MMQB – VA To Replace 30-Year Old Scheduling System

Scheduling System

Benjamin KrauseVA just issued a new request for proposal (RFP) to find a government contractor to replace its old 30-year old scheduling system.

VA employee manipulations of its antiquated scheduling system were at the core of the scandal that left many veterans dead. This RFP is set to create a new version of a medical appointment scheduling system (MASS).

Welcome to this edition of Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB) for Veterans. I am your host, Benjamin Krause, creator of the community. This is the number one place of unadulterated veteran centric news, analysis and benefits strategy on the web. MMQB is where I hit on news from the weekend and talk about upcoming news this week.

It was a slow weekend so I will only touch on two things. Here is what we will cover in a brief today:

  • VA set to pay contractor to fix medical scheduling system
  • Think your benefits are safe?
  • Upcoming Congressional hearings



VA finally decided to replace its scheduling system after more than a decade of reports that VA employees were manipulating wait time schedules to improve performance numbers. The current system was created when kids were all excited about Atari 2600.

So, why did it take VA so long to create a new system?

The medical appointment scheduling system (MASS) is set to fix the grand problem within a couple years after the contractor is selected.

The new MASS technology will help improve access to care for veterans by providing schedulers with state-of-the-art, management-based scheduling software.

“When it comes to the care of our veterans, we want the best technology the American marketplace can provide,” said VA Secretary Robert McDonald. “A new and innovative scheduling system is an essential tool we must have in place to enable us to provide our veterans with timely and high quality health care.”

The new system will replace a legacy scheduling system that has been in use at VA since 1985.

VA’s acquisition approach for the new scheduling solution remains full and open; any qualified vendor may compete. Potential bidders are not required to have prior experience working with VA.

Proposals are due on Jan. 9, 2015.

VA released a draft “Performance Work Statement” to maximize industry and stakeholder input. The feedback received from industry has been used to refine the requirements included in the final RFP.

“We are seeking vendors who will work closely with us and can meet our timeline,” said VA Chief Information Officer Stephen Warren. “We are dedicated to finding the right partner to help us create and implement our modern scheduling system.”

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One month ago, Washington Times published an article claiming 60,000 veterans were taking advantage of the system by claiming all the benefits to which they were entitled. To give an idea of how “not that big of a deal” this number is, 60k veterans is only 0.2% of all veterans. Yes, so this outlandish article titled, Veterans caught triple-dipping on benefits, blasts our entire voting block using ill-conceived hyperbole.

No one was “caught” doing anything because the veterans discussed were legally utilizing programs to which they were lawfully entitled to use. Where is the story in all of that? How could that be outrageous? The title should read, Small Percentage Of Veterans Maximizing Their Benefits. Of course, who would read such a boring sounding article?

In the WT article, reporter Stephen Dinan paraded out the usual peanut gallery to decree this alleged abuse of legal benefits — meaning Senator Tom Coburn pushed the issue yet again. The article claims he is, “taking to task those veterans who are abusing the government benefits system.” Can a legal act be abuse? Doesn’t the use of the word “abuse” plainly imply the act decried is illegal?

The article and its title are nothing more than a bait and switch for the unwary reader still unfamiliar with the veterans benefits system.

(Dinan himself is an Ivy League grad and a longtime reporter for Washington Times. I am sure he is not an expert at veterans’ issues, so it is too bad he pushed out this bit of stigmatizing fluff. I for one am tired of reading articles written by people of privilege about veterans benefits, and I have a growing concern that Ivy League educated reports are actively taking shots at those same veterans who protected the wealth interests of their families overseas.)

When articles like this are published, it hit a broadcast repeater factor where numerous other websites run with the story using various deviations of the original title. Within three days, numerous secondary news sources repeated the story with their own spin.

Unfortunately, the folks at Zero Hedge published a summary of the article with a new title of their own, 1000s Of Veterans Busted For Massive Benefits Fraud. Now, how can “fraud” be in the title if nothing complained of what actually illegal?

Veterans referenced in the article were “caught” legally receiving benefits to which they were entitled. They did nothing illegal. It is no different than people like Mitt Romney paying 12% income tax through his numerous legal tax shelters. Except, the individuals in question actually sacrificed for our country.

The problem with this approach is that most readers never get past the headline. They will think thousands of veterans were caught committing benefits fraud.

In reality, the only people caught were Coburn and friends making stigmatizing comments about disabled veterans who are already at a disadvantage getting their benefits. Then you have some of the idiotic rants of readers who saw the headline and failed to read. Here is some of what they said:


Vets….the original government workers.

With internet anyone with a brain can look up what joining the military as an enlistee entails….losers who couldn’t cut it in private sector….red state job welfare program for idiots.

what the heck is “department of defense” doing offense in other country?

Vets deserve nothing. don’t go commit murder in middle east and cry for government benefits back home when all they were good for was flipping burgers anyway.


Easy to avoid the hazards of that job: don’t go overseas into countries that don’t want you there to fight in entirely pointless and endless wars. If you feel a patriotic need to serve in se armed forces capacity, join the coast guard. You have a much lower chance of getting shot, since we aren’t in danger of being invaded by anyone. And, rather than spending time overseas in foreign countries we have no business being in, you actually “guard the coast”…

Read More:





Hepatitis C in Veterans

Date: Wednesday, December 3, 2014 Time: 10:00 AM

Pending Nomination of Leigh A. Bradley

Date: Thursday, December 4, 2014 Time: 10:00 AM



DEC 3, 2014

VA’s Caregiver Program: Assessing Current Prospects and Future Possibilities


DEC 9, 2014

Timeless Honor: Reviewing Current Operations of our National Cemeteries


DEC 11, 2014

Evaluating Federal and Community Efforts to Eliminate Veteran Homelessness




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  1. I’m a Vietnam vet. The comments, above, remind me of the Vietnam era. Only 4.3% of those 18 and above served in the military during that era and the ones who did were vilified and reviled by a large percent of the American population. Today, only 0.45% of Americans have served during “The War on Terrorism.” As the percent of Americans who have ever served, let alone served during one of our many, many ‘conflicts,’ we are an easier and easier target to minimize and ignore.

    Just like the Roman Empire when they enlisted more and more foreigners to fight their wars for them, appreciation for those who serviced diminished until the citizens began to rebel at the cost of maintaining a army and eventually the entire system collapsed.

    Let’s face it – we, as a group, are no longer appreciated but are looked at as a money sucking group of “losers” who are simply too expensive to maintain anymore – so says the vast majority of Americans who have never signed the blank check giving Uncle Sam the right to do with us as he will.

  2. As for the commenters mentioned in the post, some will do ANYTHING to get a raise out of us as vets. Pity them but do not feed into them and their notions of a utopian world. I recently was in a social media discussion with someone who had not served and when called out an several issues he ultimately came back with I should stop milking this whole soldier thing…..don’t give anger a foothold!! He was and is clueless in both the big and little things, like I am in the USAF and not the USA!! Don’t waste your time or give them a second thought.

    As for the RFP I say great….BUT…at what cost? I guarantee there are those reading this who could form a team and meet the need at a fraction of the cost but the VA will ask for, and get, another billion or so to procure and implement this system and even then it will be years off. It is nothing more than window dressing and a more sophisticated system for them to manipulate until the culture changes.


  3. I just want to add also that this Senator Tom Coburn makes me want to puke. He’s typical of the babyboomer politicians who never ever served and who don’t appreciate those of us that do. I looked a little bit into Coburns background. He consistently votes against veterans and anything with funding the VA. I’m a babyboomer also, but I wasn’t like the majority of my generation that didn’t want to serve and didn’t. I’m almost certain that Coburn used the draft deferment system to get exempted from the draft while he was attending Oral Roberts Univ. Like the majority of our generation, he enjoyed the luxury of being exempted. He criticizes compensated veterans without ever appreciating the sacrifices that veterans have made.

  4. Commentator #1 makes me wish they would bring back the draft and then put him into a hot LZ somewhere. They’re not called LZ’s anymore, but you get my drift. When that chopper goes in there on short final and it lands, he will unazz that helicopter and when those AK rounds start snapping by his head he will praying for someone or something to save his butt!

  5. I believe every one should be punched in there face as hard as can be, twice in there life. Once when there a snot nosed teen and again when there in the middle thirties, just to let them know the pain that others go through. Those who wright such things live in there mothers basements, boys and girls who need to feel the pain of others not hide in the basements of life, and comment on things they know nothing about. they would cry the longest and won;t the full use of the laws men and women like us fought to keep, good or bad. How about it anyone up for a good old ass kicking!!.

  6. Benmeister- you forgot to touch on the Groves v. McDonald Order that just came down from the CAVC. Bruce Gipe got his ass handed to him on a platter. Not since Harris v. Shinseki or possibly Erspamer v. Derwinski has the Court handed out such a bitchslap. Look for me there on January 2nd 2015 asking for a recall of Mandate on #12-1980 or a Writ to enforce my JMR of 4/2013. It’s showtime. Nothing like handing us Cliff Notes on how to spank them.

    I see Congress is finally going to revisit the Hepatitis C conundrum December 3rd. Look for VA trying to reduce all the Vets on DCs 7345 and 7354 who finally conquer the disease. Too late to restore their health but what the hey? No disease equals no rating, Right? Onward through the fog.

    Alex sends

      1. I stand corrected sir, I apologize. I suffered from tryptophan poisoning and took Friday off. Trust VA to release this on a Saturday. I didn’t know a govt. agency could hold a press conference on a weekend except for the WH.

    1. One old saying that comes to mind is from the Bible.
      “Speak not into the ear of a fool:
      He will only despise thy wisdom.”

  7. Commentor 1: get a real JOB yourself and stop living off you PARENTS. not all VETS enlisted, Some were SNATCHED out of UNIVERSITIES, where they were trying to improve their chances of SUCCESS in AMERICA. Once you become GI, you go where you are told(no RIGHT TO PROTEST), or you GO TO JAIL.

    Commentor 2: you too, must find your own WAY OF SUPPORT. Not everyone could AFFORD to flee to CANADA. By the way, that was a very EMOTIONAL Welcome Home parade you PATRIOTS received after being PARDONED. In this climate, where CHILDREN / TEACHERS are being GUNNED down, I really do not think the Coast Guard is that SAFE a job. after all, most of your TROOPS in COMBAT today are GUARDSMEN.

    I am a VET, proud to have SERVED. Not to take OFFENSE at these comments, but if you are a FISH, you can not IMAGINE the TRIALS of an EAGLE.

    1. Ed, I am a simple man, with simple answers. I joined the military in 1970, even though I was accepted at the University of Georgia and Mercer College.
      So Commenter 1’s argument is untrue.
      Commenter 2 forgot the Public Health Service who serve Native Americans, prisoners, and respond to crises, sometimes out of country. But my bottom line is this; “if I were President, I’d jerk you out of your job and send you to Iraq or Afghanistan. Then you might change your mind (if you have one) about what the military deserves. If you didn’t, I’d send you back for another tour.”

  8. Oh, will this keep them from doing their old song and dance, “Schedule a couple months out, then call the veteran and cancel the night before, telling them it’s for training or some other BS excuse”?

    I’ve been through this shit too often and am giving up on VA Healthcare and going to different insurance, effective next week. I no longer trust them with my health.

    1. I have been reading all of the threads and understand that the system is in need of rehab and an overhaul! However over the past 2 years I have gone 100% over to the VA Healthcare System and am THRILLED with the service I receive. I get every test and every ache and pain looked at without ever hearing “your insurance doesn’t cover this”
      The only thing I want changed is having to go to DIFFERENT VA HOSPITALS for different ailments. Because my local facility is old and small, they don’t have the room for knee replacements or back surgeries.
      This is why I vote to have the ability to use public healthcare for vets who live in rural or like me have to travel hours in both directions to get different things even looked at.
      Thank You VA Providers for being the best and doing your best! I have never received the level of service as I have the last 2 years…great job Wilmington VA!
      To everyone else… Let’s focus on implementing a new system quicker than 2 years… That’s a lot of vets that could die!

      1. Sounds like you’ve had better luck with your VA than I did with mine. I’m not going to pull punches–my VA is the shits and they can take a flying leap. In the past calendar year, I have not had a PCP most of the time, getting through to them by phone is hard, the optometrist won’t see me, there is no dental, the VA hospital is several hours away, I was just dropped by my MH counselor, and the list goes on and on. I hate the VA healthcare at this point.

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