Is fixing the VA Wait List like boxing a Glacier?

VA Wait List

No. At least you least you can run away when boxing a glacier. As veterans, we are stuck with VA incompetence spanning decades.

Check out this VA wait list memo that major news outlets have overlooked. It came from the then VA Deputy Under Secretary of Health in 2002. The scope of the wait list problem was then confirmed by VA OIG in 2005. That information was then passed on to the Obama transition team in 2008. VA was cited as addressing it around 2010 without any substantial improvement until CNN broke the story in 2014. That is one hell of a long chain of inaction.

Judging from the language of the quoted memo below, it seems plausible to suggest the wait list problem probably predates even the Bush Administration. This means a person would have better luck boxing a glacier than changing VA procedures that harm veterans. Thanks to our friends at VeteransWarriors for brining this buried wait list memo to my attention. To give you some background, in 2002, VA published a manual in response to problems with VA employees cooking the books on wait times.

That manual contains a memo that is a missing link between present and earlier problems. The manual is titled, Electronic Wait List (EWL) for Scheduling and Primary Care Management Module (PCMM). On page 1 of the EWL manual, it cites a memo from then Deputy Under Secretary of Health O&M, Laura Miller. In that memo, dated February 1, 2002, she highlights the fact that wait times have become a major problem. At the center of the problem was the creation of “ad hoc” wait lists at each clinic due to extensive delays in care. Ms. Miller’s goal in the memo was for the Deputy CIO of Health, Gary Christopherson, to create an electronic waitlist system so that central office could monitor wait times across the country.

Here is what the memo said:

As you are aware, clinic-waiting times has become a high visibility issue with the Secretary’s office. We report data monthly during the Deputy Secretary’s Performance briefings. Current waiting time measures reflect the experience of veterans already “in the system” and do not accurately portray waiting time experiences of new enrollees or patients without a scheduled appointment. Whether due to absence of appointments or other reasons, ad hoc “waiting lists” of new veteran enrollees to be entered into the scheduling system are known to exist, and waiting times for new enrollees seeking care are anecdotally reported to be long. We will attempt to formalize an “electronic waiting list” in VistA to more consistently and accurately reflect demand across VHA, and reduce the risk to enrollees lost to follow-up due to clerical error. 

[Read page 1 of the VA Electronic Wait List Manual here.]

This means the problem had surfaced likely much earlier than when the memo was written. If true, then the problem of delays in care and “ad hoc” wait lists likely originated under President Bill Clinton when the agency underwent substantial changes to incorporate a more corporate business model.

Though, Vietnam veterans would beg to differ. From their perspective, the wait list has been systemic since before their time. If true, this issue has been buried for decades and will likely not change until veterans solve the problem, ourselves.

So why are politicians and major media outlets hyping this up if they have known the truth all along? It is an election year.

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  1. The only solution to this VA failure that has been happening for 40+ years is accountability of the VA management and employees to VETERANS in the form of legal actions in courts throughout this country. Lies, improper records keeping, destroying records, medical malpractice, denial of said benefits, waitlist cooking that killed brothers and sisters etc. Nothing new. They even stood Congress up today. We know the answer but they wont listen. Not Obama’s fault, Bushes 1+2, not Clinton’s, not Ford, not Carter’s, this goes back to Johnson!

    1. The no-show of at *least three* VA Officials before a MANDATORY Congressional Inquiry shows the contempt inherent in this corrupt system. If this were any of us while on Active Duty, we would be considered AWOL and the MP’s would be sent out to drag us in!
      I still believe the VA needs to fully fall under the ***UCMJ RULES***, and under such “Uniformed-run-status” there would be the exact same quality care and attention to detail and everything run like a well-oiled-machine as Branches of Armed Forces do. Rather than being run like a corrupt corporate enterprise…and with the present status-quo, it indeed is an enterprise no different than what a war profiteer is to DOD Contracting….all again, at the expense of those whom have and those that continue to serve.
      I am disgusted that our President did not order an ALL POINTS BULLITIN for the immediate arrest of those that stood-up the Congressional Meeting today. I do not care which nor how many Presidents backward a person can rattle off because he is The Commander-In-Chief and simply issuing another subpoena for “this time next Friday” simply shows no balls nor backbone and for Christ’s Sake…it’s MEMORIAL WEEKEND….and that’s like throwing salt on raw wounds with a shotgun!!

      1. I totally agree my friend. It’s rat ass sorry that they all from the Secretary to the janitor can ignorantly get away with this treatment and contempt to every single service member and every single Veterans in the U.S.A. Even more so they totally shit on every single taxpayer in this country with their actions. And to do this on Memorial Day weekend and not one government in executive power or judicial power or congressional power or senatorial power has done anything to clear the smear of shit these VA officials have dirtied the system and country with is utterly shameful. They should be embarrassed to even say that they are Department of Veterans Affairs employees! Make me want to cry.

    2. we should all be very afraid. The right will use this incident to push for privatization…in fact at least one of those congress critters is already pushing it. I’m as disgusted as any veteran but when are we going to learn that Republicans put us into wars and others clean up after the fact while republicans cry about the “budget”? God help us if this is privatized. To me the solution is simple…destroy the bureaucracy inside the VA with targeted hits on the most outrageous bureaucrats. I’ve dealt with them and have never hesitated to put footprints on their heads. My last appointment at Portland VA I spent 3 hours waiting for my appointment and finally ran downstairs to get my travel. They were just closing and refused to pay me…insisted I do the paper thing. They were very rude about this and when I said they should stay until all appointments were completed they got madder than hell. 8 weeks later I finally got reimbursed. Classic bureaucrats…go home right at 4 pm regardless of whatever else is going on.

    3. It goes back as far as Harry S. Truman 33rd U.S. President or earlier. My father worked at the VA Hospital, and I use to listen to him call the VA Hospital butchers! This was in the 1950s, and I’m now in my 70s!

  2. this is not a who done it case. This is a fact of years of neglect. With each war comes problems. Even no war comes problems. Back injured, PTSD, MST and I have to prove what they have in their hands? CAUGHT! Better yet, I love all the written lies in my record. Can we say oh so good at their games VA? Don’t blame the present, look at the past. It goes a long way back, and no easy fix, well one, class action law suit, especially when you can prove it.Be wiser than your enemy, learn how to do it.Simple!

    Fantastic news about the minimal affects of (SEQUESTRATION)… I was worried (as a 41 year old unemployed Disable Vet) that (EXTENDED UNEMPLOYMENT) may have been reduced.. and (DHS BENEFITS) such as (FOOD STAMPS) may have had more qualifying requirements… and maybe… (EDUCATION BENEFITS) such as (VRAP) may have been discontinued; but not before (FULL-TIME ENROLLMENT) in such an educational program disqualified anyone from the (FOOD STAMPS)… and finding out that enrollment in the (VRAP) program would disqualify someone from any further (EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS) of that nature… and that a visit to a (VA HOSPITAL) while being (UNEMPLOYED) may result in the taking of one’s (FEDERAL INCOME TAX RETURN MONEY)… and (BECAUSE OF ONE’S OWN FAULT) may not become employed in even an entry level job EVENTUALLY POSSIBLY LIMITED TO WALKING DISTANCE (ONCE AGAIN AS I AM TO BE SURE IT OS ONE’SW OWN FAULT) due to the inability to afford fuel … and also (BECAUSE OF ONE’S OWN FAULT) may be required to go without (RUNNING WATER) as a result of (ONE’S OWN ACTIONS) …
    As a person who has loved and respected (AND MAYBE EVEN HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO HELP OUT FROM TIME TO TIME with HONOR and PRIDE): my LOCAL COMMUNITY, MY STATE, MY COUNTRY, and maybe even a little part of the (WORLD) … I just want to convey my continued RESPECT, LOVE, and LOYALTY … You see … One of the main things that kept me (MOTIVATED) and (SAFE) and (WARM IN MY HEART) was the fact that (I KNEW) I had a (WONDERFUL, GLORIOUS) place COME HOME TO) … This PLACE (MY HOME) was better than any others I had VISITED or could (COME HOME TO) … this PLACE (MY HOME) was better than any others I had VISITED or could IMAGINE … You see … This simple little place was all I needed … and all I have…
    Absolutely … TRULY FANTASTIC news about the (MINIMAL EFFECTS) of (SEQUESTRATION) …

    As there are Many more Vets who have even more serious Problems than I .. (And May Have had Similar Concerns) .. I truly Feel Fantastic Now ..

    Ps… Whatever this new Vocabulary Word Is … I will not Stand to let it affect my Community!

  4. This is a smoking gun issue — and evidence now to prove it.

    And now they resort to “socializing” FOIA requests through the VACO-DC media-relations staff before they release documents to private and Congressional subpoenas!!

    That is conspiracy to obstruct civil rights by obstructing our right to get documents that would “allow” us to petition Congress for redress of grievances.

    There seems to be no limit to the criminal actions these people will resort to in order to prevent the truth from coming out. The House VA Committee this AM reissued a new subpoena and had a full quorum bi-partisan hearing with most members present.

    Only God Himself knows where this is going to end with the truth finally coming out.

    1. More damning truth about VA lie recently came out in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

      During a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Pittsburgh VA half a year ago, 6 veterans died.

      A recent FOIA request by the news media exposed the subversive strategy by Obama cronies to conceal these deaths from the general public.

      Is this any surprise?

      When was the last time Obama fired a high-level manager that was involved in a scandal?


      If Obama will not fire the people hurting veterans, then the reasonable next step would be for us veterans to demand his resignation as President.

      Fire Obama now!

      1. Yes, some veterans on Ben’s blog think that the President they voted for can do no wrong.

        But when Obama gives a Presidential Distinguished Rank Award to VA Regional Director Michael Moreland, who oversaw the Pittsburgh VA during the deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak, then some people need to do some serious reconsidering about the culpability of Obama in these VA scandals.

        Worse still, Obama also gave Moreland a $62,895 bonus for superior leadership performance.


        Fire Obama now!

    Anyone else wonder why the media or anyone else has not tabulated just how much “”blood money”” could be saved and given to actual Veterans that need those benefits?
    Why continue to give bonuses when it’s obviously not working as a “motivator” for doing right by our brothers?? Pretty disgusting the President stated the Inspector General has *not* found and deaths directly related to waiting lists. When the VA does it’s own auditing and policing, nothing will ever change.

  6. “War is a Racket” my fellow veterans…. you can`t change institutional corruption, it is the lifeblood of America. Coercion, conformity and consent is basic mentality of most veterans, and we expect change…. “Kool-Aid” for all.

    1. Progressive ideology is a racket, too.

      It was progressive ideology that brought us the failed government-run Obamacare that is destroying the livelihoods of middle class Americans.

      The fact that government-run healthcare is the VA model should HORRIFY us all.

      The VA wait-lists happen because there is a shortage of doctors at the VA.

      Obamacare wait-lists are now happening because there is a shortage of doctors for American families.

      Bottom line, Obamacare is ALREADY killing Americans who are on wait-lists or cannot get on wait-lists.

      Same VA problem, same Obamacare problem.

      Both wait-lists are death panels.

      Plain and simple.

      While we as veterans argue about how to fix the VA wait-lists, you need to start worrying about your family members on those Obamacare wait-lists.


      Because Obama and RINOS want to legalize 30 million illegal aliens.

      If you truly love your family member, you will politically resist against Obama or Hillary or Jeb Bush or Rand Paul by voting for a leader that will not enact amnesty.

      Otherwise a vote for a progressive politician could be a vote for a healthcare system that ultimately places your loved ones on a death-list!

      So please do not drink Obama’s Kool-aid!

  7. As the wife of a Gulf War Vet who is disabled and having to deal with the VA system, I feel it is criminal what these people are doing! Someone, a lot of someones, should be held accountable. If we miss an appointment or the VA cancels an appointment due to anything we have to wait at least 4 months to get another one. These men and women who fought for us deserve MUCH better! I’m ashamed and so is my husband to live in a country that would do something like this. However it is nothing new. Let’s just fix it and give them better!! SMDH!!

  8. Anyone who is surprised or thinks this is new, please raise your had. Anyone? Anyone? Huh, none. I kinda see what both American Veteran & J. Edward Vernon are saying & I think that they’re both right in what they’re saying. My take form both of them is this: this has been going on for a long time & before Obama. Obama is the current Pres. & “he” is taking the heat because he’s the current Pres. I’m not saying that is wrong and I have nothing against him being “non- white”. The whole thing (at least to me) is that he’s the current Pres.& he’s the one that’s ultimately responsible for what’s happening & has been happening with the dealings of the VA. He should do something & not just his speeches to make him look good. He needs to act & take swift, fast, & firm action. People should be fired (not moved to another place in the VA), They should NOT get any type of a “retirement bonus” or retirement package at all.if they were or are found to be part of anything that’s detrimental to helping the very persons they took an oath to uphold the care, compassion, and proper treatment of us vets. This shouldn’t be a continuing news item. It’s simple: Find the people involved, Fire the people involved, Fine the people involved, & Forget ever hiring them again in a Gov. job for the rest of their lives. If these people know that they’ll be held accountable & heavily fined (or jail time) I think that will help to try & straighten up this system. Also allow the whistleblowers to get a bonus & be able to do it anonymously so nothing will come back to them. Money talks, if it didn’t the “cooking the books” would have never happened. Punish the facility involved to no bonuses for the whole facility if things like this are happening. That would make a change.

    1. Very Sad, but true, all that you said. The VA is engaging in criminal civil rights violations to obstruct attempts by Congress, House VA committee, and news media.

      Only when a real fear of consequence is present and people are charged and prosecuted and sent to prison can real changes and reform be made.

      The VACO-DC SES crowd must be cleaned out. Nothing but a rat’s nest and snake’s pit of corruption and dishonesty.

      We have to get rid of these SES VACO & VISN Vermin before they breed and multiply.

  9. I am a fairly intelligent Vietnam vet with my eyes open, and I have long observed that protecting the system is systemically considered to be the highest virtue at VA, and veterans and truth be damned. Boxing a glacier is a wonderful metaphor for attempting to clean up the ironclad culture of lies at VA. Keep hammering at them my friend.


    1. Vernon, apart from your actionable defamatory allegations of racism against anyone that dares to publicly condemn Obama for being a failed President, you still do not get it.

      Until we veterans hold Obama accountable for the wait-list deaths under his watch, then veterans using the VA will continue to die.

      As a veteran, do you really trust Obama to fix the VA?

      Judging by the amount of veterans complaining about their experiences at the VA, it would seem that they have a valid right to seek the proper redress of their healthcare grievances at the VA, to include that Obama be removed from power.

      Obama has had 5 1/2 years to fix the known problems at the VA, and he has refused to do so.

      My conscience is clear when I call for Obama to resign from the Presidency.

  11. Criminal negligence has legal consequences.

    Since there is evidence that Obama knew about the VA being broken for the last 5 1/2 years, it his he alone that ultimately bears responsibility for all the waitlist murders.

    What has not been called for is Obama to be impeached and removed as the President of the United States.

    Obama is also unfit to serve as the Commander-in-Chief of America.

    Unless he is removed from political office, nothing will change.

    Like Ben says, all we hear from politicians’ mouths and the major media outlets is faux-outrage or indefensible cover for the murders that have occurred under Obama.

    Do you want to feel safe when you use the VA?

    Then demand Obama’s resignation!


    1. I am an American Veteran Vietnam 69-71. Covert ops, served with 7th ARVN Airborne Rangers in and along Cambodia and have been fighting the VA 33 years over PTSD disability rating. The VA says I have no orders showing what I did in Vietnam. I said NO SHIT. So, based on this alone they deny me any disability rating at all. They call me a liar. I have caught them in so many outright lies it would be awesome to have them stand tall in a real COURT of LAW. in front of a JURY of my PEERS. They would be laughed out of court and I would get my rating.
      OBAMA CANNOT DO A GODDAMN THING about the VA why make such a ludicrous statement as to DEMAND OBAMAS RESIGNATION???? DEMAND GEORGE W BUSH be held on war crimes and for purposely FUCKING VETERANS that would be some JUSTICE.

      1. I am with you on Bush being a war-welfare enabling President that sent our troops into harm’s way in order to financially enrich the military industrial complex, such as Halliburton.

        However, you are fundamentally wrong when you loudly proclaim that Obama cannot do a thing about the VA.

        Umm, hello?

        He is the President.

        He holds the power to fix the VA IF HE WANTED TO.

        However, his political legacy is defined by group warfare that divides class, race, gender, special interests, ect. against each other in order to keep society unstable and thus better controlled.

        I mean, c’mon, he is a democratic operative.

        The democrat playbook is solely about exploiting groups in America.

        The ONLY WAY that the VA will be fixed will be if the guy-in-charge is removed from power.

        This means that Obama should have resigned effectively as of yesterday.

        No resignation means Ben will investigate another VA scandal in the near future.

        In fact, I will already tell you, “I told you so”, when the next VA scandal breaks while Obama ignores us veterans.

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