new data breach

Agency Dismissive In New VA Data Breach

VA data breach

Benjamin KrauseVeterans Affairs waited two months to notify 1,100 veterans of a known VA data breach where documents with private identifying information were mistakenly tossed in a dumpster by a VA employee.

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The data breach occurred at VA Hot Spring hospital in May and identified within two days. Two days later, another employee dove into the dumpster and found the files. The agency hemmed and hawed while waiting to notify the veterans impacted that their Social Security numbers were tossed in a dumpster by mistake.

VA is certain the mistake was not exploited by any identity thieves while the documents were out of the control of VA. However, the agency is offering a free credit report to veterans in case anyone’s identity is compromised.

How gallant gesture is this? VA is offering free credit reports to veterans. Keep in mind the federal government already provides one free credit report to each American by law. Woopty doo.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) criticized the agency’s “gross mismanagement” of veterans’ most sensitive records. Sen. Thune proceeded to indict VA highlighting the incidence is “unfortunately illustrative of the continued decline of the Hot Springs VA and the indifference shown to it by the Veterans Administration.”

I personally had VA VocRehab mistakenly mail an entire copy of my file to my old address from two years earlier – a large apartment complex in a major American city. There is no telling where the files ended up.

Veterans Affairs indignantly declined to proactively retrieve the documents and told me to call the cops if I was worried about it. I repeat, the agency made me do the leg work to try to recover my files that were mistakenly delivered to the wrong address.

I did call the cops. They were confused why VA would not take charge of the recovery of my files and said their was little they could do unless a crime was committed.

VA offered me one year of identity protection. That was it. Meanwhile, over 1,000 pages of files containing everything about me were misplaced and now floating around somewhere in the United States.

Did anyone get reprimanded for the cockup? No. Did I get the records back? No.

What a crock. How is it that we live in a country where the Federal government is not held accountable?

Each year we hear story after story of VA failing to safeguard our data. Yet, the agency seemingly disregards common accountability requirements of standard corporate employees.

If you worked for a major bank and accidentally dropped 1,100 invoices of bank accounts in a dumpster for two days, that bank would be sued and the employee would be fired.


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  1. 08/05/2015

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    This action has happened a few times in the open.
    More than 1,800 Vets’ Records Destroyed, Misfiled
    Maine Veterans Hospital Investigating After Confidential Records Found In Dumpster
    MAY 8, 20124:59 PM EDT
    Inspectors review documents dumped at VA clinic
    Mar. 3, 2007 – 08:35AM | Last Updated: Mar. 3, 2007 – 08:35AM |


    and now in Hot Springs
    Files of 1,100 veterans thrown in dumpster at Hot Springs VA
    See it in Print
    Print Email
    July 31, 2015 6:00 pm • Seth Tupper Journal staff


    Don Karg

  2. so @Ben and others,

    i read this article,

    and noticed it was written the majority of democrats rejected that accountability bill. is that how others read it too?

    corrupt teflon’ers backed by corrupt congress.

    hardly anyone running for any congressional office is worth voting for these days. much less few of them them are worth fighting for.

    inform your sons and daughters well before they make a decision to vol for the mil these days. they’ll get to deal with this way out of control fed agency, the va, if unlucky to be injured/illness. and they need to know that prior so they make a well informed decision to compensate. such as get great health insurance as best they can prior to enlisting into the finest mil in the world. but CYA because of the corrupt va and congress’s inept ability to control it for the benefit of the veterans.

  3. Dear Sir:

    According to the article the V.A. branch at Hot Springs, Arkansas, has alleged to have, accidentally, thrown 1,000 pages of Veteran’s files into a trash bin; anyone believing that believes the moon is made of green cheese.

    I wonder how that can be, don’t they examine everything they throw away before disposing of it?

    Then after dropping the ball why should {Ben Krause} be made the scapegoat and be compelled to do the leg work to retrieve the files when that is the{V.A.’s} baby?

    That smells a lot like passing the buck to me.

    1. This not only happened in Hot Spring, but just at the VA Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD. This particular hospital is so crooked with corruption, cover ups, false doctors reports (in my file) from doctors I had never seen. Even my Congresswoman’s office (Noem) is corrupt as I requested a Congressional investigation. My Medical file is nothing but lies…not to mention the fact that my PCP sent a fax to a non-VA clinic telling them to destroy my file that shows I have a severely fractured Tailbone. I am fighting and now I have to fill out a Freedom of Information Act Form in order to get my medical file. I Need Help from Someone and all of the attorney’s in Sioux Falls, SD WILL NOT take my case stating “Our office refuses to accept any cases against the Sioux Falls VA Hospital and their doctors”. WTH is this all about?????

      So, now there are 2 VA hospitals that have thrown out important Veterans Information? Things that make one go Hmmmm. The Government does not like Veterans

  4. I sent to the archives to get a copy of my DD214. When I received it through the mail, the envelope was not sealed. Not one part of the glue strip had been moistened. I called the archive to report this and I was told that I had to contact the VAOIG for this and not them. I informed them that all of my private information was on that document that someone could create identity theft on me. They told me they would look to see if they were having a problem and would make sure it would be taken care of, but I would still need to contact the VAOIG about this.
    It states on the paper included in the envelope about how to protect this and that the document contains personal and private information. It has a statement to contact them if you “the veteran” has a concern about a privacy issue.
    I contacted the VAOIG and when they returned my call they informed me, because no actual illegal action had taken place, there was nothing they could do. I asked about the possibility of the identity theft and they again stated there was nothing they could do.
    I was also told that the Postal Service handled the piece of mail and they were sure that nothing would happen to it.
    I was lucky that nothing did happen; however, I did no t even get an offer of credit monitoring. I had to monitor it myself and worry that nothing would happen.
    Typical VA, they do not care about us, only themselves.

    1. @f8f
      I have seen **often** just on my local news, the many times people are caught on camera stealing mail, even thugs following UPS and FedEx drivers and stealing right off the porch after they deliver…and the too-often for comfort times U.S. Postal Employees, esp. the seasonal employees, actually *feeling* envelopes and stealing gift cards, personal info…so it’s not a *small* issue for your DD214 to have come unsealed…that’s a bit alarming.

      This pretty much places an exclamation mark on what I gleaned and learned in reading *many* threads on com years ago before and while making my VA Svc. Connected Claim, and it was emphasized that *anything* you send the VA, do it Certified/Registered so *someone* has to sign for it and you have record of it received…kind of what a time stamp is to filing a legal document at Clerk of Courts.
      One would thing that an incredibly important and incredibly revealing document like the DD214 would be sent to the Veteran in-kind as well….but there I go using common sense again:-)

      On topic: Those VA employees surely knew what they were throwing in dumpster. When you live in country and have a woodpile for your fireplace, you know exactly what you are tossing on the fire…would you throw-out your birth certificate?

      Why is it you hear of the VA “shredding documents” in some locations and others not even bothering? Too many staples? Laziness? Bingo!

  5. Here’s a good site….

    “Veterans Administration foulups on UTUBE”

    There’s a bunch. Y’all gotta check it out….It’s worth it!

    1. Here’s another site to visit, make sure you scroll down to the video.

      “VA Hospital Scandal is a damn shame but Obamacare will make it worst”

      You will hear “Unfreakin Believable” many times. He also has a website:

      http://www.what ever happened to common

      Enjoy, I did!!!

  6. and yet they demand protocol from me doing on claim for my husband,after his death from agent orange . does anyone know where i can find the evidence used in a case won by a wife for the death of her husband from agent orange ,she proved her self that pancreatic cancer can be caused from agent orange ,she found the evidence herself in a medical journal,in Idaho,so she won. ,I appreciate and help’ I choose a Chaplin to be advocate instead of the usual route when you have no money,you use a person such as a va rep.or the american legion,but they told me i could not give power of attorney to sign mt paperwork for me ,just more stalls

    1. Is this the case you mean?

      “A review of the claims file indicates medical opinion both
      favorable and unfavorable to a link between the veteran’s
      exposure to Agent Orange while in Vietnam and the
      development of pancreatic cancer, the disease which caused
      his death. However, there is competent evidence that it
      is at least as likely as not that the veteran’s pancreatic
      cancer was causally related to his service-connected
      diabetes mellitus. Accordingly, with resolution of
      benefit in the appellant’s favor, the Board concludes
      service connection for the cause of death is warranted on
      the basis of an etiological relationship between service-
      connected diabetes mellitus and the veteran’s fatal
      pancreatic cancer. 38 U.S.C.A. 5107(b); Gilbert v.
      Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 49 (1991).


      Service connection for the cause of the veteran’s death is

      We have a full DIC forum at www,

  7. I remember my aunt telling me that my social security number was in the open in some book some how and publicly displayed along with the names of hundreds of other Marine recruits at my boot camp graduation in 2005. Like in a reception area for families or somewhere like that. I never actually saw where\what exactly she was talking about since I didn’t get to see her until after I came off the parade deck officially dismissed from basic training.

    This thing with the VA being cavalier about compromising veterans’ private information is not by any means confined solely to the VA itself. It’s a systemic and government-wide thing. The government inherently does not give a fuck about people, so that in and of itself merely reverberates into the VA. It just seems worse because the VA is terrible at so many other facets. LIKE WAIT TIMES! I swear to God it seems like these people intentionally keep the lines long in order to extend the possibility of a veteran croaking from some random natural cause, or worse, suicide. Because this way they could save the government money in the long run if they’re not having to pay out a dead veteran in any way. $72 billion dollar annual budget and they apparenly they still don’t have enough to hire a hotshot group of Harvard corporate governance Ph.D.’s to go in and figure out how to make them efficient.

    1. Stephen F,
      Google the following,

      “How the VA developed its culture of coverups”

      by David Fahrenthold

      Read the whole article. It also gives many side sites to visit.
      Imo, Pres. Harding knew how to handle a thief in the VA!!! I think you’ll like it also.

      1. Elf, on wikpedia it says there was a major scandal over building VA hospitals and a lot of corruption and theft, resulting in the exposure and suicide of one of Cramer who was involved along with Forbes. Funny how history repeats itself in the current multi-billion dollar failed hospital construction scandal that has been expertly covered up and buried by McD dumping ongoing scandals to distract from that gigantic one. And, hey, I bet a computer guy like you could start a list of names and dates of VA thieves, maybe starting with the Harding incident. They put us on Disruptive Behavior lists, and for no good reason with no way to challenge their BS, so how about if we start a list on these shitbirds!? Vets would be able to check the list to see if their doctor or someone at the VA that seems to be jerking them around are already on it, then add to it. Kind of like or something. What do you think?

      2. I’m all for it Bruce. My wife has been tweeting and putting stuff on facebook.
        Right now she has a senator following her on her tweet page. So everytime I find something I email it to her and she puts it out. At the same time, I give tbe info on here where everyone can google the info.
        Like many have said, SHAME is a beautiful thing against someone!

      3. Bruce, there’s a website out there somewhere telling a whole bunch of bad things about VA. Basically it started around the time of Harding and works its way to now. I’ve been trying my best to relocate it. But ain’t been able to. Can you help? As a matter of fact, there should be a bunch of us working to find the dirt on VA. Whatcha think?

  8. We only hear about these things when VA employees are caught. The first efforts I saw in my short time as a VA employee were not to notify the affected veterans or discipline the employees involved; they were focused on covering up the illegal actions.

    One thing I learned about trying to be a whistleblower is that it’s damned hard to do. I couldn’t even get anyone to look into these issues. I’m still convinced that this had something to do with my illegal termination (I’m fighting it, but only for monetary damages — I can’t, in good conscience, work for these crooks anymore).

    It seems that every federal agency I’ve dealt with in recent years is a corrupt bureaucracy. EVERY, SINGLE, ONE! It would have been hard for me to imagine an agency that was as corrupt and dysfunctional as the IRS, but the VA may have caught — and even surpassed — it at this point.

    1. Stephen, do you know what would even be a worse tragedy. The different VA ‘entities’ (VARO’S, [non]Choice Program, VAMC’s etc.,etc.) being breached and identity thefts being used through the IRS.
      Can you imagine, millions of veterans having to explain to an IRS Agent, that they didn’t file. The hardest hit would be those veterans who have “unemployability disability status”!
      I think it was on 60 minutes sometime earlier this year. Where a great number of citizens had this problem. Taxes being filed by criminals, and there were long lines of people trying to get it straightened out.
      Yep, the only time we here anything, is when VA gets caught. Sad but true!!!!!

  9. Unfortunately Veterans Medical Records in states covered by Health Net, one of two contractors administrating the Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) initiative and the Veterans Choice Program, have become even less secure. Health Net has a rich history of Data Breeches and is noted for the largest Data Breech of Patient’s records in U.S. history. They are also know for their failures to report Data Breeches and they have been prosecuted for failing to report them.

    In regards to TriWest the other contractor administering the VA’s PC3 and Veterans Choice Program there appears to be no problem with Data Breeches.

    Another very notable difference between the two program administrators is that TriWest is a non-profit organization while Health Net is a for-profit organization. This means that while TriWest can contract with area providers to accept Veterans for medical care at the rate the Veterans Administration is willing to pay minus administrative cost. The providers for Health Net only receive what the Veterans Administration is willing to pay minus administrative cost also minus Health Net’s profit for administering the program.

    How this is affect the administration of one of the program, Patient-Centered Community Care PC3, by the to two contractors is demonstrated by testimonies brought before The Committee on Veterans Affairs United States Senate by Donna Hoffmeier, Program Officer, VA Services Health Net Federal Services and by David J. McIntyre, Jr. President & CEO of TriWest Healthcare Alliance, and Statements by Secretary Robert McDonald reported by the press.

    McDonald stated that there was a 4.3 million increase in appoints in the Community Care Program and David McIntyre’s statements before the Senate about the growth in the program at the, Non-Profit, TriWest would indicate that to be a realistic number. But in Donna Hoffmeier statements on the Community Care Program she was only able to quote a number of 150,000 at the, For-Profit, Health Net for the period between January 2014 through April 13th, 2015.

    Hoffmeier also had a Laundry list of thing the VA was going to need to change so they could contract with more area providers like:

    1.) The VA would need to allow for payment to providers for no shows when Health Net failed to contract Veterans about their appointments.

    2.) The VA would also need to reduce their documentation requirements used to prevent fraud.

    Personally given Health Nets clear inability to contract with area providers with the Community Care Program I can’t see how they can contract with area providers to administer the Veterans Choice Program.

    If you are a Veteran and want which contractor administers the programs in your area a good rule of thumb is if you live in a red state The program is administered by the Non-Profit TriWest. If you are in a Blue state most likely it is Health Net with few exceptions.

    Like California were there have been a number of legal actions against Health Net for things like paying bonus to employees for canceling care when a patient was mid way through Chemotherapy and law suits joined by the Los Angeles County Medical Association for patients suing Health Net for illegally denying medically necessary treatment, including cancer care. The lawsuit alleges that Health Net routinely and systematically denies claims based on its own definition of “medical necessity”, violating well-established standards set forth by California law. According to the suit, Health Net is “the leader” in this calculated corporate practice to avoid paying claims.

    As for how this affects Veterans care I believe Ben’s Clients Paul Walker may be a good example.

  10. They care less about security. I had (operative word here is, had) a PCP who wrote some instructions on a piece of paper and handed it to me. I just folded it up and put it in my pocket. I got home and about an hour later got a call from the doctor asking, if by mistake I took some information with me. For the first time I looked at the paper and saw on the back of where he wrote, there were15 veteran’s names with full social security numbers. I told him I didn’t take anything by mistake, you gave me the paper. He then said, “Well you have to bring that right back here.” I said, no way am I going to drive an hour and a half again today. He actually treatened to have the VA police come to my door. Basically, I told him to go F off and hung up. I got a call from the privacy officer the next day. I said I destroyed the information (which I did). She thanked me. I never saw that doctor again and changed CBOCs. Since that time, I have heard from more than one VA employee what a screw up he is. What i sould have done is burn his ass with the IG.

  11. That dentist was transferred to South Carolina, I believe. He was caught doing the same thing there also.
    There were four (4) VA’s in southern states, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and I think South Carolina doing colonoscopies where the machines were not being properly disinfected also.
    Many veterans had to be contacted.
    It’s just pitiful VA can’t figure out that sooner or later these “acts” DO COME TO LIGHT! Not all VA employees will remain silent.

    1. Crazy Elf

      Unfortunately we only hear about what the VA wasn’t able to cover up when some like this happens. We also don’t know what is still going on that is undiscovered yet.

      1. I agree Jade. But I’ll betcha it won’t be too soon when we hear about something so vile. VA will buckle to their knees. And there won’t be anywhere for thousands of VA employees to hide.
        Here’s a question. You know how upper management gets the bonuses. And the lower clerks do the dirty work and get squat. What if it got out everyone got bonuses. You know, like cops telling the street gangs one of their own squealed. Wonder how the employees would feel then?

  12. “Accidsntally dropped into a dumpster?” Sure, any honest employee would think that is where over a thousand confidential veterans files are supposed to go. Now, where is that bridge the VA has for sale?
    And, why isn’t there one single VA org calling for the resignation of McD?

  13. All these things really make me quite concerned if the VA ever successfully translates all of our VA Records to electronic format.
    Why so concerned?
    Because I cannot fathom the VA using *any* increased security provisions to prevent being hacked. If they cannot be held competent to even handle our hard copy records, how exactly are they going to protect our data, if at all?
    I also have valid reasons to worry that IF the VA goes entirely electronic records, would it not be so much easier and convenient for the VA to simply claim “all your files were hacked or deleted…so sorry, you will have to start completely over with a brand new recent filing date”…yes, I can see this scenario playing-out and definitely can see the VA using these excuses nefariously and maliciously.

    I know a few years back, the Cleveland, OH VARO had an employee take an unauthorized laptop home and was somehow “missing” and much later reported as “stolen”, with eventual mass mailings to all Veterans just notifying them to watch their bank statements and I think there too, they only offered 1 year Identity Protection…what they really entailed to what extent, nobody knows as it was a rather short form letter. Much like the MANY mass mailings from the Dayton VAMC notifying thousands of Veterans that in their dental clinic a VA Dr. was literally going from one blood coated dental instruments and unchanged bloody gloves from one patient to another, and giving notice to get tested for all the Hepatitis Strains and HIV. That same Dayton VAMC also sent out another mass mailing in last 7 years warning any Veterans that had Colon-Scope Procedures because of VA employees not using proper sterilization procedures, and to again get tested for same diseases…this also happened at dozens of other VAMC’s across the USA.
    Get this: The VA even sent out another mass mailing trying to make Veterans believe it was NOT the VA Employee’s FAULT nor the VA, instead, they had the audacity to BLAME the sterilization instructions were “Not detailed enough”….something is either sterile or it is not. Again, these would be a huge open door for Class Action Law Suits or Malpractice *anywhere* in the Civilian Medical Arena.

    When will we have accountability with the VA? No accountability means no integrity.

    1. namnibor, did you go to the many sites I have put on here (Friday, Saturday and today)?
      The one I gave today, is a good one. It told how VA employees are taught how to cook the books. But also what Pres. Harding did to the first director of VA in 1923. I think you’ll love it. Wish we could do the same today!!!!!

  14. Nothing surprises me anymore.
    I am waiting to see if the IG will act on my hotline complaint -I believe I am a VA Fraud victim and clrarly stated why I believe that..
    The Buffalo VARO is trying to tell me I already received a five figure award generated by my Nehmer claim. That award amount was wrong..
    I have been a volunteer claims advocate for almost 20 years.
    I can read rate charts and have proof that they did not pay me properly under a Nehmer decision.

    Past errors like this in my case, 2 specifically involved almost $100,000. The Regional Counsel VA Visn #1, fixed one of those errors and the General Counsel fixed the other error.and got me my money.

    When the VA kills a veteran, and makes a settlement with the survivor, there is often a lot more cash they are owed then the sttlement depending on the unique circumstances of every claim and FTCA settlement.

    Those situations (2003 and 2009) were solely due to the VA ignoring the evidence I had.that supported the payment.

    But in this recent situation, they state the DID pay me the money they owe me.

    The director in email to me manipulated my NOD date and just sent my dead husband a letter, maybe just a minor error, but still manipulates the NOD date.

    I have sent Sec Bob, Hickey, and the Chief of QRT COMP in VACO copies of my emails to the IG and so far not one of them has responded.

    I will contact NVLSP today as they handled my retro on the Nehmer IHD award,which also awarded 2 CUEs the VARO had sat on for 6 years.

    The CUE award is wrong..They granted another CUE I filed on that Nehmer award letter, finally stating the proper retro time fram (22 months at 100% under 1151 plus SMC for veteran and 2 dependents, Aug 1992 to Oct 1994= :: $53,967
    ( VA Basic rate Charts SMC,”S” 1992,1993, 1884. (V–S-1c)

    The Nehmer decision only paid the first 6 months of that.1151 accrued amount.

    1151 100% awarded claims are paid in addition to 100% direct SC awards.
    The veteran was awarded 100% P & T for his direct SC PTSD long ago.

    Perhaps FOX News would be interested.

    I am contacting the OGC and the RC here in NY VISN #1 today and preparing a letter to the FBI.

    All VA has to do is a simple audit of my Nehmer award.They have had almost 3 years to do that and haven’t dome it yet.

    1. You go for it! Put VA where they belong, in a trash bin.

      Have you looked up the site I just gave on here?
      “How the VA developed it’s culture of coverups”

      It shows how VA employees are taught how to “cook the books”! But, also how the VA came to be such a vile government agency!
      When you read this article, it tells how Charles R. Forbes became the head of VA. Under President Warren G. Harding (“a poker buddy”) Forbes committed many crimes. He “later went to jail” (for his acts) “and his crimes shaped the agency that would become the VA.” (Library of Congress).
      In the article, it also explains WHAT President Harding was caught doing to Forbes in the White House. When you read the article, IMHO, President Harding knew exactly what and how “to take care of a crook!” This is an historical fact!!!!

      1. I sent letters to Chairman Miller, H VAC and to the FBI on exactly how how VA covers up their true medical malpractice statistics.

        My dead husband was malpracticed on one VAMC here in NY and then another VAMC (Syracuse) tried to cover up the Bath VAMC malpractice and made things worse.

        I proved all that to the General Counsel and won FTCA case.

        I just emailed the IG again on the letter I got Saturday….that is , the letter my dead husband got.

        Whose on first at the VA?

        No one.

        I will read the article you mentioned.

  15. A Quick few questions, the VA says there are many veterans working for them. “Why would a veteran, want to knowingly, hurt another veteran?”
    “Why wouldn’t a veteran, working at VA, take better care of another veteran?”
    “Why wouldn’t a veteran, who knows of wrongdoing against another veteran, stand up for all the veterans in his charge?”

    On last fridays blog, I gave y’all a number of websites to visit. I hope you will. They are very interesting.

    Today’s “Blog” is about VA incompetence, and of course HIPPA violations, that occurred in South Dakota.
    How VA continues to try to hide things is amazing. It seems they should have learned by now- “Nothing stays in the dark forever!”

    So here’s another site to visit.

    “How the VA developed it’s culture of coverups.”

    Story by, David Fahrenthold
    Photos by, Matt McClain, Nikki Khan
    Very interesting….

    1. There was also a story similar to this one that occurred down here in South Florida a year or two ago. Only this involves over a million veterans files (with personal data and medical) on a computer. Seems an employee took a disk or computer home with him or something. The disk or computer was found. Yet no one from the VA notified anyone. It wasn’t until it came out on the news did veterans know anything had happened. How’s that for incompetence and “caring for veterans”?

  16. “I personally had VA Voc Rehab mistakenly mail an entire copy of my file to my old address from two years earlier – a large apartment complex in a major American city. There is no telling where the files ended up.”

    Yeah, and when my husband got his rating decision from the regional office, another veteran’s paperwork/name was mixed in with it. I showed the Congressman’s office, who didn’t give a shit, and the VA RO, who laughed it off and also didn’t give a shit. They as much admitted to the Congressman’s office that they make these mistakes here and there. No consequences.

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