A computer glitch last month prevented VA Vocational Rehabilitation from paying its 11,000 student veterans subsistence payments they were promised, now, and President Trump needs to investigate why.

Washington Post just exposed why disabled veterans receiving services from VA Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (Voc Rehab) did not receive money for rent, books and supplies in time. Apparently, a computer glitch in the program’s IT department prevented processing of payments on January 31. Instead, the funds will go out February 6.

As a result of the “glitch,” many disabled veterans using the program for retraining were not able to provide for their families while in retraining. The subsistence money is generally paid at the end of each month at the same time disability compensation is paid while the veteran is in training.

This “glitch” and failure to pay was not insignificant. Many veterans receiving subsistence payments from the agency receive the higher GI BIll subsistence amount. In New York City, that amount is over $4,000 per month.

Can you imagine your surprise when your landlord dings you with a late fee because your subsistence payment was not processed as required by law?

For those unfamiliar with the program, VA Voc Rehab provides services to help disabled veterans get retrained into a suitable career using retraining services like college and on-the-job training to accomplish the goal. These disabled veterans are future job creators and leaders of industry. Statistics concerning Voc Rehab generally show recipients pay back the cost of their training within a few years in taxes, showing massive returns on investment so long as the agency provides the services promised.

RELATED: Quick Facts On Applying For VA Voc Rehab

VA Vocational Rehabilitation Glitch

One veteran, Rick Collin (pictured above) was interviewed by Washington Post about how the mistake affected him. Some veteran members of our Facebook group likely recall Rick posting about problems with his program last month that included failure to provide the equipment the veteran needed to succeed in his photography program.

In the piece, Rick’s case was highlighted as follows:

Army veteran Rick Collin, 30, of Portland, Ore., is one of the veterans who didn’t receive his stipend. As a result, he had to put off paying bills and will now have to pay late fees. Collin, who served in Afghanistan, suffers from severe memory loss and post-traumatic stress, along with chronic back and shoulder pain. He was involved in a car accident on his way to psychiatric therapy at Fort Riley in Kansas.

“This was going to be my first month with money left over after bills, and now that will all go to late fees,” said Collin, who has four children, ages 9, 7, 2 and 9 months. He is studying photography at Portland Community College.

RELATED: Key VA Vocational Rehabilitation Definitions You Need To Know

Disabled American Veterans Provides Comment

“Any large bureaucracy has their glitches, but anytime veterans are not getting their benefits on time, especially when on a program like this, it’s a real hardship,” said Garry J. Augustine, executive director Disabled American Veterans (DAV). DAV enjoys a membership of over 1.3 million disabled veterans.

RELATED: Does GI Bill Take Away From Voc Rehab Benefits?

VA Apologizes For VA Vocational Rehabilitation Glitch

The glitch “has been fixed and it won’t occur again the future,” VA spokesman Curt Cashour said in response to an inquiry.

“We apologize to the veterans affected by this inconvenience,” he added.

VA IT Budget

For some, this apology from Cashour rings hollow.

The agency regularly agrees to billions in IT budgets spend on government contractors who regularly fail to deliver timely services on budget and on time. Just how precisely this glitch happened is unknown, at least not conclusively.

Though, at least some insiders believe a change in leadership within the Veterans Benefits Administration is part of the problem.

RELATED: The Biggest Lies VA Voc Rehab Counselors Tell

New Head Of The Office Of Education

Few realize that the former head of Education within VBA was pushed out using a sham persecution to clear the way for more crony deals between agency heads and government contractors.

Before Christmas, 2017, Curt Coy retired after a long career at the agency trying to improved delivery of education benefits. He was swiftly replaced by Rob Reynolds, the former head of Disabled American Veterans, who is not believed to be competent to manage VBA education benefits.

Within weeks of being named as Assistant to Thomas Murphy, the executive in charge of VBA, Reynolds’ VA Vocational Rehabilitation program is unable to pay its students on time.

While there exists no confirmation of whose fault it was to not pay these veterans on time, it certainly should be evaluated by VA Central Office. You will also notice the only veteran group contacted for feedback was DAV, the group Reynolds used to lead while working at VA a few years ago.

How is that for a conflict of interest in massive proportions?

Curtis Coy Retirement Announcement

Following Coy’s decision to step down following pressure from Murphy and friends to step aside for their own purposes (and not for the benefit of veterans, in fact), we see the payment glitch injuring 11,000 disabled veterans who rely on the funds to pay their rent, food and other bills.

Here is his resignation letter, sent December 21, 2017. I have known about this for two months but waited to write about it until we had circumstantial evidence that Reynolds is not well equipped to leade OEO (Office of Educational Operations):

> To all of OEO 
> It is with some degree of sadness, some degree of anxiety, a bit of melancholy but also a good chunk of anticipation that I am announcing I’m retiring this month.
> It has been an honor to serve with you and serve our Veterans. Thank you all for you wonderful hard work, professionalism and compassion. There were also a few over the years, but not many, who have not lived up to the values we espoused in OEO.
>
> I will miss you more than you might imagine. We have taken OEO from non-existent to the thriving business organization it has become. The accomplishments are far too many to list but some…..VRAP, holding schools accountable, helping Veterans become informed consumers (CT/FB, etc), Colmery Act, LTS automation, Education reorganization, new VALERI, automated COE’s, lowest foreclosure rates, helped tens of thousands of Veterans stay in their homes, transforming VRE, new performance measure, new contract performance metrics, tele-counseling, new Case Management System, thoughtful Economic Opportunity reports, innovative programs like VECI, ALP…. The list goes on and on – and I know of many, many more – but it is all you that made it happen.
>
> You can be proud that attrition in OEO is less that VBA as a whole. Folks overall like working with their shipmates in OEO.
>
> You can be proud of the results of the 2017 All Employee Survey (AES). This survey captured 82 different categories that comprised all of the questions answered by respondents. The OEO front office scored higher in 64 of those 82 categories, representing that OEO was 78% better than all of VBA. With respect to workplace climate, OEO (including the front office staff and the business lines of Education, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, and Loan Guaranty Service) scored better than VBA as a whole in all categories – servant leader index, workplace performance, civility, workgroup psychological safety, supervisory psychological safety, and supervisory support. In the workgroup relationships category, all of OEO outscored VBA in 8 out of 9 categories (89%), which included the following aspects: respect, conflict resolution, cooperation, diversity acceptance, workgroup collaboration, workgroup communication, psychological safety (try new things), psychological safety (bring up problems), and concerns (speaking up). They are results to which the rest of VBA should aspire.
>
> I am proud of you and all that you have accomplished. Thank for your service, thank you for what you do for Veterans, thank you for how you do it for Veterans but most importantly why you do it. I wish you all fair winds and following seas. Please stay in touch as you see fit but know there won’t be too many hours of the day I’m not thinking of you. Over these past six years you have become my family.
>
> Please have a wonderful holiday season with friends and family, it is the time of year to reflect a bit and get your ‘plan’ for 2018 together.
>
> God speed to all of you. I’ve asked Jack to step in as Acting for the time being. Please feel free to pass on as you see appropriate.
>
> Curt
>
> Curtis L. Coy
> Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity
> Veterans Benefits Administration 

I was personally saddened to see Coy depart the agency leaving education benefits in the hands of Murphy and Reynolds, two of the key individuals fighting against progressive advancements related to VA Vocational Rehab and GI Bill.

Why The Glitch?

My insiders indicate policies and procedures related to staffing for OEO are not a high priority for Murphy and friends. Instead, their fixation is on disability compensation and reducing the rights of veterans seeking their disability benefits.

Trump needs to replace these individuals and appoint an Undersecretary for Benefits who will truly put the needs of all veterans first.

What do you think really caused the “glitch”? Computer error, user error, or were the funds allocated to subsistence payments directed into another project for 5 days until February 6?

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2018/02/02/11000-disabled-student-veterans-left-without-rent-and-expense-money-due-to-computer-glitch/?utm_term=.6ff7b1d6c35d

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70 COMMENTS

  1. It sure seems like there’s a bunch of government agencies out there having “glitches” lately! Especially when it comes to getting things out, to where it’s supposed to go, in a timely manner!
    I believe y’all understand what I’m talking about!

    • Sure do Elf. There has not been one single time when trying to go through some government agency, the red-tape, bureaucracy, health care systems (pharmacies/hospital), that things have gone smoothly minus the “glitches.” Or being told on many levels… oh our computer or system is down, or very slow today. Twice in one week over Medicare having to go through the long drawn out process and waiting all over again. Even after they found one “glitch” but they encountered more.

      Like with other vets locally some of us were not found in Lowe’s computers or what they used then to verify us being vets. Had to go back and hand carry documents into their main counter to get signed up for discounts.

      VOC Rehab problems for me back in the day were at the VA and locally. Wrote about it before. Seeing connected individuals getting it all and more, while some of us vets barely got book fees. Civilians and the cliques got it all… computers, tutors, other aid, etc. I had to go to loans, Pell grants, buy a word processing typewriter, etc. I can’t remember it all but there was a long list of things others got, or could get, we could not but told we would be provided for.

    • Good point CE, which makes me wonder if this “glitch” was known as soon as it happened, and this internal memo was leaked today so as to bury it in other news.

  2. Ben I think there may be a typo in the resignation letter;

    “It is with some degree of sadness, some degree of anxiety, a bit of melancholy but also a good chunk of anticipation that I am announcing I’m retiring this month.”

    Wasn’t the word “anticipation” actually supposed to say “money” because as God is my witness it sure seems more in context to me. Sadly, I need to log out now. It is with some degree of anxiety that I anticipate a good chunk of last nights pork chops is about to be retired.

  3. “[…What do you think really caused the “glitch”? Computer error, user error, or were the funds allocated to subsistence payments directed into another project for 5 days until February 6?]”-

    Computation of 11,000 individuals + that total $$$ amount, the interest of 5 days might just fund a new piggy play pen pool or an office lined in lamb’s wool.

    Or…let me make a wild guess…performance bonuses went-out without a hitch, right?! (follow the $…this deficit will resurface like an AFGE turd)

    • Crossed my mind too. I have worked for more than one boss that would delay our pay for maybe days, weeks, or a month, just so they could play the interest game. We were told the check was in the mail or excuses like they were waiting on deposits too from their clients or contractors. And the whole bunch were millionaires or higher.

    • Given what looks like misappropriation of medical care funds for IT in Florida, who the hell knows what they could have done with this money.

      11,000 vets times just $1000 is a significant chunk of money…as Dennis pointed out.

      Could they have made an end of month payment to something else in order to avoid default? And having bigger questions asked?

  4. Veterans Affairs Wasted Closer to $2 Billion On Failed IT Projects
    By Frank Konkel
    Next Gov dot Com
    January 31, 2018

    “The department misspent even more than government investigators initially believed in attempting to modernize its health records system.”

    “The Veterans Affairs Department blew almost $2 billion over three attempts to modernize the electronic health records system it uses to provide care to 9 million veterans.

    A recent audit by the Government Accountability Office identified $1.1 billion in wasted spending on two VA projects from 2011 to 2016, the Integrated Electronic Health Record and Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture.

    Nextgov identified another $600 million VA spent on a third program, the HealtheVet initiative, which began in 2001 but was deemed a “failed” project, according to the audit, and canceled in 2010. The HealtheVet spending was not included in GAO’s audit because VA said it no longer possessed spending records. Agencies are required by the Federal Acquisition Regulation to keep contract records for six years after final payment, the audit notes.

    An analysis by big data analytics firm Govini reveals nearly half of the $600 million spent on HealtheVet went to Hewlett-Packard for hardware, software and other IT services. The agency also paid a large amount to CACI, as well as Systems Made Simple, which Lockheed Martin bought and then spun off as part of the IT business it sold to Leidos.”

    Full Article At: http://www.nextgov.com/it-modernization/2018/01/veterans-affairs-wasted-almost-2-billion-failed-it-projects/145626/

    __________________
    __________________

    That is a great article by Frank Konkel at Next Gov, but it does not include all the failed It projects the VA was spending of VA medical appropriations funds used in IT rather than provide the medical care they were appropriated to pay for.

    One example is contained in the Following VAOIG report. Where the Orlando VAMC inappropriately used $5.2 million in medical appropriations funds to purchase IT hardware, software, and installation services. Rather than spend money appropriated to the IT budget.

    Summary At: “Review of Alleged Funding Security Issues of the Veterans Services Adaptable Network at VA Medical Center Orlando, FL”

    https://www.va.gov/oig/publications/report-summary.asp?id=4022

    Full Report At: http://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-15-03059-384.pdf

    No doubt this system has been used throughout the VA to fund unapproved IT Projects.

    • Or other “projects”.

      An interesting report. It clearly states they used this money without coordination with their own Office of IT. Did some contracting official have some relative that needed some money?

      They justified using patient care funding since the WiFi network was was for patients. I guess all the employees using it were just an extra perk. How many vets might be hospitalized at Orlando? How many might use WiFi but can’t access cell service? And they spent $5.2 million on that rather than care for vets? $5.2 million…to add WiFi to a new, $600 million facility.

      None of that was a big deal though since the IG recommended actually separating the fucking VA network full of veterans medical information from their WiFi, and to properly secure the WiFi.

      What’s also interesting is seeing the Office of Special Counsel also reviewed this spending, and concluded it was appropriate. Does that mean VA actually went back to Congress and got permission? Or did the OSC buy their bullshit excuse that since it was for “guest” WiFi, guests now includes veterans?

      • To anyone reading the report it is profoundly clear the sole purpose of the report is to fully white wash the misappropriation of funds at Orlando VAMC.

      • Don’t forget the solar panels in parking lots with more seagull poo than sunlight, but spared no expense on solar chargers since Obama was giving Green Project $$$ away; use it or lose it.

        The seagulls get great wifi though…

      • I’ll let you go on this one… To a certain extent – you’re right. Too many administrators – often liberals – want to put up solar or a wind turbine to “make a statement”. Sadly, small installations of solar and onesie wind turbines make for horrible economics. On the other hand, bulk projects are kicking some serious ass. Excel Energy is buying 20 year contracts for wind projects at 1.9 cents/kWhrs. Coal mining – 50,000 jobs. Wind Operations and manufacturing – 200,000 jobs. New coal jobs since the Trumpster took office? 0. Jobs lost since Trump announced he wanted to kill solar and wind? 0. Winning! Solyndra was indeed a farce. But – overall, the DOE program he implemented paid for itself, including the losses for Solyndra. Won’t hear that on FOX. Or MSNBC or NPR either for that matter. Facts can be bitch.

  5. Why some veterans suddenly die after leaving Murfreesboro VA hospital
    Jake Lowary, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee Feb. 2, 2018

    “Taylor Hoffmann was hoping one day to criss-cross the country in a sort of pilgrimage on a bus.

    Instead, she overdosed on keyboard air duster a week after Thanksgiving and just four days after leaving rehab.

    Hoffmann, a 29-year-old Navy veteran, was originally destined for Room at the Inn, a Nashville homeless shelter where she hoped to get on her feet after completing a 28-day inpatient rehab program at Lincoln Trail Behavioral Health System in Radcliff, Kentucky.”

    It was her second rehab stint in about two months, paid for through the the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Choice program, according to her father.

    But Hoffmann changed her mind about where to stay, her father said, after the VA said it would give her back-disability pay and $2,900 a month for the two dozen symptoms that developed after she was sexually assaulted by another woman when she was aboard the USS Teddy Roosevelt, her medical records show.

    Hoffmann is one of at least four veterans from Tennessee who died soon after their release from rehab programs and who had multiple stays at the Alvin C. York VA hospital in Murfreesboro, the USA TODAY Network-Tennessee has found based on interviews and medical records.

    The veterans’ families — and others who have spent time at the Murfreesboro VA hospital — paint a bleak picture about how some are treated, leveling accusations that patients are force-fed medications, treated like jail inmates and given dozens of prescriptions when discharged.

    “When I came, I was hopeless. I was lost. When I left I was homicidal and suicidal,” said Daniel Stott, an Iraq war veteran who stayed in Murfreesboro’s inpatient treatment wing, where he said he felt more like a prisoner than someone who spent 19 straight months in a war zone.

    The surviving family members say their loved ones were not the same when they left treatment, overly medicated and with the underlying conditions they developed serving the country in combat the same or worse.

    In multiple cases reviewed by the USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee, they relapsed and were found dead within days or weeks after their release, each by self-inflicted means.”

    Full Article At: https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2018/02/02/veterans-affairs-overdose-murfreesboro-tennessee-va-hospital/971477001/

    • 3 of Tennessee’s VA hospitals part of ‘aggressive’ improvement plan
      Jake Lowary
      USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
      Feb. 2, 2018

      “Three of the Veterans Affairs’ 15 worst hospitals are in Tennessee, and are now part of a plan to produce “rapid improvements” at the agency’s lowest-rated hospitals.

      Announced Thursday, the plan includes hospitals in Nashville, Memphis and Murfreesboro, all three of which are rated at just one star out of five, and have failed to increase that rating in the two years since the once-secret ratings system became public.

      The plan includes four parts that, according to the VA, will involve new “sophisticated” tools, direct reporting to top VA officials and accountability measures to boost the performance.

      Dr. Peter Almenoff, director of VA’s Office of Reporting, Analytics, Performance, Improvement and Deployment (RAPID) Healthcare Improvement Center, will oversee each hospital’s improvement, according to the VA.

      Memphis’ VA hospital has already been in a similar arrangement for months. It was one of four around the country that were making weekly reports about improvement to Dr. Poonam Alaigh, an interim VA undersecretary of health. Alaigh is no longer in that position.

      Memphis is the only facility of those four involved in the new improvement plan.

      The strategy also includes what the VA calls a new initiative — the Strategic Action Transformation, or STAT. The VA said the program “uses a rigorous and formal approach based on clinical performance indicators to identify vulnerabilities in each low-performing facility and set specific targets for improvement.”

      The VA did not immediately specify the vulnerabilities at the Tennessee hospitals.

      One measure in the plan could result in the removal of leadership. If the facility fails to make rapid improvements after planned quarterly evaluations, the VA has pledged to take “prompt action,” which could result in changing leadership.

      Full Article At: https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2018/02/02/3-tennessee-va-hospitals-aggressive-improvement-plan/1088804001/

      _______________
      _______________

      Guess the VA is planning to move some more impacted Turdage around.

      • How to rate One Star in the VA system.
        _______________________________

        Botched surgery, delayed diagnosis: What happens at a one-star VA hospital in Memphis
        Jake Lowary and Donovan Slack
        The Tennessean
        Sept. 7, 2017

        “A veteran with diabetes and poor circulation checked into the Memphis VA Medical Center for a scan and possible repair of blood vessels in his right leg last year, but what he left with was a piece of plastic packaging that VA providers had mistakenly embedded in an artery.

        Doctors didn’t discover the 10 inches of tubing — used by manufacturers to protect catheters during shipping and handling — until the veteran had to have the leg amputated three weeks later.

        When they cut into his leg, they found a 3-inch segment, and after the procedure, they found another 7 inches in the amputated limb.

        The error is one of a litany of patient safety issues at the Memphis hospital in recent years chronicled in a trove of internal documents obtained by the USA TODAY NETWORK that provide a revealing glimpse of one of the most troubled VA hospitals in the country.

        The hospital is one of only four across the country on which the VA’s top health official, Acting Under Secretary for Health Poonam Alaigh, requested weekly briefings, according to the documents.

        The Memphis VA facility received one out of five stars in the agency’s internal quality-of-care rankings and the documents show reports of threats to patient safety at the hospital soared to more than 1,000 in 2016, up from 700 the year before.

        Among the serious incidents investigated in 2016: The medical center mishandled a tissue sample resulting in a repeat biopsy, a provider perforated a patient’s colon during a colonoscopy, and a patient with abdominal pain and blood in his urine waited two hours in the emergency room before leaving for another local hospital where the patient “was deemed urgent and seen immediately.””

        Full Article At: https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2017/09/07/memphis-va-investigation-botched-surgery-delayed-diagnosis/564745001/

      • Memphis VA whistleblower fired a day before Trump signed bill protecting whistleblowers
        Jake Lowary
        USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
        June 26, 2017

        “Just a day before President Donald Trump signed into law protections for whistleblowers at Veterans Affairs facilities around the country, the whistleblower at the Memphis VA facility was handed a termination letter.

        The June 22 letter says Sean Higgins had showed “disruptive behavior” and used profanity in the workplace. Higgins said the move is the product of retaliation from upper-level administrators whom he had accused of unethical behavior.

        He said he used profanity in a one-on-one meeting.

        Records provided by Higgins related to his ongoing dispute over treatment indicate he was repeatedly accused of not following directions, creating a hostile work environment and other infractions.

        Higgins claims many of those accusations were overblown by administrators with an ax to grind.

        Higgins’ time at the VA has been a roller coaster ride that has seen him already fired twice and his position reinstated after appealing those decisions. In May, he filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel alleging reprisal for whistleblowing.

        Higgins has filed more than 30 “disclosures” in the past alleging a range of problems at the facility, including failing to clean dialysis equipment, leaving paralyzed patients unattended and purchasing fraud schemes.

        But Higgins said Monday there’s nothing to stop his current termination letter from taking effect June 30, and again plans to appeal the decision to the Merit Systems Protection Board, a move that won his job back in 2014.”

        Full Article At: https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/06/26/memphis-va-whistleblower-fired-day-before-trump-signed-bill-protecting-whistleblowers/428820001/

      • You know with all this bullshit going on over the years in that same hospital they should really fire the guy in charge. Not just the Director who just gets to be a piece of turdage shifted around the VA Whack-A-System. The person who was ultimately incharge the Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Health.

        Whoops I see they already removed him from the position and promoted him out of there. Now he is the 9th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs. None other than Shyter Shulkin himself.

        If they were serious about holding people accountable and making meaningful change at the VA. The place to start would be by firing Shulkin.

      • Fire ALL VHA Management from GS-10 and above and if need be, go down to GS-8’s…get rid of the AFGE in the VA, and the rest will jump ship once they can smell accountability is the new orange. (orange prison jumpsuits, that is)

    • Damn what a shame. Sounds like some of the same stuff that happened around here by VA or the civilian quacks at the local lying Crazy Kate motel staffed by college kiddies, and affirmative action types to keep special interest groups happy.

      One young female intake secretary, intern, tried telling me after dragging a friends daughter in for Emergency Detention and care said. “She isn’t bloody enough to appear to have been attempted suicide.” And how meth was NOT as addictive as claimed. I took her to the emergency room then to her dads. I don’t know where they found this college idiot to staff a night shift mental hospital with, but they do, or did, the community a huge disservice to pacify some somebody or some clique. I guess the real shrink or whomever must have been asleep or waiting naked in the back room. Sick ass unbelievable world.

  6. A Solid Win for one Disabled Veteran fighting against Roseberg’s Administration.

    _______________

    VA extends home health care for disabled Oregon vet for 60 days
    By Maxine Bernstein,
    The Oregonian/OregonLive
    Today — Updated 3:12 PM; Posted 1:28 PM

    “Facing a federal lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced Friday that it had reached an agreement to extend in-home health care through April for a Springfield veteran with Lou Gehrig’s disease who needs around-the-clock care.

    Michael Williamson sued the federal agency on Jan. 23 in U.S. District Court in Eugene after a VA contract company notified him that his home health care of nearly 17 years would halt on Feb. 13 because it couldn’t find caregivers, according to the suit. The company, New Horizons, contracts with the VA’s medical facility in Roseburg.

    Seven days later, the Department of Veteran Affairs reached an agreement with New Horizons to extend care for another 60 days, Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrian Brown wrote in a court document.

    Veterans Affairs also will continue to work toward a long-term solution to keep Williamson in his home, U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams said in a prepared statement.

    Officials at Roseburg VA Health Care System told Williamson that they had no other approved caregiving agencies in the area and that he would have to move to a nursing home in San Francisco, Boise or Washington’s Puget Sound, according to the lawsuit filed on Williamson’s behalf by Disability Rights Oregon, an advocacy agency.”

    Full Article At: http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2018/02/va_extends_home_health_care_fo.html

    _________________________

    Also worth noting U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams is with the U.S. Department of Justice.

  7. So it looks like the VA is incorporating a new super highway Turdage Transfer system for their Whack-A-Mole employment system. Not firing bad actors just going to keep moving the turds around and hope for the best outcome.

    This according to a New York Times Article.

    ” in the future, the department announced that the lowest-scoring hospitals in its star rating system would automatically receive strict oversight from Washington, including monitoring of performance measures and improvement plans devised by top officials.

    “If the facilities fail to make rapid substantial progress in their improvement plan,” the department said in a release, “leadership will take prompt action, including changing the leadership of the medical center.””

    In truth though it seems more like they are now creating a bonus system for bad actors at the VA. It seems likely there are going to be a number of Directors tanking their numbers so they can get that quarter of Million dollar transfer bonus and move into jobs less demanding while collecting the same pay they were being paid as a director.

    Kind of a reward for killing large numbers of Veterans.

    No doubt the VA rating system is on a Bell Curve so the system will be perpetual.

    _________________________
    Source:

    Director of Veterans Hospital Accused of Manipulating Ratings Is Replaced
    By DAVE PHILIPPS
    New York Times
    FEB. 1, 2018

    Full Article At: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/01/us/veterans-roseburg-director.html

    • Seymore,
      The articles you, and others, post are proof positive that “Shyster Shithead Shulkin” knows exactly what the hell is going on in VHA’s across the country!
      His time as Secretary of Health proves it.
      Plus, now that he’s the top bullshiter has placed him as the worst person at the head!
      Something has got to be done about ALL the shit happening to vets because of him!
      Therein lies the problem – WHAT ????????

      • Elf,

        The best thing that we can do is to keep pointing out the problems that are going left unsolved at the VA. The articles you have been pointing out are a major asset in the fight against the corruption and ineptitude of those employed by the VA.

        The system is totally broken and there is no proper fix in sight with Shulkin still employed.

  8. So…it was a glitch. And an inconvenience according to that asshole Cashour. a glitch that is taking days to fix.

    …and the DAV gets in line to provide cover for VA incompetence.

    I don’t believe for a minute it was an IT glitch. If it were just a simple glitch, why didn’t the VA inform those in the program? Why did it take the WaPo obtaining an internal memo on this? Will there be any questions asked why they just left these veterans hanging? An IT glitch on the first day suggests the VA could have informed veterans of the problem, and they then could have tried making other arrangements.

    It’s not like it’s 11,000,000 vets…it’s just 11,000, and the VA can’t even run that properly.

    I also don’t believe Cashour or Reynolds would laugh off their paychecks being delayed as being an inconvenient glitch.

    • Personally I believe that it was intentional and have no doubt that somewhere a VA shrink is do a research study on it. Meant to put the Stress back into any of those Veterans with PTSD.

      It is like when they deliberately screw up a Veterans prescription to see how much he suffers without the meds.

      They certainly don’t want Veterans getting ahead and fighting for improvements at the VA. So they bring on the chaos at the worst time of the year.

      Yes, this was intentional!

      • I agree, I won’t ever make the mistake of underestimating the viciousness of VA management. Some of the smartest criminals I ever met worked at the VA.

  9. Sorry Ben, nearly every appointee of this President is appointed to shut it down or just make it useless. Corporations have no heart.. There’s no money in it. Personally I am saddened by the lack of respect this administration and Trump have for our country’s natural resources, just to get a buck. We have the weakest bunch of legislators in history. I also think a lot more people are going to vote. Enjoy your weekend

  10. Ben as a veteran and government employee I have witnessed several of those veterans in those programs being drug addicts. Many I have witness over the years never complete the programs given to them for vocational learning. Supplies like the laptops or other school supplies are given to their kids, girlfriends or drug dealers. I definitely understand the VA being careful on that now!

    • M-Asshole Adams- Yeah, that’s why it’s been found so many AFGE employees at VA’s have been stealing meds intended for Veterans and even selling street drugs…don’t you have a vending machine to play with & keep you company?

    • Did you also notice that the Vocational Rehab Specialist getting paid to run those programs in some clinics, only see 3 Veterans per year? Yeah smart “ass”, getting paid 60+ grand a year to see only 3 Veterans. Stick that up your ass and smoke it.
      Wait list manipulations………ain’t they great?????

      Fuck nuts!!!!

    • Yeah, since you have witnessed these veterans giving supplies and laptops to their kids :eyeroll:, that is a perfectly good reason to think all veterans will do that.

      …and treat them all with equal suspicion.

      Resign from your fucking job or do it properly.

    • @Matthew A Adams – So what have you said about such illegal activity being committed by our Veterans? Show us the validated reports that you filed because of what you personally seen. I’m not doubting you, it’s just that many have NO respect or trust with ANY AFGE Federal Employees. I’m sure that you can understand this.

      Plus, it has been my experience, that if there are such behaviors going on due to loopholes or less oversight, I wonder what’s happening per the illegal activities of your colleagues, or even yourself being an upright employee? Now I’m getting personal, and meaning to do so. – – – Nutter.

    • I get the impression you are little more than an AFGE thug that never served commenting here to stir shit up.

      Why suggest Trump is cracking down on Voc Rehab when the article is about how Voc Rehab can’t do their job properly?

    • Are you the same Mathew A Adams commenting on the Dallas PD Facebook page about being a Coast Guard veteran and your addiction to cocaine?

  11. I don’t blame the VA. Some veterans I have witnessed are drug addicts and give the supplies; like laptops meant for vocational learning – to they’re kids, girlsfriends, or drug dealers. Glad they are cracking down on this. I’m also a veteran and government employee! Thank you President Trump!

    • Why come here acting like you are better than some Veterans and knocking Veterans in general. Guess you must have some serious issues with your drug addiction and are trying to project your problems onto others.

      It has been my experience that Veterans going to school under any of the programs are not drug users. Those that are get weeded out and end up required to repay the VA for the money spent on classes they did not complete.

      You really sound like a totally worthless individual coming on a site geared toward disabled Veterans and bad mouthing Veterans. Truly a worthless person and I doubt that you are a Veteran of anything other than the AFGE.

    • Care to explain what you did when you witnessed veterans using illegal drugs on VA grounds? Who did you report to when you witnessed drug dealers on VA grounds?

      Your attitude towards veterans make me question whether you ever served, but it certainly explains why the VA has been so fucked up for decades.

      I’ve never used Voc Rehab although I am eligible for it. I’ve never used it because of assholes like you who think an earned benefit is something coming out of your own pocket.

    • Matchew Asshole Udemonic Asinine – – – Now your being a BIG FUCKING ASSHOLE, a SELLOUT of your own kind (a Veteran, hmm). Why are you posting the same information twice? Nothing you? You show signs of a disgruntled person. Why? Maybe cuz Trump is getting closer to what the VA’s corrupt employees are doing inside the VA’s shithole of operations. Or cuz they’re onto you. – – – Nutter.

  12. I recently Googled a profane term followed by the words VA Healthcare.

    I just kept hitting the iPad button to go to the next set of results. I read the opening lines but moved on. I wasn’t looking for anything and was bored and the more you hit the “next” button the further back the search engine results are in time. So very quickly I was reading backwards in history a few sentences at a time and stretching back now since articles began being posted.

    I believe that I solve problems best when I try not to connect the dots so to speak in my frontal lobe but rather try to shift the problem solving into my visual cortex. Sort of a “what is the big picture” approach and since the information presented is going back in time each time I press “next” I already know what the picture is anyway so it is easy.

    The big picture is that a subset group called “veterans”, part of a bigger set called “civilians” part of an even bigger set called “free men” are being treated differently than the others in the set. Why is this? In going back there jumps out a phrase again and again that at first seemed innocent and because it rings of truth went unnoticed by me until I was back more than a decade in stories;

    “Our veterans deserve the best possible care.”

    was the phrase or general statement that jumped out again and again by BOTH the accusers of the Veterans Administration AND the VA itself.

    This reveals how the culture views the situation but you have to look beyond this path of good intentions to see why it led us here. I often change single words to see what new meaning can be lent to sentences like this. It gives me perspective. Everybody I know, myself included, has said something akin to “Our veterans deserve the best possible care” and it has to me a specific meaning but change just one word and then ask yourself if it still means the same thing because at one time in our ugly past this same phrase was used with one word changed;

    “Our blacks deserve the best possible care.”
    (Even bigger picture; America has not learned from that yet.)

  13. Yes I’m so happy the VA and President Trump is cracking down on all of the corruption with programs! Glad they stopped. I had a friend who was in that vocational program. The last time I saw him was the day he received his laptop for school. That was a year ago
    he has sense relapsed on drugs. I saw him recently and he said his dealer has his laptop unfortunately

    • So you are happy VA programs work so well that veterans relapse on drugs?

      Since you have no problem speaking ill of your friend, I can only imagine what you say about veterans you don’t even know.

      But I suspect your friend is imaginary.

    • Any first hand witness statements about other “friends” giving their supplies to their kids?

      Or do you think food paid for using this stipend is considered “supplies”?

    • Your posts are clearly irrelevant and it is clear you are nothing but a junkie who likes to troll Disabled Veterans.

      Such a loser.

      Go on back to your dealer with your junkie friend and stop harassing and trolling Disabled Veterans.

    • How about adding to your little statement above.

      Do you know every little detail of your friends life during the year you did not see him?

      Did he relapse because the VA cut off other prescriptions?

      When did you get your medical degree to diagnose him as a relapsed drug addict?

      Was your Coast Guard career cut short because of a coke habit?

      Does your experience with cocaine give you special insight into diagnosing other veterans drug habits?

      How else does that cocaine addiction interfere with your job?

    • Here’s the Troll Chum(p) again. What do you mean “glad they stopped.” The actions of authorities hasn’t reached down to you, yet. And you’re so concerned, about what? Property or a Vet in trouble? Post elsewhere. Like VA, you’ve been flagged and tagged as the scum you are, and put into the DBC list of tits.

    • I am so happy ? You got your finger in your ass or something? Cant even spell “since” correctly.
      “Oh why, oh why, oh why, Do a walk by, and watch everybody die” • circa 1994 Ice Cube

  14. I am a disabled veteran myself and I’m giving the facts of what I have observed recently. Don’t get me wrong I know they’re are genuine veterans out there using the program for what it’s meant for. But the bad apples make it just harder for the good ones sadly.

    • Now a change of tune. Hmm. And just like in the VA about the spiny pineapples, the bad pokers, probers to use Vets information against them for controlling purposes, falsifying records, illegal intimidations, etc. Plus the big ones; corruption, crime, theft, illegal activities, stealing Vets meds, and malpractice. Croc of shit you are. Should’ve been the first thing out of your mouth; being a disabled veteran, concerned for other Vets. etc.. Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.

    • You are nothing but a Troll and your statements here make it clear that you have never served. Clearly you are nothing but a waste of time and oxygen!

    • @MA

      This is the shame game that VA also plays with some vets. The idea is to plant the seed that somehow in a multi billion dollar organization shot through with corruption for 80 years that some vet somewhere cashing in his stuff that he earned through service in some way that can statistically make it harder for others to gain the benefits they earned is like trying to play a game of connect the dots but on the New York Times crossword puzzle. You do remember the New York Times, right?

      I wonder, is it bad apples at VA that allow rotting corpses to languish in the morgue until liquid, hiding dead vets in the shower, and turning old men with honorable service and with broken bodies out into the cold or is it the good folk at VA just doing what the program was meant for? Hmm?

      Your post too absolutely carries with it what I also have witnessed at VA – dehumanizing the patients. You have catagorized veterans as VA does between the “genuine” (deserving) vets from the unwashed ones. You don’t call them addicted veterans – you dehumanize them and call them bad apples. Typical of VA you have placed yourself above mankind and rendered judgement upon them and have granted yourself unique insight to determine what is right and what is wrong in a man but without trial, jury, or judge, but shall we take a sniff in your laundry hamper as well?

      Shall we also follow you around and observe what you do when you are also receiving government money and exactly what you do to get it? Vets selling their stuff for cash? Is that like not doing your job, gettting paid, and calling it “official time”? Most Americans I ask simply do not believe the proper use of your pay at VA should be in return for the work you do for vets – but you get paid to wander around and chit chat with the union rep at the water cooler. Doesn’t “Official time” money take away from the deserving vets who need the money to heal instead of paying you to shit chat about how to earn your bonus? Yep.

      Shall we hang out at the water coolers and break rooms at VA too and judge for ourselves if the money meant for wages while working is being spent in the break room? How about while we are looking around we take some drug tests of your senior, mid, and junior level employees and see what kind of drugs they are spending their benefits (wages) on? Oops, unfair question – the VA folks get heir drugs for free, right? At last thats what police reports say, except of course for the ones caught committting armed robbery to get momey for their drugs. We did hire that VA employee back did we not? Does that make it harder for vets who are deserving or easier? Now give me an estimate my friend of how many of your good apples at VA are blowing snow and popping pills? Hmmm?

      I would not say a few bad apples at VA makes it hard on us all. I would rather say that thousands of massively corrupt, inept, drug using, slothful humans who would cast vets and even their own fellows under the bus to die just for their yearly bonus when they show up to the VA program called “employment” and have abused it systemtically for eight decades.

      And my friend, from the photos I have seen those VA employees aint eating any apples except the ones they pluck from the roasted pigs mouth. Now that seems all fine and dandy when you are the VA employee with the high upstanding and washed morality who sit at the feast but what about those of us vets you decided are the pigs? For us the feast is a bit more personal and we are invested a bit deeper in the meal.

      You as a VA employee by definition live off of the misery of veterans and you would be the judge of men? I absolutely believe we need judges involved at VA, and police, and handcuffs, but brother I aint thinking they need to look much outward from inside your place of employment to find reasons to do their job too.

      • Insight like that could have only come from someone that’s been through the crucible of refinement, allowing one to see the clear white light of the truth.

    • I get it, the Adams Family………….you must be Lurch. cause you sure ain’t cousin It, although you could be Uncle Fester. Naw, you couldn’t be Uncle Fester,………..I know……………..PUGSLEYYYYYYYYY.

    • Just saying, that for me, it took a person that had lost their sight to show me the way out of the abyss.

  15. Head up for users of myhealth Blue Button data. I often check the thing. Before at least for me it returned a maximum of two years of NOTES which is where the doc writes. Today it returned five years and there sure seems to be a lotmore “not missing” than was before.The system warned of an upgrade outtage last night.

    Anyone else seeing this? Wow does it tell the story going way back now. Wonder what else they changed?

    WOndering out loud if some sort of syatem wide upgrade might have caused the glitch for the 11,000 American veterans?

    • Did it always go back this far? What a rush down memory lane. Here is but one example of how PRF kills vets;

      Check out this snippet from my medical record. At the time I was (illegally) forbidden from calling VA about ANYTHING as a condition of my PRF unless I called at 4:00-4:20 pm on Thursday only and then only to some guy in Roseburg I never met. Calls to my doctor were forbidden. No shit. Check this out from old records;

      “Received a phone message this morning from Mr. (Dennis) who is calling outside his appointed call time. He states in his message that he was in a “severely debilitating accident” recently and was being treated for Compartmentalizing Syndrome and has had 3 surgeries in the last week. He noted that doctors are concerned about blood clots due to bruising and trauma to his leg. He said he cannot walk or get around. (Note indicates he has been discharged and is staying with or under the care of a friend) He also stated he cannot afford the medicine they are wanting him to take for the clotting–“Lubinox”–…….”

      NOW HERE is why the anti clotting medicine arrived a week later instead of overnight as my two surgeons INSISTED I take anti clotting med. My bones had been splinter lengthwise, ribs on one side all broken, Lung punctured and “Compartment Syndrome” requires the leg to be sliced open from ankle to knee on both sides to pumpout the blood….massive scars sewn shut..

      Yet why did the anti clotting medicine take a week to get to me? Check out what my designsted point of contact, a doctor in psyhology put as he next line in my record;

      “He said he cannot afford this medicine himself, and is asking me to contact him with what actions he needs to take to receive help with this, and under what conditions (including not recording the call). I
      will consult with leadership and identify how to assist this Veteran.”

      If you ever find yourself on the pavement bleeding out and are a cat one violent man capable of inflicting harm onto others… make sure you call only at the appointed time and promise not to record the call. Good lord I could not even hardly breath on my own and he is worried about me calling outside my appointed time for life saving medicine AND he is not even an MD. Just a flunky shrink specializing in PTSD.

      • The difference between medical care and bureaucracy laid bare.

        More concerned with process than what the patient told him.

      • @91Veteran

        He was more conerned with what the DBC chairman and his boss told him just days before I called but after VA knew .i had been in a wreck. Remember, I have every legal right to record calls in my home. Here is what DBC told my designsted and sole point of contact while I was at perhaps the worst physical condition a human can be in from man vs. pavement;

        Dr. N was tasked wih being my sole point of contact and tasked to ONLY communicate by telephone per orders from DBC.

        Chairman of Roseburg DBC note cut and paste from my record. Ben has a recording of this guy a long time later trying to negotiate with me but that was much later;

        “I reaffirmed my counsel to Dr. N to refuse to talk with the Veteran by phone if Mr. Dennis was recording the conversation. There is no way that a provider can be therapeutic when being threatened with the possibility of what he says being redacted and used to attack the provider’s professional work. Dr. N has been
        trying to serve as the Veteran’s POC. Dr. N and I decided to schedule an interdisciplinary tx team meeting to decide what care, if any, can be provided given the multiple barriers that the Veteran has interposed in the past several months.”

        In other words if he insists on excersizing his rights we are gonna cut him off and just let him bleed out.

        These DBC committees must go away.

      • Interesting language used to blame the veteran. Without any concern for the medical condition the veteran is in.

        Any reader of that bullshit note could think you were just calling in to harass them for some cold medicine.

      • plus in Oregon anyone at all can record and even lie about it and there is no law preventing this. Thye know this. This DBC Chairman is suggesting a doc can’t be theraputic on the mere possibility they are recorded AND the reason is not fear for the safety of the staff but fear of a “redacted” comment being used against their professional career??? Looney Tunes! WHo the hell would care what a nut job like me said UNLESS it was verified true?

        “Do not talk to vet because he might tell on you for all this horse shit we are putting him through.” is the translation lolz. Even today I battle for normal care at my clinic and this same crew is still refusing but these entries are now years old. VA CARES….

      • Stupid question Dennis, are you saving copies of all this, before it one again vaporizes? I know you are.

        Now that two of the three tops are gone, Paxton and whats his name, the only ones left, really, are those at the DBC. I think now you have a golden opportunity to let the DC hotline know, that the DBC, are still refusing to provide care.

        There is nobody left for this DBC, to hide behind, correct? Maximum exposure.

      • Yep. On a ipad download the Blue Button data as a PDF. You are also given the option of a text file but use PDF. Then open it and hit the button that lets you share. Save it to iBooks. It formats it onto your iPad as a flip through iBook then complete with search functions and more.

  16. Overseers fear VA’s new appeals modernization will go the way of past failed projects

    By Nicole Ogrysko
    Federal News Radio
    February 2, 2018

    “The Veterans Affairs Department has about a year left to get its new, faster appeals process off the ground and ready for prime time.

    Since Congress passed and the president signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act into law last summer, VA is piloting and has seen some success with the Rapid Appeals Modernization Plan (RAMP).

    But members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee — many of whom worked with veterans service organizations for years to perfect the new appeals modernization law — say they fear VA’s latest modernization project will go the way of many of the department’s previous failed efforts.

    The Government Accountability Office said it’s also concerned, mainly because VA’s implementation plan for RAMP has some holes. VA’s appeals process has been on GAO’s High-Risk List since 2003.

    According to deadline set under law, VA is supposed to implement the new appeals process by Feb. 19, 2019.

    “Right now, I don’t think they’re prepared to have all of the information they’re going to need in order to certify that they’re ready to move forward, ” GAO Comptroller General Gene Dodaro told the House VA Committee at a hearing earlier this week. “Based on the plan so far, I’m not confident that they’ll be ready by February 2019 unless they deal with these gaps and have a fully informed plan.”

    Most notably, the department doesn’t have a clear schedule for implementing the IT systems it needs to support the new appeals process. VA has an IT plan that details the next six months, but Dodaro said it doesn’t go far enough.

    “It’s not as robust as it needs to be,” Tom Bowman, VA’s deputy secretary, acknowledged. “It is going to become more robust. We do believe that we have brought people aboard between our IT capability and the resources that we believe we have available to address that. But it’s not where it needs to be, and I’m not going to tell you any differently.””

    Full Article At: https://federalnewsradio.com/veterans-affairs/2018/02/overseers-fear-va-new-appeals-modernization-will-go-the-way-of-past-failed-projects/

  17. Senate approves VA docs working in outdoors hospitals
    February 4, 2018 Staff Writer

    “CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – The New Hampshire Senate has passed legislation allowing physicians from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center to continue treating patients at outside facilities while the flood-damaged VA hospital is being renovated.

    Other hospitals agreed to let VA providers use their facilities after a burst pipe in July caused severe flooding at the VA hospital in Manchester. But under New Hampshire licensing rules, doctors with out-of-state medical licenses can only practice at the VA hospital.

    Republican Gov. Chris Sununu issued an executive order in August to temporarily lift those requirements. The bill passed by the Senate Thursday would allow VA staffers to continue treating patients at other facilities until July 2019.

    The flooding happened days after The Boston Globe published allegations of substandard care and conditions at the VA center.”

    Full Article At: https://luxoraleader.com/senate-approves-va-doctors-working-in-outside-hospitals/628155/

  18. VA downgrades complexity rating of Cheyenne medical center
    Associated Press
    13 hrs ago

    “CHEYENNE, Wyo. | The Veterans Affairs Department downgraded the complexity level of its Cheyenne hospital to its lowest level, prompting the state’s congressional delegation to demand an explanation.

    The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported Saturday the VA Medical Center in Cheyenne is now rated at Level 3, indicating it has low levels of patient complexity and little or no teaching and research.

    It had been Level 2.

    Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and Rep. Liz Cheney, all Republicans, wrote VA Secretary David Shulkin Jan. 26, expressing concern that the hospital’s services and funding would be reduced.

    A VA spokesman said services would not change.

    In a written statement Friday, the three lawmakers said, “As a delegation, our primary concern is ensuring that the services available to our veterans at the Cheyenne VA are not impacted, and that veterans

    in Cheyenne and surrounding areas will still receive the same level of care they need and deserve.”

    Wyoming’s rural character and harsh winters limit veterans’ ability to travel to the VA in Denver, they told Shulkin.

    They also said neither they nor the House and Senate veterans committees were consulted about the change. In their letter, they called that unacceptable.

    Cheyenne VA Medical Center Director Paul Roberts said the rating has no effect on patient care or services.

    “In fact, the Cheyenne VA is growing faster than any other market in our network,” Roberts said in an email.

    The hospital is part of Veterans Integrated Service Network 19, which includes all or parts of Colorado, Montana, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

    Roberts said the change would affect pay rates for new executives, but current employees’ pay won’t change.

    The VA’s complexity ratings are used for administrative reporting, performance measurement and research studies. The system has five levels: 1a, 1b, 1c, 2 and 3.”

    Full Article At: http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/latest/va-downgrades-complexity-rating-of-cheyenne-medical-center/article_70592828-88f6-5649-ae2f-44119878e8fd.html

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