VA Health Chief David Shulkin

New VA Secretary Shulkin First With No Military Experience

VA Health Chief David Shulkin

Donald Trump announced he will nominate David Shulkin, the present under secretary for VA Health, to lead the struggling Veterans Affairs.

I did not see this one coming, but I am glad Trump did not pick another general from the Army to perpetuate the agency’s Army good-ole-boy system. After Danny Pummill left, there are still some lingering Klingons that need to get flushed.

If Trump fails to churn out the corrupt holdouts who steer contracts to their buddies, VA will continue to waste millions of taxpayer dollars while failing its veterans.

@realDonaldTrump Don't forget the promise, remove fraudsters still at VA under Shulkin Click to Tweet

Assuming Shulkin is confirmed, the medical doctor turned entrepreneur will be the first Secretary of Veterans Affairs to have never served in the military. He is known to be a scholar, entrepreneurial and internal medicine doctor who was nominated to lead Veterans Health Administration in 2015.

In 2015, Shulkin replaced interim under secretary Carolyn Clancy. Clancy was appointed after the sudden resignation of Robert Petzel following confirmation of the wait list death scandal initially uncovered in Phoenix, Arizona.

Most interesting, Shulkin founded a company website,, that allowed users to check in on physicians’ backgrounds. He also served as head of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Medical College of Pennsylvania.

The focus of Shulkin’s work tends to be on practitioner accountability:

Shulkin’s work has frequently involved looking at managed and accountable care, in which patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors. In 2008, for example, he studied why patients who are admitted at night are more likely to die than patients admitted during the day. Also in 2008 he edited the book Questions Patients Need to Ask: Getting the Best Healthcare.

Since July 2010, Shulkin has been president of the Morristown (N.J.) Medical Center, which is part of Atlantic Health System. One of his innovations there was to champion 24-hour visiting hours for its healing effect on patients.

Shulkin is heavily involved with Atlantic Health System, as he is president not just of Morristown Medical Center, but of Goryeb Children’s Hospital and Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute, as well as Atlantic Health System Accountable Care Organization and Atlantic Health organization Primary Care Partners, and he is principal shareholder in Practice Associates.

VA Secretary David Shulkin Background

Full Name: David J. Shulkin

Age: 57

Birthplace: Born on an Army base in Highland Park, Illinois.

Family: Shulkin is married to dermatologist Merle Bari, MD. He has a daughter and son.

Education: He graduated with his medical doctorate from Medical College of Pennsylvania.

What He Does Now: Under Secretary for Health for VA. President Obama nominated Shulkin in March 2015 and confirmed in June 2015.

What He Used to Do: Previously, Shulkin was president at Morristown Medical Center located in New Jersey from 2010 to 2015. He also worked closely with other organizations in an executive capacity during that time including:

  • Goryeb Children’s Hospital
  • Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute
  • Atlantic Health System Accountable Care Organization

Before that period, he was CEO of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City and founded a doctor quality ranking system called DoctorQuality.

What You Might Not Know About Him: Shulkin comes from a long line of veterans but did not serve in the military himself. Both of his grandfathers served in WWI. One of them went on to become the chief pharmacist at Madison VA. His father was an Army Captain.

That is enough on his background.

Shulkin On Important Issues

The real deal is his position on various topics of high concern to the veteran community right now. I pulled the following from ABC, which covered his various statements to the news media with some of my own additions: 


In a September 2016 op-ed, Shulkin wrote, “Losing even one veteran to suicide is unacceptable, which is why suicide prevention is a top priority at VA.”

MY ADD – It important to note that despite spending tens of millions of dollars to address the suicide epidemic each year, veteran suicide is still a massive problem. President Obama had 8 years to address it head on. Taxpayers spent hundreds of millions to fix the suicide problem but we still have 20 veterans per day committing suicide.


In December, USA Today made public the VA’s internal ratings of each of its 146 medical centers around the country. Before the ratings were released to the public, patients didn’t have a way they could easily assess performance. Most of the lowest-rated VA hospitals are in Texas and Tennessee, USA Today found.

In a December interview with USA Today, Shulkin cautioned, “My concern is that veterans are going to see that their hospital is a ‘one’ in our star system, assume that’s bad quality and veterans that need care are not going to get care. And they’re going to stay away from hospitals and that’s going to hurt people.”

He also called the rating system an “internal improvement tool” and discouraged using the star ratings as a “ranking tool.”

“It is essentially a system within VA to see who’s improving, who’s getting worse, so we can identify both,” Shulkin told USA Today.

Shulkin also said that since his tenure at the Veterans Health Administration, 120 of the 146 medical centers have made progress, and all but one of the VA’s one-star medical centers have improved.

MY ADD – I always find it interesting how VA likes to play the paternalistic agency that needs to shield veterans and the public from the truth. Quality rankings that are a 1 in a 5-star ranking system should alarm veterans who are forced to get their health care only from those lowest rated facilities.

Do you ever by the lowest rated lawnmower? If you had a choice, would you send your child to the lowest rated school? Would you by the car with the lowest quality and reliability ratings?

In many instances, Americans have the opportunity to select the lawnmower, school and car of their choice. They can generally select their own doctor and their own health care system from which they get care.

Meanwhile, veterans are not allowed that same choice of probably the most fundamental rights – – to select the doctor who gets to touch our junk when we are sick.

It seems like a fundamental right. Veterans want a choice. We also want to make that choice based on quality rankings and facts.


In response to recommendations that the VA medical centers be shut down and instead have veterans get their care from the private sector, Shulkin told the Daily Press in April,

“This would be a terrible mistake, a terrible direction for veterans and for the country, to essentially systematically implement recommendations that would lead to the end of the VA health-care system.”

Shulkin told in May 2016 that from his time with the VA, he’s come to realize the agency provides “”a different model of care, which treats the physical along with the psychological, the social, and the economic aspects of health, all of which contribute to the well-being of the patient.”

MY ADD: Same as above. Veterans should have a choice whether to stay in the VA system or to get their health care from a civilian facility. This is especially important for veterans who were victims of malpractice or who were victims of the disruptive behavior committees.


In his interview with USA Today in December, Shulkin touted that the number of veterans waiting over a month for urgent care has decreased from 57,000 to 600 since he took office.

In May 2016, Shulkin and the VA proposed giving full practice authority to nurses with advanced training, something doctors pushed back on.

“The purpose of this proposed regulation is to ensure VA has authority to address staffing shortages in the future,” Shulkin said in a statement.

MY ADD: VA actively obfuscated the investigation into wait time frauds committed by its employees nationwide. Numerous veterans died as a result of the scandal. VA has not fully resolved the problem. VA OIG provided wildly inaccurate numbers to Congress following investigations, and actively spun the results to diminish public awareness of the scandal.

My Take On Shulkin

As a practical matter, most veterans who voted for Trump did so with the impression Jeff Miller would take over the agency. Instead, we ended up with the same team Hillary would have likely had run the agency. It certainly left me with the “bait and switch” vibe today.

Now, VA can only get better than where it was at before with the wait time scandal and backlog scandal related to disability benefits.

RELATED: VA Paints Veterans As Crazed Psychos

Then you have the scandal where employees actively committed fraud or at least violated numerous ethics rules but the agency was unable to discipline them. VA says you cannot fire yourself to excellence. But you can also not-not fire yourself to accountability.

Some heads need to roll.

Compounding matters, you have agency union employees from AFGE and elsewhere who are actively engaged in acts of simple sabotage to undermine the agency’s mission.

RELATED: CIA Sabotage Manual At Veterans Affairs

The obvious goal is to demoralize the veteran population while making the American public feel impotent in following through with its promises to veterans. Totalitarian schemes that rob veterans of their rights like disruptive behavior committees and the fiduciary program are travesties that need to be uprooted.

That crap would not fly in a civilian hospital. Veterans victimized by those policies should be allowed to get health care from non-VA providers.

Keeping Shulkin will keep a host of flunkies and criminals who should have been part of the whole “drain the swamp” promise. Instead, numerous high-level senior executives will engage in contract fraud and deception over the next year where they steer contracts to their cronies.

Taxpayers will lose millions and veterans will suffer. Let’s hope Trump clears the bench for Shulkin to create savings while also ensuring veterans do not get screwed out of services.

VA has done a great job of self-promoting to create the appearance of accessibility. But it just ain’t so, at least not yet. I hope Trump gets the picture.

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  1. Shulkin: the problem I see is he’s not a vet. He’s never walked in our shoes. (Boots)
    He has no idea what we went thru. Is it me?

    1. It’s not you. It’s a System that promotes’s the True Beliver’s (you know who you are) thru the System to the top. Shulkin was in charge of the CHOICE program, which is a failure. (Not his original idea, goes back to Gov. Richardson of New Mexico during his run in the Dem primary back in the day).
      Shulkin is a push back from the various National VSO”s who is their choice to hold the line.
      He is a product of the Peter Principle: “The Peter Principle is an observation that the tendency in most organizational hierarchies, such as that of a corporation, is for every employee to rise in the hierarchy through promotion until they reach the levels of their respective incompetence.”
      It’s just about all you need to know.

      1. God this thing they shoved on us called CHOICE is nothing but, a wait program also with DOctors they meet with the VA rules ,,, that’s all it is ,,,, Look either doctors ,, nurses,,, janitors,,, or whoever meet and brown nose with the Va Administration they won’t be working with the VA ,,, further more there is a only things they will do in ALl VA places from Medicene to caring for us,,,, You risk your health and life going above there ability to treat you,,, I have passed it,,,, sorry about spelling but this VA talk is just talk this new so called clean up Doctor,,, is nothing more then a Doctor,,, not a administrator or a LEADER,,,, there is a difference,,,, I guess no one have ever worked under a Book Learner,,, trying to act a Leader,,, not even a pray

      2. No worse than Medicare or any other health insurance. And in fact Choice is Medicare authorized care facilities. Look it up–the program that is. I still don’t know how Health Net got the contract and is bleeding off so much cash for the top 5 execs. 25 million +. Same as the “privatized contractors” for Medicare.

        Your wait time is the same for Choice as Medicare unless you are willing to pay the difference the way Medicare patients have to pay. Want “the Choice” of physician tell your Choice program operator you’ll pay the difference between authorized Medicare payment and what you physician charges.

    2. The problem that I see, is that, 84% of the Veteran Population preferred Jeff Miller for the position!
      and the President Elect Just IGNORED US! He needs to know that the 2020 Elections are very close!
      (if He will make it that far)

      1. The media missed his acceptance speech statement: “2 years or maybe 4 years or possibly even 8 years. (Is he terminal — What is the reason for the “2 year” statement?) Something doesn’t track and maybe that is why he is in a hurry to get things done. Anyway the shake up is good.

  2. All you on here,, but the old timers now today,,, if you remember during the 70s and 80s there was a VA LAW which is still there,,, IN ORDER TO HAVE PTSD,,, you had to be with a certain unit certain time certain place in Viet Naum,,, that law stopped from those who needed help from ever getting very needed help for decades,,, and also FACT all you had to do is say you were within those realms and you got disabled for PTSD,,, and those but heads not only made this ck from there Disability they went out and had a full time job and made double,,, oh yes it was very true,,,, and was there ,,,, and know today,,, have we really moved anything but a bunch of talk,,, and throwing more Coal Oil to the problem,,, well is there a solution SURE,,, not this way,,, Why does anybody Join to fight for the this country anylonger,,,what do they really believe they will be really taken care of if dismanteled by defending this country,,, I strongly believe there is a plateau in this VA can do,,, anything above that you as a injured hero serving your country enters the DEAD ZONE,,, as I read commets on this site,,, and theres 1000s of us who have entered it,,,,

    1. My biggest complaint about central office visits was the roll out of obvious amputees to hear my complaint who had positions earning $90,000 per year or more in addition to their disabilities while I was homeless on the street trying to address the concerns of those without jobs and committing suicide because of undiagnosed organic brain syndromes from TBI residuals etc.

      It is still the same. Many of these were active and did their jobs but several obtained their positions politically and were obstacles. I also talked to widows working in the central office who approached me on the street. That was 1995-2001. It took a reporter exploring TBIs from Afghanistan and Iraq to finally get TBIs addressed. But those of you who were in the field and regained consciousness with no other injuries prior to being transported and refused transportation have nothing in your record. If you fell out of the truck on its way out and were sent back to the tent likely the same thing happened.

      That is why the need for the same battery of tests need to be redone before a veteran is released from a combat zone service.

      If we don’t shout for it and the connection to organic damage that will be indicated on the exodous “skill tests” compared to entrance testing we’ll never make progress on reducing suicides to the normal level for all Americans. The level for Vietnam era veterans is below that of hard hat employees in the private sector. that is because of the use of the 10 to 1 ratio of support personnel to those with combat ribbons in units that also earned Purple Hearts.

      Those support positions are now filled by private contractors and the data is no longer skewed.

  3. Ben,
    I had tried my best in the past to convey a message, care was crap in Dallas. Since 2010 I had tried to attain care for PTSD. I have had 3 back surgeries, obviously it states an injury in my medical record. ( I never really paid attention to pain, whims not) But I DAMN sure know the headaches I’ve had and intensified something was REALLY wrong. If nothing else, I’ve been to 7 VA’S. I got labeled as you stated “Crazed Veteran.” Why yes, crazy enough to know SOMETHING WAS SERIOUSLY WRONG! I was diagnosed at Long Beach with a brain aneurysm, trigiminsl neuralgia, a dissection in the back of my head, (carotid artery for both) old TIA’S. I was “spun up” so severely that I now have severe anxiety. It has been a LONG road to just try to get anything done to help me. I am thankful I now know, but the ball was then again dropped. By West LA VA. Now, I am not slow, knew enough to take pictures, save emails as proof. It doesn’t get better Ben, because I can tell you so much more, but this might be a lawsuit and truly maybe worth your “sleuths” to research further. Ask me questions I have medical records and outside professionals questioning the VA doing their jobs right. My understanding by a VA employee that cutbacks on staff have been implemented and the “promise” that we would have the ability to use our VA cards for outpatient care with a $10 dollar copay but reimbursed by the VA. (Because of unrealistic wait times) so the only thing I can say is we shall see. Not sure how cutting back staff will improve healthcare but his qualifications of being a healthcare professional does hopefully lead to Veterans getting the RIGHT care and knock off the “Crazed Veteran” crap. Trust me, if you only knew the wrong information WRITTEN IN A MEDICAL RECORD. “If you have questions regarding homeless Veterans, I can supply answers.”

  4. ~ crickets ~

    It is an organizational culture issue with the va and that is a difficult issue to change.

    1. All well and good as long as we do not have to beg hungry, hungry hippos and play ‘Mother May I?”, and grovel…I would honestly be fearful of the VA *infecting* The Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic.

      Trump also said he wanted to rein-in the crazy costs of medications in the big pharma industry and he called it that…BIG PHARMA.

      I still can’t help but think that we Vets are still some form of metric non-human test subjects for that sticky thing called greed to get in the way and Vets die. Hope to be wrong but all seems rather surreal right now.
      I’m all for change as long as it’s not trying the same failed policies as in past.

      1. I understand i hate to even hope at times. It is very surreal, new doesn’t necessarily mean good either.

  5. @namnibor, the managers, bad doctors, providers just lay low when they get caught. They do that and it blows over and they are still there influencing the operations of the clinics. You are right they can’t get it together in 2 years and another 8 probably may not do it either. Washington doesn’t know all their tricks and schemes they believe what those criminals tell them.

  6. @Seymore Klearly, that gives a little hope that they are talking about 3,900 cancellations of medical appointments. The va has tried to deny any cancellations on veterans. The va wants to blame poor training of clerk staff, understaffing, Veterans, and whatever made up excuse. Washington maybe trying to identify the real problems. It needs to be applied in other areas of this country in va medical centers not just Phoenix, AZ. Thanks, I have to check these stories out.

    1. Typical govt ploy, dont do your job and then more money to do what you already being paid to do. Sounds like street hookers.

      And while the game is being played are not getting medical treatment they have earned.

  7. More problems for Veterans in McCain country. While Senator McCain was out playing corrupt politics with his bogus Trump report things have been getting worse at the VAMC Phoenix. More Veterans deaths and 3,900 in one week cancelations of medical appointments by the facility. Guess that is what happens when you have an old drugged up starry eyed war mongering Senator representing you.

    “AZ vets hope new secretary of Veterans Affairs can fix problems at Phoenix VA”, By Jason Barry, 01/11/2017


    1. @Seymore Klearly – With all the spotlight on VA Phoenix, you’d think these buttfarts would get that facility straightened out. The audacity of these people. They know that they can get away with murder. Now that’s scary!

      1. You know, the Grand Canyon is conveniently close, just slide it over the edge and start over already. Like the movie ‘Poltergeist’, that VAMC must be built on a haunted burial ground or something. If the VA cannot get the epicenter of VA Scandals right in -2- years, what’s another -8- years to these masochists?

        President Trump: Please REQUIRE every member of Congress to utilize their VAMC’s in their respective States they come from as a secondary checks and balances…WE NEED Representation as Veterans. **Accountability** ~crickets~?

      2. Phoenix is what happens when the focus is only on the director and they keep recycling hacks through the job, instead of focusing on the entire leadership of that facility.

        How many have they had through there in the past 3 years? 4? 5?

        Yet there are still those claiming underfunding and understaffing.

      3. And after every member of Congress gets his/her/its half assed medical physical send them to the cafeteria to eat some of the crap lunch the Nation feeds to our school kids.

  8. >>Shulkin On Important Issues

    most certainly not going to drain the VA swamp if one goes by his statements on important issues. doesn’t matter if those statements are truly his stances or pre-written VA PR. enough info there to take away that he isn’t going to fix VA at all. not in the sense of what veterans have been complaining about for decades. i.e., not in the realm of the American veteran landacape we folks live in.

    no wonder Mr Trump didn’t choose Miller or Hegseth (for any counsel!) if in fact his plan is not to really fix VA in the sense we veterans have been complaining about but transform some pie-n-the-sky healthcare system showcase. but the same swamp thuggery with VBA/Title38/sloPay-Choice/disability-exams/etc. , you get the picture. VA gettin mo’ billions for the show, though keeping VBA as corrupt as ever which means the exams for disability at VA will still be shams. i hope not, but…just boggles my mind he chose Shulkin.

    >> “[Keeping Shulkin will keep a host of flunkies and criminals who should have been part of the whole “drain the swamp” promise. Instead, numerous high-level senior executives will engage in contract fraud and deception over the next year where they steer contracts to their cronies.]”

    @naminbor, i’m on the same page with this. as i suspected @Ben would be too.

    may be Mr Trump got close to running out of time to pick a new VA secretary after some of his preferred choices withdrew recently. wisely, i might add those that did withdrew their names. they knew what swamp they would get tossed into, especially considering the great careers they all have made for themselves currently. only if one of their own children were in the VA swamp getting sucked under would they give up their current careers to jump in such a swamp to attempt to fix it. i wouldn’t blame any of them that withdrew. pure speculation on my part though.

    the current administration keeps creating international fires and domestic fires as some form “run the gauntlet” for Mr Trump and his administration leading up to his inauguaration. maybe he’ll remove Shulkin after awhile and put someone else in place after some of these other fires are put out? i don’t know. but, with all the promises Mr Trump made of helping veterans and their decades long issues and plights with VA, choosing Shulkin of all people just flies off the common sense radar, at least from my perception. he might as well have chosen obama or hillary to run the VA!! my goodness if Mr Trump wants to glowingly showoff Shulkin’s medical prowess via Twitter as that is why he is best suited, Mr Trump should have put Mr Ben Carson in as VA secy. With Carson’s medical skills, logical scientific reasoning and common sense along with Mr Trump’s “political jabs & hooks” the two of them would be a better team than Shulkin to fix the VA.

    anyone seen any real fixes at VA that Mr Shulkin has actioned since he has been there? granted without the support of WH very difficult for Shulkin to do. yet, he must be getting something done that some powers-that-be like. ol senator tillis writes glowingly what a reformer Shulkin is and will be. WTF???



    Press Release:

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on David Shulkin, President-elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs:

    “Dr. Shulkin has demonstrated his commitment to reforming the VA, and he is a fine choice to lead the department. As VA Secretary, Dr. Shulkin will help accelerate the progress the department has recently made, particularly when it comes to moving forward with the MyVA initiative to streamline the VA bureaucracy. Over the last two years, I’ve had the honor of working directly with Dr. Shulkin and Secretary McDonald on this initiative.
    “If Congress and the incoming administration gives Dr. Shulkin the tools and authorities he needs, I am confident we can transform the VA for the better and deliver the kind of timely and quality health care our veterans need and deserve.”

    Contact: Daniel Keylin

    goes to show us veterans, not one of the thousands of concerns via veterans, whistle-blowers, investigative evidence, investigative journalist reporting-evidence-backed has hardly anyone on any of the Veteran committee’s has it mattered or remembered in any true action to clean it up…except for Miller.

  9. Heads Up Boy’s and Girls: McDuck is on the Buchanan Report tonight at 9:00 PM. Should be interesting, since he is not getting the nod…

    1. I’d rather listen/watch dust collect upon the TV than to listen to Buchanan OR McDuck. McDuck had his chance and he squandered it. He’s more than likely trying to drum-up a landing for his brass parachute.

  10. “ News” just printed this article.
    “Trump Taps VA Undersecretary to Take Over Top Job”
    11 Jan. 2017 | by Brendan McGarry

    We all know the who what when where and how. That’s not the interesting part. Read the comments. I read the first ten or so. None were grateful as to who Trump picked.
    Thought you’d like to know!

    1. P.S.
      On the “Connors Report Media” yesterday, there were approximately 6,000 “Bikers For Trump” already heading to Washington DC for the inauguration.
      Let’s see, 6,000 bikers vs 1 million (alleged) Protesters showing. That’s about even things up, lol!!!!

      1. If I were a flying monkey I would throw poo from the air down on the butthurt snowflakes protesting at the inauguration. So instead, it seems Pres. Elect Trump needs to get ahold of Dennis and procure some of those Oregonian Poop Canons to disperse the snowflakes.

      2. I’ve had some contact with Chris Cox early in the primary, and you have to take take what comes out of “Biker’s For Trump” (I’m a Biker) with caution.

        The logistic of getting that many Bikers on the road and to the Inaugural given what Cox’s has to work with are slim at best. Many a slip twitx the cup and the lip dealing with Cox. Not much has really come out of Biker’s For Trump (Cox For Trump ?) . He is self serving, and Trump has done nothing for Biker’s as such .

      3. Elf

        I worked for Harley Davison for a while selling Harley Owners Group (HOG) insurance for events such as this. Most of the groups were run by current and retired Law Enforcement, Veterans or Current Military.

        The type of people who can melt some snowflakes legally.

        Oh and Cokos. Riding a moped doesn’t make you a biker.

      4. I rode 1% and a tricked out HD 70’S Roadster long before you had a thought’s about the Biker lifestyle. Get a grip poser…..

      5. @Seymore Klearly , @John Cokos , @Crazy elf – I got ya’ll beat. I ride a super tricked carbon compound Mongoose, and have 5 Male Belgian Malinois trotting along side me. Who gone kick ass ya hear! LMAO

      6. John with your mouth, the only thing you have ever rode was the backside of anybody hand while being bitch slapped.

        No organization would ever have you as a member. With the exception of some of the VSOs. Don’t forget now they need your dues.

      7. @Seymore , @John Cokos – OK dudes, lets shift keys and make up. We got to band together. Remember, it is us Veterans who are still on the front line.

      8. @John Cokos,
        Huh, a sportster? That’s a girls bike!
        I still have my first 3 H/D’s,
        1) 1951 FLH/with side car.
        2) 1972 FX (“local boy” built by “Longy’s” and me in Hawaii in 1981 and 82. Won ‘best of:’ in 1983 at a bike show in Honolulu.)
        3) 2005 Road King,
        Just recently, I’ve acquired a 1976 FXE, and added many extras, turning it into a FLH.

        And yes, I ran with a group out of ‘Wainai-Makaha’ area. “Na Poao O Ka Po”, from 1977-85! Before and after that I’ve been a heavy supporter of “81”! As was my brother “Hangman”. Who died by the incompetent hands of the VA.

        I believe there’s another brother on here that lives in Hawaii, who might know of the group I’m mentioning!

        You know what, it doesn’t matter any more!
        We’re all veterans on here. We need to stand together! If not, then we might all die together. (Kinda rephrasing what Ben Franklin said about hanging. When all of the Continental Congress was signing the Declaration of Independence in 1776!)

      9. @Crazy elf – R U one local boy still living on the Sandwich Islands? I’m a Kaimaaina living in the extreme right side of da map.

    2. @Crazy elf – I read the article that you posted. The contents listed has pushed me more into the optimistic side pertaining to the selection of David Shulkin by Trump. The article mentions that the VA is a mess, and swift changes need to be implemented. I hope that if Shulkin can’t produce the results that are needed to serve Veterans correctly, that Trump will hesitate in saying, “Your fired.”

      Changes to the VA is so well overdue. No more Veterans should die due to lack of medical care, or to suffer because of the VA’s disservice. And, the VA needs to stop the crap of denying services because it is not FDA approved. I had medical services that was not FDA approved, and the procedure was 100% successful. The VA’s medical services needs to be kept up with the discoveries of new medical technologies, procedures, and modalities.

      1. Talk about “low energy” and Shulkin just pops right into view. Unless he’s a Georgia Inchworm, he’s dead in the water and not even out of the gate.
        If I wanted to maintain the status quo Shulkin would be my choice…..

      2. Mistake- Last line in 1st paragraph should read, WILL NOT HESITATE. Mistake was due to neuron synapses getting hung up with some other type of chemical. I’ll let you figure that one out.

  11. As someone said earlier, “Wait for the confirmation hearing!”
    I would love to see & hear that. I have a feeling we’re going to hear some real good zingers from the committee members.

    1. I only hope the confirmation hearing questions are not all orchestrated to protect the swamp. Otherwise, it may be worth popping popcorn and watching that confirmation hearing. 🙂

      1. Do we know who will be on the panel for the hearings. Maybe veteran’s who want to can send them an e-mail and tell how we feel and what we want to see changed.

        This may give them food for thought.

      2. The Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee: “”

        I’ll be surprised if this panel raises and probative questions.

  12. I said that I would be willing to give anyone except McDonald a chance, and I will. That said, this is a huge disappointment.

    If there had been some big (hell, ANY) improvements at the VHA during his tenure, then I’d see the wisdom in appointing someone familiar with the system. Someone who’s been doing the job he’s been doing as long as he’s been doing it is almost certainly part of the problem.

    His position on choice is a terrible disappointment.

    I’ll be willing to give him a chance (as if I have a choice), but my gut reaction is that Trump has given the task of draining the swamp to one of the biggest ‘gators in the damn thing.

  13. In order of reading Ben’s post.

    Shulkin (which autocorrects to Still in) complains about the rating system data being released. I thought release of that data was required by law, so shut up and do it!
    Rather than looking at it as a rating system, I look on it as an Accountability system. For those hospitals doing well, perhaps the leadership in that hospital does a good job of holding their staff accountable for their performance. Those in a low rated system appear to have problems in several areas, which is a direct reflection on the poor leadership at that hospital.
    That rating system should also be used to put pressure on the congressmen and Senators where it’s located so they can push for better performance resulting in better care for their constituent veterans rather than those hacks simply looking at the VA as revenue coming into their district.
    As for Shulkins comments on privatization, you make good points Ben about malpractice or DBCs, but I don’t think a veteran should have to prove they have been maimed by malpractice before getting a choice. I know that’s not what you said, but veterans should be able to opt for outside care if they choose.

    Put it this way. If that rating data is mandated by congress, and if a VA is rated as 3 or lower, then any veteran using that VA should have the choice of opting out.
    That would put focus (accountability) on that VA forcing them to clean up or shut down…their choice.
    As long as veterans bodies are piling up like cord wood from suicides or lack of timely care, choice has got to be an option until the VA is accountable.

    Which makes me wonder…since Shulkin has a history of looking at care quality and credentials, how will that translate to changes at the VA? Why not be forthcoming about hospital quality? Why not be honest about credentials?

    Why are those two things so important in the private sector that Shulkin created a business to track it, but not important for veterans at the VA?
    If you search on Shulkin being named, you can find a WaPo article showing what the VSOs think about it. Their comments suggest they will happily still maintain their access while their membership suffers.

    Finally, as for flunkies and theft on contracts and other corruption, I suggest Shulkin open his eyes and see what’s going on. The press is in attack mode, and if they smell a scandal, they are NOT going to look the other way like they do with Obama.
    Veterans forced to use the VA will be watching as well.

    1. He is not complaining about the release but how it is being taken and used. A 1 star VA rating may still be better and any choice you could get in the community or only reflective of the director of that facility. A 1 star rating will get the attention of Shulkin and probable action. (at least hopefully) And assuming that was the case for him in setting up the rating system.

      1. If you looked at the data (SAILS) that goes into that rating, you would know it is a measurement of several areas in a VA hospital. It is not only a reflection of a bad director, but a reflection of more than one area in that hospital.

        If I saw a rating of 4, I might think it was an issue a director would fix easily. If I saw a rating below 4, I would think they (the director, Chief of Staff, Chief of Nursing) have a few problems to fix.

        A rating below 3 suggests there are several problems indicating incomptence in several areas.

        A rating of 2 or lower, particularly for more than 1 year tells me someone needs to be fired.

        I don’t care what excuse Shulkin offers, that data should be made public every year.

      2. Any rating below 3 comes from the top. It is a moral thing and that is the most important duty of a Director. If he is not dealing fairly with staff they will feel like shit and shit on the patients. No single staff member other than the Director or Assistant/Associate Director can cause that kind of problem. A department director such as the Mental Health Clinic director may damage a department but it takes the top to damage the rating of a facility.

      3. @lem- That makes little logical sense as there’s way too many variables to contain it to a tidy formula. This is not game theory. It’s the VA, where substandard performance could come from the janitor moving the body to the shower to the director shredding documents and everything in-between.
        The “Top” is not exclusive to fraud and corruption and lackadaisical indifference towards Vets. It’s equal opportunity ignorance at the VA.

      4. That is what accountants are for. If you run a business open to fraud and abuse you go broke. No one said it is tidy and easy. And that is the reason the roll out in the VA left the doors open to fraud and abuse. The accountants were not called in to set up the controls.

      5. I see the ratings for many locations to inflated? for South Dakota esp!

        %-star meeting all staff and equipment required to do job? but does not really count how well or bad say operations go or if any inpatient mortalites go anywhere on the VAMC or CBOC do on care anywhere!

        Some 1-tar to me looks like do not have staff to fully function properly but in some ares may have good surgery in 1 area but again these rating do not fully say what is being “graded” hence is it staffing levels? is it morbidity ratings maybe that is how SD got 5-star hardly any surgeris!

        CoS runs off PCs esp good ones all the time some last a few years but all leave last one lasted barely 7-months (I was told by 2 previous PCPs why they were leaving)!

        Having worked similar stuff when in the military of staff n equipment is kinda how I am seeing the “stars” a location can be short equipment and staff still perform well but not great where another location can be 100% fully staffed at all locations CBOCs, VAMC etc but quality of care suxs

    2. Hey 91Veteran,

      Very well stated. One exception though!

      they should be required to supply the reporting of the data that is required by an act of congress to be submitted and compared with all Medical Care Facilities. Not allowing them to get away with this bullshit separate rating system for the VA data.

      That way everyone can see that Veterans are getting the worst health care offered in America. Also that no matter how the VA rates themselves with there own private star system. Veterans won’t be forced to accept a VA four star system health care over what is in reality below a 1 star system when compared to other real health care systems.

      1. @Seymore Klearly, i agree definitely all data should be publicly accessible. It publicly funded.

      2. I would agree with that.

        I can’t believe they think we would believe those ratings anyway. We know how the VA operates. If there is any chance whatsoever to hide something, they will do it.

        That means the data used to come up with these ratings is data they were forced to report.
        How much was hidden?

      3. Problem with the va numbers on their performance

        Figures don’t lie but sometimes those who do the figuring do lie. And since we all have been at the lying end of these people I dont trust this data one way or another.

      4. You’ve got it Bill. That is why we hire accountants to make sure the made up figures from the liars aren’t accepted as facts.

  14. I can understand many of the feelings we Veterans are dealing with on a daily basis. I get the hurt feelings. I have doubts. I don’t have anger issues over this. John, he’s the man. Are we Veterans going to be part of the problem or part of the solution? That’s up to us. God Bless the Veterans. We endured.

  15. Ben, I agree with you!
    This is a Big disappointment for all the veteran community (and the Taxpayer Communities)
    The Non-selection of Jeff Miller Is a Big No-go for the Trump Administration!
    I don’t think This administration wants to Solve the VA ‘s problems! Sad! Very Sad!
    MSG, US Army Ret, Vassilis Margaris

    1. This was an appointment for Accountable Care Organization experience in the Cabinet. The likely replacement of the ACA for the otherwise uninsured.

    1. Wasn’t his jurisdiction. Was under the Under Secretary for Benefits. Question is what will he and a new Under Secretary for Benefits do about it?

      1. Ben’s article was about Shulkin as VA Secretary.

        So was the question.

        Once again, then: [Secretary] Shulkin v. claims/appeals backlog?


  16. @John; Here are things that took me a while to get. AMERICA’S NEW PRESIDENT IS TRUMP. That was tough for me, but, it is what it is. He does things different. He’s new at this. Inevitably he will make mistakes. This Republican party will accept most of his choices with few exceptions. ……… I’m just not against him. The Republicans seem to be afraid of him. The Democrats are dead in the water. So, as an American, I support our President. That being said, he kinda scares me. It’s the unknown.. I have no idea what is coming next. I also find that at 67years old, this whole ordeal with POTUS elect is downright exiting. As I’ve been told many times, I am patient. John, give him a chance. Hell, he’s not in office yet.

    1. Agreed. These ARE exciting times we live in. Yes, we need to give the POTUS-Elect (and his cabinet picks) a fair chance. The first year of his term should be sufficient. Having said that, we must all remain vigilant. I only seek major improvement within the VA system. I also acknowledge that it cannot, and will not ever be perfect.

      Patience and equanimity are key at this moment in time.

      1. Sorry I’m heading on to 66 years old I am tired of waiting,,, when I could of maybe recover it wasn’t there at all,,, just a bunch of stumbeling shrinks being placed in the VA,, to sit and smile at you ,,, while you told them flat out your feel like killing yourself or others,,,, and smiled and you left,,, I”M NOT JOKEING this was a real life ,,, when they had excellent help they FIRED them,,, and replace them with more jokers,,,, want me to write a book on what really it was for me,,, when I get done you will think it was fiction but I do have witnesses those who are still alive,,,

    2. You might want to rephrase that: He’s YOUR President. I don’t suffer from the True Beliver Syndrome so prevalent here. I don’t care who is President OR WHO HEADS UP THE VA. There is not shred of evidence that indicate that anything will get better for veterans.
      If we come back a year from now it will still be the same set of circumstances and the same outcome and chest beating.
      It’s like a BATTERED WIFE scenario for vets. You keep coming back for more. Has anyone on this Blog hit a home run yet in their predictions ?

      1. Last I heard your Snowflake Collective does not have their own sovereign country and leader so as long as you live under the U.S. of A. Flag, Pres. Elect Trump is OUR President.
        California would be a likely candidate to break away from USA and become Snowflake Collective. That might work. Have a unicorn blowing fairy dust as your flag and your news will come from Teletubby Land into your dome. 🙂

      2. More than 95% of us have hit home runs on our predictions. Trump is now the President Elect.

        As for the VA getting better. It already has with the worst person in the world no longer running it. May you remember that each time you see those golden arches or hear about a Disney Character.

        Looks like your news channel is taking some major hits and not going to be doing business as usual in the very near future. The Clinton News Network (CNN) what a joke and what fake news. But hey they had you believing every word right John?


    3. We veteran’s can not let him do everything for us. We have a voice and now is the time to be ?.

      We not dead in the water. They just gave us oars. All we have to do is paddle hard and let our elected officials hear us loud and clear.

      Let’s not look a ? horse in the mouth. We are so use to not having one. I think many of us have to get used to having someone to listen to our concerns.

      As Donald Trump said ” WHAT YOU GOT TO LOOSE ?????

      Nothing. Except your self respect !

      Remember the shackles have been taken off. Time to be heard NOT next week. Now !

      If we can write on here. We have our computers. Phones and they always said the PEN is mighter than the sword.

      Do it and lets post the replies on this site.

      Ok. VA the veterans are here alive and well and were going to keep it that way. No matter what you think. You have no power over us now.

      I think we have a great opportunity to turn the table’s. But it’s up to every to do this.

      2 million veteran’s. Your still an army and your new weapon is your phone. Your computers. Hell you can even send it by pigion. Who care how just do it.

  17. What part of cognitive dissonance do most of these posts miss ? Trump is pathological. Trump does what Trump does. Keep on believing the six impossible things before breakfast, and you will continue to make the same dumbfounded observations.
    Jo3n: Trump has a mysterious South Jersey connection. WTF is that all about ?

    1. Clearly all you know how to Troll.

      To bad your so bad at it. All that wasted effort.

    2. @John Cokos – Explain what the six impossible things are. To broad of a trolling statement.

      1. @ANutterVet

        It is from Alice in Wonderland

        “Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
        “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

        Charles Lutwidge Dodgson AKA Lewis Carroll (1832 – 1898)

    3. No matter how many times you close your eyes and click your heels together and say, “There’s no place like Hillary”, she in-fact is not our President-Elect. Mr. Trump is. This is not Kansas anymore. Wake-up!


      1. I DO happen to own some read leather boots but my name is not Dorothy, at least by day. 🙂

    4. Please write to Trump and tell him who you are and that he’s full of shit and tell him you and the Union president will kick his ass. If he tries anything with VA employees.

      Don’t have the nerve. Slither back !

  18. So, has anyone pinned this Shulkin down on any major issues? Just knowing he’s been in charge of hospitals, and with all these suicides, inflated contracts, rehired pukes, illegal shredding, bogus bonuses, and so many other crimes, where was he? After all POTUS elect has said, and promised, I am feeling that this is an ugly joke, but it’s not. I’m having a tough time finding anything about Shulkin and what he has been doing for Veterans. He seems to leave out the word, “Veterans” except when talking about Veterans in general. Basically, he touched a couple issues, issues that are well documented. I wonder what McDuck thinks about him. Oh well, looks like we’re on our own, again. Thank God for Ben and y’all. Don’t feel so alone with y’all.

    1. Wait for his hearing. I suspect we’ll find out a lot because he’ll not only be grilled on his past before the VA but on his tenure as Under Secretary for Health.

      Several news channels and CSPAN are carrying hearings.

      1. Do you know the date of this hearing. As many veterans and citizens need to flood all of our senators. Congressmen in Washington and tell them how we feel

        Employees have alway had the upper hand. Time to rise up. Before the hearing. We must have a voice. No just one veterans all must do their part.

        ☎ calls. Letters. E-mails Now. We have one shot. Contact VA is lying and the other group’s.

        It’s the American way. If we don’t. We can’t blame anyone but ourselves.

        RIGHT !!!!!!

    2. Shulkin has been the only person from Wash CD to respond to any of my 100+emails since Aug for proper medical care that my local VA started to deny me illegally. He responded twice in Oct then 3 times during New Years weekend! Then his next email back to me was on Monday Jan 9 saying he would advocate for me to get proper care was about 4 hours before he saw Trump that Monday based on a newspaper shot of him leaving Trump Tower in NY. Before he went into the meeting he did call my local VA as I was called by them saying a “decision had been made ” I was to go to pain management clinic earliest appointment was Fri! URGH When I had an appt w a PCP on Thursday I went to ROI to get a copy of my medical records for the week. I saw that on Wednesday Dr Thomas Lynch USH Operations & Mgmt called my local VA per the Chief of Staff comment saying Dr Shulkin stated I was to get my medical care I was getting but being denied nice Aug w no help form my local VA to do anything other than more DBC Flags!

      At least I got called later on Thursday n told I did not have drive 2.5-hours one way to be told Yes or NO! I told them where I wanted to go as I informed Dr Shulkin the preferred place as I can get in there fairly fast compared to the other locations and hopefully this will help others in the VA System w CRPS to get this treatment as well. As sadly some VA’s CoS/Dir claim the VA is not doing this n make veterans have to pay out of pocket for this ketamine infusion which is wrong! Especially since the VA in San Antonio, Tx has been doing it since 2010!! With the holiday weekend, I will let all know if I have an appointment location time and date n how long it took my local VA to do their damn job!!

      Sad part I told my US Senator the only one trying to help[, supposedly talked to with McDucky in Aug n Sept n Oct nothing is I informed his office that the VA now only pays 25% for food when a veteran travels for medical care, and required non-medical attendant as well, which sux even more that the only 50% prior to that n his US Senators office did not like that trying to get 100% but sadly nothing 🙁

      1. I too emailed McDonald starting March 2016.
        Shulkin was copied on all of my emails.
        I emailed at most 2 times per month.

        I got a single response from McDonald around the end of May 2016 saying they would look into my issue.

        I heard nothing more from anyone.

        In September/October, I sent a FOIA to McDonalds office asking for any documentation, communication, email, etc., his office has taken to resolve my issue.

        The FOIA was forwarded by VA to 2 other facilities for response.

        The documentation I received from 3 facilities including McDonalds office showed his single email response to me, and nothing more.

        I also received a copy of single email Shulkin sent another staffer around May/June asking if they could look into the problem.

        All documentation I received from them had numerous email addresses or phone numbers redacted, which is a bullshit reason they used to protect their privacy. It was simply used to cover up their lack of action.

        I received the exact same documentation from another facility without any redactions which proves McDonalds office was simply trying to hide their lack of any action.

        About a week after receiving those documents, I got a call from the Grand Junction VA claiming they had been reviewing my case, and they found where they had made a number of mistakes. She emailed me a spreadsheet showing all of those mistakes, many months after I first tried to get the problem fixed.

        McDonald sent a 1 line email to me and did nothing more.

        Shulkin sent a 1 line email to another flunky, and did nothing more.

      2. Same thing here his staff member (McDonald’s) lied and told the employee no longer worked for the VA

        Sent 10 year’s of research and evidence right back to the employees harming me to answer me directly.

        Same old story. Pass the buck and do nothing. The Denver VA kept all my file I sent McDonald’s office.

        That information was to prove to McDonald’s office That I was rail roaded

        Why don’t they do their job’s right. If they would have done this themselves my case would have been found in my favor. But no send it right back to the employees harming me.

        I guess it’s to much work OR they just don’t give a shit and how many veterans are harmed

  19. This nomination of Sulkin, hit me like a ton of bricks, so much for cleaning the swamp. You leave one Fox to watch the Hen house, the chickens are still in danger and The Fox will have such a big smile on his face. Boy that farmer is dumb.

    I bet the chickens were not happy, what’s this guy doing not getting rid of the Fox, he’s still going to try and eat us.

    I was wondering if anyone else seen a post from a J Clapper on this site, about 2 or 3 days ago.

    With this selection, I think veterans will not get what the deserve CHANGE ! Employees like Diana Rubins and Graves are laughing again and probably be hired to an even higher position. Or will say OK we just got the Green light, Continue business as usual and we have to save the VA even more money.

    So we need to change the number of veterans getting their disability, to 0 and send out letters of denial to anyone applying for disability and if they insist on reapplying with new evidence, shrewd it .

    Sorry, No faith and I think things will get worse and even more veterans are going to have to die and no one will care. I bet the Union and employees when they heard this, were jumping for joy. And they hope veterans will do the same, but jump off a cliff, after all we are the problem.

  20. As for the pick for VA Sec. Trump choose the 2nd worst person on the planet.

    Elf Have you caught the news on McCain?

    From Breitbart News:

    “The UK Daily Mail on Wednesday reported that Senator John McCain (R-AZ) pushed the dossier full of unverified claims about Donald Trump to the FBI: Sworn Donald Trump enemy John McCain admitted Wednesday that he passed the dossier of claims of a Russian blackmail plot against the president-elect.

    The Arizona senator issued a public statement amid mounting questions of his exact role in the affair – and how a document riddled with errors and unverifiable claims came to be published.”

    “Senator John McCain Pushed Trump Dossier to the Intel Community”, by John Hayward, Breitbart News, 01/11/2017; “”

    Fricken Chicken Hawk War Monger McCain

    1. Fricken McCain.

      VAMC Phoenix where he is the senator representing the area is still totally screwed up and this War Monger is working overtime to create more dead service members and disabled Veterans.

      1. I really am starting to think Senator McCain is mental, and not in a good way. RETIRE ALREADY! He’s but one example of dinosaur politicians that need to just step back and let the new order try something entirely different. Their way has only made things worse.

        I think it’s such a lost opportunity for someone such as McCain that could easily had used his influence and access to help Veterans and clean-up the VA. The fact this major scandal reached the boiling stage in McCain’s back yard speaks volumes of his levels of disconnect…and a butthurt snowflake.

        So I guess McCain is still “Tattletale McCain” after all these years?

      2. No worries, Gents. Rima Nelson will et the Phoenix VA on the fast-track to Veteran Satisfaction, now that the incompetent bitch is back from doing her penance in the RP for screwing up the St. Louis VA so badly.

        And McCain will fall in love with her like a schoolboy . . .

        I pity veterans in Arizona.

        When will the madness stop?

    2. Were he not in such a dangerous position – – – what I see on the TV of McCain would be quite funny.

      Totally bonkers! I believe that by watching Senator McCain these last few years, the public is getting a fairly decent education on just how undiagnosed Alzheimer’s disease progresses over time.

      Truly sad to watch, and McCain is truly a danger to our country.

      1. Seymore and all,
        “TATTLE TALE SONGBIRD MCCAIN” sure has earned this ‘title’!
        His reputation is far reaching. “Maybe…”, as one commenter said on an article about this, “…Vietnam will want him back!”

        He’s definitely a fucking Democrat in Republican clothing.

      2. @Crazy elf – You’d think that McButt McCain would have been all over those dipwits at the VA facility in Phoenix. He is a lame buttfart.

    3. The D.C. legislators with the loudest voices against Trump’s business connections should be investigated for all of their and their family businesses with federal contractors including HMO’s that profess to get 5 stars from Medicare. The medical killing fields are ripping off taxpayers at an alarming rate as well as through insurance premiums that some of us have to pay to medicare out of our pithy social security benefits. Nothing like tax payers paying for their own demise which of course includes our veterans.
      My brother, a Viet Nam Vet was suffering from mini strokes for over a year and the Marion Il, VA told him that it was because of a neck surgery that he had 8 years prior. Now he can’t use his arm to work on the one thing that kept him mentally leveled, restoring old cars. He’s been doing that since he was a very young kid. I told him to go to Chicago, to a reputable medical nuero and vascular doctor to get another opinion because now the VA stated that they cannot not do a carotid surgery because it goes up to high in his skull. There aren’t words to describe my outrage and this is all after him finally getting once a month PTSD appointment since 1967) with revolving doctors for him to spill his thoughts on. I think they want him to say something to incriminate himself to they can declare him outright nuts and then either lock him or set him up to do something really stupid so the cops will come and take their shots at him, to just kill off another vet because veterans medical and other benefits, just cost too much to take of.

      1. One must guard their thiughts from those people. Their primary focus is themselves CYA. We are just an after thought.

        I wish your brother well

  21. JUST GREAT,,, another do nothing leader,,,, the VA is set up to help a portion of us,,, but if you as I fall in the above area of there rules,,, You are thrown in a dead zone period,,, this is not going to stop,,, what does it take to make this point across,,, its getting sad that Doctors are nothing more today as a EMPOYED personal not a Doctor,,, FACTS happening in Private and VA,,,, and just getting worst why,,, think WHY,,,, dang when will we really get the think out of the box leader or do they even really exit anymore,,,, steve

  22. So, he’s been #2 at VA for two years? He never blew a whistle. Was he any help to whistle blowers? This may sound…insignificant, but, he sure is a smooth talker. Ben, has he been part of the problem? He makes things sound like….he’s been part of the solution. I kinda like the VA run by committee. There’s a whole lot of, “wait and see’s out there. Just hope I can hang on that long. Our POTUS elect, other than Sessions, I am unsure about Shulkin, has not let me down. Some of his appointees, I see as refreshing. There are many questions….and y’all right, I have no idea where the VA is going. I don’t believe shutting the VA down is a bad thing.

  23. I’m encouraged by his service at: •Atlantic Health System Accountable Care Organization.

    The rating system is a necessary portion of that and it is not a comparison to the private counterparts. If we eventually get a rating system for all heath care facilities based on morbidity reports that include death, outcomes, and quality of life of persons served we’ll get there.

    I’m encouraged by what has happened at the small facility in Cheyenne under Shulkin’s watch. Hopefully, at the top, he’ll be able to improve larger facilities faster.

    I believe the move was to continue the move to Accountable Care Organizations as the mode for United States Health Care that was initiated in the ACA. But there is a lot of resistance. Hopefully POTUS elect will ramrod it through to the point that all Americans will have the option of the ACO improvement of the HMO and VA (essentially an HMO with premium paid by U S taxpayers).

    I believe a well run ACO with adequate controls to keep operators from gaming the system, claiming bonuses without producing qualifications for bonuses, will vastly improve U S Health Care and take us from 37th in the WHO ratings back to the top 3 and up from 19th in the 19 Industrialized Countries in health care to one of the top 3.

    I believe it is possible the GOP will claim the ACO mode as their improvement on Obama Care. Let them do it but get it done. And don’t make the individuals that are happy with fee based insured medicine make the change until they can see that it is actually performing better that their fee based medical services. Evolve without forcing except for those of us reliant on the State or Federal government for our health care. Even Medicare recipients should be allowed to choose to move to an ACO but encouraged by reduction of out of pocket costs and an increase of coverage.

  24. First,
    During Trump’s media exposé yesterday, he mentioned about the big pharma ‘lobbyists’ and companies which operate outside of the US.
    He wants to bring them back.
    Secondly, until VA is brought to their knees, and the AFGE Union is ‘broken’ completely, it will operate “business as usual”!

    In my opinion, Don’t y’all believe Ben should set up a meeting with President Elect Trump and Vice-President Elect Pence, to discuss the multiple failures perpetrated against the very men & women who protected this country?
    Maybe, by Ben, many of the Whistleblowers and veterans who have been ostracized and condemned by VA employees meeting with them, something could be accomplished!?
    That’s my opinion!

    1. @Crazy elf – Your suggestion about Ben meeting with President Elect Trump and Pence makes perfect sense. Why not have a sit down with those who know a lot about the inside workings of the VA. Not a bad idea at all. At least Ben’s input is not connecting to a bonus, pay upgrade, or a transfer to a cushy job. No conflict of interest.

  25. Old Heisman Head, That meme is hilarious!
    Ridiculing is still the best approach to these fatbacks and meatloafs who self loath their work. A disgrace to modern day medicine. The best way to make a case for bad Pharma is to make the public aware of the controls on medicinals produced outside the USA, it truly is a National Security issue if there is a risk to taint the medicinal supply of the US.
    This is where investigative work on the controls of medicinal manufacturing can be helpful, not only to veterans, but the entire USA. The 1million veteran project is a direct scheme to reduce the veteran population and the direct tie to see what the effects are by signing a big contract with a data collect company.
    Many fish to fry at VA…….
    The old saying is ” Put em in a cornmeal jacket, then send them to the Crisco Ball, rocking a Bell Pepper Hat”
    Level 3 Fuckery continues as usual.

  26. VA’s great job of self-promoting to create the appearance of accessibility & the number of veterans waiting over a month for urgent care goes like this: I know 2 combat Iraq vets because they are my sons who have been given medical appts, waited 3 mos & longer for their appt only to receive a letter 2wks or less before that appt notifying them the appt had been cancelled – reasons unknown – & that “they are sorry for any problems this may cause”, please phone to make another appointment, wait another 3mos & then have that appt canceled too. That is how they are fixing the books on medical appointments.
    I am now receiving past due co-pay bills from Progressive Imaging for a mammogram done in April 2015 for $88.00, they state “the vapcc Tricare authorization number is missing, invalid or does not apply”. Being billed by Radiology Imaging too for bone density scan $335.00. TMJ provider has told me they submitted payment forms 4 times so far for the 4 appt I kept & they also requested authorization to finish treatment as the authorization expired before the final fitting of the orthopedic appliances was completed – they get no response, no payment, no OK to finish the treatments. I am enrolled in Priority Group 1 permanent 100% service connect.
    To top that off, another son the eldest – [I have 3 veteran sons] presented to the VA with severe abdominal pain & bloody stools, for 2yrs the Dr. kept telling him you need more fiber in your diet, heres some suppositories & dibucaine ointment for the hemorrhoid that were caused by jumping out of planes. When he could take the pain no more, he went to the local hospital in the middle of the night & it took them 3 days to stabilization him with massive doses of antibiotics. Full blown Crohn’s disease with the bleeding from duodenum ulcers. Ever get a Charlie horse in your leg calf? Put the pain into the stomach area & that is how much he’s been suffering for years due to missed diagnosis. And what happened when he brought the hospital findings to the VA & was assigned a new DR – all that bitch Dr wanted to know was How did you get this appointed, she didn’t give a F* how sick he was. She resigned & went active duty – good luck service members; I hope she treats you all better than us Veterans.
    According to wikipedia: Shulkin resigned from a private sector position with an annual salary of a $1.3 million to work in Veterans Affairs, where he’s paid $170,000 a year. Want to know how this man will treat us: “I’ve seen numerous cases of medical errors and discovered after the fact that the patient or family member knew something was wrong and didn’t speak up,” says David Shulkin, M.D.” That one quote puts blame on patients & family. SURE speak up, say something, raise your voice, bring medical proof to your appointments & then your on the disruptive black ball list. Some heads need to roll & he’s not the one to do it.

    1. I believe this has been noted before that the VA is doing routinely, where they make an appointment and can cancel it and have placed canceled per veteran. I stated a report that I believe it was 500,000 veterans applied for care and over 200,000 dies before getting their application looked at.

      Stay on them and all of your family members write your congressman. Get a copy of you appointment list from the start. And you are correct the VA will go after veterans who question them about anything. They will smart off or B.S. you, hoping they will tee you off or even bat your eyes, YOUR BEING DISRUPTIVE and they will make you pay, one click of the mouse on the computer.

      I am sorry you and your children had to find out the hard way. Ben has mentioned that this illegal committee must STOP hurting veterans, They are not a part of our judiciary system, yes the punish veterans at will, with the Blessing of the OIG.

      The report show’s that the VA can punish anyone that bad mouths the VA, even anyone posting on this site.

      Using the statement, you posted on a site and we consider you a “POSSIBLE” OR COULD BE” a possible threat and have the authority to report anyone. Now VA employee’s whom come on here and belittle veterans or call us names, are not being Disruptive.

    2. @Nitewish, do you know why she asked you “how did you get this appointment?”. Because that is part of the scheduling scheme that doctors and providers are in on. They do not want to treat and care for Veterans. They want to cancel their clinics with “no show” appointments so they don’t have to work. It is the free ride on the government gravy train that is in effect in clinics across the va medical centers. They want to be paid not to work. It is sick. The clerk or scheduler will become a target if they schedule appointments legitimately. If the appointment are “canceled by clinic” it is on them, if it is “no show” it is on you. Watch your appointment letters.

      I am so sorry you and your sons have had to suffer with this broken system. No Veteran should have to deal with this failed system. Your son was clearly in crisis and this is how he was treated. Do not take the problem to the clinics this allows for a chance for a disruptive complaint. Take documentation to a patient advocate or file with congressman or senator a complaint against the medical center. I hope things get better for you and your sons.

      1. Write you congressman. Not the VA. Yes you run the risk of it being swept under the carpet

        With the new rule all of us veteran’s need to fill the senator’s and congressmen office all over the country and tell them how we been treated

        If they are flooded with letter. They will be forced to act. For veteran’s. They have the authority now to take action against any government employee.

        If they refuse us all. That official need to be placed into the open. For all to see.

        Senator Bennett’s office told me before that their hands were tied and could do nothing.

        I wonder if they will do something this time. Im going to contact more than one. We will see if they care or will be so use to not doing anything is still in their blood

        This is our chance flood their offices with letters That’s phone calls. E-mails. Now the pressure will be on those that say they care.

        The truth will come out. If they deny to assist lets plaster it on here each time they do and who the elected is.

        We just might still have a voice. After all it is supposed to be MY VA.

      2. James Gallegos
        My son was held in Iraq by “stop loss” when his ETS date came, he stopped receiving his pay & got tossed out of the system even though he was still active on duty. Once home we did everything we could with the VA to get him his money due. When that failed, the Congress representatives we went to were useless, one aide even seemed to be annoyed she had to deal with us, eventually he got some pay but the length of time it took to fix his records made him ineligible for Unemployment insurance so he lost out on that, along with not getting paid for military vacation time he didn’t use. In other words his back pay due him was short changed & the messed up military records cost him the money paid into unemployment. Those elected officials don’t really listen, don’t really care, have more important problems to deal with such as: the more than 2.6 million undocumented immigrants vs 1.7 million veterans in Calif. Rep. Jeff Denham is too busy with legislation to allow people brought into the country illegally as children to earn citizenship through military service. CA is too busy trying to pass the California Values Act which will create illegal immigrant “safe zones” & “freeze out ICE.” Eric Holder[Fast & Furious] has been hired to represent CA against the Trump administration on immigration. Calif’s Congress is too busy to read a veterans letter, let alone thousands of them. Already been swept under the carpet & honestly I know just how you feel, I just don’t care anymore.

      3. That is why you need to get your letter published as an open letter. Even the local street rag will help because you can cut it out and send it to his/her office and to more widely distributed media.

      4. I have heard this before, that congressmen and senators are unresponsive. I ran into that myself with one senator, and the other senator here in CO, Bennett, I got a smart ass response from the snotty little bastard that answered his phone in his Denver office.
        I have since taken to going to their Facebook pages, liking their pages, then commenting about veterans in posts that they make. I don’t care what the topic is of their post, I comment about veterans.
        If you go to their Facebook pages, you will see other constituents doing the same.
        Same with your local media, newspapers and TV. Go to their pages, comment, and maybe they will do an article.

        I don’t care whether a politician responds, but the voters that see their Facebook pages will know they are not helping veterans.

    3. Good post Nitewish. Don’t let the bastards grind you (or your sons, for which I am grateful) down.

  27. @Crazy elf – I want to express my sympathy to you, your wife, family, and friends for the loss of your “Brother.” It is my wish that you folks get justice against the VA. And, I too have some doubts about Shulkin. I’m concerned, like others, that Shulkin will protect those VA employees that really should be disciplined and terminated from their employment [cleaning house]. And, I truly believe that there are many Veterans who feel the same way. Hang in there my Brother. Roll the Trolls.

    @Crazy elf, I empathize with you. Remember, stress in your brain can influence future heart trouble. I know because I’m being affected by the backwardness of the VA. They are too slow to act, and are a detriment to my health. I need medicine and the VA will not prescribe it to me. I can’t stand being under their thumb for my healthcare. And, in the first place, I don’t trust them.

  28. Yesterday, I informed y’all how my “Brother” died a horribly painful death due to cancer. The wife and I watched as his “life” drained from his body.
    The VHA clinic in Daytona Beach, FL was responsible for this.
    His wife is now in pursuit of a law suit. Hopefully, she will receive something that will spread light on this matter.

    Until Shitferbrains Shulkin turns things around, it will be “business as usual” at VHA’s nationwide.
    These asswipes need to be taken down. Most don’t give a ratsass about veterans. All they care about is that taxpayers check they receive.
    I hope their paycheck IS dropped to a fucking dollar! Serves them right.

    And, lastly, fuck any Trolls coming on today!

    1. I am really sorry for your loss, and I to would like to welcome any and all trolls with a hearty FUCK YOU!!

    2. @Crazy elf – – – I am sorry for your loss. I lost someone yesterday, and will have another marathon reading session on Ben’s Blog next week sometime. Need a few days to support the family of the bereaved.

  29. I feel he is a TERRIBLE candidate!!! His comments alone are inline with the current administration. I’m convinced that the VA will forever be corrupt, and continue to keep secrets from the public. Can you imagine how many settlements the VA makes with patients that are NOT publicized? I bet the number of misdiagnosed cancer is more than we think, and the level of gross negligence is beyond fathomable.

    1. A man walked in front of a VA facility recently and blew his brains out to make a point. Another man soaked himself in flamable liquid and burn himself to death an the lawn outside a VA clinic to make a point. Another man suicided directly outside of a VA ER (and was left there to rot) to make a point. Here in Eugene the grossly high number of vets who step onto the train tracks and get smeared over several hundred feet has prompted all sorts of attempts to make the Fifth Street crossing less acessible to veteran suicides. Why 5th Street? Because it is a block away from the VA mental health clinic and they do it to make a grissly point. The trains grind them into little chunks.

      All of these men and women are veterans of America’s military whom have been tossed aside at the whim of VA employees and every single one has made one point crystal clear; men and women are willing to die to alert others to the gross failure of America to fulfill its promises via the VA. We trust members of the AFGE to keep these promises – and a minimum of 22 vets per day keep dying to make a point that their shit just is not acceptable. VA has become a pit of vipers over the decades. The word “corruption” is too lame to describe what VA has become. Countless newspaper articles have made this point. Members of Congress have made this point, and our new POTUS got elected by making this point.

      “Suicide” is NOT the disease we need to target as a nation – the “VA” is. Let us never forget those who have made this point.

      1. This will sound cruel, BUT THESE OUTCOMES should be taken into consideration before sighing up. You know the deal. If you don’t, you need to smart real quick.

      2. Tell a young man fresh out of high school and full of procreation fluids that they are likely risking their lives by becoming a warrior and that young man will sign up in two seconds. How can any fresh recruit possibly understand the long term consequences when they have barely ten years after learning to tie their own shoes?

        We are sending children to war and that is the way of it, but we cannot expect children to have any understanding of a world they know about through movies and the internet. Recruiters make a living off of “Young and dumb” and there is no sin in that, but respectfully I disagree that an 18 yo high school graduate can comprehend long term effects beyond their search for a mate and a chance to prove their worth to the Nation.

        I pose the idea that any vet who has honorably served has proven their worth as a warrior. The VA treats vets as worthless. They shake your hand and say thank you for your service while they stick a boot in your ass on the way out the door. How on Earth can that be comprehended by an 18 yo who is told in school that America is a nation of equals and that nobody is above the law, and then learns decades later that America treats their warriors at home like ticks on a dog and burns their ass to get rid of them.

        This is the gift VA gives to America.

      3. You know Dennis, perhaps if veterans organizations didn’t ignore their members and the shitty treatment they receive at the VA while throwing candy to little Johnny during the parade, little Johnny wouldn’t grow up believing that this nation promised their service (and promises) would be honored.

        John, your comment essentially says we veterans were stupid for believing those promises.

      4. 91, That is what my WWII uncles said before I put my signature on the dotted line in 1961 and also before I “volunteered” to be a “Plank Owner” in NAVSUPACT DANANG in 1965. And what I told my son when after had served in the Navy and spent some time in the private sector he signed up for the Gulf War.

        We know better but somehow we need to do it anyway.

      5. YEP: There is just no data that I’ve seen to indicate otherwise.
        Shulkin has just encountered the Borg, and he WILL BE ASSIMILATED.
        I am the Zen Master of the reality of the the things I see. You may observe data points moving in and out of the Black Box, but you will never get a glimpse of the inner working’s of the Black Box. You and I don’t have the Clearance for that kind of peek into the inner workings.

      6. Don’t forget the human brain is not fully developed for men until around 26-28 years old. No one at 18 can competently appreciate or understand the risks of many decisions including military service. For Vietnam, none of that even mattered. You were going to war and that was that.

  30. The lead article today on AFGE website mentions nothing at all about the new VA chief. Instead, it claims that the very first act of our new congress was to attack “working Americans rights…” citing the accountability act and so forth.

    Here is what the AFGE has printed as their top website story, the very day that the new head was nominated; “…It’s been called “a backdoor way … to dismantle the federal workforce,” by Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, and will also allow Congress to reduce pay for government workers — down all the way to just $1 if they so choose. ”

    hmmmm. The AFGE touts how good their workers are, how much they serve the nation, and what a bargain the workers represent. And their leadership is printing on its national website that Congress might reduce the pay of good honest AFGE workers to $1. Lolz! It did not say what the $1 would be paid for though. $1 per hour, per week, per year, or the entire contract for years of service.

    Yep, the nations largest public employee union printed AFGE truth but said nothing at all about the new guy. Just that congress was going to dismantle workers rights and reduce pay to $1. Now, to be fair at 100% sc for ptsd and having spent time on the mental ward I recognize that I see things different. This $1 pay that they have printed horrible worry over seems even a little far out there for the guys thatnhave to spend cool down time in the padded room.

    So we have a brand new congress, potus,and VA nominee, and AFGE is using its vast website presence to alert AFGE employees that among other things they will be working for just a dollar. A brand new nominee and not a word – but the always, always, always come back to the mighty one dollar bill which the bull called AFGE eats up like hay fed to starving range cattle. Voracious appetites that seem to grow larger with each new mouthfull.

    If you ask me, $1 is far to much goddamn money to pay these clowns. On Ben’s site we learn that AFGE folks were dished out at least $60 million in unearned, undeserved, and illegal payments. On AFGEs site we learn that the new potus and congress are cutting pay to $1. On Ben’s site we learn the name, background, history, and philosophy of the man who is to lead the nations most corrupt service. On AFGEs site we learn that congress is dismantling workers rights and are planning to pay just a buck to VA surgeons, nurses, orderlies, food service folks, IT folks, and the hundreds of thousands of AFGE workers – but not one mention as of this printing about who who their new boss is?

    This is the kind of playground mentality the new head is facing. Every single thng about a VA worker is just nutty. Imagine, a VA worker thinking they are worth a $1! I am writing my congressman demanding a reduction to ten cents.

      1. From his photo I doubt Cox can reach around to wipe his own ass let alone lift his own leg high enough to kick anyone elses. The man is bloated, full of hot air, and is complicite in the bilking of America for untold $$$.

        My hunch is that Cox has never engaged in personal hand to hand combat with anyone. I am netting he gets winded just walking out to his Rolls Royce. I have engaged in personal combat several times. It is brutal, fast, exhaustive, and it takes FAR more than just the loud mouth on a fat ass of an AFGE union boss to get that job done. That Twinkee woild be down on the floor begging for mercy within 7 seconds.

    1. Good VA workers deserve a decent wage, as does everybody. Multi million bonus’s doled out to all VA AFGE workers is, in my opinion, not justified.

      1. Let’s see the average worker gets what 8.50 an hour to do the same job. Veteran’s should not have to pay with their lives. So VA employees can live decently.

        They should spend the money on veteran’s and not your new car.

        It’s blood money !

        Employees should be patriotic and demand trump to pay one dollar to each employee.

      2. Thanks for your less than helpfull insight, I guess your one of the ggod ones?

        Why not get a real job and find out what it is like.

      3. How about 3 years active duty, shot in the head. 5 years national guard, where I was able to make our unit of medics all EMT qualified through the state. About 22 years with the VA. Now what !

      4. Very sick of people who say how hard they work then to find out it is a government job. So today is a school day jimmy why are you playing here?

        Your a joke and fuck you

      5. What’s the matter Bill, such language ! tell us what is a real job. Tell you one thing when I worked for the VA, I trained in every aspect of medical Administration service and when you know your stuff and show you actually care. Higher Management tried to write me up for things like watching TV and had to EAT their claim, when I told them they were airing an emergency announcement. They looked so foolish !

        Any way I could care less, what you think about anything. I seen enough A holes and they seem to be getting bigger and bigger.

        I will tell you one thing and your better LISTEN Good. Have a nice day.

        Do you even know what a HO’ER does.

      6. Can you point out a single VA worker who,is not aware that their employer is corrupt? VAs own internal pole shows that “good” VA workers believe their management is corrupt – so what does that make them? Knowingly taking orders from a corrupt leader and knowingly working for a corrupt institute makes every single “good” VA worker either suspect, corrupt themselves, or people who have cast aside personal morality in order to milk the sweet honey $$$ from VA. By your standards there must be “good” mafia workers who deserve a decent wage. There must be good terrorist who just work hard to make a living. I am sure the prisons are just FULL of good honest workers to?

        Which worker by name is a “good” VA worker? Name just one, then turn over the stones they walk on and see what kind of shit floats their job for them. See if a “good” worker is willing to put their job on the line to save just a single veterans life. Which one is it? Is it the docs who transplanted experimental kidneys into vets? Is it the supply clerks who knew the dentist was using dirty drill bits. Are the people on the Disruptive Behavior Committee just good old fashioned workers too?

        Maybe in the world there really are vegetarian rattlesnakes that slither the ground looking for ways to help others, but I have just never met one of those kind. I have only met the other kind, like at VA.

        Name a single good worker at VA, then name their wage, bonuses, perks, and most of all, sir, you name for me the name of the brotherhood that they swear their allegiance to, then I will judge for myself what you consider a “good” VA worker. Go look at the website of the union of these “good” VA workers, and you tell me that they have Americas best interest at heart!

        They all are either dirty or just look the other way. No morally motivated person would EVER consider working at VA. It is a pit of sepents.

  31. My thoughts and fears exactly, Benjamin: “[Keeping Shulkin will keep a host of flunkies and criminals who should have been part of the whole “drain the swamp” promise. Instead, numerous high-level senior executives will engage in contract fraud and deception over the next year where they steer contracts to their cronies.]”

    I do not get any vibe from Shulkin that he would stir the rats living in the VA swamp. Just as you stated above, am afraid that all those bolted-down V.A. Titanic Deck Chairs have just become welded to the Titanic’s hull. Hope to be wrong but Shulkin just does not come across as a formidable leader type and his recent decisions and conclusions since he’s been at the VA makes him seem very much still part of the very problem at the VA. I also worry that Shulkin remaining is yet another victory for AFGE in dumbing down the VA and keeping control.
    Does this “Hurry-up and wait” ever cease for we Veterans in this life on earth? Apparently not.

    1. The media ‘fake news’ and their ilk, will no doubt be somewhat helpful to Vets these 4 years in that the ‘fake news” and all huddled snowflakes of the DNC will HAPPILY hold Pres. Elect Trump to his word in cleaning-up the VA and making it better for Veterans. We may see the media coming to Benjamin for original stories if Trump’s appointment of Shulkin does not do anything more than further embolden the AFGE and VA Rats and the fraud and corruption continues…Shulkin now has to OWN THAT. This also means, I am assuming, that BVA “agent orange denier” Murphy will remain, as well as Sloan Gibson?
      If so, what’s really the “change” here? I am failing to see even the change of stripes.

      Forgive my cynicism but what if having the collaboration with Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic is just yet again feeding both big pharma research with non-human test subjects and also a place to send the lower-performing M.D.’s at these prestigious medical centers? Yeah, it’s shitty pessimism on my part but why set myself-up for Lucy to pull that football out again….the definition of insanity has already been established at the VA…the inmates are running the asylum, still.
      Rant Out.

    2. SHULKIN SAME OLD VA NASTY FAT PIG JUST MORE LIPSTICK VETS SCREWED AGIN BY THE POTUS TRUMPER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PENDEJO VETS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. You have no evidence to back up your claim. Sounds to me like you are a sore liberal loser.

      2. I think he wanted to say. NO VA management has done anything for veteran’s and with their wrotten track record.

        He Will be just another employee. When we see him fire Many employees. We not believe things will change.

        Time will tell !

        You can’t hide the truth. They sure try though.

    3. Does Shulkin have any connections that would raise a Red Flag ? Any CVA or Koch Bros stalking horse associations ?
      This is an arms length transaction for me.. We will see what we will see. Is there a man behind the curtain ?

  32. Benjamin, I have a case involving a misdiagnosed TBI, with pituitary failure that went untreated for 5 years. I am now battling the VA for proper treatment yet the first doctor ended up ignoring me and after two formal complaints I now have a doctor that ran a test and ran it for the wrong condition.
    This ties into our Veteran suicide issues as even once a condition is diagnosed it takes over a year for proper treatment and literally daily action to force progress.
    Also with a massive amount of TBI patients symptoms being misdiagnosed as PTSD and not receiving the hormone replacement therapy they require from pituitary damage they are far more likely to commit suicide, even with proper mental health treatment since mental health cannot fix missing physiological pieces.

    I sent you a contact request on your site but hope we could continue this conversation more. Especially given the hopefully fresh head of the VA being open to new screening policies, and also for my own personal case.

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