Veterans Affairs

Public Pressure Beats Down Attempted Veterans Affairs Cover-up

Benjamin KrausePublic pressure from citizens and reporters pushed Veterans Affairs to reverse its position on Tomah VA this week from its previous position falsely claiming nothing bad happened there. Last year, VA essentially denied all allegations of wrongdoing at the facility.

The press led by renowned reporter Aaron Glantz caught wind of the attempted cover up and blew the doors off the scandal at the start of year that included exposure of a botched VA OIG whitewash and a Senator sitting on the report likely in an attempt to avoid further scrutiny.

As a result of a new investigation due to public outcry starting in January, two VA employees have been placed on administrative leave including “Candy Man” Dr. David Houlihan, former chief of staff and psychiatrist at the Tomah VA facility.

Nurse practitioner Deborah Frasher was also placed on administrative leave. She worked closely with psychiatrist David Houlihan and is linked to harmful prescriptive practices at the facility.

A new preliminary report from interim under secretary for health Carolyn Clancy confirmed allegations that prescriptive practices involving opioids and tranquilizers at the facility were dangerous.

“[S]ix of 18 cases revealed that patient harm (examples of falls) that could be at least partially attributable to prescribing practices (multiple CNS depressants and/or high dose opioids); nine of 18 lacked evidence of changing the treatment plan in the face of aberrant behaviors; and twelve of 18 demonstrated extensive use of opioids and benzodiazepines.”

READ: Preliminary Tomah VA Findings Clancy Report

The report further confirmed allegations that a culture of retaliation and oppression was used at the facility to silence dissent, “The team also found that an apparent culture of fear at the facility compromised patient care and impacted staff satisfaction and morale.”

CIR reporter Aaron Glantz summed up the total impact of the allegations and resultant investigations as follows:

“In addition to the agency’s internal review, the Tomah hospital also is being investigated by the VA’s inspector general, two congressional committees and the Drug Enforcement Administration, while the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services has opened an inquiry into Houlihan, Frasher and pharmacist Margaret Hyde at the Tomah VA, which could cause them to lose their medical licenses.”

This case clearly outlines the fact most folks already know: Folks in Wisconsin do not take lightly with Feds messing around in our backyard and we do expect accountability when you do. (Even though I live in Minnesota now, I still consider myself a true blue Wisconsinite after growing up in the state.)

The press was all over this outrageous scandal and VA OIG’s total failure to adequately investigate allegations of wronging going all the way back to 2011. The agency supposed watchdog whitewashed the issue but Wisconsin residents would not have any of it as evidenced in the recent outcry in the media over the past three months that forced VA to hold those involved accountable.

What do you think it would take for veterans to help the press better report on problems in VA? Maybe that will be my next step, to develop a free press kit for veterans to help them document VA scandals so the press can act as quickly as they did in Wisconsin.

This is a great first move in Wisconsin toward full accountability of Federal employees and Federal agencies related to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, don’t you think?


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  1. 03/15/2015

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    Drug Trafficking is easy to spot—800 pills [same medicine] per patient a month—–it is excessive.

    We have a community sabotaged by the VA Hospital administrators and now they are try to have the community back off as the outgoing U.S. Attorney Holder investigates along with others like the FBI,DEA, and the IRS who have started looking into the Tomah case .

    Follow through with the investigation, and dig deep.

    Nobody’s numbers are adding up right.


    Don Karg

  2. DeJa-Vu & for Decades now: Rising Costs {mostly borrowed} of Caring for Veterans

    **VA Chief Warns of Rising Cost of Caring for Younger Veterans**

    The people served actually think that when legislation is passed, poser patriotic enhancing political points for their reps and themselves, it’s actually paid for! As to our wars and the long term results after, policy blowback, for the Veterans of, well not since WWII have the people served actually Sacrificed, mostly willingly and across the Nation including veterans depending on political ideologies, thus not building and maintaining, and thus saving in many ways because of, the Responsibility they hold to those very few that served them! Why in these modern times they don’t even pay for their flag waving, poser, patriotic wars and think nothing of it, while speaking full support, and who’s more patriotic to country, of the few that served, blame the next elected Executive branch leader especially if of opposite political party or if same just ignore!

    ** … two instigated wars whose costs were so inhibitive they were kept off the books, … The Obama Administration brought this into the open …**

    **”as well as two ongoing foreign wars, which his predecessor never even tried to pay for. Of course the president is running large deficits; trying to eliminate them now would make an economic catastrophe even worse.”**

    Neither OEF/OIF and the continuing blowback from the policies implemented and supported are yet to be paid for!!

    “Why in 2009 were we still using paper?” VA Assistant Secretary Tommy Sowers “When we came in, there was no plan to change that; we’ve been operating on a six month wait for over a decade.” 27 March 2013

    Facts: Matthew Hoh {former Marine and foreign service officer in Afghanistan}: “We spend a trillion dollars a year on national security in this country.”
    “And when you add up to the Department of Defense, Department of State, CIA, Veterans Affairs, interest on debt, the number that strikes me the most about how much we’re committed financially to these wars and to our current policies is we have spent $250 billion already just on interest payments on the debt we’ve incurred for the Iraq and Afghan wars.” 26 September 2014

    Bob Herbert “Losing Our Way” : “And then the staggering costs of these wars, which are borne by the taxpayers. I mean, one of the things that was insane was that, as we’re at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration cut taxes. This has never been done in American history. The idea of cutting taxes while you’re going to war is just crazy. I mean, it’s madness.” Bill ‘Moyers and Company’: Restoring an America That Has Lost its Way 10 Oct. 2014

    $14 Million An Hour: War Costs Top $1.6 Trillion Since 9/11, Say Congressional Researchers

    “With no shared sacrifices being asked of civilians after Sept. 11″

    And what else do those served get away with, through the representatives they hire, to avoid their Responsibility? Why they choose the easy ways out, just like they do in arguing their, poser, patriotism,, they either just totally ignore the Veterans during and after on an ever growing list of issues or they follow the written and spoken so called experts, usually politically motivated while getting comfortable return in wealth from the ‘denial these issues even exist’ [google Sally satel] and those links are just one conservative ‘expert’ and just about PTS. The homefront battles continue for Agent Orange, Gulf War Syndrome, OEF/OIF Burn Pits and oh so many more reaching back to surviving WWII Veterans right up to today. Many were Finally being addressed when Gen Shinseki came onboard, with the still extremely limited budget funding, and with extended help by the Executive administration and it’s Cabinet where their charges could be integrated on long standing Veterans issues, that continues under Sec. McDonald but so does the Congressional obstructions and attacks, even from those served, as it continues causing costly problems that create other costly problems. Those problems are extremely helpful for political enhancing points of the people served representatives and given eager media backing as new{?} ‘scandals’ that have been seen before over and over and not corrected after, attack, hearings on!

    Speaking of the politics and those served support of same but ignoring so they don’t have to Sacrifice:

    ProPublica and The Seattle Times Nov. 9, 2012 – * Lost to History: Missing War Records Complicate Benefit Claims by Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans *
    While under both bushes:
    “DeLara’s case is part of a much larger problem that has plagued the U.S. military since the 1990 Gulf War: a failure to create and maintain the types of field records that have documented American conflicts since the Revolutionary War.”

    Part Two: * A Son Lost in Iraq, but Where Is the Casualty Report? *

    * Army Says War Records Gap Is Real, Launches Recovery Effort *

    Chris Hayes: “If you can run a deficit to go to war, you can run a deficit to take care of the people who fought it” In response to Republican, long ago lost as the party of Lincoln and not just as to us Veterans, opposition to expanding Veterans’ benefits on fiscal grounds

    USN All Shore ’67-’71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country ’70-’71 – Independent**

  3. Ben Krause: no sooner do they drop the bogus charges against my wife, yesterday, then this morning some ass from a vets group in Chico shows up at the little coffee shop near my home in the mountains 30 miles away: I know him and he knows me, and he says so, then in front of witnesses who one of so far that i have spoken with does not want to get involved, nice since he claims to be former 82nd Airborne but i think he is “McDonald” on that. Anyway, this guy, last name Donnely, says he wants me to take his 30-06 and his ammo to shoot/kill the Patient Advocate, Eve See-Dutra (last name unsure of spelling), from the VA outpatient Clinic in Chico, CA. He was very adamant about it, kept saying it with other details. I called 911 a few minutes later with my wife witnessing over the car speaker phone. I then, even though I do not like Eve as she has terrorized my wife and I for years with her incompetence, went to the VA clinic in Chico and reported it to the front desk while a guard held back watching this. I explained all of the above and my view that even if Donnely wants to claim he was just kidding, some crack pot, maybe even a vet who is messed up on PTSD flashbacks or something, might carry out such a thing. I just now got a call from a sheriff’s deputy, Deputy Cole, and he said that I did the right thing by going to the VA clinic about it (I had tried calling them several times but no answer), and reporting it the way it happened. He said to call him if I see Donnely packing a rifle around, but I doubt if the idiot will do that, but I am sure he was serious, he does hate Eve as he claims, and he would love to do a Manson style third party murder thing. Whatever, but, I can’t help but wonder if the VA thinks this is part of the “golden opportunity” program they promised my wife and I that we would be able to partake in. They had me going on 911 calls several months ago at SFVA medical center, in police cruisers, then an unmarked cruiser that went off “base”. In the middle of the night they shot and killed three federal employees right in front of me, which i think i told you about before. they tried to enjoin me in it but i refused. maybe they had a legit reason for doing what appeared to be flat out murder, like perhaps they were armed and dangerous members of some kind of ambush set up by someone or whatever. this is not what i had in mind when they told me that i would finally get to be able to speak freely about what happened to me in the Marines, including how I was ordered to open fire on two subjects running away from a fatality incident they had just been the perps of. I am exhausted and very sick of this. what kind of sick mind would consider this kind of exposure to be any form of therapy, ptsd or otherwise. on top of all this i am trying to come up with a way to not go into the ultimate dungeon of debt by putting another trip on our credit cards to go to Brazil and get some real cancer screening and treatment, unlike the BS the VA is putting me through after last week them telling me I tested positive for agent orange lymphoma stuff that they cut out of my back a couple of weeks ago. on a positive note, i just met with the owner of a reprographics place in town, and he is going to give me some kind of a break on making color copies of my realism nature scene artwork that I am designating half the after cost proceeds go to two charities, one being your, the other being save the ta-ta’s if you have heard of them. i do photo realism style paintings that i spend months and even years on perfecting, do not use photoshop or any tricks or shortcuts, and took a bunch of art classes with my wife, from some college art profs and studied art abroad for a few years, part of a social readjustment program the VA put me through as a subunit of voc rehab, just to get me to go out of my house but not back to work which everyone knows is not feasible for me. oddly, while taking those classes, David Sirianni told me to assassinate the top leadership of the major utility company here in northern california, and the asshole even admitted it to the dean of the college! he did some weird hypnosis shit on me and the whole class and he was serious, he said he was a male witch and that he put a spell on me and everyone because I saw what he was doing and warned the class not to play along with his insanity. sure enough, years later, there was a mass campus shooting right on top of the place he set the thing up for. how do these kind of assholes stay out of prison? okay, i will shut up now. i will do some more painting tonight if i make it home without some psycho trying to off me and my wife again. there is a heroin and meth pandemic in the college where i am sitting right now waiting for my wife to come out of her classroom, and the drug “zombies” seem to be everywhere, and that is according to the campus newspaper and everyone else. okay, take care, and help me figure out how to donate to you, i think you sell t-shirts if i recall, and that is how to do it. i estimate 30 days or less till i have something worthwhile to donate. semper fi, bruce the jar head

  4. Subject: BOOTS ON GROUND. DVA January 2010 Compensation & Pension Bulletin (211) Information on Vietnam Naval Operations…provides presumption of exposure to herbicides (agent orange, etc.)…to the crew of ships that operated in “rivers” and “deltas”… although not found listed on it’s immediate given ship’s list: for example, the history of The USS Newport News CA 148 includes operations in the Vinh Binh Province in the (9 rivers) Mekong “DELTA” December 1968. The June 2010 DVA Compensation & Pension Bulletin Policy (211) ADDITIONAL Information on Vietnam Naval Operations …ships list…Received by the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs…lists the USS Newport News for Operations of: Cua Viet River April 1969. Yet, and yet, as late as December 2013 of a decision, The Buffalo DVA delayed / denied compensation and health care: The Buffalo DVA claimed that of government records, including their own intranet, The Buffalo DVA could not find my service in Vietnam exposed to herbicides (agent orange, etc.). I addressed the information above to DVA-Compensation & Pension Service (211A)- Attn: Nehmer Working Group -810 Vermont Ave. NW- Washington, DC 20420. While my claim has made significant progress, I have not received a direct reply from the LAWYER GROUP. The The Nehmer Court Order, the Nehmer Training Guide (211A) 2011 Revised is laid down and laid out for The Department of Veterans Affairs to process claims. Nonetheless, Congressional Research Services / Statutory Presumptions (by law clerk Nichols October 2010) is , in my opinion, a must read for ALL Veterans. The Buffalo DVA June 05, 2014 Decision included the Buffalo DVA Examiner diagnosis of my ischemic heart disease as early as 2000. According to The Nehmer Court Order, the Buffalo DVA was to award compensation within 21 days following that decision. The Buffalo DVA left many loose ends: The Buffalo DVA listed my diabetes as controlled by metformin, when Medical Records of April 2014 faxed to the examiner at Bath Hospital, Bath NY, should have read Uncontrolled. The Buffalo DVA tagged my erectile dysfunction secondary only to diabetes. Yet, my prescription records reveal Viagra and Androgel as early as 1994. Yet, the Nehmer Training Class March 2010 instructs The VA has to consider secondary illnesses of ischemic heart disease are shortness of breath, low blood flow (erectile dysfunction), anxiety, depression, weakness of legs, and impotence. The Buffalo DVA did not rate my aneurysms: one upper large artery, one lower large artery. The Buffalo DVA is in contempt of a Federal Court Order. The Nehmer Court Order states / infers that I: The claimant need not file a new claim or a claim for an earlier effective date when new presumptive condition is added. VA must search it’s records to find eligible claimants and award bernefits without action on the claimants part. Medical Records noting the existence of a condition later made presumptively service-connected can …result in an award without a formal claim ever being filed. Such is that by The Buffalo DVA examiner’s Diagnoses of my ischemic heart disease / erectile dysfunction as early as 2000 /1994 respectively . Over the past year. I sent 4 letters (3 certified mail) to The Nehmer Working Group; reason: the Nehmer Court Order states: VA compensates class counsel for all of it’s work on Nehmer claims. My claim / appeal was sent to The Board of Veterans Appeal (board) back logged to 2012. The Nehmer Court Order provides priority for Nehmer claims. Yet, the Board of Veterans Appeal Info man indicates that my claim is not docketed as a Nehmer claim; and, if I want it docketed as a Nehmer claim, that I must write a letter requesting it. Yet, my appeal on Board of Veterans Appeal Form 9 is to have my claim processed to The Nehmer Court Order: The Nehmer Training Guide (211A) 2011 Revised.That’s how the DVA has treated this Veteran (not claimant; see CRS/ Statutory Presumptions Oct. 2010). It’s very obvious to me that another couple years of delay/ denial on many, many claims like mine, they provide yearly incentive pay, yearly bonuses, and/or yearly promotions to the bunch of merciless mercenaries: to abandon U.S. suffering Veterans. Congressional Research Services / Statutory Presumptions indicates compensation for incubation periods. [email protected].

  5. Surprised? NOPE! Fear of retaliation? YUP. Trust anyone at any VA? HELL NO! WILL I EVER? “NOT IN THIS LIFE TIME!”

  6. A big time Presidential candidate, Senator Graham, said today that if elected he will use the military against Congress to stop their anti-American activities that are in collusion with the present administration going way too far into the Socialist direction. Graham and other major contenders like him rightly point out that the Constitution has been subverted and we now live in a police state. Ironically, we will have to have a military police state put into place, at least temporarily, to enforce the law of the land, which is the US Constitution.

  7. Ben

    You know no amount of press will changer the facts that traditional veterans groups and those at the top in legislative /policy positions will never ever accept privatization of the VA nor in fact a voice for veterans to use private physicians , doctors, testing, ext without complicated strings !!

    It is those same veterans groups who in fact when they meet the press here in Berks County Pa , etc want to let the public see how nice the VA is and its system That is exactly what goes on in most of pennsylvania except for those in the city of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh generally. It is the traditional veterans groups as well as the VA employee union who will never allow any type of privatization nor privatization choices for veterans !!

    Ben you need to call it what it is!! The DAV still has not answered you about their invalid and prejudiced self done national survey you sent questions about. Why?? Because of the above .

    It was related to me by several organizations including VVA that the facts are they never wanted choice as it would lead to privatization or open up the gates . The traditional veterans groups in fact left and allowed all the strings in the Choice program to allow it to fail and not to be used by veterans When I called them all and demanded why they have not insisted on a time limit for approval of Choice via the VAMC clerk and up and on to Choice which takes 30-90 days the traditional veterans groups have done nothing.

    The facts are traditional veterans groups are not the friends of veterans as if the VA was to allow true privatization choice without strings they are afraid they would loose VA money they receive as well the power of members they have. The traditional veterans groups would severely loose their power and members as well as their jobs with privatization of the VA or any move of such.

    Its why VVA and all of the traditional veterans groups hate Concerned Veterans of America as they will all loose power, members, VA money and employee positions Tradtional veterans groups attack Concerned veterans of America while claiming veterans doth want choice or privatization of the VA . They all want to keep the VA as is and has been done by them for 60 years !!
    Its why the VA will never change as there is Ben a very clear symbiotic relationship and codependent relationship between the VA and traditional veterans groups… The old saying apply ” Don’t bite the hand that feeds you”

    Ben you know being a person with a disability about my movement of independent living for all persons with disabilities . It is one of allowing persons with disabilities those choices without strings they want and need . Eveen if we allow people with disabilities to fail that is their choice.

    Its time veterans were given a choice without any strings and that is to total private care controlled by them and where they get second or third opinions or the best of care like Cancer Centers of America and the latest treatments and drugs they need !! Ben I hope you see and understand what your brothers and sisters in the independent living movement are doing and we are now teaming with disabled veterans to help them I hope you become a ember of your local CIL or state or National CIL committee and committees on disabled veterans .

    Lee Horowitz, M.Ed, CAGS
    US Navy – Disabled Vietnam Veteran
    Veterans Advocate- Disabled Veterans Advocate
    [email protected]

    1. spot on! i for one like CVA. politics aside, they have done a great deal to help veterans whereas many of our(veterans) letters/call over the many years amounted to no more than getting a boilerplate template “thank you for contacting me letter” in reply. same with many of the orgs Lee mentions.

    2. Lee I was wondering what does your Advocate do to help veterans. is it with getting disability. What the veterans need is information on how to fight the VA, when they claim a veteran is Disruptive and the VA will not or I should say can not produce any type of evidence against the veteran, But they proceed to punish the veteran with out any evidence at ALL. I am speaking about the VA Disruptive Committee whom only harms veterans , which does so with out the VA advising the veteran of any assistance in obtaining someone to help the veteran. This committee should be out lawed as the committee throws away all rights of the veteran Civil and Constitutional Rights.

      Reminds me of the old Salem Witch hunt. All someone had to do was accuse someone of being a witch and what they did next is Burn them. The VA Disruptive Committee is not helping veterans they are only Burning them and could care less if they got the wrong witch. Do you know of any legal people that can help veterans who are not witch’s.

  8. What I find most interesting in this is the quote above saying the WI Department of Public Safety is investigating, and those involved may lose their licenses.
    That tells me a state regulatory agency will take action against malpractice by VA practioners if an issue becomes public enough. For years I’ve thought veterans should submit complaints of malpractice by VA practioners to the State agency that issues professional licenses for doctors and nurses. I was told VA practioners are exempt from state licensing oversight. I really don’t know what the facts are since here in CO, you can look up VA doctors and nurses licenses on a state web site, including those at the VA, and see what their status is, and whether they have any negative history.
    Regardless of whether states have any teeth to take action against the license of bad VA doctors and nurses, I think vets should be submitting complaints anyway. Let a state respond saying they don’t have oversight of VA doctors or nurses. Imagine the outcry if a veteran had complained to the state about Houlihan, did nothing and a veteran died. It would not be very long before states did start taking action and we started seeing better care at the VA. Many other professions licensed by states are held to high standards in order to be licensed in that state. Why should the VA be special? It is the reason we are in the mess we are in. If Congress refuses to do oversight, perhaps state licensing bodies should.

  9. Good job Ben, keep the pressure on. I’ve had enough of the va. I appreciate you standing watch for us vets.

  10. VA DEATHCARE WITH DEATH PANELS TO MURDER KILL VETS FPR THE BONOUS $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    1. VA DEATHCARE IS A FEDERAL RICO CRIME RACKET VA BUDGET FOR 2015 169 BILLION $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ AGIN VA DEATHE CARE IS RICO CRIMMINAL RACKET THATS A LEGAL FACT WAKE UP VES VA DEATHCARE WILL KILL YOU FOR THE BONOUS $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  11. A press kit may be helpful Ben, but over the years I have often found it is difficult to get local media coverage of an issue depending on what the narrative of the day is. Any advice on getting their attention is helpful. If there is coverage of an issue outside of the local market, it might result in local coverage. Print is often easier to get than TV, but TV will follow if print is covering it. Having your blog and posting to Twitter and FB also help.
    I’m curious though, which Senator was sitting on this report? If it’s a current sitting Senator from Madison, I’m surprised there was much coverage at all since the press would lean towards defending her, or protecting her by not covering it at all.
    Also curious where you grew up in WI Ben. I lived there from 1986-1989, and again from 1996-2011.

  12. Administrative leave means nothing more than the employee being sent home and sit on their derriere and still be able to collect their paycheck. Administrative leave is just an awards program is all it is!

    1. Exactly right Dennis. Taxpayers should be getting fed up with paying for vacations for all of the VA employees who are not doing the jobs that they are supposed to be doing

  13. When is the VA going to address establishing a “prescription review” committee which would review prescription files? This would alleviate over-medicating.

    Instead, the VA is coming out with programs to control how veterans take their meds. This thinking is still blaming the veteran. The veteran is not the problem. Combination prescriptions are.

    The VA needs to put a third party type prescription review office in action. This office would not be under the direction or management of the VA MC but rather would be employed by the DEA…or perhaps a private pharmaceutical contractor. Ping files of any controlled substances for review at the onset of the prescription and review the file on a quarterly basis.

    It’s beyond comprehension the VA is still blaming the veterans in light of the issues in the headlines. Veterans are not the ones who need more control in this situation.

    If a review committee were in place, and they identify a veteran who is failing their drug test or requesting early refills, then put the veteran through control actions. If the veteran is receiving large controlled med doses, or multiple controlled meds, then put the doctor through control actions.

    1. i & many veterans concur. you can see by some of the papers you have to sign at VA and also past/current experience at VA the whole “blame show” is dropped onto the veteran. complain, then go check your records. see the difference in attitude next visit.

      some of these meds for illness/injury/disability in fact help veterans with Quality of Life. no question about it they have their productive usage. but according to the info coming from this VA in question, just seems to be way out of the norm of Rx’ing. like were they doing some hidden research on how much a veteran can take or what?

      “beyond comprehension” is soo soo right on!

  14. Maybe we need some type of “town meeting” with a twist. We need the news media involved and need a follow (or a series of follow ups) up to insure that something is done and the solution is one that will make a change. The meetings would be with vets as the main speakers and the VA employees, management, people to represent the VA (someone who takes this to Bob and his people) and others who are needed to listen to what WE have to say. They can only ask questions on things like Who, what, where, when, and anything they need to look into our concerns. We state what the problem is and give information on it. This makes it known to the public and known to the media who will (hopefully) make a commitment to continue to follow up with the concerns. This may keep our problems in the forefront and if they are continuously being put in front of the publics’ face, they will continue to see that the VA will correct the problem. I feel that the recent item that has come to light (Robin Paul at the Indy VA) will not be handled correctly. She is on PAID administrative leave and should NOT be getting paid. Nothing would have been done if it had not gone public. That shows that the Indy VA does not hold its’ employees accountable for their actions. After it was know by the public, they stated they “handled” it. They did not and now after more public outcry, they have to try and figure out a way to worm themselves out of making another mistake. She should have been fired with no type of severance or any type of pension, bonus, or any type of monies. You have till the end of the day to clear out your things and you are not eligible to be rehired by the govt. for any job for life. They should have been proactive and by firing her because of this, the Indy VA would have gained the trust by so many. They missed the opportunity to do something good for the VA.
    This is something that would need to be tweaked to make it work; however, it may be a start to something that would make the VA transparency. Real transparency from a different source other that the VA, govt., the OIG, or any other govt. agency. This may not work but it is something that would take the govt. out of handling things just long enough for the problem to go away from the headlines and then go back to business as usual. This is how they have been handling things. They make comments, promises, and even things that are supposed to help but in reality they know they will not. This “show” calms the general public and makes them think that the govt. cares and all is well. We know different, we know that all is not well and we are the ones who have to continually deal with the incompetence of this govt.
    I am throwing something out there as my opinion and maybe something can be done. This may not work, may be completely wrong; however, we need to do something as just complaining is not getting things to change. We do get some victories but those are small and the real problem continues to exist.
    Again, this is just my opinion and I don’t have the answers, just thoughts as the rest of us also have. One of them may be the thing to change this broken system.

    1. F8f, having monthly town halls or benefits stand downs would help both vets and the VA improve, but there would only likely be one before they were ended. Having a local town hall with the director, chief of staff and other clinic managers would benefit them in fixing problems before they became public, but they would have to be interested in fixing the problem first. From the public events I have been to at VA’s, I see they have no interest in this. The events are usually poorly publicized so it cuts down on the number of vets who attend, and any press at these events are usually corned quickly by VA PR people in order to get their theme out, and keep them away from vets. I went to one event in Madison in the late 90s, and a local reporter was doing a story on it. I met him outside the VA, he never stepped foot inside the VA, but the PR guy came outside and immediately started chewing him out for not notifying his office first before coming. At that same event, the VA had several people working the press and talking to them to occupy them and keep them away from vets. As for town halls, didn’t McDonald start doing that all over the country? He should continue them every year, and publicize them better. Vets often found out about them only through word of mouth rather from other vets than through the VA.

      1. 91, I was thinking of this being a veteran town hall meeting not a VA town hall meeting. The VA would be the listening body. We would be doing the explaining and the VA and their persons needed for this, would be there to understand us and to work on our issues. The media (most likely local but it would be a record of the events and a third party listening) being involved would be there to follow up and make sure that the VA is listening to us and making wholesale changes. The VA would have no say in the meetings, they can only listen and ask pertinent information.
        I know this would be almost worthless if the VA runs it (based on previous VA meetings). They can’t run what they have now. By putting it in our hands, we can say if the problem or concern has been handled and the media and the VA will know that we are wanting change and we are tired of the way things are being done. Then we can go to the next problem. It is a long shot, but we need to start somewhere and we need to start sooner than later.
        After re-reading this I think I drank too much coffee this morning, this seems more like a dream or a wish now.

  15. 03/12/2015
    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    Good Work again last couple of articles.
    Two (2) Crisis’ Sloan Gibson is just the tip of the iceberg.
    Enormous Staff Failure [2010]
    – Gulf War Illness: The Future for Dissatisfied Veterans
    “..we do not want to know the answer…Bottom line budget matter”—Mr. Overton 73 page class action lawsuit spelled it out the save billions [section 216].

    Peake & Principi both under stand this.

    Bob [02/18/2015] and President Obama [03/05/15] both received my letters–both will be here tomorrow, down the street.

    Nurses picket outside Cincinnati VA hospital over care concerns
    Workers complaints include understaffing, lack of functioning equipment
    UPDATED 6:50 PM EST Jan 30, 2015

    02/11/2015—Ground Hog Day at the Hearing.

    Now it is 03/11/2015 and the VA is getting swamped.
    It is a “5 alarm fire” and the people are worried about parking and a childish e-mail from a manager who should be removed immediately.
    Within a few months another 19,345 veterans will be dead= 53 a day.
    America is wasting assets, training, and years of experience—to save a buck—-who thinks like this? Jeopardizing National Security and Homeland Security; delivering us to the enemy.


    Don Karg

  16. This kind of thing is going to continue to go on until veterans become more united and force the Congress to place VA under judicial review or authority, so that when VA doctors or Exec,’s deliberately harm veterans they will be held accountable for the harm they’ve done. The VAOIG is a big joke as far as I’m concerned. They don’t fire anyone or put anyone in jail! The only thing the VAOIG does is investigate and then make recommendations. That’s the equivalent of looking at individual mistakes from the staff and then explaining to them how to do it better next time and not get caught at it again.

    1. Dennis, You got it right, only it is not just the VA . Medical error is the Third
      largest killer in America. Last count 440,000 a year or 1205 a day, die from preventable medical Error.
      This is a national crisis, and we don’t hear a word, a few people get the flu
      and national news coverage, is on it for days.

      The United States Senate has had a sub committee, talking about the problem
      since July 17 2014. Just think how many lives could have been saved,
      since they started talking.

      1. Anytime the Gov’t. assigns *anything* to a “SUB-COMMITTEE”, it’s yet another “rubber rug cover-up”…unfortunately, the very body bags are stitched from the same “rubber rug”…look at the mess the Secret Service continues to be in under this President…and JUST heard on news that has been assigned to YET ANOTHER OIG for “further investigation”…see a pattern here? Those involved placed on “Administrative Duties”.
        Committees and Sub Committees are also what send us and keep at war at the beck and call of the Special Interest 1% that like to play with human soldiers’ lives to push their agendas as if w were a child’s plastic military figures…but not take any responsibility for the collateral damages and costs in pushing their agendas.
        Great job holding these sociopaths accountable, Ben!

        Social Media was used effectively to bring about the “Arab Spring” in Middle East…that very same Social Media can easily be used to FORCE CHANGE for the better, of the entire VA System for current Veterans and those that will follow.
        Let’s pray we are not at war much longer…this is not sustainable.
        Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington as well as Abraham Lincoln must be spinning in their graves.

    2. I feel like I’m too negative today, sorry Dennis. It would be nice to see Congress forced to provide oversight and the OIG do their jobs, but when Congress looks at vets, they see the VFW, Legion and DAV, and think their opinions are solely representative of all vets. They are organizations that do good work, but they don’t raise enough hell with Congress to fix VA problems. If they did, the VA would not be the festering mess it has become over the last 40-50 years.
      Other vets outside of those organizations are not taken as seriously by Congress when problems come up, and it is often individual vets raising hell that gets public attention, and the VFW, Legion and DAV suddenly becoming outraged over something that should have been fixed long before.

  17. We older VETERANS have been telling our families and peers about the horror of VA care and the malpractice, mistreatment and deception by most VA employees for years. Thank God for social media and the modern day political atmosphere we have and continue to be heard. Our voice on social media has been strong and loud. There are many VETERANS who share common negative experiences with VA services and the kicker is that we are all in different states and different eras of service to the USA yet the mistreated are consistently quantified in common areas of VA service and that is the evidence that sheds the light. We VETERANS have been called fakers, liars, bullshitters, and every other name by the very employees and congressional leaders in the VA unions but they never could’ve imagined the power of the social media to expose the areas of they’re hidden policies of Fucking us VETERANS over….they’ve been exposed for the true ignorance and scumbags that they are and have been. Justice and retribution is what we are owed and we deserve to collect for all the pain and sufferage at the VA hands of abuse! God bless all VETERANS for the pain we have all endured in service and after service.

    1. AMEN!
      As you so eloquently stated, the ONLY thing the VA is CONSISTANTLY reliable across the whole USA in each and every State is the atrocious way they are allowed to treat (or not treat, entirely) Veterans with sub-par services that’s coupled with disdain and defensiveness by employees at ALL levels.
      The VA definitely has the unified crappy treatment down as the only systemic standardization, rather than aspiring to be the excellent care the VA absolutely LOVES to tout. The VA is very good at spinning bullshit into masterpieces of deception.

      The VA absolutely needs a new “standardization” and it seems we Veterans are the only ones up to the job to hold the bastards accountable.

      Press kits may be a great idea. Be prepared for the VA to start “pat downs” for electronic devices, to attempt to sweep social media efforts under the entrance’s rubber rug. Can see it coming because the VA always acts like a selfish child and over-reacts, rather than corrects itself.

      I fear that the VA I only sorry they got caught and cannot see beyond that, because there are not any real ramifications for their actions…only the VA’s form of accountability which is just called “Administrative Leave”…when in reality, the VA has been AWOL for a LONG TIME!

      Just how long can the VA use their form of escapism by simply placing people on administrative leave? That in and of itself is another ‘rubber rug’ and they do it very efficiently. Too bad Veterans have to suffer and even die, then placed into the light of social media before they even use their second ‘rubber rug’.

      Time for the VA OIG to be completely overhauled…and make the OIG be non-VA employees nor Union Members…kind of like a true control group is to ‘The Scientific Method’.

    2. i’ve felt this way for years as many others have too. you’ve expressed what i can’t so well, wanted to say thanks.

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