Veteran Organizations Reject Veterans’ Right To Pick Where They Get Care


This week, three veteran organizations rebuked President Donald Trump’s call for full Veterans Choice in selecting who provides their health care.

The organizations apparently want Veterans Choice so long as that choice is only for a VA doctor, or resident, or medical student. And like most veterans, you usually only see a resident and not a staff doctor when you show up at VA.

Disabled American Veterans (DAV), American Legion (Legion) and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) spoke with the House and Senate veterans’ affairs committees yesterday. During their respective presentations, each warned about “excessively outsourcing” medical treatment for veterans.

According to DAV head Garry Augustine, “The bottom line is, if you open up choice to anyone, and they can go anywhere, it will eventually drain resources from the VA.” He continued, “The VA will eventually whither on the vine.”

Charles Schmidt, head of the Legion, begged Congress to avoid, “all-out privatization or any dissolution of the VA system.” VFW head Brian Duffy said similar, “fix-not dismantle – the VA health care system.”

So it sounds like both organizations believe their members would choose VA health care over quality health care, and that is what Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Mi) questioned.

According to the Stars and Stripes:

Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich., asked whether American Legion members would rather receive “quality health care or health care from VA.” The phrasing prompted discussion from the crowd of a few hundred veterans.

“The truth is, the two aren’t mutually exclusive,” answered Louis Celli, an American Legion director. “The VA trains some of the finest doctors in the country, and we want to make sure it retains the highest quality physicians. We’ll continue to be a partner with them.”

Did you notice the semantic subtlety there?

VA trains some of the finest doctors in the country, but it struggles to retain any of them. Meanwhile, most veterans would rather be seen by the top well-trained doctors in the country and not trainees who later become top doctors.

At the end of the day, does anyone really want to be a guinea pig to help doctors train to become the finest in the country later? Is it not true that veterans can generally only access these top doctors through the community health care only?

After 80 years of repeat failures inside VA and veteran organizations’ inability to reign in the problems, American taxpayers must really consider whether VA health care is a sunk cost and dismantle the system.

Sounds like veterans organizations may have been duped when lauding Secretary David Shulkin’s selection. And I hope veterans finally get the choice we want.

What do you think the right choice is for veterans? Keep pounding more money down the rat hole at VA or get non-VA care to make VA compete with the private sector?


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  1. Get ride of the NON-SC disability fodder these are the veterans that should be on SSDI. These veterans should not be able to bumb F66K the veterans that are SC. Not all veterans deserve the same from the VA, remember some of the veterans in the VA system served four years or less and should be attended to by the VA for the SC injury only, not all injuries. Some veterans are retired and SC disabled and remain in a battle for CRDP.

  2. it’s not so much the harm the VA may or may not do, but the long waits and uncertainties of what is going on. When your 72 years old not, knowing makes for many sleepless nights. I can see why many vets opt for checking out by their choosing. My biggest fear is that I will be helpless and become a burden to my wife.

  3. Mr. Krause, you cited “80 years of repeat failures inside VA,” but you are completely ignoring the fact that Congress has never fully funded or supported the VA since 1930…VA is currently over 45,000 Employees short-staffed nationwide, over 600 short at the west coast VA facility where I work…this incredible staffing shortage is the direct cause of the VA’s troubles with wait times and quality of care (for example, Phoenix was over 1,000 Employees short when that facility came under fire in 2014)…if the non-Vets in Congress would give VA enough money to hire care givers (not $2M worth of administrators and managers like happened at my facility over the past three years) and bring our staffing par up to safe patient/caregiver ratios, there would be no excessive wait times…the 3,000 Employees at my facility are doing our jobs plus the jobs of the 600 people that haven’t been hired…

    1. Doc, please don’t blow smoke up our asses.

      The VA is well funded, but the funds they receive are so fucking mismanaged which results in all kinds of problems, including wait times.

      Don’t tell me some poor doctor that sees 3-4 vets per week is overworked.

      Don’t tell me an agency is short staffed when they hired 127 Interior Designers last year.

      Don’t tell me the agency is underfunded when they move directors around the country every 1-3 years.

      Don’t tell me the agency is underfunded when they spend millions on worthless art.

      Don’t tell me the agency is underfunded when they spent millions on solar panels and charging stations for electric cars.

      Don’t tell me the agency is underfunded when that Louisiana director was fired for wasting so much money on his conference room rather than needed medical supplies.

      Don’t tell me the agency is underfunded when every hospital in the VA system has at least one PR flunky employed to lie to the public, and then the VA spends millions on an outside PR firm to lie even more.

      Its not a case of underfunding. Its a case of gross mismanagement.

      1. the political whores in charge of the VA are so intrenched and secure in their position that nothing will change without total cleaning of the system. But who is going to do that when the entire system is corrupt

    2. Oh, and Doc, don’t tell me the agency is underfunded when they pay hundreds of union thugs to work full time on union business, including the salary of over $200,000 for a doctor to be a full time union rat.

    3. Oh PLEASE!……

      You are diluted if you think we believe any of your tripe. We’ve been on the receiving end of what the VA calls medical care and know just how unprofessional, dangerous and pathetic it is. Doctors in the VA service are not from the top of their med classes. They work there because it’s the easier, softer way to stay employed without any risks.

      Personally, when my knee went out I spent a year and a half at 3 VA med clinics, seeing 5 doctors, 1 ortho surgeon, 2 PT clinics, and one ultrasound test room: THEY ALL HAD IT WRONG!!! Only reason I went there in the first place is because we lost our private insurance, and being 60% disabled, it was all that was available. When we did get insurance, and was able to go to REAL doctors at a REAL medical facility, it took them TWO HOURS (as compared to the VA’s year and a half) to find the real problem: two blood clots in my leg. And you are going to tell me the VA offers quality care? SERIOUSLY???

      So stop with the excuses already. If it’s so bad, why are you there? There must be reasons you would allow yourself to be part of such an organization; or, are you satisfied with just being part of the problem? Can’t get hired anywhere else? Can’t compete? What is it? Why wouldn’t you call it what it is and move on, being part of what is RIGHT, instead of being part of something so vial and despicable?

    4. You could hire all the doctors, nurses, and other staff you want. At the end of the day, the VA practices money care, not medical care. Doctors can’t order medical testing they want, they have to put patients through many obstacles of procedures to delay and increase the access to quality care. Then, the equipment and medicine is acquired through contract bidding to deliver the lowest cost – lowest quality medical care.

      There is a concept in public economics called the leaky bucket syndrome. How much water (money) is leaked out before it is consumed by its intended recipient? In the VA, before one penny is spent on a Veteran for anything, billions must be budgeted to provide for salaries, facilities, utilities, staff, and HR benefits. Lay them all off and give that money to the Veterans in the form of a care card they can use to get real medical care from real doctors at real medical clinics and not these pretend VA hospitals.


  5. I just cancelled my VA appointment. All I wanted to do was be tested for sleep apnea. I called and a woman told me I couldn’t be seen for anything until I do a mandatory physical. She didn’t even ask if I may have taken a physical from my private provider.

    This why the VA has long wait times. I’m not going to take two physicals. I didn’t like the woman’s bossy tone over the phone either.

    I think VA workers are trolling veteran benefit forums by claiming if you don’t use VA healthcare your compensation may be reduced because the VA assumes your better.

    1. I should be able to go to a sleep doctor a few blocks away from my house with the choice card. If these vet groups don’t like it they don’t represent me. VFW and American Legion give me a refund!

  6. From my personal experience, the VSO for the American Legion appeared to me to care more about representing the position of the VA than me. With that kind of strategy, veterans will also be on the losing side of the argument.

    1. Veterans have been on the loosing side of the equation since they raised their right hand and said “I will”
      But keep in mind, veterans are not all on the same side as the ones with the right idea. If you have 25 vets, you will get 25 opinions and or suggestions.

  7. The recommendations of the three veterans organizations do not represent a consensus of their members’ requirements but a politically correct stance that will maintain their standing with the VA. Many veterans using the VA health system for basic healthcare – annual check-ups, conditions that controlled by medications, glasses and hearing aids – are happy with their VA healthcare. Most of this can be provided at the small local outpatient center and don’t require frequent trips.
    When the veteran’s healthcare needs are more demanding – specialized, technical, complicated, requiring frequent visits – the VA Healthcare Centers can be okay for vets living within a reasonable travel distance – sometimes – unless they don’t have enough providers to effectively handle the demand. If you have to wait several hours to see a doctor for a scheduled appointment something is wrong. If you have to wait more than a couple days for urgently needed tests, something is wrong. If you have to travel 2 hours to receive specialized treatment for a quickly developing health condition, something is wrong. If you can’t get life saving medicines because they are not on the VA’s formulary, something is wrong.
    Veterans Choice saved my husband’s life when his cancer proved refractory and his VA hematologist gave up on him. It took 2 years of treatment under outside healthcare providers but he is in remission now.
    Save Veterans Choice or something like it. Give the vet their choice. If they prefer that VA fine but let it be their choice. It won’t be the death of the VA Healthcare system.

  8. This issue isn’t black and white, but something we need to keep in mind is that expanding veterans choice may cause our cost of care to increase. Private providers operate FOR PROFIT. If the VA is revamped to better serve the private sector, they could very well pass the extra cost onto us.

    I’m not saying get rid of the vet choice program. I only wish to remind everyone that lawmakers are notorious for selling off government services to private interests (privatization). If we go down this road, we could very well see more vets denied health care, just as civilians are denied health care today.

    1. Did you read all the other veterans horor stories Mike? If they can afford to pay Iran 150 billion dollars, and pay va er doctors, 250,000.00 per year to “NOT” care for veterans, but instead devote 100% of their time on “union” business. Then have to hire another er doctor to take his/her place, at the same cost. Donate close to 200 million to the AFGE in the form of “union space, union office equipment, and union official time” not to mention what is wasted on illegals, and to house crimianl illegals, in prisons……………………………………need I go on? This is just the tip of the wasteful iceburg. There is only one way to fix this mess, and one way only. For every single veteran, and friend of a veteran, and family of a veteran………………… MARCH ON WASHINGTON UTILL WE GET WHAT WE DESERVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get the unions out of government, government employees are there to serve the public, unions are there to serve the unions, not the public. There is zero use for civil service unions, except to bleed the system dry of YOUR tax dollars. When it comes to having to chose between the veteran or the union……every single time it is the veteran that will lose………..every……………single……………time!!!! That mean YOU Mike……….they will chose the union worker, over providing YOU, with the care that YOU DESERVE. Don’t look now Mike……….but your already paying for nothing. I have an idea, why don’t we stop trying to stop veteran suicide? I mean in the end, that would mean more for the rest of us right? Why don’t we have the quack shrinks, start convincing older vet’s, that the honorable thing to do would be to kill ourselves? Just think of all the money, that could then be used for all the younger veterans. Wouldn’t that be ideal? We could even go back to wooden legs, and hook arms. We could just tell the veterans to just “man the fuck up, and quit being pussies” That would save so much, don’t ya think? Hell we wouldn’t even need shrinks at that point. Hell let’s take severly disabled veterans and put them on display at the zoo and throw pieces of fish at them, think of all the revenue that would bring in for the rest of us. Hell screw all the veterans, it’s every man/woman for themself ………ready…………..set……………gooooooooooooooooooooo.

    2. Mike, what are you afraid of?

      I would suggest you consider the fear you should have from POOR care from the VA.

      You apparently don’t understand how the insurance industry works, which the Veteran’s Choice program would become, and should be. With any insurance, the medical provider signs on or doesn’t. If they do, they are considered to be “in-network” for that insurance program. Whatever their normal charges, those are what gets charged to people without insurance coverage. (This is why you sometimes see people with exorbitant medical bills.) They medical provider then sends a claim to the insurance provider, and gets paid a much lower amount for the same medical care. They have already agreed to that in advance. This is why you have a “co-pay” system.

      Those insurance companies also have available what is known as “co-insurance”. That’s where they take out an insurance policy with another insurance company to reduce their risks and “share” the “pool of clients” even more.

      There’s no reason the VA can’t do the same thing by acting as or becoming an insurance carrier, but instead of being penny-cheap and pound-foolish, they keep their reimbursement rates to the medical providers the same as the industry standards.

      The real problem you have not stayed on topic with is the issue of POOR MEDICAL CARE from the VA. First things first. That’s the part most of us are in agreement with that has to go. In my opinion, the VA will never clean its act up. It has be replaced. It’s loaded to the gills with lazy, low-performing personnel who know they have a good thing going FOR THEMSELVES. They get full benefits, more they we do, they get holidays off. Their doctors don’t have to work the same hours that doctors in the private sector do. Overall their employees know that to keep these fat jobs, they have to shut-up and do as their told, which in a number of cases as we have seen and are public record, include lying, falsifying records, and having a disregard for the health and lives of Veterans.

      1. You pretty much touch the entire subject by the neck. As I mentioned before, You would be hard pressed to get 25% of the vets to support a move against the lousy VA service. Most of them are to afraid they will loose their benefits.

      2. @touchavet:
        I believe far, far more than you shot-in-the-dark guesstimate would be interested.
        And what’s to be afraid of? Why would anyone be afraid of losing their benefits? Those rules already exist; unfortunately, the VA doesn’t play by them, and don’t you see that Veterans are ALREADY losing their benefits due to the way the VA is running it all. You’ve already lost more than you know. Every time to you go to get a benefit you have been granted with by Congress, the VA turns you down until you get representation. You don’t think you are getting all you benefits, do you? That’s what this discussion is all about: GETTING RIPPED OFF BY THE VA AND ITS EMPLOYEES.

      3. The VA may have to pay your attorney. The attorney submits a bill to the CAVA and if the attorney was instrumental the VA pays the fee. Problem is the CAVA has been rejecting a lot of claims because the attorney didn’t do enough. Came in too early and the BVA provided a satisfactory response.

        I expect my attorney to have to go to the CAVA because the Board hasn’t been responding positively to claims of my type and delay. But who knows. Also the attorney helped me get an SF 95 started but dropped the representation because she is not registered in Wyoming and the age of the claim causing problems getting witnesses.

        I’ll keep the board posted. I just filed a required reconsideration request without going directly to District Court because I have a FOIA request that has not been filled and the delay seems to be to 2019. By asking for the reconsideration I’m hoping the VA attorney will break the delay and obtain the medical file which he will have to defend the VA on before he rejects the reconsideration request. He’ll have to respond with the records I have proven by the context in my VA benefits file that these documents should be in the file because they are referred to by Rating Decisions, my letters to VARO, Central Office, OIG and Regional Offices. Fortunately the most important piece of evidence has been sent to me by a clerk with the Office of Communications in the Central Office.

      4. Sorry touch. But a physician can’t be made to write a prescription for a medication if he doesn’t want to do so. No way for an attorney to do that unless you have a “malpractice case” in which case you still can’t make him write the prescription. All you can do is lay the award in front of your next physician showing that the treatment was needed and not given. He then gets to decide to give you the treatment or refer you to another physician.

      5. It was a prescription from my personal civilian MD. The VA however does not carry the Rx I wanted and where going to give me a different kind which had horrible side effects. VA Dr could have requested it but did not

      6. In 1987 I took it to the Chief of Staff and he wrote the RX to a Civilian pharmacy. If it is not on the formulary it can’t be filled by the VA any other way–command approval. If the Chief of Staff won’t get it for you write a letter about your side effects to the editor of a local paper explaining your situation and his refusal. Watch how fast your med becomes available to you.

      7. I did. I contacted my Representative and the VA send me some Rx that was still the wrong meds.
        Rather than deal with a loosing effort, I just purchased the meds myself
        and did not have to aggravate with it

  9. I joined the VFW, American Legion and Association of the united states army. I was reading the VFW magazine “war stories” and I started to get flashbacks pretty bad in regards to my PTSD. So I threw the magazine away. If the VFW cared about it’s members why would it be putting war stories in the magazine that vets with PTSD clearly wouldn’t want to read?

    1. I remember when I came home, I went into an American Legion hall and a VFW hall, to see what they were like and have a drink. They both tossed me out without serving me. Called Vietnam Vets a bunch of losers for losing the war; as if we had any say in how it was run. (I can’t tell you how many times we cleared the same AO and then left, only to come back time and time again. All it did was consume material, ammo, weapons, and our own bodies for military vendors to get rich on.)
      I never went back to either organization. Bunch of fat old farts with nothing better to do than sit on bar stools, get drunk, tell each other how great they were, and spend away their social security. Haven’t seen much improvement from them since. VVA was the only organization that did me any good.

    2. I have long stopped reading the various magazines. They are full of adulation of a group of people calling themselves OFFICERS. They are full of pictures of people shaking hands and presenting each other with awards. Only thing I scan are the “Looking For” Reunions ands that sort of information. The rest is of no use to any vet I can think of.

  10. The state and federal legislators all signed onto this for their share of investments from corporations and the many lawyers and ls firms. The unions like SEIU that works along side of kaiser, which is the thug for kaiser Organizing as the largest union in this country and with bringing in illegals, or anyone that isn’t an American to just push us out of the way into the streets and or dead on our dime. After many years of fighting for injured disabled workers has given me QUITE an education like no other and it’s downright insidious and sinister as it gets. Making way for the foreigners on our dime and our lives. I didn’t vote for Trump OR Clinton, but Trump knows all of what is going on with the illegal immigration and all that it entails and sure hope he does do what he said he said he would do for us. There’s a lot of fixing that needs to be done. Hope he fulfill’s his promises to the AMERICAN PEOPLE INCLUDING OUR VETS and if anyone is racist, it is the liberals with the far right. cause they helped create all of what we have to go through and not get, That is now called survival for America & it’s REAL citizens.

    1. @Dina Padilla: 100% correct, and I hope he does what he said as well. Excellent comment.

  11. There is a fantastic civilian medical program within the VA called “Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs” (CHAMPVA) is a comprehensive health care in which the VA shares the cost of covered health care services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries. The program is administered by the Veterans Health Administration Office of Community Care (VHA CC) in Denver, Colorado.
    That said there is one very big problem, Veterans currently are not allowed to use the CHAMPVA medical program, only certain veteran’s dependences. The only change needed is for the addition of four words to Title 38 CFR 17.271 Eligibility, and those four words are “all honorably separated veterans”. With the addition of these four words, all honorably separated veterans, veterans could enjoy the best medical health program the VA has to offer.

  12. I stated: “My experience is that everyone who is a medical practitioner to any degree is incompetent.” Correct that to: “My experience is that everyone who is a medical practitioner AT A VA FACILITY is incompetent.”

  13. We’re not calling for the dismantling of the VA system, just the medical clinics portion of it. All they need is the accounting department to pay the bills and payroll, and the pharmacy departments (which they could make mail-order).

    My experience is that everyone who is a medical practitioner to any degree is incompetent. As for being a training facilitiy for new doctors, many well-known private facilities do the same. The difference is that those residents (doctors in training) that are trained at VA facilities are trained in terrible methods from terrible facilities; whereas those residents trained at quality facilities are trained in the best-practices from and at successful facilities. Take a guess at who goes on to be great doctors…….

    1. Than the thing to do is petition the various Vet organizations to stay the hell out of the negotiation or have vets quit paying dues to them. Money talks and when memberships decline they will get the message

  14. I found the Minneapolis VA to be filthy, with staff laughing an joking between themselves while Veterans waited in line to be seen, outpatient check-in area without any HIPAA adherence (not to mention the chairs so dirty I stood for about an hour instead of sitting in one.

    When I left, there was a young man, paraplegic standing against one of the pillars on the sidewalk, all by himself. All of a sudden he fell to the ground. Three of us civilians ran to his aid and helped him. Not a single VA staff person in sight. They don’t f’ing care. Any private hospital takes you to your transportation in a wheel chair if you can’t walk. The place is a disgrace.

  15. In my personal experience, the VA medical clinics I’ve been to have been an abomination. Filthy, incompetent, staffed with doctors wearing warm-up sweatsuits and others who guess rather than test correctly. (But they love their vitamin shots and pills….)

    We lost our insurance a few years back and I was losing use of a knee. I had no choice but to try the VA. Long story short, five doctors, one ortho surgeon, one ultrasound, two physical therapy departments at three different VA medical clinics in over a year and a half time, AND NOT A ONE OF THEM COULD GET IT RIGHT. NOT-A-ONE-OF-THEM.

    Was then able to get insurance, and immediately went back to Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN, where I normally was getting all my medical care before losing insurance. All in one day, in about eight hours (three of which was waiting time between appointments), I saw a doctor, he ordered tests, the tests were done, had a follow-up discussion with the doctor, and began treatment for the REAL problem. It was two blood clots in my leg. Not only did Mayo find the REAL problem but also tested to make sure there wasn’t a problem in the groin, which can be a contributing issue.

    Now let’s add it up.

    VA: 3 clinics, 5 doctors, 1 ortho surgeon, 2 PT clinic, 1 ultrasound, ONE AND A HALF YEARS OF THERAPY, no results, but a lot of money spent by them and me.
    Mayo: 1 doctor, 1 radiology test sequence, 1 correct treatment plan, and I was back to walking without pain in a week. (By the way, blood clots can be fatal.)

    (Just so you know, Mayo is for EVERYONE. It sees tens of thousands of people every day. People just like you and me. It’s special in its treatment, but its for everyone, not just the rich and famous. You have to experience it to understand it.)

    Back on topic: The reality is that in that experience and every other one I’ve ever had at a VA facility, the care has been terrible, down right terrible.

    Just so you know, I’m a combat-wounded Vietnam Veteran, 60% disabled. For the rest of my life, I will rather bleed to death on the sidewalk than let VA medical staff get near me. Truly, it’s that bad.
    I find it interesting that the three largest Veterans groups support the VA medical system. Now we know to whom their real allegiance belongs. Shame on them!

    1. I am glad that you have received good care at the Mayo clinic. Not sure why I keep going VA, but I see my own MD as well and most of the time he has a different diagnosis which turned out to be right.
      I have been at the North Las Vegas VA hospital were I found the dental clinic to be fantastic. Their emergency section was an abomination. Several police officers with guns. Must be a reason for it.
      Baltimore is just as bad and Grand Rapids, MI not much better.
      The VA is a multi Billion $ organization and the powers to be will not surrender control over it at the expense of the vets.

  16. North Las Vegas VA hospital is the worse. I sat there for 6 1/2 hours with another vet complaining of chest pains and difficulties breathing. I left and went to a private hospital and was treated within 1/2 hour.

  17. “Follow the Money” is good advice on any day, when issues of disinformation, deceit, propaganda, manipulation and flat-out bullshit is taking place. “Veterans Service Organizations” happily send out letters requesting dues and contributions on a massive scale. What they do with those funds is always another story. The ChoiceCard Program is set to expire in early August. I hope it dies painfully. It’s been a ClusterFoxtrot since day one. A hard fact is that the “doctors” the VA hires are usually burnouts and graduated at the bottom of their class. Usually. There are some good ones, and they’re almost always veterans who give a damn.
    The VA hospitals and clinics want to remain viable. That’s where the money comes in. Many civilian MD’s and hospitals want nothing to do with VA/Choice/Healthnet because they don’t pay their bills. But, the civilian sector is usually where the great specialists are. I’m scheduled for back surgery with a neurosurgeon who has an impeccable record of success. I choose him over the VA. If the VA wants to remain, they must recruit the best. We, as veterans deserve the right to choose the best. In doing a claim for a service-connected issue, the veteran designates an organization (DAV, VFW, American Legion, AMVETS, Vietnam Veterans of America, etc., to be their representatives. I give my money to VVA. In my very biased opinion, they’re the ones who will back me up if I need them. The rest just send me address labels. I want the best doctor, be he/she VA or civilian.

  18. @ANutterVet,@Ex va: You guys still awake? Sorry I was gone all day, had an appointment then passed out when I got home. Hope you guys are doing well today, i didn’t read any stress in your comments, so that is good I think.

  19. I’ve heard so much negative stuff about Veterans organizations, that I wouldn’t waste my money on these selfish bastards. There no better that the shysters at the VA. The only time the public is interested in Veterans, is when parade time comes. Screw your parade, screw your marching band, screw your decorated hats, and most importantly screw you. I’m sorry, I forgot one last thing, “thank you for your service.” And, then they wonder why most Veterans have a lack of trust. Dum fucks. Taking a break, in order to chill. Frigging Rant Out.

  20. Wither on the vine, thats a good one, meanwhile it’s OK for veterans dying at the piss poor care being received at the VA. Hard to believe they would even say that shit, I’ll remember that when its time to renew my membership with the American Legion.

  21. Well i was reading CJ”s comment: I am setting here missing both my legs. Mainly i believe because the VA did not want to send me out to a private doctor for a opinion even tho there doctor commented in his notes that i needed to be seen by a outside source because there was no other vascular dr at the Dayton VA to refer to. He sent his opinion to the head surgeon. They responded that they would not approve me going outside the dayton VA. So the doctor that sent that request quit the VA and took all his residents with him leaving me and others without help. After about two months they got a new vascular surgeon and when i got to see her , the problems i was only having with my right leg had now transferred to my left leg. to make a long story short , now i have no legs. i went to the legion for help and they where dragging there feet and im a long time member(20+ years) i dropped them like a hot rock and sueing on my owni my die before i get any results.(VA trains some of the finest doctors in the country, but it struggles to retain any of them. Meanwhile, most veterans would rather be seen by the top well-trained doctors in the country and not trainees who later become top doctors.
    At the end of the day, does anyone really want to be a guinea pig to help doctors train to become the finest in the country later?

    1. @zeke: Zeke, I am sorry you had to go through all that has happened to you, That is why you can easily detect the anger in my comment above. So many bad stories, and so many lost friends, due to the care they ‘didn’t” recieve from the va, that they “should” have. It absolutely breaks my heart, when I hear stories like yours, and even worse, when it’s a close personal friend. It is a very sick system, that refuses to even acknowledge, the illnesses that entire generations of veterans have, due to war, such as AO, Gulf war syndrom, and others. I hope I didn’t offend you in anything I said in my first comment. My real point was that veterans should get the care they need, and get it in a “timely” manner, and if the va won’t, or refuses, to provide that care, then the veteran should be able to go elsewhere, so that they can get the care they deserve.

  22. What gave the VA the right not to give the Veterans their choice? Back in the 70’s, I remember being treated privately and they billed the VA. Never heard anything else. The way it’s set up, the Veterans and their families, have less options, worse scheduling, most apathetic staff, and the bottom of the barrel in most professional positions. Why?

  23. I was sure that the head of the DAv was a guy named Riley. He had both hands and both feet amputated.

    But I could be wrong

  24. Very well said Krista. The VA is better situated in treating some of our unique needs and the civilian world is better than the VA in the more common care health needs of our vets.

    1. @Robert Larrinaga – Good point. But, I must disagree. In total, I think it should be up to the Veteran to choose where they get their medical care. You’d think that all VA Medical Facilities would be excellent in Pain Management. My personal experience indicates to me, that this is not true. Especially, when a physician only relies on the Evidence Based Criteria, and doesn’t take into account what is and what is not working for the Veteran; the patient, the one who needs help, the one who is tired of not being heard, the one who is hurting daily, the one who wants their life back as much as possible, and the one who’s spouse is bearing the burden].

      Give the Veteran the choice of where they want to receive their medical care. Especially since no one wants to keep the pressure on the VA to really change its medical modalities. I’m tired of this bullshit. No accountability = we do want we want to do.

  25. I use both a private doctor and the VA. When I began to suspect that I had Gulf War Illness, I went to my private doctor (quicker to get in) and told her what I was thinking and asked for information on Gulf War Illness and for her to help evaluate me for the condition. She asked me, “What’s the golf war?”. When I went to my VA doctor with the same request, she referred me to the Palo Alto VA’s War Related Illness and Injury Study Center, where I received a detailed evaluation and treatment plan from doctors very familiar with war related illnesses, and the research behind quality treatment. Thanks to veteran specific health care through the VA, I am receiving treatment that works for me. I was at the VFW testimony yesterday, and was a part of the discussion in the audience about the phrasing of the question, which implied that the VA does not provide quality health care. I understand that many people have bad experiences with the VA, but my personal experience is that it is of the utmost importance that I receive health care from doctors who understand my veteran specific issues. I actually want both- the VA and Veteran’s Choice.

    1. Krista, I too am a Gulf War veteran. That some doctor asks what the golf war was is not surprising. It just shows how ignorant some people can be.

      I get similar ignorant questions…at the VA.

      What you need to comprehend when you are advocating for the VA is that your treatment at Palo Alto is the extreme exception.

      I have said this repeatedly for over 20 years…treatment centers for Gulf War veterans are nice, for those assigned to that VA.

      Ask yourself why those treatment centers are in California or on the East Coast?

      Ask yourself why the VA in the rest of the country has not benefited one iota from what has been learned at those centers?

      It took until the late 1990s before the VA even started providing any kind of diagnosis for our illnesses, and only then because legislation was passed mandating the VA service connect those medical conditions that they previously could not diagnose.

      It was a friggin miracle. After years of VA saying they couldn’t diagnose what was wrong, overnight they started pulling answers out of their ass simply to avoid the new law…which meant Gulf War vets were denied service connection.

      If you have some secret way of convincing my VA to refer me to Palo Alto, I would be all for keeping the VA open.

      Since my current VA and others I have been to cannot even learn from what is found at Palo Alto, I don’t care if they were shut down tomorrow.

  26. Since kaiser, the biggest lying dyin HMO tha ever existed is in charge of the VA’s medical establishment. They to have staff of interns and residents for their patients. There’s even an uglier truth about kaiser’s interns & residents that experiment and as equally as good at over medicating their patients including their employees who are patients too. While Kaiser has been sucking off the biggest teat, the federal taxpayer since 1964, they’ve inserted themselves as number 1 in the U.S. which is also touted with the 5 star bull shit from Medicare while knocking off patients to receive the last 4 days of a patient’s life WITH MORE medical procedures than in the patients entire life and there are millions of them. Kaiser’s evidenced base medicine has infected much of the private medical community with the AMA’s blessings. This too is what you get when it will be all privatized, only unless kaiser gets found out for what it really is and that is a the biggest ball of corruption & fraud, stealing billions every year while offing the most vulnerable. So the medical community is no different than the VA overall because all it is ever about is how much they can steal to kill. AND that my friends was the plan all along with their so called foreign student, interns and residents program.

  27. @R.L., Hopefully you will get it soon. Y’all deserve it. The only possible thing to go wrong, would be if some VA executive thinks the money may be better served elsewhere. Perhaps for protection against this poop cannon they are hearing about.

  28. Turning the VA over to the private sector – completely – is dangerous. The current healthcare system is a colossal amalgam of lobbied corruption of the highest order. Medicare can’t negotiate bulk pharma prices, but the VA can. See how long that lasts. Medicare CPAP – $4k. VA – $1700 (for a box Samsung could build and sell for $200). Every time you see an exorbitant modern medical price tag – you can be sure that a dozen special people in DC funded their next election, and their retirement consulting job to a lobbying firm. Providing private access for those who travel long distances, or, where VA services are tapped out is fine.

    The VA needs to be fixed. The VA hasn’t been fixed because the VSO’s continue to suck up and “play the game on the hill”. The game will continue in perpetuity until veterans take to the streets. Period. We’re perfectly happy, and justified to hop on our Harley’s and honor the next kid who didn’t make it. But, we spend more time bitching with, and at each other than collaborating for a group-puke on our representatives.

    American wars are about as predictable as a morning hard-on. They always need soldiers. And we sit here and wave the flag, and God Bless America while the next generation of saps line up to be fucked by the the rest of the country. The VA is merely the entity designated to deliver the fucking by absence of oversight.

    1. I am only going to address the drug issue. The va charges veterans 15 dollars per month per script for non service connected issue drugs. I can go on “” and get 90 days of the same drug the va is supplying for a whopping 10 dollars. That is a substantial saving over what the va provides. And for those rare drugs tha can cost as much as 600 dollars a month or more. I can go right to the drug manufacures website, fill out a form, and recieve the drug free of charge. My poin is, if the va is getting a great deal on bulk buying of meds, they sure are not passing that savings on to the veterans.

      1. CJ – I get that. The VA is levelizing the cost of meds – balancing the spendy drugs with the cheap drugs. They negotiate the spendy stuff quite well, and then spread the costs to the rest of us on the cheap drugs. Downright socialist. If you have just enough income you won’t qualify for the occasional freebie from Pig Pharma. I need to keep EPI pens on hand. A dozen years ago, uninsured non-va, I was paying $120 for the pair. Now it’s $600. So now I pay $15 every couple years.

        Again – I get your point. I’ll admit to having a chip on my shoulder for Pig Med and Pig Pharma. My sweetie and I are thankfully still vertical and ventilating, but I was self employed, and we were un-insurable in those days, and our nest-egg is gone. We’ve lived in the UK. I worked for a German company, and have done business with Danes, Japanese and Italians – enough to know a lot of people and have the proverbial “why is it so expensive in Amerika?” discussions. As a percent of GDP, those countries provide more services for everyone at a far lower cost to treasury. Yes – those are single payer systems. Some have a spin, as insurance companies invade and chip away at decent systems for fun and lots of profit (Australia for example – used to be an awesome single-payer system, and privatization is ruining it). Insurance companies provide NOTHING in healthcare. They are middle-men. They add overhead, and a boat load of profit margin. The famed OBAMACARE – aka ACA – aka NICLBAC (No Insurance Company Left Behind ACt) was a joke, but, my wife and I are happy we had it for her coverage. The national results and impact on insurance companies? The bigger insurance companies are recording record profits. Some smaller companies are struggling, and being bought out by the big guys. Engineering monopolies tied to a MANDATE!!! American corruption at its finest. All blessed by Gucci shod lawyers.

        I’ve shopped on-line options, and I might save a $1 on one scrip – the others – VA is the best deal. YMMV

      2. @Windguy: I hear ya, I forgot that some wouldn’t qualify for the big pharma freebies. Sorry those damn epi pens have gotten out of control on cost. It seems if your life depends on it, they don’t care how cheap it is, they want top dollar. I heard a comedian do a skit about it being a sunday, and a toilet over flowed so the guy ran down to the harware store. Knowing it was sunday, and how much plumbers cost on sundays the clerk wanted 100 dollars for the plunger, and how a 100 dollar plunger was still a bargain compared to having to pay a plumber. Sometimes you just can’t win. I am glad you and your family are doing well. healthwise.

      3. Windgiy, in my opinion, and it is backed up by several news reports, the price of an Epi pen is from blatant price gouging and manipulation of the market by their democrat connected CEO.

        First, they convinced the FDA they should be able to market it to more people than what they were allowed in the past. This allowed Mylan to market it to people who MIGHT have an allergic reaction requiring it, not only to those with proven reactions as it had been.

        Second, congress was convinced to pass legislation requiring every school to have Epi pens. Obama signed it in 2013. Yes, Mylan provided 700000 free Epi pens to schools, but they refuse to answer whether they replace them for free since, as you know, they have a 12 month shelf life.

        Once they had both better markets and access to public money through schools, price was no longer a consideration.

        By the way, Heather Bresch, Mylans CEO is the daughter of Senator Joe Manchin, D-WVA.

        In 2015 they did a corporate inversion and are now headquartered in the Netherlands.

  29. This is a question. I am a cancer survivor from the Camp Lejeune water contamination period. Do you Ben or anyone else know exactly how they are going to disburse the 2.2 Billion dollars to the veterans that are qualified to receive it. The disbursement date is March 14th this year.

  30. All this talk about going to a private Doctor is all good, but what about us Vets that can’t afford to see one, what about us ???? All we have is the VA.

    1. @James – I thought you said that you only use the VA for your routine appointments, follow ups, or exams? I’m sorry, I took your previous statement as you were able to see doctors in the private sector. James, the VA has extensive problems in giving proper medical care to Veterans. I hope you never get screwed over by a person that is supposed to cherish and hold onto the Hippocratic Oath. You’ll be pissed off when this happens to you. Give it some time, and post your experience on Ben’s blog.

      1. for medical treatment I see a choice doctor. At least that keeps me safe from the CBOC. Its terrible when a veteran has to dread going to a VA knowing the people working there will harm you.

      2. It’s not the harm they may or may not do. It’s the delays and periods of not knowing what is going on. When you’re 72 and have a heart problem and wait for weeks at a time it becomes pretty unnerving and makes for many sleepless nights.

      3. I understand this very well. Because they lied about My military record’s being distroyed and them refusing treatment because I did not have an adjudicated claim for PTSD and traumatic brain injury.

        This went on for 40 year’s. I had to self medicate. Drug used alcohol ! Alcohol is a poisen and will get one into some kind of trouble with family members, friend’s and the law.

        You can not sleep without self medication.

        The harm has been done by the VA denying the claim. I had an employee tell me, everyone at the VA knows your an alcoholic.

        I know if they would have adjudicated my claim and not lied. I would have not had to go through what I had to.

        Proof. After my claim was adjudicated and after 40 year’s of non treatment and they Finley treating me for drug abuse and me treated for my PTSD.

        I have not touched a single drink in over 10 year’s. No legal problems. My family and friend’s see the difference.

        So in my opinion if the VA would treat veterans for PTSD and or tbi without having to wait for an adjudicated claim, many veteran’s lives would be saved and quality of life would be better.

        There lyes a major problem with the VA ! Denying claims without thinking about what the veterans must indure because of their actions or in actions.

      4. Just for shitz and giggles, I jsut checked DAV on to see how they fared. Not so good: They ranked them at “D”.

        Draw your own conclusions.

    2. @Namnibor – Wow! I’m learning how to read, comprehend, and see through the mucosal poo.

  31. If you don’t have medical coverage or can not get health-care the VA looks mighty good. If you have or can use medical facilities “off campus” the bumbling VA medical system isn’t very appealing. Semi annual checkups for medications and annual checkup is the extent of my use of the VA.

  32. all these people need to quit speaking for all veterans. These people do not have the veterans back, they will do nothing for veterans, may fill out a few forms. But when push comes to shove, they will not fight for the veterans.

    Its all a Game to them. If they really cared they would have been on the News almost every day. If they really cared they would have not let the VA destroy veterans records, Deny claims by the hundreds of thousands. Its a game to them for a pay check.

  33. If the VA Primary Medical Care Providers [PCP’s] don’t want to listen to the Veterans input, or the PCP doesn’t probe with medical questions to see how your current treatment is going, then how can a Veteran expect their health to get better. I don’t care what anyone says, the VA medical system is in shambles, and I don’t trust them. In my whole life, I’ve never been so mentally exhausted from receiving medical care. I’m really tired. And, no where to turn too. What is a Veteran to do?

    1. Oh, they indeed probe. You could be in there to specifically see the Dr. about an earache and they will want to give you the KY probe. I wonder if they keep count?

      1. @Namnibor – Funny when they think of an orifice, they only go to certain ones. I thought this was strange the first time the PCP asked me, “gloves or no gloves?”

      2. @ANutterVet– At least you; got the courtesy of them asking for ‘gloves or no gloves’, I got what must have been a pro bowler that insisted on wearing all his perfect score rings in such probings. 🙂

      3. @Namnibor – Ouch !!! And then it says, I’m sorry, I have to explore some more. Your better off doing it yourself. But first, you’ll have to take the VA’s yoga classes so you can get into position.

  34. No one should be able to choose for the Veteran! Veterans should be able to decide for themselves how far they want to drive and who cares for them!

    My husband is in severe pain by the time we drive the 2 hrs. to the VA hospital and is in bed for 2 to 3 days after the trip. Why does he have to go through that, when there are qualified doctors and hospitals closer?

  35. I was so angry when I read this, where do they get off dictating that I must get my healthcare from VA?! If they stand for veterans, they should stand for getting them the best care, regardless where it comes from! VA isn’t delivering on timely, quality care. ESPECIALLY if you want to see a specialist.

    I sent messages to VFW and American Legion on twitter shaming them for this. Seems there are political or personal interest motivations here, or they need to do a better job educating vets on WHY keeping the healthcare within the VA is so critical.

  36. Having small VA clinics to take care of Primary care and then sending Vets out to local specialists seems much better for the VET! Centralized care in the middle of the state is stupid and lacks thoughtful foresight into future needs of the Centralized care! However. local medical professionals have a much better ability to upgrade service and/or slow down service as Vet needs arise! The only reason a large centralized hospital is used is money for all involved except the VET! Billions of dollars pay for everything admin, security, bus drivers, city officials everything, but Vets. Use that money to pay for the care where the Vet lives and cut out the way we have always done it – it does not work the way it is!

  37. 2 years ago I started my filing of a disability claim and went to the DAV in North Little Rock, Arkansas (assuming that they were a good VSO). The clerk at the desk acted like me asking to see a representative was the same as shitting on her desk. I was assigned to Peggy (I don’t remember her last name), who told me I would need to get all of my military and private medical records. I asked if the VA or DAV could not request them since I would have to pay, and was told that it would take a lot longer if I requested that they obtain them. I told her that it was a phone book sized record. She then told me that I could bring them to her and she would scan them in, but she was not going to scan a bunch. I asked for her email address and she told me that she didn’t have an email address, and I would have to bring the records to her or mail them in.

    I scanned all of the records, saved them to a thumb drive and took them to her. Once again the desk clerk was rude! When I tried to hand Peggy the thumb drive she acted like I was stupid and told me, “I can’t do anything with that!” When I pointed at her computer she told me that there was too big a chance that I had a virus on my thumb drive and she would not use it. She again confirmed that she would scan some of my records, but nowhere near all of them.

    I told her that she was worthless and the DAV is the most unprofessional and lazy organization I had ever dealt with. I walked across the hall and the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs took care of me, and treated me like I was welcomed and all they wanted to do was help me.

    When I relay this story to other Veterans and friends who work at the VA, they all make a face and say that the DAV is the absolute worst VSO, and so in bed with the VA that they don’t do anything that may upset VA personnel.

    The problem as I see it is that you go to a private doctor and he wants to treat you professionally and actually help you so that you will return to him for care (so he can make a living and support his family). You go to the VA and they look at you like you have a dick growing out of your forehead, and then talk to you like you’re an idiot! Especially if they know you were infantry (cause we are all too stupid to do anything else in the military, right?) Then they basically tell you that there isn’t much they can do to help you (because if they try to help you they may find something that you could file a claim on), and then tell you to toughen up and get used to it. I actually had one VA doctor tell me that I should read a book on how to live a good life while in constant pain. They do all of this because they know it doesn’t matter how they treat you or speak to you. You have to come back to the VA for care so they will get paid no matter what.

    Maybe the VSO’s should talk to the Veterans who are actually using the VA, or better yet, maybe the VSO’s need to get their care at the VA for a while. That would change their mind!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. This is crazy. It took a long time and I’m still waiting for some of my FOIA to be filled. I’ve never in 43 years been ask to pay for documents requested from the VA. I just received a CD with 3151 pages of documents from 1995 to the present that I had part of all ready at no charge. I can upload directly to eBenefits anything I need from my Choice PCP who gives me copies immediately when I ask for them.

      Somebody playing with you Jarhead. Look up the form and ask for your records. They are immediately copied to the VA (VA used to get the hard copy original file from St. Louis) and the VSOs have access to your file when you sign for representation. They don’t need anything additional.

  38. I bet I could get a quicker appointment with an outside Dr too as well as those that need mental health help NOW!
    The VSOs are just trying to duck and cover here. As well as that sorry VA union.
    They should also include those worthless Voc Rehab counselors, not that all are bad, who only work 10 days a month and use every trick in the Regs to have fewer files at the terrible expense of a Vet who wants a .hand up not a hand out”. Disgusting.
    I have one now that was using an outdated 2009 list of ratings and it’s description which was amended in 2015.
    I caught her on it thanks to B Krause’s Voc Rehab book of great info.
    If you use it Read, Read and Reread it way before going head to head cause you may end up with one like I did and I continue to find more gems to use.

  39. I have never had any problems at the VA. I have gotten the Best of Care there from all. Yes some will slip through the cracks, as with any other place of treatment. I say fix the VA”s problems.

    1. @James– “[Yes some will slip through the cracks, as with any other place of treatment.]”

      Yes, but not too many other places in these United States other than VA Medical will you find a liquefied veteran corpse slipping and dripping through the cracks….so your logic that because I get great care and never have any problems so everyone else’s in somehow invalid is…invalidated.

      Where else in USA but the VA do they drag dead veteran corpses to a shower room stall for a few shifts…maybe they were just hoping he would fall through the cracks in the drain eventually?

    2. @James – James what VA facility are you talking about? You are a very lucky Veteran. Either you know what is acceptable that determines good medical care or you don’t, and therefore, only blowing smoke.

      The next time you go to your VA treatment facility, ask other Veterans in the waiting area, “how do you like the medical care that your receiving here.” And, by golly, if the Veterans that you ask have no problems with their medical care, write to the closest VHA/VBA and the VSO’s, and ask them to put your VA Medical Facility up for nomination as being recognized as the VA’s Medical Facility that provides excellent medical care.

      The VA should set up a program to recognize the leaders that provide excellent care to Veterans. In this way, if the results aren’t tampered with like everything seems to be skewed, your VA Medical Facility could set the example for other facilities with Veterans Healthcare.

      With the VA being short in qualified state licensed physicians, how can they offer excellent medical care, when the VA touts themselves as having many residents and interns that use Veterans as guinea pigs [Veterans = throw away learning tools]?

      All this bullshit doesn’t add up. I’m an Investigative Research Biologist, and its hard for me to get my medical providers to create a team atmosphere. I have to fight, fight, until I’m mentally exhausted. WTF!

      James, in reality, I find your statement hard to believe. I hope I’m wrong. You must be spending a lot of monies on thank you cards, candies, and flowers to give to your VA medical care providers. Just sayin.

      1. @ANutterVet– I also could not let it go and both our radar was set-off by our timed replies. I may have been mistaken but I caught the distinct stink of swamp steep. (a little alliteration to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday today) 🙂

      2. I go to Dorn here on Columbia South Carolina. I was speaking for myself not for other Vets. And yes i have heard their stories, some good some bad. I get whatever i want when i want. No matter where you go, you are going to see a Med Student first. I can’t help that i have gotten the Best of Care at my VA, and i will never go anywhere else. It hurts my that some of my fellow Vets have not had the care they need., but problems can be fixed, just not over night. Would any of you leave your Families when problems arrive, same thing at the VA.

      3. @James – – – Judging by their Yelp reviews, you must be one of the very few veterans who feel that way. Most reviews I have read – – – the Veterans say the place flat sucks donkey dick! Got a old military buddy who used to work there. His story is a wee bit different than what you tell.

        Are you really David L. Omura? I could see why he might troll on this board.

      4. @James – James you say, “I get whatever i want when i want.” And I say, bullshit. That would make you the dam physician. Or, do you have a secret formula? And, if you asked other Veterans on Ben’s blog if they considered the VA to be part of their family, over 95% of them would say, “hell no!”

        I have degrees in multiple fields of science, and I don’t understand why they put Veterans through the ringer. I’ve had a less invasive lower back surgery, only took an hour, incision was less than an inch, and it was 100% successful. The operation healed my of extreme sciatic pain that went from my buttock down to my toes. The VA doesn’t recognize this medical procedure, No, they would rather open me up with at least a 4 inch incision, with a long time in healing and recovery. Bullshit.

        And, then all the VHA/VBA and the VSO’s brag about how the VA is on top of cutting edge medical procedures. Really? Geesh, the other day I asked for only a muscle relaxer, in which they refused, and my PCP wanted to give me additional Oxycodone [a Schedule 2 Controlled Substance-Drug]. Oxycodone is guaranteed to get the Veteran addicted to the medication.

        Whereas, the muscle relaxer [a Schedule 4 Controlled Substance-Drug] may have addictive characteristics. It depends on the individual, whereas Oxycodone does not depend on the person. Anyone who takes Oxycodone long term, will be addicted.

        What do you think the VA gave me? Your right, the muscle relaxer. No, they gave me extra Oxycodone. And, the other day, they were talking to me about tapering down some of the Oxycodone. Sound contradictive? Yeah, I caught that as well.

        James, I have been receiving care from the VA for years. From my first time receiving care from the VA until now, all of my scientific indicators tell me that the VA medical system needs to be reformed and reorganized.

        And, if the VA gets restructured, guess what, you’ll not only get what you want it and when you want it, after your visit, they will give you some candy as a treat. May be some Oxycodone.

    3. @James – – – I agree with you. Fix the VA’s problems. Here is how we do it:

      1. Give every veteran a card that lets them choose a doctor they will be able to trust.

      2. That doctor will be paid promptly by the government for their services to veterans.

      3. Close down all VA Medical facilities. Lose the losers working there.

      Easy. Now the VA (Healthcare side) has been fixed. Then we can begin working on what requires fixing at VBA.

  40. You are so wrong Ben!

    Sometimes you only see a two year medical student and not even a resident. I have before. When I told them I wanted a staff doc, they informed me only one other was there and that was the resident. I said Adios lol.

  41. The more I hear about the VHA/VBA and the VSO’s, the angrier I get. It’s only “natural”, says my wife.
    So, because these last few blogs, and the egregious acts committed by VHA’s nationwide – the wife sent this to me —-

    “Does it count as saving someone’s life if you refrain from fucking killing them?”

    I’d have to say “FUCK YES!”

  42. This seems like a game. One second I think I’m winning, then I’m losing. I have had a decent medical Dr. at 1 VA. More than twenty years ago. Only seen a couple “supposedly” Dr.’s since. I find it extremely difficult to believe anyone would choose the VA. I live more than 40 miles from nearest VA. The Dr. at clinic just won’t refer me. The VA is more known for destroying lives, and creating havoc. The VSO’S are in it for themselves. Definitely not Veterans.

  43. This is copied from VA’s website on employment – Maybe vets and the VA employees can trade benefits?

    “Coverage Options:
    Our employees have an outstanding number of health insurance plans from which to choose, including exceptional vision and dental plans
    For all of our health insurance plans, premiums are partially paid by the Federal Government, and employees have the opportunity to change plans annually
    Our employees have the option to use Flexible Spending Accounts, which allow you to use tax-free dollars to pay for medical, dental, and vision care expenses that are not reimbursed by your health insurance plan
    Term life insurance, family, and additional coverage options are available with the cost shared by the Federal Government
    Long-term care insurance is available as an option

    Liability Protection:
    As Federal employees, our health care professionals are protected by the Federal Government in instances of alleged malpractice or negligence resulting from the performance of their duties in, or for the Veterans Health Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The United States Government accepts responsibility and liability for its employees’ negligent or wrongful acts or omissions during the exercise of their official duties. This applies when employees’ actions are in accordance with the policies of the institution in which they are practicing.”

    question; why doesn’t the last paragraph read, “As a federal benefit recipient, our patients are protected by the Federal Government in instances of malpractice or negligence”? Isn’t that honestly what the VSO’s are arguing against? Forget that VA folks are enticed with all kinds of Choice, where the hell are the VSO’s when it comes to the carnage that such a horrific policy of unaccountability produces that is openly dangled like a carrot to entice employment. Or is this the part of the vine they hope to preserve???

    1. AND FOR GODS SAKE can somebody WAY smarter than me explain how a “wrongful act” can possibly be “in accordance with the policies of the institution in which they are practicing.” ???

      How the hell is this even possible???

      1. You expect any better from the VA? Why??
        This is how truly f’ed up they are. Too stupid to even write coherent, functional policies. They live in the world of Catch-22, and it’s as good as it’s gonna get for them in their lives.

    2. Isn’t it interesting the VSOs have no problem with VA employees having their Choice in health care while blocking their own members from that same choice?

      I’m curious how many VSOs have spouses working for the VA who take advantage of that choice in insurance.

  44. Given what happened in Durham, and that veterans wife making clear that VA director Deanne Seekins lied about contacting and thanking them, the VA has no intention of changing and we should get full Choice.

    Whether the VA shits down, I don’t care.

    Now, since the DAV, VFW and Legion want to stand in the way of veterans getting proper medical care, and they claim they are speaking for veterans, then I demand they lobby congress for accountability legislation that has real teeth.

    Until they do that and it gets passed, they can go piss up a rope.

    1. 91Veteran,
      I know a few of the American Legion posts here in Florida wanted President Trump to be POTUS.
      National wanted Clinton.
      They also wanted veterans to have a choice.
      National wants No Choice.

      So, I can only think, that’s this way in all VSO’s – What the members want doesn’t mean squat!

      It’s going to take something really big to get these VSO Head Honchos back on track to —–
      “Serve the veteran, NOT the Veterans Administration!”

      The only thing I believe would scare the living crap out of them is twofold;
      *IF* there was a threat of them losing their charters AND/OR their tax exempt status!

      That’s my opinion!
      P.S. Maybe even fine them for something!

      1. I agree it would get their attention Crazy Elf, but I can’t see too many in Congress supporting action against a VSO.

        It would have to be forced by some scandal.

        A scandal bigger than the number of homeless vets, number of suicides per day and pictures of veterans lying on the floor waiting for the VA to stop withering, come to life and provide care.

  45. Make the VA compete with other facilities. If the VA wants veterans as patients for human studies let them compete or give care to Medicaid recipients to fill the bill the way they did for the Neurology joint studies with Yale Medical School in the late 1980s into the 1990s.

  46. @Ben, a few questions —-

    I wonder, can President Trump take away their charters?

    How about the tax-exempt status?

    What can be done to show these reprobates their no longer a viable asset to veterans?

    Just EXPOSING their refusal to get behind WHAT their supposed to do, isn’t really having an impact! I believe more needs to be done to them!
    Please respond!

    1. Frankly the tried and true method, although somewhat dated, of the practice of tar and feathering of the men and women in those organizations then running them out of the country in front of jeerig crowds would be far more worthy of a Trump Presidency imo. Hablo English senior?

      Just remember to point the tar mop in the right direction before you release the safety…

      1. With ideas like these it dismays me that POTUS has not invited my testimony at The White House. Hell I haven’t even been invited to The Out House yet testify by POTUS. WTF!!!

        Maybe it’s time to start my own run at the Presidency….

      2. @Dennis– You would have my full support of all the poop canons available in Midwest from my vantage point.

    2. What everyone is advocating here in the comments is the Trump VA reform plan. Shulkin has the message and is responding accordingly. And I do know from someone who was on the transition team that Shulkin has an extremely small window to implement the plan. If he doesn’t he will replace him with someone far less palatable to the special interests and it will be easier to confirm a hard ass. As a result Shulkin is in the media every day pushing private options. Something his former boss Bob refused to do.

      1. I am not really concerned with the hardness of a persons ass just so long as they get in gear pronto.

      2. Honl, you’ve come a long way since you were an integral part of me losing entire segments of medical care at Tomah. You’ve now advanced to having insider info from someone on the Trump transition team. With all your grandstanding, when is your mouth going to actually work to get us Tomah veterans medical care we lost and never recovered. With those connections, you certainly must have access to getting emergency private care for those of us now virtually entirely without medical care for service connected conditions.

        I’ll be waiting for your next heroic move. So far I’m only suffering loss.

      3. @Just Another Veteran,

        It wasn’t Ryan Honl which caused you to lose your healthcare. It was the VHA @Tomah which caused it.
        I’m sorry you can’t see that!
        Tomah VHA caused the deaths of veterans, plain and simple!

      4. @Ryan Honl – Ryan this is exactly what Veterans are hoping for, like you stated, “If he [Shulkin] doesn’t he will replace him with someone far less palatable to the special interests and it will be easier to confirm a hard ass.” Simple as that Bro.

        And, you seems like you owe @Just Another Veteran a heart felt apology. JAV, sorry for what those fuck ups did to you. Geesh.

      5. Ryan, it is interesting to see how Shulkin has changed his public comments from no privatization on his watch to eliminating the Choice expiration date.

        Whether Shulkin said what he needed to say to get confirmed or whether he was told how things are going to be, I don’t know.

        Either way, it seems he has had a come-to-Jesus moment.

      6. @Just Another Veteran – – – Sorry for your loss, but it was not Ryan Honl that caused it. What Ryan did helped veterans nationwide. Wish you could see that. I am better off here in Honolulu because of Ryan’s actions up at Tomah.

        @Ryan Honl – – – Mahalo Nui Loa (Formal Hawaiian Thank You) for your sacrifice. I am well-are that the government really came at you hard for what you did. In a fair and just world, they would have celebrated you as a hero. You are one of mine.

        And yes, I like what POTUS Trump proposed for Veterans Healthcare. I want that delivered upon.

    3. I would think it would take an act of congress to revoke their charters.

      Or a credible complaint to the IRS with evidence of misusing funds, or using them for a purpose other than intended.

      With thousands of homeless veterans while a veterans organization flunky makes $400k, I don’t think either congress or the IRS gives a shit.

  47. One last thought: Maybe we have been going about acquiring the very best VA medical care all along and the VSO’s have had this well-hidden secret right out in the open all along and right under or around our noses, literally.
    The HATS.

    When a VSO goes in for a VA appointment the VSO upside down flower pot with a curtain tassel hanging off must trigger the VA hacks to respect them.

    Must think about creating a hat collection from objects around me like McGyver, but with hats. 🙂

  48. The VSO’s are only concerned for the welfare of the VA. They no longer are Vet-Centric and should lose their charter and tax exemption if they continue to cater to the AFGE piggy’s insatiable incessant hunger for that Veteran Cookie Jar.

    “Save The VA”….the VSO’s have been chanting this mantra hard last few years, nothing has changed if Shulkin gets his armchair advice from the three little pigs.

    Again, I MUST ask; Where’s that “Beer Mogul” that was supposed to help Sec. Shulkin? Or was that simply an under the table contract done to benefit the various VSO Lodge’s Bars with well-stocked SUDS? H-m-m-m-m-m-m….?!

    1. Yes, the VSOs only care about the VA.

      They are VA Service Organizations.

      They are VAShOles.

      I too have been wondering where Leinenkugel has been.

      As I said when he was first announced, was appointing him some kind of favor to Paul Ryan or Priebus?

      Is he required to bring free beer to all their meetings?

    2. I don’t believe Shulkin is/will fix much at VA. more like carry on with biz as usual. and along the way with a few well written opines of how the many so called great changes are taking place and benefiting veterans.

      yeah, come to think of it, what did happen to that guy that was supposed to help him?

      without the weight of Trump’s WH, his DOJ and a few others i can’t think of right now, shining a light on Shulkin and team and having Trump check off his list what he really wants fixed and swamp drained at VA, i just don’t see anything changing at VA. sure some cosmetic changes and stuff but VA is so huge and entrenched no matter Shulkin’s best intentions, without serious bite from Trump’s WH, VA/VBA won’t change at all.

      how many presidents have some of old timers seen come and go and over those years all of us have expressed concerns about VA to anyone who would listen, and what has really changed? are we not still here expressing our same ol concerns? VA and its union has only gotten wealthier and more powerful, that much has changed. 😉

  49. Does it occur to any other old timer who was raised and supervised by a black and white 12″ television set sporting rabbit ears that VA is a WHOLE lot like Gilligan’s Island? The professor can make a microwave oven out of two coconuts and a bannana peel but can NEVER come up with a good reacue plan that does not involve Gilligan??? And why the hell is Skipper still in charge when he wrecked the boat? If life is so tough on a deserted island, where did Ginger get the makeup from? Thurston was Thurston on or off the Island and enjoyed buying off people anywhere. Lovey seemed wise and caring and kind but just did not contribute much work for the benefit of the Island, now did she?

    The only hard worker on the Island was Mary Ann and her reward for all of her effort was she had to share a hut with the slut.

    Yep, VA is a lot like Gilligan’s Island.

    1. V.A. Titanic runs aground Gilligan’s Island. Perfect, Dennis!! “Share a hut with a slut”. LMAO!

    2. VA = Gilligan’s Island. Keen observation. Funny as hell.

      When do we get rescued?

      1. The problem we have are the traitorous VSOs dumping water on our signal fire every time a ship passes the island.


  50. All the more reason to rebuke my lifetime memberships with the DAV and VFW. They need to quit crying about member numbers when they don’t lobby for squat for veterans. They’re so wrapped up with AFGE money is disgusting. And BTW, American Legion, your feeble attempt to support medical Marijuana to increase your member numbers is nothing but a smoke screen. We can clearly see you’re in bed with lobbying dollars as well.

  51. Pink Floyd– “Pigs (Three Different Ones)”

    “[“Pigs (Three Different Ones)”

    Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are
    You well heeled big wheel, ha ha, charade you are
    And when your hand is on your heart
    You’re nearly a good laugh
    Almost a joker
    With your head down in the pig bin
    Saying “keep on digging”
    Pig stain on your fat chin
    What do you hope to find?
    When you’re down in the pig mine
    You’re nearly a laugh
    You’re nearly a laugh
    But you’re really a cry.
    Bus stop rat bag, ha ha, charade you are
    You fucked up old hag, ha ha, charade you are
    You radiate cold shafts of broken glass
    You’re nearly a good laugh
    Almost worth a quick grin
    You like the feel of steel
    You’re hot stuff with a hat pin
    And good fun with a hand gun
    You’re nearly a laugh
    You’re nearly a laugh
    But you’re really a cry.
    Hey you Whitehouse, ha ha, charade you are
    You house proud town mouse, ha ha, charade you are
    You’re trying to keep our feelings off the street
    You’re nearly a real treat
    All tight lips and cold feet
    And do you feel abused?
    You gotta stem the evil tide
    And keep it all on the inside
    Mary you’re nearly a treat
    Mary you’re nearly a treat
    But you’re really a cry.]”

    1. Oh Nam! I wanted to submit that when the time was ripe for trump! The words are by Roger Waters. He sang it in Mexico City in protest of trump and the wall. He also sang it on Inauguration Day as part of the anti-trump people. It describes trump perfectly!

  52. “Three Little Pigs”, a song by ‘Green Jelly’ This song says all I feel about the ‘Three Idiot VSO’s”:

    “[Advisory – the following lyrics contain explicit language: (like any Veteran has virgin ears)

    Why don’t you, sit right back,
    And I, I may tell you, a tale.
    A tale of three, little pigs,
    And a big, bad, wolf.

    Well the first little piggy, well he was kinda hip.
    He spent most of his days, just a dreaming of the city.
    And then one day, he bought a guitar.
    He moved to Hollywood, to become a star.
    But, living on the farm, he knew nothing of the city.
    Built his house out of straw, what a pity.
    And then one day, jamming on some chords,
    Along came the wolf, knocking on his door.

    Little Pig, Little Pig, let me in.
    Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin!
    Little Pig, little pig, let me in.
    Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin!
    Well I’m huffing, I’m puffing, I’ll blow your house in.
    Huffing, puffin, blow your house in.
    Huffing, puffin, blow your house in.
    Huffing and a puffin and I’ll blow your house in!

    Well the second little piggy, well he was kinda stoked.
    He spent most of his time just a ganga smoking.
    Huffing and a puffin down on Venice Beach.
    Getting paid money for religious speech.
    He built his shelter from what he garbage picked.
    Mostly made up of old cans and sticks.
    Then one day he was cranking out Bob Marley,
    And along came the Wolf on his big bad Harley.

    Little Pig, Little Pig, let me in.
    Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin!
    Little Pig, little pig, let me in.
    Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin!
    Well I’m huffing, I’m puffing, I’ll blow your house in.
    Huffing, puffin, blow your house in.
    Huffing, puffin, blow your house in.
    Huffing and a puffin and I’ll blow your house in!

    Well the third little piggy, the grade A student.
    His daddy was a rock star, named Pig Nugent.
    Earned his Masters Degree, from Harvard College.
    Built his house from his architect knowledge.
    A tri-level mansion, Hollywood Hills.
    Daddy’s rock stardom, paid for the bills.
    And then one day came the old house smasher
    The big bad wolf, the little piggy slasher.

    Little Pig, Little Pig, let me in.
    Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin!
    Little Pig, little pig, let me in.
    Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin!
    Well I’m huffing, I’m puffing, I’ll blow your house in.
    Huffing, puffin, blow your house in.
    Huffing, puffin, blow your house in.
    Huffing and a puffin and I’ll blow your house in!

    Well the big bad Wolf,
    Well he huffed, and he puffed, all that he could.
    And low and behold the little piggy’s house stood.
    “It’s made out of concrete!” The little piggy shouted.
    The wolf just frowned, as he pouted.
    So they called nine-eleven, like any piggy would.
    The sent out Rambo, just as fast, as they could.

    “Yo, wolf-face, I’m your worst nightmare, your ass is mine!”

    Well the wolf fell dead as you can plainly see.
    That’s to end the story, for you and me.
    If you still give a listen, you just may,
    Here the big wolf or little piggy say.

    Little Pig, Little Pig, let me in.
    Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin!
    Little Pig, little pig, let me in.
    Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin!
    Well I’m huffing, I’m puffing, I’ll blow your house in.
    Huffing, puffin, blow your house in.
    Huffing, puffin, blow your house in.
    Huffing, puffin, blow your house in.
    Huffing and a puffin and I’ll blow your house in!
    Huffing and a puffin and I’ll blow your house in!
    Huffing and a puffin and I’ll blow your house in!
    Huffing and a puffin and I’ll blow your house in!

    “And the moral of the story is,
    A band with no talent can easily amuse
    Idiots, with a stupid, puppet show.]”

  53. According to DAV head Garry Augustine, “The bottom line is, if you open up choice to anyone, and they can go anywhere, it will eventually drain resources from the VA.” He continued, “The VA will eventually whither on the vine.”

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm,. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

    Oh my goodness… on how many levels can DAV sell out America on? Lets see…

    Level number one – vets are not individuals. They are a resource for VA.
    Level number two – vets are the bottom line.
    Level number three – VA is a living growing thing that needs nurturing.
    Level number four – The horrific drain on America’s reaources might be drained of resources???
    Level number five – DAV suggests that VA will wither on the vine ignoring the fact the fruit is already rotten.

    DAV, you excersized your First Ammendment rights and laid out your position which is this; if suffering veterans are allowed to alleviate their suffering by excersizing their own rights you fear that an agency recognized worldwide, nationwide, and at virtually every single facility as being among the most corrupted organizations on the planet might wither on the vine??? Good Lord man, have you seen the SIZE of their administrative staff??? I can think of 17 appropriate ways, and 38 much less appropriate ways to describe the physical appearance of VA vine danglers but NONE of them uses the word “withered”!!! My God, how much withering can billions upon billions of mispent, misappropriated, and misguided funding would it take for the damn vine to even go away???

    To hell with the Choice program, let’s get some damn Roundup weed spray and follow through on Trump’s promise. Fuck withering, let’s kill the damn thing!!! Now I think I better go water my marijuannna…my own Choice Program!

  54. I also agree with “cj”!
    The first two VSO’s in Ben’s (scathing) report, states:
    1.) ‘American Legion’ – Charles Schmidt – wants to “avoid” an “all-out privatization…”!
    2.) DAV (Disabled American Veterans) – Gary Augustine – says basically – the VA will be as a “Ghost Town” *IF* veterans are given the “Rights” to use quality outside healthcare.
    Both of these VSO’s are trying, in my opinion, to figure out HOW to keep their “VA Gravy Train” from slipping away. The DAV being the most corrupt of the two.
    3.) VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) – Brian Duffy – had the only response I SOMEWHAT agree with; ie: “…FIX – NOT DISMANTLE…” the VHA’s nationwide!

    That being said-
    The DAV is correct in what he said. The VHA’s nationwide would go the way of the do-do bird. Because, I believe, *IF* given the opportunity/chance, veterans in large numbers would rather be seen by “professional healthcare providers” – rather than be seen by “Students”, “Nurses”, etc., etc., etc.!

    Wasn’t it the American Legion which had a study done a couple years ago, asking veterans about their VA healthcare? Then they turned around, because the “results” didn’t match what they wanted – so they “round filed it into the garbage?!?!?”

    I’ve got a sneaking suspicion, we’re going to hear something great in the near future. I have this feeling these VSO’s are going to be “called out” over how their treating their members!
    And, it’s all going to be over that money President Trump raised!!!!!! Where did it go? How did they use it? We’re any veterans directly helped from it?
    The questions could go on!!!!!
    I just hope I’m right!!!!!!!!!

    1. I hope you are correct on your sneaking suspicion, Elf. I truly do. If I recall correctly, it was the HMFIC’s of the Big Three VSO’s that whined loudest about not getting the money POTUS Trump raised for veterans when he skipped the one event.

      Later, when he said he needed to make sure the recipients were properly vetted before doling out the moolah, the MSM went nuts! HOW DARE HE TAKE MORE THAN A WEEK TO DO THAT?

      Seemed prudent to me.I been waiting in excess of twenty years for mine from the VA. VSO’s couldn’t wait for theirs for more than a couple months.


      I would love to see the POTUS grill the Dinosaur VSO HMFIC’s . . .

    2. Crazy Elf, these VSOs just don’t realize how stupid they sound.

      If a VA becomes a ghost town, why would that be if they offered such great, quality care?

      If that truly is all they can come up with, then they have no credible argument.

  55. if you open up choice to anyone, and they can go anywhere, it will eventually drain resources from the VA.” He continued, “The VA will eventually whither on the vine.”…….just like any type of big business if you should put out a shitty product you should whiter on the vine. and CJ they do want you to step through that door because that is one more certain amount of funds that go into the till for bonus money…. and as for CORPSMANUP i received better treatment from a corpsman than most doctors…..and i consider them marines as well, they had to go through the same bullshit we did……IT IS ALWAYS ABOUT THE MONEY PERIOD

  56. I’ve been playing this Va game exactly 40 years now. Two war horse Army nurses tried to turn me into a pretzel at Womack. Thats when my trouble really started. So what are you going to do? Nobody wants to listen. Nobody cares. I’ve even seen the Drs. staring at the cieling while I was trying to talk to them. Hell, I even had one Dr. say there was nothing he could do for me and walked out of the office and never came back! I sat there like an idiot wondering what the hell was going on. That was at Travis. Never going back there. Now I have to put up with the VA in Redding, Ca. A shit hole. My wife and I even got hastled by the local VA LE jokes just because we were sitting in the car drinking a soda! They thought they were sneaking up on me, I seen those morons coming a mile away. LOL! Did they say a medical student was gonna work on me? AAAHHH HAAA HAAA HAAA!

    1. NEXDECEPTUS I had a doctor doctor do the same thing to me. asked him a question and he got up and left and never came back waited 20 min. looked around ,nowhere to be seen so I never went back and that was before i started to go to the V.A. that was private care he must have started off at the V.A……..LOL

  57. Wow three veterans organizations that don’t seem to believe that Democracy works.
    Some how our country has to find a way to change the fact that we are short thousands of nurses and doctors. We have to find a way to finance the education cost of these two professions.
    Who wants to spend the first twenty years of working to pay off student loans?

  58. The correct solution is to let the individual veteran choose whether they want to go to the VA, or to have their own doctor(s) outside the VA that then bills the government, and receives prompt payment from same for services provided.

    Gary Augustine (Disabled American Veterans HMFIC) says: “The bottom line is, if you open up choice to anyone, and they can go anywhere, it will eventually drain resources from the VA. The VA will eventually whither on the vine.”

    I say SO WHAT? STOP PLAYING POLITICS WITH MY HEALTHCARE. I do not care if it drains resources from the VA. I am tired of all the Bullshit games played with my life. Gary Augustine does NOT use the VA for his healthcare.

    He sits in his ivory tower (Look up his DAV salary) and decides what is the best choice for all other veterans, whether they are members of his organization or not. Such Arrogant Bullshit.

    Here is what I want for Healthcare:

    1. I want a card that lets me pick a doctor I will be able to trust.

    2. I want that doctor paid promptly by the government for their services.

    3. I want the current catastrophe known as the VA and VSO’s to leave me the hell alone, unless they plan on actually doing something useful to improve my life situation. Since I have been fighting solo for my benefits for over twenty years with zero help from the VSO’s – – – It is unlikely that they will.

    So I want them to shut the hell up and leave me alone. I, and I alone should make my CHOICE when it comes to MY healthcare.

    1. While I am sitting here and logged on I will say this. I was informed that it is not only the VA. We, in my group, were told to contact our representatives, medical boards to the attorney general if we didn’t like VA care or health care in Indiana. I did. That is when endless harassing phone calls started against me, with some coming from the VA area code and the rest was blocked. Or told by some that they had already received calls about me and my complaints. Boiled down to me not having rights to file grievances over the government, medical boards or the state agencies to vet groups not wanting to get involved or ignoring me.

      Needless to say here, but try contacting some “professional” here or trying to get someone to listen is impossible. Then we are put on the old Hoosier Merry Go round and there is no ring or bell to be seen to grab onto. They all just want time to pass, for us to die, to shut up, or maybe for some statute limitations to be passed. I guess that is all why Indiana is never in the news about it’s corruption, being a sanctuary state for illegals, and why we are censored so much here….and threatened. Like it’s useless to attend town hall meetings here because they too are stacked with many against us. Unless we are in some clique or connected in some way which I am not. I don’t believe in laying with dogs to get their fleas.

      I also have to find a new sleep MD for a machine. I am still using a VA machine. That is after them losing my clinic file after years of being in that clinic, getting the machine, and on it for years. But go figure, it’s the fine VA way of things.

      Have a good day all! Try to.

  59. If that is the case, you are better off seeing a corpsman! Our training is different, but our guidance and skills come directly from a medical officer. Those organizations need to go directly to hell! With over 30 years experience in the medical field, everyone gets their share of a medical problem. Some suffer greatly, some flat out croak like a motherfucker! And these fuck knocks need to croak straight up! especially when they are trying to dictate when and where you can be seen.

    1. @CorpsmanUp,
      I just received this article through “” via: “Task & Purpose”, by Duane K L France.
      I’d like your response!
      “This Is How to Respond To A Veteran Contemplating Suicide!”

      I’m not sure, it just doesn’t sound right to me! Maybe I don’t understand!

    2. I have received much better from Corpsmen, both afloat and ashore – – – than I EVER have from the VA. And as for when I ran with the Jarheads – – – Our unit’s “Doc’s” set the gold standard.

    3. recently (last year) asked about “choice program” ops for service connected surgery options just in case my medicare-supplement wouldn’t cover what civilian surgeon was recommending. this surgeon is in same town. VA basically said no and they would need to fly me to some other state, see their VA specialist for an opine, then wait for the determination. a determination which we all know would be NO CAN DO. finally my insurance came through and had surgery. this guy fixed up some issues the VA could have fixed years ago…but knowwwwwww.

      the point: no can go with these VSOs not wanting Choice for veterans. jeez, their is no Choice as it is with the Choice Program! let one Congress person or one of Trump’s WH go to a VA and have such nonsensical approaches to medicine administered to them and see if the VA wouldn’t be on a quick road to shaping up not to mention allowing actual Choice. man, some serious deep pockets from lobbies lining Congress people for them never to ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING to fix the VA…except toss mo $$ to them and holler out empty soundbites.

      anyone notice the civilian doctors you see that mention they trained at VA they never mention one single NEG at all. so none of these well trained doctors ever saw or did a short-change to a veteran or policy? and the probability of that is ?? i get it, they stick together and probably a career black mark if they did. just saying though.

      1. anyone notice the civilian doctors you see that mention they trained at VA they never mention one single NEG at all. so none of these well trained doctors ever saw or did a short-change to a veteran or policy? …….OH I have just about all of them trained at the V.A….so when you go to a outside doctor don’t mention a VA claim

    4. I asked my dog’s veterinarian if she would treat me since my dogs have more time spent with health care, more questions answered, more friendly and thorough than what I’ve experienced in today’s modern medicine for humans. Also with no contradictions, game playing, racism, threats, or told I would be forced to do or take something, or told I would be forced to sign a special contract for their care. They get pain medication very easily compared to me to. Her and her staff seem actually concerned about the welfare of my pooches. Plenty of groups and people out there that would raise hell over animal care compared to those concerned enough to help a veteran or stand with us for some common decency or what we need.

      Because of a lot of corruption and money loses by local Legions the only thing I can say good about them is that the AL VSO got me through a disability process fairly easy and all done on the phone for their part. That is it. For years over our local issues they claim they don’t get involved in local issues or negatives about the Legion or other groups. Last year was my last dues for the A. L. and dropped my DAV membership too. Done with all of it over the years of being ignored or told they can’t help or won’t. That is from the local, state and national levels.

      So far with civilian care I have found it mirrors the VA way. At least the new MD found a aneurysm that the VA missed over the years. Other than that he told me it would take time to go through all my issues. “Too much to chew on with one visit or two, and would not give me pain meds or muscle relaxers and listed all the specialist he would have to send me to since he and the hospital/clinic rules would not allow him to function as a regular old styled MD.

      My second trip to him was exactly like the VA. They sent my allowable prescriptions to the wrong pharmacy and sent off to two different ones across town from each other. Then asked me what I was doing back within a month after them telling me to make an appointment to fulfill the plan we made to take care of everything, or the issues. “oh what brings you back in so soon.” Huh? Then sent off for a blood test, had to deal with another story about ‘misplaced files” and the nurse and staff are confused because they usually don’t work in that clinic. And not much was discussed except for having to see another MD and to get another set of Xrays (they don’t rely on others X-rays) in another clinic for the same hospital. So, in short, same crap different day with the same modern medicine attitudes and functioning. So the woman who wrote the book “Big Medicine” was right on target about medicine today being a profiteering uncaring joke. OH, and mentioning dope about depression and to hell my chronic pain issues.

      My last six hour wait at the pain clinic was my last. Only four of them seemingly locally for pain to be seen and all play their games. Long waits, changing appointment dates, asking stupid questions like do we have sex or have girlfriends, or told to sign stupid contracts like agreeing to never sue them for malpractice and acknowledging that “Medical care is a practice, underlined practice by trial and error.” Nice huh?

      The only thing left for me to do is to go public with something like Facebook and the like since Zuckerbugger will probably ban or censor me like they have many others for writing truth and what some of us deal with. The local lefties of the city council who loves to censor and gossip, retaliate will have a field day. Plus seeing how I live in communist hell hole of a multiple lefty college college town in Indiana where censorship and retribution by the VA, our fearless leaders, media to all the activist is common, and truth or negativity about the area is not allowed, my life will not be worth a plug nickel. Especially since I have traveled this road before when it comes to standing up to our states corruption and not getting help from noone but being ignored, threats, or being told by VA groups and others that ‘our hands are tied.” Or due to “professional courtesy” they will not get involved. But I have a lot to bitch about and to share. Much of it is taboo and not allowed here just like trying to expose the VA and various and constant antics of corruption and censoring. We don’t live in America around here and have not for many years. More like the Soviet Union, Gaza Strip, Canada, or China.

      At every turn we have to fight about everything and everyone including other veterans who have it okay, to a corrupt media, corrupt VA, media. family of VA staff and their activist, and unions, ad infinitum. Beyond pathetic.

      Thanks Ben, good article. It shows I have been correct about these groups for years as they ignore us over many issues. And all the fluff we see on TV about them or what they do locally to show some kind of love for vets, or how we live in a perfect global community, live in the best state in the union, and all is good, is total crap and more propaganda.

      I am just 110% fed up and disgusted.

      Try to have a good day all!

      1. @T; You are so right about the pups having more advocate groups and better care then us. I really like tha analogy. I had an old school doctor, she would come to my house, and I had her personal phone number in case of an emergency. She saved my life on more than one occation. Sorry to say she is no longer with us. When looking for another Doctor, I first did my research onlice as best I could. Then made appointments with the top 5 I found, the first visits would go something like this. I would walk in for my first appointment, they would hand me paper work to fill out. I would hand the paper work back unfilled and tell them I would fill it out IF I decided that x doctor would be my doctor, to look at this as an interview. 4 of those doctors had a bad attitude about the way I did this. One doctor indulged me, and answered every question exactly as I would have wanted her to answer. She has been my doctor ever since. I know damn well how lucky I am to have found such a good doctor in these times of “push em through and bill em” I hope you are able to find a gem eventually, in the coal fields.

      2. I’ve backed off trying to find another real doctor in my neck of the woods. At the ‘New Pain Clinic” orientation in Indy in 2015 we were told, I was told, after complaining about the new VA attitude towards and all the rest, that if we left the VA we’d never find health care in Indiana again. I guess the punk was right. He said the VA and others had “total control” over our health care and ability to get health care. I reckoned it to be like being ‘black balled’ or put on a list someway. So I am tired and my body can’t take the stress and games regarding any of it. I go to visit a or to inquire about a doctor my sugar drops, blood pressure shoots up, migraine, etc. So to hell with it. Plus there are too many other things to deal with on top of fighting the VA. and the rest of our corrupt nature of things here. At every turn there seems to be a hassle. And it’s not acceptable or PC here to complain about anything including censoring to smart meters.

        As for signing forms. The last pain clinic doc called me ‘smart guy’ because I signed all his required forms with “Vi Coactus” and “…”. Like signing while under duress, by force/threat, etc. I was told at the VA that it would not be allowed there with the new special contract we had to sign to continue treatment there or to get pain meds. A separate contract from the normal narcotic form agreements we have to sign.

        The new contract also stated, as we were told included…”Never to use Veterans Choice or civilian health care for any reason like I posted before here. That includes auto wrecks, migraines, heart attacks, broken bones, whatever. We were told we would have to drive to Indy for care for everything, period. That and more and was my last visit to the VA. That and my new young foreign MD Golla refused to give me referrals for the other several clinics I had seen for years. Why I don’t know. Probably for leaving the local CBOC for a bunch of crap only to find the change worse.

        The trouble here in Indiana is that there is absolutely no one to stand with us or to investigate matters. Either the VA and a long list of others who refuse to investigate any professional or why they are covering up for the VA and putting targets on our backs or apparently putting something in our records, the VA brand, that creates unneeded issues. Really it all boils down to politics, the local vet groups afraid of upsetting the local and state’s politicians and too afraid to upset the cart of “Professional Courtesies” I keep hearing about. Plus me not being a full fledged Democrat or MoveOn member or not in some local clique or mafia. But that is how it works in the state and more-so in my lousy town. I kid you not, Indiana is like living in the old Soviet Union or Canada where we have no voice, we aren’t safe when trying to exercise our rights, or challenge or question the power that be on any level including the VA, medical boards and others who are the power brokers and so called leaders. Vet groups here are no better especially when corruption and some evil benefits many while trashing others lives.

      3. @T,@Dennis: T, I think Dennis went through some of what your talking about. I am in total shock over what you just pointed out. My God, I would have gone off on the bastards, and I do mean “go offf” Did you acually experience a “blacklist” kind of event at a private pain clinic? I’d sue the shit out of them. I guess I am kind of lucky because I only go the the va for service connected injuries, and I only do that so I don’t “lose” the crappy benifits I do have. I have been escorted out of many places lol. I am not proud of it, just have a habbit of short fusedness, or snappability. I even snap when I see any veteran being disrespected, or being treated like shit at a va. They refused medical care alltogether for almost 2 years for the last time. Your story angers me to no end, because it sounds to me you don’t have any alternative but to use them. I don’t see how it is possible for them to demand you use them exclusively. I do know there is something funny going on with pain clinics, I use to go to a pain specialist that was a damn quack, and who could never get my script right. I asked my private pcp for a list of other pain specialists, I called all of them, and all of them refused to see me, because I had already been seen by the first incompetent boob. I ended up back at the va out of necessity. Do you have a veterans assistance commision anywhere near you? They are payed by the tax payers and not the vso’s or the va, and are answerable to the people of the county they serve. Amvets are not beholding to the va either. Nor is a good lawyer. Your case is the most egregious I have ever heard of, I think the local news and news papers need to know your story, shame them into submission. Altho this could be terrible advice, from what you already said. I believe Dennis went through a similar ordeal, Dennis would be the best to chime in on what your going through. Remember, we veterans never give up,,,,,,,,,,,,,it isn’t in our DNA.

      4. Thank you! Since I got sit down finally I thought I’d have to try writing and posting anyway before I make another morning move. This is the only forum I can post on without getting banned, censored, or threatened on. We don’t have free speech forums like Topix, etc, here. Truth and serious issues locally are not allowed. The powers that be here don’t want others to know how things roll here, and they don’t want anyone to blemish the state’s or town’s image.

      5. This is the only forum I can post on without getting banned, censored,…… your right i posted on military dot com and they just delete my comments they just want to dish out their bullshit

      6. Same here. Dave M at Mil dot com had some great information when dealing with the VA and disability issues until they changed ownership or something. I also got to meet one local guy that was posting on there with some of the same issues but sadly he has passed on. Since then their forum went far left and a few people there started giving me crap about my negative comments, stories, or info about VA care and how corruption rules my area and state. The last time I checked that forum was about down to nothing and banning everyone. So I stopped bothering trying to log on or read their site any longer.

        That is why corruption and cover-ups, threats, can continue is due to state and local officials claim to protect our freedom of speech and the 1st Amendment but then turn around and censor or ban us. All our news paper’s, city council, local colleges, journalist to professors, and many others blessings and support just to push their own agendas and to hell with the rest of us. The sad part is that much of it is being done by other veterans too. If we posted a comment on the past news sections and did not agree with some commentary or actions by activist or politicians we’d get deleted and banned. The other sad part is that few seem to care about it, censoring, threats to us, or being totally ignored, to being fearful of “rocking the local political boat.”

        I am in hope some day someone with the ability and know-how can start a forum for us to exchange ideas and stories from all the states and with real freedom of speech. To maybe form groups locally for coffee but that too is not allowed here with too many being afraid of some kind of labeling or suffering the consequences or retaliation for trying to group-up and spread some info around with hopes for some change. But info or grouping up in Indiana or the town of Terre Haute is impossible. Too much corruption, self-service, too many benefit from corruption and do no like some information being spread around or known of. Been fighting this crap all my life seemingly and see no end to it. But hopefully someone who can stand the pressure will make a open forum happen. Too much corruption and too many cliques, and the far far left to make things happen locally. I have been called a “nuisance.” (Or a pee-ant on the elephants butt..) Like pigeons to beavers, to us non-conformist, refuse to be door-mats or bow to corruption or tyrants, they destroy/silence nuisance varmints. They are doing a fine job of it too.

        That is why I about dirtied my shorts when Trump added Pence and Donnely to his cabinet cause those two like other local politicians don’t give a damn about us, nor do their state agencies. I know. Also have been told all the negatives to our VA care comes from the VA, Homeland Security, the medical boards, schools of medicine, law enforcement, Congress, the POTUS, DoD, Pentagon, CDC, etc. So there must be one hell of a lot of shadow governing and enforcement going on. And the reason why no-one want to get involved, or claim “their hands are tied.” Or constant with playing the pass the buck game. While all we get is lip service, power plays, and ignored.

        have a good day all!

      7. It posted I think but I’ll try to keep this short. Yeah it’s all true and worse, especially since the lies and our records can be changed or events unreported or incompetence to threats covered up. I have tried attorneys, VSOs, vet groups, governor, state’s commerce and other so-called protective agencies and commerce protection offices to no avail. Lawyers never call back or don’t want involved like the vet groups like the Legion. Medical boards too, the whole sheebang but it just seems to make things worse which is typical in Indiana. To cover up issues and to ignore real issues and truth about all our corrupt goings on. Media here is nothing but a joke, don’t care, far left leaning and will not report on serious issues like this. It blemishes the fine state of Indiana. Plus all the VA workers to VSOs local family and connections, the cliques they all don’t want to upset or be accused of something or to offend.

        So I don’t use the VA at all since I have seen how far they go to cover up, change and deleted online med and communications files on that “Secure Healthy E Vet” site which is not secure when some worker can delete and change want they want or to delete all communications, messages, just to cover things up there.

        So I have totally exhausted all avenues for help, all. I just sit and wait for more retribution and cocky attitudes from the VA branding I seem to have got. Been trying to locate others at that group to no avail yet as witnesses but too many people fear the VA or don’t want to lose their care or make things worse for them. But I left the VA for good and don’t think I can trust surgery from a civilian MD today due to all the forms to sign and stupidity, games. Locally to state wide people or officials just don’t care and continue on censoring, ignoring, and allowing time to swiftly pass on.

        IF we go off on somebody here it’s not good. The cops would be called or there are uses of emergency mental health detention for some getting too snippy with any of those professionals around here. So I don’t drink and keep my composure to avoid more problems and let them threaten away, get nasty, condescending, hateful, insane, show their burn-out, cause I am not going to mess up or get into trouble on their turf. That is what they want as they threaten to flag files ans such.

      8. To T;

        So call your VA and tell them you are going to the ER. Don’t tell them why until they get off that Choice block. DO NOT USE CHOICE! They will not pay the bill but when you call your VA the very first words are “if this is an emergency call 911. So consider your urgent care an emergency. Call 911, take an ambulance ride to the ER and call the VA and tell them you are waiting on an ambulance.

        After a few ER visits I’ll bet the your VA will rescind and grant you Choice. Meanwhile get your care through the ER. Much faster and more complete in most instances. Tell the ER you can’t take a referral to a clinic because the VA won’t pay and they aren’t treating you right. Explain your VA’s attitude about Choice and say they seem to prefer paying ER Bills to paying Choice clinic visits.

  60. I am going to have to agree with cj I may not be stoned but I do prefer to have the health care of that I prefer my choice not yours or some other VA idea of Medical Care. Give everyone their choice if they like VA fine they want to go downtown that should be just as well without any hassle. Let these Congress men and women go to the VA for healthcare watch how fast the system changes. So far my cardiovascular surgeon has kept me alive all this time and he’s downtown so let me see the doctor I want that keeps me alive.

    1. @Craig Womer
      you make a great point about the VSOs as well.

      Not once did I see mention by the VSOs of concern over how the system currently impacts the quality of life or how to best keep American vets alive. The concern is about how to keep VA alive.

  61. I don’t know what the answer is………..mostly cause I am stoned at the moment. But, if the va in going to be in the business of denying service connection to veterans anyway, then what the hell good are they? I don’t like the looks I get when I go for an appointment, I wouldnl’t get those looks if I used private care. I do use private care. the difference is with private care I feel like my doctor cares about my treatment. The va? I really don’t think they care if I ever walk through those doors again or not, and I am pretty sure they would prefere that I never came back. I am sick of their attitudes, their condecending tones, the way they treat some people why neglecting others. It is a very sick system that nobody really seems to want to fix. It has become a laboratory, and bank account. I understand that they have an upper hand on certain care, because of the injuries sustained in battle. But……..they are trying to refuse far to many of those battle injured vets. Since I am stoned at the moment, and getting pissed off while typing this, I am also losing my train of thought. so I will end it here. Nothing new, we all know how broken the system is. Hell, a wwII vet is still trying to get treament from a gunshot wound to the head he recieved in the war. What an abortion the damn va has become. Where does the VSO’s come off spouting off about care? Are they not the ones who don’t want to give care to one group because another group would suffer? Let me be clear………….EVERY VETERAN FROM EVERY ERA COMBAT OR NON COMBAT THAT HAS SERVICE CONNECTED INJURIES NEEDS TO BE TAKEN CARE OF………………..P……….E………R……….I……….O…………D………..!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The DOD is an employer just the same as IBM, if you were to get injured at IBM they would be legally resoponsible for your injuries, end of story. The same should hold true for the DOD, and by proxy the damn va. We treat everone else better than we treat our veterans, this NEEDS TO STOP. I don’t want another single damn penny of my tax dollars being spent, on another damn thing, until every veteran, elderly person, disabled person, and sick child is taken care of first. Fuck illegals, fuck Iran, fuck GITMO prisoners. and fuck anyone who looks like them. Take care of the people who signed the dotted line, and for those civiliians out there who think veterans are stupid, and deserve nothing? You snow fucking flakes better find the nearest damn veteran and kiss his/hers ass, because if it were not for them unselfishly serving this great country, there would be a draft, and your snow fucking flake asses would be the ones on the battle field, so stick your anti American, anti service member, anti veteran attitude up your anti Trump ass, that is if ther is enough room next to your over sized pin dick head. Rant the hell out!!!!!

    1. @ cj, you did well describing your frustrations. VSO’s have become useless organizations. I use to believe in the VSO’s I donated my time, my money, etc. I do not do that anymore because i have been educated in their lack of care of what is happening to our Veterans in the va system.

      How can they be so ignorant to all the pain and suffering going on around them that the va inflicts on Veterans? When a Veterans suffers because he cannot get his benefits in a timely manner or medications to improve or save his life the Veterans service organizations are going to stand behind that agency that prolongs a Veterans pain and suffering? Because the va trains physicians and wants to retain them????? What the hell??? A lot of hospitals trains residents (physicians). It is more special when the va does it? Give me a break.

      The VSO’s are beginning to sound just like the va with their rationale that makes no sense and full of lies just like the va. Loss of funding, va is notorious for wasting funding that it is allocated. They don’t know how to manage it so the end up mismanaging it.

    2. @cj

      Frankly some of my profoundly greatest cognitive moments happen when I am stoned. The trick is to dispense with logic. Plus I wait until my marijuanna is thoroughly withered before smoking. It REALLY makes it better!

  62. Most excellent article Ben. Thank you.

    Why on God’s green earth would you oppose veterans getting healthcare with a doctor they like whether it’s at the VA or in the private sector? I like my current VA doctor. Had bad. Had good. Why push our faces in the dirt when if we like a certain Mayo doctor for specialized care which is my case when I had private insurance. Thank you but no thank you national VSO leadership. Shameful.

    Answer: follow the special interest money. VSOs should be supporting the majority of veterans who want that choice instead of playing politics.

    Politicians who oppose it will pay the price. VSO leadership will continue to see declining membership which is sad because local chapters don’t care about the games in Washington….that is until we vote.

    1. What makes smart? Well I can think of about 400,000 things that add up to DAV folks being pretty smart, but perhaps the story is better told by the American Free Press on June 27,2013;

      “While nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless and hungry living on the streets of this once-great nation, the leading non-profit in the United States whose stated purpose is to tend to America’s wartime disabled and their families, has veered from its original mission and has diverted donations ostensibly meant for veterans to the leadership of the organization, some of whom are paid nearly $400,000 per year.”

      The organization is DAV. Pretty smart, huh?

      1. I am a life member of DAV, VFW, and AMVETS. As well as a 15yr membe of American Legion. It’s extremely disheartening to read what you’ve written about the top personnel in the DAV. It makes sense now how all the influx of money doesn’t or barely covers costs to keep the doors open at these posts…wtf

      2. We have been gifted the First Ammendment through the sacrifices of those who came before. We have been handed a means to use the gift as Americans never before had – an internet connecting The People across our world.

        The information is all out there and often takes less time than the blink of the human eye to retrieve. The First Ammendment holds for us a promise that our nation will remain great not because it promises the truth to The People, but a means to discover it. It is a promise only and not a garauntee because the Constitution of The United States only ensures that we have the right to PURSUE freedom and happiness. It does not garauntee that you or I will be free, or happy. Just the right to seek it.

        The garauntee comes when the decision is made to use the gifts. I would suggest to any veteran to investigate any organization they owe allegience to.

      3. Its so sad ! They do NOT represent most veterans. Veterans Choice is a excellent program if run properly. Most veterans are very happy with the program. It seems like someone is getting paid to side with only VA care. I’ve never heard a veteran say they ” only want VA to provide health care.”

      4. Stop being fascist state, don’t judge what is best fort us. Let us the individual decide where when and who we get our care. Give us the choice. Stop holding up approvals for Choice. Some of us could die waiting. I’m proof of that.

      5. Tell a doctor or VA clerk you want choice and they will report you as being disruptive.

        These are the first to get choice. Not your choice their choice.

        If all veterans were accused of disruptive behavior, then they all could or will be seen by an outside doctor and that doctor will be told that is why they are seeing you.

    2. That is so true. Even if the veteran goes about getting all the documentation, IMO’s, getting a qualified person to write the legalese listing documented evidence, etc, then takes all that neatly wrapped up to one of these VSOs and asks them to file it…they then want to stonewall and argue a bit as to why they won’t file it.!!!
      what good are they indeed!

    3. It’s all about the money, power and position with VSO’s. Many are highly paid and are not worth a hill of beans. Sold many Vets down the river in regard to heir claims. American Legion once caused my VARO to reduce a rating unfairly. I was forced to fight three years to get my rating back. I say, get rid of VSO’s because, I for one, won about 10 appeals before BVA on my own, over the past 30+ years. They were not for me. They did not give me the benefit of the doubt. They caused more pain and suffering and loss of quality of life. I want a CHOICE of Provider. Providers should be treated equally too. Integration with “no strings attached choice of provider” is best for all.

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