there, there’s no freaking way of stopping it from “draining the bowl”!

      Sorry bout the vivid description. It was the only thing that I felt best describes what’s happening in America right now……l’m a good ol country boy folks!!

      • I am quite literally crying I am laughing so hard about your VIVID description and the toilet flush. Thanks! I needed that…you and I are definitely “not right”…..LOL!!!

        It would take a Kardashian Child to enter military, go to war, then come back and try to use the VA like rest of us before the USA Public would pay attention only because it will be on a freaking reality show 20 years from now still.
        If I do reality shows, it’s Alaska or Timber Logging. No more. No less.

        LOL!

      • Thanks namnibor, I, and the wife, got a great laugh.
        Yep, I guess we’re “not right” lmao.
        I’ve been trying to explain that to VA’s mental health clinicians for years!

      • hey namnibor, y’all realize that’s why I’m called “crazyelf”!
        I honestly don’t give a shit what people think of me or what I have to say. If I believe I’m 100% right, I say it!
        FTW ! has been my motto for decades.

  13. I just followed the link in the USA Today article to see who received bonuses at my local VA.

    I was doing a little investigating from the article Ben wrote the other day about doctors being credentialed as Board Certified on the VA website who, in reality, did not have Board certification. I have only run about 6 names of 400. However, of those 6, one stated he was Board Certified in Oncology. After doing several searches on different websites, I learned he isn’t. You will never guess – Ah, yes you will. Yes, he is one of the doctors who received a bonus.

    Another doctor who received a bonus was my former PCP. I requested a change of PCPs after discovering he wrote numerous falsehoods in my medical record. I have documented proof and a correction to my record. All of which I have copies.

    There are even more things to be looked into regarding these bonuses to non medical personnel after a recent IG report stated dozens of workers were being overpaid for over 15 years. Several of the recipients of the bonuses had their pay cut as they were not supposed to receive geographical pay adjustments. Now they get a bonus????? ….hmmmmm.

    After I go through the other 400 names on the providers list at my VA. I am going to turn this all over to the local paper who has been reporting on some of the shenanigans going on at this VA for years.

    I have nothing but time on my hands. And, to tell the truth, I hope some of this comes to some good in helping my fellow veterans.

    • @Dan F,
      If you don’t mind, what state do you live in?
      I’m in Florida. I, and my wife, did a search and found some really interesting things about how many people here received bonuses from $7,000 all the way down to $30 – $50. Hundreds of these people receiving monies. Many never even showing up to work half the time.
      The small clinic I go to had 8 individuals receive money.
      Tomorrow I’m going to check out the credentials. If I find out, like you, they aren’t certified. I’m going to send it to the “Veterans Post” newspaper over by Tampa!!! You can bet they will print it!

      • I live in the northeast. I can tell you that the VA I go to is not in the same state I live. At the moment I would like to keep my location private. That is the reason I gave just general descriptions.

        However, I will tell you that the VA I go to did not have anyone at any of the CBOCs receive a bonus. Furthermore the bonuses were all in the 1000-3000 range.

    • Good for you. That is why I got screen shots of all the providers at mine. I still believe every VA web site will quietly be changed soon. Knowing their bonuses will be icing on the cake. Did you have any web site That was more accurate than others? I was planning on using the one mentioned in the article Ben posted about MN.
      In addition, there are some other patient safety organization web sites I thought I would send the information to. If they are worth their name, they will dig in to the issue and complain about what the VA is doing.

      • I found many sources of that article. Only USA TODAY had that ‘link’ to the people who received the bonuses. So, tomorrow’s another day. Little bit tired tonight. Wifey says I’ve been kicking and last night punching in my sleep. Bad dreams.

      • Crazyelf, I knew USA Today had the bonus database and it seemed accurate after finding out how to search for the right city. What I was wondering was what sites were used for determining board certifications. I planned on using the certificationmatters dot org site in the news articles Ben linked.

      • The American Board of Medical Specialties has a specific website where consumers can check the Board Certification of any doctor. You have to register but, it is free and you can check an unlimited number of times. It is www (dot) certificationmatters (dot) org

        I then also checked the doctor’s name on vitals (dot) com and healthgrades (dot) com as they also list whether the doctor is board certified. In the case I cite, the doctor was not Board Certified in Medical Oncology as stated on the VA web site. (He was Board Certified in Internal Medicine as was also listed in all three sites).

      • Thanks for the info Dan. I found my new Primary Care doc at both vitals and healthgrades After I found out who she was from the VA. The VA did not have her listed on their page yet.

  14. Does anyone know why the congress doesn’t have a VETERANS caucus? Every ethnic group there is has a caucus why don’t veterans? Graham got a bronze star in his pretty uniform for being an attorney? The rep from Hawaii was promoted to major? We hear about these politicians and their relationship to the military in the news but no outrage about what’s happening to the military and to veterans. A veterans caucus could be a powerful body me thinks…………

    • That is a good question that I don’t know the answer to. I can guess that they just have no interest in veterans issues other than highlighting it in their resume. After all, they don’t have any adversity to deal with that is anything like a regular veteran.

      • Knowing D.C., if such a Veteran’s Caucus were to exist, rather than a “true” representation we would have pretty faces from West Point and Annapolis, rather than formerly Enlisted Grade. Call me a cynic but for that to work, it would have to be 50/50 Former Officers, Former Enlisted, and from ALL Branches to include Coast Guard. So we are not talking just a handful, rather more like 20.
        A Veteran’s Caucus or Veteran Community Reps is a great idea, but *what if* they really do not *want* accountability? Just thinking outside the box.

  15. The only hope we as veterans have is in the civilian courts. That is where we can only hope to force change at the VA. Congress has failed us.

  16. Tomah VA ‘Candy Man’ doctor awarded bonus WTF kind OF shit is this no way————-way this has got to stop my brother’s ben that going on???

    • Houlihan, Rubens and Graves getting any bonuses is a giant EF YOU by the VA to veterans, taxpayers and Congress. If you think about it, all 3 were being rated on their performance while they were under investigation. At a minimum, the investigation of All 3 was far enough along that any thought of a bonus should have been ignored or suspended. All 3 had supervisors who thought their performance was good enough that they deserved bonuses. Given the amounts, all 3 likely required someone above their supervisors sign off on them.

      That the VA at any level thought that any of these 3 should still get their bonuses after what they did, and after vets died both at Tomah and Phoenix is just eFing disgraceful.

      That Miller or any other members of the House and Senate VA committees are not raising 3 shades of hell over this means they really don’t give a damn about holding anyone at any level of the VA accountable.

      His comment on that USA Today article was pathetic.

  17. Here’s the CNN article on the Cleveland VAMC’s announcement today of the new Transgender Clinic. Just place the missing ‘w’ in the link:
    ww.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2015/November/Cleveland-VA-Opening-Transgender-Clinic-for-Vets/

  18. http://WWW.USMILITARYCONTRACTING.ORG

    Please Pass This Message on HILLARY CLINTON IS AGAINST VETERAN OWNED SMALL BUSINESSES SDVOSB AND VOSB

    HILLARY PROVED THAT WHEN SHE HEADED THE STATE DEPARTMENT – SET ASIDES OVERSEAS WERE GIVE TO FOREIGN AND INELIGIBLE LARGE COMPANIES.

    HILLARY did not ensure that all solicitations by U.S. Embassy contracting officers overseas with a value of between $ 3,000 and $ 150,000 were reserved exclusively for U.S. Small Businesses only and she will do worse than Obama in harming U.S. Small Businesses where 25% have just given up on contracting with the Federal Government.

    I own SDVOSB Latvian Connection LLC and it is my Protests that now make it that FEDBID will never again suspend a U.S. Small Business as they are not a Federal Agency ( who did those 2 Billionaires think they were ) B-410947 and B-410981 It took 500 GAO protests to get those 2 wins against FEDBID.

    It is my GAO protest win that caused the END of PROCNET and ASFI – both are now decommissioned. B-411489 ASFI is not the GPE and neither is DIBBS, FEDCONNECT and neither is FEDBID for solicitations with a value of over $ 25,000 I expect all solicitations to be posted on http://www.fbo.gov overseas or not – I don’t care. It is a negative determination against U.S. Small Businesses to conceal them.

    What we ( U.S Small Businesses ) have trouble with is the white collar criminal contracting officers not setting aside ALL solicitations with a value of between $ 3,000 and $ 150,000 100% of the time. I am protesting against these KO s and they are being named on the GAO tab of http://www.usmilitarycontracting.org and the GAO who fabricate decisions that countermand U.S Federal Laws, Statutes, Regulations and Directives are being named along with 26 pieces of information.

    Hillary Clinton was on duty when U.S. Embassies in the middle east were awarding Micro Purchases to foreign companies and they were awarding solicitations with a value of between $ 3,000 to $ 150,000 to foreign companies. That is a PRESUMED LOSS to U.S. Small Businesses and Hillary Clinton doesn’t care about Veteran Owned Businesses and neither does Obama or John Kerry.

    I am a retired MSgt Keven L. Barnes had a dream that our company would bid on contracts in the Middle East and we would do well; the Small Business Act would be honored and all solicitations with the value of between $ 3,000 and $ 150,000 would be reserved exclusively for U.S. Small Businesses.

    What we have experienced is that the Agencies operating overseas; State Dept; Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, USACE, and Dept of Interior are corrupt to the core of the Obama run White House. Hillary is no exception.

    To fight this corruption – I write more GAO Protests than any other company in the world by a factor of 3. I shouldn’t have to. I have read about 25% of the U.S. Small Businesses giving up bidding on contracts due to this corruption. Hillary Clinton is part of the corruption in Washington DC and she wants nothing more than to put Veterans out of business.

    I have written hundreds if not thousands of GAO protests and this white collar crime has accomplices in the GAO covering up with their decisions that countermand Federal Laws, Statutes, Directives, Anti-bundling measures and measures against 3rd Party Anti-Small Business Reverse Auctions.

    Latvian gets corrective action 75% of the time which is called the effective rate. The GAO on a whole have a 42% effective rate.

    That means there is a contracting irregularity 75% of the time.

    The State Dept cancel solicitations rather than face the GAO ruling. They know they will lose if an Agency Report is asked of them.

    And we have been discriminated against since that date by Hillary Clinton and John Kerry regarding State Dept solicitations. They are concealing them and awarding them to foreign companies instead of U.S. Small Businesses.

    Hillary Clinton has already harmed my company since June 2009 and that is going to be my message to Veterans across the United States. Hillary Clinton has already proven she does not respect the Small Business Act or Veterans, or any other category of U.S. Small Business for that matter.

    The Democrats have harmed SDVOSB Latvian Connection LLC and Hillary Clinton was the head of contracting for the State Department and did the same harm that John Kerry is right now.

    I bid on State Department solicitations and file protests when they are not set aside under the SDVOSB Program.

    This committee is on the CC of all protests written and filed to the GAO and you will get a copy of the protest against the white collar criminal activity of the Dept of Defense and State Dept happening right now overseas and in the United States.

    Presumed Loss is when an ineligible company is awarded a Small Business Contract that has a value of between $ 3,000 and $ 150,000 and if the Rule of 2 applies

    It is a Legal Opinion of the SBA Senior Attorney Laura Manneyester that the Small Business Act applies world-wide. It is a fact that all solicitations with a value of between $ 3,000 and $ 150,000 is reserved for U.S. Small Businesses only world-wide.

    Hillary’s State Dept awards to foreign and ineligible companies will be published under the GAO tab on http://www.usmilitarycontracting.org

  19. I didn’t know Hillary or her draft dodging husband served and cared about the military, NOT!

    Hillary is power hungry, hates veterans and the military! She does not want to privatize the VA, because she believes in using the VA to control veterans and her marxist agenda!

  20. I support Clinton for the most part on most things. On this one she is terribly wrong and we must keep her feet to the fire. It is difficult to explain to my own mother how horrible things are at the VA.

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