Democratic lawmakers are demanding a full accounting of VA suicide prevention spending over the past year after it was revealed VA spent less than one percent of funds.

Last month, GAO released a scalding report highlighting mismanagement of taxpayer dollars in suicide prevention and mental health outreach. While the agency claims suicide prevention is its “highest clinical priority,” the GAO report clearly shows VA is poorly managing its taxpayer dollars.

Instead of wise spending, VA is spending huge amounts on suicide propaganda rather than hiring psychiatrists with a specialty in addressing PTSD and suicide and psychologist. Additionally, the funds allocated for 2018, $17 million, were not spent.

RELATED: VA Shutting Down Long-Term PTSD Therapy

One specific example is the $6.2 million allocated for paid suicide prevention outreach. This is basically handing Google and Facebook millions for ad space and paying advertisers millions to wordsmith ads and website content.

RELATED: Former VA Leader Takes Swipe At DisabledVeterans.org

Again, the money was not going to mental health specialists at a time when VA has a known shortage and even cutting back on certain PTSD therapies.

Adding insult to injury, VA had no trackable goals or targets to verify if the suicide prevention efforts previously performed were event affected. This lack of accountability was exacerbated by a lack of consistent leadership over the VA suicide prevention efforts.

RELATED: VA Suicide Prevention Politics For Spending

The demand from lawmakers stated the following:

“As suicide prevention is the VA’s highest clinical priority and the third highest priority in its 2018-2024 Strategic Plan, it is appalling that the VA is not conducting oversight of its own outreach efforts,” the Senators wrote. The list included Sens. Patty Murray, Tammy Duckworth, and Amy Klobuchar.

It continued, “We request that you provide a full accounting of the $17.7 million the VA budgeted for its suicide prevention and mental health media outreach for Fiscal Year 2018. We also request that rather than rely strictly on metrics the VA develops internally, that you consult with experts with proven track records of successful public and mental health outreach campaigns with a particular emphasis on how those individuals measure success.”

This will be one to watch both for its policy implications and to see if evidence of malfeasance or fraud surfaces in relation to the contracts.

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27 Comments

  1. “If you are thinking about killing yourself, please hang up and call 9 -1 -1. If you think the VA will honestly provide any useful information to the Senate Investigators – – – you have pathological delusions. Please call back during our clinic hours to schedule an appointment with the Mental Health Clinic. Thanks for your service and remember, VA CARES. Goodbye.”

  2. ““As suicide prevention is the VA’s highest clinical priority and the third highest priority in its 2018-2024 Strategic Plan, it is appalling that the VA is not conducting oversight of its own outreach efforts,” the Senators wrote.” Really? Where can WE find that 2018-2024 Strategic Plan to read for ourselves? After all, as American citizens we have a right to evaluate and bring our voice to opine on whatever plans our government would concoct for “our” benefit. Was this plan solely birthed by the cronies at Mar-A-Loopyland? If so, each of us need to present our views on what is best for us to our Representatives in succinct, concise and courteous letter-writing that is exactly and only on topic, so that they can have the ammunition to fight for what we want from them, rather than loyalty to the leader. Note: it would be far more effective, to write ten different single page letters expounding on one topic each, rather than writing all of ones thoughts on a ream.

    Is that tens of thousands pages 2018-2024 Strategic Plan, actually being read by each member of Congress, along with the millions of pages of other plans with trip wires needing decisions… like, yesterday? Let’s be serious here. Rest assured, these folks are not sitting around the oil-lamps and candles 24/7 philosophizing over a pint, about what is in the best interest of all of our citizens twenty generations from now! If Congress is discussing what is “best” for us only among themselves, while navigating the lap of all of that D.C. luxury and further swayed to keep grazing for more ‘lettuce’ to line their pockets so to perpetuate the greed machine, then we will have lost all but more opportunities to mourn.

    If the citizens of this country don’t get their minds off of whatever ‘up to the second social busy-crap’ they are tuning in to and start applying their gray cells to more long term issues, our countrymen and offspring will be confined within, “not a wall, but be-uuu-ti-ful” gray bars… to differentiate us from other dictatorial led countries.

    • “ . . . our countrymen and offspring will be confined within, “not a wall, but be-uuu-ti-ful” gray bars… to differentiate us from other dictatorial led countries.”

      Yes indeed. We now have a ‘National Emergency’ because certain folks within our government do not want to wastefully allocate funds for something that is unnecessary and will prove ineffective, and someone who ‘will look foolish’ if they are unable to deliver on their promise to build a wall.

      Stupid. Even if the foundation for the wall is sunk 40 feet deep into the earth, it can be tunneled under. Drugs flow into our country via aircraft and submarines. The wall will not be effective against those. What is really needed are more trained officers, more translators, more medical and social support staff, and proper administrative support in order to keep things running as smooth as possible.

      Interesting how folks in Minnesota, Michigan, and other Northern States are so scared by what they hear in the selected media clip that are aired. I live in South Central Texas and visit border areas and Mexico on a regular basis. The actual problem is about two percent of what the American Public is led to believe.

      Five-point-two Billion for a wall? How about Five-point-two Billion (properly managed) for America’s Veterans? People that have done something to benefit America writ large.

      ‘National Emergency’ along our southern border? Only in deranged minds . . .

      • The senior traitor nominally in charge under Putin is only set up to hide his CONSTRUCTION BUSINESS behind a dozen shell companies so he can pocket the billions himself and his family of grifters…

      • What about 16 Billion for CERNER? What about over cost for all the buildings that went over on budget, wasted solar lighting, etc…. VA is nothing but an employment agency and insurance company, guarded by Lawyers, and judges and Unions. set up to con America into thinking they was doing something for Veterans. How much of the budget do we see? not nearly as much as all the embezzlers, and kickbacks get.

    • Thanks Buddy!
      58 pages! That can be devoured in one cuppa-joe.
      Quills and ink wells at the ready! On your mark…

      • Yep. 58 Pages. Considering the size of the windbags that ‘lead’ the VA, I was surprised that it was such a short document.

        Feliz de ayudar. Disfruta tu fin de semana. Cruzando la frontera para visitar a un viejo compañero de barco. Vuelve tarde el domingo por la noche.

      • Si Senor!
        que lo pases muy bien en las vacaciones
        That was a fun break in the moment. I must confess to knowing only a smattering of words and phrases so I won’t dare try to be conversational on my own!

      • @Rosie – – – Gracias, Senora. Bastardo afortunado consiguió una casita junto a la playa. Vive una especie de existencia de Hemingway. ¡Ah, el sueño!

        Full disclosure: I am fairly fluent orally – – – maybe twenty five to thirty percent with reading/writing. Got a long way to go!

    • P.S.
      IF “…millions of [taxpayers] monies…’, allocated to the VA, is ending up in the hands of those running Google and Facebook – guess what brothers and sisters – it’s going to “left leaning, radical Marxist assholes”!
      Evidently, many didn’t watch Zuckerberg get fried, not only here in America, but in England.
      There’s a video out of him and Murkle, Germany’s Chancellor, plotting to censor millions of people on Facebook!
      Google’s assholes we’re grilled on their bullshit LIES as well!

      Just thought I’d let you know!

      • Any rational educated person who has been censored on Facebook can tell you that the tail, (the far, far, left) is wagging the dog. To allow mini minds which are programmed left control the dialogue of the public is to invite fascism.

  3. “…One specific example is the $6.2 million allocated for paid suicide prevention outreach. This is basically handing Google and Facebook millions for ad space and paying advertisers millions to wordsmith ads and website content….”

    Social media solves everything, right? Why not, we’ve stooped to tweeting foreign policy, right?

  4. “SENATE DEMANDS ANSWERS”
    Good luck with that! The VA is adept at sidestepping any questions!
    They’re better than anyone for not answering questions! They just come out and flat lie to anyone and everyone!

  5. C’mon, you can’t even call the VA for anything without getting a recording. “Hang up and go to your nearest ER” so you’ll have to fight the VA for getting the bills paid for who knows how long. Their whole phone system is screwed up since I’ve been going there over 25 years, it’s a major problem that they never fix, because if you can’t get a hold of anyone, there’s nobody that can be held to any accountability, right? If they even bother to call you back and leave a message, you’ll have to call back and leave another message, and the number is just the general VA number, and a lot of times my phone rings two times and they hangup w/o leaving a message, only to get a letter two weeks later saying “We tried to call you, but you didn’t answer. Please call us at this number (The one I’ve been calling for a week and getting a recording) and of course it’s a recording. I always have to call the Pat. Adv. tell them they are calling and hanging up or just get a recording when I call them back. It’s usually because they cancelled an appt. and need to reschedule, by the time they contact me the appt is pushed back another two months. It’s insane!

  6. Here is the disappointing truth about this story and a stack of stories just like it about VA;

    Let us assume the hand of God came down and smacked the VA in the ass so that they could only tell the truth when explaining this to Congress. Think about this. A VA man walks up and says, “Conressman, we failed to carry out the law because we have contempt for it. We have demonstrated repeatedly to you that you cannot touch us and on behalf of VA everywhere I extend now both middle fingers to you to tell you how we honestly feel about Congress at VA.”

    Tell me, exactly what could ANYONE do about it? Call more meetings? Make yet another law to support the thousands of efforts to bring them into compliance? Tell me why my scenario is not exactly what VA has been telling Congress now for decades?

    The disappointment is that irregardless of what VA says or does, Congress certainly has zero control over them and there aint nothing either Dem or Rep can do or say to leash them in. The system is utterly broken and VA has nothing but contempt for those who want it fixed because for sure – the fix is in.

    • Agreed. Time to tear the whole damn sorry-assed mess down. Then build a system that serves veterans first. And not only with the VA.

      You have been a real, and positive inspiration to me. My attitude, initiative, and sense of self have been blessed by reading your posts. I will miss you greatly.

      Semper Fi, Brother. The organization failed you terribly, but you carried on with honor and dignity like a true marine throughout your entire life.

      Jim Clement
      1973 – 1976 USMC
      1978 – 1993 USN

  7. Answers? They don’t want to hear some truths or answers. Media sure as hell is not going to report much truth or real news today. Might be too “disturbing” for sanitized lives living in the comfort zones, sucking up the Kool-Aid, fingers stuck in their ears singing la la la al, or above the rest of us. Might be “offensive” or to protect privacy of someone or some concerned family. Or family not wanting to create more chaos in their lives due to truth coming out or from possible back-lashing or retaliation due to politics or the many connections out there that may get a black-eye from truth. Will those “Democratic Lawmakers” burn or investigate their own, expose some reality? Hell no. That would expose and ruin entire communities on every level imaginable along with some state’s policies and politics… including to “those at the top.” Would expose the slime and attack dogs in health care full circle. And would ruin many in the “deep state,” local mafia over-lords, the nepotism, and the “shadow government.” Accountability my ass.

    How much interest was made from the funds or allocations held back? If any but I don’t know how that money game is played.

    Will those “leaders” do anything about the gangsters and filth over FB, Google, YouTube and others who are censoring us and preventing news or discussions they don’t like?

    Rep. Hank Johnson, Cortez, Pelosi, Kayla Williams, Tlaib, MSM, the SJWs, etc. Who on God’s green Earth would want treatments from that kind of ilk, with the same mind-sets, agendas, activism, deep connections, with claims or degrees to be some so-called “professional,” out-reach groupie, college or VA trained activist or others of the like to treat a vet/people with their methods, means, to one size fits all modern medical BS? With those kinds of people over our care, on medical boards, CEOs of mental health hospitals, clinics, etc? In control of not only media but institutes of med care and institutions of mental health that create more problems than fixes, policies, new laws, and much more? Now the party that has attacked me every way possible, ignores many of us, is in fact totally aware of what others in their party does, loves Antifa, MoveON, supports and promotes total censoring, PC-ness, all the forms of retaliation, promotes and protects some evil unions, VA staff, to ruling over colleges and college towns wants answers? That pushes out little haters and activist with every graduation class? Oh, and the GOP not much better. Both seem more than happy to play games, pass the buck and allows some to push others to total destruction and suicide??? With VA and their attached universities being experts in death, ignoring issues, being great actors/activist, and in persecution of those they don’t like????

    Oh, and they all abhor and hate anyone called “nationalist” of the USA, deplorables, despicable, or don’t bow to their “demands?”

    Seems to me there is a lot for our political parties and many others to hide. No transparency, no questions allowed, local FOIA request un-answered, no recording in some Democratic/union “Strong-holds.” No real investigations. No going to town meetings or asking questions there either. No out-of-state help including Ducky/others. Just want to hear from constituents only. No recording in courthouses, police stations, hospitals, etc? Not to forget the fear they have all instilled in most people and vets. With seemingly full support and protection by the many VSOs and out-reach groups out here?

    Demand reasons and causes like cancer instead of chasing ($$$$) cures or re-inventing the wheel or killing care that works or helps. Oh lets not expose all the lies and propaganda over the many generations of Kool-Aid drinkers and un-caring sheep.

    While some monies still flow to the buddies and cohorts in mental health care. Will target some vets. Allow for some to “fall through the cracks.” See to it their buds get money funneled their way for control, perks, grants, phony studies, and dollars. And allow the kiddies and profs in their universities to study us, use as test rats, and as class projects.

    If all the trash up-there were serious they’d act first then do photo ops, claim to care over their luxuries and fancy dinners. Flap their gums and lips regardless who or what they are. Or claim to represent. Especially knowing full well they are supporting activities and attacks against people like me. Supporting towns and states like mine. Including media and college professors laughing their asses off at our misery along with those many other “professionals.” Yeah, right.

  8. I wish I could help. I’m a former college prof, now a writer. Wrote a book about vet suicides and it is on Amazon.com, “AT THE FOOD COURT” by Maurice Stanley. Dedicated to you vets.

    • I’ll look for your book Maurice. Funny the VAMC-Albuquerque 4th floor Optometry Clinic was nick-named the “Food Court” because the staff were always seen carrying crock-pots and shoving food in their mouths as they attended to patients. A bunch of fat assed broads , I mean fat-assed work there. They look like esacpees form a Gypsy Kings concert.

  9. Freeway Doctors are what the VA is using. They get docs right out of school and bring them in for a few weeks to treat Veterans. Some are OK, some are not qualified to even pet a dog. Otheres want to fry your brain with ECT but Freeway Doctors is how they refer to themselves– they’re brought in for just a few weeks at a time and then leave. Most of them are happy to leave. That can’t keep them because the environment is so bad and they know its bullshit care , unethical and unfavorable to the Veterans. They’re expected to screw the Veteran; the prime directive is never help the Vet advance his claim because that translates to money going to the Veteran and not to the hierarchy. I’d reduce easily to the “Baboon Model of Management”. Mess with them and all the Baboons come out baring their teeth.

  10. 01/06/2019

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    Since 2006 there has been over 100740 suicides in the Veteran Community [23 x 365 x 12].

    If the VA Management refused to release the money allocated for the Veterans by Congress in a “highest clinical priority,” this is a criminal act, and should result in termination and jail time for anyone involved.

    The Loss of Trained Personnel [Veterans] is hard to imagine, let alone the loss of ability to protect the homeland.

    This refusal to appropriate the funds correctly is not an oversight.

    And the “tens of thousands pages” 2018-2024 VA Strategic Plan [Projection of 50370 Veterans that will commit suicide] is not welcomed consider what the Former VA Secretary [O’Rourke] stated last Summer “nothing has changed.”

    What are we really looking at?

    Rosie sees it: “If the citizens of this country don’t get their minds off of whatever ‘up to the second social busy-crap’ they are tuning in to and start applying their gray cells to more long term issues, our countrymen and offspring will be confined within, “not a wall, but be-uuu-ti-ful” gray bars… to differentiate us from other dictatorial led countries.”

    Sincerely.

    Don Karg

  11. Can’t do much suicide prevention advertising for vets to come into mental health and then slamming the door in their face or giving them a quick boot out the back door. Suspect the same game is being plaid that was plaid with primary care. Logging but not treating because no physicians available. Phoenix, Cheyenne crisis in perpetuity.

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