Congress fears the newest attempt to modernize Veterans Affairs appeals called RAMP may fail just like previous attempts to improve the program to decrease wait times.

The problem this time?

The short story is the agency bit off more than it can chew, failed to gather enough data on the proposed appeals changes prior to pushing them forward, and it failed to fully consider all appeals rights issues.

Adding insult to injury, the agency cannot get many veterans to opt in for the new system meaning they cannot create a large enough sample to evaluate for next steps prior the upcoming deadline in one year. Only 450 veterans have opted in at this point.

Good News RAMP Goals

The Government Accountability Office believes the present attempts to implement RAMP has serious issues. The problem is not with the goal, which is to process claims with accuracy within 125 days and for appeals to the Board of Veterans Appeals to be resolved within 1 year. This is incredible compared to those currently waiting 7 years.

If RAMP did not limit a veteran’s rights, I would say the goal is solid. But…

About RAMP Appeals

For those wondering what RAMP is, VA.gov explains:

Supplemental Claim Lane

  • Select this option if you have additional evidence that is new and relevant to support granting your benefit claim. VA’s goal is to complete these supplemental claims in an average of 125 days.
  • We will assist you in gathering new and relevant evidence to support your claim.
  • We will review any new and relevant evidence submitted since we last decided your claim.
  • If desired, you can continue to submit supplemental claims with new and relevant evidence or use the Higher-Level Review Lane after you receive a decision in the Supplemental Claim Lane by making an election for further review within one year of the date on your decision notice.

Higher-Level Review Lane

  • Select this option if you have no additional evidence to submit in support of your claim but you believe that there was an error in the initial decision. VA’s goal is to complete these higher-level reviews in an average of 125 days.
  • A higher-level review consists of an entirely new review of your claim by a senior claims adjudicator.
  • The Higher-Level Reviewer will only consider evidence that was in VA’s possession at the time you opt-in. You and/or your representative will NOT be able to add new evidence during this process.
  • We cannot assist you in developing additional evidence. However, if the Higher-Level Reviewer discovers an error in our duty to assist in the prior decision, your claim will return to initial decision makers for additional processing to correct the error.
  • You or your representative can request an optional one time telephonic informal conference with the Higher-Level Reviewer to identify specific errors in the case. Requesting an informal conference may cause some delay in the processing of your higher-level review.
  • If necessary, you can use the Supplemental Claim Lane after you receive a decision in the Higher-Level Review Lane, by making an election for further review within one year of the date on your decision notice. However, you will not have immediate access to the Higher-Level Review after receiving a decision in the Higher-Level Review Lane.

Known RAMP Appeals Problems

Here is the problem(s).

The agency sent out notification letters to thousands of veterans with pending appeals that lack the necessary information to discern the veteran’s rights. Loads of veterans received the invitations but did not opt-in.

RELATED: Top Five TDIU Misconceptions Reviewed

Presently, the agency only received a 3 percent opt-in for the trial run of 15,000 veterans who received the invitations to try out the RAMP process. This is around 450 vets.

Making matters more complicated, the letters provide options that actually limit a veteran’s rights related to future appeals and evidence gathering depending on what track the veteran opts for. The surrendering of those rights without proper legal guidance can result in a veteran ultimately losing rights that cost the appeal later if unresolved.

RAMP Deadline Approaching

VA has until February 19, 2019, to implement the new appeals process. Right now, GAO says the agency lacks the information necessary to move forward. This means the agency pushed for this solution behind closed doors without being able to achieve the goal.

Despite stripping veterans of certain rights including the right for the agency to assist in gathering evidence should a veteran opt-in, the program also failed to evaluate how an appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals may fit into the plan.

Maybe that is payback for the Forum Of Hate where numerous Veterans Law Judges were busted making lewd, racist and bigoted statements about coworkers?

The current backlog sits at 470,000, but the state of affairs certainly makes it look like the RAMP system may be an overcomplicated bust at a time when the agency still struggles to manage simple decisions well much less complicated processes.

My contacts in DC say the RAMP program was set up to fail to begin with in order to usher in more radical changes, possibly including the use of Administrative Law Judges instead of Veterans Law Judges that report to the Secretary.

What do you think of the changes?

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

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44 COMMENTS

  1. President Donald Trump and Senators and Representatives don’t give a shit about VETERANS HEALTHCARE?

  2. Let me guess: The VA will soon require yet another “IT Fix”, specifically for RAMP & the VA’s legion of attorney’s to perhaps take a few teamwork brainstorming vacations to the Caymans to figure-out how to further remove Veteran’s promise of a square and honest deal?

    RAMP= Rushing Another Money Program= RAMP.

  3. Has anyone thought of this? Maybe the government wants the VA to fail and at the same time make it appear as if they care. Placing unable/unqualified personnel in key offices and making it appear as they are calling the shots. After all there is a lot of money to be directed to different matters if the VA was not there/here.
    Keep up the great defiance!
    Thanks to all my Brethren/Sisters that served and those that retired from service.

    • @APBduck- I have surmised exactly what you suggest and will go as far as calling the VA Uncle Sam’s slush fund/outhouse swamp tank. Instead of $10,000. toilet seats, as the Pentagon used to play it, with the VA you can deal with $2.1 Billion PAYDAYS each and every time you ask with empty hat to congress critters…making it yes, APPEAR they *CARE* for Vets, but we are nothing but the TICKET to hand-in-Veteran-Cookie Jar.
      All for the Vets…

      • Thank you. $$$ that is all on the minds of government currently and to make themselves not look like a turd pile (elections are paramount to politicians statism). Not many have served, militarily, that are in government currently. Most were to well off to do this. Now big business has grabbed hold throughout the governing body. Nicolas Cage movie “Lord of War” is close to what is happening right now.

    • IMO – colluding to make it fail is just as difficult as making it work. The failures of the VA are the result of decades of corporate opportunism. Somebody on the beltway wants a deal for hospital equipment? Lobby it and sell it. New IT systems? Lobby it and sell it – it doesn’t have to work. Nothing needs to fit into an existing system.

      So, after decades of fiddle-fucking around with layers of favors on top of a strained system, you get a cluster fuck. Got fucked up employees who need protecting? The union lobbies it. Need a few votes during a particular election cycle, toss a “new program” at the VA but don’t fund it. So, now you have a massive army of employees – half who care and dare to work, and the other half polishing their ass-covering skills.

      We’d rather believe in some grand conspiracy that points the finger at the nameless and faceless. That’s too easy. We don’t want to admit that Amerika has become the Soviet Union, choking on its own corruption and incompetence, a safe haven for countless “crats”.

      If we need to point a finger, it’s at ourselves. We loyally served. We learned to respect that chain. We stand by the flag, in spite of the pole being jammed up our asses. We don’t speak out. Our VSO’s are beltway institutions confined to the beltway rules of “make nice and we’ll let you have access to our club”. When has a massive group of veterans protested? The fucking women’s movement were able to get out a million people right after Trumpski was elected. Boom – just like that – they were able to deploy their troops (no comment here about reasonableness – that ain’t the point).

      We sit here and bitch and wait patiently for what was promised. We want our dedication and sacrifice to be respected, and honored in the same way we honored our oath. Well, fuck that shit. It ain’t workin.

      Now get on your old bell-bottoms and platform shoes. Pick that ‘fro. Queue the disco:

      Burn baby burn! Burn that mama down
      Burn Baby burn? Disco Inferno…

      But I digress

  4. Sounds like a legal move of “res judicata”. Matters already heard in another VA tribunal, clearly obfuscating claims and denial of the duty to assist.
    If you opt in, your are conceding jurisdiction. ALJs are , and could be considered in Federal Claims , and Article 3 courts. Tricky move, but will fail on appeal.
    VA is using that jurisdiction defense in a lot of claims against it!
    Still grade A fartboxes in my opinion!

  5. Looks like y’all have covered today’s blog with satisfaction guaranteed!

    Here’s something else y’all might be interested in!
    From: “Military.com” via “The Associated Press”
    Dated: 6 Feb. 2018
    Titled:
    “Veteran’s Lawsuit Says VA Therapist Made Sexual Advances”

    It was reported up in Oregon. The vet is seeking lots of money! I hope he prevails!

    • Hmmm. I notice Portland, and they threatened the vet with reporting him as dangerous, then actually carried out the threat and reported him.

      Gee. Where have we heard that before?

    • Ami Diane Phillips. Clinical Social Worker.

      UPI and oregonlive dot com have more detail in their articles. The Oregonlive article has a link to the actual suit. Their social relationship ended when Phillips tried to kill herself at the beach. Her report to the VA police caused them to shut down the mental health clinic for the rest of the day.

      4000 text messages suggest the VA loses. But Cashour refuses comment.

      The details in his suit suggested he was referred to the DBC.

      Her LinkedIn profile shows she has been with the VA since May 1995 to 2013 in Tennessee, then in Portland since.

      It also shows she was Adjuct Faculty at Portland State University.

      The best section shows she was the Coordinator and Facilitator Moral Distress Team at Portland, with a listing below that of Portland VA Integrated Ethics.

      Two courses she lists as having taken while at VA:
      Bioethics in the Field of Healthcare
      Ethical Dilemias in the Field of Healthcare. (Her spelling).
      Her citation for Social Work of the Month award says, “Recognition for going beyond regular work responsibilities to assist a patient.” The award is dated 2004.

      I bet she went beyond regular responsibilities. For years.

      The VA sure does an awesome job reviewing credentials!

      For some strange reason, the Tennessee medical license verification web site has no record of her.

  6. Make every VA employees join the US Army for a 2 year stint if they want to qualify to work in VA Claims. If they never walked in our shoes, they have no idea what this is all about.

    • “J’s”,
      They should spend two years minimum if they want to work ANYWHERE IN THE VA!
      And, I’ll add, make sure at least one of those years is in a combat zone, and NOT behind a desk. They need to know what vets go through to know the answer to lots of questions!

    • Most are vets already. Gravy train vets. They have their 100% and screw you. They would rather drink coffee and play pinochle or tonk.

  7. If the present DRO option doesn’t work why would anyone believe renaming it would work any better.

    My claim file is full of requests for assistance in getting evidence from the Medical Division. I have a pending RBA dispute with a CAVC clerk’s order for the GC to notify the court of progress with the dispute every 15 days.

    The following is the response 4 times so far:

    APPELLEE’S RESPONSE TO THE COURT’S
    DECEMBER 1, 2017, ORDER
    In response to the Court’s December 1, 2017, order instructing the Secretary to inform the Court of the steps taken to resolve the dispute over the contents of the record before the agency (RBA), the Secretary states as follows:
    The Secretary is continuing to review Appellant’s RBA dispute and attempting to determine if any documents are missing from the RBA.
    WHEREFORE, the Secretary respectfully responds to the Court’s order and advises that the dispute is not resolved. The Secretary will respond again in 15 days.
    Respectfully submitted,
    JAMES M. BYRNE
    General Counsel
    MARY ANN FLYNN
    Chief Counsel
    CATHERINE A. CHASE
    Senior Appellate Attorney

    This is the order:

    O R D E R
    Pursuant to Rule 10(b) of the Court’s Rules of Practice and Procedure the appellant has
    filed a motion notifying the Court of a dispute regarding the Record Before the Agency (RBA).
    Accordingly, it is ORDERED that the motion is held in abeyance. The Secretary shall advise the Court, within 15 days after the date of this order, and every 15 days thereafter, what action the Department – including the responsible VA regional office(s) – has taken to resolve the dispute. If the parties reach an impasse, the Secretary shall notify the Court. These proceedings are stayed until further
    order of the Court.
    DATED: December 1, 2017 FOR THE COURT:
    /s/ Gregory O. Block
    GREGORY O. BLOCK
    Clerk of the Court
    Copies to:
    Lemuel C. Bray
    VA General Counsel (027)
    Clerk: AF

    Tell me the response gives any detail required by the order?

    The attempt at RAMP is laughable. Renaming the DRO effort does nothing to improve the system. The DRO’s are still backed up and will be because of lack of clerk support. Like on the medical side. How can you see more patients and give them more time with fewer Docs.

  8. First of all let me relentlessly attack the very premise of the argument here. If I understand Ben correctly (historically a one in ten shot that I get it right) this whole process has been introduced by the government to “streamline” the system and make it more efficient.

    Hmmmmmm…… Ben, can you point to any historical example of any effort by our federal government to improve efficiency that ACTUALLY made it more streamlined? The myth is that a federal government can make anything at all efficient lolz.

    What these options do to the vet goes beyond simply laying legal traps for them later. Think about the vet who is under extreme anxiety, then throw him into a Bresslers 31 flavor shop and tell him to pick one. Explain that the choice he is making will impact his life then ask him what flavor he likes… What choice does that man have but to go to a lawyer to honestly understand this. Lawyers eat too and need to be paid and fed – just look at Ben’s photo for Gods sake! This injects cost and undue frustration.

    Giving men and women a legal choice when there is no possible way that the legal standard of informed consent can be claimed to have been obtained makes this seem at a minimum unethical. This seems to be a common theme with vets – VA ignoring any and all attempts at obtaining informed consent from vets for the choices they are given and asked to make (or are made for them). If a vet cannot tell from the language just what rights they are releasing and what ALL the life impacting consequences are of each choice then VA has failed to obtain informed consent.

  9. Anyone else get the sense the VA is trying to create a 6 lane freeway with all lanes leading to an eventual off RAMP?

    If the VA were serious about what their mission is, they would be creating a process that is as simple as possible with the least restrictions in order to assist veterans in obtaining medical care and the benefits that follow. Instead, they create a confusing mess that intentionally directs veterans like a traffic cop down a lane that will be significantly detrimental to veterans for years.

    They intentionally refer to benefits first without mentioning medical care because the VA is filled with good little punks like that Voc Rehab guy who believes its his duty to look at any veteran suspiciously, and as if any benefit is coming out of his paycheck. They don’t give a damn if that veteran is denied medical care, as long as any benefit is also denied.

    I do notice the AVERAGE times listed are 125 days. That suggests any veteran claiming a single, irrefutable condition might see something in 125 days, but anything more complicated would take longer. The VA doesn’t care as long as they can point to stats that make them look good.

    In the end, the VA claims process will still be like that scene in Austin Powers where he’s trying to turn around that cart in a narrow tunnel. Going back and forth for years without making progress.

  10. This ramp program, is an invitation only at this time. What veteran would want to participate in a program that for the most part won’t be up and running till 2019, especially those of us who have appeals dating back to 2016 or further, most likely waiting another year. The more I read articles here and comments, daily now, I’ve come to the conclusion as most of you have, we are aging liabilities and the hurry up and wait, what we learned all those decades ago, still applies, but for the VA and the government, deny, delay, means we will all soon be dead, and keep the hurry up and wait going, for the next generation.

    • Bryce,
      Or the generation after that, or the generation after that, or the generation after that etc., etc., etc…….
      Wars ARE continuous!

  11. Now here is what I am talking about in obtaining informed consent for treatment. VHA directive 1315 dated in December of 2017 says this about what they require a doc to do;
    BUT – only if you live in a state with medical marijuanna program…
    “3. POLICY
    It is VHA policy that:
    a. VHA providers and/or pharmacists discuss with the Veteran marijuana use, due to its clinical relevance to patient care, and discuss marijuana use with any Veterans requesting information about marijuana;”

    Now let me ask those of you still allowed to speak with a VA provider; have you EVER had your doctor bring up the subject and speak with you about it and its clinical relevance? Policy may ass!

    The key here of course is the VA statement, “due to its clinical relevance to patient care”. Do I see this right and VA is saying it is indeed relevant to patient care? At any rate the undermining of vets rights is securely in place irregardless of any printed POLICY, set of rules, or law says.

    Well then, what about the patients who do not live in such a state? Are they denied informed consent for a clinically relevent drug? They are kept in the dark I guess.

  12. Just another example of the current Administration at the Department of Veterans Affairs continuing to demonstrate it’s unhampered ability to avoid any kind of accountability.

    Just add it to the Billions and Billions wasted annually by the VA just on failed IT projects. All in the VA’s efforts to prevent Veterans from receiving fair and timely determination of disability claims, minimally adequate Heath Care, and the respect Veterans have earn through their service.

    All so they can maintain control of Veterans lives and continue to use us as their training dummies and guinea pigs for medical schools and research that would not be allowed on the General public.

    All while a few at the top get richer and hold their power while wasting way more than double the taxpayers dollars then it would cost to fulfilled the promises made to Veterans as provided by law.

    All while maintaining the profitability of fraud and corruption within the system and our Government.

    ~
    ~
    ~
    __________________________

    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.”

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

    • Guess the Veterans in West Virginia don’t want the VA burying their turds from Oregon in their backyard. So where is this homeless turd going to pop up in the Veterans Administration’s Whack-A-Mole System of turd retention?

      ___________

      West Virginia says no thanks to former Roseburg VA director
      Carisa Cegavske Senior Staff Writer The News-Review
      29 min ago

      “The mayor of Charleston, West Virginia, told The News-Review Monday evening that former Roseburg Veterans Affairs Director Doug Paxton won’t be reassigned to a West Virginia VA after all.

      Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said he became concerned about Paxton after hearing about the troubles he’d had in Roseburg on a late-night radio show. So he contacted his friend and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, who he said succeeded in having the appointment canceled.

      “He’s gone. He’s not coming here,” Jones said.

      Paxton’s reassignment to the Huntington VA, which covers veterans in the Charleston area, followed allegations of whistle-blower retaliation and of high-risk patients being turned away for care in order to improve the hospital’s star rating. Paxton was to be the assistant director at the Huntington VA.

      Jones contacted a couple of people in Roseburg to learn more about Paxton. He spoke with union representative Karl Tanner, and with Susan Neeley May, a former VA clerk who had problems with another recently transferred manager, former Chief of Surgery Dinesh Ranjan.

      Jones, a veteran himself, said West Virginia has enough problems already, from the loss of coal jobs to an opioid crisis. He didn’t want the Roseburg VA’s problems to become their problems, too.”

      Full Article At: https://www.nrtoday.com/news/veterans/west-virginia-says-no-thanks-to-former-roseburg-va-director/article_9f11c1e3-40a0-5e19-a13f-167ef6f198d4.html

      • Interesting isn’t it how fast politicians can act when its in their own back yard, but how slow they act when these turds are flushed elsewhere?

        As I said before, Paxton should be flushed right into Shulkins office.

      • Seymore,
        Kinda wonder IF Paxton will be coming to Florida. Seems like that’s where most of the reprobates being transferred in VA end up.

      • I suspect Paxton will get shuffled off to some out of the way VA like Cheyenne, Grand Junction or Hot Springs where politicians would express surprise at the VA making such a move…if they respond at all.

      • I was a Roseburg VA vet and I talked to Paxton I thought he was not for the job. Also I am on the choice program and no longer have to deal with thoses QUACKS. THEY DAMAGED ME SO I am un able to walk and drive. They refuse to pick me up. No bus service will pick me up. Its driver or a cab. I feel that the VA will let that outfit keep on. I went to the emergency room and they left me on a bed took my vitals and disappeared. Saw DR. ACCROSS THE ROOM AND ASKED WHERE THE OTHER dR. was he said they went home I asked him to look at my problem and he said I was not on his list. I left and had my wife drive us home 2.5 hours to home. Haven’t been back since.

    • And another homeless turd splashes into the water of the porcelain Bowl that is the VA.

      ___________

      Louisville VAMC director resigns after whistleblower retaliation claim
      By Chris Larson – Reporter, Louisville Business First
      an hour ago

      “The director of Louisville’s Robley Rex VA Medical Center resigned on Feb. 2 rather than being removed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, leaving a key leadership spot open in Louisiville’s health care scene.

      Louisville VA Medical Center Director Martin Traxler resigned after the VA “proposed his removal from federal service Feb. 2 for whistleblower retaliation, conduct unbecoming of a senior executive and lack of candor,” according to an email from VA press secretary Curtis Cashour.

      Cashour did not provide details of the complaints against Traxler.”

      “Emma Metcalf, medical center director at Lexington VA Medical Center, will serve as acting director of the Louisville facility until further notice.”

      Full Article At: https://www.bizjournals.com/louisville/news/2018/02/06/louisville-vamc-director-resigns-after.html

    • More Turdage from the Oregon VA System.
      _______________

      Veteran’s Lawsuit Says VA Therapist Made Sexual Advances
      The Associated Press |6 Feb 2018

      “PORTLAND, Ore. — A veteran has filed a lawsuit claiming a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs therapist made sexual advances toward him and threatened to report him as dangerous.

      The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Monday that Luke Kirk seeks $500,000 in emotional damages from the department, claiming the federal agency is liable for the therapist’s professional misconduct.

      Kirk filed a complaint against Ami Diane Phillips in June 2016. On the same day, Phillips falsely reported that Kirk had threatened to kill her and was extorting her for money.

      Phillips pleaded guilty to attempted coercion and initiating a false report and was sentenced in January 2017 to two days in jail, two years of probation, mental health counseling and 40 hours of community service.

      Veterans Affairs spokesman Curt Cashour declined comment on the pending litigation.”

      Full Article At: https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/02/06/veterans-lawsuit-says-va-therapist-made-sexual-advances.html

      _______________

      Guess old Shitlips Curt Cashour is continuing to have a bad day. Not commenting on anything VA.

    • Proof that turds floats At the VA.

      _________________

      VA hires new dentist at Billings veterans clinic while whistleblower dentist hangs in the balance
      By MATT HUDSON
      5 Hours Ago

      “The Montana Veterans Affairs Health Care System currently employs two paid staff dentists, though just one of them is practicing.

      The VA hired the new full-time dentist in December, according to Montana VA Assistant Director Kirby Osler. After a few weeks of training at Fort Harrison near Helena, he began taking patients in Billings.

      “Probably about three weeks later, he came down to Billings and got set up in the clinic here and began seeing people,” Osler said.

      The Billings VA clinic went through much of 2017 without a working staff dentist, which caused headaches for patients. Some veterans needing routine dental care were referred to the VA clinic in Sheridan, Wyoming, which is 128 miles away.

      The Billings VA clinic’s dentist position wasn’t vacant, however. Dr. Kelly Hale remains there as a paid staff member but has been barred from practicing since January 2017 as the government reviews his whistleblower retaliation case.

      While working as the staff dentist at the Billings VA clinic, Hale’s allegations exposed systemic delays that sometimes caused painful wait times for patients. An internal investigation backed up Hale’s claims in June 2016.

      The findings led to the resignation of Dr. Robert Bourne, the Montana VA’s chief of dental services, though the VA quickly rehired him on a fee basis with a $143,700 annual earning limit.”

      Full Article At:http://billingsgazette.com/news/local/va-hires-new-dentist-at-billings-veterans-clinic-while-whistleblower/article_75d98c31-3b99-57be-a62e-260519deecf3.html

  13. Today is why the VA pisses me off. I was just checked into my PCP appointment by the nurse. She tells me I will be seeing a new PCP since my old one is busy with admin being Chief of the clinic now.

    The VA called me a few months ago about this appointment at 9:40am. They called Friday after 3pm telling me it was rescheduled because my PCP was busy with admin in the morning.

    Not once did they tell me this iappointment s with a new PCP. Not once did they send a letter.

    This is the 6th PCP in 4 years.

    I have no doubt this new PCP has no knowledge of my medical history.

  14. great now i got to wait seven more years for my original appeals. because they put another strategy for making the appeals process go faster all the older appeals in the old process are going to be stalled . . unfair . so new claims get better advantages while older vets that have been being consistent have to bite the cats tail on there existing claim to wait longer to make sure this ramp bill works. . FUCK U VA!!!!

    all this does is put me on the back burner and the veterans that wait before me. while incoming soldiers in back of the line wait for there claims wait shorter and denied faster. there is no first come first serve anymore and this bill just proved it. start committing arson at the VA facilities at this point ,bring veterans with a whole lot of ammunition and heavy armor power . this is horrible.

  15. ultimate disrespect for Dessert Gulf, Vietnam, OIF OEF and Afghanistan prior armed forces members that have pending appeals . this bill is it, just shoved all of us to wait longer on our appeals in the old process.watch VA employees are going to give us the ultimatum in jumping in to this new process while telling us that we have to sabotage or existing claim. these fucks. be better off if veterans hired hitman to take care of this problem private lawyers cant do nothing at this point.

  16. Turdage Recycling center in California.

    ___________________________

    Senate staffer accused of sexual harassment was later appointed to Veterans Affairs post by Gov. Jerry Brown

    By Patrick McGreevy
    Los Angeles Times
    Feb. 2, 2018

    “Three months after a state Senate staffer was terminated over allegations of sexual harassment, he was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to a top position in the state Department of Veterans Affairs, according to state records released Friday.”

    “Documents released Friday by the Senate show that Worthen had been previously accused of harassment while he worked as a legislative director for former state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco). Worthen was terminated from his job in July 2011 after a Senate investigation.

    A female staff member said Worthen called her “sweetheart” and “baby,” talked multiple times about the size of his genitals and on one occasion told her, “You’re so beautiful. If you were into black men I’d be all up on you.”

    The Senate substantiated the allegations of harassment against Worthen, according to a statement by the Senate.

    Worthen went from a Senate job paying $73,700 to the Brown appointment that paid $95,000. He was dismissed from the Department of Veterans Affairs job in January 2014, but the governor’s office did not say why he was let go.

    Worthen was indicted in April 2017 by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to receive $12,000 in bribes to help a businessman obtain construction contracts at two veterans homes in Southern California.

    Full Article At: http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-senate-staffer-accused-of-sexual-1517615006-htmlstory.html

  17. IRS correcting $78 million in taxes taken from veterans

    By Kelsey Stiglitz
    The Daily News
    Posted Today

    “One 2018 tax refund will help combat-injured veterans reclaim taxes wrongly taken from their disability severance pay.

    Veterans who received disability severance pay after January 1991 may qualify for a special tax refund.

    The refund comes after the 2016 Combat Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act, which asks the Department of Defense to identify individuals who were wrongly taxed and provide them a chance for a tax refund.

    The Department of Defense will notify eligible veterans by mail, and then they have one year to file a claim.

    “The letters will have all the information they need,” Maj. Carla Gleason, spokeswoman for the Department of Defense, said.

    Eligible veterans include those who received disability severance pay dating back to Jan. 17, 1991 and qualified for disability from Veteran’s Affairs.

    This payment is a one-time lump sum given to veterans with combat-related injuries that cause a separation from the military.

    According to the National Veteran’s Law Services Program (NVLSP), the Department of Defense Financial Management Regulation knowingly took about $78 million in tax payments from veterans’ disability severance pay.

    Although veterans being taxed were eligible to file for an amended tax return with the IRS since the wrongful taxing began, many of the veterans affected were outside the three-year window to file a return.

    Thomas Moore, senior staff attorney with NVLSP, was involved in bringing the legislation to Congress.

    He said the organization realized legislation was the only way to make sure veterans received money due to them.

    “It was a thing most service members weren’t even aware it had been done,” Moore said.

    In his time working with veterans, Moore said he began seeing cases where veterans receiving combat-related disability were paying taxes, although tax-free retirement is supposed to be one of the benefits for combat-wounded veterans.

    Seeing the legislation pass in 2016 was a victory for NVLSP, which worked with two lawyers on Capitol Hill to propose it.”

    Full Article At: http://www.jdnews.com/news/20180206/irs-correcting-78-million-in-taxes-taken-from-veterans

  18. Guess What? The VA needs more money to help fix another failed VA IT project.

    _____________________

    Veterans Administration battles tracking system failures – but there is a solution
    By Michael Maurer
    February 06, 2018

    “The benefits of a real-time locating system (RTLS) are expansive and particularly important in the Veterans Health Administration given the intense public scrutiny the system has been subjected to in the past few years.

    While it is admirable that the VA has recognized the potential benefits inherent in RTLS, they have unfortunately chosen to standardize on a Wi-Fi based infrastructure that does not realize many of the benefits above due to its limited accuracy. Simply put, the VA Wi-Fi system was designed and installed to improve communication and connectivity to the secure network. It was never envisioned as the backbone to a reliable and accurate RTLS system, and even if it were, Wi-Fi is not an ideal technology for such a use. But newly developed technology has proven that a highly accurate and reliable RTLS system can provide substantial benefit in the healthcare environment. If implemented and utilized correctly, such a system can improve access, organizational efficiency, patient and staff experience, and most importantly staff and patient safety and security.”

    Full Article At: https://www.dotmed.com/news/story/41460

  19. Head Turd pushing to take more away from Veteran again.

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    VA considers restricting eligibility for caregivers program
    By NIKKI WENTLING | STARS AND STRIPES
    Published: February 6, 2018

    “WASHINGTON — Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is considering new restrictions to a program that provides monthly stipends and other assistance to family caregivers of post-9/11 veterans.

    Testifying before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on Tuesday, Shulkin said he wanted to limit eligibility for the program to the most severely injured and ill veterans in order to expand benefits to veterans of all eras without inflating costs.

    As is, the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers provides monthly stipends, medical training and access to other services, such as mental health counseling, to family members of veterans injured after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Some advocates have fought for years for an extension of caregiver benefits to veterans injured before 9/11, describing it as an unfair disparity.

    Officials with President Donald Trump’s administration told Congress last month that the White House couldn’t support an extension because of fiscal restraints, but Shulkin said Tuesday that new eligibility criteria would allow for an expansion without the cost.

    “We can do this in a cost-effective way and focus on who needs the benefit the most,” he said. “This is about learning how we can do this better going forward.”

    Shulkin wants to restrict eligibility to veterans who need help with at least three activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing and dressing. Veterans with cognitive dysfunction would remain eligible, he said.

    With the changes, the 26,000 caregivers already enrolled into the program could still receive the benefit with the old rules, Shulkin said. The new rules would apply to all new enrollees.

    If the program were expanded with the current eligibility rules, the VA would enroll 188,000 caregivers in the next 10 years, the agency estimated. With proposed restrictions, the number of caregivers receiving assistance would grow to only 40,000 in the next 10 years. The agency predicted it would avoid about $2.5 billion in implementation costs.”

    Full Article At: https://www.stripes.com/news/va-considers-restricting-eligibility-for-caregivers-program-1.510376

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    Guess Shulkin wants the money to correct some of the Failed multi-Billion dollar IT projects. Not correct them per say but to funnel more money out the backside of the VA through their money laundering partners with IT contracts.

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