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VA Failed To Spend $1.9 Billion Designated For Non-VA Care

Non-VA Care Budget

Benjamin KrauseAn audit shows the Veterans Health Administration failed to spend 40 percent of its non-VA care budget, or $1.9 billion, for fiscal year 2013. It also revealed agency executives overestimated how much such non-VA care would cost by $543 million.

What does this mean? What did VA do with that money?

This likely means agency executives likely sandbagged agency budgetary needs that allowed each location to receive a glut of taxpayer dollars that were possibly diverted to other projects.

NON-VA CARE DEBACLE OF 2015

Sound familiar? This is basically what VA did this year when they diverted funds intended for Veterans Choice to cover construction costs and paying inflated prices for Hep C drugs invented by VA employees but billed back to the agency at a 100:1 profit ratio.

I remember it like yesterday. VA claimed that since veterans were not using Veterans Choice, that the lack of use equated to veterans loving VA care and not demanding non-VA care.

But then again, I remember demanding non-VA care for myself and being shot down. Or maybe using VA logic, by demanding non-VA care, I must actually mean that I love VA care?

The news from the audit comes on the heels of multiple reports of VA failures to properly administer funds from its budgets on a variety of projects. So I think America will yawn at this one. No one is held accountable and the taxpayer dollars keep flowing in.

Here is what VA OIG inspector Gary Abe wrote about the issue:

“We recommended that the Under Secretary for Health improve cost estimation tools, update system software to ensure unused funds can be ‘deobligated,’ require facilities to adjust cost estimates … and monitor VA medical facility obligation estimates.”

MY VA FIXES – IN BRIEF

Personally, I have a hunch that a few tweaks to the FTCA law and related laws would resolve the issues.

  • First, let’s let veterans sue VA for failures to process benefits in a manner consistent with the law.
  • Second, let’s let veterans sue VA for intentional or hostile or retaliatory acts of its employees even through it could be an intentional tort.
  • Third, charge the VA interest on monies it wrongly withholds from veterans at 8% interest per year.
  • Fourth, let’s give veterans the chance to choose non-VA health care providers if they want.
  • Fifth, create a separate channel of liability where a veteran can sue a VA employee directly when gross negligence is at play.

These modifications might be a step in the right direction. What would you add to the list?

Source: https://www.militarytimes.com/story/veterans/2016/01/12/va-failed-spend-19-billion-designated-health-care-report-finds/78701854/

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36 thoughts on “VA Failed To Spend $1.9 Billion Designated For Non-VA Care”

  1. All morning people in CNN have been telling rhe public just his bad the VA is.

    Hopefully the public will start putting pressure on congress to get the VA to do their jobs or close it down completely.

    Veterans do not deserve to be treated they way they are being treated.worse than animals.people get upset when animal abuse us reported.

    I hope they think veterans are just as important and write letters to their elected officials.

    Bob McDonald is not being held on high esteem.he has become part of the problem.not the solution.

    He’s like the rest.I’m God and will send all veterans to hell if they don’t like it.

    His day will come when he and others will gave to face the music and they won’t like the lyricas guilty as charged.let him tell buba to kiss his butt.

    Buba will and more.hope. buba is a veteran.

  2. All I can say to your five (modest) changes – AMEN! My husband and I TRIED FTCA suits for mishandling NODs and HIPAA but failed.

  3. Here’s something y’all may not be aware of.
    It seems our C.I.C., (POTUS), is doing something I thought was not authorized unless it went through Congress first.
    A “leaked recorded conversation” admitted our President is “giving Syrian refugees (approximately) $1,000 cash per person, a Wall Mart ‘gift card’ (amount unknown at this time) to ‘purchase essentials’ and a 6 week course on english studies, on top of the furnished apartment, food and transportation!”
    All this while homeless Veterans and homeless civilians starve while living on the streets. Some of these homeless are women with small children.
    All I can say about this is;
    We have a bunch of useless cowardly politicians! Starting from the POTUS, all the way down to our State, county and city representatives.
    Lastly, how many times has it been reported, where many of these alleged Syrian refugees aren’t from Syria? There’s been numerous reports by security agencies, other inhabitants from other countries have infiltrated the process. Also, Obama just recently gave “free passage” to all who wish to enter our country. No “vetting” and “no screening” whatsoever!
    Our Border Patrol enforcement is going nuts over this!

    1. its worse than that the arabs have a seat on the un human rights council , the muslim brother hood reported to be trained at bases in Tennesse where mosques are built for them . reported that during training 2 American helecopters were shot down , killing American service men . the secret gov , is not secret anymore , and nato are nuclear fascist as trillions are budgeted for nuclear proliferation , fascism , needing military to kick the Sadie out of America and off the human rights council , my regards to all striving to hold the evil at bay

  4. 1. Create a VA oversight board that consists of both veterans and non VA employees who can perform no notice inspections of ANY VA office or facility and is empowered to fire individuals who violate the laws. This board would be much like the police review boards in most major cities

    2. Ensure that criteria used to approve/deny compensation claims is standardized across ALL VAROs

  5. THEY VA HAS TRAUMATIZED ME AND MY FAMILY FOR YEARS WAITING FOR MY DISABILITY RATING. I PUT IN FOR A INCREASE FOR MY DISABILITY BACK IN 2012 I WAS RECEIVING 60 PERCENT AND HOPED FOR A INCREASE SINCE I COULD NOT WORK, WHEN I WENT TO MY APPT THE PROVIDER WAS IN A BAD MOOD OR SOMETHING AND COMPLETELY LIED ON MY MEDICAL APPT, SHE EVEN SAID I WAS FEELING BETTER AND TOLD HER I WAS NOT IN PAIN (WHY WOULD I APPLY FOR AN INCREASE IF I WAS FEELING BETTER) HAD MY DISABILITY DROPPED TO 30 PERCENT AND IT TOOK ONLY SIX MONTHS FOR THIS REDUCTION TO OCCUR . I WAS A SINGLE MOTHER AND HAD TO RAISE MY TWO KIDS ON $400 MONTHLY, IT TOOK THREE YEARS TO FIGHT AND GET MY DISABILITY TO 80 PERCENT IN 2015 (EVEN THOUGH MY RATING EQUAL 120 PERCENT THEY ONLY PAY ME 80 AND THEY CHEATED ME OUT OF MY BACK PAY) I AM STILL WAITING FOR MY DEPENDANTS PAY AND IT STATES IT WILL BE 2017 BEFORE I WILL BE PROCESSED…JOKE, THE VA HAS TRAUMATIZED ME AND MY FAMILY!!!!…PUT ME IN CHARGE AND WATCH THINGS GET DONE, WE ARE BEING MANIPULATED.

    1. Yes they put stuff in patient charts that are not correct. Some doctors listen to administrative personal information and chart what they say about you.

      I had a doctor place into my official record that I was stabbed while in the military and that never happen in the military.

      I wrote the director and told them that this statement was false and I never told the doctor that I was stabbed and that they could get me for false reporting.

      They told me write what it should read and that would be put into my official record.

      The problem would not be solved because every veteran has two records one medical and one administrative record.

      Letters are placed into the administrative record and those letters would never be seen.

      This doctor is back at my clinic and I want to tell her about the error.but administration has Fed her with lies about me being disruptive and I fear if I advice her of the mistake.she would claim that no matter how nice I say it she would say that I came in and became disruptive.

      I don’t trust management period.as they were able to accuse me of disruptive behavior and they got away with it.without one shread of evidence.

    2. I found out the Hard Way that V.A. Contracted Doctors (Clinics etc.) Are BANNED from sending anything that could help a Veteran with their Disability Claim.
      I did`nt believe what I heard so I called the V.A. Claims National Hot-Line. 800 number, I recorded the call. They were recording me So Why not reciprocate?
      The Rep I asked about this, (Admitted) to me this BAN to be true. They (Dr`s) Sign a contract worded with that stipulation in the contract.
      IF YOU CAN, Go to a Civilian Doctor. There is a Form For civilian Doctors to fill out that CAN get your claim approved IF they are willing to help you. My Vet Rep told me to see a Civilian Dr. If at all possible, he said, “I don`t trust V.A. Doctors” He even sent me the form.
      If it`s at ALL POSSIBLE, Pay for the Exam out of pocket. Dr`s that get (paid) tend to be more helpful. You`ll be glad you did. (I pray)

      I`ve said this before here on Ben`s Site, I tried to tell the WORLD! I flooded the V.A.`s Facebook page, with it. I even called my Congressman. I turned my Claim into a full time job 5 Days a week, Sending everything I could get my hands on. I got turned down. I was ready to give up.
      My American Legion Vet rep sent a Letter of disagreement, I did`nt know anything about at first. Then, I got a letter saying they got the L.O.D. Sent it back thru the R.T.O. reopening my file. A year later my Claim was approved.
      All together, It took me 3 years. POINT IS, DON`T GIVE UP!, EVER!!
      Good Luck, God Bless

      1. I nave a letter written by the Chief of Vascular Surgery at the Seattler VA in which she stated that “it is just as likely as not” that the atherosclerosis that caused my Ischemic Strokes was caused by my exposure to tactical herbicides while I was stationed at Udorn RTAFB in 1973 – 1974. The VARO’s response to that was to send a request to the Director of the Seattle VA C&P clinic IDr. Mack Osborn) and ask his opinion and he concurred that “it was just as likely as not” and he cited an IOM 2012 study that corroborated his statement. But rather than awarding me my compensation claim as they are supposed to do IAW the benefit of the doubt rule in their very own rules, they sent a request to a lying conniving bitch subordinate of Dr. Osborn;s who lied and stated that I have a family history of vascular disease (totally not true) and she stated that Dr, Osborn (her boss) did not have the expertise to make a determination in a case as complex as mine. Now you can see that no matter what documentation you or your physicians or scientists present, if the VA wants to deny you, they will find a way. This is all now part of an appeaL awaiting a hearing with the VBA. i am sure that they will try delay/ deny until I either go away or die

      2. Yes the VA employees are very hostile towards veterans. The department of veterans affairs would rather do anything they can to go against any Veterans who qualified for treatment and benefits.

        The doctors.nurse’s and higher and middle management are being instructed to make it very difficult for veterans to get their disability.they must get insurance and those go somewhere else or the VA will Bill them or their insurance co.

        Remember those who save the VA money will get a bonus at the end of the year.

        They all so do this to get promoted and they make the rules.management is the key to veterans failure of benefits due to management’s greed!

    3. So many people complain about VA MD’s and employee’s putting false information into their medical records and creating false and/or fictitious entries about their medical conditions into C&P examinations that result in the denial of benefits.

      Falsification of medical records is a federal crime. The VAOIG is the agency responsible for prosecuting VA employee’s for criminal acts. We all need to start reporting these crimes to the VAOIG. Every time they get away with it, they are more emboldened in doing this to Vets. We need thousands of complaints to make our voice heard. Filing a documented complaint for falsification of medical records to the VAOIG will force them to look into it as a crime. Omission of facts in your records is negligent, and the law expects that a paid professional provide a competent examination, which includes the history at hand. When they provide an opinion for the VBA, which fails to acknowledge facts that are contained in any medical record that is available to them, they are guilty of malpractice.

      The typical response the VA gives in these type of complaints is that the clinician made an error. Problem is, this error happens so often that the excuse in not credible. The underlying issue is that Veterans are NOT receiving competent examinations for their disability claims, which violates multiple laws above and beyond the falsification of medical records.

      1. @js03-
        If you have followed this blog for last several years and before that several years on other Veteran Sites, the VAOIG is PART OF THE PROBLEM~!!! The VAOIG is not truly an independent entity and has FAILED to hold the VA accountable even when in the last several years had all the damning evidence of corruption….the VAOIG even had no problem with the Louisiana VMC hiring back the VA employee that BEAT A 70 YEAR OLD VET TO DEATH IN HIS HOSPITAL BED…all the VAOIG has power to do is make “recommendations” and those have NO TEETH and have ALWAYS resulted in PROMOTIONS of THUGS, no punishment.

        Please do your homework on the VAOIG. Same with the House and Senate Veteran’s Oversight Committees …ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL.

      2. Yes veterans must write letters and not use the OIG hotline.that will get you no where.they will write you and give an excuse why they will not investigate and will not have a signature of who sent out the letter.

        At least with a letter.there will be a paper trail.trails are not worth anything if they will not help.

        Reorganization from top to bottom.including the oig.they just don’t get it and seem not to care.

      3. John Gaginer,
        John, Don`t do either, Never go away, & Brother, I pray you don`t die. In a fight for your life you dig in your heals & Fight! Like you`re life depends on it, Because It Does. I know exactly how defeated you may feel. But giving up is not an option. Everyone has a “Boss” Go over that bitches head, Contact your Congressman, Get a good Vet rep that shows Interest. You have to let them know, You ain`t quitting. The Congressman/Woman, That act alone forces them to look into your case. If you get turned down, Refile, It sucks and it takes time. but when you`re out of choices what else can you do? If you`re disable and can`t work, I just gave you a full time job. Good Luck.

  6. Pretty good list, but I’d add:

    6. Remove the VA OIG from the VA hierarchy and make it a truly autonomous organization.

    7. Require that the VA OIG open a case for every complaint it receives and require that it report the results of each investigation to the person who made the complaint — unless (s)he made it anonomously.

    8. Hire auditors to evaluate the agency’s results against its metrics. For example, claims of accuracy rates routinely exceeding 95% are grossly inflated and self-serving.

    9. Eliminate the bottom 10% of employees at ALL levels for at least three years. Replace them only with veterans for at least this period of time.

    10. Suspend the CBA’s in place and conduct a comprehensive audit of the agency. Implement automation and other technological solutions in accordance with their recommendations. This only works if it is done without regard to the AFGE and other public unions bitching about its people.

  7. I was stonewalled across the board in my requests for non-VA medical and dental care. The VA wants to hold on to its “cash cow” for revenue, research, job security, etc.

    The VA is too broken to fix assuming there was true interest in fixing it. Veterans deserve better and that medical and dental care out of the VA.

  8. Veterans choice.Veterans would rater be seen by private doctors.

    McDonald.sends out letters to veterans stating they qualified for treatment outside the VA system because they live over fourty miles from the nearest hospital.not clinic.

    I contacted the phone number on the letter.McDonald’s employee told me I qualified even though they have a clinic two blocks from me.

    I was told any veteran that lives more than 40 miles from a medical center.qualified.

    A VA employee started to make me an appointment with a doctor in my area.

    We got disconnected and when I called back another employee told me that I would be contacted by their office and schedule for a local doctor.

    Guess what not one employee has been in touch.what a scam. Bob McDonald is lieing to everyone about the choice program.they don’t want veterans to get their treatment on the outside.

    They are lieing to everyone and don’t care.because no one is going to stop it or investigate it.

    When a VA has surpluses they don’t send it back they spend it on bonus for higher management and then buy other things like furniture.even though the building was full of asbestosis.

    They closed the facility and sold it to the state of Colorado for $ 1.00
    Don’t believe me look up fort Lyon vamc.

    1. Yesterday, I drove 400 miles round trip to Ok City V.A. From my home in Texas. I get travel pay, Even Toll tickets Reimbursement ($9.50 Total) to and back. Because of my distance, (And, Maybe my 24 yr old Pickup) They scheduled 3 Appts in one trip. I have to go once a month, Now for 3 months. (Thank God) To do blood work & sign for Hep-C Meds that cost my Fellow Americans $85.000 for a 12 week Treatment. They don`t mail it out, Too Expensive, (And) To check my blood to see if it`s working. I was a Medic, I was always in contact with blood. Maybe how I got Hep-C in the first place. I`ve never done street drugs & been married 42 yrs to the same woman. I`m in a Wheelchair, They asked me if I wanted a Motorized chair, I declined the offer, For a Greatly reduced cost of a regular one. I`m grateful I have the one I have. I see a LOT of motorized, None like mine. But I saw One that looked like a Japanese electric car Even had Turn signals about 6 ft long 2.5 to 3 ft wide. That I`m sure cost the American Taxpayer 20-30k. (If not more).
      Now, At the V.A. They treat me like Royalty. Every employee is walking as fast as they can short of jogging. I went into the V.A. System in 1972. When the waiting rooms were packed. Standing room only. With The Employees with their damn feet propped up on a desk. Crazy, Once Whole Veterans wandering the halls, & piss on the hallways floors in puddles. Babies crying and no place to sit, And, Employees doing nothing but cashing in on that Fat Govt Paycheck.
      My point is, If you experienced then To now, I can`t see what everyone is Bitching about. I consider myself Lucky, Blessed in Fact. Because I`ve never got a bill from the V.A. and my many Meds come to the front door, But for the one`s they`re trying to use to save my life with. So, When I start feeling sorry for myself, I know there are Millions in worse shape. It`s up to you, But I count (my) Blessings. Because When it ALL comes crashing down, Not IF But When. And we`re eating Rats. And/or each other, The Small shit, Wont matter. So Ruck up & Move out, Cause Bitching is falling on Deaf ears, Brothers & Sisters.

      1. YOU ARE TELLING THE TRUTH, SCAM ARTIST AND NO ONE IS DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT, WHATS UP WITH OBAMA IN EIGHT YEARS HE HAS DONE NOTHING FOR VETERANS!!

    2. I HAD A APPT WITH PHYSICAL THERAPY AND THEY TOLD ME IT WOULD TAKE MONTHS TO SCHEDULE A APPT SO THEY OFFERED ME TO GO OUT AND MAKE MY OWN APPT, THAT WAS MONTHS AGO AND I STILL HAVEN’T HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT THE APPT, THIS IS WHY THEY HAVE SO MUCH LEFT OVER MONEY CAUSE THEY ARE NOT USING IT FOR WHAT IT WAS INTENDED.

  9. The cost of defending our country and the free world should include timely and adequate treatment of our sick and wounded warriors.

    1. Yes Sir, Correct. If (Everyone) ALL of them, Came home today. There will still be cost for the next 60 years. These young Men & Women doing 3, 4, & 5 Combat tours, I don`t see how they can do it. I thought a year was more than enough, But this boggles the mind. You can`t send a human being into war and have them come back unscathed. Even one tour. These people are going to have needs even if they`re lucky enough to forgo physically injury, You don`t get off scott free. War and Killing has a cost to the individual. They`re never the same. The Govt. Don`t factor in the true and Total “Cost” passed the beans bullets & bandaids when the Hawks are doing their War dance around the Fire. The Weapons Manufactures are all in there with them, “Yes Sir, By all means, Let`s go get the Bastards”. War is Money. Tho weapons are vital, But the Boots on the ground is the true unmentioned cost of war. They`re just Numbers. Sending their own to offer up to be sacrificed Just don`t happen, But they`ll gladly send yours To “Spread Democracy”. Then send them home to beg for a place at the table or beg for Healthcare or make them pay for it, For those who can manage to hold a job, For injuries incurred on the battle field. Then sense Vietnam leave the Enemy in command of the field. Making those who don`t make it out killed in vain. To make someone Money? Only a few psychotic maniacs profit? What have we become as a Country, When we forget about the Warrior? Just send them home with a final paycheck & a piece of paper, To fend for themselves? Then 20 to 25 a day can`t hang on? Yep, There are Cost. You bet your ass there are cost. Now, It`s time to pay up!

  10. I’m curious why the IG only recommended changes rather than referring a misappropriation to Congress. Is it because the VA went to Congress and got permission to use those funds elsewhere? If so, nobody in the VA is accountable because our feckless congressmen have them permission.
    Also, does anyone wonder how the VA can track your $10 over payment in travel but cannot account for $1.9 billion?

    1. i like that gooooooood 1 Also, does anyone wonder how the VA can track your $10 over payment in travel but cannot account for $1.9 billion?

    2. Oh, wait! VA can’t track beneficiary travel, but I’ve lost track of all the miles I’ve traveled without getting reimbursed. My first try took over 8 months to get half of what I was owed. Three cheers for Orlando Medical Center!!! And for the bonus round, at 42 miles one way from Lake Nona, I also didn’t get Vet’s Choice despite being qualified for each of the 3 criteria. The most fun was being told they’d get it fixed and 8 more months later, still nothing. Everyone I’ve talked to about it says the same thing when asked; S’not my job!

  11. I think suing negligent VA employees should be higher on the list, and would add:
    6. Remove any exemptions the VA claims they have to federal or state laws.
    The lack of hiring vets because it’s claimed they have to look at in-house union thugs first is illegal because the union agreement signed violates federal laws, executive orders and policies on hiring veterans.
    Also, claiming the VA is exempt from state licensing and accountability laws creates a second class medical system for veterans that nobody would stand for in the private sector.
    As for the inability to either use funds, or using them in a manner not intended by Congress is a violation of federal appropriations law unless the VA goes to Congress first and asks them to reprogram those funds to other accounts. If the VA is doing this without approval from congress, then it is a violation of law, and like other things mentioned here, it is up to Congress to fix.

    Until we get representatives on the House and Senate VA committees that give a shit about veterans and do their oversight jobs, nothing will change.

  12. You nailed it but let me please add that this all points to why the VA should be AUDITED regularly by a completely independent Accounting Firm that has absolutely no ties to the VA, not even -1- relative from upper management linked to anyone to this firm…hell, get an Accounting Firm from Sweden or Switzerland to ensure neutrality…then ensure such monies that are NOT used as today’s article depicts from 2013, and that money earmarked to eliminate Veteran Homelessness and Suicide Prevention. Imagine how much shy of $2 Billion would benefit Homeless Vets and Veteran Suicide Prevention?
    As it stands, we DO NOT KNOW what happened to that $1.9 Billion *excess* not utilized for Non-VA Care…dispersed to various VA’s does not show ANY accountability because those monies just as easily may have been pocketed by these crooks running the VA Asylum. That is a HUGE amount of $$$$ not utilized for it’s intended purpose and it makes me wonder how many Vets may have died from not getting non-VA Care in all the other regions of Country?

    At this point I really think the whole VA OIG system needs a total overhaul. If all they can do is “recommendations”, then we need an OIG that not only has true independence from bias from VA but we needs a VA OIG comprised of ONLY VETERANS, and authority to actually punish rather than the equivalent of sharing a cake recipe in a hallway.

    Again, where’s Bob?

  13. We, on here and other websites, have said numerous times; “Follow the money trail!”
    Has anyone noticed, the Congressional Committee has, at times, said the “VA doesn’t need more money!” They “…need to be held accountable…” for what they receive! Yet, the committee just keeps poring more into it. Without actually seeng “WHERE” the money is going!? Why is that? Why hasn’t the taxpayers been apprised of this issue!
    Could it be because the % of Americans who served is so low, the others don’t understand and/or are unaware of the magnitude of “corruption, waste and abuse” which IS VA?

    In my opinion, this “round” of Presidential Contenders are touching on “issues” which would never have been discussed, if not for but one candidate! Only, this issue that is VA, still has not been dicussed fully. We veterans still need to know “HOW” VA will be fixed!? In “WHAT” manner will VA be made to correct it’s abhorrent treatment(s) and “accountability” of veterans and taxpayers money!?

    I believe Ben has hit it on the head with the few suggested ideas to hold VA accountable.

    We have a long way to go. We can’t stop now. I believe, by the end of this year, VA employees (from top to bottom) will be scrambling to figure out one important aspect;
    That is, “How can I keep my job?”

    1. Forgot to mention, according to the Military article, Ol Bagdad Bobbie is off to “give an award” for some bullsh!t.
      Why the HELL isn’t he sticking around to fix this broken government entity that is VA?
      He’s out there traveling on taxpayers money, living in “high scale” hotels, eating in “high scale” restaurants, probably renting “high end” transportation to get around, meeting with people who will lie their a$$ off to receive more taxpayers money, etc., etc., etc..

  14. I said, long ago, that every healthcare profession , including VA attorneys should be mandated to carry professional liability insurance.
    In turn this would make the VA and government the 3rd party payer to all claims against the government. This would give ” cause” to hold them accountable to carry out their duties under performance standards or failure to maintain insurance. Every person who drives an automobile is required to maintain insurance right?

    Lastly but least, someone’s grandma would be authorized to kick the Secretary in the nuts at these public meetings when he falsely claims he was in the special forces. “A fair exchange has never been a robbery” Signed, Your friendly neighborhood Corpsman.

  15. Carolyn Fields-Wilkins

    Ben, I think you nailed it. Also, allow Veterans to sue the very nasty unprofessional VA contractor when they too, lie, steal the taxpayers money and blame the Veterans. In addition, it would help to extend the laws on negligence. Remember I learn 3 years later that hubby had a stroke, even after the VAOIG found nothing went wrong. Oh yeah, fire all the people who should have been fired long ago.

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