When it comes to free mental health care, you apparently get what you pay for in quality and in the privacy of your VA mental health treatment. Pay zero, get zero.

One veteran turned Delta airline pilot learned the hard way about using mental health services at the Department of Veterans Affairs after FAA started accessing private medical records of veterans.

Air Force veteran Adam Asleson, 39, was indicted on charges of misleading government officials about his mental health so he could keep flying. Those are what the allegations indicate, anyway. It is also possible the details are less straightforward than meets the eye.

At some point in his past, Asleson allegedly sought mental health treatment from VA for “major depressive disorder.” The veteran told FAA he received VA disability benefits for knee strain and tinnitus. As we all know, VA frequently errs in diagnosing mental health conditions and physical disabilities.

Once Delta learned of the indictment, it ceased allowing the disabled veteran from actively flying for the airline. “Delta pilots are held to the highest standards of professionalism, honesty and integrity,” spokeswoman Catherine Simmons said. “Once made aware of the situation, we opened an internal investigation and are working cooperatively with the authorities.”

Asleson is not alone. Following FAA’s dragnet of VA mental health records, at least four airline pilots are now accused of making false statements on FAA paperwork to secure medical certifications.

All four receive disability benefits from VA for mental health issues indicating our benefits records are no longer private but instead shared among numerous federal agencies.

Why VA Is Sharing Our Medical Records

Under the Aerospace Medical Safety Information System (Amsis), the FAA Office of Aerospace Medicine now uses “the Amsis to develop a new information system for tracking and analyzing a broad selection of medical information associated with pilots, air traffic controllers and other aviation-related personnel.”

FAA provides the following list of ways it analyzes private data from other agency’s somehow bending HIPAA:

  • Reducing falsification of health records and preventing pilots or ATCSs (air traffic control specialists) from operating in the [National Airspace System] when they have medical conditions hazardous to aviation safety;
  • Improving the ability to analyze medical data and identify and mitigate hazards related to specific and/or systemic airmen and ATCS health issues;
  • Improving the ability to match airmen and ATCS medical records with the electronic health records of other government agencies and departments;
  • Ensuring the accuracy and integrity of airmen and ATCS medical data;
  • Leveraging the National Health Information Network (NHIN), Health Information Exchange (HIE) system medical records, and ad hoc, regional and multi-regional HIEs, to improve the accuracy of airmen and ATCS medical data; and

Some of the 18 federal agencies involved in the electronic health records sharing, called Connect, include: Department of Health and Human Services; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institutes of Health; Department of Commerce; Department of Defense; Department of State; Department of the Treasury; Department of Veterans Affairs; Office of Personnel Management; and the Social Security Administration.

FAA justified the creation of a fusion network similar to the same justification used by our intelligence communities in the Patriot Act following 9/11.

FAA has justified the sharing of private mental health records, supposedly the most secure of medical records, by exploiting two airline crashes overseas: Malaysia Flight 370 and Germanwings Flight 9525.

FAA’s Plan Circa 2015

Starting in 2015, FAA studied the “emotional and mental health of U.S. commercial pilots,” the agency stated, in a joint effort with industry representatives called the Pilot Fitness Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC). It was formed by a recommendation of the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (Cast).

According to an AIN article from 2015 (in italics):

The Pilot Fitness ARC tasked with studying “the emotional and mental health of U.S. commercial pilots” is composed of government and industry experts. According to the FAA, “The ARC will examine issues including the awareness and reporting of emotional and mental health issues, the methods used to evaluate pilot emotional and mental health, and barriers to reporting such issues.”

The FAA said that “Based on the group’s recommendations, the FAA may consider changes to medical methods, aircraft design, policies and procedures, pilot training and testing, training for Aerospace Medical Examiners, or potential actions that may be taken by professional, airline or union groups.”

One of the ARC members is Dr. Quay Snyder, president and CEO of Aviation Medicine Advisory Service, who is working with NBAA on aeromedical issues, as a member of the association’s safety committee.

Doug Carr, NBAA vice president of safety, security, operations and regulation, sees the ARC’s work as important, especially for dealing with how to manage the issue of fitness for duty. “It’s not just are you or are you not tired?” he said. ARCs are not open to the public, but the public will have an opportunity to comment on any proposed regulations that result from the group’s work.

With regard to the FAA’s Amsis efforts and the possible sharing of electronic health records that might be involved, Carr said, “We don’t have a lot to say at this point. It’s a process that we hope will help speed up getting pilots their medical [certificates] and facilitate getting the records needed to support [that]. We don’t think it’s going to be carte blanche authority to get medical records from anywhere. The fact that I had a physical exam for work, while required to be disclosed, does not mean the FAA will be able to go to my physician and get my records. I think we’re a little way off from understanding what this means at a practical level.”

Is Free Care Worth It?

As many veterans are now realizing, our private medical records are no longer private. It is instead sold and sifted from research project to research project. Now, federal agencies are engaged in a free for all without concern of violating HIPAA restrictions.

And, veterans are left wondering whether we can really seek free care without our privacy being compromised. Clearly, the answer is “No”, we can only expect our health care records to remain private if we receive private health care. And even then, under the Affordable Care Act, that privacy is not nearly as ironclad as it once was.

Misdiagnosis

While VA may be giving away access to our records, do the recipients of those records appreciate how frequently VA medical records contain false or misleading information entered by medical students, residents, and angry staff clinicians?

The agency frequently errs when awarding disability ratings, whether it involves misdiagnosing TBI or PTSD to save money, or further erring in assessing the impact of physical disabilities.

Only veterans seem aware of the frequency VA gets it wrong while the rest of society seems caught in the “Trust Your Government” trance.

Where Else?

Will FAA be the last agency to conduct a dragnet of veterans’ mental health records, or should we all expect all other agencies, and their government contractors, to air out our dirty laundry for any particular reason?

In the future, we need to anticipate mischaracterizations and the implications of erroneous information well outside the walls of the agency.

Stay informed on VA news, scandals and benefits. Get our daily newsletter via email.

17343

DisabledVeterans.org

Get our free daily newsletter.

27 COMMENTS

  1. This is absolutely shameful and needs to end immediately! The VA and the federal government is staffed by lazy, stupid Jack asses who are riding the gravy train. They don’t know nor do they care about professionalism, doing a good job or even learning new skills. This is just a disaster waiting to happen. Reminds me of when Obama wanted to take away second amendment rights from Vets simply based on the opinion of some moron at the VA who thinks a Vet can’t handle or in some cases just doesn’t want to take care of their finances. The SWAMP needs to be drained and put the large majority of Fed Emloyees where they belong, on the sidewalk selling pencils.

  2. Same with regular VA healthcare. It’s rampant in poor quality. Can’t treat jock itch (Candida albicans) after 3-4 yesrs. Now possibly being systemic.

    Only credit to VA is that they take up space and waste American zTaxpayer dollars. TruDat about those fat, no good smell’n, Union and Tort Law protected, tuna-beasts.

    VA = Veteran Assasinators.

    • The tuna beast collective would like to point-out most VA engorged purple teams more likely than not resemble the sillouett of an obese manatee.

  3. Man could I take this article off into various other connected tangents and issues.

    We have never had complete privacy over anything, even prior to the internet information age. Make an enemy of some in politics, unions, the Mason cliques, CEOs, Chamber of Commerce, authorities, etc., and if fortunate you’ll learn just how much info they can get on us from banking, schooling, etc., to use in their evil ways. Rats, info sales, the elite, country clubber gods and informants out there a plenty. Trust who?? That easily led us all into the culture of corruption we deal with today…. no privacy at all to be expected…with all the background checks, pharmacy checks state and federally and more…. legally.

    They are going after seasoned pilots/vets yet in college town pilot training courses include Antifa types, foreigners, activist seen out wearing ‘insane’ vagina hats, flying the day after a drunken “walk,” or American hating students and others are allowed in to train and become major airline pilots later on??? “Pilot fitness?”

    HIPPA violations and other health care laws are not enforceable. In Indiana they are not. (Same with the EEmployO or Disability Act of 1970. It’s all a joke or depends on how much money ya have to blow on lawsuits.) If so then how can so many health care professionals, major hospitals withhold our med files or send out phony ones? With full support of the justice or medical board systems. Just like those VA care posters about “Patient rights and responsibilities” are also NOT enforceable on our part, just more propaganda and a waste of time reading.

    “While VA may be giving away access to our records, do the recipients of those records appreciate how frequently VA medical records contain false or misleading information entered by medical students, residents, and angry staff clinicians?”

    Let’s not leave out the countless variations of activist that work at the VA and out in the civy world with axes to grind, agendas to meet and retribution to dish out. You know, the axiom, like women being scorned. Snicker snicker.

    I was told to read this article in defense of mental health workers and what they have to deal with. Another article that mentioned veterans with input from animal rights idiots claiming vets should not have pets no longer exist.
    “http://mental-health-today.com/articles/mhprof.htm”

    “https://www.naturalnews.com/041478_psychologists_mental_health_industry_secrets.html#”

    Even the commies know some truth about ‘their’ health care they also support and teach in ‘their’ far far lefty medical colleges. Bait and switch.
    “https://www.liberationnews.org/brother-of-sgt-kirkland-html/”

    “https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/talking-about-men/201702/mens-mental-health-silent-crisis”

    Have a great crazy day out there!

  4. Free care at the VA administered by Crack Jack Assholes!

    Maybe the FAA should worry more about their huge drunken pilots problem or hey, how about terrorism??

    Cracker Jacks have a free prize, administered by Assholes!!

  5. The FAA has always been seen as draconian by pilots who need to earn their wage commercially. I was a commercial pilot once. For example we have a right gainst self incrimination in the US, right? Well… unless you are a pilot!

    In the US now it is a crime to NOT report yourself immediately to FAA if you are EVER caught by police driving under the influence EVEN if you have never been charged, tried, or convicted of a crime! Simply failing to notify FAA “immediately” that you were involved in any enforecement action AT ALL that stems from alcohol use is by itself now a federal crime if you are a commercially licensed pilot.

    Looking at VA as anything akin to medical care is a deadly error. The VA diagnosed me after showing up twice with increasing back pain and classic symptoms of liver cancer did disgnose me – with a backache and sleep apnea. They shceduled a damn sleep study for Christ sakes! Two days later I stumbled into a civilian ER ready to either end my life of get anything to stop the pain. Within 3 hours I was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer that had presented with absolutely classic symptoms. They knew immediately what was generally wrong and within a few days had an accurate diagnosis. So the records got forwarded to VA of the cancer.

    My VA PCP? He informed me that until I hand carried my oncology notes to him personally that VA Roseburg refused to acknowledge this diagnosis and the bastard scheduled me for another…. wait for it…. sleep study?!!! My civilian onoclogist said flat out, “This is criminal.” A effing sleep study while doing chemo therapy when I have proof of termjnal cancer? When I complained they flagged me for being violent and disruptive. Criminal scum. Now during chmeotherapy to prolong life I am appealing a Cat One PRF for “… contacting a VA employee on a “…non-VA approved social media platform and leaving a message that could be interpretted as an implied threat.” No shit and not making this up. I could have been interpretted to have made an implied threat??? What??? What the hell is a non-VA approved social platform??? Facebook!

    You trust VA and perhaps you should lose your wings because clearly you cannot identify danger right in front of you.

  6. Why are the veterans service originations up in arm’s about this matter. Why VA attorneys for veterans not, calling them out.

    We veterans need to work together and find attorneys who are willing to help veterans fight against the VA.
    Class action lawsuit against the VA.

    Then post the ones willing to help. I tried and found they only want to handle disability claims.

    I know class action lawsuit against the VA could take awhile and attorneys want a fast return.

    They could do both, think of it as money in the long term, as money in the bank. On the Back burner you might say.

    Someone mentioned to call the local state bar association ?.

    • Got to get a young lawyer looking to make a reputation for himself for a VA Class action suit. Before they get hooked on the almighty $$ that is.

    • Paul Garner:The Old Sarge

      We need to work together to take control of things affecting us. Specifically, we need to unionize (there’s that damned word) There are more vets and retirees than there are AFGE and VA employees together. With the numbers we can petition Congress to hold elections to see who could represent us , the minority AFGE or ourselves.

      Paul

  7. This practice of illegal sharing of VA Medical Records information is the reason I retired from the VA early. No need to attempt to correct the problem as an AFGE union EAP manager. It cannot be done. Pick A Veteran To Treat Facebook also get IG reports from the VA. It is truly shameful how veterans are treated in some VISN. We must stand together to force change.

  8. Pig Pharma and Pig Med are doing the same thing – only more profitably. My wife has had fibromyalgia for decades. Her doctor recently recommended Cymbalta to treat the pain. During the course of consults with her doctor, and resultant billings, I noticed something strange. She was billed (not covered – of course) about $300 for “mental health labs”, code # whatever. WTF? So, being a nosy prick, I called the insurance company. They said, “It was billed appropriately, perhaps you should call the provider”. So, I called the clinic. After a bucket of their bullshit I finally got tot he CEO. She said, “blaah, blaaah, blaaah, SSRI, blaaah, blaah, mental health, blaah, bullshit blaah.” I rarely use this term – but she was a major cunt.

    So, here’s the upshot. Pig Pharma thinks they can cross over into physical health with a drug that was originally meant for mental health. After a wee bit of lobbying at the AMA flea market, some oral snacks at the NIH, and a full-on multi-species orgy at the FDA, voila – a new market is born. Even more brilliant, the code tied to a mental disorder remains with the drug, even though the intent of treatment is a physical disorder. Oh – the private sector cunt clarified that the “mental health lab”, which does not include labs, but is merely a one page form the patient fills out, is required every time the prescription is renewed – once a quarter..

    As it turns out, my sweetie got a little relief from her pain from the drug, but, got off of that shit because it created a sleep disorder. But, now, she is still officially a mental health patient too.

    So, to my revered fellow veterans who are riding in the VA dick-saddle rodeo, take a wee bit of solace in the fact that the private sector rodeo is just as bad.

  9. I am a Veteran and do think privacy is important. However, I do not feel comfortable with a pilot on a plane I am flying on having mental issues. The FAA should have access to all mental health records.
    Realistic guidelines should be put in place to figure out what mental health issue is ok to fly with and which ones are not.
    Withholding info should not be acceptable “just so you can fly”.

    I am a alcoholic. How many people would want me driving kids around on a school bus? Not many. How about after one year of being sober? How about after 30 years of being sober?
    It makes a difference. It should be known.

    I know several vets that have issues. I gotta tell you, for a couple of them, I would not want them near a cockpit, you would not either. Nice guys, but spun out.

  10. I urgently want to present a concern for veterans privacy.. The current state of affairs is any calls to the VA are vetted or verified as the veteran by providing easily obtainable info, “name” “dob” “branch of service” “years of service” and last four digits of social security number. this info can then gain access to a veteran address.. could even change an address or do other inquires.. ahve things faxed to a phone number, any phone number.. like letters proving benefits or other things.. veterans are very volnerable to having their identity highjacked through the large systemic idenity protection hole. We need to get this hole closed. Social secuirty has now changed their medicare card, to not list a social secuirty number on it. The military now is issuing a non social secuirty number as an identy number. VA needs to be more like a bank ierms of validating a person as being genuine. and putting into place mechanism that allow a veteran to protec their idenity if validation info gets stolen.. Banks use a password.. they have changed thier requirment to provid a “mother’s maiden name” as they have learned that this info can be obtained from social engineering. So now banks allow a person to select a word that only they know, in place of a mother’s maidin name. And they allow a bank account holder to put a red flag on thier account if their identity may have been stolen. And some also provide notification any time an inquiry is made .. Some also reques a user created pin code on top of a account holder created code word to protect a bank customers bank account info and money. VA could and should do at least as much for veterans.

  11. Part of my disability is due to mental health issues. Part of the mental health issues is that the VA doctors turn over frequently. While I was working, one of my professions was to investigate reports of child abuse or neglect. I dealt with counseling both adults and children. I was a State employee I had only a limited time to try to build trust with the family and then had to transfer the cases to others. Now I see the effect this type of treatment has on clients. It becomes quite tiring if not bothersome to constantly have to relive the issues that brought me to their attention in the first place.

    As for sharing files with agencies like the FAA, I have mixed feelings about that. When professional pilots have other medical problems that require them to be medicated with controlled drugs, they are required to inform their employers due to safety concerns. Mental acuity is essential for airline pilots who at some times are overloaded with input especially in emergency conditions. Other instances like Germanwings 9525 EgyptAir 990 where pilot homicide/suicide happened and may also have included Malaysia 370 have happened due to mental health issues.

    I am part of the flying public and I expect those I entrust with my physical well-being to take every available precaution to protect me. So in the instance you write about, if the pilot is receiving compensation from the VA for mental health issues and does not disclose this he has the problem. I do not know whether he ever signed a release of information document that I would expect an airline or even the FAA to request and if he did there is no problem at least to me. Their are many professions that require rigorous scrutiny except of course the POTUS.

      • GAO investigating after employee featured in Project Veritas video
        By Brett Samuels, The Hill – 09/20/18 11:00 AM EDT

        “The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said Thursday it’s investigating a video from conservative activist group Project Veritas that depicts an employee acknowledging he contributes to the local Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) chapter during work hours.

        “We are aware of the video and investigating the serious issues it raises, and we have also communicated with the GAO Inspector General,” the GAO said in a statement.”

        Full Article At: https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/407578-gao-investigating-after-employee-featured-in-project-veritas-video

      • Seymore,
        Check this out from: “Fiscal Times”
        Dated: to me at 5:22 pm today.
        Titled;
        “Trump Blasts ‘Ridiculous’ Spending Bill: Is a Shutdown Back on the Table?”

        “President Trump on Thursday blasted the spending bill passed by the Senate earlier this week for its lack of funding for his border wall with Mexico. The bill is a key part of the congressional strategy to avert a government shutdown before the midterm elections.“I want to know, where is the money for Border Security and the WALL in this ridiculous Spending Bill, and where will it come from after the Midterms?” Trump tweeted.”
        ___________________________
        This is just part of the article. Google the rest!
        I knew Congress would fuck things up. That’s what they’re best at doing!
        Get ready for Hell to start breaking loose on these reprobates in Congress!
        EVERYONE of these ASSHOLES should be looking for a new line of work – preferably at a fast food restaurant or something like that!!

      • Seymore,
        Saw this one earlier today. These “criminals” have taken the slogan of “Good enough for government work” to a whole new level!

        I wonder:
        1.) How many of these reprobates work for Congress as aides?
        2.) Since it’s now reported, by Sen. Sasse (R-NE)”aides write the bills”, and Congress Critters don’t read the bills.
        3.) Could some of the language in the bills have been changed by these criminals, then made into laws!?

        Thereby causing/allowing the “X”, “Y”, “Z” Government Agencies to make their own decisions, rules, laws, enforcement of same AGAINST the American People!
        Listen very carefully to what’s being said in all three videos, and y’all might have the same questions, opinions and conclusions of what the fuck is going on in Washington DC and across the country!

    • RESULTS MATTER: Government Officials Issue Responses to Veritas Investigations
      by Media Team September 20, 2018

      “The U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a response to Thursday’s video on Twitter stating they are “aware of the video” and “investigating the serious issues it raises.” They also states they have communicated with the GAO Inspector General.

      When prompted by Project Veritas regarding the employment status of Natarajan Subramanian, GAO’s Public Affairs Managing Director Chuck Young issued this statement:

      “Regarding your question, we cannot comment on his personnel status due to privacy laws. But he has been removed from any ongoing GAO work and cut off from access to GAO equipment. We have a rigorous quality control process with many reviewers that prevents one person from biasing our final reports. But we will also examine his work product as part of our investigation.””

      Full Project Veritas Press Release at: https://www.projectveritas.com/2018/09/20/breaking-us-government-accountability-office-issues-response/

  12. General information: Ben is a busy man. If you are not able to use Ben dealing with claims.

    He is another attorney’s office for veterans claims. Berry law firm. 888-883-2483

    Good luck.

  13. Hey Elf,

    Thought I would also post the work done by Project Veritas on the Department of Veterans Affairs concerning how the VA is forcing Veterans to become addicts and how the VA is a major cause of the Veterans Suicide epidemic. All from VA department heads and staff members caught on hidden camera.

    _

    • VA doctors tell of opiate pressures
      By Aaron Glantz, The Center for Investigative Reporting, October 10th, 2013

      “The hearing marked the first time VA officials have spoken publicly about the skyrocketing number of painkiller prescriptions since The Center for Investigative Reporting revealed the trend last month.

      “There are multiple instances when I have been coerced or even ordered to write for Schedule II narcotics when it was against my medical judgment,” said Dr. Pamela Gray, a physician who formerly worked at the VA hospital in Hampton, Va.

      Primary care doctors who don’t want to prescribe large amounts of opiates may resign, do as they are told or be terminated, Gray said. Gray was fired.”

      Full Article At: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/watchdog/sdut-va-opiates-house-subcommittee-testimony-2013oct10-htmlstory.html

      • Interesting article Seymore. Ordered to write pain meds while here they were ordered to cut pain meds and cut off around a third of their patients in every clinic (supposedly) from pain meds going by picking out so many patients names out of their hats and alphabetically. Regardless of need or never having issues taking the evil opioids.

        Then ‘forced’ to see the new chronic pain clinic and listen to their crap and being told about new contracts taking over every aspect of our lives, forced to take anti-depressants to continue on with their care. Even the new pain clinic MD told me I should remain on the meds and told slime bag Dr. Golla so. Golla still refused and played on with her games too along with other clinics for fun. Over riding the liver specialist reports to keep me on narcs and to avoid over the counter dope and other organ killing drugs dished out by the VA and civy world.

        Meanwhile other vets to this day continue on with their meds and not having any change at all. Some not hearing or knowing of any changes. Seems there is no treating us equally at all with a vast majority played with collective punishments for mere pain relief. Like test rats to see how much we/some could tolerate or deal with playing all their games leaving others alone hassle free. Some trashed so badly they were leaving the state.

        Under King Obummers watch in 2013 is when the VA started pushing Gabapentin for pain or telling us to consider large amounts of Tylenol for pain and OTC Excedrin for migraines. Later to Botox shots from migraines which the VA claimed beforehand was not on their pharm list and not safe for use, they now use to today. So much for government and their socialist styled health care systems. Or for all VA systems being in sync with others while playing all their games and killing vets off by soft kill or hard kill methods.

Comments are closed.