OSC Manchester VA Spinal Cord Disease

Neglect, ‘Fly Infestation’ Linked To Spinal Cord Disease At Manchester VA

Clinical neglect and “longstanding fly infestation” in the operating room at Manchester VA are linked to higher than average instances of spinal cord disease in veterans there.

Whistleblowers reported that patient neglect resulted in spinal cord disease and that a great number of veterans were affected. Following review by the Office of Special Counsel, the watchdog agency concluded VA’s response to the whistleblowers was sluggish up until the media got involved. And, that those delays sent the wrong message to whistleblowers.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I am providing the entire OSC report for your review below. As you are reading this, I ask that you consider out of the box ideas on how to better combat deleterious delays and stalling the agency engages in to grind oversight to a halt.

RELATED: Suicide Risk Higher For Married Veterans

OSC Report On Manchester VA Spinal Cord Disease Scandal

WASHINGTON, D.C./Jan. 25, 2018 – The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) today notified President Trump of shortcomings in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) response to disclosures of wrongdoing at the VA Medical Center of Manchester, New Hampshire. Whistleblower disclosures included concerns that a large number of patients at the Manchester facility developed serious spinal cord disease as a result of clinical neglect. OSC found the VA’s response largely sluggish until the media covered the problems. Even after that coverage, the agency chose not to review certain serious allegations.

“The VA did not initiate substantive changes to resolve identified issues until over seven months had elapsed, and only did so after widespread public attention focused on these matters,” Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner wrote to the President. “It is critical that whistleblowers be able to have confidence that the VA will address public health and safety issues immediately, regardless of what news coverage an issue receives.” 

Kerner wrote that OSC referred the allegations to the VA for investigation in early January 2017, but the VA did not take any action to remove responsible management officials or initiate a comprehensive review of the facility until after the Boston Globe published an article in July. “This sends an unacceptable message to VA whistleblowers that only the glaring spotlight of public scrutiny will move the agency to action, not disclosures made through statutorily established channels,” Kerner wrote.

The four whistleblowers, all medical doctors, brought forward concerns of a higher presence of a serious spinal cord condition known as myelopathy among Manchester VA patients, despite a significant decline in this condition in the general U.S. population. They alleged that transfers to another facility were not performed in a timely manner, against agency policy. They described substandard surgical procedures, leading to one patient who developed a spinal infection and possibly died from complications and another patient who developed a spinal infection after surgery but survived.

The whistleblowers alleged that the prior chief of the Spinal Cord Unit inappropriately copied and pasted chart notes for patients between 2002 and 2012, contributing to the high incidence of myelopathy in the Manchester VA patient population.

The whistleblowers also described a longstanding fly infestation in an operating room.

OSC referred the matters to the VA, which conducted an investigation and sent a report to OSC on June 20, 2017. The report contained internally inconsistent conclusions at odds with the information adduced in the investigation. OSC requested two supplemental reports to address many of these issues and provide updates on external chart reviews. Ultimately, Kerner found that the VA’s findings were not reasonable.

Kerner wrote that the agency appears to have chosen not to review allegations concerning dirty and potentially contaminated surgical instruments because they did not appear in OSC’s original referral letter. “This position is at odds with the conduct and disposition of prior investigations of allegations referred by OSC,” Kerner wrote. “It further demonstrates a myopic approach that could potentially cause harm by ignoring allegations of substantial and specific dangers to public health and safety.”

Kerner described the VA’s initial sluggish response to the allegations, such as recommending additional medical chart reviews, compared to the agency’s immediate and comprehensive response to the Boston Globe article, which included making major personnel changes pending the outcome of a “top to bottom” review of the facility and a pledge to spend an additional $30 million at the Manchester VA to improve patient care.

Given that potentially lengthy chart reviews of patients involved in these matters are ongoing, OSC will request updates on the progress of this analysis as well as findings when the reviews are completed. OSC will request an update in writing every six months regarding the disposition of these reviews and the expected timeline for completion. OSC will also request a summary of the findings upon completion.

OSC sent a copy of the letter to the President, unredacted versions of the agency reports, and the whistleblowers’ comments to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Committees on Veterans’ Affairs.  OSC  also filed the letter to the President, the whistleblower ’ comments, and redacted copies of the agency reports in its public file at www.osc.gov. 

Source: https://osc.gov/News/pr-18-13.pdf

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  1. 01/29/2018

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    ABC News reported on January 25, 2018:
    “The findings announced Thursday from the Office of the Special Counsel follow reports last summer from The Boston Globe that 11 physicians and medical employees alleged the Manchester facility was endangering patients. They described a fly-infested operating room, surgical instruments that weren’t always sterilized and patients whose conditions were ignored or weren’t treated properly.”

    What is so hard not to believe that this statement it true. Maybe you need a tank to drive the message through these treasonous bastards.

    The Governor of HN [Christopher T. Sununu] should be down there with the Mayor of Manchester [Joyce Craig] with State Medical Experts [on 09/11/17 retirement of Dr. Thomas Andrew, the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of New Hampshire—20 years on the job] to verify the conditions.

    It is amazing what you will find buried under the rug for 20 years; just imagine 242 years!


    Don Karg

  2. Off Topic:

    Just saw on national news VA Sec. Shulkin was out amongst D.C.’s Veteran Homeless, saying hello on the streets while it’s still mid-50’s this Winter…on a P.R. Rainbow Tour to end Veteran Homelessness.
    Too bad it was really freakin’ cold last few weeks and I am betting that Vet that died in a VAMC parking garage in Wisconsin, I think, after being turned-loose by the VA in the coldest winter since ’77…am not knocking VA Sec’s efforts, but those photo-ops SURE would look a tad more convincing had it been the torturous cold elements of homeless vets and maybe a tad further than the edge of the D.C. Swamp…
    …what I am suggesting is, when the head God Syndrome is out kicking the pavement on a warmer winter day, something else is certainly brewing and this is a rainbow unicorn fart smokescreen.
    Remember VA Sec. McDonald, while vacationing in Hawaii, he ALSO did some photo-ops on ending Veteran homelessness while Rome was still burning….?

    Patterns….Patterns….Petulant Patterns…

  3. VA has a tendency to manipulate science for its own benefit, not the veterans
    By Rory E. Riley-Topping, The Hill opinion contributor — 01/18/18

    “In a recent critique of the Department of Veterans Affairs policy on conducting research into the effects of medical marijuana on PTSD and/or chronic pain, John Hudak of the Brookings Institute states that “old-fashioned biases, incomplete evaluations of existing literature, and a mischaracterization of policy has, to this point, won the day at VA.”

    Hudak’s description of VA’s research program as lacking complete information, its response as an unfortunate combination of false information, and its rationale as incomprehensible logic, all hit the nail on the head.

    Unfortunately for veterans, this statement does not just apply to the VA’s position on medical marijuana research. It also applies to the VA’s continued use of dogs in unnecessary “maximum pain” experiments that, as noted by Hudak in reference to medical marijuana “do not advance health care for our veterans.”

    By law, any research conducted by the VA must be “in connection with the provision of medical care and treatment to veterans” and, more specifically, should focus on “research into injuries and illnesses particularly related to service.”

    VA’s current research priorities do not accomplish either of these statutory objectives.

    First, with regard to both research into medical marijuana and research on dogs, the VA’s response to its critics has been to rely on misleading information to support its position.

    With regard to dog research, VA took credit for medical advancements such as insulin and the recently FDA-approved artificial pancreas. However, the discovery of insulin took place in 1921, a full two years before VA’s research program was created. Medtronic, the company that created the artificial pancreas, recently denied that VA’s dog research had any involvement in the device.

    Similarly, with regard to medical marijuana research, VA stated that that side effects associated with its usage , including an increase in suicide, development of psychotic symptoms, and an increase in traffic accidents, outweighed any benefits to the research.

    However, upon further review, the VA’s stated reasons are easily refuted, including by a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which found that “there is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults.” Moreover, as also noted by Hudak, if impaired driving were a bar to medical research, the entire pharmaceutical industry would go out of business.”

    Full Article At: https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/369528-va-has-a-tendency-to-manipulate-science-for-its-own-benefit-not-the

  4. Good morning from cannabis free Oregon! Today I am pasting a quote from my Congressman Defazio. This was reported in a local newspaper not too long ago. I am not sure what on Earth a cogressman can say more than this, so to you Peter Defazio, thank you and well said. Most of us vets believe this applies across America too;

    “For years I have received numerous complaints about the substandard management throughout the VARHS (VA Roseburg Health System) and yet nothing has changed despite repeated outreach to every level of leadership at the Department of Veterans Affairs, including a direct appeal to the Secretary last week,” DeFazio said October 12. “Poor management has resulted in degraded patient care and difficulty in recruiting and retaining talented medical professionals to help Oregon’s veterans. It’s outrageous that in addition to delays and government bureaucracy veteran care is being hampered by management issues. Doctors, nurses, and other VA employees are putting their careers on the line to improve the system, risking potential retaliation from the same inadequate leadership. The status quo is entirely unacceptable, and it is time for the VA to stop passing the buck and take immediate action. Our veterans deserve better.”

    1. I sincerely hope DeFazio will shake the entire gov’t tree branch…esp. that one the obsessive tweeter roosts within.
      VA Sec. Shulkin is a lap dog suck-up and will not do anything to upset the stability of critters on stairmasters in the swamp universe…I’m thinking before the world’s stage at the UN on grounds of crimes against humanity. Veterancide/Genocide…it is what it is.

      Oh, good morning from not-so-cannabis-free Midwest, but well-morning-baked all the same! 😀

  5. Dennis

    ““I came here for a reason,” Beyer said. “I am a retired career military woman, and these are my people. My mission will not be complete until the care received within the VA, at a minimum, reaches civilian standards. We veterans deserve it.”

    This woman and I clearly have a similar fire in the belly to see things set right. Likely she has been fired by now for saying this to the press but do you see what the horror is in her statement?

    Let me rephrase what she said, “…for the first time in a year she did not feel hopeless.”

    Let me ask you, how can even a good hearted person function as a provider of care for the sick and wounded when they feel hopeless that it makes a difference to the suffering? I wonder how many times I saw apathy when in fact it was just a hopeless employee believing that nothing they did really mattered? These investigations that go nowhere simply feed that.” End quote.

    If dozens of others have come forward out there in your region you all may have a chance for some change. That will not happen in Indiana.

    I have tried everything even ads in Craig’s List, forums, etc. Everything tried so far but put ads in, explaining things, for those like you, her, and me, in the local communist rag newspaper that is full of uncaring propagandist, lefties, and liars. All I got from ads/attempts were negatives and not one positive. And to do ads in the local commie rag I have to get situated to get a PO Box for safety concerns and get things on paper instead of by phone or net. That and signs to put in the back of my truck are my next moves when I can. Like those big political signs people have sticking up for all to see or question me over. Or target me in for more BS, doesn’t matter.

    If you came here to live you’d find the same responses I do even from your MC League. All branches actually. Some of the worst of the worse, the censors, power players, self-serving, corrupt, council critters, politicians, the appointed/hired, are/were members of the MCL.

    The fiery ones I knew in that arena before their passing that had some fire left was extinguished and they were forced to bow to the local machines and cabals. To join their own herd, or, to be loyal to their own. It was that or face what I do, have, and will. It would mean they find city employment, other placements, fitting in, or not. It would mean keeping others in their MCL off their backs or not, and hard pressed to support their League brothers in their own political or civil service pursuits…and it wasn’t to improve the VA or any of the negatives locally, just the opposite. Who else would condone and support chronic censoring and retaliation against people like me? So you and that lady are a rarity in my book, and have not had the pleasure of finding the likes, or kindreds, here locally over the – years. Or so to-date. But pressing on the best I can and in my own ways, or ways I have left.

    I have tried it all but don’t have the money to hire an attorney, but found out long ago, and presently, that too is fruitless and a major loss. No legal help to be found in this corrupt state either. Learned that many times over and as explained. Nothing but brink walls and BS.

    Oh well. Good fortune, blessings, thoughts, hope, for some change out your way. May be your region can start a fire that spreads to hell holes like mine. Good day!

    1. @T
      Lawyers do not really help with the solution to this sort of thing. Money gets transferred, words get spoken, a gavel lands THUD and then back to business as usual.

      My ideas about how to deal with VA in a Constitutional manner stems from my time living in a small trailer.

      I bought some acreage and lived on it a travel trailer near Roseburg for a while. It was an old clear cut with about thirty years of blackerry briar growth. If you know the area you can appreciate how very big and VERY formidible 30 year old thriving blackberry bushes are. I had 20 acres of this but they spread mostly as a network sort of running along the more furtile routes and the water. They form huge netwoks of thorny giant vines and are more impassable really than any razor wire fence is, at least if you are not a rat.

      I bought an excavator machine which is like a backhoe but on tracks and with a rotating turret. It was a 7500 pound diesel unit and boy howdy could that boom reach out and tear into the ground, bush, and even trees. Hydraulics like that might be slow but they are all but unstoppable to most things. One day I decided to tackle the biggest of the networks of blackberries. It was sort of daunting because the bush was so much larger than even the excavator was but the bucket on the end of the arm had a huge long reach and is all steel. I reached the claw out and started to shake the top of that huge thorny fortress with the bucket as I decided the best way to rip it out would be to plunge down from the top and center (blind) and when the bucket hit something hard I planned then to rip backwards

      I was ASTONISHED to see half a dozen rats haul ass out from that bush when the top of it began to shake! They were HUGE and inside a fruiting bush with thorns all around they had the perfect fortress and food source for decades. I laughed because I realized were all the corn was going I had in sacks for some animals I had. I honestly had never before even caught sight of those six rat before this and they were enormous! I thought, “lesson learned.”

      Then I plunged the bucket a bit further shaking the bush again. 12-20 more huge rats hauled ass. My jaw dropped as I began to realize the enormous nature of my underestimation of just how many rats there were in that twenty acre network of impeneterable thorny homes with everything needed to prosper and…. mulitply…

      As the bucket hit mid bush it was like a scene out of Willard but in a herding roundup chaotic kind of way. Those godamn rats were hundreds and hundreds strong and once I FINALLY got all those bushes torn out (820 hours on the engine meter of excavator time) months later the miracle was that the area turned to green pasture and the hundreds of tiny beautiful evergreen tree seedlings left from the clearcut began to grow like never before. The area flourished more in that first year than it had in the past ten before I cleared the bushes and the rats.

      Those rats ate all the new green and those bushes kept the light from the trees and they could not grow. What lesson did I learn? Mostly that is one hell of a good time tearing out enormous blackberries with an excavator! It is like God mode destruction of the bush!!!

      Secondly of all it is bloody hard to rip out thorny briars decades old and once you commit there will be many-a-thorn you must pluck from your skin before you are done because those vines whip back too as you tear them out by the roots. Mostly though I learned that to really know just how many rats there are you have to start shaking the bush.

      This is what OIG, HHS, OCS, and every other alphabet agency complaint I have made represents to me. Each one shakes the bush a little more and we see as a nation the rats running for new cover and for every one we see there seem to be two hundred more still there. The reason my property became again a flourishing and productive part of the forest was simple – I did not stop shaking the bushes until they were gone and when the bushes were gone the rats moved on.

      Before I started I could not envision how anything could clear all those thorns and briars. Then one day by keeping the faith and plodding along – they were gone. The rats all moved away to places more furtile.

      I hope my friend that somehow by shaking my end of this formidible network of thorny barriers that at your end somehow it will turn something thorny, ugly, and of comfort only to the rodents into something part of the forest again and beautiful. You might find too that when that day comes there will be a WHOLE lot more corn in the feed sacks…

      Semper Fi

  6. Here is a copy and paste from a public article made by the Register Guard newspaper. THis is the newspaper that published the stories about me a few years back about my own trials with VA here in Eugene. It is Eugene clinic that is refusing to assign me a PACT team. This article was written in October and explained that the Eugene VA clinic was being investigated. Eugene and Roseburg are the same leadership. Look what this person said and understand she is but one of DOZENS now that have come forward about Roseburg VA leadership and the Eugene crew too. They asked her how she felt about the upcoming investigation. These are the same people I am fighting for care;

    “For the first time since coming to the VA to work, I am feeling hopeful,” said Beyer, who has worked at the Eugene clinic for about a year.

    She said she took a $15-dollar-an-hour pay cut when she left PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield to work for the VA.

    “I came here for a reason,” Beyer said. “I am a retired career military woman, and these are my people. My mission will not be complete until the care received within the VA, at a minimum, reaches civilian standards. We veterans deserve it.”

    This woman and I clearly have a similar fire in the belly to see things set right. Likely she has been fired by now for saying this to the press but do you see what the horror is in her statement?

    Let me rephrase what she said, “…for the first time in a year she did not feel hopeless.”

    Let me ask you, how can even a good hearted person function as a provider of care for the sick and wounded when they feel hopeless that it makes a difference to the suffering? I wonder how many times I saw apathy when in fact it was just a hopeless employee believing that nothing they did really mattered? These investigations that go nowhere simply feed that.

    This woman took a HUGE paycut to help her peeps and VA in returned robbed her of hope. They rob a lot of us is so many ways but hands down out of EVERYTHING that they steal from American veterans they steal the most precious thing of all.

    They rob us of hope – the very thing we need to heal.

  7. One Fine Day In A VAMC Inpatient Hospital Bay: Truth can be stranger than fiction, and here’s proof…

    Veteran inpatient at any VAMC: “Nurse Ratched, there’s an infestation of flies around my food tray.”

    Nurse Ratched: “Tell your uncooked chicken on your food tray to get to work and eat those flies, and leave me alone, I’m sharpening my nails & teeth.”

    Veteran inpatient: “The uncooked chicken just told me to ask if you would simply wear tighter Kevlar panties to contain that stank, it would be a win/win and no more pesky flies.”

    Nurse Ratched: (WHACK!…shuffling/sliding sounds…THUD!!!…)

    VAOIG & OSC 6 weeks later: “We recommend not leaving deceased Vets in shower stalls WITH an uncooked chicken…someone could get sick!”

    Nurse Ratched: (6 weeks later) Relocated to be Charge Nurse of all Veteran Inpatients of her VISN.

  8. Read all the comments. So many of us Veterans are on the same page. Although, I’m not sure we have the right book. Ben, I read your post twice. Why do they need that thirty million dollars? It’s never to help the Veterans, seems the thirty million is for flypaper. We need to find a case and follow it all the way. Like, if, for filthy conditions, and poor medical care, etc……. what in the hell is thirty million dollars more for? When are these stupid senators going to see reality? SHUT this crooked AFGE infected place down. There is no doubt that the VA is a major contributor to Veterans suicides. Anyone who doubts this is either getting rich off it, or just doesn’t give a damn. That does take in every Senator on the Veterans Oversight Committee. And our President?

    1. Good to see you commenting Jo3n, and thanks for the reminder of the $30 million.

      If there was nothing wrong at Manchester, why the need for such a huge amount of money for 1 hospital? Where did the money come from? What slush fund does VA have lying around where they can quickly send $30 million to keep things quiet? Ben reported on the MS&C fund being constantly raided for IT contracts, did the money come from there? Did the VA notify congress? Or are they just using appropriations illegally for whatever they want?

      Which VA hospitals are going to have to reschedule how many surgeries because this $30 million was taken from several places?

  9. MN agencies paid $709K since ’15 to settle sex misconduct claims
    Brian Bakst
    MPR News St. Paul
    Jan 26, 2018

    “Another big settlement involved the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, which paid a former employee $150,000 in 2017.

    A care assistant at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Fergus Falls had sued, claiming she had been physically and verbally harassed by a male coworker.

    She said the man’s actions escalated into stalking behavior and that he would punch walls, throw objects and yell profanities when she rejected his advances.

    She accused the department of not adequately protecting her and said she had to obtain a restraining order against her coworker out of fear of harm. In her lawsuit, the woman said the agency didn’t help enforce that order at the veterans home.

    As part of the agreement, all employees, including management, were ordered to undergo new training in maintaining a respectful workplace. Managers were to receive new training in how to investigate and deal with harassment.

    The woman agreed to leave her job in the deal, in which the agency did not admit wrongdoing.

    Details about the woman’s allegations weren’t included in the records released Friday and there was no investigation file or disciplinary materials included in the documents released by the state on Friday.

    According to depositions and extensive materials in a state court file reviewed by MPR News, veterans home officials insist they took the woman’s concerns seriously.

    They said they conducted two investigations but couldn’t substantiate the allegations, and they concluded it could have been fallout from a consensual romantic relationship between the two. The man was placed on leave during one probe and later resigned his position. He admitted in a deposition to sending some messages to the woman that included slurs.

    The agency had other instances of harassment that resulted in reprimand or suspensions at other facilities.

    They included a nurse at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Minneapolis who was accused of making inappropriate comments toward female coworkers.

    He told investigators that his invitation for one woman to “come sit on my lap” was a joke taken the wrong way. The man received a three-day suspension in 2015.”

    Full Article At: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/01/26/sex-misconduct-settlements-paid-minnesota-agencies

  10. The only reason they get away with it is because there are no consequences for the obstruction. Institution of procedure and punishments that can be enacted within days instead of months and that would be a high threshold of pain both personally and professionally for those who encourage and execute this type of behavior would make the system change.

    Yet, if the unions got a wiff of it before it was law, it would never happen.

  11. Bost calls for firing of key Marion VAMC department head
    Du Quoin Evening Call -Jan 25, 2018

    “Nearly six months after his initial inquiry into reported problems at the Marion Veterans’ Administration Medical Center, congressman Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) is calling on VA Secretary David Shulkin to fire the Marion VA’s human resources director.

    Bost, a member of the subcommittee on oversight and investigations, and the subcommittee chairman, Michigan congressman Jack Bergman, wrote to Shulkin on Jan. 23, saying, “Marion’s dysfunctions have been exposed for all to see.”

    “Our heroes deserve the best care possible, and unqualified leadership in the HR department at Marion prevents that from happening,” said Bost. “That’s why I have appealed directly to the VA Secretary to get an HR team in place at Marion that can clean up the mess.”

    Bost said the letter specifically targets only the head of HR, and declined to identify the employee. The Marion Republican is attempting to reach the person it believes is the subject of Bost and Bergman’s letter.

    As of Thursday afternoon, Shulkin’s office has not indicated whether it will comply with the demand to replace the Marion VA’s human resources director.

    Bost said the problems uncovered in the subcommittee’s investigation include “grossly inconsistent salaries among staff, low morale and a lack of proper training and discipline.” The HR department is failing in its core mission, he said.

    Of the “numerous systemic issues” that the investigation uncovered, Bost and Bergman’s letter to Shulkin details prolonged difficulties recruiting and retaining staff; failures to track and enforce training standards; and an inability to discipline employees

    The letter said the subcommittee has been “candid” with the results of its investigation so far, sharing information with Shulkin, the Marion VAMC and the Veterans Integrated Service Network, but the problems persist.

    Bost said Wednesday he and Bergman sent Shulkin the letter demanding action because they felt this one issue, above all others, needs to be addressed quickly.””

    Full Article At: https://www.google.com/search?q=veterans+administration&tbm=nws&ei=c-drWsrVDtCGjwOC0aeQCw&start=30&sa=N&biw=1228&bih=950&dpr=1

    1. Former Arkansas VA employee accused of trying to sell veterans’ personal data
      by KATV Thursday, January 25th 2018

      “LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — An Arkansas man is accused of trying to sell veterans’ personal information last year when he was employed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a news release.

      Phillip Hill, 32, of Benton, was charged in federal court with attempted trafficking of access devices, such as social security numbers.

      Cody Hiland, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, said in the news release that Hill tried to sell the personal data of veterans, their family members and Veterans Affairs employees for $10,000 to an informant working with law enforcement agencies.

      Hill, a database manager, was fired from his job on Dec. 6, but later said he could still access veterans’ personal information remotely by using a Veterans Affairs computer he’d kept or by stealing a server, according to the release.

      Authorities reportedly arrested Hill outside a data center at a Veterans Affairs office on Dec. 17.

      Hill also faces counts of aggravated identity theft and possession of device-making equipment. Authorities said he had used another person’s personal information and illegally possessed blank identification cards.

      Full Article At: https://katv.com/news/local/former-arkansas-va-employee-accused-of-trying-to-sell-veterans-personal-data


      Department of Justice
      U.S. Attorney’s Office
      Eastern District of Arkansas
      Press Release
      Thursday, January 25, 2018

      Investigators Stop Former Department of Veterans Affairs Employee From Selling Personal Information of Veterans and Federal Employees
      LITTLE ROCK—Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced today the unsealing of an indictment charging Phillip Hill, 32, of Benton, a former Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) database manager, with attempting to sell the personal information of veterans and VA employees.

      The indictment, returned by a grand jury in the Eastern District of Arkansas on January 9, 2018, and unsealed today, charges Hill with attempted trafficking of access devices (i.e., social security numbers), aggravated identity theft, and possession of device-making equipment. Hill was previously arrested on December 17, 2017, and charged via complaint on December 18, 2017. Today Hill appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Joe J. Volpe and was released on bond. Trial is set for March 5, 2018.

      The investigation revealed that Hill offered to sell the personal data of veterans, their dependents, and VA employees for $100,000 to a confidential source working with law enforcement. Hill was terminated by the VA on December 6, 2017. After being fired from the VA, Hill said he could still access the information remotely with a VA computer in his possession, or by stealing a VA server. Hill was arrested outside a secure area at the VA that housed the data he was offering for sale. Law enforcement officers executing a search warrant found a VA computer in Hill’s home.

      “Mr. Hill tried to use his position and skills to enrich himself at the expense of veterans who have honorably served our country, and the VA employees working to serve them,” Hiland said. “This indictment reflects our commitment to defending our veterans and federal employees from those who take advantage of their public service by illegally accessing and selling their personal information. It will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

      Law enforcement officers arrested Hill before he could sell the VA data. Through a variety of investigative methods, investigators also discovered that Hill committed aggravated identity theft by using the personal information of another person, and illegally possessed blank identification cards.

      The maximum penalty for trafficking in social security numbers is up to 10 years’ imprisonment and three years of supervised release. The penalty for aggravated identity theft is two years’ imprisonment and one year of supervised release. The maximum penalty for possessing access device-making equipment is up to 15 years’ imprisonment and three years of supervised release. Additionally, each of these offenses is also punishable by a fine of not more than $250,000.

      The case is being investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, and United States Secret Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ali Ahmad and Hunter Bridges.

      Press Release At: https://www.justice.gov/usao-edar/pr/investigators-stop-former-department-veterans-affairs-employee-selling-personal

      1. So, I would guess this guy worked in the ID card making section, and he had a laptop with everything he needed to make veteran ID cards…hence the identity theft charge.

        I am guessing the “access device making” charge is from him also having the ability to create VA employee PIV cards. If you look up the definition of a PIV card, it is a chipped card containing information on the user that allows access to federal facilities or information systems. That explains why that charge carries 15 years rather than just the 2 years for identity theft.

        If I further had to guess, I suspect this guy was likely the one designated to travel around to other smaller VA facilities like clinics or CBOCs to create or renew ID cards for both veterans and VA employees. It would explain the computer and “access device making” material at his house. I am guessing at this since the ID card making computers and machines I saw at my VA are fairly good sized. But then, I am assuming any VA employee would ask questions if they saw this guy hauling this equipment out to his car.

        The biggest question or concern I have is over how fucked up VA accountability is regarding Identity theft, sensitive information and equipment, particularly that which allows creating ID cards that allow anyone to access a federal facility or computer.

        The guy is arrested after trying to sell all this to an informant. I doubt it was an informant, that it likely was another VA employee blowing the whistle, but informant sounds better to the VA trying to cover their ass. Anyway, the guy is arrested…December 17 outside a VA data center. He was fired December 6th, yet the stuff he had at his house was not found until after his arrest?

        Why the hell did the VA not have better accountability of such sensitive equipment to know he had this equipment at his house until after his arrest?

        If the VA did know he had this equipment, why the hell did it take his arrest 11 days later after he was fired to go get it?

        This will not be something easily covered up by the VA given the Secret Service is involved, but how much more we might find out could be difficult given the sensitivity of the issue.

        Heckuva job VA!

      2. Maybe a family member of someone else working there.

        My question is, who else got an ID card and has it been used? What veteran might be denied pain meds because records show prescriptions already given under his identity? Do pharmacies use PIV cards to access them? If so, who else has a PIV card now to physically get through the doors into the pharmacy?

    2. Former Department of Veterans Affairs official pleads guilty to wire fraud, bribery

      By Allyson Chiu
      The Washington Post
      Jan 24, 2018

      “WASHINGTON — A former U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs official pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of wire fraud and bribery after stealing more than $66,000 in benefit money, the Justice Department said in a statement.

      Between September 2013 and May 2014, Maryland resident Russel Ware stole more than $21,000 in VA disability money by wiring payments in the names of legitimate beneficiaries to his personal bank account, according to the statement.

      The 39-year-old from Upper Marlboro also directed additional disability benefits totaling nearly $46,000 of VA hardship money to a friend, Jacqueline Crawford, in Gulfport, Mississippi, between October 2014 and February 2015, the Justice Department stated, and Ware admitted he instructed Crawford to transfer more than $13,000 to him as a kickback.

      According to the statement, Ware and Crawford were not entitled to receive the money.

      In February, Crawford pleaded guilty to a single count of theft of government property and is awaiting sentencing.”

      Full Article At: https://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/crime_and_justice/cops_and_crime/former-department-of-veterans-affairs-official-pleads-guilty-to-wire/article_c3daf59b-9d7b-5205-af62-f8fdc06781d6.html

      1. Department of Justice
        Office of Public Affairs
        Press Release on indictment
        Thursday, November 9, 2017

        Former Department of Veterans Affairs Employee Indicted on Charges of Wire Fraud, Bribery and Theft

        “A federal grand jury sitting in the District of Columbia returned an indictment yesterday charging a former Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) official with a scheme to steal benefit money for veterans in need from the VA.

        Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division made the announcement.

        Russell M. Ware, 39, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, was charged with four counts of wire fraud in connection with a scheme to steal more than $66,000 from the VA. Ware was also charged with one count of bribery and one count of theft of government property.

        According to the indictment, between September 2013 and May 2014, Ware devised a scheme to steal more than $21,000 in VA disability benefit money, which he had wired to his own bank account. The indictment further alleges that from October 2014 to February 2015, Ware directed additional disability benefits totaling almost $46,000 to a friend, Jacqueline Crawford, 33, of Gulfport, Mississippi, who was not entitled to receive the money. Crawford then kicked back more than $13,000 to Ware, at Ware’s direction, usually through the use of Walmart2Walmart money transfers. Crawford pleaded guilty in February 2017, to an information charging her with a single count of theft of government property related to the scheme, and is awaiting sentencing.”

        Full Press Release At: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-department-veterans-affairs-employee-indicted-charges-wire-fraud-bribery-and-theft

      2. Department of Justice
        Office of Public Affairs
        Press Release for Co Conspirator

        Former Service Member Pleads Guilty to Theft of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Benefits

        “A former U.S. Air Force service member pleaded guilty today in connection with a scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

        Jacqueline Crawford, 33, of Gulfport, Mississippi, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta of the District of Columbia to one count of conversion of government funds. As part of her plea agreement, Crawford has agreed to forfeit $45,917.

        According to her plea agreement, in October 2014, Crawford spoke with a friend and former U.S. Air Force service member, who worked at the VA in Washington, D.C., and described her financial difficulties. In response, her friend suggested that he could send her VA hardship money available to veterans and that all he needed was her bank account information. Crawford agreed to this arrangement despite knowing that her friend was not obtaining the hardship money through proper channels. He later asked Crawford to kick back a portion of the money she received to him, which she agreed to do despite knowing that it was wrong. Between October 2014 and February 2015, Crawford received a total of seven unlawful special payments from the VA totaling $45,917. Crawford admitted she kicked back $13,100 of the funds she received from her friend via 16 wire transfers, usually through Walmart2Walmart money grams.”

        Full Press Release At: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-service-member-pleads-guilty-theft-us-department-veterans-affairs-benefits

      3. If anyone cares to give this thief named “Russell M. Ware” a call he can be reached at his new Job Working for the State of Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs as the Assistant Director of the states Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Programs.

        Russell Ware, Assistant Director

        2825 South Hanover Street
        Baltimore, Maryland 21225
        Office: 410-354-3550
        Fax: 410-354-6558


        I Guess Democrat Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin want to keep the corrupt talent in state. Also the Seven Democrat Representatives must agree with the need to retain the most corrupt the VA has to offer.

    3. Probe: VA Hospital employees took $200G to buy equipment for family business, ordered $750G more
      By Todd Feathers
      Lowell Sun

      “BEDFORD – A father and daughter employed by the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital who funneled at least $200,000 in VA money to a family landscaping business received little more than a slap on the wrist, according to a new report from the Office of Special Counsel.

      Details of the scheme have been widely known throughout the hospital and a whistleblower came forward to report the problems six years ago, sending letters to the VA Office of the Inspector General and other federal agencies. Despite that, little action was taken until last spring.

      The OIG found that Dennis Garneau, the former maintenance and grounds supervisor, purchased more than $200,000 of snow removal and groundskeeping materials from Earth Creations, a landscaping company owned by his son, Dennis Garneau Jr.

      Emails confirmed that Heather Garneau-Harvey, who also worked in the engineering department, knew the purchases were benefiting Earth Creations. Investigators determined that the pair lied about receiving a VA lawyer’s approval for the purchases.

      VA investigators also found that Garneau ordered the purchase of more than $750,000 in landscaping materials without a process in place to ensure the goods were delivered. The whistleblower, Kevin Cornellier, who worked as a tool and parts attendant, alleged that the purchases were part of a kickback scheme.

      Despite VA findings of lack of candor and conduct unbecoming a VA employee against her, Garneau-Harvey was allowed to keep her job at the hospital, receiving a demotion of one pay grade.

      Garneau was allowed to resign from the hospital; the Department of Justice declined to press charges, according to the OSC report.

      “By allowing an employee who engaged in this conduct to remain with the agency, the VA demonstrates a shocking degree of indifference to government ethical standards, procurement regulations and public integrity,” Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner wrote in a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday.

      The OSC recommended that the VA remove Garneau-Harvey from any position in the engineering department or where she could participate in procurement matters.”

      Full Article At: https://www.lowellsun.com/breakingnews/ci_31622260/probe-va-hospital-employees-bought-1m-equipment-family

      1. Probe: Slap on wrist for VA scheme
        By Todd Feathers
        Sentinel Enterprise News

        BEDFORD — A father and daughter employed by the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital who funneled at least $200,000 in VA money to a family landscaping business received little more than a slap on the wrist, according to a new report from the Office of Special Counsel.

        Details of the scheme have been widely known throughout the hospital and a whistleblower came forward to report the problems six years ago, sending letters to the VA Office of the Inspector General and other federal agencies. Despite that, little action was taken until last spring.

        The OIG found that Dennis Garneau, the former maintenance and grounds supervisor, purchased more than $200,000 of snow removal and groundskeeping materials from Earth Creations, a landscaping company owned by his son, Dennis Garneau Jr. Emails confirmed that Heather Garneau-Harvey, who also worked in the engineering department, knew the purchases were benefiting Earth Creations. Investigators determined that the pair lied about receiving a VA lawyer’s approval for the purchases.

        VA investigators also found that Garneau ordered the purchase of more than $750,000 in landscaping materials without a process in place to ensure the goods were delivered. The whistleblower, Kevin Cornellier, who worked as a tool and parts attendant, alleged that the purchases were part of a kickback scheme.

        Despite VA findings of lack of candor and conduct unbecoming a VA employee against her, Garneau-Harvey was allowed to keep her job at the hospital, receiving a demotion of one pay grade.

        Garneau was allowed to resign from the hospital; the Department of Justice declined to press charges, according to the OSC report.

        “By allowing an employee who engaged in this conduct to remain with the agency, the VA demonstrates a shocking degree of indifference to government ethical standards, procurement regulations and public integrity,” Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner wrote in a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday.

        The OSC recommended that the VA remove Garneau-Harvey from any position in the engineering department or where she could participate in procurement matters.

        “I further encourage the VA to take appropriate measures to ensure that conduct like this does not occur in the future, and to suitably discipline employees who have committed serious wrongdoing,” Kerner wrote.

        U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, D-6th, said in statement on Friday that the leadership failure at the hospital is “beyond unacceptable.”

        Full Article At: https://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/news/ci_31624464/probe-slap-wrist-va-scheme

      2. Notice the whistle blower sent letters not only to the VA IG, but to other federal agencies since he knew the IG was worthless?

        Notice the IG did as little as possible, once they were forced to act, so as to not expose her blackmailing VA managers or exposing how pathetic their oversight is that $750,000 can be spent wherever they want?

      3. Former Manchester VA doctor turns up in Baltimore

        New Hampshire Union Leader
        January 27. 2018 9:41PM

        MANCHESTER – Dr. Muhammad Huq, the controversial former head of the spinal cord clinic at the Manchester VA Medical Center cited for a high incidence of serious medical ailments, was transferred to the VA center in Baltimore, Md., federal officials have confirmed.

        The New Hampshire Sunday News independently determined Huq was working as an academic hospitalist at the Baltimore VA as former physician colleagues of his identified him through a photograph on the clinic’s website.

        When asked if this was the case, Curt Cashour, press secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, said Baltimore was where Huq was employed.

        The latest federal report from the Office of Special Counsel released last week reported that nurses at the Manchester VA in 2008 had alerted top officials with their concerns about Huq’s treatment of patients.

        His questionable behavior – copying and pasting old patient chart notes instead of writing new notes – continued for years, the Special Counsel said.

        Dr. Stewart Levenson of Hopkinton, one of the Manchester whistleblowers, is the former New England regional director of the VA.

        “Why does this surprise anyone? If you look at what happened to the senior management in Manchester, why should it come as any shock that this doctor would wind up landing on his feet?” said Levenson, who is a Republican candidate for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District.

        “I am well familiar with Dr. Huq and observed how his work significantly degraded patient care.”

        When the VA opened internal investigations into problems at Manchester, inspectors insisted no harm resulted from Huq’s actions, even though they did not review all of his patient files, the Special Counsel found.

        “The findings regarding Dr. Huq are flawed due to their inconsistency,” Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner wrote to President Donald Trump in a letter dated last Thursday.

        Dr. Huq did not respond to requests for comment sent to his work email address in Baltimore.

        According to Cashour, Huq is paid $221,812 a year, which consists of about $131,000 in salary and another $91,000 in so-called “market pay.”

        The federal VA pays physicians and dentists market pay above their posted salary, which compensates them based on the recruitment and retention needs for that particular medical professional.

        Market pay is set by the VA secretary on a case-by-case basis through peer review based on experience, qualifications and complexity of the position, according to federal officials.

        “It’s no small irony I suppose that he’s getting extra payment down there in recognition of his years of service and his experience as the head of a spinal clinic,” Levenson said.

        The most serious criticisms of the Manchester VA have always centered on the spinal clinic. Critics say a high percentage of spinal clinic patients suffered a loss of spinal cord function known as myelopathy.

        Of the 170 patients at the Manchester spinal unit, 100 had some degree of myelopathy.

        Cashour said there was no evidence that Huq’s practice of copying and pasting records led to bad medical outcomes for his patients.

        “The practice was identified and discontinued. The physician was disciplined. A review of cases did not identify any patient harm related to the incidents where this occurred,” Cashour said.

        Full Article At: https://www.newhampshire.com/Former-Manchester-VA-doctor-turns-up-in-Baltimore


        The VA Whack a Mole System of Retention.

  12. Anal probing by Aliens is a bad thing at the VA. Thanks to the J1 visa.

    Colonoscopy may be linked to appendicitis
    Date:January 26, 2018
    Source:University of North Dakota

    “As it turns out, writes Basson’s team, there is evidence to suggest that colonoscopy can “prompt” appendicitis up to one week after colonoscopy, in at least certain patients.

    Because drawing such a conclusion required access to a large amount of data in order to achieve statistical significance, Basson and his team turned to the Fargo Veterans Administration (VA) Healthcare System for access to Veterans Administration national data, which identified nearly 400,000 veterans across the United States who had experienced screening colonoscopy between January 2009 and June 2014, and whose incidence of subsequent procedures could be tracked.

    “Depending on how you ask the question, it turns out that the rate of appendicitis and appendectomy in the first week after a colonoscopy was at least fourfold higher compared to these patients’ next 51 weeks,” Basson added, noting that the research accounted for differences in the coding of procedures and other discrepancies in the administrative data. “By some measures the increase was 12 fold.””

    Full Article at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180126130601.htm

  13. White House weighs in on stalled VA Choice reform
    January 26, 2018

    WASHINGTON – White House officials issued guidance to senators this week meant to resuscitate negotiations on Department of Veterans Affairs health care reform after legislation has languished in the House and Senate for months.

    The guidance calls for clearer rules about when veterans can go into the private sector for health care and asks senators to remove proposals to implement a hiring quota at VA facilities and expand caregiver benefits that are only available now to veterans injured after 9/11. White House officials also want plans on how to offset costs.

    Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said he hoped the guidance could be a catalyst to overcome divisions among senators on reforms to Veterans Choice, a program created in 2014 to get veterans faster access to care by sending them to private sector doctors.

    Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., the ranking Democrat on the committee, is reviewing the guidance and working with Isakson to reach a compromise, said Marnee Banks, Tester’s communications director.

    “He believes there is a lot of common ground and is encouraged by the open lines of communication,” Banks said.

    Though more veterans are using the Choice program, VA officials and lawmakers have criticized it as bureaucratic and complex, with arbitrary rules governing which veterans are eligible to receive non-VA health care. They’ve been working for about a year to develop a complete overhaul of the program but recently hit an impasse over funding and eligibility concerns.

    The Senate committee voted in November to send a bipartisan bill, the Caring for Our Veterans Act, to the Senate floor. The legislation offered flexibility concerning veterans’ eligibility for private-sector care, making it a decision between veterans and their VA physicians. In a report released this month, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the legislation would cost nearly $50 billion.

    Full Article At: https://www.stripes.com/news/white-house-weighs-in-on-stalled-va-choice-reform-1.508659

  14. “Office of Special Counsel has management advice for Veterans Affairs”

    By Eric White
    January 26, 2018 8:15 am

    “•The Office of Special Counsel urged Veterans Affairs management to toughen its sanctions against employees who cheated. Often the OSC lightens the punishments of federal employees. This time, it has urged VA to bar the employees from any contact with their former division, a procurement shop at the Bedford, Massachusetts Medical Center. Heather Garneau-Harvey and her father, Dennis Garneau, steered landscaping and supplies contracts to Heather’s brother. When exposed, Dennis Garneau eventually quit federal service, and his daughter was demoted. (U.S. Office of Special Counsel)”

    “•OSC also says the V-A ignored whistleblower complaints about problems at a New Hampshire hospital for months. In a letter to the President, O-S-C expresses worries that V-A does not take internal complaints seriously. The office says it asked the agency to investigate allegations of clinical neglect, fly-infested operating rooms and dirty surgical instruments in Manchester, New Hampshire a year ago. But the office says V-A only addressed the issues after the same problems were reported by the Boston Globe seven months later. The special counsel says the case sends an “unacceptable” message to other would-be whistleblowers in the department. (U.S. Office of Special Counsel)”

    For more and to listen to the news cast at: https://federalnewsradio.com/federal-newscast/2018/01/office-of-special-counsel-has-management-advice-for-veterans-affairs/

  15. “Disabled Springfield veteran sues VA over plan to cut home care”
    By Lynne Terry
    The Oregonian/OregonLive
    Jan 25, 6:56 PM

    “A Springfield veteran with Lou Gehrig’s disease who needs around-the-clock care is suing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs over a plan to force him to move to a nursing home out of state.

    The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene, says Michael Williamson has received in-home care for nearly 17 years through a company that contracts with VA’s medical facility in Roseburg, the Roseburg VA Health Care System.

    The company, New Horizons, notified Williamson in November that it will no longer be able to provide services for him after Feb. 13 because it can’t find caregivers, the suit says.

    Instead of finding a new provider, officials at Roseburg VA Health Care System told Williamson they had no other approved caregiving agencies in the area and that he would have to move to a nursing home in San Francisco, Boise or Washington’s Puget Sound, the suit says.

    That’s against VA regulations, said Emily Cooper, legal director for Disability Rights Oregon, the advocacy agency representing Williamson.

    “People shouldn’t have to go to a hospital or institution to get care,” Cooper said.”

    Full Article At: https://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2018/01/disabled_springfield_veteran_s.html

    1. Deputies: Man with knife shot at Veterans Affairs clinic was recently arrested
      by KATU News|
      Friday, January 26th 2018

      WHITE CITY, Ore. – The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office says the man who was shot at a Veterans Affairs clinic in southern Oregon Thursday was pacing and causing a disturbance in the admissions area before the incident Thursday.

      Investigators say Gilbert Matthew Negrete, 34, of Medford, arrived at the Veterans Affairs clinic in White City Thursday morning for a scheduled appointment.

      Witnesses said he began pacing in an agitated state and making paranoid and generally incoherent statements.

      Police responded to address the disturbance. But just before they arrived, Negrete pulled a knife and confronted a clinic employee.

      Veterans Affairs police used less-lethal force options to try and subdue and disarm Negrete, but he began fighting officers.

      A police officer fired a round and struck Negrete in the upper chest. Police and medical staff rendered aid until Jackson County Fire District #3 and Mercy Flights medics arrived on scene.

      Negrete was treated and released from the Rogue Regional Medical Center.

      He was transported to the Jackson County Jail on charges of unlawful use of a weapon, menacing, disorderly conduct and violation of a restraining order.

      Veterans Affairs officials are conducting an internal investigation.

      Full Article At: https://katu.com/news/local/deputies-man-with-knife-shot-at-veterans-affairs-clinic-was-recently-arrested

      1. Interesting. He showed up for a scheduled appointment, but other news reports suggest he was being turned away since it was mentioned it was the 5th time he had been there. Why are they returning away someone that is in such bad condition they are pacing and incoherent? Why is one of his charges a violation of a restraining order? Is that from this incident or an additional charge from another incident? If from this one, why would the VA have a restraining order against a veteran that appears to be badly in need of care?

        How soon will this guy become one of the 22 per day because the VA keeps turning him away?

    2. Police: Man shot at VA clinic had come for appointment
      By Andrew Selsky
      The Associated Press
      January 26, 2018

      “SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A man made paranoid and incoherent statements at a Veterans Affairs clinic and confronted an employee with a knife before he was shot by a security officer, law enforcement officials said Friday.

      Gilbert Matthew Negrete, 34, of Medford, remained in a hospital in Medford on Friday after being shot once in the chest by a Veterans Affairs police officer Thursday in nearby White City, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said.

      The sheriff’s office said in a statement that Negrete had a run-in with the law earlier in the week.

      Police had arrested Negrete on Tuesday on charges of driving under the influence of a controlled substance and attempting to elude police. He was released from jail Wednesday due to jail overcrowding. The sheriff’s office said a man believed to be Negrete then tried to get his car from an impound lot and allegedly threatened an employee with a knife.

      Negrete had an appointment at the VA clinic on Thursday, the sheriff’s office statement said.

      Veterans at the clinic receiving treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues expressed shock about the shooting near the admissions area.

      Shawn Quall, an Army veteran of the first Gulf War who is from Bend, Oregon, said he heard the man shouting before the situation escalated.

      “I was walking down the main hallway when I overheard a veteran yelling at intake people that he was here for the fifth time trying to get health care, and was upset at what he thought was a runaround,” Quall said in a telephone interview soon after the shooting.

      Quall said he heard the yelling get louder and someone shouted “He’s got a knife!” before a shot was fired.

      The sheriff’s office said staff members and patients told investigators that Negrete had not voiced frustration about health care or VA policies.

      VA police had tried “less-lethal force options” to disarm Negrete before one of the officers fired, the sheriff’s office said.”

      Full Article At: https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/police-man-shot-at-va-clinic-had-come-for-appointment-2/

      1. He was making paranoid and incoherent statements, but he didn’t express frustration with VA care or policies?

        What kind of fucked up statement is that to plant in the news by a VA PR hack?

      2. Another articles that leaves me with more questions than answers.

        With all the various forms of non-lethal take downs and they just have some kind of mace or spray and hand guns? That is all I have ever seen the locals carry at the hospital and zero Tazers. Like they will use the Tazer or other things first before a “good shoot.” Hell, they have guns that shoot nets out on people, why not use them in a health care system or nut house? Sheesh. No, shoot em.

        Give them head dope and turn them loose without proper care or blood testing, or questions for issues with the dope?

        One incident here when the CBOC called the cops on guy over about the same issue, minus a knife, called a female psych a bitch. No threats, no nothing. I was walking in the front door and stopped to talk to the guy before being called in by vets inside and the shrink. I stayed out talking to him until I finally walked inside to just shut the freaks up inside the building calling me in, and seemed more out of order than the vet out front. But it seems for the smallest reason or bruised ego by some”professional” that should be able to tolerate some name calling or outburst like they do with their teammates during a “burn-out” tantrum. Surely they can calm a vet down and talk to him. I was able to do it. But then here comes the cops and those inside was afraid I’d be shot or harmed. So WTF. And I don’t trust VA or local cops at all with plenty of reasons why. I’ve witnessed more that is enough. One is enough.

        If I can take the time to talk to vets losing it, or going through some issues, or walking out of the VA tearing mirrors off vehicles or keying some they are so pissed off, etc. Then why can’t those freaking high paid, uncaring losers at the VA or CBOC do the same damn thing without the cops or creating more legal issues for a veteran. That may ruin them for life and on their records so employment would suffer too. Total non-sense.

        Also! This is what local censoring wants us to keep ignorant about. This stuff if possible would NOT be reported in local media. All media here, town leaders, LEOs, just give excuses for not reporting why our jails and prisons are full of prisoners with mental issues and tax LEOs having to provide the dope for them, see they take it, and that is all. LEOs will state… “we are not social workers.” Then we here a lot of them are veterans. Then they claim to set up different drug courts for them, but many are still jailed and play the money game.

        So media and all here want to censor us.

        They will not report events like this, unless cornered to do so. They all refuse to report on crime stats, have something like a crime blog, or report informing what all those sirens are signing through the night and day. No news at all. Yet there are so many prisoners they have to build another jail, more prisons, and send a bunch of prisoners out of county to be jailed at higher costs.

        Pretty sad to live in communities and not know really what is going on, why vehicle windows are busted out in mass, burglaries, or whatever may be going on we never hear of. Maybe when its too late, like with unlisted pedophiles moving in along with issues. eTc.

        Plus the “good shoots” from killing people with disabilities. Or like years ago, a quadriplegic was arrested for drugs and let die while in jail. I know because I knew him. And a couple more mistreated and shot dead, no non-lethal attempts made.

        With their money they could have special teams for swift response to get some vet under control without killing them. There is no excuse for this crap, none.

      3. I don’t know if you have posted this link Seymore, but it provides a good deal more detail on this issue from his father.

        His father tried to get him care at the VA Tuesday. The VA gave him Zoloft and released him with an appointment for Thursday.

        It seems like his father was with him at the VA when he was shot.


        He had 2 tours, Iraq and Afghanistan, and had been trying to get care since January 2016.

  16. I think I’m going to get a bumper sticker made that says, Dying from bad VA medical care isn’t worth dying in a damn war for!

    1. After one of my last visits to the VA when they denied me from using the Choice card, breaking my jaw while removing a tooth (another reason why I left them for good), I ordered some bumper stickers online saying “I survived the VA.” And another…”The VA Giving veterans a second chance to die for their country.” Google or DuckDuckgo it.

      Be prepared to catch some flak if your community is as sick as mine is. And doesn’t want any negativity about anything seen or heard.

      1. Thanks. I may just google for a sticker that will say, “Tide pods are good for you”. And you’re correct, I do live in a sick community that allowed Stormy Daniels to run for political office once.

  17. Give veterans the same voice prison inmates have about how they are treated. It’s called an ARP (administration remedy procedure ). Which creates a paper trial that must be dealt with, not ignored until it is forgotten. It must be overlooked by an entity outside and not associated with the VA. Using combat veterans would be a good start.

  18. It is rather common condition in buildings like Out patient centers and Hospitals, the flies go into the walls through what they call the Weep holes, most hospitals will put fly traps, and treat the cavities in the ceiling to keep the flies from coming in, and of course make sure the lights are sealed or cleaned out regularly. The research they did in relationship to flies and spine is faulty. The reason many people are having spinal problems is the TCE eats the bone marrow and causes osteoporosis, and bone cancers at same time. TCE is a defatting chemical and the bone marrow just gets gutted after years, all determined by amount of exposure. I have no way of knowing if the Veterans that go there have higher exposure? But I do know that a fly unless it breaks into the sterile field will have no bearing. What might be another issue is air changes, If they don’t do particle counts? Or if the leave operating rooms doors open so the room is not pressurized, you want everything in the surgery room to push out towards the other attached area’s, not the other way around.

  19. @Dennis – I may have missed it somewhere, but can you list a reference per your statement;

    “VA is prohibited by law from making my healthcare decisions for me without consent.”

    I also believe that your statement is in direct relation to the Evidence/Experience Based Medicine (EBM) Triad Treatment Model. To the point where Veteran’s expectations, and values are basically completely ignored. And, if I recall correctly, when in question, this is the Model that the VA usually refers to.

    1. I replied with a link awaiting moderation above. The link goes into detail and if Ben approves it you can read extensively about federal VA healthcare rights. Here is the reg number you can find it on the GPO (government printing office) sight for just the law itself
      38 C.F.R. Section 17.32

      1. @Dennis – I should of posted my original question to you separately, instead of being mixed in with another comment. So I didn’t know if you seen the first one or not. That’s why I posted for a second time. Should be an interesting read. Thank you for replying.

  20. Another “issue”, which more likely than NOT, is connected to those egregious acts at Manchester VHA – could be veterans suicide !
    Think about it.
    Veterans get additional life threatening medical conditions, due to VHA’s employees NOT doing their jobs, – so – Why NOT?

  21. Interesting. I see several news reports on this, including one showing a point by point list of excuses from the VA pushing back on the OSC report.

    Is Shulkin suddenly worried because of a letter to Trump?

    The excuses are a mix of misleading crap. Likely written by Cashour. They claim Shulkin investigated immediately…once OSC reported to the VA. They ignore waiting for 7 months until the OSC got involved.
    They also brag about doing a medical chart review, as if that means anything. Reviewing a medical record for evidence of VA malpractice is like keeping an AFGE thug away from the donut cart…a useless exercise. Nowhere do they state whether they actually contacted veterans to verify the bullshit entered in their charts.


    1. 91Veteran,
      Isn’t the Manchester VHA the same one an attorney for the whistleblowers sent an email/letter to Shulkin? Then “Shithead Shulkin” said he didn’t know anything about anything happening there!
      Basically, Shulkin is complicit in the cover up and loss of life of veterans at every damn one of his VHA’s!
      “FUCK VA!”
      “FUCK AFGE!”

      Have I left anyone out? LOL

      1. Yes, if our current Administration doesn’t do what he’s known to do, is to act on, and then say, “You’re fired.”

        Fucking strange, I have not read one post on Ben’s blog, where a Veteran who is using the VA for healthcare, and who has tooted their horn claiming that everything is fine and dandy with VA services. No not one.

        And at this point in time, if Ben’s blog had an uptick of such posts, then Ben would be startled, and then most likely he’d seek out verification, and if cleared, he’d would then be writing success stories. Where are the success stories without the hype, smoke screens, and mirrors. Tell me where are they?

        There are many more of us that are tired, and frustrated of being undermined, manipulated, lied to, violated and abused, name being smeared, records falsified and misplaced, medical procedures that has killed, shortened lives, actions that has caused and is causing unnecessary stress (Vet, spouse, service animal), phones calls not returned via 48 hours, Patient Advocate kissing someones ass, prescribed medications that doesn’t work, being prescribed an overload of medications (or recommending such), not considering the values and expectations about med-care, and much more, all which most likely negatively effects the Vet.

        Where’s POTUS Trump? Do you mean to tell me, that a business man doesn’t have scoots to check and verify any changes of operations? If things don’t change soon, POTUS will not have those Vets using the VA as a vote. But does he really care about the common Vet (those that aren’t a General T, or Burger King, or a bush- oops sorry, that’d be Queen)?

      2. 91Veteran,
        I’m not sure IF Ben, or maybe Seymore Klearly first gave the article, on the Manchester VHA!?!

  22. Shulkin is a waste of time. I have been a successful business man for a long time and trying to address problems when too late is ridiculous. If I was Shulkin or the President, I would assemble a team that could go into any facility we chose and inspect. I would have enough people to go in and inspect top to bottom in max 2-3 days.

    With information can then be able to know exactly the problem areas are in each Hospital. I would not inform anyone that an inspection is coming to get the most information possible.

    In any business environment you must know your shortfalls to be successful. Finding your weak links and putting together the correct resolutions and training programs, especially when finding common denominators.

    Relying on information from the employees in charge of any facility is complete stupidity. Most people are just not qualified for their positions without support and training. I imagine the knuckleheads above do not want that information because will show they are part of the problem too and don’t want to be liable.

    No matter how difficult because the volume of problems, must start somewhere. Why assembling a very qualified team to go through a hospitals, get the information and inspect others in say every 2 weeks. The serious problems get fix immediately and the VA’s grapevine will get others moving before their inspections correcting existing problems they know and even better when reports come out with information passed between directors.

    Must always keep in place so the mountains become mole hills and training is successful instead of people going on trips for presentations which are more vacations. Hard egg to crack but need to start somewhere and must know your problems before taking trips to England.

    1. Sorry if hard to read or mistakes. Cognitive issues make difficult some times and do best I can

    1. And don’t forget those elongated turbulent titty tunabeast parading around disguised as healthcare providers!

  23. Again at the risk of being censured, when the VA boobecrats cause the death of Veterans through reckless indifference to the life or death of veterans then they should be killed by a well planned tactic , (intentional needle infection of disease and other remedies). The VA nor the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has DONE NOTHING to put these boos on notice that their reckless indifference will result in their own demise. So, Shulkin, BULLSHIT! The Inspector General’s office reserves the jobs of investigators to those boobecrats already employed by the VA………..
    Result?…..more cover ups

    1. You made a sentence that defies logic honestly. There is no tactic that is “well planned” when it comes to inflicting harm without Due Process and a trial before a jury of your peers. There are only misguided plans that work to harm. We cannot logical fix anything by harming another human. Spilling blood for blood is not the American way.

      I understand why you might feel this way and I believe there are tens of thousands of vets who might share your sentiment. However it is called murder. Would you really do this to try to fix a problem?

  24. I am having trouble understand something, so hopefully Ben or others can clarify…

    What is the OSC and why are they involved? Why is this group different from the VA OGC or the VA IG?

    Is this a separate entity set up to resolve whistle blower complaints? If so, that explains why this OSC would have sent the letter to Trump.

    I see the date listed for Manchester in the “public file” link is January 25th, 2018. I so sincerely hope this is a nuke weapon dropped on that Shithole known as the VA. This should tell every VA director that they should act when they receive reports of problems. This should tell certain flunkies in Shulkins office and in VISN directors offices they might want to oversee their hospitals. This should tell the VA IG to do their damn jobs.

    So they removed top managers there…7 months later and only after the Boston Globe, a paper in another state, reported on it. Yet even AFTER all this, the VA still decided to ignore the most serious issues. Are those managers fired? Or just reassigned? Why not investigate more and see who those managers reported to, and why their supervisors ignored those reports. Who decided to ignore investigating more serious issues? I would think the VISN or higher would have been overseeing this disaster, and involved in the decision to ignore serious problems. What the hell is the VA IG office doing still operating? Missal should be fired and the rest of that worthless office shut down.

    This truly sums up what has been wrong with the VA for years. Criminal indifference to treatment of veterans for years. I so hope this OSC office will start getting things changed, starting with getting some of these hacks fired.

    As for Manchester, how can they be rated as a 3 star hospital in 2016, and as a 4 star hospital in 2017?

    My thought outside the box? The OSC web site has an online complaint form. Although it looks like it is only for VA employees, I suggest veterans start using it to report things the VA IG refuses to address. Dennis? Are you game for this? At some point, the OSC should recognize how many complaints they are getting because the IG refuses to do their job.

    1. To confuse and distract is to control.

      I can’t clarify much since it’s all very confusing as hell to me, and nobody in any office, agency, staffers, power position cares, or seems fearful or indifferent, to do their jobs properly or can’t…too inept. Or they are out-right militant MoveOn, union, staffer, or Antifa type activist out to destroy everyone and anything they can.

      No-one seems eager, willing, over-joyed, compelled, concerned enough to help us or give us the slightest bit of info or names that can be of real use. I can refer to calls and emails that just said “wrong agency” “wrong medical board” “you can’t,” or told or signed communications saying they are … “Me,” “from Me.” Who the hell is “me”? Dr Who? Who does that kind of message or talk then just hang up or leave the message as is. “Go back to the VA or hire an attorney.” Stop.

      Sure are some good actors, marketers, PR people, sales people, and fast talkers out there. Not once has anyone gone out of their way to help me, or some others, with anything over the VA or civilian issues, or about some damn activist, or butt hurt sociopath local politicians, councilmen, media whores, etc., out to do all the damage they can to me. None will put out that much time and energy to help, but there seems to be plenty of assholes out there from the top (DC to locally) down more than willing to do harm. side-step issues, pass the buck, confuse more, and harassment in every way imaginable. Then blame it all on too big of a government and they all seem to want more of it. Then call me “insane,” the conspiracy nut or trouble maker wanting to see people fired or something.

      Locally they are adding two, 2, more CBOCs just to add to the existing problems and not wanting to address the issues we have now. Then they keep adding social workers that are supposed to help all the systems plus the illegals flooding in. More big government, more population they can’t control, take care of or fix. More red-tape, more agencies to sift through, more staffers to talk BS, more people in government that don’t have a clue what they are doing or blaming being swamped, under-staffed, needing temp workers, etc. Endless crap, but it all keeps growing by leaps and bounds but not in a good way. Then we get censored trying to group up locally or to spread info by social media.

      Seems to me POTUS and those in DC and state levels could put the brakes on all this crap and corruption going on, but they aren’t doing it for reasons obvious to me.

      LOL. Then to piss me off more all these news paper sites wanting/forcing us to get a paid subscription to their rags to read more articles they may have of importance and pass along.

    2. @91Veteran
      My guess is that when the VA hotline issued a new and additional case number and called it a “retaliation” case number that this likely elevates it to OSC. I do not know this for sure.

      1. I just got off the phone with VA D.C. The lady saw that they had again refused service and assigned me to Choice. She said, “That is exactly what we told them NOT to do! I cannot understand what is going on!” Then she promised they would get the bottom of this.

        Holding breath now…. it should be soon, right? lolz. One thing is for sure, VA D.C. is kind of pissed at Roseburg over this. I explained I was filing a Privacy Act complaint for transfering records and she said, “Good! I will add that to this as well.”

      2. Question Dennis: Would you honestly feel safe and secure going back for any kind of care connected to the VA, etc? After all the struggle and shit? Just curious.

        I don’t see how some of you do it. Must show what a totally corrupt town and state I live in I guess.

        Back in the early seventies fresh out of the military caught my divorce attorney at my soon to be X-wives apartment. Nothing much to do about that either. Guess that is seen as ethical, no professional misconduct there. He dropped me as a client went to her, and they lost anyway along with the child custody suit. Local scum. Want more?

        I wrote about this before. Having a federal brief, all evidence..photos, recordings, reports, etc., accidetally lost by my past state’s attorney general lawyer I hired in the big city to handle the process. It would have turned Indiana and a lot of corruption, the elite, billionaires, mafia types, union, state, Fed inspectors, many more, etc., on their ears and exposed much. But the Indiana Supreme Court of Disciplinary actions, the ABA, or BAR, others, reported or seen no evidence of professional misconduct or ethic violations. Locally the shysters can do and lie all they want without a worry.

        Another example:
        I go to small claims court here. Get called into the judges chambers, told what a great case I had, witnesses present, good job.. … “case dismissed” you can leave the court room now. Which I didn’t but never changed anything. Waited, number called, told “case dismissed I said, goodbye Mr T.” But I did get to see some more of that fine local corruption, court-room/Freemasonry work up close and personal as they stood by the defendent spinning their rings, and the judge giving me a small lecture on who to not bother with law suits or court actions like this. Those protected ones. Wow, no misconduct there either I guess. Same stuff again with later issues I had to deal with.

        Then some wonder why I am so pissed off with new laws/ordinances coming locally forbidding electronics, cell phones, recording devices, all, not allowed in our court house. And on to go to other meetings concering this town. Fascism and tyranny 10 points…Serfs and veterans..00. No FOIA requests or questions honored locally or answered.

        Another quicky:
        Detective refused to press charges, like the prosecutors office saying it was up to the Det. to see charges pressed against a female burglar and thief. More Hamster wheel shit and never did get satisfaction from the crime. And she was never charged with the crime but sent to prison on other matters later on. Why did the cops protect her? Boinking her or what? Must have been. Nothing more to be done about it, noone to complain to.

        Fast forward to more recently. I can’t find an attorney here to get involved in any legal matters. Unless a couple of them wanted huge up-front retainers but no gurantees. For instance. I ended up having to get paper-work from DC and state veteran affairs stating that SS Disability and VA disaiblity was exempt from bankuptcy. Not locally obviously. My attorny on the last day warned me that I would lose all my VA dis back pay and huge chunks of my monthly if I didn’t agree to a Chap 13 with some pay back, and not file the Chap 7 which we went for previously, then he changed his mind. Which also makes him an extra couple thousand bucks but he said to me, ‘don’t worry you are not the one paying for that.” He told me before I fired him, that the Court Trustee can do whatever they want and that VA disabilty was NOT exempt from any bankruptcy. The letters I had sent to me saying the opposite didn’t matter and to them… false information. Then moer BS and more money to close the bankruptcy case cause a lowly citizen cannot do the process without an attorney and his special coded ring with some magic numbers to use online.

        So with the flu, no pain meds, game playing, temp of 104, hanky over my face, had to sit through a dumb ass courtroom and agree to everything for fear of losing it all, and to get the hell home and back in bed. And told to agree to it all then and now or pay and go through the entire process again that took me mucho money, many days and hours to get it done from the get-go. And many hours of stupid waiting in lines for bankruptcies at the lawyers office which meant 4 hours the last time I went before court. Then told by the smiling faces to have a nice day and get home and feel better. Right!

        I tried to get help or meet with someone or other VSOs or attorneys lcoally to be with me or for some adivce. No go. Noone wanted to get involved. A couple of attorneys stated they didn’t concern themselves with cleaning up others messes, or flat out didn’t do local cases like that. Some claimed “professional courtesy-will not get involved.” Legions was no help. Private dectivies with lawyer buddies at one Legion were of no help and didn’t want involved due to poltics, and it being a “conflict of interest.” And on and on she goes and where the shit stops nobody knows.

        So just by the short of things and what I experienced over the years in this state’s legal system, agencies, the politics, etc. I don’t see how others can get by doing what you do without bringing the local corrupt circle’s roof down on your heads. To do what some of you are doing locally, here, you’d better have some connections, damn good friends, trusted cops around, or something going for you that I don’t
        have or can attain. Oh well. Over.

      3. @T
        Would I go back to VA care. Let me make my position PERFECTLY clear on this. I have taken up the fight to correct and deflect behaviour of those employed by The People because I DO give a shit what happens. It is why I chose first the Marine Corps and then the Oregon Army Nat. Guard. Both represent my commitment first to country, my devotion second to State, and my true belief that I can only make a difference if I act.

        HOWEVER…. they sit on valuable medicine that is legally mine to use and that I need but…

        Why on Earth would I go back to face those who have betrayed their ethics and who would cast into doubt my honor as an American veteran? Simple. I go back not face them and look them in the eyes – I go back so they have to face me and look into mine. I will take all bets and pay ten to one odds that they can’t look me in the eye. I want to find out.

      4. Dennis.

        In the ball park of what I was figuring or pondering on today. Plus dealing with snakes and snake eyes been on my brain for some odd reason, then you mention about them looking you in the eye.

        All geographic locations are different in many ways. In my neck of the woods they can and will TRY to stare you down, keep on looking in your eyes while smiling, spitting venom (threats), making nonsensical demands to continue care with them, called names like “criminals,” say we “are all alike,” and so on. The damned smiling/chuckles during intense conversations dealing with issues really got my goat and fur up. Then to get the same treatment by other clinics or another new PCP, nurse, wanna-be counselor, a series of PAs, or desk tech. Then changing everything about our care from meds, treatments, “order” us not to use Choice cards or civilian care for anything.. including those statements about car wrecks or heart attacks telling us to drive a hundred miles to the Indy VA only.

        Or then to save money they claim stop ordering special shoes that did work like SAS, but changed to styles and makers that we couldn’t even wear, another big loss and joke. Telling us to deal with it, that is all they are going to have or order from now on.

        Or be told we were to forget everything and anything any civilian MD has told us, like with second opinions or when using the Choice card before. Then again be told to forget whatever the specialty clinics have told us or what is in our files. It’s all a new beginning and will be doing all the testing, and running around all over again. Total BS. And there was much more to tolerate than that.

        Here they will provoke the hell out of you on the phone or in person glaring in your eyes the entire time. That is when I have to turn away and walk off before all hell breaks loose and I end up in jail or mental health emergency detention they love to use around here for some retaliation kicks and laughs. Both by the VA and others who just want to play games and cause harm to innocent people.

        So in the final days there wasn’t any great help there at all just hassles, games, venom, activist shit, and threats. The only thing offered by them was anti-depressants, Gabapentin, with signed documents demanded stating we give power over to the VA to have near total control over our lives, and to take whatever drugs they wanted (by contract force) us to use or try, and then we may get some pain meds, maybe, but not till we made them happy. Regardless of any severe side-effects we had from playing lab rat for them previously on their test dope and anti-depressants. It was in reality an all out loss of everything that worked and have it all pulled away to the smallest detail or item. And to only use VA care, period. For absolutely nothing that would better our quality of life and needs.

        So between all the above and much more, along with a VA cop unlatching his firearm, palming it, ready to shoot me over claiming I moved some damn orange parking cone so I could get a parking spot? Enough was enough with the VA. I’d try the legal system again… big joke. Or, the political scene… bigger joke but still doing and playing anti-VA activist, anti-corruption, anti-censoring, etc., I can do. Damn near anti-every-damn-thing. For the cause and for future generations!

        So now they and many others just want me to shut-up and go away. Or bow and conform. Ha. Not happening. Come on my turf and try to shut me up. Sign MY special contracts and documents you bastards. Let them get in my face off their turf and then glare at me or say some of the stuff they did while on their turf. The outcome will be very different.

        I put up with, overlooked, and tolerated a lot over the years with them. But the last five years there was enough. I got my answers, bad vibes explained, and hunches made clear to me. I found out more than once and with several attempts for change or better outcomes that never came. Just more never ending VA crap in person, over the phone, on E-vet, didn’t matter.

        Blessing and good luck with it all Dennis. (And all others). Hope you find a better ending than some of us here ended up with.

      5. Good to hear somebody is showing some life and concern Dennis.

        Any concern over the IG refusing to look?

      6. No concern about the IG at all. History shows me everything I need to know. The point of filing an OIG complaint is that at some point in the future in some legal forum there might come the question, “What did you do to fix this?” My answer is correctly that I contacted every federal agency that was available to me.

        In my past lives I have been involved in various court issues from patent issues, to land sale contract issues, to child custody issues and so forth. If you show up with a complaint in front of a judge and demonstrate that you exhausted all possible avenues to make things right then I believe they place far more credibility on your case than if you do not.

        I guess the judge wants to see if you exhausted all the customary problem resolving resources made available before you ask for a custom solution via the courts. Same with Privacy Act complaints.

      7. I understand your point Dennis. Its just infuriating to me that there is a significant office within the VA whose authority stems from the laws congress passed to establish them….and they flat out refuse to do their jobs.

        No matter what your medicine might ultimately cost, it will never compare to the millions pissed away by this bunch of hacks.

      8. I wouldn’t count on that being the case Dennis. When looking at the OSC site, it appeared to be solely focused on handling employee problems. Whistle blowers, retaliation, etc.

        My point was, if its good enough for employees, it should be good enough for OSC to investigate complaints of retaliation against veterans when the IG refuses to investigate.

  25. Outright Corruption. PERIOD. Why? Read the posts.

    @Dennis – I may have missed it somewhere, but can you list a reference per your statement;

    “VA is prohibited by law from making my healthcare decisions for me without consent.”

    I also believe that your statement is in direct relation to the Evidence/Experience Based Medicine (EBM) Triad Treatment Model. To the point where Veteran’s expectations, and values are basically completely ignored. And, if I recall correctly, when in question, this is the Model that the VA usually refers to.

    Thank you ALL for being so informative, and supportive.

  26. Today I am e filing yet another Privacy Act complaint against VA. Here is why:

    VA is prohibited by law from making my healthcare decisions for me without consent. They are also prohibited by law from enrolling me in the Choice Program without my consent. Four times now against my express wishes they have enrolled in Choice. A few days ago a company called Triwest called to welcome me on board. I explained I had not given permission to enroll me in Choice which is what she said they would be handling. So what is so bad about this then?

    Here is my Privacy Act complaint: When asked, she told me that VA had sent my entire medical record to Triwest as a result of authorizing the Choice Program. I never consented to Choice or was even asked and I expressly forbid it. Yet now Triwest, a company I want no part of, is in posession of my medical records. The lady at Triwest claimed it was not posssible to be referred to the program without a VA provider, yet VA claims all care is being handled by Choice and refuses to assign a provider. To me this seems so utterly bizarre. It looks like they are rigging the new EWL process to show numbers that aren’t real.

    hhs dot gov will be asked by me to investigate unauthorized transfer of my entire medical record to Triwest under fraudulent premise and in direct violation of multiple VA directives and federal law. I will cite the directives.

    Why not invite the whole crew to the party, I say.

    1. Dennis, I don’t know if you heard the latest news from white city VA, yesterday a VA cop shot a veteran. this is still being investigated. what I can glean from the news is that this veteran was trying to get treatment for mental health issues for months from the VA. apparently he was under the impression that he would be finally be getting that help yesterday.

      the reporting on this story has been vague thus far as Jackson county sheriff is still investigating, but was reported that the veteran brandished a knife and was then shot by the VA cop. veteran was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.

      1. Here is what a resident heard

        “…a veteran yelling at intake people that he was here for the fifth time trying to get health care, and was upset at what he thought was a runaround,”

      2. I have always tried to intervene on behalf of the veteran when I observe such a situation and I make sure the VA knows that I will not put up with any bully shit against the Vet and that I know the law. Most times I can resolve the problem and stop the bully stuff, (just like they originally tried to pull on me in D.C)

      3. That’s exactly why I choose to use my Medicare at considerably more expense rather than the hacks at the VA and also reason I stay clear of FB and like social media sites because I *know myself well enough* that ignorance and fuckery will quickly reach a boiling-point of intolerance, whether it’s directed towards me or another Veteran or Survivor in my periphery, I WILL REACT…and am pretty sure the VA’s Barney Patrol and DBC would react as well, making me into a meatsack with many holes.

        Self-control…been there, tried that. Until and if things are safe again at the VA, I sadly just stay away. I’d like to think I am performing a public service by doing so. If I did not have the choice of Medicare I would have been dead already by the VA’s ineptitude about 7 years ago already so I’m seeing that cause and effect thing again…

    2. Dennis:

    3. Good on you for pursuing this Dennis, and good tactic to file a Privacy Act complaint.

      Somebody there is working over time to cover someone’s ass. I am truly shocked you got a call from TriWest so fast.
      You should ask TriWest for a couple things.

      1. What is the authorization number provided to TriWest by the VA?

      2. Are there any names of VA employees on this referral to TriWest?

      I agree. How can they do this without a Primary Care provider assigned.

      It seems the VA has found a way to put veterans in limbo, look good on their wait lists, and have a ready excuse for you “falling through the cracks”.

      …along with the excuses about lack of training and lack of following policies and procedures…

  27. The OSC cherry picks cases for a publicity stunt (about once a year) and when the media gets involved – to give this false impression that they actually do something.

    Like a year ago, the previous head, Carolyn whatever, was even accused of going after whistleblowers under her.

    I just finished telling off a OSC attorney yesterday. And, I had to muster all the strength in my thumbs (cuz I type with the thumbs on my phone) to not tell her what I really wanted to say, which is she and the OSC are GARBAGE. They are SUB-HUMAN GARBAGE. Actually, garbage has more dignity then the sub-human slime that is the OSC.

    They sit on your case for months and contact you towards the end of the 120 day period they get to work on it to tell you they have no grounds (based on inaccurate and precedent statute/case law) to do a thing. Oh, but they give you an “opportunity” to respond. Mind you, like a fool you go into more explanation; more attempts to give them evidence that you barely have (cuz duh, that’s why you need them to exercise their authority to get evidence to support your non-frivolous allegations)……only for them (again) to sit and wait and still tell you that you have no case.

    Oh, and the cherry they put on top of blowing you off? They say your allegations are ‘speculations’ and you don’t have any evidence to support your allegations. No sh* Sherlock. How am I to obtain “evidence” without the subpoena power the OSC has and/or the power of discovery upon filing a Merit Systems Protection Board (“MSPB”). Oh, I forget, lemme grab some “evidence” from the VA so they can get their cronies at DOJ and HHS to hem me up on subjective Privacy Act violations.

    Oh, and the fun part includes the scruitny the MSPB puts you under to see if you “exhausted your administrative remedies” with the OSC. So, you have to sit for 120 days and waste time – knowing the OSC won’t do a thing (which is 120 more days w/o relief to the crap an agency is doing to you) because if you don’t play the game with the OSC, makes the MSPB’s goal to deny over 90% of whistleblower cases a heck of a lot easier.

    Lesson for today? OSC is GARBAGE. Useless, sub-human poop.

    1. It is weird that there was Lois Lerner, then Carolyn Lerner in charge of Agencies with major problems. The last person in charge of OSC was ousted forcibly after evidence of corruption surfaced. OSC is suppose to disclose all disclosures, including criminal prosecution requests directly to the President under OSC statues.

      1. Foxes guarding henhouses…something else to add to Dennis’ Wiki post on the VA, as it will fully explain that old saying once and for all.

        OSC= Office Special Clowns
        VAOIG= (see above)
        DOJ= (see above, above)


  28. As for the flies; VA Sec. Shulkin wants to make the AFGE herd more *safe* from we Vets? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA…
    Those flies were probably originating from the asscracks working there.

    Dr. Shulkin: Just ask yourself why Senator McCain chose to NOT use the VA for his brain cancer? It’s not a hard question unless you have an extreme case of God Syndrome. 😀

  29. @PresidentTrump #shutthevadownasap
    It’s about time something is done to correct one of the most corrupt government agencies, along with its union, in America. The only solution, I recommend, is to SHUT THE DAMN VA DOWN!
    How much of the taxpayers monies, possibly being misspent or “pocketed” by criminal elements in the VA, is it going to take to start putting criminals in prison?
    The Manchester VHA is but one example of how criminals continue to operate within our government system. The “report” by “Special Council Henry J. Kerner” shows HOW the VHA administration in Manchester refuses to be held accountable for their misdeeds of corruption by the OSC and/or the DOJ!
    From past articles, Shulkin knew about these allegations, and yet did NOTHING! This makes him “complicit”!

    1. The pure shit that you have to put up with, they attempted to refuse me entrance to the Board of Veterans Affairs to research cases, they attempted to refuse to allow me to gain entrance to the court of Veterans Appeals to research cases, (by some boob Army Colonel, “Retired who tried to intimidate me with his former rank, They tried to keep me from entering the main facility ob Vermont Ave, N.W, in D.C. they tried to tell me my records were “burned up in the fire in St. Louis” until I went to the D.C. Regional Office and pounded on the counter and demanded to see my records and “LOW AND BEHOLD” they appeared from under the counter but some snarky clerk still attempted to sabotage those records, (and the Director of the VA Regional office took me into his office and admitted “off the record that Vets’ records were being thrown away…..” The VA is beyond fixxing , my fellow vets, a clean sweep is necessary, Crazy Elf is absolutely right; nothing less than total shut down will work.

  30. “Sluggish” is just a high-gloss scab of a word for lackadaisical, lazy, and indifferent attitudes and Ben, you ask for out of the box ideas for dealing with their shunning VA kryptonite called accountability?

    I firmly believe there comes a time with *any system* in which a hard reset is needed to clear the bugs in the software, and a human indifference-infected systemic mess such as the VA is currently, requires what I have been saying for years now…the VA requires a complete enema, hard reset. Flush and repeat, start over.

    Yes, that means even potentially really great employees get flushed-out with the cancerous turds infecting the VA bowels. The VA *is* a G.I. System, right? Treat it as such and flush the fucks and start over but…but…this time, only former military and make the VA a direct transit from military life to civilian careers and NO MORE AFGE.
    That’s how you deal with anything petulantly resistant to change.

    1. I’m reminded of Jack Nicholson in Hoffa where he told some guy how to handle some situations.

      You go in, you fire a bunch of people right from the start. Those that are left are then grateful for their jobs.

      Problem is, Trump doesn’t have the muscle behind him that he needs like Hoffa. I am not making excuses, but even after months of these serious scandals since Phoenix in 2014, has anyone heard any news from any VSO being outraged about this crap continuing? Same can be said for both congressional oversight committees. Both groups could be doing a hell of a lot more at dealing with this mess.

      Little Cox is a shitstain in comparison.

      1. 91Veteran,
        The only “parts” of the VSO’s “being outraged about this crap continuing” is from local posts or chapters! State Departments, along with the National Departments, don’t want their “piggy bank” to go away!
        The thing is, IF the local chapters or posts yell loud over anything VA does, the state and national departments might shut them down!
        DAV did just that back around 1996, or so. That’s when the national departments started to fuck their own members, remember.

      2. I hear ya Elf. Its just quiet on their part, and it could make such a difference.

        I guess I shouldn’t be surprised given the number of radio commercials I am hearing about the DAV and how they have done so much to help vets.

      3. It’s not like it used to be. Where the VSO organizations, of the long lost past, would want their members to march on Washington D.C., and demand such things as “accountability” from the Veterans Administration!
        On the other hand, maybe that’s what the local chapters or posts should be doing! Maybe these local chapters or posts can somehow put the word out. Get veterans angry enough to march!
        I do believe something is going to give. I just hope vets, whether disabled or NOT, are willing! There’s definitely enough corruption, waste, fraud and abuse occurring in Washington D.C.’s agencies, including around the nation, to go around for everyone!

    2. Absolutely, the human indifference cannot be changed by selective late enforcement of laws on the books; Flush them all,

  31. First off, there are other words I’d use for the VA’s response besides “sluggish.”

    In my eyes Trump, exactly like Pence, are lying, deceitful, pieces of crap. Pence and his Indiana admin refused to get involved in VA matters. Said “go back to the VA and use Patient Advocates.” And Trump picked him and other non-American firsters to work in his admin.

    Trump could put, and keep, the focus on veteran’s issues but like the media will not do it. Trump hopped off his speaking platform to go out into the audience to meet a neglected and injured vet and promised to help him and change things. I don’t know if he ever helped the vet he talked to during the campaign or not. And he sure isn’t doing much for us now while spouting “America first” bull shit. So far he has shown more concern, like all in DC, about Israel, and unanimously pledged to stand with them, but won’t do the same about veterans, stopping the censoring per Constitutional rights, or corruption in America. Plus his bowing to the war machine to keep the ‘deep state’s” money and attention leaving our shores instead of taking care of matters at home.

    They also claim “widespread public attention” on that issue. Like with the public being made aware of other issues. What “widespread public attention?” Locally or probably state-wide rarely if ever we hear of news about these issues. Much more that should be on the news as much as those puppy dog and kitty stories, or some trash news about Hollywood that isn’t real news at all, but seems to be the wants of the masses. Not much real news gets out of Indiana, not much real news makes it into Indiana, local news is totally worthless especially in heavily censored college towns, or Democrat “strong-holds.”

    The other thing that struck me. Updates every six months? BS. If it were me I’d want daily updates, reviews, reports, etc. It shouldn’t be too difficult for those professionals with all their high technology and staffing. One hell-u-vah lot of people can die in one day, one hour, let alone six months.

    Summaries, no need for request. Freely, forcibly, given weekly. Save a tree and stop all the useless paperwork or PC crap that can be … deleted or changed.

    If I were Trump, Pence the clown, Shulky and other assorted scum-bags, I’d be traveling the damned country, making stops in every state, every VA hospital, having open public sessions for discussion over veterans issues to health care complaints, and more, to get to the bottom of all the crap going on today. Then passing out pink slips and taking more actions instead of constant lip-service. fancy dinners, golf, and photo ops. Piss on the globalist, foreigners, NWO, NAFTA, United Nation’s, Marxist freaks who are more concerned with our destruction, their controls, instead of issues that plagued our nation and vets now for generations. Or are we going to see more stuff as usual kicked down the road for future generations, brain-dead to social engineering or not, to deal with.

    Yeah, in union affairs (safety and health officer) I was told I took the position too seriously or worked too much, spending too much time at the library or research, or was told “doing too good of a job” by union reps and company men. Really? My words for Pence, Trump and those in DC and over the VA. Do your jobs. Keep your promises. Put Congress and all Feds on the same type of care we get minus the perks and special allowances. We are all equal arn’t we?

    Vet every person in government offices and the VA (all staff/union members), locally to the Feds. List their info, i.e., religions, social clubs, stock holdings, lodge memberships, secret societies cap and gown, Greek, Skull and boners, foreign and all affiliations, business ownerships, off shore accounts, are they trilaterialist or communitarians or commies, any sealed CIA or FBI files, criminal records, pharmacy reports, etc. Hell, it’s what we have to do endure and should be good for the elite rulers and overlords too.

    I have also noticed unless we have some alphabet before or after our names, seemingly, our complaints or issues, don’t mean a thing. Also wondering if those reporting MDs will still have a job after all this whistle-blowing is finished. With things returning to it’s normal freaky ways like it does other VA hospitals or clinics.

    1. Can you add Senator Isakson/aka head of the useless VA Committee of a Lot of BSing, to your list of liars?

      I’m tired of getting Tweets about all the wonderful things they’re doing for veterans. Maybe these things they allege they are doing are in some sort of alternate/Twilight Zone/Counterpart/Bizzarro world cuz it sure isn’t reality.

      1. You can add Congressman DeFazio to the list as well. At least his Eugene office veterans rep Whitney Couture, who has admittedly dropped the ball several times with regards to my requests for help getting VA medical care.

        I have been grinding away with some success and finally getting the MRI and surgery consults needed with out any help from the congressman.

        I need knee and shoulder surgery and originally requested help from the congressman in April 2016. finally in October and December 2017 I had the surgery consult for my knee and I will finally be getting the shoulder surgery consult next month February 2018.

        To be fair to the Congressman, other veterans have informed me when Frank VanCleave was his Veterans Rep in Eugene he got results from the VA addressing Veterans requests for help.

        With regards to all of our Senators and Congressmen in addressing the systemic problems with the VA, they are aware of the problems, have been for years. yet nothing is being done fix the problems. They may help some veterans resolve issues on an individual basis which helps that veteran (the squeaky wheel), but the root cause of the problems never gets addressed so the same problems continue for other veterans.

      2. Agreed. Sadly, our ” elected representatives”, in Washington State, subscribe to the ostrich syndrome…keeping one’s head buried in dark places and problems go away. But they’re part of the “Big Pharma” payroll.
        If the game is to wear down and destroy, they win. It’s all that I can do to wake up, let alone, fight.
        The decisions and ignorance that this Administration demonstrates is criminal. But I sing to the choir.
        Thank goodness for those of you being a voice for me.
        I read this Blog daily. Just wanted to add my thanks to Ben and the other fighters out there.

    2. AMEN, SEMPER FI AND OORAH, keep it going grab our muskets, sharpen and polish our bayonets and attack!!

  32. I have seen the Office Of Special counsel website. It lists the number of whistleblower complaint lodged per federal agency. It is in order from high to low, top to bottom.

    OSC receives more complaints of misconduct and illegal behavior by VA employees against VA than the next four agencies combined.

    I have already explained that VA D.C. Ordered VA locally here to contact me and assign me to care. They had seven days. Yesterday, day seven, I saw that the fourth mental health appointment we can now make online ourselves had been cancelled. I then get a call from Roseburg saying that I had once again been denied Va care and was assigned to Choice. I had again never been called and asked about it as required by Directive and NOW as ordered by the D.C. hotline. You may leave two short messages when you schedule online.

    I put in each one, “I refuse a Choice assignement and demand a PACT team. Then lastly I plagurized the words I saw D.C. VA use in my record and said in the commment, “I demand to be placed on the EWL (electronic wait list) for
    mental health care at my local clinic. They have now erased four mental health appointments in a row and the last one they were ordered by D.C. to comply with and NOT erase. Under new VA directive they are not allowed to do these things without patient consent. THERE IS NO latitude for interpretation here – ALL patients have a right to be seen at their local VA. NO QUESTION about it

    “All episodes of care are being handled by Choice” is their explanation to me why they will not assign me to what Va is their core element – a PACT team.” Roseburg leadership could care less what the hotline or OSC says.

    One thing is for sure is that a whole lot of people are going to bat to attempt to lock me out of Roseburg and I am but a single man that a District Court judge once told me years ago after I prevailed in a case, “Sir, you are the most persistant man this court has ever seen.” as he grinned at me at my UTTER refusal to back away from what was right. Is this really what it takes for one man to get care promise by America? Does it take the most persistent man the court has seen just to get in the front door?

    There aint NO WAY that without removal of the entire senior staff involved that once D.C. is no longer looking that they are gonna choose to continue to comply. That judge is right. I will persist which is honestly what befuddles Roseburg. The VAST majority walk away or run away screaming and it stymies their leadership why I persist. To fix VA is to whitewash the canvas and start again from complete blank. That won’t happen. These local hospitals could care leas what the fucking OSC pr VA D.C. says.

    Just imagine now that Roseburg is defying Washington if we add up all the people involved in both trying to gain compliance and trying to avoid compliance and multiply the man hours spent trying to lock me out fro a simple routine medicine review at the new clinic 1.25 miles from my home….

    Those are gonna be some SPENDY pills! Thanks America. You just spent thousands of dollars to provide me healthcare and I have yet to see one doctor! Just imagine how much they will spend when I get one!

    Even better multiply that figure by ALL the vets who need his kind of help for D.C. and boy howdy do you have one GROSSLY expensive healthcare delivery system.

    1. Dennis. What you are going through is exactly part of the reason why I stopped all and any communications with the VA, their staff, the PA, etc. Any form of contact or communication with those people are fruitless. Plus they have the power and means to fabricate, misuse, delete, forge, whatever in hell they desire to do illegally or immorally, totally unethically, zero professional ethics or oath keeping…minus any form of integrity, common decency, or honesty about them. It’s more akin to dealing with poisonous snakes. Come closer they say, come on our turf to discuss matters, we don’t need to talk over the phone, come closer…like getting so close like kissing a pissed off cobra …. and expecting some good result from it.

      They sure do love to torture, play games, put people on the Hamster’s – like exercise wheel of no quality of life, high stressors, and runaround.

      1. Amen, T, going to the VA is like kissing a cobra, you never know when they will strike ……but you know that they will………………..

      2. This the same thing that goes on at the Albuquerque, New Mexico VA, switch and bait, we will control you live!

    2. Dennis, I firmly believe you should try submitting a complaint through the OSC over the VA IG refusing to investigate fraud, waste and abuse.

      Roseburg is committing fraud by refusing to even try schedule you. They are committing waste as you have pointed out with the amount of effort they have put into playing games here, and they most certainly are committing abuse by how they have treated you.

      I believe if those group members you spoke of that hugged you knew what you are doing for them by fighting this mess, they would be very grateful and hug you again. Your persistence will help veterans in the long run, and I thank you for that.

      1. The key to filing a complaint with OSC is to file form 12, which is a disclosure vs using form 11. Form 11 is for employees only and OSC will ignore it. The form 12 should be printed out with a signed affidavit that declares first hand knowledge attesting to consent from the person making the disclosure.
        A carbon copy, via certified mail should be sent to the Whitehouse; which serves as the executive branch that has direct authority over OSC and duplicate copied sent to Shulkhead, OIG and various news outlets to put the VA on notice of a direct disclosure of a failure to investigate a complaint of patient abuse; up to and including violations under 18 1519 which states:

        U.S. Code › Title 18 › Part I › Chapter 73 › § 1519
        Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States or any case filed under title 11, or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

      2. Dennis needs a TEAM of lawyers to bury these Sons of Bitches and a team of publicists to make it public. you can’t defeat a well armed enemy with clubs and feathers.MAKE AN EXAMPLE YOU ALL, THAT’S ALL.

    3. Dennis, you are exactly ritht! My philosophy is why do I have to be a lawyer and nasty SOB former Marine Officer to receive what the law says ALL VETERANS SHOULD RECEIVE. I am pissed off on behalf of my brothers who are not as mean and vicious as I armed with the knowledge of the law. That is why I was so angry when I learned of that aged black veteran in the wheelchair who had waited SIX HOURS for his medications and I went right to the “Director’s” Office to demand they take care of this vet. Never raised my voice but I DARED THEM TO FUCK WITH ME. Why can’t every vet be given the proper treatment and respect? BULLSHIT SHULKIN! AND TO DENNIS, ONE OF THE MOST INTELLIGENT MARINES FIGHTING ON BEHALF OF ALL VETS,…..SEMPER FI AND OORAH.

  33. The key question is what was the President’s response? The VA and the executive office has always engaged in dilatory practices to protect itself. The OSC is a joke and should have the power to file emergency injunctions, to protect life and limb, rather than waiting for a VA response. This is a complete joke!

    1. Why are they investigating things the IGs office should be investigating?

      What authority does the OSC office have to fire those not doing their jobs? Like the IGs office?

      If the OSC is investigating these things, why have an IG office?

      Why is the OSC complaint process only available for VA employees? This clearly shows it should be opened up to veterans as well since the IG refused to do their jobs here.

      I do like the idea that they reported directly to Trump. It proves this problem has been reported to someone who has the authority to fix things. Hopefully it will actually turn out that way and things will get fixed.
      In my opinion, any VA employee from Manchester to the VISN to the IGs office and right to Shulkins office looks like they are covered in shit as a result of this.

    2. Absolutely, if emergency injunctions are not available, then emergency remedie3s for those who do the dirty deeds and also for those who ignore the dirty deeds. If there are no punishments, there is no deterrence to the crimes. Semper Fi, Brother

    3. Corpsman up, I couldn’t agree with you more . It is unfortunate the VA continues operate in this corrupt manner.

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