IG Speaks On ‘Perverse’ VA Emergency Room Denial Incentives

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The evolving VA emergency room denial scandal is taking new heights with Inspector General Michael Missal agreeing to a press interview broadcast this week.

Reporter AJ Lagoe was allowed to directly interview Missal for a piece on the KARE 11 News (NBC Affiliate in Minneapolis) as part of its two-year investigation. KARE 11 has been covering wrongful emergency room billing denials since 2017.

I know I have written about this before, but I want to repeat how things are unfolding for new readers.

The story originated with my own non-VA emergency room bill denial after I experienced symptoms of a heart attack. When I received the agency denial in the mail, I was shocked.

RELATED: KARE 11 Receives Award For ER Denial Coverage

The decision informed me that I was not a prudent layperson, and that a prudent layperson would not go to an emergency room with the symptoms I exhibited.

It’s a pretty bold statement to make against me, a journalist turned veterans rights attorney, whose education was funded by VA benefits I earned after fighting with the agency for over a decade.

I may not be the guy to screw with when it comes to benefits… much less to accuse of not being a “prudent layperson”

Anyway, I read the patently absurd denial letter and reached out to Lagoe literally the same day to see if KARE 11 might be interested.

It always helps to have friends in broadcast media who love fighting for veterans and pushing the bar forward for government accountability.

READ: KARE 11 Full Coverage Of Pattern Of Denial

Enter KARE 11 News.

Lagoe and his producer hit back with a series of questions and investigations with area veterans. VA almost immediately reversed my denial and identified major problems with the program.

The story quickly took on a national scope even bigger than the traumatic brain injury scandal we exposed in 2015 (VA was caught using unqualified doctors to ‘diagnose’ initial brain injury claims affecting nearly 25,000 veterans).

Congress Acts

The House Committee on Veterans Affairs is hot on the trail. Then Congressman Tim Walz (D-Mn), now Governor Walz (Mn), requested that the IG investigate writing in a letter that VA had “created perverse incentives for its claims processors to deny veterans’ emergency care claims.”

Here we are, and man, are the details of the agency’s incentive scheme “perverse,” Walz words, not mine.

IG conducted an investigation and revealed just how perverse the impact was of the incentive scheme behind the denials. Over five years, IG estimates the agency would wrongly deny veterans benefits totaling over $500 million.

RELATED: VA Home Loan Program Knowingly Ripped Off Veterans

IG Interview Highlight

Missal’s investigators found an internal report quoting a VA officer stating, “I don’t want to say accuracy doesn’t matter, but accuracy doesn’t matter.”

“As a result, they made a number of mistakes which cost veterans millions of dollars,” Missal said.

The mistakes were not just on the money front, either. As a consequence of the agency’s scheme, veterans frequently bypassed safer, closer emergency rooms to instead seek care from a VA out of fear of being bankrupted by emergency room bills.

In some instances, those fears led to the death of the veteran in question.

RELATED: Advocates Sue VA Secretary Over Blue Water Stall

Fortunately, the courts have not taken kindly to the agency’s schemes either on this front also concluding the agency’s arguments were absurd.

VA Scandal Season Is Upon Us

So here we go. I suspect the depth of the ER scandal is not yet fully known. Given the pushback against the MISSION Act, you can anticipate a scandal will surface about poor access to community care in 2020.

As with all elections, especially this one in 2020, you can count on a mountain of scandals coming up just before the vote. I am not a betting man, but if I were, I would bet $1 we can count on five major scandals coming up between next April and next November.

Case in point. Coverage of this scandal by Congress will probably get pushed into the coming Spring right before House members return to their districts for campaigning.

We will probably see at least 4 more major blowouts hit the headlines at a steady pace, on after another, perhaps 1 every 60 days starting in April and rolling into November.

Here are a few other problems brewing for a classic election-year scandal. I am hopeful to be wrong here because any one of these scandals will harm the lives of real veterans:

  • Blue Water Claims: The pushback by the VA Secretary to delay the processing of Blue Water claims for January will probably result in a glut of processing that VA will screw up resulting in a bigger backlog.
  • Appeals Modernization: That backlog will probably impact the second year post-rollout of Appeals Modernization and create a backlog of appeals making it difficult for the Board to process the existing backlog.
  • VA Home Loan: The agency is delaying the processing of mandatory refunds of the $150 million the agency knowingly and wrongfully withheld from disabled veterans.
  • Murder-gate: The agency is slowly investigating a series of homicides of veterans at a VA hospital in West Virgina.
  • Whistleblower Hit List: News stories just came out that the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection (OAWP) created a “hit list” on whistleblowers and was not actually protecting whistleblowers, at all. We kinda knew this was happening, but its coverage in The Daily Caller certainly made the story a reality this week.
  • Suicide Rates: VA has consistently been unable to properly address veteran suicide with prevention strategies that work despite spending tens of millions each and every year.

Oh, and let’s not forget the massive electronic health record move to Cerner out of Kansas City. You can bet some reporter somewhere will write a story saying the program coming in billions over budget and well behind schedule since those stories have already been circulating.

What do you think the big scandal will be that keeps the narrative through to the election?

The MISSION Act and Accountability Act were the result of massive publicity coming out of various House Committee on Veterans Affairs scandals the festered for years.

I hear mixed stories about the MISSION Act at this point.

Meanwhile, the Accountability Act turned out to be a complete farce without any substantive movement in holding agency senior leaders accountable. After OAWP was created, a VA insider gave me the scoop that the office actually existed prior to Trump being elected, and the agency simply rebranded the office as the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection.

Of course, the push to create the rebranded office coupled with the updated 38 USC § 714 to help fire employees was supposed to help fire senior employees.

Instead, based on the language of the new statute, many low-level VA employees with disabilities, including many veterans, were targeted for removal while senior officials still largely evade accountability.

Fantastic.

What Do You Think?

Curious to know your take on this one given recent admissions by the agency that is Debt Management Center adjudication system is knowingly confusing to veterans in debt to the agency for overpayments.

Again, the agency is fully aware of the impact of its own policies. These strategies employed by the emergency room denial folks or the VA home loan processors are not accidental.

There are numerous ways senior leaders can keep costs down, and it’s not simply about the number of claims that are denied or lowballed.

There are also more subtle ways such as staffing shortages, overtime reduction, increased quotas without appropriate quality controls, and making the appeals process confusing for non-legally educated veterans.

(Ahem, Appeals Modernization)

The attack on our benefits is very real, and it takes many shapes and forms, many of which are not well-known to the American public, which allows VA to at least maintain the appearance that they are doing all they can to help veterans 100 percent of the time.

Here on DisabledVeterans.org, you know that is a bunch of donkey dung. The American taxpayer or future recruit into the military may not be so wise. Get ready for a storm.

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70 Comments

  1. Keep on em Ben. Repetition and keeping things in public view may help some issues and expose much. Others use it for their agendas and activism so should we instead of being scrubbed or ignored.

    Article brings up quite a few questions in my mind but I digress on many of them. This stuff is not rocket science and those at the top keep playing dumb like mayors, governors, ALL others do in DC, VSOs, or in media.

    You’re lucky to have a NBC affiliate up there cover these stories while all those other affiliates in other states do all they can to bury news, censor, ignore truth, refuse to cover suicides, corruption, abuse, support obvious attacks on some of us, etc. Sadly what they are pushing for in your state will not fair well at all or make a dent in major issues in other states or communities. All those clowns up-stairs and around know it. Why is it when these mayors, governors, VA heads, prosecutors, VSOs etc., have their conventions and meetings our major issues seem to never be discussed or covered in media? But we are made out to be terrorist or national problems, to hear should just die off or to shut-up. They all have their ‘networks’ to attack us and protect the evil ones but not a one to actually hear us and take some needed actions.

    How is it we are told about signs of health problems then urged to seek out medical advice over something then labeled as ‘not prudent laypeople’ or wasting others valuable time to creating overloads/congestion in some system even when very few other patients are present and the staff can play or throw parties. Damned if we do damned or dead if we don’t. Or we are told to give a three day advance notice for emergency care? Wow that makes a lot of sense.

    How about nothing being done when we are told in some secret meeting and demands to sign contracts to never use civilian care at all even over emergencies like “two broken legs,” “heart attacks,” to “vehicle accidents,” but are to drive hundreds of miles to the nearest VA emergency room instead? Given “Choice Cards” back then later told, ordered, to never use them? And we know damn well those at the top and others read this blog but no further questions are asked or when we take issues to some PA or VA MD the issue is denied or we go under attack by the entire system of things? When questioning some freak throwing out insults or threats – all he is saying, every word, threat, is from all those at the top including the VA’s local directors. With not a single true investigation to occur but all is protected and supported except for the vet.

    Bankruptcies are big business especially with vets. Lawyers locally do well doing nothing but bankruptcies and lying to vets about exemption status. It’s why a lot of vet refuse to get caught up in mainstream care or VA care, better off staying indigent, homeless, then getting the care they can get. And catching how phony some claims are made by some churches about “free clinics” while telling some vets they need some kind of coverage to get care from those ‘Annie’s free clinics’ and such. What games they all play while being tax exempt of course and free to lie thanks to media and officials. Medical boards, PACs, the AMA and such sure don’t seem to care about the damages being done in our lives or lives ruined, or ending.

    The “scandals” will remain and increase. Other major issues and corruption, abuse, attacks like I’ve written of will be ignored and permitted. No-one cares much. Complain and for years… no serious inquiries or investigations will happen. Time limits run out, becomes old news, all the suits, aids, medical records legally disposed of, agencies, staff, secretaries casting complaints in the trash will never change. Suffering and chronic pain are good things to them, as are suicides, vast red-tape games, censoring, fear mongering, collective punishments akin to sanctions, lying propaganda, PR games/facade. However those at the top and in DC can get whatever they need and desire, tax serfs, many vet pawns and peasants can not.

      • Benjamin, if you ever have an opportune time, how about asking the VA leadership how are they being fulfilled when serving as murderers? I would hate to live in their skin. Ben, my uncle retired a Full Colonel from the Air Force.
        And in relation to Mr. Wilkie, maybe I should ask my uncle what he thinks of Wilkie? My other uncle retired from the CIA after 30 years. Both of my uncles are just a few years older than me. This uncle who retired from the CIA works for a contractor who handles some of VA contracts. Maybe I should ask what he thinks about Wilkie. Few months ago comments were made about the VA. Ben, what gain do they receive from being perversive? Other than monetary? I bet they are real miserable people to include VA Secretary Wilkie. No wonder VA has 50000 openings. Ben, I do not think it is human nature to desire to murder vets. This label fits people who are full of hate and who do not have a purpose. So I guess this fits Wilkie.

      • Benjamin, yes, once again you are hitting the situation right on the money. I do want to add this though.
        I do believe General Mad Dog Mattis would have served as a more direct and influential VA leader secretary than the current Mr. Wilkie VA Secretary. This is why. General Mattis stands tall with being true to his convictions. He cannot be bought and paid for like VA Secretary Robert Wilkie is with his communist regime. The perversion is nothing but Communism tactics 100 %. I just do not believe General Mattis stands for Communism. He believes in discipline and patriotism more so than Mr. Wilkie. I am basing this on what has been happening.

      • Benjamin, see how Speaker Pelosi is trying to get us into war with Ukraine against Russia to take Crimeria. Democrats are the party of wars. Ukraine leader throwing it out today in the conference trying to see if United States and Trump would engage in war against Russia. Trump did not flench. Ben, we cannot handle more wars. VA would for sure collapse.

      • Benjamin, why do you write password recovery? Recover password? What is this about? Benjamin, it was Obama who denied aid to Ukraine. It is really unbelievable how lawless the Democratic party was and is? Democrat party is a Hitler party. Do you know what this situation about the Democrats and Trump reminds me of? Same as when Jesus Christ was crucified. Ben, the country is too corrupt to apply for Voc Rehab.

      • In reference to previous post, Ben, I do not even care. Right now a staph infection has taken me over. Speaker Pelosi and her peers are a gang. They are a mofia gang. Power, greed, and positioned ready to burn down the country and the American citizens.

  2. I appreciate your work. I suppose my story is minor compared to most, but when VA denial affects a credit score which spirals to affecting your life in general, well, it sucks.

    I live a little over an hour away from a VA hospital. I was in great pain and had no vehicle, and frankly couldn’t drive if I had had one. I called the VA hospital and asked for approval to go locally. She even insisted I call 911 and get an ambulance. Do you think they paid any of it? Of course not. I am on a VA Disabled Pension, exempt from paying any health care with no other insurance.

    Just another number on the list of denials. That’s just one scenario I’ve had with them with non VA facility emergency care and unpaid bills. But…too much to type.

    Thank you for all you do!

  3. I’m still waiting for the VA to pay for my 3 day emergency room/hospital stay.
    The letter I received states “they” will be paid. Which means, I should be reimbursed the $3,998.05 that came out of my pocket. Only problem is, I don’t know when that will be!
    I’ve tried contacting the “contact person” in the letter. Only, she has not returned my call!
    All I need is “written documentation of when the hospital, doctors and transport company were/are paid”. Whereupon, I can contact those individuals and demand my MONIES be returned!
    How simple is that?

  4. Here’s a scandal which was settled by VA’s crooked employees:
    *”https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/09/24/feds-pay-150000-missed-diagnosis-case-va-hospital.html”*

      • Legal system as in the Supreme Court should hear these cases. VA leadership should be fried. Ben this is why the VA leadership hires young inexperienced social workers. Because they are still wet behind the ears. The VA leadership can dictate them and brainwash them to yield to the mishandling of all. The young social workers will not know any different.

      • Benjamin, Wars involve big money. Democrats only care about money. Bolton was fired because he tried to get money to Ukraine. Trump halted money to Uktaine first to verify where money was going to see which side Ukraine is on and to make sure corruption is not part of this situation. Ben, govt officials love wars but they sure do not care to clean up the situation. In other words very little care when vets come home. No to wars that we can prevent.

  5. Well, if that don’t beat all!!
    Feeling a tad bit singled out are they?
    Strike up the teeny violin orchestra…
    “https://www.afge.org/link/bbbd755f39e14701b266ca1a67989855.aspx”
    Why We Rally for Dignity, Respect, Fairness & A Voice at Work
    September 23, 2019
    We are fed up with the attacks on our rights, our contracts, and our voice at work! We are rising up for dignity, for fairness, for respect, and for a real voice at work!

    • “https://www.afge.org/link/cf295f2ba525494da918adbb80a84b47.aspx”
      3 Little Known Reasons the VA Struggles to Hire People
      September 23, 2019
      Despite its vital mission and massive responsibility, the VA has been struggling to fill nearly 50,000 vacancies nationwide.

    • VA employees have plenty of rights. They have so many rights given to them by the AFGE Union that they have to take away veteran patients rights to add to their own rights. Greed and power mongers.

      • Should put the VA employees in a tobacco field or a cotton field and then they might find out what real work really is. Then, they will get to experience the school of hard knox with being the same as what they are shoving down the veteran patients’ throats.

      • See Benjamin, when the VA murderous employees start to get exposed, then they claim their rights. But it is okay for them to deny veteran patients their rights /care/ and benefits. Oops, just as long as it is not them. Everything is Hunky Dorey.

    • I realize that these few posts seem to be off topic, but I also think it begs the question of a retaliation upon veterans by some VA/VBA/VHA employees and in a stronger vexation, after the recent firing mandate was signed. There has been an increasing number of genuine complaints by veterans as a total group, regarding any VA department they have had to engage with over this past decade or so. If the AFGE took a more disciplinary role regarding the misbehavior that is perpetrated upon veterans, in all VA departments, then that firing mandate would have never been brought to fruition.

      If an employee thinks a certain veteran made an off the cuff remark to their second cousin twice removed that is working in BFE, well I guess that employee feels justified in making that veterans life a living torture for eternity. If that type of activity is allowed at all, then it’s monkey see, monkey do, by everyone else with a yen to replicate the behavior, and the union can’t babysit or fire everybody now can they? So, the activity runs rampant, veterans suck hind teat, and employees whine foul play. Wash, rinse, repeat.

      Last night, in a televised news clip I heard David Cox in his whiny voice complaining specifically about that firing mandate.

      • I used to believe the shit list was a figment of some’s imagination. But after going through over 4,200 pages, about 1/3 duplicates and another 1/3 not relevant to medical care, I realized I’ve been on the shit list for over 35 years. I’m a case study in the ways and means of whistle blower retaliation. If your a VA employee and need some new ideas to shit on someone, look up my RBA.

      • @ Elf,
        Absolutely true points you’ve brought up.

        These links are a few of the ones for CBS medical/insurance stories I mentioned in one of my posts on yesterday’s article. This is really eye opening and does contain solid and useful information.
        “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1XoTg42Az0”
        “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aovVCEFr1jw”
        “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itiCYShUyfM”
        CBSNews Medical Price Roulette “https://www.cbsnews.com/healthcosts”

      • Rosie, those are some hum-dinger links and info there. Are people waking up yet? Hell no. We are up against some monster organizations and groups… pathetic greedy corrupt people and it doesn’t stop at the VA or some CBOC. The short list or combos… ‘Military/Industrial complex’ some call it. Insurance/medical care complex. Including all those self protecting professional groups/associations to the unions, to the professional from the Greek Societies, little activist turned health care staff..et al. Might as well throw in the “complexes” of government, the legal community’s “complex” too among all others. So where do we go or have hopes in? But we are expected to shut-up, stop the “whine,” allow fraud and all the rest run rampant.

        One group meeting, mine, at the VA we were told if we didn’t sign the “ordered” contracts with the VA including the parts about never seeing anything other than the VA for any kind of care… we’d (quoted) “never find health care in Indiana again”…. blah blah. Then to hear from one university, IU health care/colleges on one of those Utubes speaking out I thought was two-faced and funny and was mentioned in our episode at the VA about the controls over Indiana health care. And joined at the hip with the VA here and all other institutions of health that has networks of destruction and retaliation everywhere at every level, all encompassing. There is no escaping the college cliques or those like Eskenaze that has also spread their powers and influence, costs, around. (over a million bucks for a 5 day stay in their ICU? Acceptable?)

        I’ve tried it all and gave up trying to find care locally for reasons posted out here previously. Out dated referral listing, MDs just working two days a week or when in town, not accepting new patients or those with pain complaints, etc. Plus not being seen due to Union Health Care refusing to give me copies of my records or to forward them to a possible new MD to see and away from their Marx-Fem, VA connected, ID politics playing, up and coming college activist kiddy trained staff. Every day for months waiting on call backs or find a local MD was, is, fruitless. Sure could call for fun and harassment though.

        Health care costs like Medicare coverage and plans do go by zip codes or vary from county to county, why? I dunno.

        Forced to see just one pain clinic for pain meds which I could get but don’t use due to their required contracts to be signed that no “prudent layperson” would dare agree with or sign. One pain MD per one hundred plus citizens and to sit and wait for over four hours or more and it’s ethical and protected? Then claim the same old crap about over prescribing of pain meds and the war must increase and cease it all except for the elite?

        The ” American Association of Hospitals” do not care about patients and no return communications from them. States attorney general, more games and siding with the medical field idiots. Jaw surgeries plus more refusals of records is okay with all contacted. Why? Better Business Bureau is a sham and has it’s excuses. Same with the medical boards, the local PACs (political action committees) to those wagon circling characters called only “professional groups” that include the Chambers of Commerce, etc., that you better bow to or else. Then on the the health care agencies, health and human services, all media types, VSOs, and states human rights commissions, civil rights groups, “Human Relations” tax dollar funded staff .. nothing, et al., for nothing. No legal aid to be found and more. We are up against the monsters and networks of evil… all of them in concert and free, above the laws, to do whatever they desire to us. That includes local businesses refusing to work for ‘me’ or for any emergency handymen to come out for something. Funny? Not at all but I can survive whatever they throw at me. Local politicians and others? Just part of the game and having family or friends at the VA and in about everything locally, health care, media, the Chambers, all in the network and country clubbers networks including the Masons, Stars, and on it goes. Not to forget those that left the VA to teach in all the areas of college life and education fields.

        Well, thanks for the links because I can’t stomach watching much mainstream news now days especially sourced or from Indiana, none of them. And to think the silent majority is growing and few if any want to get involved… while the majority of the public simply does not care about others nor of veterans. “Do No Harm” has turned into … do all the harm, threatening and fraud, deceit, you can. Coffee.

    • @”ROSIE”,
      IMO,
      I read the article by VA union employees wanting more respect (paraphrasing) and immediately thought of “David Cox”, AFGE President, and his threatening Secretary of VA McDonald.
      Then we had Shulkin as Secretary. He was fired because he was a thief – plain and simple.
      Now we have Wilkie!
      I’ve noticed some bad things still occurring at VA’s nationwide AND I’ve also noticed some good things starting to change. As in all things government, time is the motivating factor! It’s gonna take time.
      That being said:
      I believe union employees need to smarten up. They need to stop being afraid to stand up against criminal acts against vets.
      Think of it like this. Too many employees aren’t smart enough to understand the union (AFGE) is using them. That’s one of the reasons why there’s such a huge turnover in employment. Plus the fact, those in the healthcare profession don’t want to have VA on their resume!
      And;
      Why the VA can’t hire great qualifying healthcare providers.
      That’s the healthcare side:

      On the VBA side.
      There’s just too many ignorant assholes who have got an easy job and don’t want to give it up. That’s why vets have to wait to receive the benefits they deserve!

      Prove me wrong VA!

  6. My husband’s emergency room bills stem further back as far as 2015. He was dying for the last 18 years of his life, with a slew of illnesses and diseases. Heart attacks, liver, kidney failure.
    Always in and out of the hospital.
    I had orders from VA doctors, including stacks of authorizations through the then choice program, and the VA still denied everything.
    After getting approval for his kidney dialysis and hospice, the VA still hasn’t paid those neither.
    Now I can’t get the collection agency dogs off of me.
    At least 6 figures in unpaid medical bills, and they don’t stop calling even though my husband passed away November 2018.

  7. Has anyone called the va, told something and later you call someone else and tell them what you were told.

    Just to have them tell you, you were not told that or the employee who told you States they didn’t tell you that.

    If you have ! Maybe all veterans should download the App that will record every phone call that you make and all the calls received.

    You have an option to delete the phone call or save it for future reference. Some may say is that legal.

    I don’t see how it could be. It’s automatic. I have a traumatic brain injury and I need to keep track of my calls, due to my memory loss.

    The va has a heyday when they know you have a traumatic brain injury. Oh pay no attention to him, he has a traumatic brain injury and misinterpreted what was actually said.

    I have it seems gained a reputation ! I contacted the va one day and I advised the employee that all of my phone calls are recorded.

    The Employee said OH you are the One and started to laugh. Let her laugh. If I ever need backup I have it.

    • James G. Yes I have and countless times over. Plus dealing with several specialty clinics over old usual referrals I used for years. Changed care and PCPs and all hell broke loose. Then consults were a pain to get, told they were in, then told by the clinics they were not and on the game went for months. Also why when I caught them when using E-Vet Secure Messaging it was totally deleted since lies were caught by several PAs, PCPs, nurses, desk clerks, long periods of waiting on return communications, not getting questions answered etc. So they can’t claim it’s just a few incompetent or uncaring staff. Also why when told I made no phone calls over the issues I went physically clinic to clinic and was told the same stuff about not ever contacting them, or physically going clinic to clinic or what I wasn’t or was told. OR about their many phone games like “Telephone Patient Triage” that I was told then told no such thing existed. Old activist tactics really, gas-lighting, astro-turfing over issues, distractions, etc. For me that went on about daily for months then on to years. Same with present civilian care, very same issues and attitudes and games.

      It’s also not limited to the VA slackers and criminals. Had the same tactics used by many state agencies, state’s AG, media, VSOs, all kinds of politicians and by their staff, et al. Same games different days, different players doing the same things.

      More recently the same applies to trying to get a Smart Meter off my home after a near home fire and other odd things happening. After three calls in a month to have it removed, two different phone people, four Duke crew people then told I haven’t contacted them over the issues and the meter is still on my house. Then told I wasn’t told what one employee told me while at the house.

      Same game at Union Health Care here and their activist staff picking up the ball and playing it after leaving the VA, and again with multiple people, a clinic, staff, and two faced CEO secretaries, MDs ignoring the issues and on and on.

      Same crap at town meetings when I used to go and why now I am set up with recorders plus a body cam when out. Now let them come up to where-ever or tell me how they have more witnesses than me when meeting minutes are shut off or told things out of public sight or in parking lots etc. But now we aren’t allowed to record things in hospitals, clinics, the court house, in court, in judges chambers, police stations and supposedly no authority figures. Unless they are confiscated or ruined. That is the VA and health care activist networking and protecting the “professionals.” Full circle. Then we aren’t supposed to get pissed off when expected to lay down and eat it all and smile at their power? Not me. Sick of all of all of it. Then the jokers and clowns in DC claim they will fix things or change is coming?

  8. Those closes to suicide are targeted for non payment knowing because of TBI or PTSD residuals, like me, they don’t have the fight to resist. Never mind that it might be the last straw that drives them over the edge. Still paying an unpaid Choice bill for $2,300.00 for approved therapy.

  9. Its amazing how fast they will go after a veteran and conger up fake narrative as they commit crimes. Veterans die all the time to there nonsense and nothing done. The VA Whistle blower Hit list was targeting employees and veterans. Due to the list,No accountability, The Suicide last year at our facilities and now the Homicides. I will not be returning to VA next year. I feel I will be retaliated against or killed. They have destroyed my life with there Vudu pills ,unreliable records and criminal employees. They approved treatment then denied all my bills. I told them next time I’m in crisis I will never ask for help. They stress me out with all there Nazi Games!

  10. The VA is no more than a prison work release. One Story you missed was VA hired a guy straight out of prison after he broke into a judges home assaulted his daughter in the shower and cut his breaks.Only the best for our veterans. Our the convicted sex offender thats a supervisor that does all the punishing that could be weird. How about Director stole 130,000 got her job back. Report and you become the target. The only people they go after are whistle blowers, veterans and the disabled. You can google how there no accountability in the federal government Evansville Courier.

  11. I’ve been banging my head against the wall for VA reform for the past 6 years. I stay in contact with the congressional and senate liaisons to the VA. Alot of veterans have been helped. The system doesn’t and won’t change. The Social security scandal is 10 times worse than VA as people die on deliberate denials as they hire lawyers and tell them to deliberately deny claims or Dr. that have suspended licensees making 100,000 on deliberate denials as people commit suicide and loose there homes. Alot of people don;’t realize that both VA and social security programs are about gainful employment your aloud to make around 1,000 a month. I’m moving on to criminal justice reform.

  12. 10/16/2019 , that date my DRO appeal will hit 3 years. I’m still under the old appeal system, was told by my VSO not to switch lanes.
    As far as community care, or whatever name they have given it post Veterans choice, my specialty care is granted 6 months at a time and the provider must renew with a form to keep me eligible. I tried to get treatment more than a month ago, but by the time they could schedule me, the 6 month time frame had expired. Not sure if the provider was paid, or paid at the medicare level and pushed my treatments past the 6 month deadline.
    I’ve had to use the ER 2 times in the past 2 years, both times I was required to call a number for authorization prior.
    I keep that number in my truck for medical emergencies.
    I’ve seen improvement in care at my local VA, and at my regional VA. But there are still bad apples who are negligent, and I’ve seen supervisors,,, cower to negligent workers who should have been reprimanded, this will always be an issue.
    Thanks for the articles Ben and your advocacy.

    • As per my neglect complaint above. I went to my regional hospital back in July for early admission as was required for my surgery early the next morning. I went to the admissions window, was told to wait in the next room to be called. 3 hrs later the room had emptied, my name had not been called, and I unknowingly was locked inside the room, while still waiting to be called.
      The last worker to leave was making his rounds and asked me why I was there.
      He called his superior, and within a few minutes, she apologized, and asked who was responsible for not processing me. I told her, she reviewed it, I guess it was recorded, and further apologized.
      I could see the fear within this supervisor, just for the thought of having to address it with the person who neglected to process me and left me in a locked room.

  13. What value does the v.a. have to veterans?
    Wheel chair races, ski instruction, wheel chair basketball?
    What veteran who has been to a v.a. facility in any form has received competent medical treatment?
    It’s time for the v.a. to go before they kill us all!

  14. Ben, it seems like you and AJ make a great tag-team. The only question is which of you is Handsome Harley Race or Gorgeous Bobby Heenan…

    Keep up the great work.

  15. Those wheel chair racers get competent care. Been there for 13 years. 1990 to 2003. Very different from the care I get now that I’m mostly healed. And my back injury was secondary to my TBI and still hasn’t been SC. Care is one thing. Compensation is another. My experience is if you have a serious problem, like terminal or are newly in a wheel chair, and are not just a complainer about something that can’t be fixed you get the best they have. But once you get on that complaining list you get the shit balls and never again see the specialist that cares. You really have to suck up to get the best physicians the VA has.

    • VA wheelchairs are like 1st gen. Hospitals have to keep vets longer wait times charging their insurances and slowing their further therapies for recovery because case management has to wait for the requested durable equipment from the CBOC or Area VA Hospital.

      • I also had to wait in 1996 for my “fitted” wheel chair. In the mean time, I used the fits all from the Long Beach VA Medical Center.

      • If you are not referred to the “committee” deciding your eligibility for a wheel chair you won’t get a fitted chair or an electric chair. I could have had an electric but it would have complicated traveling by air at the time and all I needed it for was to carry objects greater than my diagnosed load limit of 3 lbs.

  16. Your no more than cattle one dies off o well theirs millions more coming in. In private sector you don’t come back they go out of business! There goal keep you happy so you come back and actually work for you.

  17. As Concerned Marine how Veterans when email a Senator or Representative about Veterans Healthcare contract Veteran Affairs Committee.

  18. Well I wrote to a Senator, who then had me file addendums to his DC office, and the VA contacted his Dallas office, and his return reply was thank you for letting me assist you and the VA’s got this.
    DRO in Janesville now taking up the screw me torch, and again in the 7th year, as in all the preceeding years, FDC, and DAV had some nasty fella call me and said he was gonna send me new docs, and said have a nice day and hung up. I am hopeful again, that all new claims in that it gets approved, no more need for doctors and they have said they have all records. Pray, and wait, what a worthless agency. Thank you for your 16 years, FU very much. MM MM Mmmmm.

  19. Was there a bonus system in place for VA employees who denied payments for these ER bills? Did they pocket a percentage of that $500 million?

  20. I’m focusing on the veteran’s comment of “Why? Why would they do this to all those veterans?” This is the billion dollar question, isn’t it? Why? Well if I may provide my hypothesis and this is the condensed version.
    From the beginning military personnel were considered expendable similar to a piece of military equipment. Then as a result of the need to take care of the survivors after the time of warfare or service, the good people of our country created the Department of Veterans Affairs. Now here is where everything starts to deteriorate. This organization employed the IVY Leaguer’s to top management positions who have no idea of the value of military service, the military hierarchy that retired from service and is collecting their pension but still want to work and physicians who can’t survive in the private sector or just want to pad their incomes with VA $. Make sense, experience, reward for service and the understanding of the military culture, win-win, right? However the VA is about AFTER wartime and about HEALING! Yet because of this saturation with people who are running the show and are more concerned about their golf game, ex-military hierarchy with their “I’m a BIG MAN using the power and $ of the USA and physicians who are irritated that they have to provide 15 minutes of their time, that they will never get back, in a medical appointment helping veterans. Hence the SLOP, that always runs down hill, is oozing out of this organization. It has grown from the initial “War time” culture of “GET-ER-DONE” mentality with no regards for the correct process of accomplishing the task at hand to today’s sycophants and cronies. Now to emphasize – there are a great deal of ethical, moral individuals and committed patriots that are employed by the VA, but they are not the problem. The problem lives in the type of person I previously described. Self-serving, power hunger, self-aggrandizing narcissists. At least that’s been my experience. BTW – take a look around, this attitude permeates every organization and the cause of problems everywhere – Just saying.

    Peace Out

  21. VA denies medical bills and criminalize Veterans with mental disorder. The VA filed charges against my husband in the federal court for influencing, impeding, or retailing against Federal Official (Title 18 USC Section 115 (a)(1)(b) when the VA denied to refill his psychiatric meds, he can taken for almost 2 years because of his voice messages. My husband is rated by the VA 100% PTSD, 40% TBI and 20% Headache due to TBI.

    His still being held in custody since November 27, 2018 in federal detention facility even after a hung jury (12 jurors) in federal court concluded in September 11, 2019. The Prosecutor wants to re-trial my husband again. The American Veterans organization was so supportive to my husband and sending support letter to the District Judge.

    Please pray for our family to be united again.

    • This is fucking nutts call the veterans committee and Lindsey Grahmn. Call your local
      Senate and congressional office. Federal criminal justice system is garbage its get a conviction at all cost even if your innocent. There is so much misconduct that goes on and they hide evidence that will clear you. They will be the first ones to take away your rights and last ones to help you. Read doj gone wild they commit all types of crimes us attorney was caught transporting drugs!

      • I did contact our Congresswoman in California, Susan Davis and Senator Kamala Harris. Susan Davis office just sent a letter to VA. Never received a call from Senator Harris office. Unfortunately my political reps priority includes the southern border and immigration of immigrants.

        I called the Veteran committee but redirected to my local rep.

  22. 2 Dermatologists on V.A. payroll @ Phoenix VA in a state where skin cancers are as common as a cold in winter. They can’t get doctors because they don’t want to pay a living wage, so they take 6-8 weeks to refer you out to a “real” doctor and they can’t prescribe the best medications for your condition because it’s not on the VA formulary.
    Is it because the VA has too many chiefs & not enough indians? This system is out of control & needs to be abolished, and a Veteran Security Card (like Social Security Card) be issued to each veteran for health insurance and hospital care. Co-pays would be based on disability or indigent criteria. Veterans would, at least, be able to get ‘OUTSIDE” services and would eventually do away with some of the gargantuan VA infrastructure.
    IF YOU CAN’T GET DOCTORS, WHAT GOOD ARE YOU AS A MEDICAL CARE FACILITY?

  23. AND one more thing – It frustrates me when everyone, myself included, complains about the problem but offers very little in how to resolve the issue – Well I have at least one SOLUTION – WooHoo – Make it compulsory for every person to serve two years of military service when they reach 18 years old. About 26 countries have made military service compulsory and this country should too. This provides an equal playing field, in England even the Royals served, provides a safe haven for those individuals who have no support for survival hence protecting them from predatory individuals and instills patriotism and honor while gaining experience in an occupation. Just saying

    Peace Out

  24. @ Old Marine,
    If the veteran patient is sc and has VHA as primary care and has civilian medical insurance those bloodsuckers will find a way to get any medication that can be prescribed while also finding possible illnesses that need immediate labs, tests, surgeries to keep said patient alive forever. If VHA is the primary care and primary ACA approved “insurer”, then join the rest on the hind teat.

  25. This last summer, I have pancreatic disease, liver disease, spinal disease, and much more, I was having a very hard time breathing, was puking green slime out of my lungs, I called my primary care and begged them to see me, they told me no, no walk in-in, (I finally went to a community hospital and found out it was bronchitis.) I can no longer go to the va emergency room, I am scared to death of them because of what they did when i had bleeding in my leg, they made me wait six hours then turn it around and lied about the whole thing and said I was saying i had pain higher up and wrote it as a joke on the top of a blank piece of paper… so I will never go back to that emergency room again… the va refuses to give me a primary care near my home I have to drive 75 miles one way, the va has a clinic 20 miles from my home. plus my claims have been in appeals for 11 years and are still with a bva judge. It is so corrupt!!!!

  26. I, recently, contacted my Senator, regarding the fact that additional AO Diseases were to be added, some time ago.
    In response to this, I received a great letter from her (probably her office) but, none the less, a nice response.
    Sooo…all of these infractions and “bad conduct” by the VA. But I read, absolutely nothing, regarding the repercussions. Nothing. So it will go on. And on. And on.

  27. Im 62 been using the va since 17 mostly in milwaukee the past 3 have been in phoenix phoenix va is nothing like milwaukee phoenix va can never speak to any one but a fucken operator. fuck that secure messaging gotta play tag for at least a week I agree give us all S.S. cards and let us choose

      • Yes, one year ago back up to north coast where rivers burn brightly. Move about killed me, unfortunately have a next door neighbor that’s an led vietnam vet and they’re crackheads…not fun, landlord not helpful, definitely need authorities involved as it’s seriously affecting my own ptsd and anxiety and I’m not moving, so there’s that.

        Because he’s a Veteran I’ve given leeway but addicts are incredibly selfish humans and still vacillating on what t do.

  28. See if y’all can read numerous contradictions in this article. It’s about the new “Mission Act”!

    *”https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/09/25/million-veterans-have-looked-private-care-mission-act-rollout.html”*

    In my opinion, vets should be given some kind of “card” to allow them to decide!

  29. “Everybody’s overworked”????? I believe the men and women in all 5 militaries have been overwhelmed and overworked since the draft was stopped!

    *”https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/09/25/everybodys-overworked-string-suicides-raises-questions-about-sailors-stress-levels.html”*

  30. I would like to see MORE articles about the scandalous veterans administration being posted daily by some of Ben’s worker’s!
    The VA needs to have a bright sunlight shown on them dailt!

    • Elf, would be fantastic if someone with the health, stamina, know-how, secure, love of freedom to get a forum up with a thread or sections dedicated to daily VA news from around the country. But I doubt much news or reality will come out of all of them or many like mine. Locally no-one wants to discuss much of anything but sports, Kardashians, college stuff, propaganda, feel good stories, distractions, etc.

      Some stories I am being told in the street the paper or news could fill pages of botched surgeries, mis-diagnosis, messed up files/records, contradictions in care, lost test result, Pharma side effect issues, conflicting test results, nasty attitudes, etc. Just too many people afraid of losing care, getting involved, known about complaining too much or at all, files flagged or the retaliation…. pointing to me as an example and why out there pounding the pavement with signs… again.

      One CBOC here moved into a new place. Supposed to be building two more in the area but around metro areas not rurally where they are needed the most. Past discussions/news reported a VA hospital to be built here too. Along with news of entrance exams or tests scores to be lowered to give ‘some’ more access to employment to diversify the work places here, fill more of those “quotas” especially in health care, VA and gubbermint positions. Big laugh inserted here, figures. Medical schools here are supposed to be full with a waiting list to enter. So there shouldn’t be many shortages as claimed. Asking more about a brand spanking new VA hospital here? Like I would use it or trust it. No more information of it will be released until all the deals and location are in place for an all-go green light to proceed.

      Also waiting to hear from Sen Braun. Emailed him, them, not called the office yet.

    • @”Marianne”,
      Actually, I believe it would benefit veterans if this administration would dismantle the VA on its healthcare side!
      Giving vets the right to use outside healthcare and our “quality of life” would increase dramatically! I know, since I’ve been allowed to use the “community care/mission act”, my “quality of life” has increased!
      The only problem I can foresee is the vets who believe they’re receiving quality healthcare from VA.
      I put an article on here today from *”military.com”* explaining how a million vets were using the new mission act. Maybe you should read what the VA upper echelon has to say. It might change your mind about keeping this corrupt government agency on the payroll!

    • @”Marianne”,
      Here’s that article:
      *”https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/09/25/million-veterans-have-looked-private-care-mission-act-rollout.html”*

  31. VA Indiana Privacy officer don’t even know how to opt veterans out! VA getting ready dump your health records! Without your approval unless you opt out

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