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Bruha over Veterans Choice is distracting the public from a little know DoD plan that could rock the future of VA Health Administration far more than more choice.

In a statement to Bloomberg, DoD officials acknowledged merger plans are moving from the feasibility study phase into the strategy development phase. The merger would combine the Defense Health Administration with the Veterans Health Administration.

Called the DoD VA Health Care Staffing Service” initiative, the joint strategy would deliver “integrated, high-quality health care services”. And at least one VSO is on board.

“The idea in itself makes sense,” said Pat Murray, Deputy Director of the National Legislative Service for Veterans of Foreign Wars. “But it’s going to be a lot harder than I think they understand.”

“I think you have the possibility to save,” said Kathy Beasley, Director of Health Affairs for the Military Officers Association of America. “Where there might be excess capacity in one area it may be utilized by beneficiaries in the other,” Beasley said.

So, while AFGE and veterans groups fight publicly over privatizing parts of VA health care more than they already are, how much further would the agency change if it were run by DoD?

I think many of us suspected a move was underway to merge VA with DoD based on the antics surrounding the Cerner contract to merge the agencies’ electronic health records systems, talk of merging with DoD certainly is an element that must be contemplated by stakeholders.

What do you think of the plan to merge with DoD? Can we expect to see more camo dressed medical professionals at our local medical centers?

With DoD cutting back on hiring medical clinicians, what does a merger like this really mean for servicemembers and veterans?

This is the first time I’ve seen this conversation out in the open making me wonder if the blow up over Veterans Choice is simply a rouse to keep the public focused on the wrong angle.

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43 Comments

  1. Any kind of Govt. Merger is usually a Clusterfuck, where the blame for bad care will get the Blame Game spin-around until the Vet just say fk it,and get tired of chasing answers about my care.

    • They’re also going to build latrines and have Vets perform shit burning duty with diesel and JP4, before they can receive any medical care or treatment. Forget the pain meds… Those are only provided to Vets who’ve been diagnosed terminal with three weeks to live. And, for our low-rider crowd, they’ve created a custom container shit-burner that rides at just the right height… Plus, each Vet is issued 1 ea. Stick Stir

  2. What are they gonna do, use us 100 percenter zombies as a first line of defense. I can see the enemy with poked out eyes by crutches and skid marks on their foreheads from wheel chairs. Don’t forget the catheters shoved up their noses and canes stuck up asses. We could use the blood pressure thingy wrapped around their neck as torture to get them to tell us where the pain meds are. CHARGE! muthafuka.

  3. This is a partial of what the original Obama Health Care point man, David Cutler had in the National Health Care Plan. Not only does it create a “military health care staff” with training in military schools for the special needs of military health but it also provides “contract staffing” to civilian hospitals to reduce staffing costs. A means of health care education without ending up with life long indenture to a banker.

    I participated in writing this section which has apparently survived the medical industry and insurance industry cut though it has been slow to receive implementation. Understandable understanding the resistance.

  4. POINTS:

    If the VA was so professional such as:

    * Provide a quality service such as
    unmanipulated Vocational Rehab (ch.
    31)
    * Provide quality and timely healthcare
    without debate and pathetic excuses
    and professional laziness
    * Forego bonuses for doing ABSOLUTELY
    NOTHING while giving veterans
    ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
    ……and on and on and on………

    The fact that the VA is trying to merge with ANYBODY should speak volumes to the intellectual. Simply put, the VA has become so dysfunctional, unprofessional, unethical, greedy and criminally deviant, that its very existnce is so desperate that their only approach to survival is to get help from the private sector and surely, any relationship with ANY outside agency whether private, government, or otherwise will be manipulated and/or coerced by money and influence………

    TO HELL WITH THE VETERAN, EITHER WAY!!!!!!!

    VA and DoD????? Yeah. Yupp….. bin Laden and islam, and the United States Army Soldier could be best buddies…..

  5. Sounds like a money laundering scheme to Tie VA funding to DOD funding and thereby use it as an inroad to privatize DOD medical services. Whew, tying DOD and VA together in the current light seems an avenue to corrupt DOD using corrupt VA “politicized” insider actors as pawns to accomplish more political motivated cronyism into DOD. Adding DOD authority to VA authority. Sounds like a “more power to me” (the corrupt VA officials) power grab. Grandiose schemes of corrupting DOD from a well established veeery corrupt VA is my take.

    • Much of the DOD medical services has been privatized already. A program called “TRICARE”. Notice, TRICARE also has the contract for VA Choice. The only difference is the active duty and retired military have more “choice” than Veterans. SC veterans with combined ratings grating than 50% (retired or not) have 0 co-pays compared to other TRICARE recipients.

      Since the Phoenix/Cheyenne Crisis a new Director of the Cheyenne VAMC was brought in after failure of the second director replacing the crisis director. The new VAMC director thumbs his nose at the VARO Director and delivers. I have absolutely no problem with the VAMC Cheyenne since the new director established his control, removed some goldbricks and improved delivery. 2 week max for appointments including those long wait things like eye and hearing appointments and specialty consults. Same is true for my VA PC at the CBOC in Scottsbluff, NE run by the Black Hills VAMC Fort Meade/Hot Springs. The Hospital in Hot Springs has closed to a substance abuse center and CBOC but still has more than just PC clinics.

      VARO Denver still runs the “Benefits Office” in Cheyenne which denies, for example, TDIU Dental Services which can be obtained by simply writing a letter requesting a Dental Appointment with a copy of your TDIU award letter. They won’t refuse. It took me some time to realize the biggest problem is the non medical directors at VARO being the Direct supervisor of the VAMC Directors. I’ll bet the VARO Denver Director is shitting bricks over the Cheyenne VAMC Director’s thumbing his nose at the Benefits Officer who has been the back channel of the VARO Denver Director’s control of medical expenditures in Cheyenne.

      Hoping more of you will experience this change.

      These are relatively small institutions. It is natural that a trial in change of the chain of command would start with these small facilities, especially where the crisis went public. The VARO Directors have been able to limit disability compensation awards through their supervisory role of the VAMCs. It will obviously take time and a lot of public pressure for this to progress to the larger VAMCs and the areas of depressed care.

      Each and every one reading this post can help by writing your complaints about your VAMC service to your congressman and complaining via a letter to the editor of your local newspaper about your congressman’s lack of response. Believe me it will eventually help. It was the way the Phoenix/Cheyenne VAMC crisis was exposed.

      It is easy to do that online now.

  6. The co-mingling DoD and VHA computerized medical records is something that should have happened decades ago. There is a larger population of veterans and active duty combined, than there are of veterans using VHA facilities for medical care. The fly in the ointment here, is the establishment of unrestrained civilian access to all of any veteran’s medical history.

    Civilian medicine is already fully vested in controlling veteran patients healthcare according to fka BoWRI standards and likely with full federal protection from the repercussions of HIPAA violations toward those veterans. One of our brother’s pointed out a couple of months ago, that he engaged a civilian doctor for care and with no prior mention of his veteran status, only to be immediately confronted with VHA notations thrown in his face. American healthcare at its finest?

    In reading the referenced article, I note that they just can not resist throwing in a plump slice of propaganda pie for Joe Average to consume. I point out the high-tech prosthetic arm pictured and referenced in that article. That journalist is feeding the public a delusion that every veteran needing a prosthetic limb will be offered the very latest six-figure appliance, when the reality is that one cherry-picked person is actually testing it out. Let’s be serious, veteran’s can’t get a diagnosis on record for a sore throat but our veteran amputees are all but guaranteed these modern marvels.

    Be aware! Just keep your heads on swivel with brains fully engaged!

    • HIPPA law is going to change, soon, for the worst. Anyways i agree with you, Veterans need to keep there awareness high.

    • It is not unrestrained. The veteran has to opt in which makes since. When you see a private physician you want your record in front of him AFTER HE HAS MADE HIS OWN ASSESSMENT. For example, I have a diagnosis of “pseudo seizures” in my hard copy medical file. I was started on seizure medication in a private neurobehavioral ward which I was sent to by the VAMC Denver because they lacked the necessary physician coverage for a bed in the VAMC neurobehavioral ward. It took several hours for the clerks to find an open bed willing to take me. But the treating physician recognized my temporal lobe seizures, started treating them and the VA physicians were forced to follow in spite of the “pseudo seizure non service connected diagnosis” in my VA Medical file.

      Now the private neurologist I’m being sent to by the CBOC in Scottsbluff can do something a VA physician cannot do. Remove the “pseudo seizure diagnosis” and replace it with a temporal lobe seizure diagnosis originally identified in 1985 per EEG reports and a private neurological assessment. 29 years of hell began coming to an end in 2014 and has been improving ever since.

      A lot of frontal TBI victims have the same problem I had. Temporal lobe partial and complex partial seizures are difficult to detect. You just seem a little drifty or depressed and are often mistakenly treated for depression the way I was by behaviorally focused psychiatrists and psychologists. And temporal lobe seizures often do not respond to the first medication tried. It took 24 years to get a second trial medication. In the meantime I was saddled with the diagnosis of “pseudo seizures”, depression and a personality disorder including unsuccessful treatment because the initial treating neurologist prescribed Tegretol which was contra indicated for the seizures he diagnosed and then the diagnosis of “pseudo seizures’ was entered because Tegretol didn’t work without trying a different medication.

      • Also, If you have a long term chronic condition I recommend you write your own medical history (without reference to medical opinions of it) and submit it to any new physician you see. If you read your medical file you’ll a lot of the reported history is projected from presumptions which aren’t factually related by you. If the intake nurse doesn’t report your history correctly to the physician you are not going to be correctly diagnosed and treated.

  7. No surprise at all. Hell, why not merge one huge corrupt money sucking, self-serving, system with another. A group of us were told to take our issues to the top and blame them for all the VA’s failures and wrongs including the totalities of corruption to total lacks of ethics concerning every thing about the VA, activist staff, to civy health care, censoring, identity politics, retaliation against questioners and complainers etc. Now the power grabs with more circus and trickery. Watch this hand while the other buries a knife in your back. Ahh thought that was going to be a pat on the back like a good little dog did ya? Ha.

    We were told “those at the top” including the sitting POTUS/Congress critters were the DoD, mainly DHS (& SES behind the curtain types) who is supposedly over every damn thing out there including property to health care, to reading our minds which put vets on some great possibility of domestic terrorist lists. Then it went to the Pentagon ( entire military/health/insurance complex) to the underlings of the top brass over VA and medical board’s affairs. Pointing fingers at everything else except the matters at hand and local corruption/malevolence lack of ethics or true professionalism. Oh while spouting about the local systems that be are puuuurrfect. And like they aren’t having some severe issues with active military health care?

    If we had a POTUS, Congress, anyone who actually cared over the generations there would be a calling for a “National Emergency,” moratoriums, not only over open borders but for health care across the board, the censoring, the true causes of so many suicides, retaliations, protectionism of the “professional classes” to the system allowing for and protecting those including unions/associations who attack some of us for being out-spoken and wanting some answers, not more BS, time wasting games, passing the buck, gas-lighting, bait n switch or circus maximus with more entertainment rings in action than can be counted or monitored. In fact there is long long list of so-called “professional classes,” corporations, nepotism, the cliques, ” big brother or sister, that are to blame for today’s corrupted issues and they don’t want any real change at all.

    We’ve already seen war crimes like collective punishments used like over pain meds that started in the VA like other issues then flooded out to the civy world for acceptance by the herd/serf mentality and to hell with reality to some falling between the cracks or intentionally left out of the conversations or helped in any manner. Okay, so let’s “bundle” merge (that word again) it all together to create a bigger monster to battle and knowing such a battle or thought of it is hopeless. Yeah, right.

  8. The day before 9/11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld admitted $2.3 trillion was missing from the Defense Department budget. That figure has now grown to $6.5 trillion and counting.

  9. It’s not clear to me what is going on and no notification to VA patient of any changes being made. Perhaps it was put out in the online world and I missed it, but it seems VA merged other program with how prescriptions were refilled, at least.

    The CHAMPVA Meds By Mail program prescriptions info. has recently become available through myhealthevet site. Since CHAMPVA is their program, also, it would not seem so strange, except that for the many years I’ve had access to myhealthevet, that had not been the case until now. When I saw that link, it definitely had me wondering…something is up…I just don’t know exactly what that something is.

    • Marla, are you a dependent or a veteran or both? CHAMP VA is for dependents. When I (a vet) first went to a choice appointment the clinic forwarded my seizure medication Rx to the CHAMP VA mail out pharmacy. They forwarded it correctly to the VA Mailout pharmacy. It took 3 visits to get the local clinic corrected. I no longer have that problem with the opening of the CBOC in Scottsbluff.
      Don’t mix up CHAMPVA with CHOICE.

      • I am both…a veteran and CHAMPVA eligible through my P&T spouse. I mostly go to VA, except for one critical, too important to my life treatment…I won’t switch to VA for that one. The point of my comment was the change that I noted on myhealthevet that was not on there before.

      • Thanks for the info Maria! Sorry I missed the myhealthevet comment or I would have known you were both a vet and spouse of a vet.

  10. Ben , we have a real simple wake up for our Fellow patriots its call the (CAFR) .. In reference to a merger, You mean like the one where USF BOARD of DIRECTORS ( University….Of pick one) cherry picks, VA cases…. that only make them large amounts of money and stays away from the day to day operations? Or the Va cases where allow them to decline the services of legit cases and they pretend that because the Acronym MD is attached to the names around the Board Room Back room deiscussions on who they are going to decline services to based on Errorors and Omissions Malpractice costs based on less then Joint Commissions standards of what even the minimum of health care requirements entail? .. You before they take cases that DO NOT bring in the big bucks and leave the majority of veterans dreaming of the day they actually get what the Joint Commissions calls Standard Health care (minus the 5 star excellence propaganda located in ever Veterans Facility brainwashing their Staff never to speak the word JOINT COMMISSIONS?. I find all these discussions a real simple endeavor very simple really . SHOW me the Comprehensive Annual Finance Report or what’s hidden from the PUBLIC.. Whats known as the (CAFR)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2aif0Wk9E0&t=64s and the link is attached to the VA stalkers who are actual staffers worried about your 5 stars you created (not the Veterans) it would behoove you to know the word CAFR ….. Sounds like a cuss word doesnt it … Show us the books and the ones who profited off our books … Then we can track the bonuses that don’t exist.

  11. Looks like a PR strategy to me. Bury the VA into the abyss of the DoD until it becomes just another anonymous acronym. Then shuffle it (VA Healthcare or whatever it will be called) over to the private sector. None of the sheeple will notice some DoD “thing” being dumped. Obscuring the identity of the VA makes getting rid of it a lot less contentious. Any objections will be drowned in the DoD Sea of Double-dealing.

  12. I was abused in the military while active duty and nearly killed a couple of times due to pulling rank on me, the “shut up and do as you are told’ syndrome. They were also totally incompetent.

    The stories I could tell ya.

    WHEN DOES THE FUCKING MADNESS STOP!!!!!

  13. The solution to VA Healthcare is simple:

    1) Give veterans the choice and the results will provide evidence of the quality of care. It will be easily determined on whether or not the VAHCS is providing good quality care. Just like in the real world, if the services provided are substandard then they lose business, if not, people will continue to seek service where good quality care is being provided.

    2) Give the veteran a means to file grievances that is outside the VA. Where there is no threat of loosing business or one’s job, there’s no incentive to change and do the right thing.

    With that being said, I have had the good fortune to receive good quality care from the VA. Yet, there has been times where I have been mistreated, misdiagnosed, and refused treatment when others have been allowed treatment for the same issue. Why?

    Ugh, this is very exhausting preaching to the choir, saying the same thing over and over. What are you going to do?

    Peace out

  14. Its going to end up like it is/was in the service: Doctor misdiagnoses the veteran, veteran suffers horribly, veteran CANNOT sue because they fall over DOD, veteran dies a horrible death, VA is left untouched. So basically, its ‘business as usual’ for the VA, only now they can hide behind their decisions to hire inept physicians as “we are a training hospital” or “we have military doctors only at this facility”.

    Politicians continue to get free healthcare (adequate healthcare) while veterans continue to suffer at the hands of ineptness. Politicians continue to get richer and richer, while us veterans continue to scrape by and have to continually fight for ‘bare bones’ rating on disabilities listed throughout their medical records that the VA continues to delay and deny. Politicians keep turning their heads the other way and avoids actually holding the VA accountable, while veterans are committing suicide because they feel they have no other choice.

    Politicians will NEVER admit their spinelessness and have zero ideas on what ‘support’ ‘ethical treatments’ or having ‘intestinal fortitude’ means.

  15. So where would these joint facilities be located? If on a military base, that opens a whole new problem, since, unfortunately, many vets have criminal records to include felonies. Base access is hard enough for people with a clean record. Also, how would this fit in with the bipartisan push to a one-payer system, Medicare for all?

    • So this is a lump in with Medicare. TriCare and Choice have to go to sources that accept the Medicare limitations on fees. It is fee based medicine with its abuses including fraud against the system but at least you get the chance to choose and not fall for the scammers of the system and end up with unnecessary surgery. You have almost as good a chance as any private sector insured patient.

      Wish the bonus system at the VA were tuned up. A suicide should be a huge negative against the facility providing treatment. Same with any death that resulted from a missed diagnosis such as the first Navy autopsy I observed in Hospital Corps School—A Navy Captain that bled to death with a bleeding ulcer that was missed and went untreated. Also any malpractice award, even the no fault–only worse off after treatment awards under 38 CFR 3.154

      • Hey Lem, when I do have the time to read this blog. I find your comments informative and helpful. As I see you’re a old corpsman ! So was I.

  16. They’re also going to build latrines and have Vets perform shit burning duty with diesel and JP4, before they can receive any medical care or treatment. Forget the pain meds… Those are only provided to Vets who’ve been diagnosed terminal with three weeks to live. And, for our low-rider crowd, they’ve created a custom container shit-burner that rides at just the right height… Plus, each Vet is issued 1 ea. Stick Stir

  17. To Veterans who read this and have other Veterans have event how improve Veterans Health Care what we say here like on go Fuck yourself. Remember Veterans come First 100 percent Don’t Surrender.

  18. What would be a good idea is to put with Medicare. Then there some options, can merge with Medicare how is or share facilities with Medicare and VA Hospitals. I think the best way to go would be to have a medium sized clinic next to a major hospitals. Get primary care and exams at clinic and see specialists, radiology and major health at the hospitals. A lot of doctors offices work this way and have walkways or bridge to hospital, can do billing too. With over 50% of veterans over the age of 65 changes are coming no matter what. Not for profit hospitals would approve in a second and since get funding from the government would make easy. We do not need 6 people working in reception for every department or nurses at check in taking temps. Waste is everywhere and even worse are the idiots that complain all day how horrible it is there and running to HR 3x a week making sure will have jobs. It is ridiculous for any planning with the DoD, the VA does some good administrators and if ask some CEOs of major healthcare and hospitals to join talks could be solved quickly. With email and tele conferencing most work can be handled. Once feel they have some solid ideas they can meet for 3 days and have done. Thinking Congress or the DoD have the same brain waves as successful people in the private sector is poppycock. Get rid of government and union thinking and 80% there all ready. Can even have clinics for illegal immigrants with a car wash, voting booths and tattoo parlors can use when waiting for appointments. It’s a win win win!

  19. Veterans and invite other Veterans to have a event to improve Veterans Health Care and say what we what want we want we want Remember Veterans we would not be called United States
    Don’t Surrender.

  20. What would happen if all Veterans enrolled in the VHA were to go on a chosen date and requested to be removed from the VA health care system? We would all be better off with medicare of medicaid for our health care. It may cost us some money but that is better than a slow death.

  21. Merger, consolidation means less people sucking on the taxpayers money As i have said before we need a good shaking of the tree and see if we can get some rotten apples to fall. Plenty available, and besides we must use some technology at some point to narrow the ranks of Government workers. technology is being used by many companies to maximize profit, and produce higher quality products, except VBA and VHA, they get backlogged and make people wait years for help because they have and will always want to be a year or two behind on claims for job security. They can’t be trusted with such a great flow of tax payer money coming their way annually. Only people who suffer is Veterans, because they get hind tit.

  22. The answer to this question will be a good indicator of how this program will work, what program run by the government runs efficiently?

  23. As always, “stakeholders” (semi-professional and professional organisations, not Veterans) are focused on “savings”, when they SHOULD be focused on “services”.

    How does merging the VAOPC & MC system with the DoD health care delivery system impact care for active and veteran service members, in that order? Are we sacrificing readiness to save a buck, yet again? How does merging two disparate groups with disparate needs effect care delivery? Most active service members are young and, well, active. Most veterans using the VA OPC/MC services are neither. Points to Mr. Krause for arguing these aspects and calling out the hue and cry as just that.

    Combining records was driven by the C&P Ratings “scandal” of ten years ago, when some one finally noticed the VA was in the business of paying bonuses and not of serving Veterans, buy simply un-making veterans. At one point, the VA having been **in error of fact** was NOT grounds for appeal! It required a change in law to force the VA to accept that being wrong was not OK.

    The whole thing is probably smoke and mirrors. The top of the pyramid is now so divorced from the actual world it is supposed to manage that they simply see $$$B as “costs”, rather than as an essential maintenance for the trained personnel required to meet the mission. If we are so short of money we cannot provide health care to the women and men who we asked to risk everything—and who endured or survived—then why did we take a huge cut to income (taxes being income to VA and DoD)? Maybe we should ask for a raise instead of take another shitty job?

  24. 02/08/2019

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    I believe it should be a takeover—not a merger [DOD cannot use the VA as an excuse in future events].

    Destroy all those who stole from the Veterans, the American Taxpayers, and the American Treasury.

    Let them [those living off the VA for all the wrong reasons] find a job in the real world!

    Now we know why Wilkie was put in charge.

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg

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