VA Caught Using ‘Ghost Panels’ Without Primary Care Doctors

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ghost panels

IG caught Iowa City VA skimping on health care quality by failing to assign primary care doctors to teams treating at least 1,200 veterans, a practice called ghost panels.

VA explained the use of ghost panels was limited to instances where a doctor left the facility but the facility failed to assign a new primary care doctor. The agency claims it did not reassign the veterans appropriate in order to maintain nurse and administrative relationships for the veterans’ benefit.

Hospital spokesman Jonathan Pruett said, “By doing this, veterans on each panel could continue their relationship with the nurse care manager, clinical associate and administrative clerk they were accustomed to — and only a temporary change in provider would be experienced.”

Do you buy that? Was VA really trying to help the veterans emotionally or were they trying to save money?

GHOST PANELS REPORT EXCERPT

According to the VA OIG report, “Staff told us that they employed several different strategies to meet ongoing patient care needs for patients assigned to those (primary care) panels.” It continued, “Efforts included reassigning acutely ill patients to other (primary care physicians) with panel capacity, assigning surrogate providers to receive and manage electronic health record alerts on a weekly basis, and using a pool of providers to see patients assigned to these panels.”

LAWMAKERS RESPOND TO GHOST PANELS

Lawmakers were hopping mad about this new VA health care scandal. “The use of ghost panels at any Veterans Administration facility to misrepresent the true panel size is disconcerting,” U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa City, said in a statement.

Rep. Loebsack continued, “The fact that the VA has created an environment where the use of ghost panels appears to be in use across the nation is unacceptable. … VA leadership must be held accountable for their actions.”

Are these normal problems normal hospitals experience outside the federal government? Or, is this brand of negligent health care only something special for veterans?

Source: http://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/government/ghost-panels-found-at-iowa-city-va-hospital-20160812

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60 COMMENTS

  1. I have been visited twice in the last two days by police sent by some social worker from three cities and one county over whom I have never met from the VHA. Each time it has been in response to a service complaint correctly describing their antics as strikingly Nazi-like. Plus I sort of called the Chief Of Staff in my email a bad name….I said, tell that “pig from Kenya…” that I will not tolerate official misconduct. This was also reported months ago verbatim in the newspaper (except for the pig part lolz).

    Each time I have made my personal observations through email, a day or two later the police show up saying this mysterious VA counsellor whom I have never spoken to is “concerned” for me. I asked them why my own doctor wasn’t concerned enough to get the police to come out? It takes an administrator (not saying pig here) in another county (I am still claiming Nazi here) to identify the misdiagnosis of my PCP in my own city and county and conclude that a cry of “Nazi” was a cry for help.

    Hmmmm. Maybe it was but I was sort of,hoping the guys with guns would show up on their doorstep instead of mine. A serious miscalculation. But your headline grabbed me!

    Personally one of my favorite childhood character was Casper The Friendly Ghost (do not tell a VA social worker this!). Casper was cool. So when you spoke of ghost panels, I imagined Casper and his friends all gathered around with doctor clothes on. It cheered me up Ben, but it also explains who it is that is sending those cops! Ghost panels!!!

    Casper old friend, ya got me again you playful minx!!!

    P.S. Do you think calling a devout (insert religion here) from the Islamic Nation of Kenya ” a pig” is healthy when they control your medications? My position is that since they entered it into my medical record, by VHA directive it must be “medically relevent”.

    hehheeee

    • Last week, the VA used that same reasoning, stating they heard “concerning words” on a freaking SUICIDE HOTLINE CHATROOM and sent the law enforcement, which the cops SHOT and KILLED the veteran (7 shots) IN FRONT OF HIS WIFE AND KIDS.
      What good is a VA Suicide Hotline or Chatroom if a given Vet says ANYTHING “concerning” the cops are sent to MAKE SURE that suicide wish is granted???!!!!!

      I always thought that a Suicide Hotline and Chatroom were protected and considered a SAFEPLACE to SAY ANYTHING…it’s a Suicide Hotline, after all but the new trend is not so.

      I posted the news link of initial story last week, Monday or Tuesday that occurred Sun., Aug.7, here in Ohio. I am telling you this RedTurtle, so you can protect yourself and handle yourself accordingly…the VA is granting suicide by cop wishes.
      Be careful what you say and do not say as the VA is trigger happy for your benefits but not your or your family’s benefit.

      • @namnibor and redturtle

        If y’all remember, I gave info last week where it was reported “…VA is paying people…” to act as trolls.
        Which means VA could also be monitoring sites other than just places like this.
        Good words of advice to redturtle by namnibor!

      • VA suicide hotline is not the VA…. It is the national suicide crisis hotline. A third party, plausible deniability channel for diverting neglect. They will refer your call back to the same worthless hospital that had allowed the Vet to end up in such a state. They have hung up on me. No direct transfer line from VA main line… must hang up and call the other number. Might get answered, might get put on hold, and if the VA contact calls you and you don’t pick up, “one and done.” a new motto for the VA. The don’t follow up on anything. The law says the must call back in 24 hours. If you don’t answer, to hell with you, die. They don’t care, and the know no one will hold them accountable. Congress asked one VA employee where does the buck stop… well, it stops with you congressman.

    • Lolz the worms who make a living off of sick vets do not frighten me. I went public with things that cut me off from my family and embarassed because I thought the truth was more important than my dignity. I have fought nearly to my own death for my life. I have self inflated a punctured lung and have experienced the next step in sensation one notch above pain.

      I accepted that my stance would put me at odds with a machine that I cannot possibly defeat. I guess standing up against insurmountable odds is what appeals to me in this life. Worms that use scribbles on a page in the form of this text to send armed men and women to my home to frighten me and the neighborhood are no threat to me. I figure somebody has to stand up to this attack on personal freedoms. I voted for me because I took an oath that I believed in, and once upon a time I looked up at the moon thinking pretty sure I would not the see the Sun again, and of all the things I though about I figured I had done my part in this life and I was ok with everything. I was proud of my title.

      I am a United States Marine. No worm can stand against this. The Constitution is the greatest gift a man could ever hope for and I intend to use my present right now. No waiting for Xmas or Santa Claus.

      Marines never retreat, we just attack in new directions.
      (Nothing personal Santa)

    • You rock turtleback! It took me a while to get the turtle reference… till i read your are one of our bad ass MARINES. I am just a wing-nut but my grandfather was a sailor in the Navy. I arrived at the same place in life. My pride, my dignity were already compromised by the VA so why not let it all hang out. Youtube VAsucks. Kind of dull right now but working on it. If you need some one to talk to you can find me at [email protected]. I don’t check regularly as not many people have, not any people have sent any mail there yet. But I do check it, and if I do find you there I will correspond. Thank you for your service. God bless you, God bless the Marines, and God bless America.

  2. I lost my PCP after she was transferred from Orlando to another State. Ya, she got me, I am still wondering if I should file a case under the FTCA but I cant find hide nor hair of an attorney who want to. I lost partial use of my left leg because of her failure to diagnose my back problem. But when she left, I had no PCP. Nurses up the ying yang would tell me that they are waiting for so and so to come, but from Nov 2014 until Apr 2015, I had no PCP. Problem was resolved after that, but this story rung a bell because it isnt isolated, yes Ghost panels appear to be a common VA Administrative tactic.

    In the interim, I was left without any follow up to the error that the PCP made. I should have been seen after physical therapy, a practitioner should have checked to see my condition post discharge in Dec 2014/Jan 2015, but they didn’t have anyone do it. Within the following 60 days, the nerve to my leg was damaged because of the treatment that the physical therapist gave me. Then, when I walked in, in Mar 2015, they started diagnosing my condition, and 7 months later I ended up with a massive 4 level fusion with so many ‘otomies that I needed 3 medical dictionaries to understand what they did. The likelihood that I would have still needed surgery absent the error is not in question, but what is in question is if my left leg would have still be fully functional if they had followed proper care guidelines that most MD’s would have followed.

    The reason I noted all of this about me is because this happened to me while I was under the non-care of one of these “Ghost Panels”. Not only does the VA not assign new PCP’s to the vets when PCP shorts out, but there is a lack of continuity of the care given to Vets while this goes on. In my case, proper care should have played a huge part in making sure that I didn’t end up with permanent nerve damage from improper exercises given by the Physical Therapist.

    • We need a class action law suit against the VA. Criminal I say, They can fight us one at a time but not all at once. See the post above, below for contact info. Veterans had to come together years ago to force congress to act…. I think it’s time for congress to get a resounding cry for action. We can organize a boycott of the VA system even if for only a month… services only, for those who can…. I have already gone to the county hospital because the VA was just going to let me die. Doctor could not have cared less. Adjovu and some Iranian guy I just call Doctor No who ran was in charge of pain mgmt.

    • If I recall correctly, I have been through 5 different PCPs in 4 years. One I saw once, one I never saw before he retired, another was a nurse who falsified my medical records, I think the 4th also retired or moved before I saw them, and the last one I’ve seen once.

      But I am assigned to a care team.

      I don’t recall when the VA started using care teams. They didn’t have them in OKC, but they had them in Madison. If you needed a referral, you got one quick either to another team member, or a specialist.
      Here in Grand Junction, I am assigned to a team. Of one. Of whoever is the latest PCP hired by the VA. Its interesting that I have never heard any of my team PCPs refer to any other members of the team.

  3. When Bill Clinton signed into law, 1993 or 1994, all government agencies were required to audit themselves yearly. The DOD “misplaced” $6.5 Trillion. I wonder how much ($) the VA “misplaced”?
    Of course, we now know about the “art” extravaganza, “Black Holes” of Aurora, Col. and other places, and the “interior designers”, etc., etc., etc.!
    What else are they hiding?

    Yesterday, I asked, “How many healthcare professionals, in VHA’s, are actually licensed to practice medicine?
    These “Ghost Panels” actually get me to wondering if the individuals are ‘trained’ enough to make competent diagnosis on anything!

    • If they misplaced one million $ for every sugical instrument misplaced inside a body hen the sum would be enormous.

      The real question here is how many veterans hame been misplaced? How many ghosts have these panels created?

    • Since 14 FOIA requests have failed to produce the names, or even country of origin, of those who have judged me on the infamous Roseburg DBC, I suppose these are ghost panels too?

      • I am going to see if I can contact the Washington Post… There is to many people here with detailed accounts of stuff… It’s a good place to start. If it ever happens, it will most likely start with a newspaper…. I feel like I want to vomit.

  4. I am going the opposite direction with today’s topic because I use Medicare and Private Healthcare. I have had continuity of care in all the Specialists I see *except* Psych Care, and I am not talking about my Private Cognitive Therapist I see outside of my Medical Environment, but rather same Medical Center I get all my other care.
    The last four years in my Private Psych Care for PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression has been everything BUT continuity of care.
    Why?
    Because each and every one of the Psych Dr.’s or Residents (Psych Dr.’s in training), have ALL JUMPED SHIP….(wait for it)….TO THE VA!!!!!!!!!! Each time left me high and dry and in a few of these occasions, the Psych Dr. was **bragging** they were going to work for the VA where they have banker’s hours and NO MALPRACTICE LIABILITY.
    Yep, that’s HOW the VA attracts these QUACKS! $$$$ and NO ACCOUNTABILITY.

    I finally got tired this year of each and every new Psych Dr. wanting to mess with the very meds that have worked and helped me since 1995 and just recently withdrew myself officially from Psych Med Management and have been titrating off Alprazolam…going all natural because I am SICK of this constant jump to the VA and these new Dr.’s act JUST LIKE THE VA ALREADY….so the civilian medical universities that are feeding the VA are ALSO enabling the very same behavior we see at the VA…I said no more and likely to my chagrin, but I went several years not taking those meds and survived and am tired of being f*cked with. Only a few months away from being totally off said medication as I choose NOT to be a medical pin cushion for Big Pharma and choose NOT to go through new medication hells…no more!!!

    Ghost Panels have been a very well-known practice with the VA for quite a long time but wanted to give my perspective looking the other way where Private Dr.’s jump to the VA and leave same Veterans hanging…sometimes quite literally. Bastards!

    • The last four years in my Private Psych Care for PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression has been everything BUT continuity of care.
      Why?
      Because each and every one of the Psych Dr.’s or Residents (Psych Dr.’s in training), have ALL JUMPED SHIP….(wait for it)….TO THE VA!!!!!!!!!! Each time left me high and dry and in a few of these occasions, the Psych Dr. was **bragging** they were going to work for the VA where they have banker’s hours and NO MALPRACTICE LIABILITY.
      Yep, that’s HOW the VA attracts these QUACKS! $$$$ and NO ACCOUNTABILITY.

    • Perhaps they are taking advantage of the Student Loan forgiveness programs thats available to all Gov’t employees.

      You & I & everyone else have been conditioned to take a pill, break that conditioning. Use your conscious thinking mind to calm & reassure the subconscious / impulsive mind. Keep your self-talk positive, when you notice its negative immediately change it.

      I don’t know who wrote this quote: “Tell the negative committee that meets inside your head to sit down & shut up.”

  5. This same thing happened to under a fully trained VA doctor. First pain medication only. I complained that I needed physical therapy, and injections to help me heal.Been through it several times while insured… always worked in short time and I was back to work. When I complained to my congressman about only being given pain medication, they operated on me (I had successfully avoided surgery since I hurt my back at 22 while on active duty.) and sent me home two days later. The physical therapist at the VA handed me a seat cushion and said they were releasing with out following her recommendation for in patient rehab… and said here, “your going to need it.” I tried in vain to recoup, used a walker every day and tried to get on me feet again. As my left leg got worse and I continued to complain that labeled me as a drug abuser. After putting me in the mental ward others determined I was not abusing medications, they said I was selling it. Now I lay in the bed almost all day, and struggle with the most basic things. My left leg has lost a lot of its mass. I can’t even walk into the grocery store without causing sever nerve pain, cramps, etc. They told me if I needed pain management I had to go upstairs where they put me on Methadone. I went four years in a drug induced haze, and without seeing the doctor. In fact a new doctor took over and I didn’t see him for over two years while he wrote these scripts for this poison. It caused me teeth to crumble out of my mouth, and some damage to my heart. My teeth stopped crumbling immediately after I quite taking that stuff. Which by the way, was the day I took two weeks of it to kill my self because i was so frustrated and depressed due to the neglect, incompetence, and lack of compassion or care of VA doctors, nurses, case workers (as I ended up homeless due to the surgery and lack of follow up post surgery…) My social worker told me to lie to my landlord, told me to put my stuff in storage and my cats in their carriers and live a tent for a while. I have this recorded live as they met with me in my home because I can hardly make it to the VA. Scared even… They have almost killed me, and as it stands I don’t know how much longer I can go on. Totally dysfunctional at the VA despite letters to congress, to news papers, no one cares. See VAsucks on Youtube to listen to some on the things they do and say. I can’t hardly sit up so I have not been able to edit out most of them that have my ss or phone or birth day so only a small fraction of them are posted but even at that they are unreal… that congress allows this type of treatment all for the sake of jobs for these horrible, horrible people. Liker others have mentioned no attorneys are interested in litigation… only wan to know if its a claims case they can easily do with a few pages of paper and easy pay off for very little effort… no litigation. Texas Veterans Commission also a joke. Funny how all of these veterans are up a 4, 5, 6 am…. suffering from so much and no one cares. Somebody help me, help us. Close this place down…. it is dysfunctional. I am going to the county hospital now… paying out of pocket for co-pays and scripts. Lost all faith in VA medical care. Two, three days a week without sleeping. HELP

    • Slade Fuqua,
      My late husband had 3 lumbar surgeries courtesy of the VA, never helped him at all. At age 44, he took his life mixing drugs trying to find pain relief. The first 10yrs I spent angry w/him for not ‘manning’ up, for leaving his kids w/no father, for leaving me, for the grandkids. Read Derek Humphry book Final Exit And remember there are consequences…..

      • Wow… that is heavy on my heart. Trust me, what I do, (posting much of my contact with the VA on Youtube – VAsucks, as embarrassing and shameful as it is) is not only for me but for any change that might help others. My logo is 22 as stats say 22 vets A DAY let go. How many are a result of broken promises and denied care? I want to raise awareness anyway I can. I have had one surgery at this butcher-shop “training hospital” in Houston. Believe me when I tell you, back and neck pain is so very hard to cope with. The drugs can help, but can also have negative effects. That is why they need comprehensive treatment but that cost money, money that they can pay each other and buy stuff, from friends, and keep GDP and employment of unemployable up. After getting the run-a -round from the Veteran Choice Program, I ended up in a phscy ward for a week June 2015 after talking to a Vet Choice operator who called 911 because I was suffering so badly and given up all hope. Months later the hospital was reported to have been fixing schedule appts. but later claimed training issues and said no one was hurt…. I was hurt, and I reported that to a Houston Chronicle reporter I had contact months before the story broke in a San Antonio paper. The homeless veteran program was, is also broken. He still didn’t want to get into the VA issues and so far the story, as are so many others, lost. . In June of this year, again, I was out in the Gulf trying to pull the trigger but could not. I waded out chest deep and wondered aimlessly while trying to muster the courage, and find peace, praying for forgiveness and mercy the whole time. I did not bother the Crisis hotline at all. I had asked my uncle who was out of town to get my cats from my moms and release them on the farm. I just could not do it with traumatic force. I am barley hanging on now, no pun intended. I decided then not to even call the Crisis hotline back. Again, Feb 2015 I tried to OD but woke up the next day. I struggled with abandoning my pets of 15 and 13 years but at some point the lies, and neglect, the humiliation, the awareness of the contempt and corruption and abuse, all added to the pain and was overwhelming. The VA needs to be such down. It is a great shame on this nation.
        Please, have mercy on your departed man. His morals, his ethics and his love for his nation, for us, and our way of life, lead him to be an honorable solider… it is the U.S. congress that ignores these cries for help. Walter Reed, (some still active duty,) Arizona, California, Texas, and even Florida… endless complaints… and that rips your heart out and spits in your face. For many of us, we have no real support… people say they care but in reality, well, I have very little support. Trying to get help from the County Hospital now…. afraid of the VA. Alone there is little chance I can impact the VA but that won’t stop me from trying. These people at the VA are the worst people in America. I say that because many were not educated in the US but are from places like Iraq, Africa, Pakistan, and India, all known for thier world class medical schools and care, human rights etc.
        Remember, it is not a question of abandonment, or Gods mercy,or answers… just the desire to have some relief from the pain, and suffering that is exacerbated by these VA employees who hide behind congress and hate veterans… but wear pins that say I care…. yeah, about what? Like the ACT team…. they ACT like they are doing something so the funding keeps coming in while they despise the people they are hired to care for. If you complain, if you can get someone on the phone to complain to… they take it out on you. For me, so be it. I will not go down without raising as much awareness as possible. God bless you, and may God have mercy on your man, on you, on us all. Thank you for your sacrifice too… veterans families are often left out of the equation but they too pay a price for service to our nation. [email protected] is my email. Not asking for money or donations…. just an email box I hope to build a contact list to organize a movement.

      • I don’t know if I remember all the times I’ve been in a psych ward – adjustment disorder they labeled it before there was PTSD. They do nothing, give you pills & watch you wonder around the walls, unbreakable glass windows & bars – so many bars to keep you in, ensuring there are no escapees. They can’t help our kind. Help must come from within. Every Nite before I sleep I review my day & hope I left nothing lacking & then I Wish to not wake from sleep. If you do this thing to yourself, I will feel it too so please just don’t. Stay with us another day. Keep writing, we will be your support.

  6. I have seen where VHA employees say, “We work as a team!”
    Now I know exactly what they mean. In essence, the nurses and those other than full fledged physicians get to play doctor!
    As I asked before. I wonder how many of the alleged VHA employees are truly fully licensed to practice medicine? Or, how about where they graduated from? Or, how about their “GPA”? Were they at the top of their class. Or at the bottom? From what I’ve seen, they probably graduated at below bottom!
    Scum sucking asswipes!

    ____________________________

    On this article by Ben. Where he’s stating, “Lawmakers are hoping mad…”!

    Well, all I can muster up to say is;
    “What the fuck are [they] going to do about it?”

    Answer, probably not one damn thing. Except MAYBE yell and say something stupid. (Or, do what Rubio is doing!)
    “Little” Marco Rubio has a new “Propaganda Reelection Commercial” here in Florida.
    He actually has veterans praising him for passing the law. Where he’s “taking credit” for introducing and passing legislation on “firing incompetent VA employees!’

    I guess he’s finally realizing the veterans population makes up a good chunk of the voting population!
    I also guess he never received the memo. Where hardly no one has been fired! Especially those who deserve to be fired!
    What a crock of bull shit! Those vets are probably people who are employees of VA. Or, are VSO’s being paid. Or, who knows WTF their motivation is!?
    It’s lying veterans, like those in his commercial, who cause people to believe the VHA’s are actually helping veterans!!!!!!
    Again, a bunch of scum sucking asswipes!

    • Rubio also obviously did not get the memo where the Accountability Part was taken completely OUT and by the strong arming of the AFGE President David *little* Cox.

      I call those postured political stage Veterans most of the time as “stunt veterans”…yes men and woman, more than likely promised a fat job at the VA or DoD if they do as they are told and look HAPPY. 🙂

      Ghost Panels at the VA? I always thought each VA looked like an old haunted institution from an old Vincent Price movie anyway, so the ‘Ghost Panels’ were a given and unfortunate. The lights are on but nobody’s home.

      VA Ghost Panels and Ben’s Bad VA Art looks like a new IT Project for the VA so they can play Ghist Panel Pac Man while ignoring Vets since Minecraft is no longer compatible with their 1985 computers. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • You could not have said it better. Many doctors at the Houston VA came from Dow Medical college. Middle East… they should have a lot of compassion for US soldiers eh. If they are at the VA rest assured they could not make a living on there own, not competing with private doctors. And your comments about congress being hoping mad is also spot on. They must be tired of hoping by now because there is a new scandal every few months now. The VA is to big to fail, they know it, the VA knows it. Hence the lack of accountability or compassion or care. They need only to present the facade to the public… the complaints can’t be reported it the supervisor wont call you back, or the patient advocate wont call you back, or heck, if the don’t answer the phone at all… call congress you get a case worker who gets a b.s. response saying training, or fixed, or calls you a liar, and that’s the end of that. Houston Chronicle editor dose seem to think VA issues rise to the need of reporting… my congressman Culbertson, both senators, Cruz, and Cornyn have all been made aware of VA issues in Houston, Texas Veterans Commission also gate keeping callers, plausible deniability. But think of all the social workers and pharmacy techs, the nurses and, phlebotomist, physical therapist, under-grads that like criminal justice field need jobs… remember we are a service economy now… we don’t produce or manufacture things, we produce and manufacture lies, greed, and deceit. Student doctors that work for cheap…. for staff = mo money, mo money, mo money…. Shame on Congress, it’s ultimately their responsibility but they hide too…. so very, very sad. VAsucks at Youtube. [email protected] Let’s come together and sign a petition or something. Want me to post a video? My sight is not monetized, nor do I ask anyone for donations…I just post em to raise awareness. Still working on editing skills, as my back and neck are limiting factors. Heck, now that I think about it, I am willing to send my unedited to someone who can do it. I have probably a hundred or so that need some editing and chopped. Anyone who might want to help contact in the body.

  7. One of the the vets here, Slade Fuqua, gave the “Utube” video on “VA Sucks”!
    So, I googled it, and lo and behold, there are numerous videos.

    I came across this one titled;
    “Veterans Giving Up on the VA Healthcare System”

    It’s from a site called “Soldier On”. With a “Veterans Advocate Jack Rowing”, dated, Feb. 24, 2015.

    It also has a ‘link’ on it to watch the full video. I suggest y’all watch it.
    He basically is saying veterans need to use outside healthcare!
    He also states the “VA is a civilian entity”, not government run!

    There’s also MANY more on this subject. Many are from this year!

    • Crazyelf and all- Those are great videos and have watched them before. “VA is a civilian entity” is what I was trying to convey in prior post today in that the civilian State Medical Universities are training these new VA Dr.’s by having them work back and forth at the VA as Residents (in place of reg. Dr.’s and no supervision) as well as on civilian side, but while at the Univ. and as a Resident, they work under an Attending M.D…..but they jump ship after graduation right to the VA to work.

      To makes things worse, the Univ. Medical College/Center I go to, their Psych. Dept. has lost all but a couple “Attending”, Staff, Full Time Psych. Dr.’s….because of FUNDING, and that they too, have jumped ship the V.A. Titanic.

      Obamacare has also had an influence on Dr.’s choosing the V.A. Titanic because of paltry reimbursement rate$$$$. All about $$$ and not about Vets…just we Veterans are used as a TICKET to the COOKIE JAR $.
      Rant Out.

    • Yes. Baylor is the big hospital working with Houston VA. I struggled to get to the hospital, up to the 5th floor, and the kid comes in makes me do all this stuff…. says I am a student at LSU, gone next week. You will need to schedule a new appointment and come back. This extended the appointment calendar for scheduling purposes and also counts toward the reported number of vets seen. They are teaching them how to deny services, ignore and stigmatize patients. And what’s up with all the lab work. I have already gone to the county hospital. They don’t take my blood every time I come in, only once in fact. These lab/blood work contracts are work millions to people like Labcorp. Just saying.
      VAsucks at youtube, and [email protected] Help me organize a list…. we need to reach out to as many vets as possible. If vets stop showing up, be like Selma Alabama when they boycotted the metro bus line.

  8. For a very long time now, the issue of QUALIFICATIONS have been front and center at almost all operations at the VA while a blank and clueless arena of VSO mens clubs, such as DAV, VFW, American Legion, and Vietnam Veterans have all stood around with nothing but Stupid-In-The-Face as a response to it. VSO’s continue to make the same mistakes over and over again and then takes all the rest of us along for the same Bungling Fool ride whether or not any of us want to ride shotgun with them. The VA disability claims process is running on a network of Raters who have a ZERO academic background either in practice of medicine or practice of law and YET, it is passed off to unsuspecting new veterans as merely a “clerical” event. It isn’t and it is bizzarely mishandled by the incompetent RATERS who have no business at all to be seated in those offices. THEN there are the Hospital operations — Oh Geez don’t even get me started!! Academic licensure, accreditations, board certifications, academic affiliations, — the VSO mens clubs have been running on empty with nothing but Group Stupid for fuel in the phrasing and advancing of THAT little matter as well. How many times did many of us sit through the years while American Legion or DAV did hospital “inspections” and then falsely published reports in their (Ahem!) club magazines that all was well at VA?? What shit, I say. The availability of the Internet has put a new set of Vet eyes on the entire information stream of, and the reality of the crisis at the VA without having to go through the mens clubs first as a filter. VSO’s have made a complete mess with their many layers of incompetence, and it will only be through the mechanisms of REPEAL and REPLACE that a true overhaul can ever be accomplished. — Sue Frasier, Army 1970, National Veterans Activist.

    • Thank you, Sue, for your continued activism. We need all the collective help we can muster. Yes, it sure seems most, if not all of the VSO’s are entirely dependent and codependent on the VA and bedfellows with same. NOT a Veteran “Advocacy” when the purse strings are followed.

    • Yes, yes… I started with the DAV, office was in the main hospital… I was new and did not expect such an adversarial system. The VA was giving some people lots of benefits… some people were not even military personnel ever, at all. Anyway, I went to the Texas Veterans Commission, they were at the Regional Office… seemed like a step up but what a joke that turned out to be. I called the number for the VFW and they all are answered by the same secretary… no one ever called me back. My file came and left without me every seeing. My claim is six years on now and I have not ever seen my military records. It was only by chance I called to see if my file was one of the files the regional office staff hide to make quote last year…. that’s how I found out my stuff was renamed. The secretary at the TVC told me lies and false info. File sent back and not one person ever helped write an answer, what to expect, nothing. My mental and physical exams took all of 30 min…. 10/20 repetitively and the guy didn’t seem to care or pay attention to anything. Lawyers won’t help because I filed the appeal and I guess the wont get paid? I have some video of the state office of TVC I need to edit my ss and dob from but will try to do it soon….

  9. this is from the March 4, 2015 OIG review of Roseburg VA healthcare system. It is two items from a list 50+ pages long that will send chills down your soune when you see what OIG itself is missing at Roseburg.

    These two recomendations are being made by OIG to Roseburg because Roseburg is not doing them and law requires them to.

    “Recommendations

    35. We recommended that facility managers ensure reporting of results of completed Focused Professional Practice Evaluations for all
    newly hired licensed independent practitioners to the Medical Executive Committee.
36. We recommended that facility managers ensure the Medical Records Committee monitors the copy and paste functions.”

    So they aren’t tracking the new hires for proficiency, and they are not checking on them to see if they are just copy and pasting diagnosis and treatment plans.

    This is my own tribute to VA copy and paste. The difference is, mine is legal.

    • redturtle,
      Seems to me, if I remember correctly, Ben or someone, (comment), else put an article on here concerning how VHA physicians, physician assistants, nurses etc., were “copying and pasting” diagnosis from medical journals, and elsewhere, in veterans medical files!
      Which, I do believe, is not only unethical, but highly illegal! Especially, if the diagnosis had nothing to do with what medical problems a veteran was suffering with or from!

      ____________________________

      Here’s something else I’d like to ask.

      “IF” VA is considered a “civilian entity”, (and only ‘government subsidized’), why can’t local and/or state law enforcement be involved in arresting VA employees for breaking the law.
      Example; the county or state of Louisiana arrested that nurse for murdering that 70+ year old veteran last year! (Of course, we’ve not heard anymore about it.)
      And, of course, that would also depend on how much these local/county/state law enforcement agencies would want to get involved!

      • Good questions, crazyelf.

        The VA seems to LOVE to use that line of “This is Federal Property”, when it’s beneficial to covering-up their shenanigans or preventing those wanting accountability from entering said property like the VA did not long ago with I think the Tomah VAMC with the Dr. Candyman scandal, of which, we have not heard anything about that either and wondering if he is again dishing-out the experimental meds once again and if the VA Nurse/Med. Assistant down in LA got away with murder yet and still working at the VAMC?

        Note: ***WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN!!!***

        Another thing, when just -1- ignorant VA medical person enters something in your record or copies and pastes something, you NOW have to deal with each and every M.D. and Nurse at the VA taking those notes as fact without even asking…that’s what is really scary because trying to get corrections to your records is like pulling teeth using paper clips.

        Ignorance always follows suit with more ignorance at the VA. Never mind if you have a boatload of paperwork from a private M.D., the VA will do their best to ignore it or better yet, lose it. Been there, done that. No thanks.

      • namnibor,
        Don’t you remember that Pain Management Physician who was arrested in Illiana, Illinois, middle of the year by a “local law enforcement”?!

        He had multiple count warrents out for him in Indiana.
        I remember my buddy up in Illinois telling me about how the local police walked right into the VHA, handcuffed him, and led him straight to jail.
        Then ‘extradition papers’ were filled out.

        To make a long story short.

        Local cops went into a VHA and arrested a physician wanted in another state. The charges were over him giving “cocktails” to patients while as a “private physician”! He was not a vha employee, yet! (He was hired by VHA in, I believe, April 2015. Arrested in, I believe, June or July 2015!)

        Therefore, it must stand to reason, a healthcare professional, or anyone breaking state laws, can be arrested by local law enforcement! How else did local law enforcement officers walk right into an Alleged Federal Building and arrest him?

      • They aren’t aressted because we are a nation of enumerated powers. Our police force in most part, other than the equipment they carry, have exactly the same powers that anyone else has including the power to arrest.

        This power is enumerated in our Constitution. Having a Constitution is not enough though. Our Republic is designed so that generally speaking we elect the ones responsible for enforcing the rules. In two legs, the Executive and the Legislative, The People who do that are elected, the third is more or less apointed by the other two which is a reflection of The People’s will.

        The reason we can’t go and arrest a VA employee directly for misconduct is the same reason we cannot go arrest a bullshit judge for clearly making an unconstitutional judgement. We can’t arrest them because it is through them that we have our enumerated powers held in check to just those enumerated. Same thing with Clinton #1.

        He was caught red handed with astro turf lining the floor beneath his desk, impeached, confessed yet, we could not arrest him. That power is not enumerated to us nor should it be.

        The reason so many of us veterans directly experience civil rights violations is that the Executive Branch really no longer gets elected anymore, or spcifically there is no mechanism provided Constitutionally to remove most of them. When VA sucks we cannot throw the bums out next election. Just the leader. The rest of the standing army persists and owe allegiance to no single party or leader.

        So now we have a fourth leg of government that cannot be removed by a vote of The People. This mean the system is broken which means that nobody has equal protections. By definition if the balance is not equal it is tipped to one side. The balance always tips in favor of those who have the power.

        Just ask any of us flagged by the notorious DBC committees. We know this to be true. There is no appeal process because this operates outside the Constitutional limits that include that process.

      • If you recall, the sole reason any outside authority got involved in Louisiana is because a coroner pushed the issue. Without that coroner standing up and saying that veteran died of blunt force trauma to the head, nothing would have happened other than that thug would have gotten a weeks paid vacation. To recover. From the beating he gave to that old veteran.

        If I recall correctly, that thugs trial was postponed until September.
        I believe it was supposed to be held last March.

    • Don’t they have to be licensed by the state though? I got a response to my youtube channel by an ex VA HUD/VASH “homeless vet program” who told me to report the case workers to the state? Said he quite because he was disgusted with the VA practices.

      • As one who has researched this extensively, yes, VA providers, pharmacists, Xray techs, nurses and others have to be licensed. In some state, it doesn’t matter which.
        From what I have found, you can have a doctor at a VA in Indiana, but licensed in Georgia. Submitting a complaint to Indiana would likely go nowhere, with the response being the complaint needs to be submitted to Georgia. Georgia would likely respond saying they won’t investigate because the doctor does not practice in their jurisdiction.
        Hell even if the provider is licensed and practicing in the same state, you would likely get a response that the state has no jurisdiction on federal property…which is a BS excuse when the state asserts their rights over other federal areas.
        The VA recruitment web site brags about no liability insurance needed, and that they have their own credentialing policy. If you read it and think some VA bureaucrat follows that policy, you would be naive.
        The AMA has a listing of every state licensing web site on their web site. You can go to it and see which VA provider is licensed in your state.
        If you are in a state like CO, they are also required to provide a profile showing any adverse action like malpractice suits…if they follow the law. Even those licensed in another state are required to provide that profile accessible to the public. Failure to do so is a Class 6 Felony…if the state chooses to enforce it.
        I have found many VA providers fail to provide a profile, fail to update their profile, have been sued, some multiple times but still received bonuses, and some that don’t have current credentials. One nurse working in Phoenix VA was sued twice while there, but moved to the VA in CO.
        None of it matters because nobody gives a shit about whether they are following the law.

        The only time it matters is when you have high profile cases like veterans being killed in Tomah, and the political ass covering starts. Then the state MIGHT do something.

        By the way, if you do go to your state web site, look around at other licensed professionals in your state. You will find nail technicians, hair stylists, and others more tightly regulated than VA doctors performing your surgery.

      • 91Veteran – My PC is Licensed out of Virginia which is due to expire 8/31/16. I plan on watching it, she transferred from Texas to CA last year. Education – Gandhi Medical College – Allopathic & Osteopathic license exp in 2024.

  10. I think we have found Ben’s “Bad VA Art” for the month of October for a future “VA Bad Art” calendar. VA Ghost Panels for Halloween signifier. 🙂 October could also depict VAMC Rat and Bat Infestations as well.
    Dr. Frankenfurter is in the house! 🙂 Now, let’s all do the “Time Warp” while waiting in the Disney Amusement Ride Line for medical appointments. “It’s just a jump to the left”!~~~~~~~

  11. I don’t see how this could be news to anyone that the VA is not using doctors. I have reported this to my Congressman (Mike Bishop) and Both of my Senators ( Debbie Stabenow, Gary Peters and their predecessors) from Michigan. More times than I care to remember. No action was ever taken. The Saginaw, Ann Arbor, And Detroit VA Hospitals all use Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants in place of doctors. I have even been given a new nurse practitioner at one point due to the fact that she said she could not handle everything that was wrong with me. Medical Care at the VA means, whatever is the cheapest way to get medical personnel into VA facilities to fill the minimum requirements for that position. Many veterans I know have just stopped going to the VA and only use real private doctors for their medical needs. Of course they are able to pay through the nose for that service and don’t have to pay for Obama Care as they do on paper have VA medical. This is why many of us veterans, Not all want to have the VA medical to go away and medical cards issued with co-pay amount on the card. 100% service connected has no copay and so on. Then we will be able to use the DOCTORS in our neighborhoods and the Hospitals that are close to us and NOT 2 or 4 hours away. (A Huge ambulance fee if the VA decides it was not a life or death emergency, but had all the symptoms of a heart attack)

    Congress could sit in session for the next thousand years and still not hear of all the misdeeds, failures, bad treatment, and other things wrong at and with the VA medical facilities.

    The fact that Saginaw VA Hospitals Administrator will not even talk to the veterans is in itself a slap in the face of every veteran.

    I am in and have since 1974 been in extreme pain. Saginaw VA had a pain clinic. The pain doctor, Yes a real doctor decided to shoot medication directly into my spinal column. He missed My wife said she could here my screams 60 feet down the hall in the woman’s bathroom. Never again and it did not work. Then they tried Morphine patches for extreme pain, OxyContin for bad pain days, and Vicodin for lower pain days. Yes I was on all three and it was up to me to make sure I did not get hooked on these medication. NOW the DEA morons have scared the VA doctors and policy has changed taking veterans like myself off all my pain medications. I pushed, threatened my state representative and senator to pass the Michigan Medical marijuana law. I now used medical marijuana for my pain. No it does not do as well as the other medication, but it does do well enough for me to live a somewhat quality life.

    Those that are not in extreme pain cannot know what others that are in extreme pain are going through.
    So think of it this way. You are a Christian captured by the Spanish inquisition. You are tortured until you admit you are in league with he devil so you can be forgiven and killed with mercy. Suffer the pain or turn from Christ. Now you if your a Christian have an idea of what extreme 24/7/365 pain is like.

  12. I wonder if the board of appeals will accept this “ghost panels” recommendations. What would it matter? For a fact.. At the VA I frequently visit, my Dr. is led around by the nurses. He has no idea what is going on. This gaggle of nurses seem to run everything there. Now, the VA seems to be wanting to consult on my much needed to live medication. I need my own ghost… With ghost panels, why do well even need to go to VA? Can’t well do it by phone?

    • “…This gaggle of nurses seem to run everything there…” — I needed that laugh, as I am pretty sure that gaggle of nurses also leave quite a rearward wake in their passing, right? !!! I really needed that. It brought to mind of Jerry Lewis playing a wacky Dr. and the nurses having to push him around and show him what is what….LOL

  13. Is the VA a Civilian Thing, or Federal? I read a lot of different things, and admittedly, I am confused. Where would I go to KNOW? I don’t get how any civilian agency could have this much Federal protection. Isn’t their union Federal,? Confused, again.

    • @Jo3n

      Go back to my comment I typed this morning at 9:21am.
      Google the following Utube video
      titled;

      “Veterans Giving Up on VA Healthcare Systems”

      The veterans advocate is very specific on his blasting VHA.
      Once you watch it, you might understand why many of us are confused over this issue!

  14. Thanks Crazyself, I did the reading, and more. I’ve come to the conclusion, I need to stay away from all that. For reasons I feel, but can’t define, getting away from Ben’s Blog, and going to other Veterans sites makes me feel paranoid. Too many of them want more info than I am willing to give. I felt like I was “trolling”.

    • Jo3n

      I understand about going to other sites. Yet, it’s always good to read what is being said. As it is to read the comment section.
      You don’t need to comment, just be informed!
      I also like reading what
      “VAWatchdog.org”
      has on it’s website.
      That’s where I learned a great deal about what was transpiring out at the West Los Angeles VHA!
      A place where many acres had been “deeded to veterans” for eternity! And yet, McDuck went there and violated a federal court order, I believe just last year!

      My advice is to keep reading as much as possible. Then pass it along to other veterans!

  15. The Black Hills Health Care System (BHHCS) in Western South Dakota has been going on for years and is still going on today! Nothing new there sadly 🙁 When Drs have applied that had real good credentials, The Save the Hot Springs VA, tried the Chief of Staff refused to hire them! This area went for at least 7-mnths with no “Pain Clinic” no Pain Clinic RN Case Manager or anyone pharmacy PT/OT assigned to Pain Clinic as the “Pain Clinic Dr.” quit Dec 31, 2015. The staff knew this was going to happen Nov 1, 2015 too. I heard there is a Pain Dr” now as of July 1, 2016 at BHHCS.

    Further these “Ghost Panels” have happened at other VAs in the USA for 15+ years as I have been to several others, when a Dr quits the VA or moves to another VA, all the vets are told wait until xx date for xx person sometimes 4 months out!!

    This is now going “PUBLIC” hahha this is another reason why the VA needs to close for doing medical let us vets go out in town with our VA ID and see any Dr anywhere in the USA, proper credentials regardless of specialist we need or see unlike the VA who have literal quacks or non-speaking English Drs some worse sadly not liking women either making help for health care even harder.

  16. Jo3n,
    Read the comment I wrote about The pain management physician who was arrested by local law enforcement in Illiana, Illinois in either June or July last year.
    I wrote the comment about 6:25 pm tonight!

  17. Crazyself, I have read, with due diligence, every word, every Veteran has put down on Ben’s Blog. I’ve tried to cross check everything of interest, or the things that pertain to me. Much of what I have learned began to blossom only after reading what you, and others on this site. has shared. Although I am sure that I will be confused a very long time, and I am sure nothing I have learned has enabled me to navigate the VA any better, I feel at home here more than I do at home. Thanks for the feedback, my fellow Veterans.

    • As we stand alone at the VA we are dismissed as problematic and lacking support. Until we can unite together and raise a single voice I think little will change. All of the non-profits I have reached out to are no more than shells of b.s. and offer no real assistance. How can we all come together? [email protected].

    • Jo3n

      That’s because VA changes their strategy on every issue.
      No one can stand alone against any VA. They have no “set rule” they follow.
      All they, each VA, do is make it as complex as possible.
      Your not alone brother.

      “Welcome to the jungle! “

      • LIke some politicians I know…. or any compulsive liar for that matter… You do what ever the heck you want. When someone finally does challenge you. You lie, make excuses, demean or dismiss the person, ignore them, so many ways to twist your records around to make it seem like somebody is doing there job… till someone dies of lung cancer and the x-rays had been picking it up for years…. one horror story I remember. These hast to be a way. Referring people to read VAwatchdog stuff when all of this is happening and nothing is being done by them? They should be contact us… Not part of solution, then part of the problem…. Not so sure that a plan. We need to look forward, Plan a day of protest, like Veterans day. Each person in there on town, or if possible larger national cemeteries .. football games, what ever…. to carry signs of discontent…. organize a boycott of VA hospitals, or certain ones… I don’t know what but there are two many stories to read…. we only need to contact these people to come together some where…. I think there is a Facebook page already. I no I was on it one a while ago. I can only build a list of contacts but more that happy to. I am already out there with nothing to lose. You can look for me on Google, Slade Fuqua, Houston Chronicle, Pictures of the day. It is time for us to do something for our selves and our comrades yet to face this nightmare….

      • Crazy Elf…. what’s your story? You have asked a lot of questions here, made an attempt to redirect people form some live video of a social worker and P.A. lying to me in my living room, telling me to lie to my landlord, and telling me to put my cats in a cage and live in a tent for a little while…. these are the ACT team members who are suppose to provide criticle support. You googled my thing when you only needed to go to youtube and type in VAsucks. The other video of another veteran placed in the same crime ridden ghetto for safe housing…. who was attacked by five young black thugs in the parking lot…. until I stopped them…. of the police telling me not to worry about it…. “veteran beaten”…. how is that helping to confuse and dump all of this endless pile of stuff. The VA does that… before you get to a point you complain there is mountains of b.s. Sorry to be so curious but your don’t seem to be helping much. Tell us what is your VA experiences been like. What branch of service were you in? Me USAF 87/91 Germany, 52 EMS “AGE” Tactical, Charleston AFB S.C. Desert shield / Desert Storm MAC Ripped my L4/L5 disc on the flight line… it’s gone now the VA says? Cant hardly stand up, L5/S1 fussed at the butcher shop… now hurts to lay down too. T-10/T-11 buldging, getting ready to blow, an C-7 to C-13 arthritus, both shoulders blow out, arthritud, carpel tunnel in writst…. lying here struggleing to type on this laptop…. in fact cant go on today…. but want to close with this…. The VA SUCKS.

      • Crazy Elf
        Your so right VA changes their strategy. Been going round/round over a Bone Density Scan. Each time VA called, I’d tell them I’m not taking no all day trip to PaloAlto when the service is available 5min from home. No not going 50miles to Livermore either. I want to use Choice. I stopped answering the phone as they kept calling with same options PaloAlto/livermore. Then they sent a letter to schedule an appt for bone density scan -PaloAlto. Ignore it. Then another letter but this one reads “you have been approved for services that are not available at VA.” Pls call…. I don’t know what this is about & think it may be about TMJ so I download my Med Record and find that:

        Staff Physician, Prabhakar MD put in my file in April 2016: Distance alone is not sufficient to justify use of the Choice program. If the patient is unable to get an appointment within 30 days from when the order was submitted AND meets the travel distance criteria, then one could utilize Choice program. One option is to submit a non VA care consult for imaging study to be done locally, but would need to specify the vendor and also indicate reason for why patient needs to have this service done locally, as opposed to going to PAD.

        I find in June a Student Trainee put in: In accordance with section 101 of the Veterans Access, Choice,
        and Accountability Act of 2014 (the Act) (Public Law 113-146, 128 Stat. 1754), as amended by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Expiring Authorities Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-175, 128 Stat. 1902), the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 (Public Law 113 -235, 128 Stat. 2568), and 38 CFR ?? 17.1500-1540, VA will pay for non-VA hospital care and medical services that are authorized by VA for Veterans who are determined by VA to meet the Veterans Choice Program eligibility criteria set forth by section 101 of the Act and 38 CFR ? 17.1510 and any other eligibility standards that may apply to particular services (such as health care for newborns of Veterans under 38 CFR ? 17.38(a)(xiv) and dental benefits under
        ?? 17.160-17.169).

        This paragraph shows up twice now. A copy & paste – probably but its to my benefit this time, maybe. Thank You student trainee. Took 5mos to get it right. MD Prabhakar got it wrong either by design or ignorance. And the tricky 2nd letter caused me to respond to it & agree to make an appt. I’m supposed to call them today but I’ll wait until they call me.

        Also read The funds for my TMJ treatment is coming out of Patient Centered Community Care, this is one of the programs Choice Funds were redirected into. [ https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44241.pdf%5D

        One more thing under Last Completed it shows I had a Pneumonia Vaccine 13 Aug 2016. Uh No, I did not.

  18. Nite all, and thanks for taking the time to engage… God bless you all Come back for more… we can use this place if nothing else….

    done for today…. probably be back at 5 or 6 am…. can sleep for more that six hours if i am lucky enough to even fall asleep at all….

    Regards

  19. Yeah, whenever I go to the VA, the most important thing I think of when trying to get proper health care is what kind of relationship I have with a nurse care manager or clinical associate, neither of whom I have ever met, or an admin clerk whose sole purpose seems to be asking for my insurance regardless of whether the care I am there for is service connected, or covering for how late the clinic is running, but often the relationship is one of telling me lies.

    It seems clear to me that damn fool has never talked to the vets assigned to those ghost panels.

  20. There are legitimate complaints and legitimate problems, and then there are absolutely whining bitchy vets who feel entitled to have they bitchy complaints heard just because they are a vet.

    The whiny bitchy entitled vets are f’ing it up for the rest of us. We need to stand up to these people, but they often outnumber us vets who don’t seem to spend 20 hours a day posting on these sites all the time. No wonder people get turned off not wanting to help seeing us as cry babies.

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