VA Violation Of 1809 Purpose Statute Costs $51 Million

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Purpose StatuteA recent report shows VA violated an 1809 law called the Purpose Statute when it intentionally circumvented processes to create mobile health care apps.

Apparently, agency chiefs wanted to create up to five mobile apps to help update its health care records systems. Budget shortfalls meant they could not do it legally. So, VA officials created a work around that violated a 200-year-old appropriations law.

MORE ON PURPOSE STATUTE SCHEME

According to MeriTalk, a government IT website:

The Department of Veterans Affairs misused $51.9 million in medical appropriations to fund development of mobile health applications and an enhancement to the Veteran Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), violating Federal appropriations law, according to a preliminary inspector general report obtained by MeriTalk.

The laws in question prohibit the use of medical care support and services funding for anything other than expenses related to inpatient and outpatient care, medical supplies and equipment, prescription drugs, and nursing homes, as well as caregiver assistance and health care employee salaries. But officials from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and VA’s Office of Information and Technology deliberately “circumvented IT policy and appropriations law to avoid competing for IT Systems appropriations” to help fund five mobile apps and an enhancement to VA’s main electronic health record system.

According to investigators, when former VA Chief Information Officer Stephen Warren launched a major mobile development initiative in 2012, the agency lacked the necessary funding to develop the apps and take care of other key IT programs, such as the addition of debt management tools to VistA. Because of the funding shortfalls, VA and VHA officials argued that VA’s policy on what constitutes an IT system was outdated, and they opted to use guidance from the Food and Drug Administration that defined a mobile medical app as a “medical device.”

The article is pretty interesting, so I encourage readers to read it in full.

Read more: VA Spending On Mobile Apps Violated Appropriates Law

I would be curious to know how many other agencies have engaged in the same tomfoolery regarding misappropriation of funds outside of the congressional mandate.

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36 Comments

      • @Seymore Klearly
        The FBI only “investigates, (and arrests AFTER the DOJ indicts)”!
        It’s the “Duty and Obligation” of the DOJ to indict and prosecute illegal activities!
        We all know that ain’t gonna happen. Because the Department Head, Ms. Loretta Lynch, was ‘hand-picked’ by POTUS!
        We all know what he thinks about the military and veterans!

        It would be interesting to know, how many indictments the “New DOJ Head” has done since she took over!?

      • @crazyelf- The ‘new’ DOJ has spent more time defending thugs that refuse to obey police and end-up getting arrested or even shot…Ms. Loretta Lynch and her and the POTUS’s DOJ could care less obviously about Veterans or we would have seen prosecutions for these VA Thugs.

        I am thinking that POTUS is more on side of the VA AFGE Union rather than the Veterans they are killing. January, 2017 cannot come soon enough.

      • Namnbor & Elf,

        I noticed the VA AFGE hasn’t endorsed Hilleary yet! But do see articles about the other unions going to endorse her corruption sometime this week or a least before her coronation.

      • Thy will jump on like lemmings, as they always do in lock-step, to ensure their hands are already in the ca$h cookie jar, and since Hillary thinks VA Corruption and Fraud is all political conspiracy theories, the AFGE is SURE to jump on the boat as soon as “Little David Cox” gives the order like a good Storm Trooper, and heck, why not give them all a special performance bonus for supporting Killary? 🙂

  1. I am willing to bet the VA was counting on fact *if caught*, simply cry loudly that it’s an obsolete law and reason the VA went with a VERY gray area FDA Regulation.

    The VA and technology mix like oil, water, and gravel in a cement mixer. No matter how much you spin the crap, it just will not work. These sociopaths are WAY out of control at the VA.

    Just think how much that $51 MILLION could help with Veteran Homelessness or Veteran Suicide Prevention…or simply paying-out Veteran Claims.

  2. Maybe this is one of the reasons my closest friend was not given proper medical care. Which caused his death just a few short weeks ago!
    All these asswipes need to go to jail!

  3. What crooks eh.

    The article written that supports Ben’s article was written by Dan Verton.

    Mr. Verton has another article published last week that is well worth reading titled “VA Rushing to Institutionalize Change Before Massive Election Turnover”. The article even goes so far as to show how the VA manipulates Veterans Service Organizations to sell their bullshit to Veterans and the public as needed changes.

    at: “https://www.meritalk.com/articles/va-rushing-to-institutionalize-change-before-massive-election-turnover/”

    One of the people who is diffidently going to be looking for a new job is Obama appointee named LaVerne Council who was appointed to the position of VA’s Chief Information Officer. She is mentioned in both articles.

    Also worth mentioning they needed those new Mobil apps to support all the new work from home positions at the VA. Like the position created for people like Diana Rubens significant other in her now 100% Telework from home position where she is averaging more than 27% of every work day commuting from home to work. But of course the IG office found that others VBA employees now working from home at 100% telework positions average same in their work day commuting form home to work.

    “https://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-15-02997-307.pdf”

    • @Seymore Klearly

      Great article!
      Yea, let’s fuck over the vets some more!

      “Back Room Deals” seems to be the norm with McDuck and all the other asswipes at VA. Bring it back to the past, so they can murder more veterans!

      ___________________________

      A “Peaceful Revolution” is underway in our country!

      P.S.
      Did you ever watch the ‘5 hour’, “History Channel” (movie/documentary) called,
      “The Sons of Liberty”?
      If not, I would strongly recommend it.
      The “Special Features” portion tells how they came about and were instrumental in starting the Revolutionary War! There are many ‘Facts’ about the major characters unknown to a majority of people today.

      For example;
      Did you know: John Adams would be likened to an “ambulance chaser” today?
      Did you know: John Hancock, while riding in his carriage around Boston, had “human faeces” thrown at him? Yes, he was that disliked!
      Did you know: Sam Adams did not want the “position of leadership” with the “Sons of Liberty”! Did you know he was a “tax collector” for the Royal Crown!
      Did you know: the only other person standing up for “Liberty and Separation from Great Britain” with the Massachusetts Delegates at the Continental Congress, in 1775, was George Washington, (Virginia)!
      There’s much more! Please get it and view it!

      • you believe what the “history channel” shows on TV?
        you think the TV producers want you to know real history?

        well, if you believe in elections, even after I gave you conclusive evidence that elections are rigged, then you are just idiot. plain and simple.

        you believe in elections and you believe that TV shows tell you the truth.

        you are a disgrace to humanity. and especially to us veterans who are working for real change.

        you, all you want is to change the channel. everything else stays the same.

        disgraceful. disgusting.

    • I like the way Dan Verton explains the illegal funding practice used to fund the Vista A enhancements.

      “The medical appropriations were used to cover the DMC’s labor and contract costs for design, governance, IT infrastructure, and maintenance, according to the report.

      According to the IG, the DMC deposited the medical appropriations into the Franchise Fund, counted the funds as “revenue earned”, and used the revenue to procure a contractor to complete the VistA enhancement.”

      The “revenue earned” is the money the VA collects from sources such as insurance companies, Medicaid, and Medicare for providing health care at the VA. Now I guess it also includes money appropriated by congress for veterans health care. This added corrupt method is basically billing the VA for the care VA provides to Veterans which is prepaid by Congress.

      McDonald and his pocket pool again. All going on when they were lobbying congress to cover budget shortfalls they claimed would cause the VA to have to start closing health care facilities.

      Big question is why doesn’t the VA have to account for their “revenue earned” and how it is spent?

      Great timing on the report since everyone involved will be working somewhere else in government after the election, or have already taken new positions out side of this department.

      Like Stephen Warren the former VA chief information officer who was involved. He is now the CIO at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Looks like he got a great big reward for his innovative funding approach with this new Best Practices Approach to VA Corruption. I am sure he has some very innovative corrupt practices he can implement as the Chief Information Officer in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency with the upcoming Crash.

      • I am sure Stephen Warren takes his new job very seriously and already has half the Staff at the office of Comptroller of the Currency working from new 100% Tele-work assignments. That way they can do their work for the Comptrollers office while they are at their other jobs on Wall Street.

        Of course there is that security issue we are learning about from the Hillary investigation and use of the mobile devises. But hey it’s wall street so we know nobody will want to hack those communications right?

    • @Seymore Klearly

      I sent both articles, plus Ben’s Blog, off to my Congressman’s office!
      I also sent him other articles I’ve been compiling. Especially the one from the VFW National Commander: “Don’t insult vets’ intelligence!” Which came out on June 3, 2016!
      I want my elected official, who works for us, to realize the VA is committing criminal acts! AND, whomever is involved, needs to be put in prison, PERIOD!
      We vets, taxpayers and other groups, are a large voting group. We can defeat anyone next election cycle!
      We’re tired of the “Waste, Fraud and Abuse”, by all government agencies! Which seems to do only one thing. That is; “To enrich those in high government positions!” Not to do what these agencies are supposed to do!

      We have a revolution going on. It needs to continue! Until all those involved are brought to justice, everything continues on unabated!

      • @namnibor & Seymore Klearly

        I say “Shut Down ALL VA’s and FIRE EVERYONE!”

        Let the vets go outside for healthcare!
        Fuck the VSO’s, they have forgotten why they were formed anyway!

        Vote everyone out of Congress!
        Hit the “restart button”! Lets force all these alleged asswipe Congressional idiots make a living the old fasion way ~ Hard Labor on a Chain Gang down in Alabama!

    • Here is an article by Stephen Warren from when he started this mobile computing BS back in 2012 and started his illegal creative funding approach at the VA.

      “Mobility at VA is about governance, not devices”
      Apr 6, 2012 · 1:30 pm

      Federal agencies itching to adopt iPhones and iPads, may want to heed the advice of Stephen Warren, deputy chief information officer at the Veterans Affairs Department–a department now using iPads.​ (Molly Bernhart Walker, Fierce Government IT, April 5, 2012)

      “It’s key to make sure that you don’t over-obsess on the device itself,” Warren said during an April 3 panel discussion at the FOSE conference in Washington, D.​C.​ “Forget about the device.​ Forget about the toy, and think about the information and how you control the access of it, how you serve it up and how you use it.​”

      Successful mobile deployments depend on two things, said Warren.​ First, there has to be a business case for using the mobile device, showing it helps empoyees “deliver business, get out into the field, provide the service at the point where it’s needed,” he said.​ The other change is that IT must enables information to be accessed and utilized at the network level.​

      By making those two changes, VA can separate the information from whatever device is selected, he said.​ It can be authenticated appropriately and works within the controls VA has set.​ This strategy could also lead to a BYOD, or bring-your-own-device, strategy in 2 to 5 years, said Warren.​

      “As an IT organization or even as a business, we really don’t have any choice but to embrace it,” said Warren.​ “If I change my infrastructure and architecture in a way such that I serve up information in a secure way, and I fully embrace bring your own device, why isn’t that a win for everybody?”

      If BYOD is the near-term goal, the trend may go one step further in time, said Rob Corcoran, manager of architecture and applied technology at the Federal Aviation Administration.​ In 5 to 7 years, “if we do our jobs well, IT will not build or manage much of anything as an individual shop,” he said.​

      “We will be going to as-a-service organizations that will be providing services that we need and the IT organization will be the liaise and the business interface that allows people to be able to be able to understand how to put those services together,” said Corcoran.​

      Given the 2,000 Ipads that are still sitting in storage because they are not backward compatible with VA software Warren should have cared more about the devices. As for his statement on providing the service at the point where it is needed. It is needed at the office where an employee is working not at the home of some employee collecting pay for doing a job. Not sitting in the home of an employee in a 100% work from home position who is claiming 27% of their time is spent traveling from their home to their work from home position.

      As for the statement on enhancing liaise and improve business interface. Why?

      • That’s the problem with IT and the VA…you may develop some really awesome app for PTSD, reminders for med apps, et al, but as soon as Apple does one of their almost *monthly* operating system updates, THOSE apps need to be responsibly at-pace with Apple’s development, and I see this as ONLY a way for fat cat VA employees to get FREE iPads and iPhones, and at a UNION DISCOUNT, no doubt…and screw helping Veterans, because the VA will NEVER keep pace with app/O.S. updates, just as the VA has 1985 at best tech right now.

        I think the VA is actually CREATING PROBLEMS so the VA can BEG FOR MORE CA$H! That elegantly simple. Same with this VA Violation of Purpose Statute; the VA more than likely was BETTING on this creating a PERFECT EXCUSE for MORE CA$H….wait for it…think this time last year.

      • When your right your right Namnibor.

        Not only on the tech but also on the upcoming push for money.

        I am sure the Whitewash fund is pretty well depleted. Also all of the additional costs of greasing the VSOs leaderships. The cost of grease for the VSOs to help push the nurses for Doctors thing. Not to mention the cost of the grease for the VSOs to fight any of the recommendations in the upcoming report from the Commission on Care.

        Also the new cost of greasing the VSOs leadership on this upcoming tour mentioned in the article “VA Rushing to Institutionalize Change Before Massive Election Turnover”

        “https://www.meritalk.com/articles/va-rushing-to-institutionalize-change-before-massive-election-turnover/”

        No doubt they will have to do an industrial strength grease job on some of the members of Congress also.

        Yea the VA is definitely warming up the knee pads and practicing there sad eye routine on how they will need more money or they will have start shutting down facilities.

  4. Hey has anyone heard anything on Veterans survival rates after being treated with Sovaldi or Harvoni for Hep-C.

    I see that it is back in the new since in a law suit “Merck insisted that the hepatitis C drugs at the heart of the case “required many years of research and significant investment by Merck and its partners.” Was stated in the article published today titled “Big Pharma bombshell: Judge finds Merck lied in patent trial, overturns $200-million verdict”

    “https://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-merck-gilead-20160608-snap-story.html”

    Another thing Merck is trying to do is promote legislation on is the ability to sue researchers. From an article titled “Merck Wants Its Money Back if University Research Is Wrong”

    “https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601348/merck-wants-its-money-back-if-university-research-is-wrong/”

    “That’s the tough-minded proposal floated today by the chief medical officer of Merck & Co., one of the world’s 10 largest drug companies, as a way to fix the “reproducibility crisis,” or how many, if not most, published scientific reports turn out to be incorrect.

    Michael Rosenblatt, Merck’s executive vice president and chief medical officer, said bad results from academic labs caused pharmaceutical companies to waste millions and “threatens the entire biomedical research enterprise.”

    Given the fact that there has been so much deception and failures of ethics surrounding Sovaldi and Harvoni for Hep-C. I have to ask does anyone live after taking them or is the high cure rate due to deaths? Has anyone heard anything about them?

    I would think that if there are such a great success the VA would be bragging about the results.

    • @Seymore Klearly

      Not heard one peep!
      Don’t trust Merck one bit anyway.
      Because about 15 years ago, give or take, Merck got caught killing people. Then tried covering it up.
      I can’t remember the drug’s name. Here’s what happened!
      Many people began dying because of a “new miracle pill”.
      A “class action lawsuit”, I believe, began in either Texas or Colorado. When Merck was ordered, by the judge, to turn over all evidence about that “miracle pill”. Merck, accidentally, turned over evidence showing where their R&D researchers, stated Merck “…should NOT…” put the drug on the market. Because it could kill patients!
      Needless to say, Merck LOST THE LAW SUIT!

      Looks like Merck did NOT learn their lesson!

      • Elf,

        I remember it very well the drugs name was vioxx. As a Veteran that was left disabled and in serious pain I was part of the studies but I was on the drug naproxen. O f course it being the VA when I complained of serious chest pains from the drug I was told that it wasn’t the drug that was causing the pain.

        I was then diagnosed with acid reflux disease involving my esophagus. So they added another drug to my health care named Ranitidine. They also tried to get me to take at least 3 other drugs at the same time but I wouldn’t.

        I got physical therapy outside of the VA which helped make the pain more manageable quit the Ranitidine and Naproxen. The chest pains were gone although I was still left severly disabled from the surgery.

        Two of my friend die while taking Vioxx that had been prescribed at the VAMC Minneapolis. The Mayo Clinic was doing the studies using veterans at the VAMC. They wanted to get the drug to market so side effects went unreported by the staff at the VAMC.

        Ultimately Vioxx was responsible for more than 26,400 cardiac events they called them in the research you mentioned. If I would have continued VA health Care I would have been one of the dead ones. That was back in 1999 and 2000.

      • The two friends that died while taking Vioxx were Veterans also and died from heart attacks. Both were in their 40s at the time.

  5. Funny about this, I and other veterans offered to develop apps for them every year since 2011. I could have made the apps in question for a very very small percentage of what they were charged. Hell I know app developers who were happy to be selling apps for $99 in 2012.

  6. And McDonald told Congress he didn’t have enough money to treat vets and they HAD to give him billions more. I guess 51 mil is just pocket change. But it does amount to about $6. in care costs per enrolled vet.

  7. As I have said before in other comments, agencies using appropriated funds for other than what Congress authorized will get people fired. I’m curious whether anyone will get fired over this.

    It’s not that an agency cannot reprogram funds for other purposes, but they are required to go back to Congress and get permission.

    If the VA was given $100 million life saving care for veterans, but wanted to use $25 million of that for fluffy pillows for AFGE thugs, they would have to go to Congress for permission.

    Of course, that suggests Congress is paying attention and actually performing oversight.

    You are curious about other agencies Ben. I believe the Pentagon reprogram funding all the time, but they always go to Congress.

    I am curious who is behind these companies developing these applications, and what connection they may have to VA personnel.

    I’m also curious about how an application to improve “debt management” can be considered a “medical device” under any guidelines. Seems quite a stretch.

    • You are correct. An application from the VA on “debt management” is the oxymoron of the century. 🙂

      Want to bet that what the VA will eventually beg more $$ for these proposed ‘applications’, will NOT be any part of the how many Billion recently for IT at the VA and related contracts?
      Why cannot those same companies develop said apps? This is a paving the road for the cash grab before November….the rats are becoming delirious before the hopeful jump off the VA Ship Of Fools.

    • 91Veteran,

      I agree that the people who authorized this should be fired. The sad reality is both of the people responsible were political appointees.

      One political appointee the former VA chief information officer Stephen Warren has already been promoted out of the VA to a position as CIO at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

      The other political appointee involved is the current VA’s Chief Information Officer LaVerne Council who already knows that her job ends when Obama is replaced.

      By the time the IG takes another look at weather or not the recommendations were implemented it would be to late to fire anyone.

      • Of course laws were broken but the IG only recommending changes and reimbursement of funds. Had he recommended charges and referred them to the DOJ for misappropriations of funds. I don’t think the Attorney General would have enforced the law anyway.

        But because this was handled in this manner with the IG report the next Presidents Attorney General will not be able to prosecute.

      • Nice. So much for respecting the Congressional process. Even if they promise to pay it back, they still did it against appropriations law.

        Will Congress step up? Or let them get away with ignoring the law. Again.

        Even if they pay it back, that has to come from funds already appropriated, or take a 50+ million hit next year. Which VA fund will get shorted to pay back what they used for Angry Birds or Hungry Hippos?
        10 million less for prosthetics? 10 million less for surgeries? 20 million less for sterilizing surgical tools?
        You can bet your ass anything affecting the AFGE will not be shorted.

        I’m trying to recall the details, but I read some time ago of an agency shuffling money around to cover shortfalls in their budget. If I recall correctly, say the agency was given 100 million, broken up into several pots of money. 30 million for widgets, 20 million for unicorns, and 50 million for their traveling circus. Now, say the agency took 10 million from the circus fund and bought more unicorns. It was against what Congress appropriated, the CFO was forced to retire or resign, I don’t recall which, and the agency had to pay back the 10 million they took from their circus fund and used for unicorns. I believe the agency was given 100 million the next year, but the unicorn and widget fund was shorted a certain amount to pay back the circus fund. I believe that agency was forced to completely revamp their budgeting process to provide better detail to Congress of where the money was spent.

        Unless Congress steps up and demands it, nothing will happen here. Particularly if the contractor is politically connected.

      • @Seymore Klearly

        I’m sorry I’m missing something here. If a crime has been committed, and substantiated, why couldn’t the next DOJ try to indict on a different offence?
        (As is done on many criminal acts by individuals!)
        I’m sure there are many different statuates a person could be tried under.

      • Elf,

        Ben said in his article that they violated an 1809 law called the Purpose Statute when they intentionally circumvented processes to create mobile health care apps.

        Given the amount was $51.9 million it is a substantial crime. The new VAIG is showing just how worthless he is going to be by not asking the DOJ to prosecute.

        Although it might be possible the next VAIG If a new one is picked before the statues of limitations runs out and asks the DOJ to prosecute. The FBI would still need to investigate.

        Although I am not an attorney and not very good with the law but believe they will just get away with it. There might not even be a statues of limitations for this crime but I believe there is. Since it started in 2012 and it is now 2016 nearly 4 years have already past.

  8. Ben

    In your closing you stated: “I would be curious to know how many other agencies have engaged in the same tomfoolery regarding misappropriation of funds outside of the congressional mandate.”

    There is one agency I know is doing it and who is doing it at that agency. Stephen Warren Chief Information Officer Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

  9. I don’t care any longer,,, I can’t get medicine for my well being,,, to assistant in some form of living,,,, I am 65 I have dealt with this moron,, VA not only since out of Viet Naum in 1971 ,,,, to my father who got the treatment of a hog raised in a confinement area,,, I told my doctor over a month ago I have quit trying,,,

  10. Who created a lot of those apps? A company called AgileX… Who worked for AgileX? Roger Baker, former VA CIO. Who acquired AgileX? Accenture Federal Services. Who else did they acquire? ASMR. Who worked for ASMR? David Waltmann, now an advisor within VHA. What other work does ASMR/Accenture have now? VistA Evolution. And Accenture just won a contract again for mobile apps. And it is well known within OIT and VHA that Accenture has already been pre-selected to win the forthcoming continuation of VistA Evolution work. Does anyone see a pattern? Government employees, working for these contracting companies and then coming back to VA, are getting kick backs left and right. Misappropriations of medical dollars. Us Veterans not getting the care we need and so we are dying. Its time for someone to investigate these connections!

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