Philadelphia VA Manager Removed, Not Fired

Philadelphia VA Manager

Benjamin KrauseFollowing VA OIG slamming, Philadelphia VA manager Gary Hodge was temporarily removed from duty in light of enormous failures at the facility but not fired.

Hodge was the head of the Pension Management Center at the Philadelphia. The stated reason for his removal was to get “different eyes” to evaluate the trouble plagued facility.

The VA OIG investigation found that the facility found tens of thousands of unanswered questions from veterans and many pieced of returned mail.

Problems from the facility included:

“The IG found that the center was responsible for more than 31,000 veteran inquiries that had languished for an average of 312 days — the standard response time is supposed to be five days — and another 22,000 pieces of returned mail that were never processed.”

This is not the only problem at the Philadelphia VA. Last year, numerous complaints came out at the facility including possible destruction of veterans claims.

What have you noticed if anything at the Philadelphia VA?


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  1. I think VA thrives on the division of vets in America. If vets would unite, they would be unstoppable. So long at Bobby can say that all the current problems belong to Atos, then vets will continue to have to fight for what is rightfully theirs while Bobby continues to squander the budget on bogus personnel and bogus work. You know what they say… “Screw up, Move up” it’s a VA thing.

    1. that is what Obama is doing with white and black Americans. He is dividing white and blacks and in dividing us he is skating alone free and clear to do as he pleases.send more moves to step on him.

  2. People like Hodge, a hometown boy in Plilly, worked at only one place in his life – the VA in Philly – for over 20 years. He started as a claims examiner for them and probably didn’t do a very good job at that. Then moved into the pension mgt. area 6 years later there, and took his sloppy habits with him. Like 99% of the managers (I’m being nice) at the VA that has only worked for the gov.- they don’t get the training or experience that a person gets in the private sector, and are not exposed to the mindset of private companies to perform well. No incentives to- as long as you show up sometimes and do a crappy job – no one is going to fire you. It’s government time. So all these meatballs are going to listen to McDonald? Change the culture? Run things like a business like he wants and says he is trying to do? They don’t know how a business is run, they only know how to get away with things at the VA. McD is saying one thing and the organization he is saying it to doesn’t know what he means. Meantime we have to read all about the “plans to reform” that will never work. This country is a failure.

  3. What else can I say except, “What else is new?” The VA sets all these arbitrary goals for themselves; it NEVER meets them, and it still gives most of their workers (especially their executives) performance bonuses routinely.

    This is crazy. It’s the classic example of the tail wagging the dog, but even in the light of the recent exposure of appalling practices pretty much nationwide, neither Obama nor Congress seems to be able to jerk a knot in people’s tails to fix this.

    I’ve submitted three claims over the past four years, and none of them has been settled even remotely close to the estimated processing time. The VA doesn’t even count a claim as backlogged until it’s been open for a year — even though the VA’s standard is about a third of this. You hear Obozo with his chest puffed out bragging about the reduction in the backlog, but this is all eyewash.

    What would the numbers look like if the agency included ALL the claims that aren’t meeting the VA’s own standard? Maybe it would be easier to count the claims that have met the standard. I’ll bet the percentage would be in single digits, and the very few that do get processed on time would be for absolute no-brainer ratings and VIP’s like generals and admirals.

    This five-day standard is a joke. I’ve sent inquiries through DPRIS that are supposed to have a five-day turnaround that have taken more than a month. I’m sure that even this is more timely than mailing documents in. I damn sure learned my lesson about that. Now, if I need to submit something, I walk it in to the VARO and get a time stamp on my documents. I would use the feature to submit it electronically, but the link to my open case on eBenefits is broken. I’ve had an open trouble ticket in this for nearly two months, and their standard to resolve issues is also five days.

    When are we going to see some discipline for workers who can’t meet standards? These are the VA’s own stated goals! At the very least, we shouldn’t be giving bonuses to people who are not meeting standards.

    In the private sector these idiots would have been long gone. You can’t convince me that if someone went into the VA with the same agenda Reagan had when he fired all those air traffic controllers that this wouldn’t improve dramatically overnight.

    1. I agree, but we have an extremely spineless President of the United States currently. Look at what a mess he has made with our relationship with Israel and now…allowing Iran to have WMD’s that as of this week, Russia has gladly decided to start arming Iran…thanks to Obama’s spineless, self-absorbed ass.

      We NEED a President to pull what Pres. Reagan did with the Air Traffic Controllers…place the fear of God in their loins and watch all the other rats jump ship because it definitely would be just the “kryptonite the VA needs”.

      Lost ALL respect for Sec. McDonald since he seems to be just allowing this constant stream of poop to flow from the VA with no ramifications…so why would anyone at the VA attempt to change?

      Gut the VA Employee Unions!!!! (and I am typically a pro-Union person…not so much with the VA)

      This is nowhere even remotely intellectually amusing…the terrorists are running the asylum.

    1. C-DIFF is only created by hospital staff, those who insert the needle.So, who’s training the staff to do this? ALL To cut corners in endangering our already disabled vets?
      Aren’t there laws against harming vets on purpose. This is not just negligence. It’s beyond malicious intent.

  4. C-Diff comes from dirty needles by those who handle or inject the needles, nurses, doctors. Just as there is a superbug called MRSA… These are what IS called hospital borne diseases and easily avoidable. IT happens in the private medical clinics & hospitals too because of cut back in costs,. to not sanitize and or medical staff who are untrained in proper cleaning.. It’s found that some needles or instruments are not sanitized but used from one patient to another, in any case, the medical facility is responsible.
    Where are the protocols to stop infections or transference of communicable diseases?
    MRSA, HIGHLY RESISTANT TO ANTIBIOTICS, is a highly infectious & dangerous infection AND especially when one has a compromised immune system. MRSA proliferated in the private medical sector because the hospitals or clinic let it all happen. After coming out of a medical facility, you can take it with you & spread it to everybody.
    C-DIFF is truly avoidable. Just keep everything sanitized & that goes for hospital or clinic staff & sterilizing everything and with clean & used needle protocol. ARE all needles disposed of after the one use?. Maybe an inspection of their cleaning sterilizers are in order as well as how much is spent on cleaning facilities and how staff is trained.’Those that are in charge, that don’t keep a facility clean should be fired.
    There is no reason to get C-DIFF or any other infectious diseases in any medical facility other than the fact, that the administrators are cutting costs to not sanitize thus deliberately putting all patients and others at high risk…

    1. Just to be more clear, C-DIFF can also be result of using certain antibiotics in which most of the “good flora in your gut” is destroyed but the “bad flora…i.e. C-DIFF” flourishes and then the gut-wrenching starts.
      It’s NOT just from non-sterile needle injections, just as MRSA is not ONLY acquired in a medical environment, but it’s definitely ground zero for all these and more. My health conditions required to become educated with the above things and this comes from an Infectious Disease Dr. whom has spent most of her life working for the CDC and developing better drugs to fight HIV.

      1. You are correct anti-Biotics can also cause c-diff in people and that’s what the Drs can’t figure out I was not on any ,like I said I cannot prove this was purposely ,all I know is that I am not the same person I was before it is as if someone flipped a switch ,I have had walking pneumonia and get sick easier ,think about it if you wanted to get rid of a bunch of veterans what an easy way to do it,Ben if you are on here ,I only ask that you check and see if I am here in a year I just tuned 51 don’t think I will see 52 ,I forgot to mention if you piss these DRs off they can and will make your life miserable ,

  5. Maybe we can get health care in Cuba now that were friends with them again. Like at a coconut stand, if they aren’t too busy trimming donkey hooves. Bonus idea: ask the donkey surgeon to use his pairing knife to cut through all of your VA paperwork on all your VA benefits. Secretary McDonald should be easy to find down there, just look for the guy in the straw hat, smoking the Cuban cigar, sipping on rum, the guy with the 4 senoritas serving him lunch. If you can’t find him there, look for him in Hawaii, starting at Waikiki Beach, he will be wearing the same shirt he wears in Cuba, but with a lei, and the 4 girls around him will be wearing grass skirts and nothing else. Don’t think his hard-on has anything to do with those women though, it’s just there because he’s excited thinking about how he will screw vets as the day goes on.

    1. That straw hat would actually be Disney Mickey Mouse Ears Hat…but could be still made of straw, but cannot forget the Disney connection. I predict he will be working for Disney any day now…officially…he’s just vetting for the position through the disguise of his Mickey Mouse appointed position of no change, same old crap, please leave.

      1. When we were younger as working adults, we were promised health care benefits along with retirement. This was the package that the unions set up with employers back in the 60’s. Then we were injured on the job, there was little to no comp, wage replacement benefits except for a few years. but certainly little to no real medical care benefits other than told to take antidepressant & NSAIDS. .
        So we ended up on social security supplement & medicare after two years. Only most can’t use their medicare.
        What we also didn’t get was our retirement pensions which was supposed to include lifetime medical care , health care benefits which both sit in retirement & welfare plans
        Now all we get after being INJURED OR ILL on the job are minimal SSI(NOT SSDI) & state medi-cal. It’s all a sham. Everything we were promised went bye bye, as soon as we were hurt or ill. The only employees looking to get something are the folks who are in unions, whether public or private and also means state & federal employees. Should they be able to get theirs as they are promised much too, even if they are screwing over their fellow workers or disabled vets.
        All of this money is somewhere and surely it’s all run by insurance companies because, our health care, WC & vet benefits, SSA/Medicare are insurance money. Medi-cal, all of it insurance money! Our retirements that we were promised & never got., went somewhere to. Somebody is making big money to manage insurance & retirement money in the stock market. It’s called “gamin it”.
        This was admitted by an insurance guy several years ago who just got back to CA.from tanning in Greece. If you look up “gamin it” you might be able to see it on a internet video. Also look under Sandi Trend or the Comm on Health & Safety & workers Compensation hearing.

        There are millions of injured workers who have been in the poorhouse, since the latter 80’s.
        Any disaster that happens like Hurricane Sandy, Katrina & the BP oil spill is all handled in insurance claims where most claimants get little to nothing. But somebody does.
        This is one of the reason why we have inept personnel in the VA system. But it happens now in all medical care communities. It’s all about saving money by giving us less.
        Kaiser had a saying, as it said to President Nixon, How to make more by doing less.
        Making More Money by giving out less medical care. IT’S a corporation(self insured like the military) dream!

        I worked for 30 years, starting at age 12, challenged tests in the medical field to get certified & worked in high level corporations accounting departments & now after all of that I am among millions of injured workers who receive less than what is given to those who are brought here illegally, by the very same folks who promised us everything, the unions. Yes, they do know how to do that. they’re in charge of all the roadways, railways, waterways, air ways AND its all for employers. After all getting cheaper wages with SSI, food stamps & medi-cal world, at least for awhile. The carrots on the proverbial working stick but at those who worked for many years who cannot get nothing much other than SSI benefits which is under 900.00 dollars a month because it is going somewhere else. That’s it!
        We’ve been bamboozled horribly, both civilian & veterans and the only thing the illegals will get is the same shaft at some point. That’s the manner of things for all employers just so they can get their retirement packages and yes, even the DOD is a self insured employer. My one relative was forced out of the Air Force & the DOD didn’t tell him he had VA benefits.He just found out. Along with him went 99,999 others that got the shaft and no jobs to go to outside the DOD. Can you imagine the turnover, over & over again since the 80’s? Even though it was planned before that, it takes awhile to insidiously plan out schemes to hurt & steal FROM millions & do it with different groups. That takes a lot of planning & strategizing. All under DONE under the legislative radar.
        That’s what legislative work is all about, The majority of us getting the shaft. While those who are in legislative branches & other political offices (governors, senators, congress, & even local who running this country with corporate CEO’s who are all self insured, being able to invest the money they don’t pay out on claims. What a racket, this is.
        You all may wonder why I mention this to you, well it’s because it’s my FIRM belief that there are some well, maybe more than just some) in our own legislative branches that created the circumstances to promise us the sun, the moon & the stars & all we have now is, a hell hole with little to live on along with our families & while those on top of the corporations, including unions, federal & state agencies on the employer ladders are like fat rats sitting in a cheese factory.
        AND oh, don’t forget what is called the deadman, keyman, peasant policies. These are hidden (work) life insurance policies that go to the CEO’s retirement packages when THEY want to retire early.
        We’ve been shammed by those who think they’re entitled just because they’ve been getting away with stealing for so long and after a while with no one able to call them on it because they get to gum up the works to make sure we don’t get any justice and that’s what you get when you call your 1-800 number that goes nowhere but to someone who will make sure it goes nowhere. When a politician says they want their country back, well. they already got it, they got it in their bank accounts & they got it in the SWISS banks & they want to keep it it that way & that goes for their friends & family too
        HMMM. Oh Yeah, don’t forget, they got it in GUAM, Puerto Rico, Cayman, Mariana Islands ( yes…U.S.territories too) there are about 6 others and now maybe more. I’d bet on that , that there are more or will be while we sit & worry how we will get our medical care, make sure our family has A roof over their heads, food on the table, bills that need to be paid.
        I’ve been trying to get my rightful earned benefits from the SSA since 1992 & from the make more with less, employer, kaiser, self-insured workers compensation carrier.
        I sure hope our disabled vets don’t have to wait 27 years for theirs as or did some of the Viet Nam vets, who waited much longer

  6. The problem of not answering inquiries does not just apply to veterans. In all my recent years of being a service officer–2004 to the present–I have never had a letter answered by anyone in the VA system. In fact, I have been told by a long-time VA employee that they have a policy of not responding to inquiries from service officers who do not have an office at a regional office. This is, yet, more proof of the tainted relationship between the major veterans service organizations and the VA when they share space in the same building, have free offices and phone service, and have the ability to see a client’s file by simply walking down the hall. This problem is endemic VA-wide and also applies to the call centers. If I call one of these offices, I am unable to get any information about a claim because they claim they cannot determine I’m who I say I am, which is complete bullshit since there are any number of ways to prove my identity. It used to be that if you called 800-827-1000, you got your local regional office and they could physically check the claims folder and answer my question. Every time the VA comes up with one of these flawed systems–such as the Evidence Intake Centers–things get worse. eBenefits is another joke. It is never correct, never has up-to-date information and, quite often, documents are simply not digitalized and added to the veteran’s eBenefits page. The recent bill introduced in the House by Veterans Affairs Committee chair Jeff Miller and others, to purportedly speed up the appeals process, is another joke. If you look at what this bill is supposed to do, it is clear that it will not speed things up and, to the contrary, will greatly slow things down at the BVA by adding additional cases to their docket, but not increasing the number of law judges to decided these cases.

  7. LOL, no one answers anything, at any time, or in any way from the VA! RIP if you are waiting.

  8. What have you noticed if anything at the Philadelphia VA?

    When my AO IHD death claim was there (under Nehmer) in 2011, those dopes actually denied my claim at first. ( I almost forgot-they lost it for a few months but found it again)

    They stated that the veteran ( my husband was a combat Vietnam Vet- 65-66 Danang) did not have any evidence of IHD (heart disease) in his SMRs. WTF?

    I immediately filed a CUE against them , via IRIS under the complaint section, and raised Hell , and VACO called me.

    They reversed and awarded in about 3 weeks.

    Many of these Vietnam vets were still basically kids in the Nam. I bet none of them had evidence of IHD in their SMRs.

    It was one of the most ludicrous decisions I had ever seen. NVLSP was handling my case as to the EED, but saw how I combated this ridiculous error by using my favorite war maneuver….the GCY approach.

    I just got a ridiculous other denial reversed in weeks using it against Buffalo.HBP under 1151.
    The Buffalo “examiner” went against a VACO opinion stemming from my FTCA wrongful death case years ago. The VACO cardio doctor (still at VACO) has an outstanding resume, and is an expert in cardio disease to include HBP..

    I have another GCY claim pending.

    GCY Go Cue Yourself VA….
    When the VA commits a legal error in a decision, this type of tactic (no regs, I made it up) can get the decision reversed within the appellate period, if you get tough with them.
    The main legal violation they have committed in my 2 recent issues and in many of my past claims, has been a deliberate violation of 38 CFR 4.6:

    “The element of the weight to be accorded the character of the veteran’s service is but one factor entering into the considerations of the rating boards in arriving at determinations of the evaluation of disability. Every element in any way affecting the probative value to be assigned to the evidence in each individual claim must be thoroughly and conscientiously studied by each member of the rating board in the light of the established policies of the Department of Veterans Affairs to the end that decisions will be equitable and just as contemplated by the requirements of the law.”

    If you sent them probative evidence, with proof of mailing, and they do not consider it at all in the Evidence list of the decision, then they have committed a CUE in violation of basic VA case law.

    I wonder how many other widows of Vietnam vets, under Nehmer at -Philadelphia RO got the same BS I got, and if they even fought back.

  9. You want to know what I think ? I think they all lie everything that spews from their mouths nothing but lies 1 year ago this month I became very very ill ,I ended up getting C-diff ,I have had a horrible year trying to recover ,as I stated I ended up in Emergency room last year ,I called my team and told them what I had been diagnosed with they said to make sure sign release of info for them ,I did. Since then I have been reassigned to another team had my first appt with them ,she said I had nothing more than a bad case of diareha ,i wish that was all ,anyway I met a lady last week that used to work at my VA Outpaitent clinic in Mt Vernon ,and was telling her what happened with C-diff ,she told me they had an outbreak of C-diff there ,I do not trust anyone anymore ,until you have gone through shit ,no pun intended ,you never know. ,if you don’t know what c-diff is look up CDC website ,be careful I can never prove that this was intentional ,make sure if someone wants to put a needle in you ,that you see them take it out of sterile package and use sterile practices or speak up for yourself

    1. I completely understand. Have had C-DIFF and understand that I live with severe Irritable Bowel Disease that’s just shy of Crohn’s Disease already that goes back to the Hepatitis B the USAF gave me…the VAMC gave me C-DIFF and it was actually during that time frame I was awarded my SSDI while still awaiting my VA Claim, and the VAMC completely missed the C-Diff (I thought) and so I started using State Medicaid and private Dr.’s and was IMMEDIATELY sent to a G.I. Specialist, whom I still see to this day because now 6 years later, that C-DIFF caused irreparable damage to my G.I. Tract. My civilian G.I. Spec. was amazed that the VAMC never even bothered with well established tests for C-DIFF and I too was told by the VAMC all I had was a bad case of diarrhea…then I actually HEAR ON MY LOCAL NEWS that my VAMC had an outbreak of C-DIFF but they NEVER bothered to notify ANYONE and until you have C-DIFF, you have no idea what living with chronic infectious diarrhea is like…and yes, it’s HIGHLY INFECTIOUS!!
      The VA would not know what to do with CDC guidelines other than wrap fish with them.
      Yes, I now have added to my list of physical crap (mind the pun), chronic diarrhea on steroids…thanks to yet ANOTHER experience I have had with Military and VA unsterile/unsanitary medical environments. My list is now HIV, Hep B, and C-DIFF…and since I now only use Medicare and civilian Dr.’s, I cannot realistically see ANYTHING being added to that list…it’s enough…it’s a real shame as well because it’s turned my life upside down. Just TRY to date with the above three things alone!! Yes, my life is a mess because of gross medical errors.

      1. Silly me…I totally forgot to add the VAMC also exposed me to MRSA…mind you, they KNEW I already had a compromised immune system from previous CUE of military medical doctors. (I actually think I was part of some sort of experiment because what exactly are the odds to acquire all those from -1- surgery and blood transfusion?)

        Lastly, C-DIFF is ALSO spread by the SPORES from C-DIFF itself through the very explosive chronic diarrhea that ensues…not just needles. I know because my civilian Infectious Disease Dr. fully educated me on the matter in the -4- times being hospitalized for C-DIFF complications alone.

        A Haitian Witch Doctor would be over-qualified to work at the VAMC’s. I would choose the Witch Dr. over the VA any day.

    1. Here’s the quote of where he was *temporarily moved to until August, 2015*: “Hodge was reassigned as an assistant director of the Pension and Fiduciary Service in the VA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., according to a department spokeswoman.”

      So he was basically laterally moved to Washington, D.C. office where he can make ALL the same damn disservices to Veterans at an all new location…there’s only -3- of such locations in the USA and the one he was relocated to is where he can do the most damage…how hard is it to see this is so not right?!!

      I think Leavenworth Federal/Military Prison in Kansas would be SO MUCH MORE APPROPRIATE.

      Why does the VA simply not enforce ANY discipline within the VA System? THAT is part of the whole problem! They have absolutely *NOTHING* to be a deterrent for such scumbag behavior…none!
      Seems to me this is also dereliction of duty by Secretary McDonald for allowing these problems to simply be moved and often even promoted, giving all Veterans more than an impression that the VA Employee Union must make them exempt from any REAL ramifications for their actions.
      This is a very sad state of affairs. It’s even more sad because the powers in place do not even realize what the real problems are. It’s called malicious lackadaisical work ethics that I am sure out of all those thousands of returned letters and lost files, there’s more than likely quite a few fellow Veterans that have already died trying or even worse, took their own lives out of extreme frustration.

  10. They don’t need someone with “different eyes.” They need someone with SEVERAL eyes like spiders, tuatara, lizards, sea stars, horseshoe crabs, grasshoppers, and scallops.

    1. …and NONE of those critters are Disney characters so the VA will spend millions in studying the problem and then assign someone with only -1- working eye to head the team!
      Of course, I am being a bit flip here, but there’s a measure of truth to their methods of madness at the VA.
      I wholeheartedly agree…FTVA!

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