The DOD was a no-show at a key hearing addressing shortfalls in benefits and research of the impact of burn pits on veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan held by the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.

The hearing, which covered problems related to exposure to toxic smoke from burn pits, addressed the failure of VA and DOD to adequately research and respond to problems veterans now face as civilians. These shortfalls are still significant despite over a decade of research into health effects of the exposures.

RELATED: DisabledVeterans.org Burn Pit Articles

Over 140,000 veterans and current service members are enrolled in the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, but VA still maintains it does not know enough about hazards of exposure to known toxins to grant service connection for many conditions veterans suffer from.

Officials presently believe over 3.5 million soldiers were exposed to burn pit smoke but only 9,000 veterans have applied for disability benefits, supposedly.

Does that sound right? I suspect VA is lowballing the number with the effect of making Congress think the number injured is substantially smaller than it is to justify not spending money researching the subject.

ROUNDTABLE: VA/DOD Animal Research Not ‘Valid’ For Burn Pit Exposure, Good For Helping For-Profit Companies Patent Research Though

“Year after year, we have seen an upward trend in the number of our members reporting symptoms associated with burn pit exposure,” said Tom Porter, legislative director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Porter was a Naval reservist who also deployed to Afghanistan and suffered from injuries linked to burn pit smoke.

Of course, part of the problem with low numbers of veterans seeking benefits is the piss poor job VA does adjudicating the exposures and the refusal of many VA doctors to assess and treat veterans claiming exposure to burn pit smoke.

RELATED: Does VA Burn Pit Registry Hold Out False Hope?

Many of those testifying, including Porter, highlighted how the existing burn pit registry is underutilized but the reality is practically every registry VA created to address implications of certain exposures of past wars were a disappointment to veterans.

Two years ago, IOM released a report addressing burn pits and the registry. They concluded the VA burn pit registry was essentially useless because it poorly collects the data and policymakers inside VA refuse to maximize the usefulness of the data for causation.

RELATED: Biden Finally Links Son’s Death To Burn Pit Related Cancer

Of course, much of the mystery about what the toxins may have done could be resolved if VA or DOD followed through with the government’s promise in 2003 to draw blood before deployment to help prevent problems faced by veterans of Gulf War who developed mysterious illnesses upon return.

Do you have an experience with your VA doctor you’d like to share about burn pits and VA health care? Did you notice how much Congress focused on the value of the data being gleaned from transitioning to the Cerner EHR platform?

Rep. Gus Bilirakus mentioned something quite interesting. He wants an independent third party to evaluate burn pits. He also pushed back about how the VA burn pit registry is essentially useless for research purposes as a result of how the agency put it together.

When asked, VA responded that it is quite content in its cozy relationship with the IOM and that the agency is negotiating yet another study with IOM that will likely be as useless in furthering benefits adjudication sciences as the previous, which is used against veterans seeking benefits – – serving as an anti-veteran device that holds us back.

So, should we placate to VA’s continued slow-walking of the science while veterans die? Or, should we blow past VA and OIM research and look to funding third parties?

Conveniently missing from the hearing was VBA undersecretary Paul Lawrence to answer questions from Congress about disability benefits.

WATCH HEARING: https://veterans.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=2177

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21 COMMENTS

  1. It’s disgusting the misuse their power. They know the rules better than anyone and play them. More time is spent talking on the phone with their peers discussing all the problems and who knows the best way to win. The only thing they don’t like is the media and the spotlight and believe they have an agreement with the media since so many complaints they can pick a couple every so often without sinking anyone. I know they don’t care who calls, they can give a rat’s ass about a congressman, when tired of playing they just ignore and when things get missing, files sent to the congressman without anything of value cause they took out. The best thing to do for a claim is put the truth of whatever seeking with as much proof you have, must have been treated at the VA with medical notes and Nexus letters if can get and shut up! Keep your appointments showing a trail of care and shut up. You could be in a bad mood one day, God forbid have mental health problems and catch one person with a cactus and suddenly they have a great time messing with your life. Serious, be nice and shut up. Once in a while you might catch somebody that actually cares.

    • So Bozo you are saying just accept what you get. Fuck that!!!

      We are talking about life and death here regarding the VA and their total failure to correctly diagnose heath problems. Leaving Veterans with out proper care.

  2. 06/08/2018

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    Guilty is Guilty—-they know it and we know it.

    There is nothing to talk about!

    What are you going to do?

    And the VA will respond the same way in Phoenix [VA Hospital] after the Office of Inspector General issued 13 recommendations and please note “The report includes an addendum showing Nelson concurred with all recommendations.”

    That is all we got out of the Phoenix VA Health Care System Director Rima Nelson; after millions of man hours, millions of Dollars, and several Directors, and all we get is a concurring head movement.

    Not an apology to the Veterans, Not an apology to the Taxpayer, Not an apology to the City/State, Not even an apology to their own Staff or the Union—these people have no shame.

    Phoenix VA has a One Star Rating—after four (4) years being in the National Spotlight.

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg

    • Where was “Concerned Veterans of America” at this hearing? Where were all the other piggy VSO’s? Other “concern$?” A free buffet of slop somewhere on the D.C. Mall?

  3. “[…Conveniently missing from the hearing was VBA undersecretary Paul Lawrence to answer questions from Congress about disability benefits.]”

    “[The DOD was a no-show at a key hearing addressing shortfalls in benefits and research of the impact of burn pits on veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan held by the House Committee on Veterans Affairs…]”

    This tells me these no-shows were carefully orchestrated by Johnny Issacson’s minions of indifferent assholes. They could have at least set a row of vacant Stairmasters at the hearing…they blatantly DO NOT GIVE A FLYING FUCK. LOUD AND CLEAR.

    • cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿

      Bingo!!

  4. Have you noticed, even under subpoenas, people don’t show up to answer questions in any of the committees. If, and when, they do, they never truthfully answer questions!

    Just about every day now, “We the People” have been seeing unconstitutional illegal acts, corruption, waste, fraud and abuse at its finest in Washington DC and across the country. Elected, appointed and high echelon officials are literally raping the American Taxpayers! It seems they have it down to a perfected science! And, millions of Americans are buying this government’s lies!

    “IG Reports” are rarely followed. IF they are, it’s only haphazard at best! And, that’s only IF the IG Report is made “public” and without “redactions”! You know, “national security risks”!

    Wouldn’t it be something, if our government started a war and no one showed? Or, how about, IF a war WAS started, only those who started it – had to fight it!

    • cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿

      Ce, I’ve notice alright, and it is sickening how little these people DO NOT GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THE LAW, OR OUR USELESS CONSTITUTION. USELESS because THEY made it that way.
      If I were to respond to your second part, Ce, I would be getting that knock at the door from DHS, Dung Hurling Spidermonkey’s.

  5. I hear there was a really big swamp hockey game in D.C…..maybe they ALL had season tickets for swamp hockey? Official Time or ???

  6. Why don’t we get a truck load of VA hospital waste and dump it on DOD’s front door and light it and see what happens. Or every VA hospital lawn. Just as long as they get a good whif.

  7. This out from, “military.com” on 7 June.

    “House Panel Again Blocks Measure to Let VA Doctors Recommend Marijuana”

    Check it out. That’s only the “title”! I figured I’d let y’all google it. To see what it’s about!

    • While I obviously can’t speak for all states. I know in my state that it’s quite easy to get a card for an approved condition of which PTSD is one. It costs 250.00 USD annually to get an MMJ card in the state of CT. We have a list of civilian docs who are ready, able and willing to sign off on marijuana useage if you can document an approved condition. I’m not sure what the hold up is. If a person lives in an MMJ state that veteran should have no problem acquiring a card and medication without VA oversight/help.

      That being said. It’s no surprise to me that some scumbag from TexASS decides he’s going to be the one to keep veterans safe from THE DEVIL’S SALAD!!! But hey what do we expect? Afterall this is the same state that brought us Perry and Cruz.

      If I where in a position of power and I had a group of angry, violent, and pissed off folks looking for medication I’d sure as hell give it to them. I’d rather a bunch of angry individuals polish off a bag of doritos instead of thinking about storming a gov building…

  8. The no-show and others were probably busy on their laptops checking into how much longer till they can retire or when they have to resign, to get their full Cadillac retirement benefits. It’s about the only thing I can think of to show such indifference about a major problem affecting Vets.

  9. Not enough pressure, not enough lawsuits, not enough everything to shine the light on the holes in which these swamp creatures hide. More Hell raising more lawsuits & lawsuits & lawsuits, front page stuff.

  10. Off-Topic Observation:

    I was out and about earlier today and while at a convenience store the check-out person and two customers checking-out were talking about how it was SO TERRIBLE the amount of recent *celebrity suicides* in the news….

    …NOT TRYING TO BE AN ASS…

    …I *had* to interject and stated, “Does anyone realize that 22 Veterans commit suicide A DAY in USA each and every day?”

    …~~**crickets**~~…then the checkout person continued chomping early morning gum in her mouth, looks-up, and says, “If that were true, why isn’t it in new daily?” (almost doubting validity of it)

    (I now became a bit of an ass…)

    I said, “The reason you don’t hear is because of your indifference to Veterans and your freedoms you take for granted, it’s been in the news, quite often in news!!”

    ~~**crickets**~~

    You know that look people give you that is both condescending and says that person is crazy? Yep, I got both, then the gum chomping ensued…too bad about those celebrity suicides…chomp, chomp…

    We have a huge problem. The Congress Critter’s are indifferent because they represent indifferent minions…other than Holidays….all for the Vets/….

    • cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿

      namnibor, I was watching TMZ today, and they had one of the POTUS chefs on, a very large man with arms the size of tree trunks, they asked how he got into cooking, as he was a mst sgt in the army. He said actually, he was an army ranger, and towards the end he did get into cooking. He mentioned the 22 vets per day, and how he had to cope with his own demons, and cooking was his way of coping. The fuckers at TMZ were only interested in the damn size of his arms and completely missed the point of what this man was trying to bring light on.

      Absolutely, fucking astounding the moronic behavior of people on the tube. Hats of to this man, trying to shed light on those Veterans who need the most help, and shame on TMZ for not helping him get the word out.

      • cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿

        I hear you Don.

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