Before Vivieca Wright Simpson’s desk chair got cold, Friday, the White House already picked her permanent replacement, Peter O’Rourke.

Last week, VA OIG released its scathing report into a European trip orchestrated by Simpson last summer where the VA Secretary made unethical decisions and accepted expensive gifts from a director of a government contractor.

An email from Simpson was materially altered and then used to get approval for the trip. VA then floated that someone hacked into Simpson’s email to alter just one email. On the heels of that allegation, Simpson announced her sudden retirement.

Within hours of the announcement, the White House announced O’Rourke would permanently take over Simpson’s role.

In probably the shortest press release ever, “Effective immediately, VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Executive Director Peter O’Rourke will serve as VA’s permanent chief of staff, ensuring that the department works closely with the White House going forward. He will continue to serve as OAWP executive director until a successor is named.”

Reports from inside VA indicate more fireworks are coming.

As far as we know, it sounds like Jake Leinenkugel would like the role of Deputy Secretary. Lienenkugel used to run a regional brewery in Wisconsin that sold out to Coors. He served in the Marines for a few years before returning to the family business of beer making.

Dr. Michael Kussman is being floated as Secretary if President Donald Trump decides to end. Kussman is a retired brigadier general from the US Army who retired from VA as the Under Secretary for Health in 2009. Kussman is reportedly closely aligned with Concerned Veterans of America.

That speculation aside, it seems safe to say O’Rourke will leverage his role setting up the accountability office to hammer out agency leadership previously protected by Simpson. The former Chief of Staff was reportedly a longtime Democrat who refused to adhere to President Trump’s vision of accountability.

Beyond accountability, we can also safely bet Veterans Choice will accelerate.

Should one additional scandal hit in the next month, it is safe to assume Secretary Shulkin will be out.

Source: https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=4012

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53 Comments

  1. Not holding my breath. The VA Accountability Office is a joke and I’m sure O’Rourke will take that same “cherry picking” attitude as Chief of Staff.

    They still haven’t given me a status on my whistleblower retaliation claim that I filed Jul/Aug 2017, and this is even after I had to ask my congressman to ask them to give me a status.

    So, I guess that if you’re terminated from the VA via whistleblower retaliation you no longer are eligible for them to process your complaint?

    Ok, whatever…

  2. I suspect nothing will change within VA. Thinking about it, the VA is like the porn industry. Directors come and go, actors come and go, but everyone still gets fucked in the end. Until AFGE is kicked out of the government “bed” nothing changes.

    FUCK VA, FUCK AFGE

  3. Welcome to another episode of “As The VA Meat Grinder Churns”!! Today in Benjamin’s ‘Bad VA Art’ is also a bit like one of those “Find Waldo” posters but in today’s episode I only ask you to spot the taxpayer-funded rows of hair-plugs, VA transplants from a Ken Doll, no doubt.
    Each hair-plug represents bolted-down deckchairs on the V.A. Titanic but the hull is rusting, so some rats are just falling right overboard while still in their deckchairs.
    The rats are performing today their musical rendition of “Musical Deckchairs: It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” and here’s a short bar or two:

    “[…I could get cornrows
    Or a mohawk that looks fun
    Basically anything
    That David Beckham had done
    I could go for a side parting
    Or maybe let is grow right down to my feet
    Maybe, maybe, maybe

    When you next see me play
    You won’t know what to say
    It’s just the old days
    Cos it’s all coming back to me
    I’ll be first on the team
    Buying pots of Brylcream
    This is all like a dream
    Cos it’s coming back to me
    My hairline was obscene
    Cos it’s coming back to me
    But now you want stop me preen
    And it’s all coming back to me now

    I can run it through my hand
    Or I could use an alice band
    Now my hair’s looking grand
    And it’s all coming back to me
    Now
    (It’s all coming back to me now)
    I can introduce it again
    (It’s all coming back to me now)
    To a bottle of Pantene
    (It’s all coming back to me now)…]” 😀

  4. Ben, IF “…Choice is expanded…”, would that mean veterans would be allowed to use it more often?
    Will there be more accountability, especially when the “bill comes due”?

  5. Here’s two articles y’all should read;
    1.)
    From: “military.com”
    Dated: 16 Feb. 2018
    By; Richard Sisk
    Titled;
    “Signs VA Secretary Job In Jeopardy as Chief of Staff Steps Down”

    This goes along with Ben’s blog today. The “4th paragraph” is very telling. When it comes to the “Choice Program”!
    __________________________

    2.)
    From: “Fox News”
    Dated; 15 Feb. 2018
    By: Perry Chiaramonte
    Titled;
    “Court Determines Military Burn Pits Caused Lung Disease in Troops”

    This means there is now a “precedent” for adjudicating claims! I would definitely look into it!

    • On your first article CE, I find it interesting Shulkin is claiming the VA email system must have been hacked to defend his travel choices, but nobody is wondering how Leinenkugels email to Sandoval came to be. Was it hacked? Was it leaked? If so, by who?

      On your second article…I see it as good news for those exposed to Burn Pits that a court ruled in their favor. Long experience and seeing what happened during and after the Gulf War says nobody should get too excited.
      Exactly the same things happened then. Contractors became sick like soldiers did. Any gains made by proving how those became sick did not automatically help one or the other groups.
      Soldiers had a somewhat easier time of going to the VA and trying to get care. That’s not to say care happened or the VA listened.
      Those working for contractors had to fight through the Department of Labor for Workers Compensation claims.
      Contractors (individual people working for a contractor) had to take up their cases with the Department of Labor and sue in court. Often when they won, the case was so narrowly decided it only helped the person suing. In other instances, the contracting business such as KBR would quietly appeal the case, or would settle out of court with the individual so as to not set a precedent for the thousands of other employees that were also sick.

  6. My concern is really,….. (tiny devil on left elbow just won out over the reasonable tiny angle on right shoulder so here goes…)
    since her chair was still warm when he sat down in it does that mean that they didn’t have time for the traditional VA Lysol Spraying Of The Chair for new leadership?

    Butt germs in Washington D.C. spread like wildfire if not kept in check. Some of these backwards traditions have damn good reasons for being kept and should not have been skipped. I fear this bodes ill for a long term solution…

  7. They need to hold all those hacks accountable by asserting the e-mail was hacked. That is straight bullshit to say it, if the secretary was not knowledgeable about lady manatee’s actions. He would be guilty of lying to Congress because he stated it.
    Everyone concerned should put Congress in check to investigate the Secretary actually stating the e-mail was hacked.

  8. Joe Chenelly, executive director of AmVets and said Rick Weidman, co-founder of Vietnam Veterans of America have come out in support of keep the corruption going at the VA. Cleary, they don’t have a problem with Shulkin spending money meant for Veterans on his 10-day European Vacation and his currently scheduled trip to travel to Vatican City from April 20 to 29, 2018 to attend the Pontifical Council for Culture.

    The Vatican is the one of few countries in the world that do not have a military. The Council for Culture includes a show of European art and religious history.

    As for Joe Chenelly you would kind of expect it coming from the person in charge of a string of Gambling operations, some legal most illegal. And the bogus membership roles they keep for his org. Anybody can join if they once met a Veteran or just want to gamble.

    But Rick Weidman and the Vietnam Veterans of America backing Shulkin after he kicked the can down the road on agent orange and make a decision on the report from the National Academy of Science. Follow that up with Shulkin kicking the can down the road on addressing legacy appeal claims of Vietnam Veterans until 2026.

    Rick Weidman is totally throwing Vietnam era Veterans totally under the bus.

    Both Rick Weidman and Joe Chenelly are totally worthless POS as far as the world of Veterans and both are totally in their jobs just to collect the big bucks no matter how badly they harm other Veterans to get their paychecks.

    Here is Shulkin’s lines last year on legacy appeals

    Secretary Shulkin at Senate VA budget hearing 2018 on Jun 14, 2017
    ________________________

    • Here is Shulkin, again throwing Veterans with legacy appeals under the bus. This time it was last Thursday at the Congressional Hearings on the 2019 Budget. Joe Chenelly and Rick Weidman nothing but POS!!!
      _____________________

    • Interesting points about Rick Weidman throwing Vietnam vets under the bus.

      In one of the news articles I read on the AFGE protest at VAHQ, Rick Weidman was quoted. If I recall correctly, Weidman was at the protest.

      • Here is one article that quotes both Rick Weidman and Chenelly on his supporting Shulkin.


        Veterans groups urge Trump to keep VA Secretary David Shulkin despite travel errors

        Donovan Slack, USA TODAY
        Published 11:40 p.m. ET Feb. 18, 2018 |
        Updated 11:01 a.m. ET Feb. 19, 2018

        Quotes From the article:

        “One of the oldest organizations representing veterans, AmVets, also praised the secretary.

        “Please allow VA Secretary Shulkin the space necessary to do his job and continue your focus on fixing the VA,” Joe Chenelly, executive director of AmVets said in a statement directed at the president.

        Vietnam Veterans of America echoed those thoughts and also expressed support for VA Deputy Secretary Tom Bowman, who has been on the job only since August.

        “Keep both David Shulkin and Tom Bowman and see where we are in a year,” said Rick Weidman, co-founder of the organization. “It hasn’t been long enough.””

        _______________

        Full Article At: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/02/18/veterans-group-urges-trump-keep-va-secretary-david-shulkin-despite-travel-errors/350233002/

        ________________

        No doubt Shulkin bought their backing with some major promises out of this years budget, for their support.

    • A faster option to opt in the new process, Yea To get denied faster, What a joke.
      And old boy stairmaster talking about the claim that is 25 years old and said we know how that will go the veteran will DIE, problem solved, WTF ….
      Why not get more Judges so they can hear more claims instead of beating around the bush hoping you will Die first, They will spend millions on programs as long as it doesn’t get to the Veteran’s Pocket …. ASSHOLES….
      And speaking of Choice You get better care, What the VA radiologists says like in my case nothing more than arthritis, You go to a outside neurosurgeon and he says
      I have to grind down a BIG bone spur take out a cyst and fuse a Vertebra, Now thats a hell of a difference, You Fucking VA rejects.

    • SK,
      You must have a Benjamin Krause Gold membership card to post video show and tell on this site! LOL!
      Great job!
      You should have edited Isaakon’s video showing him passing gas and shit during the hearing. That would have confirmed the suspicion that he is truly a real life biscuit belly, corndorg eating, fat basturd!

      • His Stairmaster’s groans from a wide load usually has the added unexpected benefit of covering-up Isaakson’s vile sounds and discharging fluids. Plus, the VSO’s lick that stuff right-up! 😀

  9. HA! You’re funny Ben.

    “Should one additional scandal hit in the next month, it is safe to assume Secretary Shulkin will be out.”

    This is the VA. I give it a week. Whether it rises to the level requiring the removal of the Secretary remains to be seen.

    Now, whether I think Shulkin was doing a good job or not and want him gone?

    Keeping the Choice program going may or may not have been Shulkins decision. He may not have had any control over trying to improve how that program works. I saw no improvement whatsoever during his term other than additional staff being hired and creation of a billing hotline, neither of which worked. Whether that is his fault or the fault of zero oversight by Congress doesn’t matter.

    I did see the VA continue to sabotage Choice.
    I did see whistle blowers continue to get fired.
    I did see directors that should have been fired stay in their job.
    I did see the VA continue to protect directors that should have been fired by playing their shell game of moving them around. Or trying to anyway.
    I did see those that should have been fired and prosecuted still win their cases before the MPSB.

    About the only real action I saw was a few of the leadership removed at Manchester, but then even that was glossed over with no news on whether those relieved were fired or just moved elsewhere. I then saw a VA secretary push back against an Office of Special Counsel report on Manchester, as if somehow what went on there was defendable, or the 11 doctors blowing the whistle were wrong.
    I did see more veterans die because of corrupt VA practices like knowingly hiring an unlicensed doctor.
    I did see millions of dollars that was supposed to go for veterans medical care instead be used for some bullshit IT program, as if the need for WiFi was more important than caring for veterans.
    I did see an agency official responsible for a project that is years behind schedule and a billion over budget get promoted.
    I did see another multi billion dollar attempt at creating an electronic health record after many billions were already wasted without anyone held accountable.
    I did see a Secretary playing footsie with Congress and unelected VSOs rather than carrying out the agenda of the person who appointed him.

    Finally, I saw a Secretary that thought a $122,000+ European vacation was a good idea, but taking the little missus along for the ride and having a sightseeing tour schedule longer than your official business schedule was a better idea. And then to defend those genius ideas, make a bizarre claim at the last minute that your Chief of Staff’s single email was hacked.

    Much of the above happened because of the politics of the old way of thinking.

    Was his Chief of Staff removed because of politics? Possibly. Will Shulkin be removed because of politics? Maybe.

    If he is removed, he certainly opened himself up for it.

    • I beg to differ on your statement of no change at the VA 91Veteran.

      Veterans Homelessness is up by 2% over last year and Shulkin was also able to grow the budget request by $10s of Billions.

      Although I do have to admit that most hasn’t changed. At least no real positive change anyway.

  10. No progress in gaining positive ground for Veterans. Absolutely treasonous. Going around in circles by misleading Press Releases, and not abiding by their own Policies, Guidelines, and Rules. How many trees could be saved, and the reduction of man hours, and electric utility costs. What a waste. It’s quite obvious that the health and welfare of Veterans aren’t the VA’s top priority. No more benefits of doubt for these traitors. They deserve nothing less than some hot steel piercing through their wicked flesh. Problem solved, the house will be purged and cleaned up, and then things then will be heading to the up and up. End of the VA corruption. Getting dizzy yet?

  11. I agree with TaB, not holding my breath. I had a surgeon in the VA who damn near killed me and yes I am being truthful. I turned him into the VA Hospital where he worked and they did nothing. I turned him into the Regional Office and they did nothing. I turned him into the VISN 11 office and the woman there absolutely refused to even take my calls to try and find out what was going on. I turned him into the national and nothing happened. I turned him into the Indiana Medical Review Board and they admitted that this was the worst case of malpractice they had ever seen, but they couldnt do anything because he was a VA doctor and the VA had to do it. So not only was this quack not punished or removed, he was allowed to retire from the VA with full pension. Me? I am awaiting info to find out if I have to have surgery number 28 because of this quacks screw up. So no, I wont hold my breath to see if anything is going to happen as it wont. The twits are too entrenched and it would take an atom bomb to budge them.

  12. Given Dr. Michael J. Kussman is being floated as a possible replacement for Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

    ___________
    ______________

    VA health official resigns amid probes
    By Audrey Hudson-The Washington Times -Wednesday, April 8, 2009

    Several Highlights from the article:

    “The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) official in charge of its health system announced his retirement Tuesday amid a cluster of media reports about the agency mishandling the medical care of the nation’s veterans.

    Dr. Michael J. Kussman, who became undersecretary for health in 2007, says he will end his 37 years of government service May 9.”

    ____________________

    “The Washington Times reported Tuesday that the VA is investigating whether its failure to sanitize hospital colonoscopy equipment is responsible for infecting one veteran with the HIV virus and 16 others with hepatitis.

    More than 10,000 veterans are being urged to seek testing after being exposed to equipment that was not sterilized at VA hospitals in Tennessee, Georgia and Florida.”

    ___________________

    “But even as the VA has worked to provide quality health care for the millions of veterans at its facilities across the country, it has endured a series of failures – from not notifying test subjects about new-drug warnings to ignoring safeguards during experiments – that have damaged its reputation.

    Dr. Kussman came under fire in August after an inspector general’s investigation uncovered rampant violations in an Arkansas veterans hospital in its human experiments program, including missing consent forms, secret HIV testing and failure to report more than 100 deaths of subjects participating in studies.

    The inspector general found that entire consent forms were missing, signatures were missing from consent forms, HIV testing was conducted without documented consent, and research officials failed to obtain witness signatures in a study involving patients with dementia.

    In a joint investigation, The Times and ABC News first reported June 16 that the federal government is using thousands of military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder for voluntary clinical trials. Several of the studies tested psychotropic drugs linked to suicidal behavior, including the drug Chantix.”

    _________________

    “Also, the news Web site Nextgov.com reported that Dr. Kussman wrote a memo last month outlining the failure of a new patient-scheduling program that had been in the works since 2001, at a cost of $167 million.

    Dr. Kussman said the program “still has not developed a single scheduling capability it can provide to the field, nor is there any expectation of delivery in the near future.”

    In discussing how and when this information would become public, Dr. Kussman advised, “We need a clear communication plan for how we tell the story both inside and outside VA.””

    ______________

    Full Article At: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/apr/8/va-health-official-resigns-amid-probes/

    • If you ask me. Personally I think that replacing Shulkin with Kussman would be like reaching back into the swamp to pull out an old connected turd. One everyone hopes has lost it stink.

      Certainly would guarantee the continuation of the VA’s tradition of generating negative Headlines. While remaining the Deadliest Health Care System in America.

      • More past articles on Kussman that led to his being forced into retirement at the VA. This Article and others from 2008 show that under Kussman reign at the VA they knew about the high number of Vietnam Veterans suicides back in 2008. When they hide information that showed there were 18 Veterans per day committing suicide.

        _________________

        VA Official Denies Cover-Up of Veterans’ Suicide Statistics

        Health Highlights: April 27, 2008
        By ABC News

        “A Department of Veterans Affairs official has testified that his agency has not tried to cover up the number of suicides committed by veterans, the Associated Press reports.

        Testifying last Thursday at a trial in a San Francisco federal court, VA undersecretary for health Dr. Michael Kussman said the discrepancy in the number of suicides his agency reported to Congress and the number found in VA documents was because of different veteran categories included in the statistics.

        VA Secretary James Peake had reported in February that 144 combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed suicide between October 2001 and December 2005, the A.P. reports. But the plaintiffs’ lawyer produced internal VA e-mails indicating that 18 veterans a day were committing suicide, the wire service says.

        The discrepancy, Kussman testified is that the internal emails included all 26 million veterans, and that Vietnam veterans were killing themselves in increasing numbers, possibly because of having more health problems as they age. The lawsuit was brought by two veterans groups who allege government neglect in providing timely and adequate health care for returning veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq, the A.P. reports.”

        Full Article At: https://abcnews.go.com/Health/Healthday/story?id=4735197&page=1

      • Another past Article on Kussman’s VA in 2009 while he was being forced out on retirement.

        Note that the same problems have repeatedly occurred under Shulkin. The only difference is the VA has gotten better at hiding the number of Veterans being harmed when they screw up.

        ____

        5th HIV case linked to unsterile equipment

        6 ABC Action News, May 1st, 2009

        “MIAMI – May 1, 2009 – —
        The Department of Veterans Affairs says a fifth patient has tested positive for HIV and another seven have tested positive for hepatitis after being exposed to contaminated medical equipment at three VA hospitals. That brings the total who have tested positive for hepatitis to 33.

        They are among thousands tested because they were treated with endoscopic equipment that wasn’t properly sterilized between patients and exposed them to the body fluids of others. The equipment is often used in colonoscopies and ear, nose and throat procedures.

        Nearly 11,000 former sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines could have been exposed at the hospitals in Miami, Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Augusta, Ga. The agency said 6,687 patients have been notified of their test results so far.

        VA spokeswoman Katie Roberts said the new HIV case was found in the Miami hospital. The agency said in a news release the positive tests were “not necessarily linked to any endoscopy issues.”

        “It’s very disturbing that anybody would contract it, of course. I am pleased that the VA has agreed to treat all the veterans regardless of where they may have contracted it,” said Alexander Kovac, a veterans’ advocate who was stationed in Korea in the 1960s.

        The VA has said the problems with the endoscopic equipment had gone on for years, but were discovered in December when officials learned the Murfreesboro facility wasn’t following cleaning procedures the manufacturer recommended. It issued an internal alert for hospitals to check procedures, and the problem at Augusta was discovered in January.

        On Feb. 9, the VA announced a nationwide safety check of endoscopic equipment used in colonoscopies and ear, nose and throat treatments. The procedure involves a narrow, flexible tube fitted with a fiber-optic device such as a telescope or magnifying lens that is inserted into the body.

        Some veterans were warned in February to get tested, and more were alerted in March when the Miami hospital backtracked on its previous conclusion that it didn’t have a problem.

        The day after the first HIV infection became public April 6, the VA announced that its top medical official, Dr. Michael Kussman, was retiring. Kussman still works at the VA but could not be reached for comment. Roberts has said there was “no connection whatsoever.”

        The endoscopic equipment is made by Center Valley, Pa.-based Olympus American Inc., and the company has said its recommended cleaning procedures are clear.”

        Full Article At: https://6abc.com/archive/6791720/

  13. why wait for another scandal, fire shulkin now…bust down the closed doors at the VA so everybody can see the bleached bones of veterans who have died there…privatize VHA…why keep hiring more swamp creatures…

  14. if choice is expanded will they consider the fact a lot of us veterans, who are forced to attempt healthcare from VA, don’t have transportation, or reliable transportation to use choice and use medical facilities close by… they have conveniently ignored this fact so far didn’t give af…also will we be given a voice that will give our complaints a fair hearing, patient advocates are jokes…

  15. office of accountability and whistle blower protection sounds good but is probably another platitude… how does one access it… the white house hot line is a joke…

  16. Public officials must be held to a higher standard, and whether intentional or not, misusing taxpayer dollars is unacceptable. – VA Shulkin supposed take care of misconduct . And himself does what he supposed to stop .

  17. Whatever happens, Veterans are screwed and then screwed again. No matter who gets the big VA job, whether it’s teddy bear face Shulkin that keeps it or whether it’s the Koch bros. Hatchet man Kussman that gets the job. Mafia Dons come and go. Only difference is Mafia Dons go to prison sometimes.

  18. Just because an individual is a military veteran, does not mean said veteran is veteran friendly. Over the years, VA appointees, both military and civilian, are proven to be corrupt, anti-American to the extent they manipulate and humiliate veterans on every level.
    Concerned Veterans of America are nothing more than a group of puppets. The CVA “approved of, and applauded” Shulkin and the previous VA appointees and look what happened: criminal deviancy at its best, at all levels from top to bottom.
    Obama’s wife, that womb rejected looking thing, was laying claim to being a voice for military and family as well as veterans during his presidential campaign. Instead of doing what she said and while the Veterans Administration was engaged in murdering and killing veterans, she was hashtagging “bring our girls back” in reference to the 200 girls kidnapped by islamic group Boko Haram in Africa….
    And then there is the credibility factor of the VFW, American Legion, DAV, and less potent groups like CVA and Wounded Warrior who all believe health and benefits from the VA are the only necessary points to be made to gather national attention. There,are a few other issues most ignored by all these groups:

    Bonuses at any and all levels must be stopped, completely. The VA is not a business….

    Voc Rehab is most ignored and the Los Angeles region is a big player in manipulating veterans healthcare, vocational rehabilitation, and multiple other benefits much like other municipalities and facilities…..

    VA employees lie, cheat, steal, manipulate, humiliate, distort, deviate, etc, etc……….

    I am convinced that it should be military enlisted who run the VA from top to bottom and some family members.

    The IQ of this era of VA employees is a lethargic low. I have seen writeups from some VA employees who claim to be veteran AND educated with all kinds of degrees, and who cannot write a paragraph outside of the first grade level…..
    I HAVE MY PROOF….. In fact, that Salcido womb reject who called veterans “lowest of the low” probably got a standing ovation from VA employees…..

  19. One more Scandal today is the POS out yet?

    _______________________________________

    How the VA creates barriers to organ transplantation

    Chelsea Adams
    Monday, February 19, 2018

    “The Department of Veterans Affairs has been accused of making it difficult for veterans to access organ transplants. A recent report by the Office of the Special Counsel alleges that expecting veterans to travel to distant medical centers to access transplants “did not appear reasonable.”

    The allegations were first made in 2016 when whistleblower Jamie McBride accused the VA of requiring sick vets to travel long distances to receive care. McBride works as a manager of solid organ transplants at the VA hospital in San Antonio, Texas. McBride said that rather than allowing veterans to receive transplants at local hospitals, the VA required patients to travel long distances to hospitals across the country.

    The requirement causes both financial and logistical challenges for vets which may have cost some their lives, McBride said. Before coming forward to the media, McBride had attempted to show records documenting the delays to officials in Washington, but the problem was not fixed.

    A second report conducted by the Cleveland Clinic confirmed much of McBride’s allegations. The report concluded that VA patients in need of kidney transplants were less likely to receive the surgery than other patients in need of the same procedure.

    Specifically, VA patients were 28 percent less likely to have a kidney transplant than patients with private insurance. The report also found that VA patients were more likely to die while waiting on a kidney transplant, and VA patients lived an average of 282 miles from a VA transplant centers. Non-VA patients lived an average of 23 miles from a transplant center.

    “The much greater distance from transplant centers may contribute to lower transplant rates in veterans, and other factors related to organ acceptance or center practices may also contribute to differences,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Joshua Augustine of the Cleveland Clinic.

    A third case study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania found that veterans in need of a liver transplants were more likely to die if required to travel more than 100 miles to a transplant center.

    “They have less access to a lifesaving transplant, which directly correlates to a higher chance of dying from liver disease,” said Dr. David Goldberg, the surgeon who led the study.

    The subsequent investigation by the Office of the Special Counsel echoed McBride’s claims and the research findings. In a letter to President Donald Trump dated Jan. 28, Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner wrote that the OSC found “several discrepancies and deficiencies in the evidence and findings presented” in initial and followup reports by the VA following the first allegations.

    Full Article At: https://exclusive.multibriefs.com/content/how-the-va-creates-barriers-to-organ-transplantation/law-enforcement-defense-security

    • The POS isn’t out yet. Well maybe after the next VA scandal. Oh here it is!

      _______________

      Veterans denied claims because of this little-known rule

      An 11Alive Investigation has discovered that the VA has denied paying for thousands of emergency room visits for Georgia veterans because they haven’t visited a VA doctor enough.

      by Andy Pierrotti
      February 19, 2018

      “If you serve your country, the Department of Veterans Affairs is supposed to pay for most of your medical care. It’s part of the deal for joining the military and risking your life.

      An 11Alive Investigation uncovered, however, that the VA has denied paying for thousands of emergency room visits for Georgia veterans over the past few years. It’s not because the veterans did not have an emergency, it’s because they did not visit a VA doctor enough.

      Army veteran David Riggs is one of those veterans. Last year, the 55-year-old Brooklet, Georgia veteran went to the ER at East Georgia Regional Medical Center in Statesboro after suffering from intense stomach pain so bad he couldn’t walk.

      “I was in so much pain, I didn’t know where to turn,” said Riggs.

      After a few hours in the ER, a quick scan identified he had kidney stones. Medical emergencies for Riggs are rare. Over the past 10 years, Riggs says he’s only needed to see a doctor about two or three times.

      “He wasn’t raised to go to the doctor if I sneeze,” said Riggs’ wife, Ginger.

      “Unless it was life-threatening, you didn’t do anything for it except just keep it from bleeding and keep on going,” Riggs said.

      A few months later, he received a bill from the hospital for $12,186. At first, Riggs wasn’t worried because he’s covered by the VA.

      So, he was surprised when he got a letter in the mail from the VA denying his claim because “he had not received VA treatment within the past 24 months prior to the emergency room visit.”

      You read that correctly — the Veterans Administration said he wasn’t seeing a VA doctor enough to remain eligible for emergency room reimbursement. It’s a rule covered under a law called the Millennium Act passed in 1999, and approved after Riggs left the Army.

      “My reaction to that was, ‘Well, I didn’t know this rule was in effect,'” said Riggs. “I’m being penalized for being healthy and not having to use the doctor very often.”

      The 11Alive Investigators uncovered evidence that Riggs isn’t the only veteran who’s never heard of the rule. A 2014 Government Accountability Office report found that “most veterans” are ”not knowledgeable about the Millennium Act.”

      Full Article At: https://www.11alive.com/article/news/investigations/veterans-denied-claims-because-of-this-little-known-rule/85-520417585

      • No Worries. The VA will now spare no expense and wallpaper every inch of wall space at all VAMC’s with “Millennium Act Warning Posters” in spaces that are not already wallpapered with “Travel Pay Fraud Warning Posters”.
        This will have the extra benefit of no longer needing to remove posters to repaint the already repainted walls and more performance bonus $$ for the fat hacks placing a millennium worth of weight per square inch on office furniture.

    • U.S. Office of Special Counsel

      OSC Finds Numerous Shortcomings in VA Response on Barriers to Life-saving Organ Transplants for Veterans

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

      “The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) today noted numerous shortcomings and unanswered questions in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) response to whistleblower disclosures of flaws and limited access to life-saving organ transplants for veterans. The disclosures to OSC came from Mr. Jamie McBride, a registered nurse and program manager for the Solid Organ Transplant Program at Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital, San Antonio, Texas. Many of the identified problems apply throughout the VA’s nationwide transplant program.

      Mr. McBride disclosed that the structure and procedures for referring VA patients for organ transplants to a limited number of VA transplant facilities restrict patients’ access to life-saving treatment. The structure also causes financial and other hardships to veterans and their families by requiring them to relocate for months to receive treatment. He also alleged that communication problems between VA medical centers and transplant centers result in delays in care; the transplant centers apply inconsistent and overly restrictive eligibility criteria for liver and kidney transplants; the medical centers lack the level of specialty care required to care for post-transplant patients; and the VA’s unwillingness to perform living donor kidney transplants denies patients timely, life-prolonging treatment options.

      OSC referred the allegations to the VA for investigation. The VA submitted an initial report to OSC on Jan. 30, 2017, and a supplemental report on May 17, 2017. Mr. McBride provided comments in response to each report. OSC has reviewed the reports.

      “I have determined that the reports meet the statutory requirements; however, the findings do not appear reasonable,” Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner wrote to President Trump.

      Kerner’s letter described that OSC identified several discrepancies and deficiencies in the evidence and findings presented in the VA’s initial report and provided the VA an opportunity to clarify and resolve those issues in its supplemental report. However, he wrote, the VA:

      did not address the conflicting information regarding the availability of transplant care in the community and the coverage of organ harvesting and donor care through the Choice Program, which Congress created to allow veterans to seek care outside of the VA system when needed;

      did not address the full scope of the allegations, such as the cause of the VA’s low rate of living donor transplants and communication problems among multiple VA facilities;

      for some findings, did not acknowledge the consequences and potential harm to veterans, such as the delay veterans experienced while appealing and seeking second opinions in cases where a VA transplant center applied overly restrictive criteria, and for post-transplant patients who receive care from physicians who do not believe they are capable of providing proper care;

      aside from travel reimbursement, did not address the other significant hardships and barriers to care imposed on veterans who must travel long distances for months to VA transplant centers; and

      identified only one transplant in the community covered under the Choice Program allowing veterans to receive care outside of VA facilities, and a small number through other contracting arrangements, yet offered no recommendations to improve veterans’ access to community care.

      “Mr. McBride deserves praise for bringing forward the numerous barriers to life-saving organ transplants for veterans,” Kerner said. “With his disclosures, and continued persistence from him, from veterans and their advocates, attention from Congress, and diligence from those within the VA who are willing to acknowledge and fix the problems, I hope the agency will make sure good transplant care is available to veterans who need it.””

      Full Press Release At: https://osc.gov/News/pr18-15.pdf

  20. Come to think of it , I wouldn’t care if Shulkin was out of country 365 days a year . He can steal the money . He will anyway . Somebody mention today , that in a year , will be reading the same thing . Guess what, we are .

    • It is just another season of episodes for the VA’s soap opera “As the Turds Turn”.

      Same writers on the show just a slight variation of the cast but same old respective story lines.

      Whether it is episode from a few seasons back asking “Where is Bob”, and of course in that episode Robert McDonald was off for several months helping the Homeless Veterans in Hawaii make it through those tough winters down there.

      Only to have Bob return in March and do a photo op with a great tan and his support staff all very well tanned while they were suppose to be handing out free boots to Veterans in Washington D.C. due to the drop in temps to 45 degrees.

      Of course the homeless Veterans that suffered the -20 degree days for an extend period through winter in the mid west went without support due to financing Bob’s extended work in Hawaii to help the homeless there instead.

      The current episode where Shulkin is busted cold with his European Vacation and his planned Vacation to Rome this April. All on the VA’s budget.

      Of course they did have to sacrifice the COS in this episode but not to worry she will be in future episodes as a VA contractor making more than twice the money she currently was..

      • Dr. Shulkin went out and about to the Homeless Veterans right in the D.C. Swamp…too bad it was the warm spell a week or so after the coldest freak’n Winter in years took place…I bet those D.C. Homeless Vets were also all warmed-up inside when the good Dr. let those Homeless Vets in D.C. know it was “safe again” to come back to the VA and play…nonhuman test research subjects wanted to test-out the surgical supplies for rust and MRSA, just follow the head rat acting like the Pied Piper blowing a flute up the POTUS’s ass these days…

        In a MOOD tonight. (a violently happy mood)

  21. 02/19/2018

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    Chancellor Merkel “has to listen to the Central Bankers” before making a move [Charlie Rose Show on Greece & the Immigrants], and so does President Trump [Same Central Bankers].

    That means the Shareholders of America [owners of the District of Columbia] and the Central Bankers tell President Trump what to do, along with the Davos population that has given everyone the marching orders [1971].

    Peter O’Rourke must stay in the given guidelines or face an early removal.

    Benjamin you stated, “Should one additional scandal hit in the next month, it is safe to assume Secretary Shulkin will be out.” Most VA Secretaries only last two years +/- and it has only been one year since 02/14/2017 [First Entered the Office], and on his Anniversary there was a National Crisis. He will not leave for another year no matter what happens. Unless someone releases the information on the actual Drug Trafficking [intentional/unintentional] centering out of all the VA Hospital Systems [One of many examples: Candyland/Tomah, Wisconsin].

    The Fact is that the VA System is bilking the US Taxpayers, Costing the Taxpayers, and killing the Taxpayers, this VA is out of control, and VA Secretary has no clue on how to stop it without cutting his own throat; so his decision was to go for a Vacation of a Lifetime in Europe.

    Sa La Vie

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg

  22. After careful review of this article, I declare that her desk chair did not get cold. I reviewed her picture in a news article, and will conclude that she is the owner of huge wasteland type farts, and that chair had to be replaced by a biohazard company.

  23. It doesn’t matter if the old COS was a holdover; she was personally involved and seemingly largely responsible with several of the recent controversies, including deceiving the Secretary as to a case about the VA having a 75-yr-old vet prosecuted for hanging American flags at a VA facility in protest of Department policies.

    Gotta go!

    (Her conduct has been referred to DOJ and she’ll likely be prosecuted herself.)

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