In a case of irony, the Department of Veterans Affairs called out AFGE over the use of veterans suicide as propaganda to call on President Donald Trump to end the shutdown.

Over the past two weeks, mainstream media outlets have published a flurry of propaganda articles calling on Trump to end the shutdown because… veterans not receiving pay might become suicidal. Apparently, as the argument goes, since veteran suicide is a problem, lack of pay will make that problem worse.

“If this shutdown does not stop, we are going to have fatalities. We’re going to have suicides,” AFGE Local President Edward M. Canales said earlier this week, according to ABC News.

The entire argument is outrageous, but it spread like wildfire across the internet. Now, it is suddenly difficult to locate the articles published just last week calling on Trump to end the shutdown based on the risk of veteran suicide.

Of course, that argument seems to ignore an obvious fact. The population at risk of suicide within the veteran community is generally not the same population that is employed by the federal government.

Woops. But that does not stop the unthinking public from gobbling up the propaganda as just another sign that veterans are unstable or that Trump is bad.

Exploiting Veterans’ Suicides

Secretary Wilkie charged that Canales “exploited the real tragedy of veteran suicide to make political arguments about the partial government shutdown.”

“I ask you to apologize publicly for your AFGE colleague’s reckless comments and to outline the steps you plan to take to ensure AFGE leaders demonstrate proper respect for our nation’s heroes,” he said in the letter to J. David Cox, president of the AFGE Union.

Not to be outdone, VA did not close out the day without spinning its own suicide propaganda asserting the agency is doing a bang up job addressing the problem.

On Fox News, Wilkie announced, “VA is making real progress on suicide prevention for veterans.”

My normal readers are probably saying, “What a liar.”

Veterans Suicide Propaganda Budget

Wilkie’s new claim came after GAO published a report showing VA stopped spending its own propaganda dollars through its vendors costing taxpayers around $15 million per year while veteran suicides remained around 20 per day.

The total budget for the same is now $47.5 million for suicide prevention. That is one issue. Imagine how much VA spends on other forms of propaganda?

That money is aimed at steering suicidal veterans to VA services, but the numbers have not changed despite many millions previously spent without a true ROI measure.

VA cites the number of callers VA has in its online chat systems or call centers as a sign that its program is working. Around 2,000 people call in daily to the Veterans Crisis Line. In 10 years, VA “has answered over 3.5 million calls, engaged in over 413,000 online chats, and responded to over 98,000 text messages.” VA paid for over 22,000 outreach events in the last year.

That seems like a lot of work where American tax dollars are busy being spent on government contractors working to look busy with campaigns, more phone calls, and text messages to veterans.

Meanwhile, an estimated 20 veterans commit suicide daily, still. The number has been static for years. Of the 20, an estimated 14 have not received recent VA care.

VA’s New Veterans Suicide Fix

VA’s new fix?

Spend more money and more time to use “prevention approaches that cut across all sectors in which veterans may interact, and collaborating with veterans service 0rganizations, state and local leaders, medical professionals, criminal justice officials, private employers and many other stakeholders.”

The next step, per Wilkie, is the Mayor’s Challenge to get into every community in the country to push its propaganda down the throats of many veterans who apparently do not want the help VA provides.

At what point do these pretty banners, glitzy suicide prevention parties, massive ad buys, and Facebook campaigns, finally stop working? Are they working now?

Perhaps the answer is not more propaganda. Perhaps, just perhaps, the answer is a radical change to the legal processes that hold veterans’ benefits hostage within its apathetic and poorly constructed disability compensation adjudication system?

I would bet a dollar that a majority of the 20 veterans’ suicides are linked to benefits problems where the veteran was called a liar by a VA adjudicator.

Anyone want to bet?

Change To VA Adjudication System

As we all know, veteran suicide rates have largely been static since Veterans For Common Sense lost its class action lawsuit in the 9th Circuit, a decision that basically foreclosed similarly satiated lawsuits from ever gracing the doorstep of an Article III court.

Basically, no one can sue VA in a normal court over VA’s adjudication of benefits under 38 USC § 511 regardless of the underlying problem. Now, we are all required to follow the herd when it comes to benefits by using the lengthy appeals process and the Article I court called the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

The blaring discrepancy here is that veterans are thusly deprived of standard procedural rights such as confronting your accuser, a jury trial, standard discovery, and other procedures that help flush out the truth.

It used to be, pre-1930, that a veteran could sue the agency in federal district court whenever the agency violated the law. As part of the New Deal, President Franklin D Roosevelt siphoned off VA benefits funding using insurance adjudication laws.

Part of those laws included the creation of the framework that precludes federal lawsuits in Article III courts. Yay. Now, eighty years later, the VA benefits system is as broken as ever. Despite current reforms focused on restricting veterans’ rights (surprise), the agency still cannot get it right.

Instead of allowing veterans normal civil rights, they were forced to seek redress only in the Board of Veterans Appeals. And, as a result, veterans did not get justice.

Back To Col Jim Turner Suicide

Part of why VA is currently in a propaganda push has to do with the suicide of retired Marine Col Jim Turner that splashed across many veteran-centric publications in December. Turner killed himself while sitting on top of his VA records in front of Bay Pines VA Medical Center. You can almost bet those records contained his disability claims file.

In a suicide note, Turner wrote, “I bet if you look at the 22 suicides a day you will see VA screwed up in 90%.” My article on Turner raised a few eyebrows and even garnered a spin article on The Hill pushing for more taxpayer funding of anti-suicide propaganda.

But, spin aside, it seems clear spending more money to reach 14 veterans each day who do not want VA healthcare to in turn prevent their suicide may not be the smartest approach.

Is it not time that VA start looking at other solutions since spending more tax dollars on failed ad campaigns is clearly not getting it done?

What do you think about the suicide propaganda budget? Is $47 million reasonable? Or, should VA take that money to hire more psychiatrists?

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Veterans and Disabled Veterans who read this say very few Disabled Veterans who is 100.percent service connected definitely need to have Cosmetic Dentistry Dentist G implants but don’t have one works at a Veteran Medical Centers and don’t have a contract with Veteran Affairs Administration but they have Private Clinics wants all money upfront 3/4 quarters of Disabled Veterans who is 100.percent service connected can’t afford getting Cosmetic Dentistry Dentist G4 implants it’s definitely caused really bad Health Care also it cause really get bad gum disease and it cause Cancer so Veterans and Disabled Veterans who read this can you please email your Senators or Representatives contract Veteran Affairs Committee passed a new Benefits Law who is Disabled Veterans is100 percent get the Cosmetic Dentistry Dentist G4 implants for Free and Veterans and Disabled Veterans knows a better Disabled Veterans is 100 percent service connected but don’t get it explains to me.

  2. Apologies to Billy Callery and Jerry Jeff Walker:

    Veterans, lace your shoes with country blues
    Ramble down that dusty ole road . . .

    The VA takes your money downtown
    Gonna get rich off Vet’s game
    Gets out of jail free like a fat manatee
    Veterans got no room to complain

    Well the pot can’t call the kettle black
    Cause the train’s all runnin’ on the same ole track
    Can’t feel nothing but Union life flyin’ by
    Veterans got trouble on their hands, trouble on their mind.

    It is way past time for some real leadership at the VA. Leadership that speaks truth publicly about how bad things have really gotten. Leadership that develops solutions to take better care of ALL our nations warriors.

    Leadership that recognizes that when they are doing a good job – – – it will be veterans singing their praises, rather than the VA needing a PR Agency to put out “Fluff Pieces” to mislead America and her citizens about what a stellar job they are doing. They are not. In fact, they are doing a very piss-poor job.

    The VA has a first-world budget which they use to provide veterans less than third-world medical care and benefits. Current VA leadership has their Brain Housing Group the size of mice and their Heart no bigger. It is about FIFTEEN YEARS PAST TIME TO FIX THE DAMN BROKEN VA:

    1. IMMEDIATELY recognize the problems inherent in the VA are SYSTEM-WIDE, not just limited to a few locations.

    2. Fire all the Lazy No Good Workers. Fire EVERY single AFGE/SES Employee.

    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” Umbrella for incompetent QUACKS that the VA sends to other states to practice other than their own. Going to practice in XX state? You need to be LICENSED in XX state.

    7. Any claim a veteran submits to the VBA 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 scam the system, the VA will have to prove in civil court that the claim was falsely submitted. For filing a false claim, the veteran will be subject to ALL of the following:

    (A). The claim shall be denied. If the veteran has received any form of benefits because of the false claim they will be required to fully repay the benefits at cost.

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

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

    8. All veterans will 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 and incompetent VA employees.

    9. No AFGE, nor 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 will be STRICTLY ENFORCED. Should any government employee be found violating this provision, it will result in IMMEDIATE LIFETIME DISMISSAL FROM ANY/ALL STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTAL EMPLOYMENT.

    10. Attorneys for appeal will be retained at the former 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.

    You have my contact information Mr. President. Call me anytime. I have a lot of ideas to help this nation improve the services provided to my fellow veterans. The ones that were promised but have yet to be delivered upon. Veterans have been waiting for over fifty years for the fulfillment of those promises. I will not hesitate to speak up at all.

    For my fellow veterans who have been ill-served by this DERAILED CLUSTERFUCK of an AWFUL TRAIN WRECK CALLED THE VA over the years:

    Our battles overseas were far less stressful than our war here at home. Never Cruel or Cowardly. Never Give Up. Never Give In. We are on the Righteous path.

    POTUS Reagan broke up PATCO in the ’80’s. Time for CLOTUS Trump or President Putin to break up the AFGE. The vast majority of our current Congress Critters do NOT have Veterans Interests at heart. Perhaps their replacements will. VOTE OUT all these WORTHLESS BASTARDS AND BITCHES.

    Give their replacement’s one term to take care of Veterans who put aside their own personal lives to answer this nation’s call when she needed them. Many of those Veterans suffer the remainder of their lives for doing what most of their countrymen had not the courage to do.

    If they cannot MUSTER THE STONES to do it properly – – – vote their worthless asses out as well. Party should NOT MATTER. What SHOULD MATTER is their VOTING RECORDS ON VETERANS ISSUES.

    Rhetoric is cheap. Congressional Voting Records on veterans’ issues speak louder than words.

    NO Combat Veteran should be surprised when the next McVeigh, Congressional Baseball Team, or Las Vegas Sniper Incident occurs. Bound to happen. Just a matter of time . . .

    We have now reached the next accelerative phase of our country falling apart. Country before Party. Principles before Personalities. Always.

    Want to REALLY fix the VA? The next SecVA needs to be a former Enlisted Man brought in from the general veteran population with a few serious axes to grind against the VA and the AFGE, with zero previous governmental civilian service.

    Apparently, Former Flag Officers and SES appointed Civilians can’t cut the mustard . . .

    Maybe a SINCERELY MOTIVATED Gunnery Sergeant or Chief Petty Officer CAN.

    Jim “Clem” Clement
    Disgruntled Veteran
    1973 – 1976 USMC
    1978 – 1993 USN
    Wounded Warrior

    • JC – Can’t fix the VA until we fix America. And, to quote Ben, “But that does not stop the unthinking public from gobbling up the propaganda …” What constitutes propaganda gets blurred with mind control, or simple laissez faire on the part of a populous to busy being (to quote Keb Mo) “victims of their own comfort”.

      Can’t fix stupid.

  3. I believe the VA needs to be shut down and veterans given the opportunity to go to the civilian healthcare system.
    The VA’s adjudication system is broken. Where’s all that money going is the question needed answered!
    Check out the upper management’s bank accounts for starters!

  4. James Clement what you type is it would be letting Veteran Affairs Committee should know about let me know and others on here know?

  5. Jim, President Reagan started the down turn with his pen against entitlements. While promises weren’t kept from the time of the Revolutionary War to the present, it improved from WWII until Reagan’s Term and then turned the other way. Bankers took over the life of physicians and other health care providers instead of VA scholarships. Now there are not enough health care workers in the system period because you have to sign away your life to the banker on that student loan mortgage against your life that is the only debt that cannot be obliterated through bankruptcy and the only debt that can attach your Social Security Check. Thank you GOP war against “entitlements.”

    Vets have priority hiring in the Government. They are attracted to positions like Park Ranger and other furloughed positions. Yes, the suicide rate for TBI & PTSD victims will take an upturn if this shut down lasts over a month. No government is not what vets went to war for. It was to protect the constitutional government of the people, by the people and for the people. Not a dictatorship.

    • I hear ya’, Doc. Yes, I am aware of the Veterans Bonus March of 1932, and the shameful history this nation has of suckering people to fight wars the ‘elite’ deem in their best interests to hold (for whatever reason) promising to take care of those who do what the ‘elite’ have not the courage to – – – then using words written on paper to take a giant shit on the very same people who fought their dirty little unjust wars. And the American people stand for this crap.

      “No government is not what vets went to war for. It was to protect the constitutional government of the people, by the people and for the people. Not a dictatorship.”

      While I agree with that sentiment – – – I would say that this country has lost that battle given the stellar ‘leadership’ displayed by the Executive, and Senate Majority branches of government today.

      They are both way beyond pathetic. Spineless, Stupid Motherfuckers!

  6. All Americans should be worried about suicide. The government shutdown and the FBI investigation into Donald Trump’s relationship with Putin.

    People better understand that the road to distroyed America is being initiated by Donald Trump to began by shutting down the government.

    Excuses using the fence as an excuse. This guy is hiding something and I hope sooner than later, he is held accountable and his family.

    Look at all of the artests and convictions of his team. Hiding and distroying the records of meeting with Putin.

    Trump is a known liar. Look at his past and he has harmed so many people and could care less if they were harmed.

    Scheme after scheme, draft dodger and now doing Putin’s bidding. Suicide is the least of our problems.

    He told Turkey, if you attack the Kurdish people we will make your economic problems worse. That is exactly what he is doing right now to the United states.

    Bringing home our troops, who is this benefiting, Russia. They will bomb and kill as many people as necessary to get what he wants.

    Beware, gas chambers, firing squads and mass graves are a real possibility. Hide ur toys and prepare to defend yourself and you family and do not trust Anyone.

    • Well said and so true! Trump has handed Russia the Keys to the Kingdom. Whether he is aware of what he is doing or not is of zero consequence. The fact is, he HAS done it. CLOTUS (Chief Liar Of The United States) Trump.

      In high school back in the sixties and seventies – – – we (in our naivete) used to joke about ‘when the next revolution comes around’ never thinking seriously that we would live to see it.

      That time is now nearly upon us. I do not think America will recover from this. And I for one, will die with a weapon in my hand . . .

      • JC – I get it. I’m not ready to head to the bunker just yet. People have been talking about the doom/collapse/Armageddon/Kardashian Apocalypse for decades, and all it does is get more weird. But, the fundamentals remain. I am a tad more alarmed by how the whole trade/Syria/Iran thing is playing into the hands of BRICS nations – as if by design. If I dig deep enough into my own bucket of paranoia, an impeachment or other indictments against whatshisname could trigger some serious shit in the streets. While this nation may well be due for some of that, we are in no way prepared to collectively defend ourselves against “for the defense of all” police state that would ensue. That would require a collective consciousness that has all but disappeared in the current torn fabric of our society.

      • Certainly the effect the upcoming storm will have upon the BRICS (remember when it was just BRIC, until 2010?) nations is not to be discounted. I pretty much agree with the rest of your comment.

        The shit will start in the street – – – and as it increases – – – Posse Comitatus will be cast aside in favor of Martial Law. And you know . . . no matter how many personal small arms/AR’s you own . . . the FEDS have Tanks and Attack Choppers.

        I won’t be one of the guys starting the shit in the street. Gone my whole life without a police record. I’ll keep my head down on that one. But when the national panic and mob mentality ensues with wanton, senseless destruction – – – should it spill my way, this Old Marine will take a few out before he goes. And nationality/land of birth will not be a factor.

        I

  7. Some of the commenters have encouraged the disbandment of VA medical facilities and the exclusive use of private doctors and medical facilities. If this occurred, the private health care industry could not cope or handle the increase in patients. Moreover, there remains a real question as to whether the doctors would accept the new patients because they would be paid a fixed-government amount and not at the price they charge the general public.

    • The private healthcare industry already extracts enormous fees and compensation to pick up the pieces of VA malpractice. They maim and if they do not kill the vet then so often it is the private healthcare industry that picks up the pieces.

      VA must be dismantled and there are zero arguments that can justify trying to float this bastion of treachery, deceit, and criminal negligence. VA must go or we will just get what we have always gotten for eight decades.

  8. Yeah, go’vt shutdown sucks…but…this is the first we Veterans are not affected…and I’m so sick and tired of all the mainstream media interviewing these crying govt employees on tv interview…oh, going to have to sell my car, not get my stuff I want and deserve…andwhat finally set me off is they are giving out massive amounts of food bank foods to these ingrates that surely are NOT as hand to elbow to asshole tight as we Veterans are in ONE MISSED PAYDAY…meanwhile REAL HOMELESS FOLK, including Veterans, are NOT begging for sympathy of taxpayers….

    …and the real homeless go hungry while I never rememebr ONCE Veterans being used to show how shitty we really have it….but if you’re a gov’t industrial weight testing widescreen ass…BOO HOO….damn, in a mood….and the AFGE wanted to USE Veteran Suicide to PUSH their cause?
    How about we push the AFGE out high windows one by one….?

    • Namnibor,
      Don’t forget how the unions, which includes the AFGE employees, were all set to anoint Hillary Clinton as POTUS!

  9. As far as Dental is concerned, many of the Veterans who was contaminated in the past and had no idea, got autoimmune conditions,many in regards to Systemic sclerosis and sjogrens which the solvent TCE causes the glands to dry up. In my case six years ago i no cavities, i started loosing teeth where they drilled and filled my teeth years ago in the service. then the teeth themselves started to disintegrate when i was eating. i since have several removed that just rotted as the disease pulled my calcium from my bones and teeth. Of course I asked VA to help but they just handed me clinic suggest sheet and said we can’t help as your not 100%. So the VA stripped me of more than a million dollars since I was sick, no help whatso ever from Government with anything but food, i was suffering from Myopathy and many other illnesses, but VA can’t help they just kept denying claims based on Contamination. So i did an SF-95 to get my money back for $4,500,000 and they denied in six months, so i immediately appealed,and have never heard a word in the last year. At same time I am still appealing all my claims, as it is 100% I was contaminated by TCE and PCE as an armorer, but even in RAMP program VA Indianapolis denied it without even looking at my Job or training (DD214). That was Nov 27 2018, my birthday is when they like to deny me! so anyway i asked lawyer to CUE it as they as always failed to adjudicate, research, or even follow their own pro ta call. So they take you from the farm in the 80’s, put you on poison bases, let you get sick, then kick you to the curb, and watch you die. So many have this problem and many have no idea sadly that they was exposed. But TCE has been the major problem with all soldiers for decades. Government never really said how bad it was until 2018, but many warnings since 1980’s. Biggest was Ronald Reagan and EPA Super fund. He tried to remove TCE from the water with several billion dollar fund, but the military continued to use it! Anyone who takes the time to study it, will see TCE has been the big killer for decades and been hide by Government since Reagan. but for whatever reason it screwed me up as bad as anyone on Camp lejuene and I never was at Camp lejuene, I was an armorer on a post in Hawaii that was also contaminated. So take 60 years and 100 post, and say half got enough to cause some problem, and that is the number of people who in America alone was contaminated. Don’t include Ireland, Canada, Australia, UK. All have problems with TCE in military and factories around the countries. We stopped ordering in the 1990’s. I don’t believe much in other theories like shots, etc…I have lived it, TCE and PCE.

  10. Wow – I thought I had it bad. Thoughts that stood out for me today:

    “Woops. But that does not stop the unthinking public from gobbling up the propaganda as just another sign that veterans are unstable or that Trump is bad”
    “The VA has a first-world budget which they use to provide veterans with less than third-world medical care and benefits”

    Yes I think the VA should hire more psychiatrist. As of now the VA mental health professionals’ area of expertise is primarily focused on CBT therapeutic modality. Mental health care is not a one technique fits all! It is similar to medical health care. Can you imagine being prescribe the same medication for every medical condition. Well that’s what is happening with the VA in regards to mental health care. This is dangerous and destructive to the veterans and criminal. As the first rule in the “Code of Ethics” is TO DO NO HARM.

    However with that being said, it would be very challenging to hire MH practitioners that are experts in every MH modality. My suggestion is to allow veteran’s to seek healthcare (Medical, Dental and Mental) outside the VA. By doing this, the veterans have a chance at finding a MH professional in which they have a rapport. This is paramount and would reduce the suicide rate in and of itself. But that would keep veterans alive and collecting benefits and in addition, would stop the use of demonizing veterans and using them as the scapegoats. We can’t have that now can we?

    Peace out

    BTW – I accepted the challenge of Ben’s which was posted a few weeks ago about calling the Hotline. I did and you were right, what a farce!

  11. Veterans getting the run around and running into dead ends from VA when trying to get benefits, and medical care is what causes veterans to commit suicide,i.e. : Marine Col. Jim Turner, Navy PO Charles Inghram to name two. Read about them… Any dealings I have with VA normally results in a black cloud over me. Its that way intentionally to cut down on overhead…

  12. To who read this can you please as a Concerned Marine what Veteran Benefits Law that Disabled Veterans who is 100 service connected should have but they don’t have or don’t have a contract with Veteran Affairs Administration don’t avoid my question.

  13. Well….shit. I have been through pretty much everything spelt out above, but I have also had the opposite experiences, too.
    I had a VA physician who treated me every bit as well as my best “civilian” GP ever did. And I had one who compared the pain from four battle wounds to “lady troubles” (he actually said “lady troubles” in 2015). I had the best psychologist and have the best psychiatrist I ever had, at the VA. I also spent 13 years being tossed around from one uninformed Psychiatric Resident to another. I have a VA Neurologist who is top-notch, but infected with the idea that Veterans are all scamming the system—watching his abrupt change in demeanor when the brain scan came back was satisfying, and surprising.

    The VA used to provide superb Pain Management. Now it doesn’t provide any, at all, period. In the Central Texas VA system based out of Temple, the Pain Management Specialist (there’s one) “[doesn’t] write prescriptions…I leave that to the [Primary Care Team]”. Except they are—supposedly—forbidden by National VA directives from writing those Rxs. Because so many people accidentally kill themselves.

    The VBA, however, I can find nothing good to write about. Partly this is because the VA has become a Bureaucracy. As the “Iron Law” states, once an organisation passes out of the control of the original, mission-driven founders, it becomes subject to the proliferation of bureaucracies—the Janitorial staff takes over Physical Plant management, or the Clinical Director is in charge of Operations; it is about fiefdoms, not providing service. In that situation, goals become internally-oriented, not service-oriented. Thus “saving money” or “cutting costs” is seen as Good, and spending money or “increasing costs” is seen as Bad.

    Yet an organisation created to serve CANNOT be a cost-centre, and therefore cannot be run as if it were. The budget is not for fief-building or organisational infrastructure, it is to serve the mission. Veterans are the VA’s mission.

    Money allocated from taxation to the VA is money paid to serve Veterans who earned the gratitude of their nation. Not any veteran. Not every veteran. Only those who have earned the gratitude of their nation. Thus the Secretary of the DoVA earns their salary to perform services for and on behalf of veterans who earned the gratitude of their nation. Just as does the Security Officer at the local VA clinic. Of course, neither of those positions views itself as a service position—they are The Bosses, not The Bossed. Why is that?

    How does a veteran earn the gratitude of this nation? Theoretically, by being held as a Prisoner of War, by receiving a Purple Heart (note that being Killed or Wounded In Action, prior to President Clinton’s 2nd term, is not enough), sustaining a service-connected injury deemed serious enough to impair the veteran’s ability to work, or serving honourably for 20 or more years and retiring.

    Receiving “assistance” from the VA, be it pension or health care, is a never-ending struggle. Although we supposedly earned our nation’s gratitude—at least according to the VBA—we still must fight for every check-up, lab test, or $$ in pay. Why is that?

  14. That 47 million could be better spent on hiring needed psych Drs. But the problem is that since VA trains 70% of all doctors Nationwide, you can see what we’re are looking at here a bit more clearly.
    80% of the dozens of psych “Drs” I was issued by VA since 1997, were Student doctors in training, having little to no actual with patient experience, and egos the size of Manhattan.
    In my humble opinion they are not being trained appropriately too evaluate patients for PTSD, let alone TBI. Instead are trained to give out diagnosiss that are inappropriate for the symptoms they are presented with.
    I’d also say they are intentionally being taught to give any diagnosis except PTSD in any and all cases they can get away with it.
    ★@Ben: -perhaps some investigating into exactly what is in the training curriculum for VA psych providers, and what is not, would shed much needed light into these matters.
    Also of note is the term “implicit bias”, which definitely seems to be getting “taught” to all VA doctors in training.
    Number one problem w VA care, is that the patient is not listened to, not taken seriously at their word, nor believed when they tell the doctor what’s wrong.
    The end result of that is patient is not believed, accurate diagnosis’s are never made, and proper treatment as per APA guidlines and standards of care and the APA treatment guidelines seem to be tossed aside by VA doctors, in favor of doing as little as possible to treat the actual problem, let alone give proper benefits exams (my C&P exam for PTSD was a total joke).
    If you cross reference those standards and guidelines w current VA “protocols”, I am certain you will strike gold if you dig deeper here…
    Thanks Ben…

    My psych care had virtually No continuity of care between providers, too little time allowed for building rapor w providers, and they each had very different “opinions” about my diagnosis’s.
    They refused to accept my valid concerns over misdiagnosiss and mainly only treated me w double talk and heavily pushing big pharma drugs that failed to help in any way, absolutely harmed me greatly in all categories of functioning, living my life. My pursuit of life, liberty and happiness was denied me, in favor of keeping me medicated into a stupor, which does not allow one to live, persue happiness or liberty, much less take care of responsibilities, or seek and hold gainfull employment.
    All of those inexperienced VA psych drs, again dozens over 2 decades, all of their botched diagnosises, can be sumed up as falling under the proper heading of: PTSD. Multiple VA Drs wrote in my records I have PTSD, yet for some idiotic reason, I never got treatment for PTSD, and my benifits claim for it was denied…
    To this day 20+ years later, VA still refuses to accept that PTSD (claim for denied 6 mo back, American Legion failed to follow up at all to help me with appealing the crap false reasons they denied my claim) and TBI (never evaluated, refused too evaluate me, lied to me about that, telling me it’s only a psych diagnosis, which is disproved by both PTSD and Blast Wave TBI injuries medical research literature, some of that done by VA no less).
    PTSD and TBI are what’s wrong w me, but I can’t get evaluated, diagnosed, or treated appropriately by VA.
    Now, each day is a struggle w overwhelming depression, anxiety, etc, cognitive disfunctions from TBI and mental ilness, on top of multiple sources of chronic spine pain, for which I have been getting the total run around by VA executive management at my facity in Salem Virginia, in my 4-5 years of futile attempts to aquire Non VA Care in my community that actually meets my needs…
    Americans problems: Less than 25% ever obtain or read let alone correct their own medical records. I’ve found in mine; diagnosis’s I was never informed about or treated for, numerous glaring errors, many failures to follow-up, etc.
    Until Americans, including Veterans, take their medical records seriously, then Americans will never truly know how bad their medical care really is…

  15. I see all these posts and responses…

    Great job!!

    In a nutshell:

    TRUMP has absolutely no blame or fault regarding the demise of veterans. That is THEE most pathetic statement that one can make. Veterans have been committing suicide with or without a shutdown. To the pathetic, womb rejected VA criminals who have the (obama) audacity to pass blame onto the POTUS , you are why afterbirth is an excuse……

    Everybody seems to forget obama and his first playmate lady through veterans under the bus when they focused mire on 200 nigerian girls taken by the boko haram islamic group. Obama’s wife hashtagged “bring our girls back home”, while at the same exact time veterans were dying in VA care, denied benefits, being manipulated, and denied due process…

    I have been saying for years that the senior leadership at the VA must NOT be “O” grade or civilian, but former enlisted Soldiers of the United States Army who are professionally and hard core trained to the limits of human accomplishment by virtue of cross training and steadfast dedication to well being of its Soldiers.

    To eliminate the VA and its union “side effects” is a simple process even under the law. Change the name and mission statement at midnight. Identify a new title and identifier that tends to the needs of veterans and their families. A 2-4 week process of hiring new non-union employees who are paid accordingly. Hiring former military is a benefit and a deed. Whatever their last rank was, hire them at plus two rank and pay scale from their last.

    I have also always been a proponent of shaking the Joint Chiefs by inserting the most senior ENLISTED of each branch to the Joint Chiefs and alternating through the branches each year appointing that individual as the Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs…

    Stop the insane patheticism and LETS TAKE CARE OF OUR VETERANS……

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