Veterans Affairs

Game Of Chicken May Shutdown Veterans Affairs

Veterans Affairs

Benjamin KrauseVeterans Affairs may shut down before Labor Day due to agency mismanagement resulting in a possible shutdown of VA in three weeks due to a $3 billion shortfall.

I presume this shutdown could be avoided with proper management of the existing budget. Could the agency be properly managed without shutdown risks without all the fraud? I guess we will never know since VA OIG refused to hold agency fraudsters accountable. How much would be saved by only having legal construction contacts and lawful bonuses?

RELATED: Will I Lose My Benefits In A Government Shutdown?

Now, VA leadership has forced a game of chicken. On the one side, Veterans Choice Program and Hepatitis C veterans account for $12 billion. On the other side, we have an agency defrauding taxpayers by billions to mismanage its programs without accountability.

For those of you remembering the Federal government shutdown in 2013, lack of money for the VA meant a disruption of benefits payments for many veterans. It meant reduced services. It meant veterans relied on homeless shelves and food giveaways to make up the difference. (It also meant Federal parks had to close, which seemed to piss off more Americans than many other issues.)

Is it just me or are we all wondering, “Where the hell is all the money going?” Is it going to fraudulent government contractors? Is it going to fraudulent VA employees?

According to Military Times coverage of a letter sent to Congress yesterday:

On Monday, VA officials submitted their latest update to the plan for shifting existing funds to cover shortfalls in the department’s Care in the Community program — outsourced medical care for veterans — and for underfunded hepatitis C treatments.

Together, the two items have already pulled more than $2.5 billion from other VA accounts, including money previous assigned to clinical salaries, medical equipment and operational requirements.

“If these program funds are not restored, VA will face shutting down hospital operations during August 2015,” VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson warned in a letter to lawmakers accompanying the funding proposals.

VA officials want to use about $10 billion authorized by Congress last summer to pay for the shortfall, but that money is tied only to outside services provided through the department’s new Choice Card program.

Why is the Deputy Under Secretary Sloan Gibson writing this letter? What cowardly leader in any private business would not address such a major screw up to its shareholders? This crisis seems too serious to come from anyone other than Secretary Robert McDonald. Is McDonald’s initial cocky pushback against Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) coming back to bite him?

Disneyization of Veterans Affairs

Congress says VA has received more money than every before and it is implied they have funded the agency enough. Congress wonders how the agency managed to blow through such generous budget [sic]. Veterans service organizations claim VA was so underfunded before than any increase is still insufficient to meet agency needs.

I think the latter is true. But does underfunding justify fraudulent and irresponsible spending of the existing budget such that it results in VA running out of money two months early?


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  1. VA executive leaders earn their secret multi-million dollar bonuses the old-fashioned way — they steal it, then cook the books.

  2. I keep hearing words like mismanagement, misappropriation, and other words that make it seem someone made a mistake. Seems like every day another mistake. Our vets deserve a lot more truth than what we are receiving. When I went in the Army in 1968, a contract was made. I give them what I have, and if I get hurt, the VA will take care of me. They lied then, and they have been lying every since.

  3. Why is it we never hear where the money went? Somewhere or someone has this money don’t they? Do they just put $3 billion in an account ? Isn’t there a paper trail ? Is anybody looking for this lost money ? Personally I am fed up .

    1. Sad its all about money people should put their heart first makes the money worth earning

    2. \mcdonald brought his accountants with him to the VA from colgate and xerox where he successfully embezzled several billion dollars.

  4. Do any of my fellow Veterans find it absolutely egregiously insulting for VA Sloan Gibson to be using Veterans as a leverage or hostage in order to get more $$$ or threatening to close VAMC’s?
    This was just like throwing buckets of raw salt on raw wounds, a literal case-in-point of “insult to injury”.
    Time for Sloan Gibson and most of VA upper management to be sent on one way trips to someplace warm like the Middle East…thinking Syria or Afghanistan, and give them nice glow in the dark bulls-eye adorned clothing…set, and forget, start over.

    ^How is what I just wrote ANY worse than Sloan Gibson, whom by the way is ACTING FOR Sec. McDonald, going before Congress and threatening if they do not get their way, the Veterans will pay…with their very lives?!!!

    Yeah, I am REALLY pissed about this! ONE BIG AUDIT then place them ALL in a “chain gain” and make them all clean urinals at Leavenworth…just for starters!

    What Sloan Gibson said today made me officially lose what *little respect was left* of he and Sec. McDonald…and our President for allowing it.

    1. Oh…and no surprise that I cannot find this talked about on ANY news media. I found where the NAACP now wants to have the entire Stone Mountain Monument Carving in Georgia, sand-blasted in order to remove the Confederate Flag. Do people realize that Martin Luther King was more than a tad Communist? Tear down THAT monument in D.C. then if you want to play ‘fair’.

      I am almost wondering if the travesty that took place in S. Carolina is being used as an efficient smoke screen for growing momentum and focus on VA scandals.

      I ask again, where’s the outcry over the “Social Issues” of Veterans killed or treated unfairly by the VA?

      1. Want to hear a “Historical Fact” about when J. Edgar Hoover ‘summoned’ MLK to his office. It’s on tape. Recorded inside the FBI Building in J. Edgars’ office. And was on a PBS special on J. Edgar just last year. After the movie “Selma” was released.
        After entering, it seems MLK sat down in a chair. At that point, J. Edgar says, “I didn’t say you could sit.” That was not the interesting part. It was then J. Edgar stated berating MLK. He told him to be careful. To quit inciting the people. After a short, one sided discussion, the “interview” was completed. J. Edgar, stated, “You can leave [my office]!”
        It’s on recording. You might be able to find it. If you search deep,

      2. A “smoke screen”? I will guarantee thats what all this political bull shits about. Think hard, how many other times has the government done something by getting the public’s mind on something else? Divide and Conquer. That’s what it’s called. How many governments have done that to their citizens throughout history.
        Here’s a fact. How many students, from 1st to 12th grade actually WANT to learn history? Answer, VERY FEW.
        This is why we lose when the government wants something. They get the citizens to fight among each other. Watch the news. What’s happening day in and day out. Crime is rampant.
        Police are being told to back off, even if a crime has been committed by an individual.
        Tax evasion is rampant. Only a few have been caught, tried and convicted.
        White collar crime is up. ie; Medicare and Medicaid fraud violations are up.
        The list goes on and on.
        What’s being done? Law Enforcement Agencies say they don’t have the manpower. The court systems are backed up so bad, to get someone a trial date takes weeks, if not months.
        There’s so many negative reports on the news. It’s hard to keep up.
        But, I, and many others, keep on watching. Maybe because we feel we will see something good happen. But it never does YET.
        So, I’ll keeps on trucking (actually straddling my HD) and putting the wind in my hair!

  5. I would like to know, will Congress capitulate to the VA and give them all of what they want. I would also like to know, ASAP, when and if that happens.

  6. Daily News article: “Veteran Community Backs New Accountability Bill, But This Union Of Govt Employees Stands In The Way”

    i suspect many of you have read this today. the article is one informative thing, the comments though, let the world know what it knows about the corrupt VA.

    rise up Veterans Movement, rise up geometrically all across the globe

    1. I read that article and comment section. What would anyone expect from a Government Union. They will try their best to get that “HB” defeated.
      I wonder what Ronald Reagan would have thought about this government union backing the VA government employees. Remember the Air Traffic Controllers and what their Union tried. Didn’t work out for those poor souls. HA HA HA. They ALL got fired….
      What we need today is a President like Reagan. I don’t think he’d have any qualms firing any VA employee who’s caught lying, stealing or doing anything wrong…

  7. Hey brothers and sisters, how bout sending the “Military Times” article off to your local and national news media. My wife did that here in Central Florida.
    I’m sure if all here were to do that. It would snowball.
    Not only did she do that, she also “Tweeted” and “e-mailed” it to all on her “friends list”. She has received back where they are sending the information to their news media in their parts of the country.
    Get goin, Let’s bombard as many news stations as possible. The more “SHAME” which can be brought onto them is what we want.
    To threaten Congress with a hospital shutdown is unconscionable. Think about it. Veterans not having their right to medical ain’t cool or legal I believe.

    1. Good job! Although I certainly realize the power of “social media”, I am sorry that I cannot contribute in this sense because I simply do not use Facebook, nor ‘Tweet, or any of the other things, as it’s reasons are very related to my own social anxiety and PTSD, and reason I really do not have much of a ‘social circle’ to speak of. I am being quite honest in that this new city for me since very end of 2006, I have since lost 3, yes -3- of my best friends and yes, they were Vets that committed suicide and the one’s death anniversary is coming-up to one year mark in a few weeks.
      One of my Veteran buddies had gone through the years of waiting and when he finally got his 100%, and used the VAMC for his medical/psych care, a few months after receiving his 100% and went to yet another new shrink at the VA, when he spoke of making some new friends and that he used Facebook, as crazy as this may sound, THAT Psych made notes to his record to the effect that she called him a “malingerer” and “since he could use Facebook and be social, he had his damn benefits decreased substantially…and QUICK. (I know this cannot be legal or even something REAL Psych Dr.’s with reputable standing in the APA would NOT agree with)…and I actually saw the letter he received from VARO regarding this…one pen stroke of an inept Psych totally screwed him and the VA was even wanting his back pay back…I am NOT making this up!
      I knew he was really depressed about all this but did not realize HOW so, and I was still playing the “VA waiting game at that time”…so one day after not hearing from him for a few weeks, I decided to do a “wellness check” on my best friend…yes, he took his own life and the VA could care less. The County Veteran Commission Officer I spoke to back then about my serious issues with how he was treated and how using some web program surely could not be REAL SCIENCE or LEGAL. Do you know what that County Veteran’s Commissioner told me on phone? “The VA considers your friend a SUCCESS STORY because *they got him his benefits*!!!!!!!!!!!!” I then asked, what about how they took those same benefits quickly away based on a Psych Dr. he never had seen before, and BASED on calling him a FAKER because he simply could use Facebook? The County Veteran’s Commissioner could not answer that and that was way before I knew about this website because I was only using hadit dot com solely for info in filing both my SSDI and VA Claims….when he died back in 2009, and I finally received my VA Comp. in 2010, I resolved to *never* use regular or popular forms of “social media”, even though I use Medicare and not the VAMC…I do not want to potentially have my life turned upside down as what happened to one of my best friends, even though Ben has said as much, that is very bad Psychiatry when I brought this up within the last 3 years since using this great blog.
      Call me paranoid, but I am too worn and torn and do not have that much fight left in me these days because of both all my health issues, and fact that those years of filing my own SSDI/Soc Sec Claim *and* VA Svc. Connected Claim AT THE SAME TIME…really deflated my mental tires.

      So with all that said, I KNOW the power of social media can have…but I seriously do NOT trust the VA. Otherwise, had I not had this experience with one of three veteran best friends that all committed suicide within a few years, I would probably try to help via social media if I did not know any better. Now, I just try to spread the word to other vets about this site, and when situations arise where I can provide resources or simply point a Veteran or Survivor in the ‘right direction’, it’s still helping, but I again, do not trust these QUACKS the VA hires…bad science…legal or not, they still did it, and yes, I am quite bitter over it still.
      Rant over, but wanted to share how the VA effectively killed 1 of 3 Veteran best friends…the other two were not as almost unbelievable as the story I just shared, but the VA more or less killed them as well.
      Perhaps the moral, if any, of this true tail is to be incredibly careful WHAT and HOW you’re posting on social media and if possible to have a completely alter identity to protect yourself, do consider it if it’s even possible.
      I could not even make this stuff up if I tried…now off to a dark corner and some ambient music to calm my nerves while the alprazolam starts to work….

      1. I understand. You could talk to some of you civilian friends and have them give the info to the media. I also don’t use the social media. Because I’m computer illiterate. And I don’t socialize either. My wife on the other hand does all that.
        I hope you do something to help the cause.

      2. PS. That’s why I’m called crazyelf. I truly don’t give a shit what anyone thinks about me. I go for it at all turns. My father once said, ” Always stand up for your right, as long as you know your 100% correct!”
        I’ve lived that way now for 68 years. I will never capitulate to anyone.
        Remember the old saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword!”
        The VA once put out a PAMPHLET that had the following statement, quote, “Just because I have PTSD, doesn’t mean I’m crazy!”
        Somehow I believe they can’t distinguish between the two. It’s up to all of us to show them that difference.
        Your ‘war experiences’ will never leave you. Just as they have never left me. I have a “buddy” who is not long for this world. He and I were in Nam together (1967-8-9). My wife just met him and his wife in March (this year). His VA experiences aren’t that good either. He knows of the graft, fraud and other illegal acts done by this disfunctional government entity. Only he’s so bad off I don’t believe he’ll last much longer. When it happens I’m heading up north to his funeral.
        So, you see brother, we all have stories.

      3. While I may not utilize social media, I DO think I help in my own way and I do write/call my State’s Senators/Reps, and like you already suggested, I forward things going on with VA and Veterans to others that then share this with others, et al.
        Thanks for your reassuring words…really, thanks for taking the time.
        I also do not think the VA has the IQ to know the difference between “crazy” and “PTSD”, and for that matter, I am fully convinced the VA has NO *CLUE* about PTSD, let alone TBI, even less. When you have such a huge agency hiring either “Last In Their Class Dr.’s” or minions of foreigners that may have medical degree in say, India, but yet that SAME degree would require AT LEAST -2- or -3- additional YEARS of College Medical School, and THEN the VA totally and entirely WAIVES their Medical Residency Requirement…well, you get both a crap-tastic Dr. that ALSO cannot speak much English all in one package…or the third option where the VA routinely hires Physicians and RN’s that could NOT get a job in civilian world because of gross malpractice cases against them…come to the VA, you cannot EVER get fired!
        I also read that article where the AFGE is already fighting this proposed HB to be able to freely fire and remove much of the protections of their precious Union. The comments were interesting. The comments on other articles is a litmus test that shows just how misinformed the American Public is when it’s clearly a non-Veteran posting and proposing we Vets do not know what we are talking about.
        I am fully convinced that this president and his administration is MORE concerned about sand-blasting the Confederate Flag off Stone Mountain Monument, Georgia (just read about that), than they care for ANY Veteran.
        Our President is truly showing his ‘true colors’ and will leave it at that.

        Thanks again for your kind words, Crazy Elf.

  8. Open Letter and Apology to Ben Kraue:

    Well, I eat crow once more; Ben was right as usual. The threat was real, but at least it is over for now. But, considering the snake oil salesmanship from VA leadership, you can bet these fuckers have us right where they want us. Anyway, it looks like el presidente’ signed a new rule/law into effect and we are back in action, right back where we started.

    1. Bru, sorry to say, It ain’t over yet. Gibson threatened Congress with a shutdown if the VA doesn’t give more $$$$$$$$$$$!!
      That’s the way the ball bounces. Send that Military Times article off to your news stations. See what they say!

  9. 07/14/2015

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    Treason is Treason, and Sabotage is Sabotage, and guilty is guilty, and no care is no care what do you not understand.

    These criminals are bailing.

    The rats will be flushed from this sinking ship–USS VA.

    No matter what the reasons—crimes have been committed.

    Like Enron, the VA Administration will go off the cliff in a million pieces and the real crimes will not be investigated by the authorities.


    Don Karg

  10. Do not send any money to foreign countries until all veterans needs are taken care of.
    Sounds like we have a bunch of clowns running the circus’ Dog and Pony show.

    1. Don, are you aware $150 Billion is going to Iran. Because of the “Deal” Kerry and friends just made! Of course, our news media has conveniently left that part out during their broadcast today.

  11. Yes, the “VA” is cirtainly embroiled in a giant mess and soaking all of us in it with them. Yes, they defy logic and common sense. Yes, they have never faced trying to save face this bad before and will step on anyone – Congress, veterans, the informed public (the few who are), the media – to continue their rediculous “show” and never, ever admit failure.
    The GAO (gov. accountability office) has them on their “high risk” list, but that is a joke. High risk for what? They are not going out of business – they keep getting money (taxpayer) to continue on whether they are high-risk or not. They are not pushed to do anything to get off of the “high-risk” catagory. They bathe in it. They will be “high-risk forever and couldn’t care less – and neither does Congress, and neither does the public.
    The only thoughts I have about this whole thing is that it is good that the VA has been exposed starting with the Phoenix scandal last year – and that so much more continues to be exposed to those who want to listen (a very small percentage of the total) about everything else they do wrong since then. It is getting worse every day, and the department is making us all choke to death. Maybe we are witnessing how very hard it is to actually kill a monster. Maybe this needs to be played out like the way we are witnessing it. But, the government will never ectomize the department. The government will never admit to failure of any part of themselves.

  12. I do not just blame the VA and Secretary McDonald, but Congress and the Administration. All they do is talk about the problem, but nothing changes. Where are the indictments and sentences of those who denied Vets treatments and they died?

    Why did no one in Congress insist on full discloser from the VA or be in contempt of Congress? They (Congress) too busy trying to give themselves raises and how many ways could they screw the American public.

    I never held my breath and expected this President to do anything.

    Now the veterans are being held hostage by threats of closing hospitals unless they can get more money. Congress is about to jet off for their month long vacation in August and we Vets are left to fend for ourselves.

    Donald Trump is the only candidate who constantly mentioning how bad we are all being treated. Something needs to be done by this Congress and President.

    I say do not let them recess without a letter and phone campaign to our representatives before they leave. Let’s melt their phone lines.

  13. McDonold: I knew it would work!
    Gibson: Yes, we played them all again.
    McDonald: I jus love it! To all those stupid worthless vets it was another lesson in Advanced Negotating Skills. But, to me, it as Introduction to Basic Negotiating.
    Gibson: That’s right. The ‘Take Away’ ploy worked again. Now everyone is happy with the same old fraud, theft and corruption we are so famous for. We took everything away, thnn handed them their ass.
    ….. ha, ha,ha, ha, ha, ha, ha…. I love this job! I am The King of Corruption!
    McDonald: Wonderful! Now, what’s next? Do you think we should steal another billion dollars from the construction slush fund, or should we make up a whole new scandal?
    Gibson: I say we do both, but this time we each steal $50 million instead of just a million each like last time.
    McDonald: “I agree. And, when we get caught as usual, we will just deny everything and threaten another shutdown, and repeat the process till everyone flnally gives up and lets us do whatever we want.
    Gibson: Yes! Perfect. Ha, ha, ha, to those stupid vets. They can’t touch us! We are immune from questioning.

  14. Open Letter to Benjamin Krause: Okay, I could very well be reading what you wrote here wrong, since I have severe PTSD and get so many things wrong. You said, “That meant no benefits [during the last shutdown].” But, from what I see here, you are basing your warning that we may lose our benefits on the fact that we supposedly did so last time this happened a year or two ago.

    To be clear on terms, ‘benefits’ are the same as ‘Compensation payments’; to say otherwise would be simply wrong. So, this makes your story quite alarmist and flat wrong, unless you can explain yourself a lot better and very quickly.

    I guess you did not specifically include Compensation pay in this warning, but you did imply it. The truth is, we did not lose our Compensation during the shutdown and I am sure you know that. For someone who recently started receiving Compensation you have scared the crap out of them for nothing, unless there is more here going on this time than last time.

    But, Ben, as you full well know, the last shut down, and presumably this one if it happens, specifically EXCLUDES and PROTECTS Compensation pay, meaning it will not be stopped by a government shutdown. There was in fact a special rule/law passed by Congress in full agreement and carried-out compliance by the VA on that. So, unless I am missing something here, or I am doing my PTSD/TBI dyslexia thing and misread what you wrote, I suggest you correct yourself, kind of like immediately, please. (I had my wife read what you wrote, and she says I got it right.)

    I know there is lots of new drama going on, but we don’t need to be fueling the fires that already exist. I will tell you this in closing. I have gotten to know you over the years and come to realize that you almost always get things right, and you rarely if never screw up anything major like you appear to have done here.

    Finally, my opinion is, if the VA cuts off just one Compensation payment to service-connected disabled vets in any shutdown, (and that for sure has NEVER happened), that will be the end of the VA as we know it, and possibly the military as well, with the DoD along with it. That of course may be the real plan here; to shut down the entire government, even permanently.

    Of course, we have no idea what deals are being made between the current administration and other nations and giant corporations. It will be total anarchy if VA compensation is cut off for even one payment. It will be the end of this nation. If they want to play that card, let them. And by them, I mean the spoiled punks in Congress and their buddies at the VA. My bet is that Compensation will not be touched.

    Ben, like Ricky Ricardo used to say to Lucy, “You got a lot of ‘splainin’ to do.”

    1. Sir, I remember the Government (and VA) Shutdown Threat of 2013. It was a scary time. Veterans thought, and rightfully so, that not only our “benefits” (VAMC’s, hospitals and Regional Offices) would close. But, also our “Compensation Checks” would cease.
      Question, if the VA says it has no money, what will happen to “ALL our benefits we recieve today?”
      I’m not sure if you remember, back in September or October 1977-78, where the Congress and Senate had passed a bill to fund the DOD and the VA. But the President had NOT SIGNED it. I remember going to work in the ‘SUBROC SHOP” and being told we may not be paid. We were concerned the Military had “Broke there contract with us!”
      At the same time, veterans were worried they would not receive their medical AND compensation checks on time.
      One has to remember, the VA is like, if not part of, the DOD. If they DO NOT receive funding. Where will, or how will, their bills be paid?

      My ‘comment’ I wrote below says my sentiments. I say this is just an empty threat by the “VA STATUS QUO”. I Believe the VA is losing their battle, and war, against not only the American Public,but the VETERANS, taxpayers and corporations and the News Media!
      There has been so much negative press (local and national media outlets, military type newspapers etc.,etc,) that they have become desperate. That is why, in my opinion, Sloan Gibson is threatening a shut down.
      Here’s another glitch in his statement to Congress. Can he, or anyone in VA, actually shut down the VA? I Believe no one in the VA can do that without permission from the Congress, Senate and the President’s approval! I may be wrong, but I don’t think so.

      1. @ Bruce, many veterans saw a delay in their pay for that month and as such were unable to pay for food and rent.

      2. Thank you Ben. Like I said, many one here, as well as the American Public, tend to have “Selective Memory”! In essence, things that happened say 10 or 20 years ago— well they forget.
        When I went to the University of Hawaii, I saw where students forgot what had happened just weeks before.
        The American Public does the same. That IS WHAT OR GOVERNMENT WANTS. This way, they can do what they want with impunity.
        I ask you, can Gibson, McDonald or any high official in VA actually “Shut Down” the VA without permission from the Congress, Senate and/or the President? I believe I’m correct in stating “NO”!

  15.  I guess that this will be the Veterans Health Administration’s answer to me and other vets. Shut down to reorganize and start anew. In the meantime , all of us vets that depend on them and need them will die. Problem solved for the VA.

    1. I can just imagine this scenario clearly happening; The VA starts turning-off the power at “select” VAMC’s across the USA in their threat to Congress playing-out, and some VA Patient Advocate lackey flips the master power switch off, not even bothering to let the Veterans know what’s going on, let alone those receiving dialysis at that *very moment* of ~~click~~!
      Note that I placed emphasis on “select” VAMC’s. They would not want to dare close access to care to anyone that “mattered”, would they? Then again, Senator McCain’s own State he supposedly represents, still has many unanswered questions of accountability regarding the “Secret Wait Lists”…maybe he has his own ‘wing’ there, or simply does not use the VA at all…only for re-election face-time, do not know.

      I guess I am also enraged that someone such as Sen. McCain has not been heard standing-up to the VA’s egregious threat of “…give us the operating money…ALL of the Choice Card $$$, or we will shut down VA Medical Centers whole month of August”!

      I am still having trouble understanding how we are now being used as ‘pawns’ and why Sloan Gibson was not arrested right then and there for Treason.

  16. I am a Honorably Discharged Disabled 61 yrs old Marine Corps Veteran. I have cancer. I have been lied to by the VA. A month ago I was told by my PCP that my request to use the Choice program had been denied. Today I found that a request had never been submitted. I contacted Choice. They informed me that they are not responsible for determining whether or not a person is eligible to use the program. I was told by them that the my local VA clinic does that. I then called the local clinic and they told me that they do not make the determination, that the VA in Cleveland does. I called them, they told me that they don’t do that and that someone else does. I called them…etc. till I have made a complete circle, back to where I started. No one will take responsibility, therefore no one is accountable. So much for the Accountability Act. In the meantime, I guess it is my problem, according to my primary ‘ nurse. I have done the calling and contacting. It doesn’t work because they are not accountable.
    Here is my story: I went to the local VA clinics because of pain in my throat and ear. My primary found nothing, upon examination. I told him that I wanted to use the choice program and see a local specialist for a second opinion. He laughed at me. When I asked him why he was laughing, he said that nobody ever gets approved to use that program. I told him to make the request anyway. A couple of days later, I then paid out of pocket for a second opinion at a local ENT specialist ( Dr Bogdan ). After he performed the same examination, he told me that I had a what looked like a tumor the size of an almond in my throat where my tonsils had been, and there was a good possibility that it could be cancerous. So he scheduled me for a CT scan. When I got home, I immediately called my primary at the clinic ( yes, the same VA Dr that missed seeing a tumor the size of an almond in my throat) and told his nurse what had occurred. I then asked about my request. He informed me that it was denied and if I did not use the hospital in Cleveland, then that was my problem. When it is determined that I do, in fact, have cancer, does the VA expect me to travel to Cleveland for any subsequent surgery and treatments? I guess my primary was right. This program is a joke. After calling numerous VA offices and the Choice program people, no one will claim the responsibility for denying my request. Now I find out from my patient advocate that my primary didn’t even submitted the request. This is total BS.
    Since then, I have paid out of pocket for the local ENT specialist, the CT scan, the biopsy, the pain meds, the PET CT scan, and am currently scheduled for chemo and radiation treatments at Mercy Medical Center Radiation / Oncologist. I’m probably going to have to sell my truck and sell our home because the VA won’t step up and do the right thing. I have already paid out of pocket to determine that I do have cancer. All I’m asking is to be able to use the Choice Program for the treatment locally. My Oncologist, Dr Walsh says that he would be willing to write a letter supporting my request. I am already in extreme pain, and under heavy pain medication. The VA wants me to make several trips to Wade Park so that they can perform the same examinations that I have already paid out of pocket for, the when THEY determine that I have cancer, they will then schedule me for treatments in Wade Park, where I would have to travel on a daily basis for 7 weeks, while being heavily medicated and in extreme pain. As I stated before, my treatments at Mercy Medical Center are already scheduled, and my cancer will not wait for the VA. Besides Mercy Cancer Center has been accredited since 1986 as a Community Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Program by the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons. In 2015, the CoC awarded Mercy Cancer Center the Outstanding Achievement Award for excellence in cancer care for the third consecutive time. Mercy is one of just 75 facilities nationwide to earn the award, along with the CoC’s three-year re-accreditation with commendation through 2017.Fewer than 15 percent of cancer programs in the United States attain this superior recognition. This earmark of quality ensures patients will receive the very best comprehensive cancer care without ever leaving Stark County. I have spent the last week writing to both of my Senators, my Congressman, several newspapers (including the Washington Post), all the local television stations, local and nationally syndicated radio talk show hosts ,and to countless numbers of VA offices. Hell, i even wrote one to the President. I am constantly posting my story on the Veterans Health Administration facebook page, just hoping that i get somebody’s attention. I’m tired, and in a hell of a lot of pain.
    As always, I am SEMPER FI

    Tom Philpott, of the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, reported that House-Senate conferees, in their explanatory report on HR 3230, indicated they do not intend the 40-mile criteria to preclude veterans who reside closer to a VA facility from accessing care through non-VA providers if the VA facility …. provides limited services.
    As always I am SEMPER FI

    1. Carl, first of all, Semper Fi back to you, I am a former Marine too. I read your entire post. The VA is corrupt and incompetent beyond belief! I am 100% service-connected for PTSD and they have done everything they can for years to screw me and my family over. If it is any comfort, I would say that it might be a good thing that the VA has not treated you, but that does not mean they should not approve you for the Choice Program. They would kill you if they were doing your treatment. If you are getting any meds from them, be careful; they will screw you up with the wrong meds or overdose you if they get a chance. McDonald is criminally insane as is Gibson and the rest running that sick organization called the VA. Hang in there. You came through for America as a Marine, and I guarantee you God will come through for you even if the VA won’t. Expect a miracle. They do happen.

  17. The VA has gone to congress asking that 3 billion from the Veterans Choice Program be used to cover the shortfall. This was in a VA news release last night. We all knew it was the little-choice program, now it will be the non-existent choice program.

  18. My recent visit with an arthritis doctor at the VA in Ann Arbor,Mi. She wanted to send me to physical therapy close to home but after talking to her associates was told they could not do it because of the budget.

    1. Bruce, I work at that va, and I whole heartedly agree that the place is corrupt. They have the funds. I have copies of time sheets used solely by supervisors and managers, and upon totaling the ‘stolen’ money in unnecessary wages, I have come up with nearly $1million over 3years. Now that is only one department. Think of what that number is when you add all of the departments together.

      Now, as far as the Veterans Choice List, I have been on it for 3 months now and still do not have an appointment date. Being a full time employee and getting 100% of my care there is really an eye opener. The VA sucks badly, and I wish the rest of my fellow vets at the Ann Arbor VA would see that shit hole for what it really is. I’ll probably see you around there, but of course we don’t really know each other…. maybe..hehehehe

  19. Y’all may not agree with what I say, but here goes.
    The VA says it doesn’t have any money. They may have to “shut down” before Labor Day. I say, go ahead!, Shut down.
    If they think they have been getting “Bad Press” up until now, then by all means “Shut Down”!
    Do y’all remember what was done to Ramasees II when he refused to allow the Hebrews go? Seven deadly plagues destroyed Egypt. The “Last Plague” was brought on by him. “The ‘destroyer’ came and took the lives of the first born of Egypt”! Ramasees thought that by killing the first born of the Hebrews, he would save (or punish) the Hebrews. It didn’t turn out that way. Ramasees actually brought the final plague onto himself, as God warned!
    So now we have Sloan Gibson, bringing on his “Final Plague”! He’s threatening a shut down to Congress if his precious VA doesn’t get more funding.
    I believe this will backfire on him. Why? Let ALL the VA hospitals, clinics, regional offices and so forth close. If he believes this threat will bolster him into some kind of demigod, he’s wrong.
    In my opinion, I believe it will do just the opposite. If he thinks he has problems with the news media now, then by all means “Shut the VA down”! If he thinks he has “Whistleblowers” attacking his precious VA now, then by all means “Shut the VA down”!
    There comes a time when desperate people make desperate decisions. This, I believe, will be that final decision. Which will bring VA Employees to their knees, especially the ones in high places. From now on there will no place for them to hide. Reporters, Veterans and Taxpayers will hound them for answers to the many questions we have. The most important one will be “Where and What did the VETERANS ADMINISTRATION do with all the taxpayers money in the past 8 or 9 months?”
    The last thing I want to say is, if your a vrt or not, get ready for some HARD TIMES. T VA isn’t going to take this lying down. They will fight back. If y’all have to get others to help you in daily things. Then do it. Because the VA IS LOSING THIS FIGHT! That’s why Gibson is doing what he’s doing!
    That’s my opinion folks! That’s why I began this with, “Y’all may not agree with me!” But because of what’s being said by Gibson, it seems to me the VA IS getting desperate!!

  20. The VA NEEDS an assigned “fiduciary”. Is not that how they would treat WE veterans if WE could not manage our own affairs properly? The irony continues.

  21. I certainly do not think the VA is “underfunded” but more germane term would be reckless “overspending”.
    If anyone has been observing, there was no talk of ANY lack of funding, no surprise Hepatitis C Vaccine Crisis, **UNTIL** the VA received MASSIVE funding for the Veteran’s Choice Card Program, which not even all Veterans had even RECEIVED their cards in mail yet, the VA was already claiming it was “underused” and did so by what they have outright continued to this day to do, is limiting use of program with “as the crow flies mileage”, even though when called before Congress and called-out on using VA Math to limit access, so then when ordered to make it MORE accessible, the VA **begged for more $$$$** and *GOT IT*, but still limits access to program…because they cannot stop salivating from ALL those Billion$ to be “repurposed”, so badly has the profuse salivating been, the VA had to sub-contract a janitorial company to follow all VA officials around with special sub-contracted super-absorbent, saliva soaking fibers…YES, I am being a bit ‘FLIP’, but it is what it is. The VA has wanted THAT cache of CA$H from the get go and like an angry terrible two’s tantrum, have “created a crisis” in order to ensure they and nobody else (Veterans) get that Choice Program Cash.
    “My Pr-r-r-eciou$”!!!!!

    I also fully agree that VA Sec. McDonald should be “manning-up”, rather than sending in the clown, err…Sloan Gibson, Obama’s “Cleaner”.

    Something smells rotten in the wood pile here and it’s more than the stench of dead bats and rats that reside in the various VAMC’s found recently.

    Time for a MASSIVE **audit** of the VA, and since they cannot handle the affairs properly, discontinue ALL the $illy money bonu$’s and make that history yesterday.

    Phrase of the week is: “VA obviously needs a fiduciary”. Just think how the VA would treat ANY Veteran that could not handle their compensation benefits properly?

    1. First of all, VA decided a little while ago that , as a cost saving measure, all chronic medicine required by vets would come out of India and through a canadian pharma company to VA distribution warehouses, delivered to vets via snail mail. India made drugs are cheaper but cheaper for a reason. They are crap! But this save VA contractors money and makes them money because they’re billing VA and US for american made drugs even though they are providing foreign generics. And no, federal rules of acquisition obvious don’t apply to VA of it’s super contractors. Secondly, VA is reporting what expenses VA has. There is no one verifying what expenses they really have. Anyone can net a number down to zero if they know that the number has to be zero…. Get all the freaking contractors and Sloan Gibson and Bobby “xerox” McDonald Dr. Shulkin, a guy connected with xerox, walgreens, and canadian pharma comany out of the picture and let REAL veterans take over the VA. The super contractors running the VA are getting rich while VA goes broke. Does anyone really wonder where the money’s going? Xerox posted more than 22 billion in profit last year, because that’s all the more profit they want to cop to, and VA can’t treat patients. Dr. Shulkin is connected to VA and suddenly HepC drug costs more than a thousand dollars a pill…. really? This is reverse engineering a budget and apparent someone wants a raise. Just remove all the contractors and sub contractors and third tier contractors, etc, etc… from the VA because they all get paid BEFORE veterans get care.

      1. That practice is actually illegal and is not in accordance with the Buy American Act it pertains specifically to construction materials , it can not be mined and is limited to Bangladesh. Some pharmaceuticals have mined minerals and do not meet FDA standards, especially when it comes to Dialysis patients as well. This is a game of chicken, because ethically and lawfully a person cannot be refused medical care. I say close them and put a furlough in place until the next fiscal year which needs to be monitored by the judicial system.

      2. Well said Corpsmanup. Thats my sentiments also. Put them on unemployment, if they can get it.

  22. “Congress says VA has received more money than every before and it is implied they have funded the agency enough. Congress wonders how the agency managed to blow through such generous budget [sic]. Veterans service organizations claim VA was so underfunded before than any increase is still insufficient to meet agency needs.”

    Huh? I read this paragraph a few times and still don’t understand it. Receied more money than every what? Generous budget what? So underfunded before than what? I’m
    totally confused.


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