VA Secretary John Wells

John Wells, A Non-Insider Seeks Top Spot At Veterans Affairs


VA Secretary John Wells

Retired Navy Commander turned attorney John Wells has decided to throw his hat into the right for the top spot as Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

I have given some degree of print time to some of the DC insiders who’ve been considered for the top slot, and now I think it’s time to turn our focus to non-insiders who can do as good a job if not better than those inside the beltway.

If we have learned anything over the past decade, being politically connected has mattered about as little as being a West Point alumni when it comes to fixing the beleaguered VA with its legion of civilian, lifer employees.

Maybe it is time to break with the practice of the past decade to bring in some new ideas from outside the homogenous education of our nation’s military academies. After all, leading troops into battle is one thing, but taming an army of union employees has proven too tough a task for even the most skilled West Point generals.

If you agree, you would be in good company. Over 1,800 Facebook users have backed Wells to Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans Rights Attorney John Wells

One of the best-known veterans rights attorneys in the nation, John Wells believes he has what it takes to push through the reforms needed to turn VA around for the sake of veterans.

As a DC outsider, Wells would likely not bring with him the baggage of other present stakeholders interested in the top slot. I have heard Wells also possesses the rare and valuable ability to recognize, know and admit to what he does not know.

In this modern era of corporate and bureaucratic politics, this is a valuable trait and something that could be an asset when compared to the previous four nominees that led the agency into and out of scandal after scandal:

  • Jim Nicholson, VA Secretary 2005-07 (West Point class of 1961)
  • James Peake, VA Secretary 2007-09 (West Point class of 1966)
  • Eric Shinseki, VA Secretary 2009-14 (West Point class of 1965)
  • Bob McDonald, VA Secretary 2014-17 (West Point class of 1975)

Desire Something Different

Notice anything similar about our past 4 leaders? Notice anything different about the mentality of VA’s Kafkaesque treatment of veterans? Who exactly are the veterans who depend on VA day in and day out?

Drilling this point home, since 2001, every VA Secretary nominated and confirmed for the head spot was an alumni of one of the military academies.

Most veterans who receive services from the agency are former enlisted soldiers. And many of those are veterans in poverty or who lack alternative health care options. And still many more of those are disabled veterans desperate for change.

How many of VA secretaries of the past decade were disabled or using VA health care? How many veterans are disillusioned with the lip service we receive in the press from these fearless leaders while our brothers and sisters go without the services they were promised?

These are factors I hope President-elect Donald Trump considers when selecting the next Secretary. Maybe pick someone with familiarity with veterans instead of those well-connected businessmen or Pentagon insiders?

None of those four names listed above had deep familiarity with veterans before being selected, and I believe that is something weighing heavily in favor of Wells compared against these picks in the past.

The man has not only served veterans for more than twenty years as a lawyer, but he has also been a veteran himself for about as long.

Wells’ Military Career, Briefly

Wells served in the Navy from 1973 to 1994, retiring as Commander of the Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Readiness Center in Pittsburgh PA. Since that time, he has served tirelessly to improve the rights of veterans fighting for benefits. Wells presently serves as Executive Director of the nonprofit Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc.

READ: John Wells Bio

Of the individuals seeking to lead VA out of its present scandal-plagued status, Wells has the most detailed reforms plan of them all, which is no doubt informed by his extensive experience serving these men and women.

Check these out and let me know if it resonates.

VA Reform Plan By John Wells


  • A nation that upholds President Lincoln’s promise “To care for him [and her] who have the borne the battle and for his [her] widow[er] and orphan.”
  • A nation where the rights of all veterans of the armed forces are protected.
  • A nation where veterans receive their earned benefits without delay.


  • Restructure the culture at the Department of Veterans Affairs to make it “veteran friendly” with an emphasis on service rather than bureaucracy.
  • Emphasize outreach to veterans to ensure they are aware of their rights and benefits.
  • Working in concert with the National Academy of Sciences become proactive in the identification of diseases and disabilities unique to or connected with military service.
  • Work with Congress to ensure that funding is available to compensate and treat veterans who suffer disease or disability due to military service.

Specific Focus

  • Exempt service connected benefits from the offset provisions of the Pay As You Go Act of 2010.
  • Ensure sufficient operators are available for suicide hotlines 24/7.
  • Support passage of the Farness for Veterans Act to smooth process for upgrading discharges for PTS/TBI veterans.
  • In concert with the Veterans Service Organizations conduct a baseline review of Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations to streamline the benefits program.
  • Establish a Merit Systems Protection Board unit consisting of attorneys with MSPB litigation experience at the General Counsel’s Office to manage employment termination decisions.
  • Promulgate a disciplinary policy with consistent and specific guidelines for punishment.
  • Establish a center of excellence to research effects of toxic exposure on vets and descendants. Investigate all issues concerning toxic exposure and contract as necessary for expert assistance. Retain on a permanent basis the Committee to Review the Health Effects in Vietnam Veterans of Exposure to Herbicides and expand its mandate to include all toxic exposures including but not limited to Gulf War disease and Burn Pit exposure.
  • De-emphasize the use of standard forms within the VA and emphasize personal contact between the VA staff and the veterans they serve.
  • Assign Ombudsmen, who are veterans, to each Regional Office.
  • Revise job descriptions for VA raters to require military medical experience.
  • Require that the VA maintain a centralized database at an existing facility to identify health trends among veterans and their descendants and refer them as appropriate to the National Academy of Sciences for further study.
  • Immediately extend the presumption of Agent Orange exposure to veterans of the Blue Water Navy, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Guam, Johnston Island, Panama and Korea during the time Agent Orange was present.
  • Appoint a Chairperson of the Board of Veterans Appeals acceptable to the Veterans Service Organizations, the VA and the Congress. The BVA has been without a Chairperson for 5 years.
  • Decertify Veterans Law Judges with an excessive controllable remand rate.
  • Require all Veterans Law Judges to be Administrative Law Judges.
  • Incorporate pre-hearing conferences and scheduling orders in consonance with the practice in the federal administrative adjudication system.
  • On an interim basis, contract with retired Military Judges, after training in VA law, to hold regional hearings on veterans appeals until the 450,000 person backlog is eliminated.
  • Reconstitute and expand the VA Inspector General program.
  • Adopt the Industry Standard “Epic” medical records program for both VA and DOD.
  • Digitalize all records and phase out the centralized mailing system in favor of a digitalized intake system which can be accessed by VSOs and veterans law practitioners.

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  2. Here’s two more articles, Videos, to watch.
    From: Lisa Haven
    “While You Were DISTRACTED the Senate PASSED “Orwellian Controlled Media Act” – Govt Controlled Media”

    Dec. 11, 2016 (18:22 minutes)
    She gives links for proof of some of our idiots in charge. Going against the will of the people!

    From: “The Mad Patriots”
    “Senators Call for Investigation into Russian Election Intervention”

    by: Admin 11 Dec 2016
    (No video.)
    Good article though!

    On Obama’s visit to McDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Fl., on 7 Dec. 2016!
    While he was addressing the troops, and telling them to “…protest against authority and criticize the President…”! He was, in the opinion of many ex-military, telling them to “INCITE or COMMIT MUTINY” against the President Elect! A punishment which could, according to the UCMJ, lead to a “DEATH PENALTY”! As was done during many our our previous wars!

    1. I see on national news that Boeing is very happy with Boeing officially getting multi-Billion $$$ Contract Deal with IRAN. And to think that Obama and his minions are acting all butthurt about election still, sicking the CIA to investigate charges of Russia hacking for Trump to win election….PLEASE….the hypocrisy makes me need diapers. WTF?
      So let me see here, it’s okay to deal with and negotiate with current terrorists and $$$ backing them from IRAN but not so much when a business smart now President Elect Trump and mind you, with the current wars, Russia is a quasi ally so maybe I am just confused by the burps coming from the swamp??

      And for Sen. John McCain, he is a political SLUT….must be some Boeing $$$ in there for the hack. WTF? What’s next? Removal of Whitehouse Nativity scene and replaced with Quanza or a meteorite fragment to march around and pray to? WTF?

    2. @Crazy elf and all- I thought that also grammatically sounded like a green light cloyed “question authority”, and I was thinking it was meaning toward Pres. Elect Trump. Obama is showing his true community organizing colors at this time.
      Do not light a match or use your cell phone around the open swamp water in D.C. because those swamp burps are highly flammable.

      1. @namnibor,
        Yes, Obama’s rhetoric to the troops, at McDill Air Force Base, was directed at the new President Elect. How is he allowed to tell military members to do something disallowed by the UCMJ? Only a ‘dictator’ would do something like that!

        As far as “SONGBIRD” McCain goes, he’s nothing more than a Liberal Democrat in Conservative Republican clothing. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass over anything that will not gain him power or $$$$$$!
        He’s just like the Clinton Crime Family.
        He’s done nothing for veterans in his state or in Washington DC. His record is as abysmal as is the majority of those idiots.

        As for Lisa Haven’s video, the two bills, “HR 6393 & SB 3274”, we will have to see how this will impact our “Alt-Medias”! If ‘they’ wish, the government could, in fact, shut down all forms of medias. Which would, or could, impact any site not approved by certain govt agencies. This could impact Ben’s site as well.
        Think about it! Any site not approved would be banned.
        Think “Orwellian” and “1984”!
        There’s a push right now going on to shut down news medias considered to be “Fake News”!
        Research it, it’s a fact!
        Lastly, just think, not being allowed to voice our “concerns” anywhere is a real possibility and threat to our “First Amendment Rights!!!!! Our “Constitution” is under attack from these butthurt RADICAL libertard snowflakes.

  3. I suggest the President elect be careful of whom he listens to. The major Veterans Organizations, after all, are part of the Veterans’ Triangle who have forged what the VA is today. The triangle being the VA, Congress and the VSOs. Get some down to earth Veterans that are the victims of the system, who have experienced first hand long wait times, claims that go on for years, and the philosophy that the Veterans don’t know what’s good for them. “Veterans first, make the VA great again”.
    Until the Triangle is redesigned, it will perpetuate itself. One of the three legs. Congress, the VA and the VSOs’, is ready for change. The VA needs leadership that forms a new leg, stronger. with morals, and driven by the a desire to serve Veterans first. We need a John Wells, not another crony of the system.
    The non-issue with the Union will quickly disappear with the right man at the helm.

    1. “The non-issue with the Union will quickly disappear with the right man at the helm”–Really? I want whatever you are smoking today. “Non-issue with the AFGE”??? WTF? You have to be living under a rock in a deep cave or are part of the problem if you cannot acknowledge the AFGE in the VA is a problem. WTF?

      I may smell cabbage and it’s not that great Korean dish kimchee.

    2. Raymond, it is not just a triangle. It was mostly a quadrangle until recently. Now it has grown to a polygon and beyond. You left out the military industrial complex and the pharmaceutical complex (including medical imaging and prosthetics and health insurance as in “Choice”) Look to Phoenix and Cheyenne VA crisis for the inclusion of the health insurance industry. Lobbyists spend big bucks to short change veterans in the interest of their clients wealth.

      Partially that is salesmanship as in a used car salesmanship. The ability of the salesman to sell you less for more and making you think you are getting a good deal while they run to the bank with excess profit.

      A deal is not a deal unless the parties benefit relatively equally. A bad deal is actually a fraud perpetrated by one of the participants.

  4. Anyone notice Obama has ordered the CIA to aggressively look into cybersecurity hacks from current election results back to 2008 election? I am guessing Obama only included 2008 as to not look entirely like a pensive butthurt snowflake ass. 🙂 20/20 Hindsight is not a great thing to play with when it comes to cybersecurity or security of a Nation period.
    Too bad Obama cannot have the same thought process when it comes to properly vetting potential terrorists among the 1000’s of refugees let in USA under him. 20/20 Hindsight does not exactly save future lives. Idiot.

    1. @namnibor,
      Speaking of Refugees. Have you read any articles lately on the “secret deal” Obama made with Australia?
      Seems they have approximately 2500 of them, they really don’t want. They’re being kept on other islands, in like internment camps, until the “trade” is completed.
      I think we’re giving them illegal immigrants for these people who come from countries like Syria, Afghanistan and such.
      I first read about it a few days ago on “The Horn News”! Since then, its been reported in other news medias!
      It’s interesting, to say the least!
      More “jihad’s” coming our way! Thanks to Obama!!!!!!!

      1. This is a prime example of the not so easy fight to drain the swamp and clean-up and ship-up attitudes at the VA. Their heals are not only dug-in, they are ingrown swamp crocs that have even melded with the concrete lining of the swamp, which is the very cookie jar they are protecting. Obama is leaving his legacy one wipe at a time and not flushing until all WH toilets are full, Jan 21, 2016.
        The swamp has become brackish and stinks.
        Depth charges will be also needed in addition to Dennis’s Oregonian Poop Canons. So much poop, D.C. will become a rainforest in no time.

  5. Here’s an article out this morning from “NewsMax TV”
    “McCain, Graham, Schumer Team Up to Probe into Russian Election Hacking”

    dated: Sunday, 11 Dec. 2016 @ 8:42 AM

    Seems “Songbird” McCain, who doesn’t know when to keep his piehole shut, doesn’t know which side of the fence he belongs on.
    It’s already been reported numerous times there’s absolutely NO evidence whatsoever Russia hacked anyone!
    Every “alleged” security agency involved cannot verify this!
    Now, Obama has come out and wants the CIA to investigate this issue.

    News flash to y’all butthurt RADICAL libertard snowflakes, the election is over. Get over it! There’s other issues more important to tackle.
    “We The People” want y’all to do your job.
    I’d like to see President Elect Trump make it mandatory for all “elected and appointed officials” be required to work 11 months out of the year. They’re no better than the rest of us. If they’re caught taking monies or anything from Lobbyists, then they’ll be prosecuted.
    There’s many things that needs changing in Washington DC.
    “Draining the Swamp” is a start!

  6. Seymore Klearly, you pointed out a good reason why each and every medical professional employed by the VA, should be required to be licensed in the state in which the VA Medical Center or Clinic is located. Your post raises much concern for the safe medical treatment of Veterans.

  7. Hey 91Veteran,

    Been following your info posted on the VA charging outside insurance and your mention of the VA credentialing system. Thought I would share a little on one of the floater I found down at the VA Cesspool. Since it does relate to the service that the VA is charging for and the VA credentialing system. Hold your nose though because this floater is giving off a very strong stench with a distinctive al Qaeda scent.


    Date: December 10, 2016
    Location: VAMC Marion

    Description: Mansuri’s profile on his VAMC Marion providers page indicate the VA’s credentialing system records indicate that he is licensed in the state of Michigan, board certified in internal Medicine and that he has graduated as an MD from B.J. Medical College.

    A check on the claimed Michigan license at: “” show no such license.

    A check with the American Board of Internal Medicine at: “” shows no such certification.

    A check on the B.J. Medical College in Ahmedabad shows no such degree program. Additionally, U-tube Video relating to problems with the school and fake certificates at: “”

    Additional Checks:

    1.) A check of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services CMS National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) for a required National Provider Identifier Number (NPI) indicates that no NPI number was issued under his name. An advanced search checking, for an NPI number issued by methods used by foreign operatives. Shows that Mohammed did acquire a NPI number using this method. View at: “”

    2.) In the NPI information for Mohammed’s fraudulently obtained NPI number he listed himself as a Staff Cardiologist at the VAMC Marion, claims an Illinois Medical License # 4301040401 and list an address at 2401 W Main ST, Marion, IL 62959-1188.

    As stated prior the VA credentialing system record shows Mohammed working in the field of internal Medicine not as a Cardiologist.

    A check on the claimed Illinois Medical License at: “” shows that no license has been issued under Mohammed’s name and the license number he claimed is not valid.

    A check of the address used show that it leads to a long driveway into a parking lot for an Illinois State Office Buildings near the VAMC Marion.

    In Summary

    The NPPES NPI Registry number indicates that it was first created March 7, 2006 and the information was last updated July 8, 2007 which may indicate that Mohammed has been in our country since that time. It is clear that Mohammed has committed numerous federal felonies to circumvent the checks at 3 federal agencies using and demonstrating advanced skills, knowledge and training to achieve the deception.

    For Veterans being seen at VAMC Marion, Law enforcement personnel who may investigate and all employees at Marion VAMC. I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the signs and symptoms of Iraqibacter.


    Oh, and also 91Veteran,

    Check out what happens when you run the name Thomas Schiller through the NPI database at:


    The Illinois one also has a series of licenses in Texas and is connected to the VAMC Madison. His Texas licenses help show the need for the dentist license anesthetist certificates. Each time one of his Texas medical licenses expired he had to get a new Certificate.

    1. This and other license issues and the credentialing BS such as the TBI scandal shows the VA cannot be trusted anymore to do their own credentialing. It has been proven repeatedly they cannot be trusted in so many other areas.
      They cut corners in all kinds of areas throughout the VA, why would credentialing be any different? Can any of these lazy bureaucrats be trusted to actually do their jobs in the credentialing process? Verify licenses? Certifications? That someone actually went to med school? How much of that process is one of collecting papers from a “doctor” and never verifying what is provided? Many providers in the civilian world might require continuing education, sometimes yearly to hold their certifications. Does VA actually have a process for that other than requiring watching a 5 minute online video? It would explain why so many providers do not appear knowledgable about advances in medicine in the private sector. It would explain why the VA considers some providers are qualified in certain areas after the complete the VA shake-and-bake training.
      Finally, since the War on Terror started, we’ve had a number of attacks from those that someone thought could be trusted, only to find out they became sympathetic with jihadis.
      Given the VA credentialing process and a scammer like Burch running their Homeland Security operation and likely little background checks or follow-up, is it possible a provider could become sympathetic?

      Would a veteran harmed by a sympathetic one ever know?

      1. Really great point. My worries as well since the VA has become a haven for refugee-borne country medical types in all areas it’s no wonder *another* Psych Dr. has not gone over the edge while in the guts of the VA Meatgrinder. (Ft. Hood anybody?)

        Great Points, 91Veteran. They are oblivious to advances in private healthcare but at same time the VA boasts training those ‘World Class” asses.

        Time to go smash some more snowflakes. Very cathartic. 🙂

      2. @ Seymore Klearly, 91Veteran, namnibor, you are all correct on your statements concerning the credentialing and priveledging process. They bypass what is procedure on this process. This decision is done by someone with authority like a director or close in authority. The more sophisticated the doctor the more bonuses, incentives and othe perks the administrators receive. These are some of the things i misfortunatey discovered when employed.
        The vaoig may investigate but usually no one is held to any accountability. The vamc in marion, illinois has this history and it is the example of corruption and death. Like you said 91Veteran no one cares. Their arrogance is the norm and if you have ethics or morals concerning a persons life, their right to life and fair treatment you are in the minority. It sickens me but this is the reality of it.
        There needs to be reform and accountability. An organization needs to be created and be the watchdog over seeing the va on this. Veteran lives could be saved.
        My issues with the va involved doctors and scheduling and how treatment is delivered or i should say how it is not being delivered. They are like lambs to the slaughter it is beyond belief and heartbreaking. I have to keep going because to live with not correcting a horrible system that they control brings me to much pain. This has been going on for years with little relief.
        I will state that reading others posts here has helped me some. I am glad when someone overcomes these deliberate obstacles the va puts in ones way.
        One should be proud when one finally receives the benefits they had to earn delivered to them. I can assure you their are many who are still waiting for justice or may never receive it on something they earned or paid with blood for it. God bless and God speed to all of you.

  8. @ANutterVet,
    I’ve checked my DD214!
    Yes, I received an Honorable under Medical.
    I do agree many vets are unaware of the ‘coding system’ used by the military. Especially when it comes to their discharge!
    As I’ve stated, my Commanding Officer, (A ‘full bird’ – Navy), helped in my case!
    He made sure certain regulations were followed. Not only that, he insured the VHA was involved in granting my “Service Connection Disability”! How’s that for having someone “on your side”!

    1. FYI, I don’t believe John Cokos was being sarcastic or rude. He was also giving info about how vets were being treated during the Vietnam War.
      I saw that myself.
      I’m a disabled veteran of the Vietnam War. Due to my Army service. My body started going to hell while in the Navy.
      That’s why my Commanding Officer, (Navy), helped me, I believe!
      He was well aware of my Army MOS, therefore, he helped!

    2. Crazy elf, the majority of Veterans had no help in obtaining service connected disabilities. I know another Vet who obtained 100% disability. He too was helped by an Admiral. As you know, this is not the norm. I’m glad that an officer, with much compassion and who knew how the system worked, was able to help you to obtain compensation. This is the way it should work. One helping another, no matter what their ranks are.

      1. Although I indeed did both my VA and SSDI claim entirely, at the tail-end of things I also had the rare good Senator go swamp hunting for me but no officers or strings being pulled per se, it was more the collective severity of health crap and my tenacity and merit and long and consistent paper trail, and in-service medical documentation, but he did light a fire under them. SSA was much more of a wrestling match…that’s also indeed a meat grinder at SSA, but it’s a far more efficient one but I would not say the brightest people work at SSA either that’s why it’s all up to you and taking ownership of both your health and claim.

      2. Navy Commander in Navy hospital handled everything about my medical retirement from Navy. Handled SSDI and compensation. When vets are being discharged from the military, the medical powers to be could be assisting veterans with transition. Veterans need that kind of assistance when transitioning from active duty because hell the transaction on top of already being sick and injured is traumatizing and does add PTSD as a condition even if the vet did not initially have this condition. The transition is hell from structure to the streets. Military and VA should partner with transition. I really do not know to what extent this is happening now. I am uninformed about this area of concern.

      3. I’ve mentioned parts of this story before, so apologies for those who saw my comments then.
        When I came home from the Gulf War, I was in a medical hold unit because I needed surgery. I quickly discovered there were quite a number of Gulf War vets in that unit, National Guard, Reserve, Active Duty. Many of them may have been in that unit at least a couple months trying to get medical care by the time I got there.
        As I went to my appointments, I found out why. Reservists and National Guardsmen had big red dots put at the top of every page of their medical paperwork. That was to signify to anyone looking at the paperwork that their claims of medical problems were to be ignored, and they were to be booted off of Active Duty as soon as possible.
        There was a notice on the bulletin board one evening saying everyone in Med Hold had to have their records at Patient Administration by a certain time on a certain date.
        On a morning shortly after, we had a formation, and about 15 names were called out. They were told they had by the end of the day to clear post and leave. Their medical issues were not deemed worthy enough to keep them on active duty. I was able to stay simply because I already had surgery scheduled. I served with a guy who was booted out. He had to pay for surgery out of his own pocket on his wrist and shoulder or hip, I don’t recall which now, and he was out of work for over a year.
        If the military is now helping vets before they get out, great, but it wasn’t always that way. In fact, it was such a disaster then Congress passed a law back then requiring the DOD and VA develop a system for sharing medical records.

        I think Ben had an article a few months ago reporting that is still not happening, and billions being wasted by McDonald on more IT contracts.

      4. At my last C&P in 2015 The PA said they were doing all discharge physicals from the military. Possibly because the examinations of in service injuries weren’t being thoroughly documented on discharge physical reports. I don’t know when the change went into effect but I do know it put the veteran from the frying pan into the fire. The PAs ignored the reports from specialist MDs and thus wrote a benign examination report. Ignored the examination was to document temporal lobe seizures from an old TBI.

  9. If anyone received their discharge due to controversial situations, please check your DD 214 to see if your Military Separation Code [MSC] matches your type of discharge. If you are unaware of the Military Separation Code, you may want to Google it. Type of discharge and MSC could be contradictive to each other. I haven’t come across many Veterans who know what a MSC is.

    1. This is a old story that was investigated by Ed Crosby late 70’s early 80. He did a very through job of investigative research. It was the 3rd rail of where all the money was going. Google it……

      1. John, I realize that this is an old story. Back during the Nam era, there was a lot of things happening in the military that wasn’t kosher. No need to get defensive or sarcastic in your reply. The point in regards to my post, is that many Veterans don’t know about the issues with the MSC’s. The next thing that you may try to convince me on, is that since Ed Crosby investigated the MSC issue, that contradictions in MSC’s don’t happen anymore, and that ALL previous cases has been resolved. My post was intended as an FYI. Are you aware of a database that lists ALL the inaccuracies relating to or that may negatively affect Veterans? Geeish!

    2. I only became fully aware of the entire significance of the MSC back 9 years ago when I started both the VA Svc. Connected Disability 100% and SSDI at the exact same time and I had neither at time of filing so not like I even had training shoes and I researched, I never used any VSO, and I came across that great website full of resources, as equally as useful as Ben’s but on hadit dot com website, there’s a wealth of searchable Title 38, and past BVA stuff, and decades of experience…so before I through my own wrench into the meat grinder I needed to make sure I did not trip myself up by the VA coming back a few years later without any forewarning with a form letter stating since your Discharge and Military Separation Codes do not line-up but we cannot be bothered to contact the DoD, so you do that and by then your time is up…have fun with that.
      So, you ensure before making your claims that all is as it should be. Had it DOT COM….I cannot recommend a better treasure-trove of knowledge and hell, just searching the forum’s subjects with key words relating to your unique claim will bring you to useful info in real world application…for better or worse, it’s the VA.
      We Vets, disabled and otherwise need to be ensuring our military vets newly pumped out and we older farts, spread these different caches of knowledge on the internet. If this long and probably incoherent post only but helps one other Veteran as much as it empowered my confidence while at death’s door to open the door to knowledge, I know anyone reading this can.
      Ben, look no further than some of those tools over there at hadit dot com and also collaborate perhaps for database idea. Just a thought. We Vets are a scattered population and it does not surprise me that’s also reflected as scattered Vets with talents to contribute to help all Vets is such but if Ben could put together a roadmap that links these here for industrial swamp draining and gator wrestling to come in 2017….wait for it…

      1. These things can come up. My spousal compensation was discontinued because the SSA had transposed 3/12 to 3/21 on her birthday on SS records. My military and VA records had it straight. It took an act of the U S Embassy in Japan and several months to straighten it out. In the mean time not only did I not receive the dependency payment but was not receiving any compensation at all until I paid back the dependency allowance that had been paid to me from 1985 through 1996. Caught me off guard and put us through a difficult period of forced savings. We eventually got all of the back pay without any interest.

  10. @namnibor & Jo3n,
    Those “butthurt RADICAL snowflakes” better stay far away from the “Army/Navy Game” today.
    As far as who will win!?
    I’m voting on both!
    Why? Because I served in both branches, at different times of course!
    Army first, then Navy!
    It was while I was in the Navy, my health deteriorated to the point, where they gave me a “Honorable/under Medical Discharge”!
    The Captain, of my last command, was instrumental in helping me receive it!
    If it weren’t for him, I’d probably be in worse shape!

  11. Navy’s hurt/Army’s pumped/now Mr. Trump…..Many of the Veterans who have commented have put pretty good ways that would help to drain the swamp. At least a good beginning. If MacWeak had the power of the President, the backing of congress, I can see where there’s possibilities. Still, I am waiting……..and waiting…..

    1. @Jo3n- Loving it and everyone was pumped then when Pres. Elect Trump showed-up, it’s electric. Now, with that said, am I correct that I do not see where the Secretary of The VA, Sec. McDonald, as well as our current POTUS Obama are *nowhere to be found* in that stadium in Baltimore, correct? Speaks volumes and SO glad Trump showed-up and said great things about Troops and Veterans.

      Obama…what legacy? Really?

      (I stand corrected if Obama and VA Secretary McDuck are at this game & I missed it)

  12. “Veterans groups push Trump to keep VA Sec McDonald”, By: Leo Shane III, Military Times, December 9, 2016

    There are those VSOs again working against Veterans getting timely and adequate health care.

    Don’t forget everyone it is that time of year to pay your membership dues. With such bs representation I am sure VSO employees are going to need bigger bonuses. After all with the cost of medical insurance going up those poor VSO employees are going to need more bucks.

    1. @Seymore Klearly- Let’s hold-onto hope they will only need a slightly larger and temporary bonus to only afford their Golden Parachute Life Preserver when the swamp is drained…and then be made to pay the damn bonuses back and return the life preservers. 🙂

      This push for the VSO’s to supposedly “Save The VA” but never really qualify WHAT *from*, is really from again that damn cookie jar. Their push for McDonald to stay-on only surprises me that the Obama did not come right out and say it publically….instead he sent his ‘Minions”, the VSO’s and by proxy and toilet paper on bottom of shoes, the VA AFGE.
      Notice, you do not hear our fearless leader McDonald publically saying really anything? I think Disney boxed his Disneytron Robot Model and now the VA is using him for spare parts on mail delivery robots. 🙂
      Where IS McDonald? Is he David little Cox’s piss bucket boy these days? Rant Out.
      Time to go smash more snowflakes.

    2. I will say it gives me inner joy to know the VSO’s are actually butthurt cupcakes this morning. For the VSO’s to have the audacity to think things are working well FOR Vets under McDonald that he should stay speaks volumes. Rat Bastards.

      1. @Ex va– I indeed did. Thanks. Now, the Army vs. Navy football game is starting. A really beautiful National Anthem was just sung. Beautiful.

        I am hoping this game’s historical rivalry is not spoiled by butthurt snowflakes that have threatened to stage protests….bad move to take around THAT crowd…LOL

  13. 91Veteran You are right! My bad! While they do bill for NSC conditions and not SC conditions, if you see your PCP for mostly your SC conditions and may be just one NSC condition, the fatheads in billing likely do not separate the two and bill accordingly. My apologies for the error.

    1. In reality, they don’t make much of an attempt to separate anything. I believe they see that insurance and just bill anything they can hoping the veteran won’t catch it.
      In the FOIA response I received was a list of every appointment I had for a 2 year period, the reason for the appointment, and information on what it was for and whether it was SC. One of those was for a follow up with Ortho where I was given a knee brace, and referred to physical therapy. They billed my insurance for everything, including the brace, but not the PT. I would only see ortho for a service connected condition.
      I listed each of those dates, what the documents said I was treated for, along with the billing from my insurance. I sent that again in an email to McDonald, Shulkin, Bevins (his aide) both of my Senators aides and my representatives aide, as I had been emailing all of them since March of 2016. I had a single response from McDonald saying It would be looked into, zero response from either Senate office. The only one I got consistent responses from was my representatives aide who was been involved in veterans issues for a long time.
      It was only after I got that FOIA that they bothered to respond saying they screwed up. This was around October. A previous FOIA showed communications from VACO down through CPAC, the VISN and within the VAMC. It was quite shocking to see some of their emails to each other regarding this. THEY. DID. NOT. GIVE. A. DAMN.

      I did see one email to a director asking where that money from insurance went, but never saw a reply. I would like to know how many millions the VA scams from insurance, medicare, etc., and where the money goes.

      1. @91 Veteran, i have wondered how this is possible for years. I guess it is a double standard for the va as per normal business practices. Unbelievable.

      2. Part of the problem is their claim that because of consolidation with their billing facility in Kansas, they claim there isn’t much they can do.
        They also tell me it’s my fault for not making sure the provider codes it properly, or that the provider made a mistake in coding. They also claim some utilization review nurse must have missed my SC and coded it wrong.
        All of it is bullshit.
        Why is the provider not reviewing my records before the appointment to be familiar with my SC issues? Why is this utilization review nurse not reviewing my records?
        How is it they can repeatedly make mistakes in their favor? Even when they are told they have been coding it wrong?
        Since I started raising hell about this, rather than providing those making the mistake on how to code things properly, they printed signs for each of the clinics informing veterans their insurance can be billed for NON service connected care.

        I also get a smirk from them when I demand to know why they are doing this, and they tell me Congress passed a law allowing it. They claim this law was passed in the late 90s, early 2000s, but I have gone to the VA from 1991 until 2011, and had never had my insurance billed.

      3. There’s is more to your last paragraph about where the money is going than you realize. There is another shadow VA of sorts that has been in operation since the 70’s and the money is off the books, blackbag in structure….

      4. As I said, I would be VERY interested in knowing where that money goes.
        If they do this to just 100 vets at $5000 per year, that’s $500000 going into someone’s slush fund each year.

        And I believe 100 vets and $5000 is way, way below what it actually is.

      5. @91Veteran, it would go into a fund control point. (Like an expense account) then money could be taken to another fcp to be distributed however they wanted. I wonder if you could get a FOIA on that. This is how mc wash their funding. I saw that done. They do alot of conversion also. Special program funding they build a clinic from it then they move the clinic for something else they want. This is why they frequently move clinics in mc’s.

      6. I have commented before about it being illegal for federal agencies to spend money appropriated by Congress on something other than specifically how Congress appropriated the money, unless the agency goes back to Congress and asks permission to spend it elsewhere.
        If Congress gives the VA money for X, they have to spend it on X, they cannot spend it on Y without permission.
        That all depends on VA budgeting and whether each of their line items is tight enough to track if it is spent on X, or so loose they can spent on D, B and strippers. And that someone in Congress would care.
        Witness the $125 billion going down a rathole at the Pentagon.
        So, the VA budget for next year is reported to be about $182 billion in funding appropriated by Congress. How many millions above that is received from outside payers?

        Problem is, the funding stolen from veterans insurance, medicare or other outside payer is not appropriated funding. How did Congress direct them to spend any money collected?
        It has to be a rather loose direction since the VA has gotten quite rabid at collecting from any outside payer, whether appropriate or not. It has to be something in which they benefit from collecting.
        Sorta like asset seizure laws where a police agency can greatly benefit from seizing property they believe was used in a crime.

      7. @91 Veteran, they told you it was you fault that you did not tell them how to code properly. That is ridiculous. If they do not know how to code there encounters they should not be working as a provider of medical care. They are giving misinformation because they don’t know their jobs.

      8. One of the first responses I got from them was that I should have made sure the provider coded it properly. I asked how the hell am I supposed to know that, and why is it my job to insure the provider is doing their job right.
        That’s when they changed their story to it being the fault of some faceless UR nurse at their central billing facility not catching the incorrect code.
        I said it was clear they were not checking at all.
        When I first called a supervisor at their centralized billing facility in Kansas trying to find out why they could’nt do their damn job, she told me they only review bills over a certain dollar amount as a reason why they didn’t catch my incorrect billing.
        I put that in a letter to McDonald at some point when the billing continued, and the second FOIA I received showed her email to other VA supervisors lying and claiming she never said anything about only reviewing things over a certain amount.
        She was also shown complaining loudly in internal communications that too many people were involved in looking at my complaint, that someone might duplicate work being done to respond.
        In reality, I think she was embarrassed that she and her organization were being made to look like incompetent fools.

    2. To add to my other comment, I have been submitting FOIAs to federal agencies since about 1994 with great success. On these last 2, I cut and pasted the example Ben had in a post here some time ago, changed some details and sent it off.
      If anyone wants to submit a FOIA, I suggest using his example. It is very well worded. In addition, federal agencies have to comply with electronic submissions, so it’s easy enough to write one up and email it to them.
      Also, a request can be made under FOIA, or under the Privacy Act. I believe it’s a little more difficult for them to weasel out of complying with a Privacy Act request if you are asking for records about yourself.

      1. @91Veteran, could you please tell me where this example of a FOIA request is on this site? Thank you.

      2. If you go to the main page of this site, scroll down a little and you will find Ben has a separate link for a FOIA sample.

      3. A FOIA request is treated like a Privacy Act request when it is made for your personal records, but is also meant to return ANY rexords matching the search criteria. A Privacy Act request can only return your health records.

        A FOIA request cannot be made in order to correct or insert information into your medical record. A Privacy Act Request can be made to correct or insert information.

        If a person only seeks information then a FOIA is inclusive of the Privacy Act and the only difference then is that a Privacy Act request must be signed by the person requesting it.

        A FOIA request only requires a signature if it is for your own personally identifiable information.

        Personally I send both and sign both. It pisses off the ROI officer who has called me at home asking me to withdraw perfected requests. I recorded his requests to have me withdraw my FOIA because he called me at home and in Oregon it is legal to do this. The newspaper reported on this aspect (the ROI officer proudly announced to me that he was also.part of the DBC who did all that crap to me) and the fact that VA is asking vets to withdraw perfected FOIA requests regarding the DBC process is beyond what even liberal Oregon is willing to tolerate.

      4. I agree with what you said, but the reason I mentioned both is because the VA threatened to bill me for complying with all 3 of my most recent requests.
        I am lucky in that a staffer involved in the last response told me that requests for my own records under the Privacy Act are free, and they cannot bill for them. He is a veteran, and I believe he disagrees with what has been happening. He has always been very professional with me, and the internal emails I received from a FOIA show he is professional with other staff. I didn’t see any grab-ass snark like I saw from others in higher positions that should know better.
        Regardless, for each of my requests I went forward with them and ignored their threat, and I have yet to be sent a bill.

    3. @Rosebud
      Let me start first with;
      I’m a 100% T&P disabled Combat Veteran. Have been since 2005. Before that, I was 50% since 1983.
      When I received my 50%, the VA stated ALL my healthcare was free. Didn’t matter if it was due to all the ‘conditions’ from military service or not. Since then, I’ve never told the VA anything about ‘private insurance healthcare’!
      Therefore, they’ve never “billed” anyone. And I’ve received all my healthcare free from VHA. Although, I admit its not been the best. As a matter of fact, its been sub-healthcare!

      Saying that, I’m not sure if the veterans, from the Gulf War forward, ie: Afghanistan and Iraq, come under a different set of rules.

      1. In most scenarios it a second and third tier approach. Not always, but enough to keep cost down…..

      2. I am in about the exact same situation, above 50% and had never been billed before moving and going to a new VA in 2013.

    1. I was at the site last night, and have been there before. I don’t know where it is hosted. The veteran who put it together commented here yesterday.

  14. Off Topic as a warning to be careful out there Veterans:
    In Chicago, Dec. 4, Josephine Regnier, a 94-year-old Navy veteran who served in World War II, was outside her Southwest Side home waiting for her daughter when the cold drove her back inside. A mugger followed.
    Police and family say the man punched Regnier and grabbed her purse containing $50 around noon Wednesday, then sped off in an SUV. He crashed about five miles from Regnier’s home in the 5700 block of South Archer Avenue. He got out and ran and was still at large Friday, police said.

    Regnier was taken to MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn and her family is hoping she’ll be back home for Christmas.

    “He broke a couple of ribs, he gave her a black eyes, there’s a big goose egg on her head. she had a cut, a sore by her mouth,” Regnier’s daughter, Judy Dusk, told WGN-TV. “She’s pretty shaken up.”

    Regnier was waiting to be picked up for a doctor’s appointment when she was attacked, according to her family. Joan O’Connor, another daughter, said she arrived just as the robber was running away.

    Just a reminder to be very aware of your surroundings, esp. with so many butthurt snowflakes out there with no regard to Veterans let alone the rule of law. Be vigilant.

    1. Now, my question in relation to the unfortunate 94 yr old Navy Veteran, Josephine Regnier, whom was beaten and mugged while waiting to picked-up by a family member for a medical appointment is this:

      1) Is the MacNeal Hospital a VHA or VA Affiliate Hospital and if not,
      2)was her relative that arrived right after attack taking her to an actual VA medical appointment, she is a 94 year old Navy Veteran after all?
      3) Lastly, with all the money the VA receives, why cannot the VA do better in offering picking-up elderly and disabled Veterans from doorsteps even though in this case it sounds like the family was doing this but it makes me wonder why with the HUGE VAMC in Chicago proper, the VA is not mentioned once.

      Rant Out. Sorry, I am just butthurt over the lawless disrespectful predators in these illegal “Sanctuary Cities”…I am wondering if she lived in a gun free zone as well? Rant Out.
      Going for walk in first snow of year. I love the crunch beneath my feet and enhanced psychoacoustics. Snowflake Therapy. Yeah.

    2. @namnibor, it is a disturbing story. How someone could attack an elderly woman is beyond reasoning. I will state that the DVA does pretty good job picking up Veterans in my area. The vamc does good at reimbursing travel but it is hard sometimes for Veterans to get to the facility. The vamc could do better in that area. Maybe that is why they received a 2. I thought that was too high of a score really.

  15. Neil, I have tried your site. Can’t find it. Good idea though. I’ve been to many VA’s across this Country. Sorry I couldn’t find it..

  16. Hi all,

    I wanted to tell you about a small project that I’ve been working on to help veterans with their VA Healthcare.

    For the past five years, I have been receiving healthcare through the VA and have been to close to 20 different hospitals and outpatient clinics throughout the country. One thing that I’ve noticed is that the quality of care is all across the board. I have been to clinics in some places where it’s very clear that my quality of life, as a vet, is their number one interest.

    On the other hand, I have been to other clinics where, from my perspective, I am nothing more than a number. For obvious reasons, I try my hardest to avoid those clinics. That said, I can’t find any sort of central location where I have a heads up of what to expect when going to a new clinic.

    From this, I built a website called Basically, I researched and created a page for every single VA hospital and clinic in the United States (a little over 1,000 locations). From there, veterans can rate their experience at that particular location. Think Yelp but specifically for the VA.

    My hope is that as more and more users provide feedback, some trends may be begin to emerge. We, as veterans, can then take this information and provide the collective feedback to the leadership of the VA so that they can allocate resources to the areas of weakness and also learn from the areas of strength.

    Also, while in the military, I was always taught that asking for help is considered to be a sign of weakness. It took me many years to realize that getting help for my physical and mental ailments wasn’t me being weak but was the only way I was going to get better. I have hope that other veterans sharing their experiences with the VA will provide the needed courage to get the treatment they need.

    The big hurdle here is gathering feedback. I suspect that almost everyone reading this has likely spent some time at one or more VA’s in the country. All I ask is that you stop by the website and write a few sentences about your experience so that we, as a community, can find out what’s working and what’s not.

    I should mention that I spent a good amount of time building this website and have no ulterior motives here other than building a voice for the veteran population in the hopes that we can improve upon our system. I intentionally creating this website as a place that can be built upon and maintained as a community so there’s no individual bias involved.


    1. Neil, do you have a background in healthcare statistics? It may also be a good idea to have someone [like Ben], to give a shout out about your site and mission statement. Just saying. This is a very big project. I foresee that you’re going to need a lot of help to correlate all the data that you collect from entries on your website. I salute you Brother. Not to be a stumbling block, but what about Veterans that need emergency help NOW! Compounded by the Veteran having extreme PTSD and doesn’t have any trust left in the VA providing medical care.

    2. @Neil- Really great to see that there’s an active movement and stirring Veteran Community willing to put forth resources to help Veterans and with the internet being such a vast space, this is first I had heard of your site and like it’s look and I think you should, as with everyone, collectively help to make the VA be a place we can call proud through accountability. You and Benjamin should have a meeting of minds and welcome to this site. Getting Vets on same page and feedback can indeed be a rough one because of basic trust issues.
      Website looks nice and I had no problem going to it but I am one to do a bit more research before I sign-up for any newsletter, no matter from whom these days…it’s a PTSD thing and trust thing, so nothing directed towards any individual.
      The tide is turning. The Lighthouses called Veterans are shining disinfecting light of accountability and we have the V.A. Titanic in our line of vision. The Lighthouses are growing in number, lighting their beacons. Why is it none of these official VSO’s have never put together such resources as Benjamin’s site and this Because of the cookie jar. Always about the cookie jar.

      1. Oh…you asked for critique feedback: The one thing that raised the PTSD wool on my back and yes, it’s a trust issue and very well an unjustified one, but your botton to lower left of U.S. Map that says “LOCATE ME” had me wondering how many other Vets like myself, would worry about in allowing access to one’s location (it does cause my virus protection to warn me it wants access to my location), if it may like myself, make your received feedback more sparse just because of privacy and basic veteran trust issues? Just my honest thoughts. Maybe I am just overtly paranoid but it has served me well in life. 🙂

  17. To follow up on my comment about being contacted by my VA about scheduling my annual checkup…27 minutes after I sent my email, I had a response from the VISN director, and within 45 minutes a response from the VAMC director…likely because she saw the other had replied.

    I responded, and pointed out the FOIA response I received was quite clear on what some VA staff thought of my concerns.

    1. @91Veteran, sounds like you are very proactive with you care. I am glad you are getting some good results. Your work in investigating your va providers in your state is very interesting. You have helped me rethink this quagmire i have been pushed in. Response from the VISN director that is great.

      1. You have definately earned my respect in your candid and sincere posts.
        The only test of character that matters is the test you take every time you look in the mirror. I find that the mirror looks a lot better to me when the guy looking back tells me that whatever I am doing it is the right thing to do.

        Personally I still have trouble liking that guy in the mirror, but he tries to do the right thing and that is what I see in your posts – sincerity.
        Thank you.

  18. Seymore, let’s take this one step a little further. To keep track of complaints, each state should have two [2] databases; one for the private sector and one for complaints against licensed VA employees. I’m sure this could expand to other VA staff as well. Setting up a protocol to keep these incompetent nincompoops honest and professional. And, I also have strong supportive feelings pertaining to all VA employees being Veterans.

    1. I wish I could say this would happen, but I highly doubt it would, even with an act of Congress. I have looked into this extensively, and found the VA brags on their web site about having their own credentialing process, and that they are exempt from malpractice.
      Here in Colorado, they have what is known as the Michael Skolnik Law. It requires any medical provider working in the state, even through tele-medicine to have a public profile on DORA. That profile is required to be up within 30 days of starting practice, and is required to include any adverse action the provider has had in their past. Failure to comply could eventually result in a Class C Felony. The state has told me both that the VA is exempt, and that they are not exempt…and I have found several VA providers at my VA to have profiles there, even if they are licensed in another state. I have also found a huge number that do not have a profile there. I went through every provider listed on my VA’s web site, and found more than 15 without a profile. I also found there were a number that had been sued for malpractice, with at least 3 being sued more than once. I compared that to the USA Today bonus database, and found some of those that had been sued more than once were given bonuses. Finally, I found a nurse that had been at the Phoenix VA that had 2 adverse events in her past, and she was shuffled up here to Colorado. I also found providers listed on the VA web site that held licenses long expired.

      In looking at the links Seymore provided last night, I found it interesting that other states are including that requirement on their licensing site. It is not a be-all, end-all though since it requires an honest person to provide that information, and an organization that requires their providers to comply with the law.

  19. What about requiring all VA Physicians, Nurses, and all other Medical Professionals to be licensed in the state where they practice medicine at a VA Medical Center or Clinic. In this way, all complaints can be registered against most VA employees that provide medical care to any Veteran. Monitoring can be tracked more thoroughly.

    1. That is a great idea one that I would wholly support.

      It would have removed the Tomah Dentist from the VA back in the early 80s. If a law like it were in place back then. Which would have already saved the VA millions in malpractice payouts. Not to mention what they are facing now with what happened in Tomah.

      It is hard to estimate the number of Veterans lives a law like that could save along with the prevention of Veterans needlessly suffering from bogus providers at the VA.

    2. This is another way Fed employees take advantage of the ‘system’ & use us Veterans as lab rats. Do we want the nations’ doctors, dentists, nurses obtaining their specialist licenses just like a drivers license so they can practice in every state & just move around the country without being tracked on performance. Have any reviews scrubbed off the net. I think not. I shudder at the thought of all the H-1B visas for foreign doctors being issued due to health professional shortages. We are not one world with open borders, some day maybe but not yet. We are the test rats.

      Each state has individual qualifications & fees for obtaining medical licenses. I like the strict rules of my state. Yet my PC educated at Gandhi Medical College(1980) can come to America, get a license in Virginia, practiced at VA Clinic in Texas, transferred to Calif renewed her license again out of Virginia for a cost of $302 whereas Calif fee is $808+ be licensed as an allopathic/osteopathic & be able to self-designate her practice area in family practice, take away my pain meds because her foreign education teaches healing with minimal use of medicine. I hate that this is done to me & I hate that this practice is wanted to be implemented throughout the country & territories for the civilian population unaware of whats going on behind closed doors.

  20. As far as I’m concerned, until I hear a Sec of VA say to “LITTLE” David Cox; “Come on down and TRY to ‘Whoop my ass!'” as he told McDuck months ago. That’s when I’ll believe we’ve got someone who will DO THE FREAKING JOB!

  21. Whoever we get they need to:
    + Decertify AFGE like The Great Communicator did the flight controllers union…
    + Remove the OIG from the VA entirely and give it some enforcement teeth…
    + FIRE AND PROSECUTE anyone caught altering records or manipulating wait lists…or just doesn’t do their
    + Completely do away with the disruptive list unless person is a clear danger to themselves or others
    Disagreeing with the VA or advocating for their rights in no reason to be put on such a list without recource
    to due process…
    At least in MHO…

  22. Like Seymour said, John Wells does appear to be years behind. The VSO’S have become useless. They tell me the Veterans administration has tied their hands, and cannot do their job. The applications I submitted a few years ago didn’t get anywhere. They told me the representative I turned my paperwork in to, had a heart attack. How they knew he was the one I gave my paperwork to, they wouldn’t tell me. I didn’t know any of this for 4years. I obviously don’t know how the VA system works. Still trying to;get it. The VA and all that are connected to the VA, are detrimental to my mental state. Does seem like a lot of ex officers want this job. Honestly Ben, I wouldn’t take this job at gunpoint. I don’t trust anyone who would volunteer for Sec of the VA. Perhaps our new POTUS could do both jobs. At least someone like him. Tough job.

    1. “I don’t trust anyone who would volunteer for Sec of the VA”– That’s where I am with my trust level because I guess I just assume it would be not so unbiased with vested interest if someone is jumping up and down for the job, which people have NOT been doing, and still, the lack of mention of renegotiating the AFGE VA contract…makes me view Wells with trepidation at best.

  23. President Elect Trump is now giving his first public news event from Louisiana and he is Veteran and Military STRONG…and cleaning up VA and more…restoring…restoring the military…….making law that does not allow these snowflakes to burn and stomp on U.S.A. FLAG…Trump was particularly vocal about that and reinforcing our POLICE and LAW AND ORDER….tons more…rats should be jumping very soon…still live but there you go, watch/listen to news tonight or youtube will have it as well.
    Been a while since I was this pumped-up about a new POTUS.

  24. I noticed that the VA is honoring the Veterans of Pearl harbor, with virtual reality. Is the VA doing that? I had appointment on Tuesday, never heard a word about it. I am not sure how I feel about that. Why does the VA honor the dead, and screw the living? Guess I am just a bit confused about this.

    1. I just got off the phone with my VA calling to schedule my annual checkup with my PCP. I said I don’t care to do that.
      Dead silence. Then she asks if I found another provider, I said not really. She said, well, you are not eligible for Choice…I interrupted and said I am eligible for Choice, having gone to them once already.
      I then told her why I didn’t want the appointment…that for the last 2 years, the VA has billed my private insurance over $12,600 for service connected care, and I can’t trust they will not do it again.
      Dead silence.
      She then said she would just note that I declined to schedule an appointment, and I interrupted again and said I wanted her to note the facts…That I declined because I cannot trust the VA to not bill my insurance for service connected care.
      Dead silence…Then she sounded like she was reading out what she was writing, then said I should have a good day, good bye.

      1. @91Veteran- Perfect snapshot of VA Nightmarecare in motion…*dead silence* when confronted with the correct thing to do.

      2. I could almost hear the hamster wheel spinning in her head as I waited for her to say something.
        But then, perhaps she was making notes in her recommendation to the DBC for me.
        I don’t care. I am following up with an email to the director, VISN director and Shulkin on why.

      3. @91 Veteran, good job today. I always wondered how they can bill private insurance for service connected disabilities. If the acknowledgement is that there is substandard care they are delivering how can they bill ones insurance? If it was medicare it would be considered fraud if they could not deliver health care to private sector standards. It brings up the whole credentialing and privileging issue if these providers do not have the licensing to deliver healthcare. Anyways i always wonder how the va does this. At registration one of the first questions they ask veterans when the enter the va system is if they have private insurance. After that the billing begins.

      4. It gets better. When I first went to the ER and was told I needed surgery, I filled out a form. A couple months after the surgery, I found out they billed my insurance, and they claimed signing that form allowed them to do it. I FOIAd the form and they couldn’t produce it. I asked how they got my insurance information, and was told the VA gave my personal information to a 3rd party contractor to find.
        I had a PCP appointment some months after that with a new nurse practitioner PCP. She falsified my records, and my insurance was billed for the appointment.
        They also billed for a service connected follow up after that surgery, and the knee brace the ortho doc said I should have.

      5. They bill your private insurance cause that’s the law Congress past even for service connected conditions. If your insurance does not pay the full amount, unlike treatment at a private hospital, you are not on the hook for what they did not pay.

      6. You are wrong, the VACO web site even says so, and is why the VA is reimbursing my insurance company over $12,600.

    2. “Why does the VA honor the dead, and screw the living? ”

      Good question. Often asked that myself to many folks at the Compensation and Benefits Office here in Honolulu. They, of course – – – have no answers. But they do thank me for my service prior to placing me on a disruptive list.

      As a lot of folks in this forum have observed – – – the whole damn stinking VA system requires a cold-start reboot.

      1. They place a lot of people on that list. I have studied the law that authorizes that action. It will blow your mind what federal law says the criteria is.

        In short, Federal law says they may do that if you; make a credible threat against a specific person(s) or property that places the person(s) in immediate danger of physical harm, and this threat must have occured while on VA property.

        “Credible threat” means that you have the intent, the means, and have initiated or announce that you are going to initiate harm. Furthermore the person so threatened must actually believe the threat of physical harm is real, imminent, and unavoidable.

        This law was meant for our brothers and sisters who want to spill VA blood. It was meant for those who show up with a weapon and want to shoot the place up.

        Now let me ask you, which specific VA employee did you threaten to murder? What weapon did you have with you? How close were you to carrying off this threat?

        Or did they label you a traitor to your country because of butt hurt feelings? Did they do this because they did not like the speech you used? Did you cast a scornful look?

        There are THOUSANDS of vets flagged as being among the most violent humans that still remain at large in society. If every single one of the flagged vets knew what the actual criteria was for a DBC flag I think there would be a roar of anger unprecedented in America.

        Not only does VA decide who gets the dirty drill bits, the experimental organs,
        and the untested drugs, the VA is also now a judicial body that defines its own laws, selects its own juries, and defines punishments as it sees fit – completely independent of any law in our land.

        The law takes some time to hound dog the meanings and such but read the law and ask yourself brother, is this you?

        Title 82
        § 17.107 VA response to disruptive behavior of patients.
        (a) Definition. For the purposes of this section:

        VA medical facility means VA medical centers, outpatient clinics, and domiciliaries.

        (b) Response to disruptive patients. The time, place, and/or manner of the provision of a patient’s medical care may be restricted by written order of the Chief of Staff of the VA Medical Center of jurisdiction or his or her designee if:

        (1) The Chief of Staff or designee determines pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section that the patient’s behavior at a VA medical facility has jeopardized or could jeopardize the health or safety of other patients, VA staff, or guests at the facility, or otherwise interfere with the delivery of safe medical care to another patient at the facility;

        (2) The order is narrowly tailored to address the patient’s disruptive behavior and avoid undue interference with the patient’s care;

        (3) The order is signed by the Chief of Staff or designee, and a copy is entered into the patient’s permanent medical record;

        (4) The patient receives a copy of the order and written notice of the procedure for appealing the order to the Network Director of jurisdiction as soon as possible after issuance; and

        (5) The order contains an effective date and any appropriate limits on the duration of or conditions for continuing the restrictions. The Chief of Staff or designee may order restrictions for a definite period or until the conditions for removing conditions specified in the order are satisfied. Unless otherwise stated, the restrictions imposed by an order will take effect upon issuance by the Chief of Staff or designee. Any order issued by the Chief of Staff or designee shall include a summary of the pertinent facts and the bases for the Chief of Staff’s or designee’s determination regarding the need for restrictions.

        (c) Evaluation of disruptive behavior. In making determinations under paragraph (b) of this section, the Chief of Staff or designee must consider all pertinent facts, including any prior counseling of the patient regarding his or her disruptive behavior or any pattern of such behavior, and whether the disruptive behavior is a result of the patient’s individual fears, preferences, or perceived needs. A patient’s disruptive behavior must be assessed in connection with VA’s duty to provide good quality care, including care designed to reduce or otherwise clinically address the patient’s behavior.

        (d) Restrictions. The restrictions on care imposed under this section may include but are not limited to:

        (1) Specifying the hours in which nonemergent outpatient care will be provided;

        (2) Arranging for medical and any other services to be provided in a particular patient care area (e.g., private exam room near an exit);

        (3) Arranging for medical and any other services to be provided at a specific site of care;

        (4) Specifying the health care provider, and related personnel, who will be involved with the patient’s care;

        (5) Requiring police escort; or

        (6) Authorizing VA providers to terminate an encounter immediately if certain behaviors occur.

        (e) Review of restrictions. The patient may request the Network Director’s review of any order issued under this section within 30 days of the effective date of the order by submitting a written request to the Chief of Staff. The Chief of Staff shall forward the order and the patient’s request to the Network Director for a final decision. The Network Director shall issue a final decision on this matter within 30 days. VA will enforce the order while it is under review by the Network Director. The Chief of Staff will provide the patient who made the request written notice of the Network Director’s final decision.

        Note to § 17.107:
        Although VA may restrict the time, place, and/or manner of care under this section, VA will continue to offer the full range of needed medical care to which a patient is eligible under title 38 of the United States Code or Code of Federal Regulations. Patients have the right to accept or refuse treatments or procedures, and such refusal by a patient is not a basis for restricting the provision of care under this section.

  25. I’m still all about Jeff Miller. I’m open to other suggestions, but this guy’s background looks a little similar to Shinseki’s. McDonald’s no prize, but he was an upgrade.

    If we want a REAL outside, how’s this for some outside-the-box-thinking — how about Mark Cuban? He & Trump has their differences during the election, but Trump is reaching out to people who opposed him. I don’t know how tough he would be with the union, but I have a feeling he would stand up to them pretty well. One thing we know for sure — the tech issues that have plagued the agency would be fixed with a quickness if he took over the top post.

  26. Ben, I am curious as to whether you would consider the post. Or, does VA Secretary kinda scare you? I am sure that the VA Sec would be like tackling a bull. How does one accept that position? The VA is all about them. We Veterans are in their way. “Lord of the Flies” a good example of what the VA is turned into. Ben, you are most likely the best option. I just wonder if…? At this point, I have no opinion on John Wells. I will soon. Who, in America will be able and willing to grab the poop-cannon, and pull the trigger? So far, Ben is my first choice, by far. I think it’s up to Ben. God Bless the Veterans.

  27. Hey y’all, if you’re for “the Wall” check out this article from “The Political Insider” dated, Dec. 8, 2016.

    “Congress Has Approved the Wall Trump Wants to Build in 2006 – Construction Could Begin NOW!”

    That’s correct. Congress passed it, and the President signed it into law in 2006. There’s even a picture (drawing) of what it’s supposed to look like.

  28. @everyone;

    91Veteran and Seymore Klearly have opposing viewpoints over John Wells as Secretary of VA.
    Could you two please expound on why you have these differences?
    IE; Could you give more specifics?
    The reason I ask is simple, I respect your viewpoints, always have, always will!

    1. Elf thank you for the respects!

      For me it is simple. I visited the mans website and read through his blog.


      In articles he only recites dated rhetoric that was acceptable at the time the articles were written. Basically pandering to the VSOs and the Veterans administration. In his articles he even goes so far as to defend the VSOs and claim that more money is needed for training them and providing them with additional resources out of the VA budget.

      Personally I have never received any meaningful help from any of the VSOs and that has been going back for decades now. As for them needing more resources. I have to ask what are they doing with the resources they are already being provided? How have they used any of the money made off the Lotto game tickets, pull tabs, donations, members dues or grants from the VA? The only thing I have seen is it is being spent on little league teams, parks and items like that and not on Veterans.

      He is merely some one the VSOs would want to see running the VA.

      He also has not addressed the lack of quality health care or righting so many of the wrongs already done to Veterans.

      1. You forgot the top 5 of the VSO’s salaries on top of their 100% VA disability compensation. Same for most of you VSO representatives. They have their 100% compensation plus a salary of $70,000 plus on top of it.

    2. I could easily defer to Seymore if he points out why.
      I was previously against Wells because he was unknown to me, and I think we need a real ball breaking hardass as SecVA. I didn’t think from the little I saw of Wells that he was it.

      My comment above is simply based on the details of his reform plan that Ben posted.
      The following reasons are why I would support him.
      As a veterans attorney, he knows the law, and would quickly recognize those throughout the VA that are violating it.
      His plan to work with the National Academy of Sciences would bring years of medical proof to the table for veterans rather than BS internal VA research, or hacks like Tom Murphy overriding medical evidence on Agent Orange exposure, Gulf War illnesses and Burn Pit problems.
      His MSPB proposal is a direct shot at reforming the process of firing hacks.
      His proposal on a disciplinary policy suggests he is well aware of the grab-ass, double standard used today.
      His proposal on a center of excellence for toxic exposures would likely mean demanding those established now actually start producing results rather than just continue wasting millions and no results.
      His Ombudsman proposal is brilliant in that it would be staffed by veterans, and likely follow a civilian model of giving them the authority to quickly cut bureaucratic red tape. Imagine a backdoor direct to the Secretary rather than the number of hoops one has to jump through now…with no results once you jump.
      Specifically requiring VA raters to have military medical experience would be a massive change from what we have now where some VA hack worked their way into the position by being around so long.
      His proposal on a database for health trends should have been set up years ago, and used for the benefit of veterans rather than some hack repeatedly telling veterans they are the ONLY ONE to report such problems.
      His proposal on expanding the presumption for other AO exposed vets recognized the lunacy of an exposure affecting 1 veteran differently than another, or ignoring it altogether.
      All of his points on law judges are exactly right on, particularly contracting with retired military judges.
      His proposal on the IG office recognized it is broken and useless to vets, and served to protect the VA.
      His proposal on bringing a civilian model of record keeping to the VA would eliminate a problem the VA has ignored for over 30 years, yet costs them billions by various contractors proposing to fix it. Get rid of the garbage and use an off the shelf process.

      All of those points and more suggest he would do well, particularly if he proposed his reform points publicly as a road map he will use once confirmed. Whether he is or not, veterans should still use it as a map to start reform.

      1. 91Veteran,

        The Why for me is simply as I stated. As quoted from my earlier post.

        “For me it is simple. I visited the mans website and read through his blog.


        In articles he only recites dated rhetoric that was acceptable at the time the articles were written. Basically pandering to the VSOs and the Veterans administration.”

        For me this man is calling for more changes to the code of federal regulations not enforcement of the existing Regs. An example “•In concert with the Veterans Service Organizations conduct a baseline review of Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations to streamline the benefits program.”

        I see the VSOs fighting against changes that would allow veterans to receive proper health care elsewhere. Even though the change would help save the lives of many Veterans they are fighting against change because they will lose power over Vets.

        I am not hearing how he is going to enforce the rules on the books but instead he is calling for changes to again work around the rules. If the code of Federal Regs was enforce the VA would not be in the sad shape it is today.

      2. I hear you about the VSO’s. That does give me pause, but VSO’s are an entity that will have to be included up until Congress yanks their charter. I don’t see any way around that. A plus for Wells is that he doesn’t have a long list that I can find of VSO memberships suggesting he is an insider. The VSO can fight positive changes from him or other veterans, but it is up to Congress to actually change it.
        As for Title 38, I could see an effort to make it clearer if that is what his intent is, or to actually codify what is needed, or even to make it clear to VA employees what is in Title 38.
        As for enforcing the rules, I take his proposals on the IG office, MSPB, law judges, etc., as an action to do that.

        Again, his proposals above, as I perceive them and outlined in my response is what gives me encouragement. They are not simple window dressing statements that don’t mean anything that we usually hear, but actually have some meat to them.
        I think veterans could be stuck with much worse.

  29. Not for nothing, BUT MickyD , Ex CEO of Proctor & Gamble has a huge position in the pharmaceutical business, might need to check out their corporate overseas interests and just how much business they do with the VA.
    The VA is a vast cash cow, multi-level marketing scheme. No one is going to give that up. I’m too lazy to really go into this in any detail, but you can check it out yourself…

    1. It is about the almighty dollar. Many of pharmaceuticals are a waste of taxpayer dollars. Not saying that they are not necessary in many cases but need to be streamlined. And then maybe VA could invest in real quality health care for vets. Benjamin, you would be excellent. Why do we need an officer for a choice? W

      1. Officer who has come up through enlisted ranks as a baseline for VA secretary. Ben, how about you?

  30. Wow! I like everything about this guy’s reform plan. It clearly shows he has detailed knowledge of the problems that have been plaguing the VA for many years that no Secretary or Congress has been willing to fix.

    If nothing else, he certainly needs to be an Undersecretary or veterans advisor to get this plan enacted as much as possible. If you think of just a few of his issues being implemented, it would be a night and day difference in what we have to put up with now.

    Its also a huge contrast with those who have been suggested for SecVA to date.

    1. The VA mafia will devour his flesh and leave the bones behind to bleach in the sun, as a reminder for the rest of us . You would need Tony Montana and his little friend for that job….

      1. That may be the case no matter who is nominated if Trump and Congress don’t support him.

        I recall years ago watching Jesse Brown testify about Gulf War issues. I recall Congress essentially saying he could have a blank check to fix the problems with Gulf War vets. He declined. I liked Jesse Brown because I believe he had empathy with disabled vets, but he declined because that is what the White House wanted him to do.

    2. Commander Wells has a sound plan to begin reforms at the VA – – – and is a tough, fair-minded man who (given appropriate political-fallout cover) will make substantive changes that will benefit all veterans. His introduction will go something like this:

      “Ladies and Gentleman,

      This (dis)Organization is fucked up. It does not remotely serve the needs of our veterans. You are going to unfuck it. If you do not unfuck it, I am going to fuck you.”

      End of Meeting.

      He will not be afraid to take a hands on approach, and will spend some time down below the deck plates talking with, not at the troops. And he does know how to listen.

      I hadn’t thought about Ben as SecVA until I read some of the previous posters comments. I agree that Ben would make a great SecVa. But would he accept the position if offered?

      Time to revise my Top 3 Picks for SecVA:

      1. John Wells
      2. Ben Krause
      3. Jeff Sessions

      1. You are hereby nominated for the speach writing position within Sec. VA Office! Perfect.

        It would really be more effective though if he also wore some snake skin cowboy boots and initiated boot therapy applied directly to the prostate via the most appropriate entry point. A free cancer check!

        Words can scare, but a cowboy boot in the ass makes the point in a way that words cannot describe. Good post.

      2. I’m picturing the boots wearing a poncho and a thin cheroot dangling in a Josey Wales style.

      3. You sound like you have personal knowledge of Wells, and if so, it sounds encouraging.
        I agree Ben would make a great SecVA since he knows what weasels so many can be.
        Sessions is at DOJ, where he will likely end up helping reform the VA whether he wants to or not.

      4. @Dennis – – – First meeting needs to be the fishing expedition to ascertain who the “slow learners” will be. The Cowboy Boots happen in the second meeting. Just like you said. John will not waste good snake-skin though. Scuffed-up old bull riders boots is what he will be wearing. Justin’s, if memory serves.

        John knows how to root out snakes and weasels. And he well understands the word “Expedite”.

        No matter who fills the slot as SecVA – – – without Presidential Protection from “Politics as Usual”, their talents will not matter. With Presidential Protection, much can be accomplished.

        @91Veteran – Guilty as Charged.

  31. I had not heard of John Wells prior to today so I did a little research on Mr. Wells. Only focusing on the link to Mr. Wells Bio provided by Ben in his article. From the information on his bio, website and blog articles I do not feel he could ever be a good choice to lead the VA.

    Basically, I found that Mr. Wells quotes to be well known out dated rhetoric as the problems within the VA. He makes no mention of poor quality of health care, VA failing to follow the rule of law or the failure of the VSOs system to support Veterans. In fact, the only problem he seems to see at the VA is that the Veterans Help line is not answered in a timely manner.

    From the information gleaned from his website I believe that if he were to head the VA it would only get worse. Although I mean worse for Veterans. The VSOs would certainly see more money and the legal department at the VA would certainly grow in the number of lawyers. Of course, those would be lawyers whose ethics wouldn’t prevent them from working out new ways around the laws written to protect Veterans.

    All in all, he would be a very bad choice for Veterans.

    Although I believe that there would be some very positive changes for Veterans if Ben were selected.

  32. “In concert with the Veterans Service Organizations conduct a baseline review of Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations to streamline the benefits program.”

    I have a novel idea. Let me change one of his sentences from the above to the below. He is close but it needs one minor change;

    “In concert with the Department Of Justice and The Circuit Courts, conduct a baseline review of Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations to streamline the benefits program.”

    1. AMEN. DOJ….the *real* DOJ will have to wait until the clown acting POTUS is out of office so REAL justice can proceed.

      Since Obama is over the VA and VA Secretary, we have not heard one *peep* of that thing called an apology for say, recent death of Veteran inflicted with maggots and sepsis. Not one peep. We have no real leader and have not for 8 years now.

  33. Anybody who uses or has used the VA ever met a major or lieutenant commander or above who has used the VA for health care? What can anyone who has not used the VA bring to the VA?

    1. The same thing that they have always brought for decades; a new slogan, a new picture hanging in the VA lobby, a new promise of accountability, and a new generation of veterans being left behind. This is what any new VA Sec has ever brought and will ever bring to the VA.

      Sec. VA is simply a label on an expensive overstuffed office chair, in a marbled floor office, in a building that rivals the Taj Mahal. To expect anything to change beyond the pictures that hang above the VA workers and face the veterans when we check in for care, is like expecting VA dentists to use clean drill bits. Good idea, but it aint the way it is.

      Unless Sec. VA shows up with a bulldozer and starts from ground zero. He can hang his picture in the center of the bulldozers blade.

    2. @Lem,
      I have not seen hardly any officers, as you describe, or high ranking enlisted, (E-8 or 9), personnel at all in the VHA or VBA.
      I’ve seen a few, very few, “Warrant Officers”!
      You can bet they have ‘special healthcare insurance’! And, you can bet they have some sort of civilian financial goals already set up prior to their retirement. As in “Lobbyists” positions!
      Or like McDuck, Shinseki and others have done.
      Seymore Klearly said Shinseki went back overseas doing something. Granting him a lucrative $$$$$ position. McDuck will probably, (?), go into a “big pharma lobbyists’ position.
      What’s to stop these ingrates to/from becoming more of a negative liability than a positive liability?!?!!?!

    3. The officer who approved my disability suggested I use some of the back pay & obtain counseling outside the VA. Impossible, the order to never speak about it is embedded as deep as the PTSD it caused.

  34. Ben:: Just what the doctored (VA?) ordered, another lawyer in the mix. Thank you sir, may we have another ?

    1. To be completely accurate – “Ben:: the disabled American veteran who was trained as a lawyer at VA expense and through his own determination to succeed, and who is now using his skills to help undo VA injustice done to his fellow vets using computer equipment and skills paid for by the VA.” My God, it does not get ANY sweeter!

      Yes Please! May we have another? (Just don’t get that VA lawyer that Bob McDonald proudly pinned a medal on…)

      1. Right-On!! If any further attorney were to be in the mix of this mess it better-well be none other than JD Benjamin Krause, Disabled Veteran and Superhero Extraordinaire in Blue (not tights, please not tights) 🙂

      2. I’m concerned about about possible contamination by close contact with a suspected contaminant (VA).
        Can’t be too careful these days, might need an NBC team deployed and conduct field tests….:-) put on your NBC gear, we’re going in.

      3. ” JD Benjamin Krause, Disabled Veteran and Superhero Extraordinaire in Blue” would carry that VA Kryptonite called Accountability to weed the rats from the V.A. Titanic. A modern day pied piper of sorts. 🙂

  35. Here’s additional articles from; “” this morning, 9 Dec. 2016. Google the titles:

    #1.) “VA to Let Vets Pre-Select Cemetery Burials Before Death”

    by: Amy Bushatz

    #2.) “Sound Off: Should the US Privatize the VA?”

    posted by: “Under the Radar”

    #3.) “Sound Off: What Happened to Trump’s Veteran Hot Line?”

    #2 has additional articles to examine.

    1. P.S.
      I forgot to add this one from “The Doctor of Common Sense”! It’s hilarious, even though it shows how Obama has ‘flip-flopped’ over what active duty members are allowed to do! Especially when it comes to disregarding the Chain of Command in the military.

      “WTF? Obama Tells Troops They Have A Right to Protest Against Authority and Criticize The President!”

      Utube video dated 8 Dec. 2016

      I would truly advise anyone on active duty to NOT try this! I can see the JAG officers lining up enlisted personnel for many court martials! If not court martials, then 1,000’s of “Article 15’s”!

      1. I am appalled at this. This is Obama giving the green light to the BLM within the military whom have been acting-out. Butthurt Snowflakes. All of them.

        I bet Obama would feel differently about his words if all the sudden the white hut is welcomed with the National Guard to clear house for President Elect Trump. GET OUT…NOW…and make sure to pack-up that mother-in-law that’s also cost the taxpayers a chunk of cash.
        Fumigate and redecorate. Done.

      2. Yeah, that was a truly stupid thing for him to say. As of he can just overturn the UCMJ.
        I will be so glad when that nitwit is finally out of office.

  36. Restructure the culture….

    In a famous psychiatric experiment, a doctor decided to try to find out why prisons were still so violent despite massive reforms. He set up a prison in the university basement and hired kids to be divided into two groups – prisoners and guards. Himself the warden. Make it through the experiment and the kids would get paid.

    Within 36 hours the first prisoner left, desribing that he was “burning up inside”. Within 72 hours the guards became convinced the other prisoners were plotting against them and planning to escape. Lock down procedures were implemented. Less than a day after that, the professor himself called local police to report his own suspicions the student prisoners were planning a breakout and feared violence. At that point the professor made the horrible realization the experiment had gone terribly wrong and terminated it immediately. The guard students protested vigorously against termination.

    In less than one week ordinary students changed into prisoners who hated the guards enough to hurt them, and student guards that began displaying a variety of sadistic behaviours – guards who then refused to voluntarily give up the power they had been granted. This study has been much reported.

    What is the point? The point is that it was NOT the culture that made the place, it was the place that made the culture. In the case of prisons, the student culture aligned itself with the actual prison culture of prisoner violence and sadistic guard behavior.

    There is no evidence I have ever heard of that cultures evolve independent of the surroundings they live in. Once a crack house gets to be a crack house the only way authorities have learned to stop it is to bulldoze it down, thus changing the culture in the house.

    I once saw protesters set up tents in a farm field near Cresswell Oregon to protest the treatment of the milk cows. The tents grew into a small city which developed a culture of defiance. The local police tried to change their culture with reason, offers, and threats. Yet, the tent city kept growing.

    Farmers who milk cows harvest the waste of the cows and spread it on their crops with giant water cannons. It is good for soil. It adds culture to the soil. The water cannons are automated and spray very high up in the air a liquid brown rain that soaks to the bone instantly. One morning,after weeks of negotiations between authorities and the tent city leaders, the farmer on his own volition drug his cow shit cannon into the middle of that field and turned it on. Then left.

    The culture inside the tent city changed within seconds! They determined quickly that nobody in the tent city knew how to turn off the poop cannon, so they took their culture down the road and the farmer got his field back. He changed the culture of that city. I guess the farmer figured that the approach of “winning their hearts and their minds” wasn’t working out well enough and he knew something that the police and the tent city folk did not know – he knew how to turn on the poop cannon. Problem solved, and field fertilized in just one try. Double bonus.

    John, if you think you can change the culture inside monuments of treachery, deceit, and death is possible, then maybe you should have been the police negotiator at that tent city? Maybe you can run a better prison experiment? Perhaps you can change a crackhouse into a wholesome home?

    What we need is a man who KNOWS how to change a culture; I say we hire that farmer and rent his poop cannon and have him tractor the thing into the middle of each VA facility and then we give that AWESOME American farmer the green light to let the brown water cleanse the cultural fields of the VA! Historically the newspaper reported that the farmer saw astonishing results within seconds of the grape sized brown drops descending organically upon the city culture and soaking every inch of the field, so history is on my side with this plan.

    John, I say let us give the farmer from Cresswell Oregon another shot at fame and culture restructuring. Then fire up the crack house bulldozers, and send the sadistic guards home – and call off this failed experiment called VA.

    Please, please, PLEASE Mr. Farmer, let me be the one to flip the switch on the poop cannon!

    1. @Dennis- 🙂 🙂 Thank You! To the point, myself originally a good old Indiana farmboy, the huge pig and cattle farms also called it “THE HONEY WAGON”. I am pretty sure I would prefer the velocity and trajectory of your Pacific-Northwest Oregonian Poop Canons. Brilliant.
      But remember to take into consideration that the VA AFGE Union may infiltrate pearls to be poop cannoned onto the AFGE Swine and I still quite prefer your suggestion of high-yield tactical logistics 5k from orbit. Maybe the poop canon and tactical logistics can be incorporated to be thorough?

      The VA already has their counter offensive poop canon on the anterior of it’s meat grinder.

      Thanks for morning endorphins.

    2. The Midwest Honey Wagon is equiv. to USAF A-10 jets, whereas your Pacific-Northwest Oregonian Poop Canons are clearly ICBM’s. (Incontinence Covering Bowel Movements)

    3. @Dennis,
      You basically described, “The Lord of the Flies”!
      Two groups wanting control of each other. Only, one group was docile, the other violent or considered barbarians.

      I also don’t see where he wants to bring the AFGE ‘to heal’! Until that happens, the VA will continue to be that train wreck. Unless the contract with the union is renegotiated, well, we all know the answer to that!!!!

      Lastly, I’ve learned recently, “polls” don’t really reflect what the total of America truly wants. We have seen how “polls” were manipulated during the last election cycle to favor one candidate over another. Massive voter fraud, not withstanding!

  37. The afge didn’t help me when i needed help. I really do not what they do. Drink alot of coffee.

    1. The AFGE does what most labor unions do – they collect dues. They make sure that contracts made outside of their realm (VA) go to affiliate brotherhoods (AFL/CIO). They make sure that the status quo is maintained. They use the union dues you pay to provide what I would call over priced whores for Congressmen and Senators to enjoy an evening meal with at a “five star” restaraunt.

      They make sure that nobody is embarassed by allowing a fellow union employee to out-performs the other union employees. They arrange transfers. They demand higher wages, and higher wages, and higher wages. They threaten and embarass the folks who choose a different path, and they call them “scabs”, and they run their keys across the paint jobs of the scabs cars and leave messages on a scabs voicemail that inform them the scabs children are at risk.

      Union hate scabs.

      They drink coffee and drive Rolls Royce cars, and they arrange for medals to be pinned on their chests by the very highest ranking officials that money can buy.

      In short, the AFGE does exactly the same things that any good national labor union does. Why would they act any different?


  38. All good ambitions but still, to be frank; none of which realistically obtainable as long as the AFGE is entrenched within the VA and unless I am missing it, am not seeing anywhere it states an ambition to renegotiate the terms of contract with the VA AFGE Union. As long as they continue to have the employee’s by the balls, nothing will change.
    I realize the next POTUS and Congress would likely have to do that but the next VA Secretary needs to be down with that. Where’s John Wells’ stance on that 800 LB gorilla always in the room but nobody dares poke it? Otherwise, Wells has some great ambitions but non of which obtainable while the VA AFGE Union continues to steer it more of an Incompetence R Us org., rather than for the very Veterans there to serve.
    The head of the snake needs severed, nothing less.
    When VA employees continue to brag that it’s near impossible to fire them and they rub it in our faces by playing whack a mole simply cannot continue.
    Again, maybe I am missing that but at least in my mind this seems like the -1- thing not tried yet because nobody has had the balls to stand-up to that 800 gorilla in the room called the VA AFGE Union and it’s high time for that.

    1. I should add that when one has focal points and ambitions that mention the VSO’s you may as well be talking about continuing the same meat and gravy train and symbiotic relationship the VSO’s and VA currently employ and the AFGE is like the cement keeping that broken system in place on the VA side.

      1. I agree on that. Having the VSOs involved in anything just means whatever comes out the other end is watered down.

        The next SecVA needs to recognize that, and be damn clear that the VSOs have not been speaking for many veterans for a long time.

      2. I completely concur with your comments. Every VA Secretary since the AFGE took hold has been constrained by the same issues that are currently exposed. A corrupt AFGE union sponsored by the democrats and if that’s not enough to screw things up throw in the completely anti performance/accountability rules of the civil service review board who reinstate terminated employees even when the union contract process has been followed. I’ve personally seen employees sitting reading newspapers blatantly flaunting their refusal to do any work while management does nothing. Whoever takes over needs to hire a small army of efficiency experts and get rid of redundancies and non performers top to bottom. Nothing will happen without presidential focus to irradicate civil service laws protecting non performers and neutralize the AFGE.

        Without changing the business model the same corrupt culture will continue to fester. The military business model for running the VA isn’t cutting it and never has.

    2. VA AFGE UNION RATS OWN @ RUN VA DC HQ VETS YO ARE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SCREWED BY AFGE UNION CONTRACTS FROM HELL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    3. In response to your comment nam, and ExVA above yours, I disagree.
      Wells point about reconstituting the VAIG would likely take care of many of the points made by ExVA, and forming a group experienced with the MSPB process would streamline the firing of employees that are AFGE. Management does not have protection using MSPB, so he would have to form a separate group for them.
      His plan citing the MSPB tells me he wants to streamline that process, which will be greatly aided by Trumps Labor Secretary.
      Given the details laid out here, if implemented, I believe they would bring serious reform.
      But Trump and Congress would have to get on board and support it. The AFGE will scream.

      1. Thank you for providing more clarity on these things as I clearly did not consider that snowball effect of his proposed plan.
        I still worry about the all too cozy VSO relationships. They need the VA teats removed or completely refocus their agenda to at least put their mission statements into real action for Vets and not the VA and VSO interests.

        Thanks again for further clarity. Most of us have no working knowledge of how things work with the upper VA SES management. Your insight is very appreciated. I easily stand corrected. Just not exactly eager to blindly trust again for a future letdown.

      2. I hear you nam and maybe I am overly gullible, but his plan would create a great deal of change for the good for veterans if fully implemented.
        As for the VSOs, they can either become allies and start fulfilling their congressionally chartered purpose, or they can get the hell off the gravy train. That depends on whether their leadership is smart enough to recognize which way the wind is blowing.

      3. @91Veteran you are correct and i hope that would be the idea in streamlining the termination process. I just cannot see this option because of how protected these so called doctors and administrators are without the AFGE. When they go before boards, reviews, etc. They use their peers, colleagues and politics for protection. When they are escorted off the grounds by security they come back a few years later. That is sadly the truth. The directors are sent to another va because their jobs are valued more than a Veterans life. I wish i could be more optimistic about this and try to hope for the best.

      4. I hear you. His proposal is very much pie in the sky, and greatly dependent on WH support. Any reform of the VA by any SecVA will be dependent on that.
        I just found out my own weasel director is the new director at Hines, VA. He was here less than 2 years coming from St Louis.
        Rearranging the deck chairs.

      5. The salaried physicians are protected more by low pay and benefits than any union. Who wants their job? Poor pay and benefits compared to the corporate alternatives and an ungrateful clientele because of the union protected lower staff. The good physicians leave quickly these days because the VA hasn’t kept pace with the civil sector except for staff that is able to thumb their noses at the clientele.

  39. Didn’t hear anything about reopening mental health beds inpatient for Veterans in crisis and not stable on medications. What about managers and administrators who sabotage programs and Veterans care with the created waitlists across the va systems. No accountability in the va system for criminal acts against Veterans. What about the clinical performance of a doctor or provider even with their poor clinical performance they receive performance bonuses. What about whistleblowers who do the right things why do they get labeled, harassed, and threatened from the criminals who are committing the crimes. These criminals are never held to any accountability they just ge transferred. How do they keep licenses or pass the credentials and privileges in new va to practice when they are in trouble with serious allegations in other states.

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