Allison Hickey Takes Swipe At Congress

Allison Hickey

Benjamin KrauseHead of VA Benefits Administration Allison Hickey took a swipe at Congress yesterday at a hearing focused on the trouble-plagued Philadelphia Regional Office.

Hickey hit back against Congressional complaints by pointing out Congress withheld staffing requests to help process the backlog. Hickey pointed out that her request for an additional 1,700 employees to process the backlog was denied, “I didn’t get that one.” She said she’d ask again despite getting shot down.

But this additional staffing will obviously not fix the problems related to dysfunctional VA employees focused on engaging in unlawful and fraudulent actions. That was, of course, the actual focus of the hearing.

According to reports, some 31,000 inquiries about claims from veteran languished for longer than a year. Many records from veterans were boxed and then destroyed.

Congressmen prodded Hickey and agency officials for the agency’s refusal to “name names” and fire those involved. “I don’t see how you can change the culture of an organization if you don’t fire the people responsible,” said Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA).

The Under Secretary does bring up a point worth discussing though. Why is it that Congress is withholding the additional headcount that could help fix the backlog?


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  2. I talked to a VSO if he could take my case as my VSO is out of town all the time. That VSO said he cannot take anymore vets and we talked awhile and he showed me his little pinky that he sprained while in the service and stated he gets 100% disability. I asked him how did he manage that – he said its not what you issues you have its how you do the paperwork. Isn’t that bass ackwards. JUST SAYING

  3. CorpsmanuP! (@Tang1967) – Read closer what I said – If I canceled my private healthcare and let the VA handle my healthcare I already had one knee replaced and was told the other knee WILL be secondary to that. Well guess what the other knee is so bad there are piece of bone floating around….. So then if the VA is my only health provider and they refuse to help me with my other knee (at this point I don’t care about money – I just want to get it fixed.) what the hell do I do. Ok, now that I hope I spelled it out to you – what do I do to get my other knee fixed. The VA won’t fix it and I would have no other insurance – you tell me what I can do. Am I going to have to pay out of my own pocket!!! My money pocket had a hole in a loooonng time ago from all this
    . Should I just go lame. I have other issue related to that and the VA will not even talk about them. Let me hear some sound advice from you – you seem to know all the answers!!

    1. CorpsmanuP! (@Tang1967) The knee that was replaced was service connected and the VA took care of that – just to clear any misunderstanding.

      1. I am sorry for the misunderstanding, my e-mail was addressing the other guy. But to address your knee problem . The root cause of your knee problem should be looked at again. I was a Corpsman with a few units that partook in high impact missions via fast rope aboard ships and Mobile SeaBases.The VA does not recognized our or other medics training, cause they can get bigger appropriations from Congress with higher salary professionals. A lot of military personnel get jacked up on duty, wether it is horseplay or no reporting whether they are playing that hardcore role to stay in the units. There were many guys who clearly had dual knee injuries that were overlooked and not reported. Knee problems compound back problems. The VA has pick and choose syndrome which is flawed. The vet should be care for at 100% for injuries that affect quality of life. It is completely unethical for the VA to engage in millions of dollars of waste and knowing that their patients have severe medical conditions. The administrators who are medical professionals should be investigated. That identical knee problem that is not service connected should have followed the same evidence standard of the service connected knee.since the end resulted in very similiar symptoms.That is were veterans are getting fustrated with that you are looking at 1 body part VA accepts responsibility for. The bigger scheme of itis that they cannot bill medicare and it does not say “care for part of him”. They are interpretating their own meaning.

    2. My knees took a 3/4″ wire strap snapped across both, knocked to the steel decks numerous times, and the pounding and beating from patrol craft operations, landing craft operations and military pt abuses. My lower back and hip got cork screwed in opposite directions and snapped, ripped a couple disk pulling on huge ship mooring lines and anchoring gear. And my right ankle got a separation break. With all these injuries the Navy did nothing but let them heal and put right back on duty. The VA has been a 16 year fight to try and get fixed or pain relief with no success at all even though they recognized the service connection in the mid 90’s and to no avail the bullshit the VA assholes have denied and denied, the treatment is always a start over every year even though they knew the seriousness of the injuries and stae of my physical being. I know all of the pains andctrials of dealing with the VA and i still am fighting for retribution with nobody to help me but myself and the various facebook blogs and the information i learned on this attorney’s websites. Believe me brothers and sisters, if anyone knows and has proof of the severe ass lashings the VA and the U.S. Navy have handed me…it is me. I hatevthe VA with such a passion but it is my benefits that earned through the pains of service to my country that keeps me sane and fighting. It’s a fight we all have in common as veterans but don’t quit! Keep the fight on and stay as one great voice as veterans and with the Lord’s blessings we shall get our very DESERVED BENEFITS!

      1. I already had surgery while I was still in the Air Force. The VA told me that any claims made has to have documentation if not then the VA takes the stand that I am making it up and that I am lying and just trying to game the system. In fact they got so snotty they took a percentage away of the amount I was getting already. They just said that there was a serious error and would not explain and that was that and so on and so on. But they are there for ya just ask. I am almost embarrassed to even go to the VA where I live. They don’t like you to go to private health care even though the VA promotes it as Dual Care. I brought some MRI results to them and they lost it even before their shift was over. I brought in x-ray results, those were passed around to all the schedulers 3 frick’n times and then tossed them in the trash. So I brought in another set and I would check with my primary to make sure it was recorded and I was told it was but when I went to a regional VA for a scheduled C&P exam none of them were in the system and the hometown VA purposely change the right to left so the C&P exam was nixed. Then the C&P examiner said just email me the results of the MRI & x-ray and it be would taken care of. I did and was rescheduled for another C&P exam but the next examiner said that was not legal to email medical reports so those were nixed. But I could fax them and I did. I was also rescheduled again. That C&P exam got me a denied decision and the reduction took place. I am kind of backing up here.

  4. Hickey is a disgrace and needs to retire.As does Robert McDonald and Robert Reynolds. Instead of the princess bitching to congress about how they failed her maybe she should just look in the mirror to see how she has failed veterans. Where is her voice condemning the wholesale declaring veterans incompetent scheme? Where is Hickey speaking up about how the union protects the incompetent and asking congress to give her and the fake Special Forces dude power to walk the losers who can’t function to the door?

    No, she can complain about how she needs more and of course failures are not her fault but Hickey can’t take responsibility for her inability to be an effective manager for the employees she has now.

    1. Yes, you are correct. I wish the VA pukes were being brought in “under oath ” so they could spend time in jail for theft and lying to officials.

      1. Go to USTREAM Committee on Veterans Affairs, They “Are Sworn” But, That don`t keep them from bending the truth. These people know that you can`t even fire them, Much less Prosecute them for lying to Comgress, Congressman Jeff Miller The Chairman Went directly for Dianne Rubins for Lying and Trying to cover up something SHE Personally did. Shes STILL On the Payroll. Telling a lie under Oath Don`t mean what it does If a Vet Lie`s on an application, We can get 10 Yrs in Leavenworth. They get a letter telling them not to do that anymore. “And Justice For All” Hardly. “Justice for some” even is a dream.
        I`m still pissed about the BIG ONE “Free health & Dental for the rest of your life” was the Selling point on Joining during Vietnam. They Changed the rules AFTER they got what they wanted. For Some they paid the ultimate Sacrifice, Did`nt get to file a claim. I had a friend that lost not just his entire Shoulder but a lung, Arm and His shoulder blade It`s like looking at half a man. He was drawing $110 Month in 1973. It would have been more merciful had he been killed. he lived in a V.A. Hospital like on “Born on the 4th of July” Piss & dried blood all over the floor. People in Bays Crying begging for help. Yes, I remember those days We went there because we had no where else to go. Hell, These vets today has it great but, have to pass a test to sign up. the forms look like a Houston Phone book. We`re Still Begging like tramps Some of us ARE Tramps because the Country used them up and spit them out. Turned their backs on them.

    2. Really? I for one an glad, no ecstatic that Gen. Hickey stepped in and ended a 32 year battle for my claim. What took 31.5 years of work was fixed in 3 weeks by her.

      Sorry but the General has done right by me.

      I also got her to kick the can on my PTSD claim and that was settled in 7 months.

      1. @Dave Hendrickson;
        That’s great to hear some positive feedback that some people are indeed getting some help from Undersecretary Hickey and the VA in general. It’s just unfortunate that SO MANY need that same kind of help with the VA and are simply not receiving it.

  5. I respect what Ms. Hickey wants to do and at first it might seem that the 1700 additional employees will improve VA claim responses and better service. However, if the same people are left in that will be responsible to provide training to the new employees, nothing will change.

    To improve an organization, management must first identify the problems and the trouble makers and start firings those who are candidates for retraining are placed on probation. Hire a motivated team with established goals and objectives to improve the standards. Have an independent evaluation to gage improvements. Review after 6 months what works and what still needs improvement and report the findings and further recommendations at the end of the first 12 months.

    A lot more would need to go into restructuring such as a patient advocate with some real power and who is responsible to get things done. The VA would need to be more transparent and bring in people who want a job to improve the process over just collecting a pay check. Patients should be able to get responses to their concerns within 24 hours, not 90 days or never.

    More good people will want to work at the VA and it will be more efficient. Veterans will soon come to trust the VA again.

  6. Watch out folks, looks like we may have some VA people on here. Let’s let the few know exactly what’s been happening within VA culture…..If you can, back up all info with facts.

    1. I think the facts should be that they identify themseves if the VA is truly accepting of what veteran concerns are and not use what you say against you. It is equivalent to a deserter saying I am a soldier but………….

      1. That’s a fact! I wish people would understand we are a nation which is proud. And do not like it when we see multiple possible crimes being commited by people in a government run organization…

  7. Today on Yahoo there is a story exposing massive fraud by the VA where they processed thousands of transactions for about $24,499 or $1 less than the maximum allowed without special authorization, for a total of several million dollars. They tried to cover it up by saying the records are missing because they were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, but the dates did not work for that. This story is tied to several billion dollars of other ongoing spending done without VA authorization procedures. McDonald says it is being investigated by the VA watchdog. I think that is an imaginary dog.

    1. Another VA watchdog. Is the VA going to say they need to “do a study ” concerning this illegal act? Oh wait, thats “OLD MACDONALD” preaching to the choir, right? Put whoever signed the receipts in prison, after a short, and legal, trial…..

    2. On Yahoo, good now maybe the taxpayers (civilians) will get involved to such an extent to where the VA will finally do something…

    3. I think things will finally be investigated. Unfortunately everything takes way too much time!!! Good grief, the new secretary has only been in place for less than a year! Keep your pants on!

      1. It wouldn’t “take way too long”, if the powers that be, would get off their a$$es and do their jobs. Call the VA employees into a Congressional Hearing, place them ‘Under Oath’ with the knowledge of if they lie, we all know they will, they go DIRECTLY TO JAIL. Maybe then VA employees will understand the severity of their actions….

      2. It’s been a year…. and very little has been accomplished by him. Like I said, get the receipts, get the people who signed them, put them in front of a Federal Judge (under oath) and sentence them to a Federal prison… It’s that simple and does NOT take that long. Good Grief!!!

      3. Since you sound intimately aware of what the VA is doing behind the scenes, can you name 5 things McDonald has done in that year that translates into better care for veterans?

      4. I follow all the news as well as some info on the VA websites and blogs. Much has been covered about the progress for homeless vets. That is down a third and a new huge campus opening up in LA. I have heard of many new facilities opening. I’ve heard that many top medical colleges are being strongly recruited to increase the number of top doctors and nurses- and I think about 1000 new doctors have been added. The claims backlog has been reduced by about 75%. About 90% of VA medical centers have new leaders in their leadership teams. Over 1000 have been terminated and many are in process. There have been some new initiatives for women veterans. That’s just the top of my head. Know there is also much data available on the VAblog site with fact sheets and new accountability measures. Still a very long way to go yet.

      5. Unless you can provide citations of specific reports of 1000 being fired over what time span, I will ignore much of what you said. When McDonald lied about that publicly, many news reports clearly showed only Helman was fired, and then only for improperly accepting gifts rather than defrauding the government for a bonus and killing at least 40 vets. Citing VA press releases, web sites or blogs would help if that information were factual. By the way, you never answered my question about which VA PR office you work for. You also don’t seem to grasp the gravity of the wait list scandal or any other VA scandal reported over the past year. Your responses are like, yeah, dead vets, fraud, VA Secretary lies, but hey, they have an awesome web site and 1000 have been fired…maybe.

      6. We are a military family with 5 who have served and 2 who are currently serving. I have deep compassion for all military families because we have lived it- including a member exposed to Agent Orange. Am glad to hear that coverage has recently been expanded for that to reservists. And from experience, I am much more skeptical of Congress and the press, than I am the new admin at the VA.

    4. I believe the person responsible for this information being brought out in the open is a retired military major or colonel by the name of Frye. He has recently spoke in front of the Congressional Veterans Committee.
      I do believe we will see lots more on this issue in the weeks and months ahead.

  8. THERE ARE MANY IN CONGRESS in who have wanted less government and one of the ways to show an incompetent govt is to shortchange it with the money needed for the necessary staff and not provide the necessary tools to make it work, all the while our vets suffer and no real good reason for it. There are also those in Congress who will not go after those in govt who are inept or incompetent so they can say govt doesn’t work and the hiring of those inept are done on purpose. It is all to privatize everything and THEN charge 3 times as much as it was done with mercenaries in the war and for those that own the the war companies who make money for themselves as well as in the stock market..War is very profitable for some. It is always about those who just think about money as they think it only belongs to them personally, while our vets among other Americans live with the fallout of congressional and other political official greed and arrogance mentality. Playing with people’s life for profit should be a crime against humanity. I believe it was America who held trials on war criminals from other countries and our country should hold any .American who’s done the same to the same standard, whether they be politicians, military, govt employee or their own family or friends anyone else who profits off the war. and leaves our vets with nothing with what they really need.Those who put down the government are the ones who created this gigantic mess and those selfish meddlers/warmongers need to be the ones to put their money where their mouth is and fix the problems with the right amount of licensed staff and pay for the VA to work like it is supposed to. It’s like a slumlord, letting their property go to hell and charge more money to fix, knowing all too well, that they won’t fix it. They’ll just let it all go downhill and blame the tenants, That’s what we have for congressional, senate and even judicial leadership, rather than just only flap their mouths with just the blame game with no real positive solution. We’re in need of the kind of REAL congressional leadership we need, those that want to our country and its citizens be treated like Americans not some 3rd world country like Cuba but even Cuba will see a better life now. but’s almost as though we’ve been treated as though we’re subhumans because we suffered injuries or illnesses or worse and that we now deserve this treatment.. We don’t need those who are hell bent on tearing this country apart piece by piece, agency by agency, while using tax dollars for agendas that are not only not related but to further line their own pockets that has nothing to do with America or its citizens, We’ve had the wool pulled over our eyes by those lies and then the same pols make up imaginary problems to steal some more and we’re paying for it with our health after the theft of our finances. This is as sinister as it gets and again, we need to know who we are voting for, why the dems or the repubs want certain candidates in office. Cause both parties have it all planned out to what they want but not for what we as a country needs, it’s about what corporations WANT and the DOD has gone private through many in the military owning businesses rather than the government, That is faschism with a general running a closed air base but with many private military style businesses on the former air base and even our military security is run by private corporations from the UK..AND since we’re injured/ill, we’re not big consumers anymore, we’re no longer viable to be given out benefits when those benefits increase the bottom line for corporations such as insurance companies who’s running all of it. Risk/ wc/Liabilities profit is what we are but the corporations and their bought legislators is what they want…, liabilities to cash in on..
    We need to hold every candidate accountable for what they voted in terms of a budget for the vets and who actually got the money and where did it all go and why. The congress approves the budget for our country every year and most Americans don’t know what are in these budget bills or who will get what in terms of our taxes but that the SSA/Medicare is paying for what the DOD should be paying for, the costs to our wounded vets but from what I see for the last 30 years or more, it’s not in DOD or in other corporate America’s best interest and since our vets get screwed, then so it goes for the rest of us and it has until we demand the change that is necessary for our survival, us real citizens and not corporations who get U.S. citizen recognition..

    1. Damn if you didn’t hit it right on the head.
      I had posted the “Declaration of Independence ” on one of Bens blogs. Did you read it? If so, did you notice anything familiar of what was written in 1776 (the grievances the colonies had against Great Britain) compared to what has occurred today (even within the past 30 years)?
      I don’t know what you think, but I see some familiar occurrences happening today as what happened back then.
      The only problem I see is, today we have no John Adams, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson or Samuel Adams to set things right!!!!!!

      1. They are out there. You, and I, see them every day. Ben is one, in my opinion. Because he puts the truth out for all to read…..
        Maybe you should start defending him and others before you try tearing us down.
        Remember those who will not defend will surely perish. We all on here took oaths to defend those who cannot defend themselves!!!! I myself, took that oath very seriously.

    2. The thing to remember in a nutshell is that the VA picks and chooses what types of claims they accept as a tool to deny high cost types of claims related to exposures that have generational effects, such as Agent Orange, carcinogens, the gases used to train soldiers in preparation for war. i.e many vaccinations given to military personnel have not met the threshold of CDC controls when it came to using Quinine for malaria prep, including the 2 phases of chloroquine and primequine phosphate. The price tag of claims that can bankrupt any system without a doubt. The contextual factoring of these disabilities need to have a fact based, medically compliant controls in place. This is why the deny factor in VA presumptive process is flawed. Add corruption and you have a triple crown all in favor of the VA who has control over the records.

  9. I am beginning to wonder why we even need the VA. Why not take all the billions and billions of dollars and just pay the private sector health care. They seem to be a lot more advanced in the medical field than the VA. The VA seems to have turned into nothing but a cash cow. I went to the VA for my health and the first thing is I get a compensation physical and if I fail that then I am done. Not one word about my health just as if I am going for the money. I was considering going to the VA for all my health care but glad I did not because I would be SOL for medical help. The private healthcare charges are fixed and not dived up for this person and that person at the VA. Maybe I am wrong but after 6 years of trying to get help for service related I have not gotten no where.

    1. That is true. do not give the vA the $$ needed to to do the claims or the money to train the new employees. Do not fix it so they can get rid of the worthless ones there.
      Then congress say the non va places can do it better. RIGHT, we see that most places that are now ran by the GOP buddies are not doing the as good and helping less and costing us more.

    2. Sgt USAF, you were scheduled for an exam because you filed a claim. You are not treated from seeing those clinicians for a good reason. Any advice about treating you may conflict with how your treating physician is addressing your needs. The examining doctor is directed to do specific examinations for the purpose of determining a claim under specific guidelines. They may not be the same procedures as if he/she was seeing you as your treating physician. Don’t judge the ability of the VA to address your needs by one compensation exam. Go to the VA with an open mind and appreciate those who are there to help you. I suggest you forget all the negative comments written hear or elsewhere when you seek care. That will serve you well.

      1. Serving him well is allowing him to have a choice. The difference here is that his VA care is not separated by his C&P exam in a flawed CPRS record system. History and physicals always follow patients when any provider does an exam. Factoring in normal aging and separating what type of service related claim is essential if that injury can be defined that the aging process accelerated faster because of the injury or VA played a part in negligent care. You have too many healthcare providers that do not have specialty care experience , including C&P examiners who usually are fill-ins part-time. Medicine is progressive and the training medics and corpsman recieve are saving more lives on the battlefield. The Vietnam Vets have made a pivotal sacrifice trying to explain their claims 40 + years later. These so-called “negative” experiences are uncalled for especially if you have not personally buried your your comrad. Totally disconnected DEWD!

      2. Listen to this douche bag above, telling the sarge to shape up. We may be ex military and trained to do a job but certainly not trained to listen to douchebags like yourself, ericman, maybe you would do yourself good to shape up or ship out buddy. VA Services are benefits we earned with blood, seeat and tears ss well as taxpaying!

    3. See what you think after hearing the MSNBC interview with Patrick Murphy ( military airborne and former Congressman) with the Secretary at Memorial Day weekend?????

    4. Hey, know where you are coming from- but you also need to know that the VA is the champion for veterans. They train 70% of the doctors in the US, have received honors and awards for advances in medicine- especially those connected with veterans, prosetics, and disabilities.

      1. Just keep drinking whatever Kool-Aid they are giving you, do not miss a dose, and your Wonderland will continue to exist from *your perspective*…if you are not a VA employee, you sure sound like one.

  10. FAH, FTVA and BO too! Speaking of new departments; there is now a “Veterans Administration Department of Toe Tag’s! FTVA and AH too!

  11. I have had extensive interaction with Gen Hickey, she is about the best person I have ever seen at VA. But she is full of crap on on this, and she knows it. When she tries to blame VA corruption on a lack of tax dollars, that is complete and utter bullshit. VA corruption is caused by VA hiring corrupt people, and then having TOO MUCH money splashing around with no oversight or control. The VA is LYING, the VA is CORRUPT and the VA will never get any better until some of the crooks go to jail to scare the rest of them straight. Cut their budget and put a few of the worst VA crooks in federal prison, that would be tonic for VA.

  12. Why are they withholding additional employees? I can only guess that they may be looking at numbers. Numbers of claims handled in a year by each staffer, etc., and have decided more are not needed if those they have are not processing the number they should. Doesn’t make it right. I also wonder how many claims a VA rater handles and how long it takes compared to a Social Security rater handling a disability claim.
    Why add more if those currently there are not doing what they should? How many extra does it take to ignore inquiries from veterans? Of course, then there is cost that both sides in Congress would look at. 1700 employees, roughly $100,000 in total cost per employee equals $170 million. Both sides would squawk over their pet projects and would ask if sick vets were really worth it.

  13. There are no real teeth (or not enough teeth) in the measure Congress passed to fire employees. With the unions it is extremely difficult, though about 1000 have been terminated, that leaves many more that should be fired! I learned a lot from the interview over Memorial Day led by Frank Murphy (former military airborne and former Congressman) MSNBC, that let the Secretary talk about the VA, and what has been done (that we don’t hear about) and about the future of the VA. The VA has had major problems for decades, and in less than a year much has been done, but so very much more needs to done. We didn’t get here in a year, and it will take more than that to get us out.

    1. Where is the proof he terminated about 1000 people? I ask this because many have been asking the same question for quite some time! I want him, as I’m sure many would, to prove it! Don’t just say something, especially since he has been caught in multiple lies since taking over, and expect everyone to believe it!!!!
      Put it on tv. Give names, dates and the reason(s) behind the terminations. Only then will I, and the majority, believe him. Sorry about my pessimism, only he has done nothing to impress me.
      We still have incompetent people in Florida and in MANY other states working for the VA. Nothing has been done to them. And in many people’s opinion, NOTHING WILL BE DONE!!!! Lastly, putting someone on an “administrative leave with pay” is a joke! That’s not giving someone the boot. That’s giving them a paid vacation….
      Get real G Murphy, again have “Old McDonald” PROVE everything. Right now, I don’t see many people believing in anything he says! That’s because of the lies he’s told.
      Remember the old adage, “Once a liar, always a liar!”

      1. @G Murphy-
        On Meet The Press, Sec. McDonald LIED a second time when he absolutely exaggerated and stated over 600 VA Employees had been fired when in reality it was only a COUPLE and few others were simply placed on Admin. Leave WITH PAY…a gross exaggeration.
        So, counting his lie or “stretching the truth” about his Airborne Ranger stuff, that he “MISSPOKE” about what he really did in that training only position as a Ranger, THAT makes for “more than -1- LIE, making the term Numerous, appropriate”.
        I want to see as well, the PROOF that 1000 VA Employees have indeed been FIRED…not just placed on Admn. Leave with PAY, not just shuffled around to another locations…some hard FACTS.

        Do you not think it would be excellent PR POINTS if Sec. McDonald published that info or gave at least hard facts to PROOVE he’s not yet again “stretching the truth, AKA Lying, again”?

        We Vets have MORE than REASON to be hesitant to believe McDonald’s “word” unless propped-up with facts and figures to support them.
        Then again, maybe you have no issue with people not telling the truth and still trusting them thereafter…even -1- LIE is -1- too many, but he has IHN FACT told -2-…and please do not spout the BS that he simply “Misspoke”…that’s a liars way of backtracking.
        We expect nothing LESS than INTEGRITY…we have yet to see that.

      2. Guess you are right- you are a pessimist. There is so much anger in your comments. So where does that come from?? What is your story????? I only want the best for our VA- who deserve the very best!!!! Guess it’s easy to say “fix” the VA in less than a year. Hopefully you read my response about the “lies” that are completely not accurate. We all want the same thing and attacking each other is not the answer. PS I AM real. I think the only lies are from Congress (who only play to their constituents- and the media- and don’t provide the funding that we need). Please do your homework before making inaccurate comments.

      3. G Murphy, wait one second, McDonald DID flat ass lie on “Meet the Press”. That is fact. Second, he “misspoke” (which is lying) on national tv. When he was talking to an alleged SF, while in Calif. This is also a fact.
        Many on here do their homework, as you should. I’m really not “attacking you”. It’s just that I feel you have been duped into believing a person who doesn’t have a good reputation! He hasn’t done much in the way to build trust between veterans and the VA. Because there are still a great multitude of VA employees STILL committing egregious acts against veterans each day.
        They have not been fired YET, why?

      4. Wow. Know you are distraught, but don’t know why. I agree that much needs to be done to bring in some of the VA community. I DO do my homework- quite an expert at that. Still don’t understand why you try to vilify the man trying to help us come out of such a quaqmire!!!

      5. You asked, “What is your story?” I wish you and I, and many others on here and across this nation, could meet and talk about our problems with the VA. I bet all on here, as I can, can prove what we say….With documents!!!!

      6. It is so distressing that so many of our patriots need help. I do believe that we are finally receiving some of the help that we need.

      7. G Murphy, you evidently don’t want to hear the facts. McDonald has done little to NOTHING to deserve the trust from vets. I truly do not understand why you want to continue to defend a person who has brought this on himself. He, and our lazy Congress and Senate, have done this to us and you. They, and McDonald, have the right to fire anyone who has committed egregious acts against veterans and taxpayers… yet all they do is talk. NO ACTION!!

      8. I am so sorry that you are so distraught.You have still not explained that. It is sad that you do not know all the current info so you can see what has already been accomplished in less than a year. Agree that much needs to be done. This is a minefield and much continues to need to be done with an agency with decades of problems. Hey, cut the guy a break!

      9. Hey cut the guy a break? I will cut him a break when he honestly reports how many he has fired using the authority Congress has given him. Firing for the wait lists and defrauding the government by lying for bonuses. I will cut him a break when those responsible at Tomah are fired. I will cut him a break when those responsible at Philly are fired. You keep talking about so much being done that we are unaware of. If that is the case, why is McDonald not publicly announcing it? Is he saving it up for a big surprise at some point?

  14. Bob McDonald stated he will regain each veterans confidence one veteran At a time, i gave his office a packet that showed the va did not do their job of completing any investigation to my allegations of upper management abuse of power by a manager using her position to punish a veteran just because she wanted to and her boss’s, letting her do so without her having to provide them with any proof. The veteran have no way of defending themselves, they would rather punish the veteran rather than look for the truth. The disruptive committee is a tool that could drive a veteran to suicide as they make them out to be a trouble maker, then threaten them with being arrested, federal charges placed upon them and do so when they know for a fact they had no proof of any wrongdoing by the veteran. Instead of. Listening to the veteran that they have been wrongly accused. Someone needs to make the va accountable for falsely accusing veterans of being disruptive and never asking for any type of. Proof and only using hearsay. This would never fly in a court of law, any one can say that someone did something and must provide proof and if they can’t do so, it has to be thrown out in favor of the veteran. But the va can’t or won’t let the veteran defender themselves. Bob did the same thing with my request to make the va provide his office with all evidence they used to punish me, so now he has just gave higher management his blessings to continue to harm veterans at will, and not be afraid of any administrative action against the employee who is hurting the veteran. Shame Bob should be ashamed of himself letting this happen.

    1. James, that flag can be appealed within 30 days to the network director under 38.CFR 1.107. This is the new tool they are using against veterans. Problem is is that you have to make a disclosure to OSC (form 12) The tricky part is to make a duplicate disclosure to GAO and Pogo, in which you should never talk to VA over the phone. If you do, let them know you are going to record the conversation, because every call you make, the memoralize your conversation and document it in your record to justify their actions.Contact your Congressman and inform them that you would like them to refer your matter to VA Oversight and Investigations as a Disclosure.The 4th Circuit of Appeals is on notice as well as the DOJ in similiar cases to what you are describing. Lastly but not least, the triplicate Disclosure should be made to the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs to Mr. Johnson. The more disclosures that pertain to abuses the more likely they will have to act on it. Please, do not conversate with them, because they write everything you say in your record to their advantage.

      1. Do You Happen to know the address for these people or offices. I have tried congressman Bennett and his aid handled it, the va told them they had no evidence and yet the congressman did not care or follow up. I really appreciate your information, it’s hard for me to express myself some times due to my tbi and it seems they take advantage of my disability. I understand what you are saying about them using phone calls against you, not only phone calls, they write down what ever they want, not what you say, they twist it. I’m grateful for your concerns. Thanks James wish more people were like you.

      2. James, the phone number is 202-224-4751 (Ron Johnson) the other is 202-225-3527 Hose Vet Affairs. They do no do casework but emphasize that tyou have a tbi and need disability assistance with the matter.I can’t post links on this page but go to Va Truth Tellers on facebook. Hopefully there will be some filings and Bivens Actions in these particular cases soon.

      3. Thanks might as well try it, i won’t get to excited about my chances of getting something done. Everytime i do i get excuses or told they are the wrong agency. You have at least gave me another avenue to explore. I appreciate your concerns, will keep their forum notified of the response they give me. Thanks one corpsman to another.

      4. No problem James,

        Happy Hospital Corps Birthday 117 years!

        The VA is barely starting to recognize our training witm Intermediate care techs. But they do not want to hear the side where you have knowledge of a legitimate complaint from a corpsman’s inherit duty to protect his brother. They engage in this behavior to try and undercut your skill , knowledge and abilities. They want people with licenses, because in brings in big $$$ for appropriations.

      5. Hello reading your blog again you put 30 days, the va never gave me any options and i was in a vamc attending the alcohol and drug treatment program and was there for seven weeks. After i completed the program, i wrote the va patient rep and when they replied, the reply was completed by the very same person who accused me of being disruptive. I next wrote to senator Bennett office out of Colorado. The va once again let the person making the allegations against me answer the congressional inquiry herself again no follow up and again when the dav made an inquiry. Every one doing the inquiry was satisfied with her answering the inquiry and that’s just wrong, this is called the fox watching the hen house. Again i wrote senator Bennett’s office and his assistant told me the only thing senator Bennett could do is ask the va to respond and Bennett could do nothing else, this time the Denver director wrote to the senators office “Mr. …. records were never coded for disruptive behavior, nor were his records ever red flagged. Not only did they do coding of disruptive behavior, they did red flag my medical records it’s recorded in the chart and the following attached IF the va Ever hears again that i am have been disruptive, YOU will be Arrested and federal charges placed upon you and banished from all va care. Now this has been going on for the last 10 years. Ever means ever which never ends, so they gave me a life sentence, with no option of parole. Funny how the director stated nothing was done to me Administratively it’s all over the record and the new director put in a letter to me, well those were the facts At the time, there never were any facts except that the employee who made the claim was telling them a right out lie. How can anyone defend themselves when they all believe that lie.

      6. When i was in the guard in Arizona back in the 80,s i set it up through the state to give each member the same training the Emts received and each passed and became certified emts

      7. James, look up 38 CFR 17.107 and 38 CFR 17.106 if you have a copy of those letters keep them. The flag has to be reviewed every 2 years. I would be wise to give a copy of your letter to your Congressman , including making an appointment. We are working on having these appeals heard in veterans court since VA is not following its’ own rules including filing criminal complaint under the Conspiracy rights Act. They cannot ban you from the VA. Look up those codes under Cornell Law. I would link it but my comment would be moderated and you will not get the info. you can e-mail me at [email protected] if you like
        Hope this helps. Signed, Your friendly neighborhood Corpsman

      8. Great I want to thank you for thinking of my situation, its very depressing having no one to turn to. I will take your advice, but won’t hold my breath. Hope someone can get someone to listen to the veteran and do something about the way the va is using the disruptive committee to punish veterans without concerns of the veteran’s well being and how it effects their health, it’s hard enough living with the night mares and having a traumatic brain injury. Again thanks God bless and please keep us informed of any positive gains in helping veterans who can’t help themselves.

    2. Sorry you were not heard. Keep trying. Must be thousands in that same queue. I’m very hopeful that things will change in the next couple years after the many administrative changes and all they are doing to make a difference for our veterans. Thank you for your service to our country.

      1. Administrative changes and all they are doing for us? Seriously? Which VA PR office do you work in? That is your response to a veteran who cannot get proper medical care because some petty bureaucrat tyrant claims he is disruptive without proof?

      2. Thanks i am sure there are as there is no one standard used to say what constitutes disruptive behavior each va using different standards and gives the va authority to run amuck and can do this to any veteran they wish, and don’t have to worry about anyone stopping them, as i stated this goes against our civil and constitutional rights of being able to face our accuser and be able to defend our selves against false allegations and the va refuses to provide the evidence they used or lack of evidence and covering up the illegal antics used to punish veterans they don’t like. .

    3. If the VA wants to earn my trust and confidence they need to settle with me and all my claims with 1/2 million U.S. dollars for malpractice, lies, denials, false recording of medical information, neglect, fraudulent statements and actions against my claims and all the pain and suffering to me for destroying my life after service and my family life. Then and only then can i begin to heal back to a normal relationship with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    1. “Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely!” I think that’s how the saying goes. That seems to be the attitude of our elected and appointed officials and VA employees.
      I have heard, over the years, many of them state, “I can’t be FIRED!” Even after the law was passrd last year. They have no fear of anything.

  15. In all due respect for Under Secretary Hickey, I do not understand how the “Ultimate VA Problem” always comes down to the VA either needing MORE money and/or MORE employees, when in the “real world work force” people are asked to work HARDER WITH LESS, especially since the aftermath of 2008 Economic Collapse. Throwing more people and/or money at a problem NEVER solves the ROOT PROBLEM and THAT is BAD MANAGEMENT and actually perpetuating THE PROBLEM.
    Beyond staffing issues, that does not excuse the obvious collective of YEARS of hidden mail, may I add that very mail and unopened correspondence in the Philly VA Basement was reported to be MOLD COVERED, the security of the building seriously lacking, VA employees ADJUSTING TIME-STAMPS of Veteran’s Files…these things have NOTHING to do with STAFFING…it’s simply BAD MANAGEMENT.
    We actually NEED a NEW APPROACH as in using existing resources to the extreme and I will say it again, as long as VA Employees are BONUS-MOTIVATED, we Veterans NEVER come FIRST…it’s always about $$$.
    Has the Gov’t. Employee’s Union PREVENTED VA Employees from working harder by making everything quota and bonus-based FOR AGES?
    I propose Undersecretary Hickey and VA Secretary McDonald actually start FIRING VA EMPLOYEES….give them motivation as in fear of God in the WALLET and JOB to make do with their resources and WORK HARDER because in the REAL WORLD of EMPLOYMENT YOU *DO* GET* FIRED* for MUCH LESSOR sub-job performance and Sec. Hickey perhaps need to look-up the very definition of insanity and realize repeating the SAME THING that the VA has done for DECADES and EXPECTING A DIFFERENT OUTCOME…well, is insane. How much more simplistic does it need to be stated?
    “If we only had all those extra employees you Congresspersons withheld…” is a piss-poor excuse and attempt to sway the conversation away from the ugly truth of matters. The VA loves to use “20/20 Hindsight” as a ways to a means like an unruly child. It’s called being Dysfunctional and Deceptive. Now, is Undersecretary Hickey only referring to needing more employees for PHILLY VA or will this excuse now be used for the MINIONS of VAMC’s and VARO’s that continue to only add to the backlog, poor management, outright corruption?
    Is the new Denver VA that’s continually/repeatedly been left unchecked and GROSSLY OVER BUDGET yet again the excuse of, “We need more $$$/people?” How about all the deaths in Phoenix VA and other VAMC’s from the “wait list scandal” yet again the sole problem of NEED MORE $$$ AND EMPLOYEES?
    It’s become a Systemic BAD Management Problem as well as not using the existing resources to their maximum….all to the chagrin and deaths of Veterans.

    Why Cannot Sec. McDonald and VA Undersecretary Hickey make a serious name for themselves and start chopping heads of management as the Congressional Rep. asked? How about doing something against the grain of VA Vulture Culture and instill DISCIPLINE and FEAR OF UNEMPLOYMENT LINE rather than just repeating the past?
    I totally believe those in management at local and upper management of the VA CHOOSE TO WEAR BLINDERS OR TUNNEL VISION GLASSES because it seems like they MUST know what they are doing is HURTING VETERANS, which makes this a bit beyond dysfunctional…leaning heavily on the Sociopathic side of things.

    We absolutely need to ensure the problems with the VA as a WHOLE remain as important as the Economic Issues in every Presidential Debate, Town Halls, and various other venues with the Presidential Election and the MANY people running for position.
    How is the prison guard that helped the inmates escape, (Joyce Mitchell), any different than VA Management NEVER FIRING employees and just moving the CRIMINALS AROUND to only do the same thing or worse at but a new location?
    THE INMATES ARE RUNNING THE ASYLUM…how hard is this to comprehend?

    1. Namnibor, thank you for expressing what we are all thinking and left scratching our heads in bewilderment. Why are these VA employees not only fired but brought before a judge and jury as the BLATANT sociopaths/criminals that they continue to prove that they are!

  16. Ms. Hickey and Congressmen both brought up good points.
    Why haven’t the VA employees been fired? Why hasn’t Congress allowed for the hiring of VA employees to settle the backlog situation?
    Could it be the money allocated for/to the VA did not take into consideration this aspect of a failing government organization?

    1. I forgot, my question to the VA would be, Where has all that money gone that was allocated to the VA?
      Someone on here once said the VA needs to be audited. Maybe then we, veterans and taxpayers, will know the “where has/have all those billions of dollars gone????

      1. All I can muster is an “AMEN, BROTHER”!

        Perhaps Congress needs to put it THIS WAY: We WILL allocate MORE VA EMPLOYEES…ONLY TO REPLACE THE EXACT SAME NUMBER YOU FIRE FOR GROSS MISMANAGEMENT AND dereliction of duty!!??
        So, not **additional employees**, nor **MORE $$$**, but authorization to REPLACE all the fired “bad apples” and hard evidence as well as An AUDIT to back-up everything?
        To simplify things since VA Math is fuzzy, at best: IF VA Sec. and VA Undersecretary FIRE 1700 (as only a start) BAD MANAGEMENT as well as anyone, including MEDICAL STAFF treating Vets subpar, THEN a ONE for ONE can be REPLACED, but not MORE OF THE SAME BAD CULTURAL and SYSTEMIC Types of people…and make BETTER USE of resources allocated to the VA.
        As long as NO REAL “Accountability” is in place, there’s absolutely NO MOTIVATION for change because the VA across the board KNOW the Union makes it near impossible to fire them…so guess what they need to do with the Union? Yep, the Civilians have placed the holes in the ship called The VA, and time to replace EVERY FIRED VA Employee with VETERANS and change this Vulture Culture.
        There’s going to still be a SURGE of Veterans seeking medical care and even Disability Claims in years going forward with these wars we are still active in and now sending almost 500 more to Iraq yet again…we need to make the VA “Be All It Can BE” for both existing and future Veterans.

        I am not seeing nor feeling “The Changes” that Sec. McDonald promised to make…he is as well, continuing the same past and failed techniques and perpetuating those same dysfunctional policies…it’s been over a year and it sure seems he is only buying his time…I would rather read about him WEEKLY placing the fear of God in the system rather than read how he and Undersecretary constantly place blame on not enough $$$ or employees…has not worked decades ago to present, so how about a NEW PLAN OF ATTACK? Or, am I wrongly thinking more on the Rational Side of things?
        A further slap in face to veterans is I read yesterday on Stripes dot com that the VA is claiming their Suicide Prevention Program is HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL….how the hell is at least 12 vets taking their lives A DAY successful and how do you make such statements days after the VA announced cancellation of their Suicide Prevention Program? Seems there’s a lot of talking out of both sides of mouth and every other orifice, remaining conveniently blind to actual problems…insane, is what this all is.

      2. What can you expect from a former ‘soap salesman’. It had come out, ‘Ol Mac’ was forced to resign from P&G. I’m not sure about all the details. I heard it had something to do over a ‘letter’ which was sent to the “Board” of P&G by someone owning $50 million worth of stock (the letter was ‘posted online for all to see). In the letter it was stated, this individual was extremely dissatisfied with the way he was running the company. SO, we all know the final result!
        Now, he’s in charge of one of the most historically known corrupt and broken government agency. He has been caught lying numerous times (special forces and Meet the Press). He has insulted a member of Congress (I’ve run a large company, sir. What have you done.) So what can we expect from him?

      3. I saw your comments, and think it would be wise to do some homework before criticizing- but understand that is so easy to do. The letter you refer to was written by a corporate raider. They purchase much stock, then attack, try to make some immediate changes, so they can reap large profits for the short term, while not protecting and leading the company to long term success. McDonald has not been “caught lying numerous times”. There was one publicized incident, but think you need to look at that in context. The time you are referring to is when he was out in the middle of the night looking at the homeless vet problem (who else does that????) and trying to connect with and vet a possible homeless veteran. My understanding is that he was trained as an Airborne Ranger, which even works alongside SOF. Regardless, he was trying to help that man that night, and apologized nationally!
        Heaven help us all if we are judged based on every word that we say, regardless of the motive.

      4. Yes that is true Bob did apologized for his slip of the tongue. He also said he would get the trust back one veteran at a time. Either he or his staff requested the va in Denver to reply to my concerns about the disruptive committee using hearsay as fact to punish veterans, this approach has been done before and the va still will not furnish anyone with the evidence they used to frame me. And when i wrote back to Bob’s office via text, his office did not reply and all texts were deleted by someone other than myself. Why do you think that happens. It leaves the impression his office is willing to let the va continue harming veterans and not have to be accountable for their employees wrong doing and false reportings.

  17. Follow the money trail. Congressional Committees have metrics as well. You will not find this out because FOIA does not exist for Congress. Every dollar Congress saves including the metrics of all OIGs are put in their pockets. If that is the case the American people should mandate that their representatives wear uniforms. Preferably a suit just like “Boss Hogg” from the Dukes of when you call them for assistance, you can actually say “Can I speak to my fat little buddy” , maybe you will feel that you are getting your money’s worth. On another note that lady in charge of benefits reminds me of Flo from Mel’s Diner for some reason. but oh well, have a nice day all! Back to the drawing board.

  18. Seems like every day, politicians are just doing what they do. A lot of talking, with no work being done on the solution. I have known most of the issues I read in Ben’s Blog. Most have been going on a long time. Politicians know this also. As long as we finally cuts on the problems, we veterans may never get to the solutions. We veterans, as far as I know, don’t have a handle on just what the truth is about the politics behind the problems.

  19. I am tired and more depress hearing these problems after problems and veterans are caught in the middle. I feel frustrated for unable to assist myself let alone assist my follow veterans who needs help. I very much wanted to be a lawyer so I can make a difference but I am in a hole myself struggling to pass the hurdles. I hope one day my dream of becoming a lawyer comes true just before I rest I will give it a shot and try to do where other failed.

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