The new Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Mark Takano is wasting no time before making his rounds at various VA facilities.

Chairman Takano’s visit at the Orlando VA Medical Center was reported by West Orlando News on Friday. While there, the Chairman highlighted agency hiring and healthcare quality at the facility.

Prior to taking over from former Republican Chairman Phil Roe, Takano promised to perform greater oversight of agency hiring, the electronic health record modernization, and non-VA choice.

“It was wonderful to visit the Orlando VA Medical Center in Lake Nona and I am impressed with this state of the art facility and most importantly the medical services, programs, and treatments they offer for our veterans,” stated Chairman Takano. “Not only is the Medical Center fully staffed, it is also doing an impressive job at retaining employees.”

Takano Promises

Chairman Takano was elected to his new role as Chairman on January 4, 2019. In a press release, Takano stated, “As Chairman I will work to develop a ‘VA 2030’ plan that equips VA with the tools needed to meet these challenges head-on, guaranteeing its success now and into the future.”

He promised to maintain the committee’s bipartisan nature in support of VA whistleblowers and student veterans. He concluded the press release by acknowledging the honor of the role as Chairman.

“Serving as Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will be the honor of my lifetime, and I look forward to working closely with our veterans, veterans service organizations, and members on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers to serve and improve the lives of veterans across the country.”

Best Wishes To Takano

I personally wish Chairman Takano the best now that House Democrats have the majority. Insiders recently suspected House Republicans had grown too cozy with the agency leadership they were supposed to police, and many failures resulted including the pathetic oversight of the Forever GI Bill transition, Caregiver Program, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment IT fix, and the list goes on and on.

RELATED: VA Police Arrest Of Elderly Vet Ends In Death

Did we ever really see VA Accountability or a clean up of the Wait Time fraud? No, despite all the fanfare and public support, VA failed to hold its leadership accountability and veterans are still without timely access to quality health care.

Was anyone really taken to the woodshed over the GI Bill train wreck? No.

And how about the failure to fix the agency’s fraud against deserving Caregivers? For two years, deserving Caregivers were booted off the program without reasonable due process (VA claims they provided due process, but that is just not so). Only in the past two weeks did VA promise to stop the Caregiver purge.

RELATED: Is White House VA Hotline Making A Difference, Really?

Anyway, after eight years, one thing is clear. The majority of Republicans running the House Committee showed they can bark loud for the camera, but they were unable to cajole agency leaders into doing right by veterans.

Overall, I was very disappointed by House Republicans after Presiden Trump was elected. There is no question they pulled a bait and switch on VA Accountability that resulted in illegal targeting of many disabled veterans seeking disability accommodations rather than going after its criminal leaders who inspired the law.

RELATED: Is VA Playing Politics With Anit-Suicide Propaganda Monies?

Sad.

Rusty House Democrats

House Democrats may be a little rusty from their previous four decades in the House majority. One quick look at the Chairman’s page reveals his staff webmaster failed to update the website after the election.

Rather than listing the Chairman’s credentials alongside the photo that is posted, the page lists former Congressman Tim Walz’s biography as Chairman. (https://democrats-veterans.house.gov/about/meet-chairman-tim-walz)

Hopefully, this is not a bad omen.

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31 COMMENTS

  1. “For unto whosoever much is given, of him much shall be required”. More ventriloquism from the VA? You could learn a lot from a dummy.

    • ‘[..You could learn a lot from a dummy…]”-

      What does a dummy and the VA and ventriloquist have in common? All require hands and heads up asses to make things work.

  2. The VA Bureaucrats are adept at conning oversight. Waiting to see if there is any real change or if the military industrialist lobbyists still have the day.

  3. “It was wonderful to visit the Orlando VA Medical Center in Lake Nona and I am impressed with this state of the art facility and most importantly the medical services, programs, and treatments they offer for our veterans,” stated Chairman Takano. “Not only is the Medical Center fully staffed, it is also doing an impressive job at retaining employees.” (He said while while the facility staff wipes their brow at for successfully hood-winking another suit.)
    Well guy’s here we go again! More American tax dollars zipping through the shredder.
    Round #75815895125 of these pointless tours that introduces another puppet marveling over one more spit-shone turd. How many temporary “employees” did it take this time to display “fully staffed” operations, in the sunshine state? How about showing up to these polished to perfection fakers unannounced for a change? No, can’t do that, because we don’t want to distract the citizens from watching some “talent” that requires social media points to succeed.

    And what? We’re supposed to jump for joy over the announcement to carry out yet another long term plan of well practiced buffoonery from the PTB?
    “As Chairman I will work to develop a ‘VA 2030’ plan that equips VA with the tools needed to meet these challenges head-on, guaranteeing its success now and into the future.” And of course, gotta have a grandstand moment… “Serving as Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will be the honor of my lifetime, and I look forward to working closely with our veterans, veterans service organizations, and members on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers to serve and improve the lives of veterans across the country.”

    We are blasted nearly every day between 2:05 and 2:15 PM D.C. time with a news conference or “Special Report” letting us know that POTUS tweeted or someone farted. How refreshing it would be for everyone in governmental positions to quietly and pridefully do their jobs of service for the American citizens and let history praise the accomplishments.

    • Rosie, you hit the nail on the head with your comment.
      Couldn’t have said it better!

      I had a “procedure” done at Lake Nona to see about my heart. I had an “echocardiogram” done to see if my heart was “enlarged”!
      Here’s what the technician said about the machine; 1.) “It was an Old machine!” 2.) It was “Not in calibration”! and 3.) The “picture was very cloudy!”
      It took me a few months to get a copy, a DVD, of the test. When I received it, I put it in my player and to be honest I could barely see my heart.
      Well, so much for top of the line medical equipment at that new state of the art medical facility!

      #fuckvha
      #fuckva
      #fuckafge
      #fuckthevsos

    • This country has at most 50 more years to (I think I am being quite optimistic with my timeframe) to live if our government does not begin to do their jobs in a quiet, professional, manner. Don’t believe in climate, or whatever you want to term it change? Fine. The disastrous storms will continue to increase, because nature does not care about silly debates. The time to take action is now.

      Not hard to see where the United States will soon be rendered without an effective military over the next decade or so – – – with our absolute dependence on technology, and blind trust on the companies that manufacture it.

  4. Just got off the phone with a very nice lady at Chairman Takano’s office. She seemed surprised when I told her that Chairman Takano’s photo had Tim Walz Biography next to it. She thanked me kindly for the ‘flag’. Promised to relay the message to the proper folk.

    Given how contracts work, etc. – – – I strongly suspect that their is a pool of ‘webmasters’ used to update the various official’s sites. Hopefully this will be fixed soon.

  5. Veterans are long overdue for some real leadership from the Veterans Administration:

    Leadership that speaks truth publicly about how bad things have really gotten for the veterans they are supposed to be serving.

    Leadership that develops practical and efficient solutions to take better care of all our nations warriors.

    Leadership that recognizes that when they are doing a good job, veterans will be singing their praises rather than the VA spending millions of taxpayer dollars on Public Relation Agencies to put out ‘fluff pieces’ to mislead American citizens about the stellar job they are doing to care for our nations veterans.

    The truth is that the VA is doing a piss-poor job.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs has one of the largest budgets within our federal government. This is used to provide veterans less than third-world medical care and benefits. It is about twenty years past time to seriously address the corruption, malfeasance, incompetence, and criminality that infest the Veterans Administration.

    Here is a plan to accomplish that goal:

    1. Immediately recognize the problems inherent in the Veterans Administration are system-wide, not just limited to a few discrete locations.

    2. Fire all the incompetent and corrupt Workers. Fire every single AFGE/SES employee. The VA prides itself on service to the veteran. However, the American Federation of Government Employees Union makes it nearly impossible to rid the VA of corrupt, incompetent employees.

    3. Sell off all the VA facilities. Alternatively, they may be converted into military barracks-style housing for homeless veterans. These will be run with military-style rules to promote good order and discipline.

    4. Issue all veterans a card that allows them to choose their own doctors within their community that they can trust.

    5. The United States Government will pay those doctors promptly (Within 45 days) for the care they provide veterans.

    6. Eliminate the ‘Federal Protection’ clause in the United States Code for incompetent medical personnel that the VA sends to other states where they are not licensed to practice. Going to practice medicine in a given state? You need to be properly medically licensed in that state.

    7. Rapidly reduce the years long backlog of Veterans Disability Claims. Any claim a veteran submits to the Veterans Benefit Administration that requires more than 90 days to adjudicate, is automatically found to be in favor of the veteran. Should a veteran file a false claim to defraud the system, the Veterans Administration will be required to prove in civil court that the claim was falsely submitted. For filing a false claim, the veteran will be mandatorily subject to all the following:

    (A). The claim shall be denied. If the veteran has received any form of benefits due to filing of a false claim, they will be required to fully repay those benefits with interest.

    (B). The veteran will be banned from all VA facilities for the remainder of their life.

    (C). The veteran will lose any benefits they have and will not be allowed to file for further benefits.

    8. All veterans shall be allowed to seek/retain the services of a Veterans Rights Attorney from their first initial contact with the VA. This will help to protect the legal rights of veterans against corrupt, incompetent VA employees.

    9. No AFGE, or any other labor union business will be allowed to take place in any federal workplace. Conducting union business during working hours will be strictly prohibited and enforced. Should any government employee be found violating this provision, it will result in immediate lifetime dismissal from all federal, state, city and county government employment.

    10. Attorneys for appeal for cases of ‘wrongful termination’ will be retained at the former VA employee’s personal expense. U. S. Taxpayer’s will not be subject to payment of legal bills for incompetent or dishonest personnel with regards to governmental employment.

    Were the above ten measures placed into rigorous ethical practice, these would over the next few years ensure major performance improvements within the Department of Veteran Affairs.

    Jim “Clem” Clement
    1973 – 1976 USMC
    1978 – 1993 USN

    • It would be nice if the VA implemented at least some of these that way you wouldn’t have to post this every week… 🙂 🙂

    • Hum, it sounds a bit like you might be hooked up with CVA and the Koch bros arguing for privatization. Now vets can be very disagreeable, and I don’t know where you get your care and I know the VA isn’t perfect but I’ve had nothing but excellent care at two medical centers. This is sounding like a whine session only. If you went out to private care as you profess to want to do, you’d not have a mechanism to complain about your care because “for-profit” care is opaque. Why do 70 to 80% of vets want their care from the VA, not “for profit” care, because for all its faults VA care continues to equal or exceed “for profit” care in study after study. The recent Dartmouth College study set out believing those other studies were wrong only to find them right.

      • Might I suggest you spend an appropriate time with a Dictionary and a Thesaurus? Then you will better be able to understand the context of my post . . .

        “Were the above ten measures placed into rigorous ethical practice, these would over the next few years ensure major performance improvements within the Department of Veteran Affairs.”

        After implementing those ten measures, how would it still (were it privatized)l be the Department of Veterans Affairs – – – which is a cabinet level department within the US Government?

        I suggest the Oxford English Dictionary and Roget’s Thesaurus . . .

      • And just for the record, I never professed where I would get MY personal care. Only that I think all veterans should be issued a card that would allow them to choose their own doctors that they can trust, with the government promptly picking up the tab for the veterans medical care.

    • Hum, it sounds a bit like you might be hooked up with CVA and the Koch bros arguing for privatization. Now vets can be very disagreeable, and I don’t know where you get your care and I know the VA isn’t perfect but I’ve had nothing but excellent care at two medical centers. This is sounding like a whine session only. If you went out to private care as you profess to want to do, you’d not have a mechanism to complain about your care because “for-profit” care is opaque. Why do 70 to 80% of vets want their care from the VA, not “for profit” care, because for all its faults VA care continues to equal or exceed “for profit” care in study after study. The recent Dartmouth College study set out believing those other studies were wrong only to find them right.

  6. they never manage to make a surprise visit. Every corner is prepared for his visit and the staff is instructed as to what to say. Then they talk to the very people under scrutiny and never get factual information. That makes it a perpetual problem with no resolution.

    • @sunvale – – – Excellent point! Something that would be useful to my standard rant/plan. Got to spin the permutations for awhile . . .

      Something like what the Strategic Air Command used to call a ‘No Notice Operational Readiness Inspection’ back in the mid to late ’70’s.

      Thanks for the Asskick to my Brain Housing Group!

  7. I’m a 100% dav and never before have I had so much aggravation getting care I need. I was approved for community based primary care (finally!) and had to get a consult for gyn care at the same clinic and was denied! So now I’m out 3 months past due for gyn care because I’m told I have to go to the VA hospital!! I’ve had care at the same clinic for years and now being forced to start all over with a stranger. I hate the VA because care there is the worst quality. One thing that really angers me is this stupid process of having to start all over with a new consultation and authorizations to the same doctor or clinic I’m already established with. VA politicians don’t care about veterans, only numbers!! So the delays get longer. You know, in the private sector, once you’re established you never have get another consultation or authorization.

  8. “….Takano promised to perform greater oversight of agency hiring, the electronic health record modernization,…” I get the idea that records modernization is a good thing. But, why on earth does it always seem to be a centerpiece in all contemporary policy positions? It was a big talking point prior to the roll-out of ACA/Obama-care, and we all know about Cerner and their billions. Are we supposed to swoon when we’re told that some day we can get a VA Crap App? How about hiring a few more good doctors, clean the mold out of ERs, and simply sift the chaff out of staff. Or, as Clem said – just shift us over to Medicare. VA Healthcare shenanigans are a wonderful distractive magnet from the VA benefits miscreance.

  9. What passes for oversight isn’t the problem. That the VA doesn’t give a crap what about what passes for oversight is. Passing law isn’t doing anything if they are not enforced. Haven’t noticed anyone at the VA giving a crap what any alleged authority over them has had to say about anything EVER. Do whatever to get a nice fat bonus, and pass the damage down the road to the next guy. All authority to get that extra pay for defrauding individual veterans of their lawful and needed benefits, and no responsibility for their actions even if that bonus killed 50 veterans…

  10. Off Topic: New format. Looks pretty good so far, e.g. less annoying pop-up intrusion into reading space, but still retaining the ads necessary to operate the site.

  11. Great!
    But why not go the the worse facility in the VA System and make them bring their facility up to standards- work from the bottom up; am I missing something here?

    Jim Clem Clement solid response! Thank you

    • @Jim Feeny – – – The short answer to why that will not work is because none of the facilities would ever honestly see themselves as the ‘worst’. When true reform at/with the VA begins to take place, it will figuratively have to hit the VA like a nuclear bomb. Big Boom. Shockwaves felt from Ground Zero all the way out to the farthest reaches of the system.

      I recently moved from Hawaii to Texas. In the three months I have been living here, the ‘Lone Star VA System’ has gotten more done for me than the ‘Aloha State VA System’ did in twenty-plus years.

      Does that mean I am a fan of the VA here in Texas? Not at all. But it does illustrate the difference between the two areas. And I have heard many veterans complain about the Texas VA.

      So when any major reform occurs at the VA, in order for it to be effective – – – it must be swift, applied across the whole system, benefit veterans first and VA employees last. Otherwise, we willcontinue to have the same ‘Hit and (mostly) Miss’ crapola system we have now.

  12. I’m on board with James Clement – regarding New House Committee Chairman Mark Takano review James Clement’s suggestions LOL

    Peace Out

  13. 01/07/2019

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    The new Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Mark Takano:

    “We must do more to ensure that throughout the VA Health Administration we work to fill the more than 40,000 vacancies and help deliver timely care for our veterans,”

    “Serving as Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will be the honor of my lifetime, and I look forward to working closely with our veterans, veterans service organizations, and members on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers to serve and improve the lives of veterans across the country.”

    “It was wonderful to visit the Orlando VA Medical Center in Lake Nona and I am impressed with this state of the art facility and most importantly the medical services, programs, and treatments they offer for our veterans”…“Not only is the Medical Center fully staffed, it is also doing an impressive job at retaining employees.”

    “…promised to perform greater oversight of agency hiring, the electronic health record modernization,…”

    “As Chairman I will work to develop a ‘VA 2030’ plan that equips VA with the tools needed to meet these challenges head-on, guaranteeing its success now and into the future.” … “Serving as Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will be the honor of my lifetime, and I look forward to working closely with our veterans, veterans service organizations, and members on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers to serve and improve the lives of veterans across the country.”

    Judy Ann Wilson testifies that “VA politicians don’t care about veterans, only numbers!! So the delays get longer. ”

    The VA 2030 Plan, and the 2018 to 2022 VA Plan, will not be implemented on time give the performance of the VA with the GI Forever Bill [Better yet the IT Solutions that have been failing for decades].

    When McDonald was the VA Secretary he was Administration’s [White House] best Salesman ever, but he could not back it up with the right product and service. Now we have VA Secretary Wilkie in position unable to address the Veterans within the first year of his service. Now we have the new Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Mark Takano entering stage with the unusual rhetoric; at least Jeff Bridges knew how to energize an audience last night [because his speech was real].

    The VA has to become real for the American Public to back them up.

    The Problem here is that the American Public has to become real, themselves, and understand that Media and the Government have been holding back all information on this “National Embarrassment,” especially in the last 6 months [ex. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — wrote to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin to express “extreme concern and outrage” at the death of William R. Nutter, Jr., a patient at the Bedford, Massachusetts VA Medical Center/ Two year Wait]. [Sounds like the 1960s]

    60 years lapse? Karlheinz A. Halter wrote “Wake Up America” in the Mid 1990s—no one paid attention to it in America; in other countries, their professors at their Universities bought the books up.

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg

  14. It’s one thing to have a guided tour through the VA and be “impressed” being shown the latest and greatest stuff. Just once, I’d like to see a politician go in unannounced and just visit the waiting rooms of various troubled clinics (actually any clinic) and ONLY strictly talk to the Vets waiting in them one on one without a VA guide with them. I mean C’mon, think their guided tour is going to show much if ANYTHING wrong at all? I think the biggest problem is they never listen to the Vets at all. I think they know they’d be getting an ear full. I just sighed when I heard he was impressed the very first time he walked through a VA, obviously talked to all the ‘right’ people….

  15. Why can’t the congressional and senatorial representatives of each state “pop in” to the V. A. facilities in their respective states, unannounced, and conduct exit interviews with veterans who have just received V. A. medical care to find out their opinion of the care they just received and how long it actually took to receive an appointment for that care?
    If you’re in business, you go to the customer to find out their satisfaction level with the products or services rendered. Dog and pony shows are not the answer.
    This seems logical, but I guess the government knows better than me (yeah right).

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