OIG Watchdog Hammered By Senate Over Tomah VA Failures

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Veterans Affairs

OIG Watchdog

The supposed OIG watchdog was hit hard yesterday during a post-Memorial Day hearing that highlighted investigation failures and deceptive practices.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held the hearing to publicly disclose the results of its investigation into the watchdog in light of failures at Tomah VA, in Wisconsin. Tomah VA received the infamous nickname Candyland for negligent prescriptive practices that were linked to at least one Marine veteran death.

The hearing and background investigation evaluated various reports and documents assessed by OIG to determine if the watchdog engaged in cover up.

RELATED: Senate investigation finds ‘systemic’ failures at VA watchdog

The result of the investigation should shock no one – there was a cover up ie whitewash.

OIG WATCHDOG TAKEDOWN

The Senate committee released a 350-page report along with a 5000 page PDF document containing all supporting documents. That huge report highlighted numerous chances OIG had to hold Tomah VA employees accountability for the safety of veterans but failed.

DOWNLOAD: Tomah VA Senate Report

It even highlighted one example where OIG’s report ignored reports from its own medical investigators that Dr. David Houlihan and his sidekick, Deb Frasher, were possibly under the influence during questioning.

“The VA OIG did not do enough to address allegations – and firsthand observations from its own inspectors – that Dr. Houlihan was possibly under the influence of a controlled substance.”

Later in the report, it noted one exchange with a special agent about Dr. Houlihan and Frazier possibly being high while on the job:

Q – “Do you recall having these discussions about the – the signs that – that Dr. Houlihan and Deb Frasher appeared to be under the influence of some sort of drugs?”

A – “Yes, I do recall that.” (see PDF page 211)

But when asked if the OIG inspector acted on the revelation that Dr. Houlihan, the former Tomah VA chief of staff, was high at work, the inspectors said, “No.”

Did Dr. Houlihan ignore the one rule of drug pushers? You don’t get high on your own supply, Doc.

The Senate report also highlighted my investigation into Tomah VA and OIG in the wrongful death of Thomas Baer. I plan to discuss this more tomorrow and the opinion of Dr. Lisa Nee that helped highlight OIG’s abuse of the family that belittled the Baer’s death.

For the purposes of this article, the report highlighted that OIG interpreted the Baer Family’s complaint in an effort to unsubstantiate their very reasonable complaints. It also failed to exercise common sense and community stroke standards of care.

In a nutshell, Tomah VA failed to timely diagnose and refer Baer once it became obvious that he suffered a stroke. He later died as a likely result of Tomah VA’s numerous failures.

SENATE REPORT TOMAH VA EXCERPTS

But the Baer case was only a small portion of the enormous report. The executive summary provided the following examples of OIG failures quoted directly from the report:

– From at least 2007 to 2015, serious problems of over-prescription and abuse of authority existed at the Tomah VAMC, resulting in at least two veterans’ deaths and the suicide of a staff psychologist.

– The allegations of over-prescription at the Tomah VAMC were known to law enforcement and executive branch agencies since at least 2009, as were the monikers

“Candy Land”—referring to the facility—and the “Candy Man”—referring to the facility’s chief of staff, Dr. David Houlihan.

– Employees at the Tomah VAMC referred to Dr. Houlihan as the “Candy Man” since at least 2004.

– Despite receiving various complaints over the course of several years, federal law enforcement agencies and other executive branch entities failed to identify or address the root causes. For example:

  • VA consultants and peer reviews in connection with the 2007 death of a Tomah VAMC patient showed concerns about prescription practices at the facility.
  • The VA headquarters identified higher-than-average prescription rates at the Tomah VAMC in 2013.
  • The VA OIG received information about deficient patient care and abuse of authority in 2009 from the Tomah VAMC employees union and apparently ignored the complaints.
  • The VA OIG received anonymous complaints about over-prescription in March 2011, referred the matter to the VA’s regional office, and closed the case.
  • The VA OIG received a similar complaint about over-prescription in August 2011, initiated a health care inspection, and ultimately closed the case in 2014 with a non-public report.
  • The VA OIG received a complaint in March 2012 during its inspection— “HOUSTON, WE NEED SOME HELP DOWN HERE.”
  • The VA OIG surveilled Dr. Houlihan and subpoenaed a car dealership in 2012 in connection to Tomah VAMC allegations.
  • The Drug Enforcement Administration inquired about potential drug diversion relating to the Tomah VAMC in 2009, 2012, and 2015, but the DEA will not discuss the results of its investigations.
  • Less than a year before he died, Jason Simcakoski reached out to multiple local and federal law-enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, about drug diversion at the Tomah VAMC. In contemporaneous Facebook and text messages, Mr. Simcakoski claimed he was in contact with the FBI. The FBI denies having a record of its contacts with Mr. Simcakoski.

– A culture of fear and whistleblower retaliation at the Tomah VAMC allowed over prescription and other abuses to continue unaddressed. The belief among Tomah VAMC staff that they could not report wrongdoing compromised patient care.

– The VA OIG’s Office of Healthcare Inspections lacks clear standards for substantiating allegations it receives. The lack of clear standards leads to the potentially arbitrary and subjective treatment of health care inspections.

– The VA OIG inspection team originally intended to publish the findings of its multi-year inspection in a public report before OIG leadership decided to administratively close the inspection without a public report. The failure to publish the results of the Tomah VAMC inspection compromised veteran care at the facility.

– The VA OIG narrowly focused its inspection of the Tomah VAMC on just the allegations it received and did not fully probe other related issues it observed during the inspection, including the interaction of opioids with other medication, and the potential impairment of Dr. Houlihan during an interview with OIG staff.

– The VA OIG ignored findings of independent pharmacy consultants retained to evaluate prescription practices at the Tomah VAMC, including findings that the facility could be in danger of losing its controlled substance license.

– The VA OIG, under acting leadership of Deputy Inspector General Richard Griffin, lacked independence and transparency. The VA OIG dismissed concerns about whistleblower retaliation at the Tomah VAMC and its non-public administrative closure prevented the Tomah community from fully knowing the concerns about the facility.

– There is uncertainty about the date on which the VA OIG completed its Tomah VAMC health care inspection. The administrative closure notes a handwritten date that appears to be March 2014, but internal OIG case tracking documents show an August 2014 date.

– The reporting structure of the Tomah VAMC pharmacy department to the facility’s chief of staff led to conflicts of interests that discouraged pharmacists from reporting concerns about Dr. Houlihan’s prescription practices.

– In addition to managing a large patient case load, Dr. Houlihan served for a time as the facility’s acting director or chief of staff, creating a potential conflict between his administrative duties and his care of veterans at the Tomah VAMC.

– Dr. Houlihan was the facility’s acting director or chief of staff while still seeing patients, creating a conflict of interest with respect to the Tomah VA police’s inquiries into potential drug diversion at the facility.

CONCLUSION

So how is that? OIG thought the chief of staff, Dr. Houlihan, might be high on the job but did nothing. Rampant conflicts of interest were found but not acted on. Cover-ups seem to be the only thing coming out of OIG.

I remember when they published their whitewash of the Baer case by failing to use common sense and treatment standards to evaluate the claims. In OIG’s hellish quest to cover-up wrongdoing, they tried to make the Baer family look like liars to the public that barely read past the first sentence of any press release.

Luckily, this turned around in the end for the Baers thanks in large part to Dr. Nee’s expert review, but not without taking a real toll on a family that already paid the ultimate price.

Shameful.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/05/31/senate-probe-finds-systemic-failures-va-inspector-general/85063032/

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80 Comments

    • Hey Don,

      That is the VA way. But note some one involved did get promoted out of their.

      “Tomah VA supervisor accused of misconduct gets promoted”.By M.D. Kittle/May 26, 2016/News

      At: “https://watchdog.org/266390/tomah-va-misconduct/”

      Check out my comments on Lisa Noe in yesterdays article by Ben. The queen of corruption at Tomah.

  1. Everyone at VA OIG needs to be told **immediately**, “YOU’RE FIRED!”. No collecting pension and no “earl retirement”, no, go directly to JAIL without collecting $200. and NO ‘get out of jail card’.
    The appointment of a new OIG will have likely NO impact because the entire OIG is infected with the VA’s nefariously adversarial antics. The OIG has no “measure of separation” from the VA so it no longer has Veteran’s best interest as designed and has apparently been this way long enough for the textbook example of ‘cronyism and nepotism’.
    Sadly, this still worries me that Dr. Houlihan will be fully reinstated, further emboldening (the bad) VA Employees if they do not and it sounds like they need to start all over at Tomah VAMC. Yet, this is but -1- of MANY highly dysfunctional VA Facilities and ‘Systemic’ means the entire VA System is infected.

    I would order several courses of VA Enemas, repeat, and do it all again. The AFGE Union needs to be vanquished and flushed away from the VA plumbing because the way I see it, the Union, $$$$, are the infective agents driving this culture of the salvos of fraud and corruption coming out of the VA in profuse explosive diarrhea.

    Will this new VA OIG do anything? Will this prove he is just warming a chair until January 20, 2017? How about firing ALL of OIG and replace them with humble Veterans and not just West Point types?

    YOU SUCK CANAL WATER, VA OIG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My cat’s litter box is cleaner than you when it’s filled and needs changed. “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch VA OIG”!

    • @namnibor
      Did you read the comments section on news article Ben supplied? One of the commenters said there are THREE veterans who have set themselves on fire outside of VA’s now.
      Because they gave up! Where’s the outrage over that?

      • Yeah, it really rubs me entirely wrong that the Killary Campaign can spend all this time contesting how much $$ and to whom Trump gave to Veteran’s Groups, yet Hillary Clinton blatantly thinks all this stuff about the wacked VA is delusional conspiracy political games?

        Hillary is only using Veterans as political stage prop pawns…pi$$e$ me off!!

        Yeah, the news cycle can go on and on about a child in which parent(s) were obviously not doing their jobs for the kid to be drawn into captivity of a gorilla in the zoo(as horrific as it is)…but God Forbid the news cycle reports on the ugly warts behind the red, white, and blue cotton candy spun by the VA.\, but NOTHING about despondent Veterans not getting satisfactory and timely care.
        Rant Out.

      • @namnibor
        A poll came out over the weekend saying “…71% of Democrats…” want Hillary “…to still run, even if she’s indicted!”
        How’s that for a bunch of idiots who are drinking alot of “FOOL AID!”

      • I live 45 minutes from Tomah V.A.,,ands every single news media here censors comments on thee other side of this ,”issue,”,,,The news media here has Honl,,a secretary,,,,,all over our news media as thee ,”whistle blower,”,,,If floors me that a secretary,,,know more then medical doctors,,,so sorry, secretaries do not go to school for 12 years to practice pain management,,,Why is it this newspaper,,and the big media organization refusing to allow,acknowledge,,,soo many people being forced to suffer in physical pain,, be it from war injuries or medically painful conditions,,like lyme desease,lupus,, doctors surgery errors,,,,Always ,,always,,telling only 1 side,,,”addiction addiction addiction,””’Why do u think the black market is doing soooo well now a days eh??WHY DO U THINK 28 OUT OF 30 PEOPLE IN forced,”ADDICTION REHAB,” ,,,,,ARE CHRONIC PAIN PEOPLE,,,your CDC MAN,,,THEE ULTIMATE SNAKE OIL SALES MEN IS GETTEN RICH,,OWNING ALL THE PHOENIX HOUSES IN America,,HIS ULTIMATE GOAL BTW,, Taking away MEDICINES from MEDICALLY ILL humanbeings,,, forcing them to endure physical pain,,its called torture,,,when u leave them w/no other option but to choose death as their only means of stopping physical pain,,its called torture and genocide,,What happened to our founding fathers declaration of independence ,,that when any form of government abuses their just powers ,,it is the right /the duty to alter or remove that government,for thee receive their ,”just powers,” from the govern’d..What happen’d to all the good men/women who died for this country,,defending the freedom to live our lives as we see fit,and the freedom to know that freedom will NEVER BE taken from us!!!!!!!!!!!What happen’ to ,”informed consent,” for our doctors when treating adults’,,why do no adults take responsibility for their own actions anymore,,We r thee only country who go’s after doctors for treating the medically ill w/painful medical condition w/opiates,,,know that!!!,WHY,,, does no-one tell that side,,,Ask thee elder now,,how r literally killing themselves for the lack of there medically painful conditions being treated and their MEDICINES forcible being taken SINCE THIS PROPAGANDA with Tomah V.A,, this or that,,,,why???never is thee other side told,,,the 1000’s of veteran’s who r forcible taken of their MEDICINES because of this Tomah V.A. or the 10,000 of elderly or the MEDICALLY ILL w/painful medical condition,,,The United Nations tore into the United States for NOT treating the medically ill w/painful medical condition and causing forced endurement of physical pain ,,,but no-where do u see that published Why????These MEDICINES,,R MEDICINES,, to the medically ill w/painful medical conditions,,,,they are NOT terrible drugs as these media papers portays them,ie,,Couple in Florida,,husband kills wife,,due to untreated painful medical condition,,couple in Pennsylvania,,women dies outside E.R.. in florida,,,HOW MANY MORE DEATH DO U NEED TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THIS FORCED REDUCTION OF MEDICINES,,HASDONE MORE HARM THEN GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • @namnibor

      I believe the putrid smell of “TROLL” is extremely thick in the air this morning.
      Attacking an extremely well known, and well liked “West Point Graduate”, “Whistleblower” from the Tomah VAMC isn’t very impressive or intelligent. Especially if one wishes to make a point.
      Also, not knowing Ryans’ “credentials” shows lack of knowledge!

      The following is my opinion only!
      It’s true people have been “cut off pain medications”!

      Only, IF these individuals hadn’t been forced to become addicted to the opioids by unscrupulous healthcare professionals in the first place. We wouldn’t be hearing such an uproar!

      Since when does a “Nurse Practitioner” have the authority to write prescriptions for narcotics?

      Also, it is a pharmacist responsibility to inform the “DEA” ~IF~ a healthcare provider is abusing his authority! Talk to any “respected pharmacist” on this issue. (The operative words in this sentence are “RESPECTED PHARMACIST! It was even in one of the OIG reports!!!!

      I wish people knew the “FACTS” before spouting off!

      I’m not ranting. I’m just disgusted with individuals who try to defend the indefensible asswipes in VA!

      • @crazyelf- Yes, as soon as I got back from some appointments the smell of VA Troll was and still is hanging very thick in the balmy air. They cannot help themselves when their VA Gravy Train Ship Of Fools is attacked with the light of day, which Trolls absolutely hate.
        I love it when a person posts and within the fist sentence, “I am not a Troll”……..LMAO!
        Attacking the brave and intelligent Tomah VAMC Whistleblower speaks volumes. Let’s keep-up the momentum and hopefully there will be a Troll March over a nearby cliff into the ocean like Lemmings. 🙂

      • On the Nurse Practitioner prescribing narcotics: Every other 6 months at my Infectious Disease Dr.’s office I see her Nurse Practitioner (CNP) and she has told me that she can prescribe about anything *BUT* narcotics of any kind…it’s the Law and in all of this Great USA.
        However, there IS a level of Nurse Practitioner above a CNP that pretty much do everything the Attending Dr. can do but THAT takes *much extra* education acquired and cannot see the VA doing that correctly but instead just “adjusting” said Nurse or Dr.’s records and rubberstamp it that they are MAGICALLY certified…done, the VA Way. (when crackerjacks are not available or the prize in cereal box is not a certification). 🙂

      • What disgusts me is the logical conclusion from Mary’s rant. Mary would not lose her medication if it weren’t for veterans like Jason dying at the hands of a quack, so his family should just shut up about his death so she can keep her meds.

        What Mary doesn’t realize is that what happened to Jason could easily happen to others.

        How many deaths are acceptable before we are allowed to speak out?

  2. If it’s, “OIG COVER-UPS”, happening at Tomah, it’s happening at ALL VA’s!
    Now, the only question which remains is; “What’s going to be done about it?”

    I see multiple law suits. With MANY zeros, possibly 10, after the number “one”, (1), for each person involved.

    Will anyone go to jail over this? There are so many government agencies, and people, involved in this. It’s scary!
    This isn’t just a ‘cover-up’. In my opinion, many were involved in covering up a “MURDER INVESTIGATION!”
    That makes everyone “accomplices, (sic), to MURDER”!

    VA wants us to trust them!? Bull Shit!!!!!!

  3. Here’s some additional info on today’s blog from;
    “Wisconsin Watchdog”
    “Report: Tomah VA Hospital Story is one of ‘Systemic Failures'”. (There’s lots of articles on this site about this issue!)

    Also, from “”Watchdog.org””

    “Kind flees questions, Senate committee turns up heat on Tomah VA Hospital Scandal”

    by M.D. Kittle / May 31, 2016 / News / 13 comments

    Looks like Rep. Ron Kind, (D-Wisc) “…can’t take the heat!” I guess he’s just another “bought and paid for career criminal dinosaur politician!”

    I guess we TRUE (“Constitutional Republic”) AMERICANS are just going to have to vote every politician out of office this coming November!

    • crazy elf,

      voting does not work. votes are not counted. nobody is “voted” into office. each one is selected, then the “vote” count supports the selection.

      this is done by electronic means, and can be verified in these 2 documentaries:
      1. Hacking Democracy, and
      2. Invisible Ballots.

      we need to stop looking at the “voting” process for change. nothing changes with elections, because there is not such thing as elections, only election show. hollywood movie of sorts.

      true patriots Americans are boycotting all elections. it’s viral but not well known about this boycott.

    • Hey Elf,

      Here is another politician that needs to go due to his fight against Veterans rights. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill

      “Senate Democrats Refuse To Even Consider VA Gun-Ban Fix”, by Marshall Lewin – Wednesday, June 1, 2016

      “https://www.americas1stfreedom.org/articles/2016/6/1/senate-democrats-refuse-to-even-consider-va-gun-ban-fix/”

      Hey Rastafari, you said “true patriots Americans are boycotting all elections. it’s viral but not well known about this boycott.” Personally I vote!

      What good is Boycotting all elections going to do?

      I know at times it seems like picking between the the least slimy candidate, but to boycott voting is like throwing in the towel and saying kay sura sura.

      • refusing to vote IS a vote. it’s an independent vote that says: “we’re not accepting your phony choices of one bad rat or another, in elections where votes are not counted anyway.”

        in 1933 worldwide Judea declared war on Germany with international boycott.

        it was highly successful to bring change.

        if you want to vote, please explain why you would vote, when your vote is not counted. (see documentary references in above post). you would vote to support the system that placed more scoundrels up for election?

        the system is fraudulent and corrupt. look at today’s article and supported documentation. is there any doubt in your mind about this?

        you support that system? ok then. you have plenty of company, it’s a large crowd. the system appreciates your support by rewarding the selectees with “office” and “money”.

        and, as a vet, you also rewarded with “care” at the VA. Dr. Houlihan will be back dispensing care.

        one love. blessings be. Rastafari.

      • If people don’t vote, normally the person they don’t want gets in.
        I’ve voted since the 1970’s.
        I know the local incombents, senators and congressmen/women, we vote for have been caught “trying to fix the elections”! Yet, we’ve had some luck recalling the vote.
        Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t! But, we as Americans should never give up taking them to task! That’s our duty! Our responsibility!

        I also believe, this 2016 election year MIGHT become, how should I say, “upsetting” to many. Especially if there is wide spread voter fraud. As has been “declared” out in California. Gov. Brown is allowing illegal immigrants the right to vote this coming tuesday. Because of the “law” he passed last year. ie; allowing illegals to obtain a drivers licence! I believe he’s under the impression they are allowed because of their obtaining said licences!
        It’s come out Brown is very close friends of the Clintons! Maybe that’s the answer!?

        Either way, I’M VOTING REPUBLICAN!
        And, anyone who’s in office right now for more than two terms, I’m NOT voting for them!

  4. Here’s WHAT’S going on From way back All this corruption all the early retirements These people are only covering up for the big people Above them Really think about it And that my friends is what it all about All the way to the White House …………

    • I hope these families know that only a FTCA SF95 formal charge (within the 2 year Statute of Limits)and/or a Section 1151 claim, along with an independent medical Opinion, proving wrongful death or additional disability in a living vet due to malpractice,
      will give them some resolution to their losses.

      In wrongful death cases, all the VA can do is pay cash.

      But if it is an FTCA settlement and VA follows the NPDB mandate then their is a chance the doctors will not be able to practice medicine at the VA again and thus not be able to harm any more veterans.

      Will the VA cover up medical malpractice if they think they can?
      You bet they will and I have the proof of that established fact.
      It was all part of my FTCA case.

      VA hopes that survivors of possible wrongful deaths due to the VA will remain unaware of their avenues of actions against the VA.

      In my case, the cash was one thing, but the best thing was their admission of causing my husband’s death
      due to a Section 1151 claim he filed in his lifetime and he told me hours before he suddenly died, that if they kill him, I should continue that claim. I did and also filed FTCA when I got his med recs and saw what they did.

      He was USMC and USN, 100% SC PTSD, 100% 1151 stroke (that claim took about 9 years )
      30 % IHD AO Nehmer ( I am appealing that) and 3 DIC awards , the third was for malpractice DMII due to AO, but I filed for Direct SC DIC instead.
      Last year 1151 HBP posthumous award under 1151.

      I hope these survivors take action against these bastards.

      And if you are a VA employee, as well as a veteran make SURE the VA treats you as a Vet and not an employee.
      That was one of my most significant pieces of evidence. An excerpt from M21-1MR for VA physicians dated 1988, the same year they began to malpractice on him when he worked for them.

      • I just got this link with the link to the hearing:
        https://www.weau.com/content/news/Senate-Systemic-failure-at-Wis-VA-facility-381385981.html

        As the end of the article says, 3 deaths are still being investigated , but that also means the 2 year Statute of Limits for these survivors is ticking away.

        If they don’t file FTCA in time, the OIG investigation could be bogus with no malpractice found and if the SOL has run out, it means VA got away with killing another veteran .
        The SOL date is the date of ones knowledge of malpractice (potential or otherwise).
        The survivors should be filing FTCA Yesterday!

        Section1151 deaths however, have no time limit for filing them.

        But VA denied my 1151 DIC claim even after I sent them my settlement papers signed with the USA under auspices of the VA OGC.
        I called General Counsel and raised Hell…GC called my VARO and raised Hell.
        My DIC award was in the mail.

        During the process of my FTCA case, they almost killed a vet friend of ours who worked in the same department at VA that my husband did.

        I got him 100% P & T under 1151 in mere months….without even seeing his med recs.

        The scuttlebutt at the time was that VA was going to kill all the Vietnam vets who worked there.

      • @Bert, good information Berta. hope it helps those that need it.

        1988, about the same time my odd journey with VA began. and as they say, life hasn’t been the same since! 😉

  5. Sorry no troll here,been around for about 2 years,,,,and no I am not an idiot,,,I LIVE IN WISCONSIN,45 MINUTES FROM THERE I know the facts,,u want more,,,this man,,he was an adult,,,who died,,his parents did not agree w/ there ADULT sons decision on medical treatment,,,This man who died,,,was suppose to be a responsible adult,,not LIE to his doctors,,,He died in a psych ward,,,not a hospital,,no-one,,no-one,,NO-ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,,TRIED TO SAVE THIS YOUNG MAN,,NO CPR GIVEN,,NO LIFE SAVING METHODS APPLIED,,,,,neglect absolutely, but to blame a MEDICINE that lessens human suffering is like blamming the gun and not the human being behind the gun,,,Soo u want more fact,,ill give em!!!,,..The fact is I am,,just a humanbeing who has seen good people die from the likes of people like u,,sooo arrogant u can’t see past your arrogance to see how ignorant your being.
    I see GOOD doctors loose everything after 12 years of schooling not paid for by our government,or us the tax payers loose it all,,and all assets stolen by the dea before trail,,,what happen’d to innocent before guilty…I see good people sufferring in agonizing physical pain ,needlessly,,cruely dieing needlessly,because of people who are soooooooo arrogant combined w/there ignorance it kills people,,,,,,,The governments knee jerk reaction,,thus taking MEDICINE from legitimate medically ill people from painful medical condition is WHY the United Nations added this agenda and called and EMERGANCY meeting THIS APRIL TO ADDRESS THIS INHUMANITY TOWARDS MANKIND,,,,Here’s the proper answer Mr.,Arrogance,,,,..Since it is literally IMPOSSIBLE for any man,,even u,,to physically feel the physical pain of another,,,NO-ONE has the divine right to decide who is to suffering in physical pain,,and who is not,,,,no-one,,,,However as a HUMANE,CIVILIZED society,,,we can lessen their physical suffering via medicines..Medicines designed over 10000’s of years that historically have proven to lessen physical pain,,..As a humane civilized society it is our duty to lessen the physical suffering of those inflicted w/physical pain,,,,The wrong answer is to force these individual to forcible endure physical pain,,,that is the definition of torture,,and to willfully continue to do so is defined as genocide towards the physically ill w/painful medical condition to the point of death,,,,,cause that is exactly what your answer implies!!!!maryrw,

    • Mary, typically if you want to refer to someone as ignorant, stupid, uninformed, etc., the person doing so has more credibility if they can string coherent sentences together.
      I won’t address the rest of your ranting, but as for suggesting that pills should not be blamed just as guns are not blamed when people die is lunacy.
      From a young age, particularly today, people learn quickly what can happen when you point a gun and pull the trigger.
      Can you say the same with pills?
      You might be able to say if you take a Tylenol, your headache goes away. You might be able to say if you take a morphine pill, your pain goes away.
      Can you say exactly what happens if you take a morphine pill and one other drug? Two other drugs? 13 other drugs?

      The answer is you, like many so-called medical providers at the VA don’t have the first damn clue what happens when multiple drugs are taken, and what synergistic effect they may have. Even if you came close to knowing, it may not be the same effect as on the next person since everyone processes drugs differently, or not at all.

      People are supposed to be able to trust doctors to do the right thing and inform them. Houlihan did none of that.

      Would you take your car to a plumber for a transmission problem? You go to a doctor because he’s supposedly the expert. Not so he can poison you.

  6. Hey Mary RW (Trollalla)

    Stand up and hang your head in shame repeat the VA/AFGE pledge. You are a miserable rotten troll that is coming here to troll disabled Veterans.

    Not only do you work for the most corrupt agency in the US government you are a dues paying member of the Union with the high amount of law breaking by it’s leadership in American today.

    That make you some one that not only sickly trolls Veterans but also some one who pays a union due to protect keep that corruption going. Not only harming Veterans but also killing them. The 33 unexplained deaths at Tomah.

    You are one of the worst people on the planet.

    “AFGE Leads All American Unions in Criminal Misconduct by its Officials Since 2014”

    ““https://www.fedsmith.com/2015/06/04/afge-leads-all-american-unions-in-criminal-misconduct-by-its-officials-since-2014/””

    • Trollalla (Mary rw)

      Remember the meeting is 5 p.m. at the American Legion hall in Tomah Friday, June 3rd.

    • @Seymore Klearly & @namnibor

      Have you noticed “maryrw” can’t spell. ie; no “spell check!” (A prerequisite for VA employment!)

      Is extremely “contradictory” in statements made. (A prerequisite for VA employment!)

      Cannot “punctuate” properly. (A prerequisite for VA employment.)

      Is extremely volatile in his/her language. ie: (a prerequisite to be employed by any VA.)

      Attacks person’s whom he/she has never met! ie:
      Uses ill advised derogatory statements about a “well established whistleblower!”
      (A prerequisite for VA employment!)

      Defends healthcare professionals who were “witnessed” being “under the influence of a substance” by a government agency when testifying – possibly “under oath!” A big NO-NO!
      (A prerequisite for VA employment!)

      Defends pharmacists who did NOT do their duty, under penalty of law, to turn in individuals who were violating U.S. Federal Laws!
      (A prerequisite for VA employment!)

      There are more issues I can relate to. If she continues to attack an individual who is very well respected by all on here and elsewhere!

      And he/she had better learn one fact. Many on here were on those pain pills. Many decided to stop on their own. Because, they saw their life draining away!
      I live with pain each day. Yet, I will NEVER take any more (experimental) drugs from VA!

      • @maryrw
        That’s correct, your not an “idiot!”
        You are “freaking STUPID!”
        Idiots can be taught “Right from Wrong!”
        One “CANNOT FIX STUPIDITY!”

      • That Troll blaming the Veteran for total responsibility when trusting a VA Dr. using experimental narcotic cocktails, and mind you, as a VA Head Shrinker, that if it did not get the Vet addicted, or meds cut-off and went to street drugs because of this “provided addiction by a VA Dr.”, or even died or committed suicide…this is somehow all falling on responsibility of the VETERAN, Ms. Trollalla?
        Yes, as a ‘patient’ we have inherent responsibilities, but in the REAL medical world, this is malpractice lottery when a Dr. plays Frankenstein and Dealer in one!!!!!!!
        Must have been playing minecraft while ignoring patients and typing. 🙂

        Bad Troll. ~ ~ ~~ ~~~Troll Spray~~~ ~~ ~ ~

  7. Sometimes it takes a couple days to get my brain in gear, even though I have been following this and Ryan Honl’s posts on FB, but it is in high gear now, so my comment might be long. I would hope you read it all.
    Currently, the Democrats are trying to portray this investigation as a political stunt, presumably so Baldwin and/or Feingold can avoid getting stink on them. Nice to see politics is their first reaction.
    This is not the case (political stunt by Johnson) as I will spell out below.
    Having sat in or testified at numerous House and Senate VA committee hearings, or read reports of other committee investigations, a 350 page report with 5000 pages of supporting documents is not a small or sloppy report. Some Senate or House VA committee reports on Gulf War illnesses may be 150-200 pages after months of investigation. Others may be less than 100 pages.
    Now, I hope Ryan reads this because I know he, and you too Ben have been dogged in going after a full airing of this scandal, and believe me, it is a massive scandal.
    Why is it massive? Well, you have at least one dead veteran who contacted the FBI, maybe repeatedly, who did nothing. Why? Why didn’t DEA do more? What did they do at all? Would DEA do the same nothing if they investigated a private doctor prescribing such controlled substance? The OIG was aware, but claim they had no standards to go by or their investigation was narrow. If it was narrow, why did they retain someone to look at the pharmacy prescriptive practices? Seems as if they were investigating prescriptive practices that could become a problem for VA management.
    Certainly VA leadership at Tomah and the regional office were aware of these things. What did they do to investigate?
    The report mentions the pharmacy reporting to Houlihan. Is this different than at other VAs? If it is, why was it changed a Tomah? Was it to cover up Houlihans drug use? Prescriptive practices? Selling drugs to others?
    Again, this is a massive scandal, and Johnson should continue leading on investigating this, what the rest of the VA did, why the FBI and DEA did not act, etc.
    Will he? Or will the media and Democrats shut it down to prevent their own getting caught for also doing nothing?
    Which raises the question:
    Where the hell is the House and Senate VA committees on this? Why are Miller and Isakson ignoring this? They have the committees of jurisdiction, what are they doing?
    Ben, I hope you and Ryan and others continue pursuing this. This is a shit storm that too many have an interest in being ignored…along with dead veterans. People get pissed off over a gorilla getting shot, but want to cover up veterans dying at the hands of the VA.

    Which raises my final question:

    Was Jason murdered?

    He has contacted, and was public about his contacts with the FBI. He was given an additional drug after he had contacted them, in addition to the 14 he was already prescribed. Was someone informed about his FBI contacts and decided one more prescription would keep someones activities secret?

    Candy Man since 2004 makes for a lot of money if pills were sold in the side.

    Johnson has a lot of work to do. If he chooses to do it. There are a lot of people that need prosecution.

    • @91veteran- Your post really hit it all on the head squarely.

      Notice that Hillary and her PAC are vehemently painting a picture that’s projecting Trump’s donations as mere political stunt while the Dem’s are in complete denial of the VA’s problems?
      This may need me to purchase a case of microwave popcorn as this should get really good like a game of Jinga, one piece removed, they all fall! 🙂

      • I very much hope Johnson is serious and will pursue this. There are a huge number of people involved in this that did absolutely nothing. And have been scrambling ever since.

      • @namnibor

        Did you read the “list” of VSO’s Trump gave to? Notice the missing ones?
        DAV, Disabled American Veterans, only received theirs through a “trust”. Which, if I’m reading it correctly, they HAVE to use the monies FOR veterans. Not for themselves.
        And DAV was the only Veterans Charity who received that money in a “trust”!

        He said “his people” needed time to vet the organizations. There were a lot of them also!!!!!

      • @namnibor

        Brother, I’ve said MANY TIMES, something really horrendous has got to take place. To get the attention of the American Public to take note on!

        Maybe this is it. Tomah, may very well be the “BIG BANG” that the fuse has been racing toward!

        I believe if this takes down a bunch of political figures, (Congressman/women, Senators, McDuck, Shulkin, Gibson and Dierctors, physicians, nurses and even the President etc., etc.) we just might get the support of the public!

        Let’s all pray it comes about! The more who pray, GOD just might “hear our plight!”

      • I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating.
        With a Democrat in the WH, the media attacks the agency head when they are forced to, like McDonald. It protects the WH and other politicians.
        When a Republican is in the WH, the media attacks the WH, so the agency head is usually fired, but the attacks continue to draw as much blood as possible.

        Agency heads only get fired when a Democrat is in the WH when the stink gets too much. Shinseki.

        As for Granny, I won’t ever forget how she used Gulf War veterans for a photo op. She ignored us right after the cameras were turned off.

    • @91Veteran
      What about Rep. Kind (D-Wisc.)? It was in his district.
      Here’s an article from;
      “Wisconsin Watchdog.org”””
      Titled:

      “Kind flees questions, Senate committee turns up heat on Tomah VA Hospital Scandal”

      by; M.D. Kittle
      dated May 31, 2016

      What’s his connection to all this?

      • Seems to be the ‘new thing’ these days, whether a Congressman or VA Director’s of FOIA requests driving a Rolls, to do the Monty Python in ‘The Holy Grail’ and scream, “RUN AWAY”~!!!!

        This Tomah thing could be the can of worms that has the potential to transform the VA when you have the FBI and DOJ, House VA Committee, and all of upper VA management up to the POTUS culpable in this scandalous mess.
        This *cannot* be allowed to be swept under the rug of politics or gorillas being shot.
        The VA is Lying, Vets are dying!

      • I haven’t yet read the articles on Watchdog on this, but I need to.

        As for Ron Kind, I knew he was a weasel long ago when I lived in Wisconsin and had problems with the VA. I contacted him and every other Senator or Congressman in Wisconsin about an issue that affected all veterans. Kinds office refused to listen to anything I had to say because I didn’t live in his district.
        David Obey was another weasel who was dowright hostile that a veteran even dared to call.

        Feingold and then Senator Kohl were weasels who listened, then made excuses for why they couldn’t do anything.

  8. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion for any reason they so desire. As veteran it is becoming more about what the VA and their little merry band of misfit investigators (OIG) do not want to publicize. I read alot of these articles about wrong doings all the time, and whether anyone really wants to know it or not, the truth is as was when we signed the dotted line to protect and server our country we so dearly love. We agreed that the US Government has the right to test experimental drugs on us.

    I can say this without a doubt in my mind that in the early 90’s after being discharged with disabilities that one of medical disabilities I had though i did not know it at the time after being stationed on Camp LeJuene in the later part of 1988 til my discharge in 1990. Was the possible effects of “Contaminated Water Supply” and how it effects me even until this day. As I had been suffering from Parkinson Disease symptoms since my discharge.Most of the private doctors I say did not even know what kind of personal hell and pain I go through everyday. Not including the pain my family goes through seeing my body go through so violent convulsions and the doctors do not know what the hell it is. And in the late 90’s the VA doctor I was seeing prescribed a new drug for me called “Mirapex” or “Pramipexole Dihydrochloride” and started me out at 0.05 MG back then. Of course it was not enough but they did up the dose to make it work. And now 20 years later I am having to take 1.5MG two times a day to even be normal and not in so much pain.

    The point I want to make is that the VA has the access to experimental drugs that as patients we do not even know they are experimental. That medication they prescribed for me a doctor that seen me when the VA would not see said his medical dictionary for medications did not even list that drug. He had to contact the manufacture to see if it was available to the general public yet.

    Back to the discussion, no one understands the mind of the person being treated. As with me I have had times that when these convulsions and uncontrollable pain comes from the nerves and radiates through out my body I could care less what they give me, just stop the dam pain. And in ways as veterans we tend to clam up inside and just wish it would all go away. Yes we may have physical disabilities that everyone can see and help with. But inside our mind you can’t see it and you can’t feel it and you can’t understand it.

    It is therefore in my opinion that the VA should be controlled and run by the Department of Defense. That being the ones that said we were not fit for active duty anymore. And even for those that retired like my father who passed away in 1996 from cancer from agent orange as he never knew how bad he was and it never give us a chance to file a claim on his behalf.

    I would stand for saying that as veterans we should never of been discharged or released of duty as we signed the contract to defend our country. The United States Department of Defense should have full responsibility of our health and be accountable for it. As we are held accountable for our actions they should be held accountable for theirs.

    Should the VA be run by Non-Veterans? NO

    Should the VA be run by the Veterans and the Department of Defense? YES

    Let us heal and fix our own. We don’t need the OLD VA we need a New VA that will be there for us not against us and only out for the paycheck.

    SemperFi
    Do or Die
    No man or woman left behind even on our own soil….

    • @ardodd

      First let me say it’s great to read your getting (medical) care that works for you.
      Many of us are still waiting!

      And yes, I agree (somewhat) VA should be ran BY veterans FOR veterans. Yet, There are veterans out there which should be “vetted” before hiring! Some are just worthless.

      Should the DOD run VA? That’s a question which is still up in the air! There are many ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ to that issue!

      Lastly, it’s not an opinion. This is fact. We veterans must agree, in writing, BEFORE VA, or any healthcare professional, may use “experimental drugs” on us.
      Example:
      In either Oregon or Washington State right now, a University is in trouble for this egregious act against veterans.
      In the 1990’s, a University in Los Angeles was caught experimenting on veterans at their local VAMC. I believe it was about a 5 or 6 year investigation!
      In 1999, ALL physicians and many healthcare professionals lost their licenses. The Universities healthcare section lost their “accreditation”!

      Those are facts!
      We veterans signed no such agreement to allow anyone to experiment on us!

      Question to everyone —-
      Has anyone on here signed anything to allow a VAMC, through a University, to experiment on you??????

      • Nope, but the good ol’ USAF did a number on me that I will just state I am still working on the outline of the book intend to write about it. For therapy, not for attention, just to get it out there.

        I mention my situation because the Hep B and HIV stuff with tainted blood in Active Duty Medical Facilities is a very real thing and not isolated to the VA. The whole Golf War Illness can be thrown into that hat as well.

        We Vets are not lab rats nor are any of the Active Duty Branch Members. No such agreement was signed nor implied that I signed. However, I am living a bit of a ‘Pinky & The Brain’ life, as it were. 🙂

      • I know when I was reviewing veterans medical research projects for funding several years ago..,ANY research that involved even off label treatment required signed consent forms from veterans whether it was research proposed by the VA, DOD or private.

        If a proposal suggested treating an infectious disease with Motrin was worth researching, there has to be informed consent because treating an infectious disease with an anti-inflammatory was considered off label.

        Sometimes even those given a placebo had to be addressed because withholding proper medical care is as serious as giving the wrong medicine.

        If the research proposal did not address informed consent, and sometimes compensation for those participating, the proposal was rejected.

        I was very happy doing those reviews because the other people doing the reviews…medical researchers themselves, Dean’s or professors of medical schools, were very serious about what they did, and veterans opinions were given a lot of weight.

      • I should clarify my comment crazy elf. Many medical researchers are serious about finding ways to treat illness or injuries, and to be successful and continue researching, they have to get their research findings published, usually in some medical journal. Most are also very careful about their reputation and credibility. Their research findings may be supported by others, or ripped apart as sloppy in peer review. Not having informed consent is a way to get a trashed reputation.

        The difference is, there are also medical researchers, often with no worry about reputation or funding like in the VA who don’t care about getting their findings published or reviewed by others.

        Depending on the outcome, some are so bad they don’t even try to get published. Others are never meant to be published, and still others are for internal use only.

      • possibly years ago when i volunteered for some “pain control” experiments while i was an in patient. i think i posted awhile back about it and that that particular VA said there was no record in my med records showing that.

        was asked a few years ago to submit to some new blood type test that was better at diagnosing some neurological diseases. i asked a few civilian docs about the test and they all said i had already had the latest and greatest of those tests and they all returned the same neuro disease and ruled out the other ones this VA doc said i might have. so i refused the tests. each appt the doc was adamant and upset i refused the tests. i asked the VA neuro about it and of course he didn’t know anything about the other doctor and those experiments and said there was nothing in my records about it.

        so why was this non-neurologist wanting to investigate my SC proven neurological disease- -after-injury? didn’t make any sense to me, except one thing, VA wanted to disrupt my claim saying this veteran had something else and likely prior to service. i’ll never knowingly volunteer for anything, directly or indirectly related to VA ever again.

    • I don’t disagree that the VA should be run by veterans, but I don’t want the same DOD running the VA if it’s the same ones who gave us anthrax and other shots considered experimental, then acknowledged to the FDA that we should have been given Informed Consent.
      The same DOD who conducted medical trials overseas because laws in other nations are not as strict as here regarding human testing.
      I also don’t want the same DOD who discharges veterans as fast as possible with little or no benefits in order to get sick or injured vets off their budget…telling the vet they can just go to the VA as soon as they get out.

  9. On one hand, this whole situation deeply saddens me. On the other hand, like an addict who has hit bottom, the only way for the VA to recover its mission is to take a fearless and searching moral inventory. And in doing so, the most disconcerting and stinking underbelly issues has to be revealed.

    I noticed the part where union employees reported to the OIG and felt it didn’t make any difference. Deep resignation must be met with new hope that we CAN get this agency to a level of excellence that exceeds the expectations of our veteran’s.

    And I’m dying to hear how the conference call went…

    • You know Merri, if I were an AFGE member, I would really be questioning my union leadership from the local steward all the way up to little Cox. I would be wondering why I am paying dues when I see something wrong, call the IG and it’s ignored.
      I would be wondering who is represented when I see my fellow union members facing rampant retaliation, incompetence and violation of federal whistle blowers laws by management.

      Am I paying dues for representation by a union? Or am I paying for a select few to live a lavish lifestyle? All while my job security is constantly at risk.

  10. Just have to point out:

    The AFGE which Leads all Unions in the United States for having the most criminal Misconduct by its officials since 2014. According to the Office of Labor-Management Standards of the Department of Labor.

    Is holding a “townhall” meeting at the American Legion in “Tomah” this Friday June 3rd, 2016 to inform Union Members of the need to fight and prevent Veterans from having a choice in their own healthcare.

    As you may recall the American Legion preformed a survey. The survey found its members overwhelmingly wanted the option of choosing private or government doctors for health care, the Legion’s Washington headquarters told politicians the opposite: Veterans shouldn’t have a choice of private or government doctors, and that they didn’t want it.

    The Legion’s top brass told The Daily Caller News Foundation that it threw out the survey results because surveys aren’t comprehensive and veterans weren’t savvy enough to know that private-sector doctors don’t always provide perfect care either.

    Now the most corrupt Union in the United States and one of the most corrupt Veterans Service Organization are teaming up at Tomah. Clearly not to help Veterans, but to fight against Veterans, and their own memberships, to maintain the Status Quo.

    In Tomah. WTF!

    They are the most corrupted Veterans organizations taking their message to the employees of undeniably one of the worst examples of a VA Health Care Facility.

    Talk about sending a very loud and clear message to Veterans that these VA employees and the American Legion Members at Tomah don’t give a rat’s butt about Veterans. It’s all about controlling the money.

    Shame on you employees that are dues paying members and work at Tomah.

    And a very special shame on the Veterans who are Members of the American Legion in Tomah for letting this corruption continue. Have you no sense of pride for your self’s, or concern for your fellow Veterans? Clearly you don’t, or what happened at Tomah could not have happened.
    __________________________________

    “VA union schedules ‘town hall’ meeting”

    “The meeting is 5 p.m. at the American Legion hall in Tomah.”

    “https://lacrossetribune.com/tomahjournal/news/local/va-union-schedules-town-hall-meeting/article_c492f4cd-e409-5124-ba1e-d6c7beec0b7f.html”

    “American Legion Defies Members, Discards Its Own Survey Showing Vets Want Private Care”, by Luke Rosiak Investigative Reporter at the Daily Caller.

    “https://dailycaller.com/2016/05/11/american-legion-defies-members-discards-its-own-survey-showing-vets-want-private-care/”

    • @Seymore Klearly

      Since this is being held on “American Legion property”,
      I guarantee if any non-American Legion members, and non-VA (union) employees, show up at that meeting. They will be denied entry.
      IF someone does show up, enters and tells the truth, they will be escorted off the property!

      I hope members of the American Legion, who know the truth, speak up. Of course, as 91Veteran and you, have pointed out, the American Legion doesn’t give a rats behind about veterans. Their as bad as other VSO’s!
      As my daddy used to say about ‘crooked people’,
      “All crooks care about is getting your money out of your pockets and into their pockets!”

      • You are right Elf.

        With the level of corruption it took to turn their backs on what was happening at VAMC Tomah can you image what would happen if they were audited.

        The leadership of both the American Legion and the AFGE Local 0007 not for turning their backs on Veterans but for stealing from the Union and the American Legion. Clearly not only is the leadership corrupted but it’s members are also for this to have gone on for so long.

        AFGE Leads All American Unions in Criminal Misconduct by its Officials Since 2014 – See more at: “https://www.fedsmith.com/2015/06/04/afge-leads-all-american-unions-in-criminal-misconduct-by-its-officials-since-2014/”

      • Hey Elf,

        I have to wonder how the American Legion membership in Tomah are going to feel about the AFGE working to replace Doctors at Veterans Health with Nurse Practitioners. I am sure their leadership doesn’t mind since we know they don’t receive Health Care at the VA.

        Since the push for replacing Doctors at the VA is only now becoming public I am sure most of the Legion members don’t know.

        I’ll bet the membership will not be allowed to attend the Town Hall meeting they won’t want the members becoming to informed. Don’t want them resisting a decision made in Washington just because it will make Veterans Health Care even worse.

        The proposal and rule change is coming out just in time for the graduations of at a number of Universities connected to the VA so it will affect very few nurses that are currently employed by the VA. Except the fact that many of them will no longer be following doctors order. Instead they will be following a newly hired nurse’s orders.

        Of course there will be more Veterans dying as a result of the rule change and working conditions at the VA will even get worse. But hey the Union is going to make out very well on the deal. 10,000 plus new employees paying those bi-weekly dues. Must add up to nearly $30 million and the thing is the currently employees are paying union dues to screw themselves over.

        Oh and of course the VA will get to claim that it is doing something about the new waiting times partially caused by them not hiring new Doctors. But plenty of new attorneys.

        “VA Proposes to Grant Full Practice Authority to Advanced Practice Registered Nurses”

        https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/includes/viewPDF.cfm?id=2793

        “Docs, RNs Battle Over VA Plans”

        “https://www.hhnmag.com/articles/7313-nurse-watch-docs-rns-battle-over-vas-plans-ohio-honors-field-with-license-plates”

    • That is just outrageous, but certainly explains why the Legion is traveling the country pushing their “System worth Saving” dog and pony show.

      Its not as blatant as a supposed veterans service organization giving a well funded union space to organize, but it has exactly the same effect.

      Speaking of which. I was assured by a national Legion officer that they would look into the issues I raised. I have yet to hear anything from them on those issues.

      • I am thinking you have more of a chance seeing a cow jump over the moon with your naked eyes.
        I think it’s clear that ALL so-called VSO’s (Veteran Service Org.) have been BOUGHT and PAID FOR by THE AFGE UNION.

        The AFGE President, “Little Cox” needs to be placed into a closed room with several Disabled Veterans with a planned power outage. Done.

  11. Ben,

    On this story it is bigger than the map and Bobby knows it. In my husband’s BVA brief filing on 5/9/2016 my husband’s lawyer added Indiana as well.

    And, so far Bobby is refusing to sign equitable relief as he claims he will in this article. Or, why 2007? My husband’s CUE goes back to 1992. It is also in Rep Lee Zeldin’s hands. The guy who asked Dr. David Shulkin about my husbnad by name in a house VA hearing. Crickets out of VACO. Except for spoofing Northport NY VA from VACO on Sunday May 15th and sending the local cops to out house trying to disrupt an assistant undersecretary at VHA from sending two LCSW’s to the house to assess my husband on May 16th since he won’t go near a VA. I have both the police report and the LCSW report. Northport clearly says it was not them. Their visit was in the computer as going to happen the next day. The PD report is for both of us and asks for a 72 hour pysch hold at NP that the cops said on the spot was bogus. So much for talking on social media. After seeing Zeldin taking on Shulkin when they showed up Zeldin has at least two more votes.

    Take out (dot) and put .
    close up the spaces. Baghdad Bobby lies and is hiding evidence.

    https:/ /www (dot) 11alive (dot) com /news/local/va-announces-new-tbi-exams/215842765

    • Just have to Say Great work Ben!

      Here is the title people can google “VA announces new TBI exams”

      or use the link below & remove the quotes, or can google the link with the quotes.

      “https://www.11alive.com/news/local/va-announces-new-tbi-exams/215842765”

  12. @Ben Krause

    When will you put a blog on here concerning the “conference call” from last Saturday?

  13. All these reports are worthless . Nothing ever comes of it . Congress is worthless , and veterans are treated like outcasts . We are of no value anymore . If I were king for a day , I would dismantke the VA and give vets a medicare card . AFGE is like the devil and the afge president is an idiot .

  14. Hey Elf,

    I have to wonder how the American Legion membership in Tomah are going to feel about the AFGE working to replace Doctors at Veterans Health with Nurse Practitioners. I am sure their leadership doesn’t mind since we know they don’t receive Health Care at the VA.

    Since the push for replacing Doctors at the VA is only now becoming public I am sure most of the Legion members don’t know.

    I’ll bet the membership will not be allowed to attend the Town Hall meeting they won’t want the members becoming to informed. Don’t want them resisting a decision made in Washington just because it will make Veterans Health Care even worse.

    The proposal and rule change is coming out just in time for the graduations of at a number of Universities connected to the VA so it will affect very few nurses that are currently employed by the VA. Except the fact that many of them will no longer be following doctors order. Instead they will be following a newly hired nurse’s orders.

    Of course there will be more Veterans dying as a result of the rule change and working conditions at the VA will even get worse. But hey the Union is going to make out very well on the deal. 10,000 plus new employees paying those bi-weekly dues. Must add up to nearly $30 million and the thing is the currently employees are paying union dues to screw themselves over.

    Oh and of course the VA will get to claim that it is doing something about the new waiting times partially caused by them not hiring new Doctors. But plenty of new attorneys.

    ___________________

    “VA Proposes to Grant Full Practice Authority to Advanced Practice Registered Nurses”

    “https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/includes/viewPDF.cfm?id=2793”

    __________________________

    “Docs, RNs Battle Over VA Plans”

    “https://www.hhnmag.com/articles/7313-nurse-watch-docs-rns-battle-over-vas-plans-ohio-honors-field-with-license-plates”

  15. Why don’t u all go read thee comments on ,”petition to congress,due no harm,” 27,000 people who have been forced to endure physical pain from painful medical condition,,veterens,gramma’s,doctors,u name it,,all forced to endure great physical pain because of this TOMAH VA!!!!!!!!!!!,If u choose not to shed a tear for the cruel,heartless stories,,,your comments mean nothing to me,,,Grammar over truth??1 adult males life,,,over 27,000 that we know of being forced to endure great physical pain,,,,our tax dollars pay for our miliatery,,and I do not believe my tax dollars should be spent forcible denying the men/women of our military the needed MEDICINE TO LESSEN THEIR PHYSICAL SUFFERING FROM WAR INJURIES,,,Great system,,1 adult chooses to use his med unlawfully,,soo lets kill or force 27,0000 other that we know of to suffer in agonizing physical pain from painful medical condition..When the government and secretaries start playing doctor,,,its wrong,,to forcibly make 100,000’s of people to needlessly suffer,ie elderly all over the country killing themselves to stop their physical pain because since Tomah Va,,the cdc regulators took their NEEDED MEDICINES,, so they are choosing death to stop physical pain,,,thats tortue,thats inhumane,cruel and heartless,when they were fine on medicines!!,,,all,,for 1 man life,,who choosed to not use his medicines responsible or his own body responsibly,,,,,thats ok right,??,,,NOT ON MY DIME!!!!!!!!!!As a tax payer,,I do not give a dam a secretary played soldier at West Point,,,did he go to war,,and have his limbs blow off????for our country???and now his body is ravage w.physical pain???I have no right to comment on a parent losing a child,,,but to me,,he is an adult,,,,not a child,,,,..As I said earlier,,since no-one can physically feel the physical pain of another,,NO-ONE,, has the divine rite to decide who is to suffer in physical pain,,no-one,,,As a humane civilized society we have medicines that lessen physical pain,,and these medicines should be used to lessen human suffering in a humane society,,,otherwise we may as well go back to living like Neanderthals,,

    • You don’t know much about the whistle blower you are blaming for so many veterans losing their pain medications, yet you smear him anyway.

      Are you so selfish that you believe that no other veteran could be harmed by this malpractice? Would you care if you knew they were harmed?

      Your comments suggest you don’t care, and that you only care about what affects you personally.

  16. Just a side note. As the daughter of someone killed as a result of the negligence of the doctors and nurses at the Tomah VA (Thomas Baer was my father), I think there is something that should be pointed out about Senator Johnson. He was very helpful to our family in the beginning when we were in the media spotlight, but as soon as that spotlight faded and we needed real help, not only with our administrative claim, but also with veterans that our non profit (I started a non profit in my father’s name after he died in order to help other veterans and their families) was trying to help, Senator Johnson was basically nowhere to be found. We received answers like “we don’t want to be perceived as interfering in litigation” regarding our admin claim, which was not litigation. And my favorite one when we called for help to get a veteran we are working with outside care because the VA has been so negligent regarding his care – “we thought that was already taken care of”. It was not taken care of. As much as I was unhappy with Tammy Baldwin’s office in the beginning, in the end, they are the ones who helped and continue to help us.

    Regarding the ad with Ryan Honl – if he cared about veterans, he would be helping them, not playing a puppet for a politician for his own personal gain. He would also not be lying. The person who wrote the memo they speak of in the ad – the one supposedly delivered to Russ Feingold in 2009 – testified for 4 hours in 2015. She stated that the Senate side was not even meeting on the day the memo was supposedly delivered, and that it had not been delivered. But Johnson’s office refuses to release the transcripts of that hearing and her testimony.

    If senator Johnson was so helpful and was getting things done, don’t you think that our family or the Simcakoski family would be the ones in his campaign ads? Instead he has a veteran who barely uses the Tomah VA and has never had any problems with it, and Ryan Honl. While Ryan is a veteran, he really has no “skin in the game” so to speak. Yes, he lost his job. But my father and Jason Simcakoski lost their lives as a result of the negligence at the Tomah VA.

    • Both of your families have been in the news over this ( I got an email google alert just this AM on your dad. and I too lost my husband due to VA health care (FTCA settlement ,1151 DIC for wrongful death)
      I only hope, as in my last post here that veterans or their survivors take immediate action under FTCA or 1151 or both as I did.
      The OIG reports do not replace formal filings of these types of claims.I am always concerned some vets or their survivors might think that OIG reports alone could garner a settlement but they don’t.
      Even the so called “incident reports” VA does when things go wrong in a vet’s care, don’t replace proper filings for something that VA should Pay For….,malpractice.

      Ms, Delis, the term ” killed” is the same term I use at http://www.haduit.com where we have a full FTCA 1151 forum.
      There is no nice way to say it.They killed my husband (documented) , a vet with 2 HDs, combat, PTSD and AO DMII and IHD, with malpractice that started when he began to work at the same VAMC and then another VAMC who could have altered all that damage chose to cover it all up and I proved that part of my case too. At that point however, I began to consider it as downright murder.

      The VA did not satisfy the NPDB Mandate and one of General Counsel’s reason to me was that “there were so many VA doctors involved” and I reminded the GC lawyer that this is one of the reasons it should had been reported to NPDB, but VA chose to just send them to other VAMCs to damage more veterans.

      I have griped enough here on the NPDB mandate and even sent the H VAC information on how the VA hides their malpractice stats.Nothing yet has been done about it so it continues to occur.

      I know exactly how you feel.
      Money doesn’t bring them back and all they wanted , deserved, and expected from VA was proper health care.

      I think every veteran’s VA med recs ,dead or alive, should be reviewed by an independent medical team. Then we might finally know how many vets they have really harmed or killed.

      • geez I get so angry…that is http://www.hadit.com…I typed it wrong.
        Over a million hits a year, thousands of members, all volunteers working every day to help vets and their dependents and survivors get all that VA owes them for their sacrifices.
        As a civilian I graduated from a Military University in 2007 so that I could fight on a battlefield better….the battlefield of the VA claims process and their audacious and arbitrary War of the Words.

      • Hi Berta…just wanted you to know that the link as provided in your post is invalid due to the extra dots at the end included in the link…After a little fiddling, I got this ( https://www.hadit.com ) which leads to the site I think you were trying for…Looks like a GREAT site with lots of good intel…I urge everyone here to join there…

    • I am sorry for your loss Candace, and thank you very much to continue fighting to try prevent this from happening again…and in trying to hold those responsible, accountable.
      As for Baldwin, Johnson or Feingold, all I know is what I read. If Baldwin or Feingolds office was made aware and nothing was done, they should be held accountable, just like Johnson should be. I despise politicians of any party who refuse to do one of their main duties of assisting constituents with federal agencies.

      I can say I met Baldwin when she was still in the House, and she was very helpful to Gulf War veterans, including going out on a limb sponsoring legislation for us that ended up on Clinton’s desk…who then failed to sign it.
      I have also worked with Feingold, but was often disappointed in his excuses for why certain things could not be done.
      I have never met or worked with Johnson.

      As for Ryan Honl, I don’t know what ulterior motives he might have, or don’t know details on whether he may have lied, but I fully support him because I believe without him getting Tomah publicized as much as it has, and continuing to publicize it and push for accountability for those still responsible, I don’t believe anything would have changed, and veterans dying like your Father or Jason would not have been the last.
      I also believe Houlihan would still be employed.

      • I agree that he got Tomah publicized and that was helpful, but that was also in the beginning. Now he seems to be more interested in politics than helping vets. I know this first hand as we had reached out to him on several occasions to help us with one of the veterans who receives “care” at Tomah. Nothing has changed. They shortened the urgent care hours. The doctor that treated my dad still plays facebook gambling games all day (while he is at work) and night (when he should probably be getting rest in order to provide decent care). They have closed or are closing the inpatient mental health unit. One of their staff, who was listed as having certain certifications that it was found he did not have, assaulted several female women at the mental health clinic. Another staff member assaulted a fellow staff member and was moved to another building instead of being fired. I went to a doctor’s appointment with a veteran in Tomah and witnessed the doctor not once, not twice, but three times telling this vet that he would have gotten better care had he not went to the media. He went to the press long before Ryan Honl did. Nothing has changed. Few people noticed it in the OIG report about my father, but another veteran died in the urgent care waiting room earlier in the morning on the day we took my dad there – he was having shortness of breath and should have been sent to an emergency room. But he wasn’t. So now, like Jason and my father, he is dead. Thanks to the Tomah VA.

    • As Ben stated here :
      “In a nutshell, Tomah VA failed to timely diagnose and refer Baer once it became obvious that he suffered a stroke. He later died as a likely result of Tomah VA’s numerous failures.”

      For three weeks the local VAMC said my husband had labyrinthitus (Inner ear infection) yet he could not swallow, talk well, see well,(Nystagamus) or even move. It was even in his meds recs that he said he was dying of thirst. I asked to see the results of his CT scan thinking that was done upon his admission.
      His doctor had told me their CT scan was broke and they had never done one on him.I said I was going to call my Congressman to see why the VA had not fixed an important piece of equipment like a CT scan.All of a sudden the doctor told me to wait in a small room. She suddenly seemed horrified . Ten minutes later she came back and said the CT scan had been fixed.yeah right….it was never broken. The report was read by a different VA hosp and she came into my husband’s room and told him she was sorry, he had no ear inner infection and they were prepping him up for Brain Surgery in Syracuse.
      Brain surgery my ass…my former dead Army husband had a brain tumor. This had to be different. These were not symptoms of a brain tumor.
      I got the nurses station to get the Ct scan doctor right back on the phone and he told me my husband had a stroke ,per the CT scan and they asked him to be sent up to them.
      We briefly discussed the Ct scan and I said this is not a surgical situation. He said we have not ruled that out yet ( if the stroke had caused hemmorage to brain) but 3 weeks had already passed so too laye to fix that…and the next day the doctor called m and said yiou were right, no surgical intervention will be done.

      My husband almost withdrew his 1151 claim when Pres Clinton said the VA was the best government run health care system in the world, when he was pushing for his own Gov health care plan..I reminded my husband How would Bill Clinton have a clue on the VA. They had to even teach him how to salute.

      I hope you vets out there take this all very seriously…the most insignificant misdiagnosis can kill you in time….as they were getting my husband ready to be shipped by ambulance to Syracuse a nurse stopped me in the hall. She was unaware of the CT scan stuff and told me to get him out of there before they killed him. The nurses knew he did not have any ear condition.
      The GC findings revealed they were ” far more observant than the doctors had been” during this hospitalization.
      Syracuse treated the stroke but failed to treat the misdiagnosed IHD and DMII. They knew he would die eventually anyhow so they tried to cover up his other misdiagnosed conditions.

      If I had not been relentless in getting evidence ( I had no lawyer nor any IMO doctor) they would have gotten away with murder.

      If you get Medicare , get out of the VA system and get your care from a real doctor.

  17. Russ Feingold former Wisconsin Senator running on a platform of “I didn’t get the Memo”.

    The campaign team for former Sen. Russ Feingold accused his opponent, Sen. Ron Johnson, of abusing his position as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee and Government Affairs committee.

    Because Senator Ron Johnson’s Veterans affairs staff made sure he was informed about the problems at Tomah VAMC and Senator Johnson did some thing about it.

    Unfortunately Mr. Feingold didn’t feel the need to employ a staff that actually cared about Veterans during all those years Tomah was festering and is unable see the correlation.

    Good luck Mr. Feingold with your “I didn’t Get the Memo” Campaign.

    • Lin Ellinghausen – the author of “the memo” in question, testified at a hearing in late 2015 that the memo was never actually delivered to Russ Feingold. Oddly, Johnson’s office will not release the transcripts of that testimony….I wonder why????

    • Also, if you think Senator Johnson really did so much to help the families that were hurt by the Tomah VA, why doesn’t he include those people in his ads instead of a guy who basically just lost his job? My father is dead because of the Tomah VA and Senator Johnson’s office was only helpful while the media spotlight was on my family. As soon as that was gone, so was their help. We have asked them numerous times to assist us with veterans we are trying to help through the non-profit we started, but they cannot be bothered.

      • Candace, I would be curious about the type of help you were requesting. I am not defending Johnson or any other politician, but having run a non profit in the past, I know politicians sometimes get skittish of helping some non profits because it might look like an endorsement of that non profits work. Or at least that is often the excuse given.
        Did you request the same help from other politicians and actually get help?

    • Candace

      First my condolences on the loss of your father.

      Second another name that has come up in all of this retired Representative David Obey. During my care received by the VA with ultimately left me severely disabled and in pain. I wrote Congressman Obey and told him about one aspect of my care that was used by the VAMC Minneapolis to hide the problems caused by my surgery there. I asked him for help in seeing that what had been done to me would never happen to another Veteran at that facility.

      Congressman Obey’s actions on my behave were swift and to the point. They led to the abolishment of the specialty clinic titled the ortho hand clinic at VAMC Minneapolis. I was a Wisconsin resident receiving care from the Superior VA clinic which is a satellite clinic to VAMC Minneapolis.

      In regards to Russ Feingold I stand by my words and would like to add not only is he running a campaign of “I didn’t get the Memo” but he is attempting to politicizing Senator Johnson’s actions for Veterans in a negative light. Making it very clear that that Mr. Feingold is fighting against reform in Tomah and at the VA.

      In regards to your non-profit you stated in prior post on this website that you have been asking Senator Johnson’s for help with individual Veterans claims against the VA. That may have something to do with it why you are not receiving the support you want. I know that when I considered contacting Congressman Obey’s office for help I had to weigh what was most important to me. My claim against the VA or insuring that what happened to me never happened to another Veteran.

      I chose to insure that what happened to me never happened to another Veteran. So when the VA did come back claiming I was making accusations to further a claim, which they did try. Because of the fact I only asked for help to protect other Veterans the VA was forced to take action.

      As far as Mr. Russ Feingold goes to this veteran he is not even worth a moments consideration period. His key platform issue regarding veterans is “I didn’t get the Memo”. His secondary key is “Senator Johnson’s actions to help Veterans are wrong because they are making me look bad”.

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