VSOs Support John McCain Reforms Aimed To Advance VA Privatization
Some VSOs support a proposed law from Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to create new reforms that advance VA privatization for community care.
In partnership with Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), Senator McCain has proposed new legislation to reform VA Health Administration (VHA) into a “21st century health care system.” The new law “would better integrate VA services and existing VA community care programs, such as the Veterans Choice Program, into an efficient and high-performing health care system.”
According to the senators’ press release yesterday, the newly introduced legislation, S.2184, the Veterans Community Care and Access Act of 2017, will reportedly transform VHA into a “modern, efficient and easy-to-use system that will increase veterans’ access to quality care.”
VSO support for advanced privatization of VA health services has been slow moving but some organizations, specifically American Legion and AMVETS, support modernization reforms toward enhanced non-VA care.
Many disenfranchised veterans, including me, support forcing VA to compete against private sector providers without disbanding VHA altogether. Others support VA being fully privatized using a Medicare / Social Security model, entirely.
Background Of Current VA Privatization Push
The advancing push for privatization is the result of unresolved healthcare scandals committed by fraudulent and criminal VA employees who were not held accountable or properly investigated by VA OIG and President Obama’s FBI.
CNN first exposed the scandal at Phoenix VA, which lead to exposure of a nationwide fraud ring involving numerous VA medical centers.
According to whistleblowers, hundreds of veterans died while VA employees cooked the books to make their performance numbers look better. As result, many veterans were illegally forced to wait for health care whose deaths were linked to the delays.
RELATED: VA OIG Spins Phoenix VA Wait Times Investigation Results
Despite these problems, and the current failure of the agency to hold its criminal employees accountable as recently as this month with continued wait time schemes being perpetrated, many veterans want to avoid full VA privatization.
RELATED: VA Staffers Create Secret Clinic To Cover-up Wait Time Manipulation
The unions oppose further VA privatization because it erodes their voter base in support of Democrats as well as their lobbying coffers from member dues. However, they also refuse to reign in employees who engage in the criminal behavior.
RELATED: VA Hires Known Criminals As VA Doctors
Many private sector medical research and genomic research firms oppose moves like this because it dilutes datasets within the Million Veteran Program and other sources of research over which VA maintained a full monopoly until Veterans Choice disrupted that system.
RELATED: VA Pimps Out Million Veteran Program Genomic Data To Contractor
Meanwhile, government contractors like TriWest Healthcare Alliance and Health Net, support advancement of VA privatization that would increase the value and size of their government contracts. As will be discussed below, the founder of TriWest, David McIntyre, was a staffer for Senator John McCain before being awarded a $2.5 billion contract to administer part of the Tricare program in 1996 under President Bill Clinton.
Koch Brothers also reportedly support greater privatization of the federal government as a whole, and reportedly benefited handsomely from ramped-up opioid prescriptions leading up to the Candyman fiasco at Tomah VA.
RELATED: Arizona’s TriWest Under Grand Jury Investigation
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, MD, was recently reported as moving toward unifying DOD and VA healthcare through an extension of Tricare to veterans. Some veterans organizations support the move while others oppose it citing Tricare does not know how to help veterans with healthcare.
RELATED: VA Caught In Cover-up Of 90% Of Bad Medical Providers
Such a position is ignorant of the longstanding history of government contracting in Tricare and the Veterans Choice Program. TriWest and Health Net jointly provided Tricare administration since at least 1996 if not earlier.
Even though TriWest no longer administers Tricare, they lost the contract in 2012, the duo both administer Veterans Choice, so the move to unify Tricare under one umbrella is more a question of how quickly bureaucrats can shift around the same chairs on the deck of the Titanic.
VA Privatization Pros, Cons And President Trump
The takeaway here is that many pro’s and con’s exist concerning further VA privatization. A deeper review of contractors will help identify the players and where VA is going.
Any current attention or misdirection aimed at hanging this albatross around the neck of current President Donald Trump is somewhat misguided given VA privatization greatly accelerated under President Obama including the use of McCain favorite TriWest to administer Veterans Choice.
I have no dought he will continue the accelerating trend of privatization, but it in no way originated with his administration just ten months ago given all major players within the organization are all Obama holdovers with few exceptions.
Anyone who says otherwise is peddling anti-Trump hysteria devoid of a historical appreciation of government contracting within the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Practically all the contract officers were in place under President Obama, and many of the contracts being approved now were under negotiation for some time. By keeping President Obama’s staff largely intact, we are watching the evolution of President Obama’s initiatives and unfortunate whitewash cover-ups including the Rob Nabors cover-up of the Phoenix VA wait times scandal. Nabors was considered Obama’s cleaner who would fix problems from the White House, and he was deployed to Phoenix VA after the scandal broke in 2014.
Many of those initiatives, and the bad policies going with them, have largely been underway since President Clinton initiated his reinvention of federal government initiatives starting in 1993 with former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. In 1993, she chaired the committee responsible for initiating healthcare reforms in the federal government and VA with the support of the big five VSOs. Additionally, President Clinton approved outsourcing of retired military care using Tricare to TriWest.
RELATED: Did Clintons Create VA Policies Leading To Wait List Scandal?
These reforms include tying quota systems to performance numbers and cutting government employees, even in vital positions, in favor of greater public-private partnerships with government contractors like IBM, Leodis, Booz Allen Hamilton, and more.
The quote system tied to bonuses and an ability to manipulate wait times led to the wait list scandal and was noted by VA as being a major problem left unaddressed back in 2001. Now, the quota system is forcing a variety of problems that still plague the agency today.
Most certainly, if President Trump fails to address these problems, now that he has an opportunity to truly reform the agency, he will be no less guilty than the complicit presidents of the past who traded veterans lives for campaign contributions and political favors from government contractors.
There is enough shame for both Democrats and Republicans to go around. I supported President Obama to clean up the mess. He did not. I now support President Trump to clean up the mess, which makes sense since he is the president with the ability to make a difference.
RELATED: VA Uses Clinton Executive Order To Reduce VA Care Quality Standards
Senators On Reform Legislation
Senator John McCain On VA Privatization
“In the wake of the scandal in care at VA hospitals in Phoenix and around the country, we vowed to guarantee our veterans timely access to quality treatment,” said Senator McCain. “The Veterans Choice Program was the first step in delivering on that promise, but much more needs to be done to provide all veterans a choice in when and where they receive care. Our bill would strengthen and improve the core elements of Choice by consolidating and streamlining the VA’s community care program. Moreover, the bill would deliver long overdue, critical reforms to the VA, including commonsense reporting standards that ensure cost-efficient care to our nation’s veterans. It’s time we transform the VA into a 21st century health care system, one that respects the dignity of our men and women in uniform and provides all veterans the quality health care they deserve.”
Senator Jerry Moran On VA Privatization Reform
“Since the creation of the Veterans Choice Program, Congress has repeatedly pushed the VA to make much-needed changes to its healthcare system,” said Senator Moran. “Far too many Kansas veterans have experienced unnecessary difficulties accessing the care they’ve earned from the VA, and I appreciate that they have shared their stories and empowered us to work on their behalf. Demand has demonstrated that veterans want and need healthcare options in their communities, but there must be reform at the VA to create a system that works for them. I’m proud to be introducing this transformative legislation with Senator McCain, whose advocacy for our veterans is unparalleled. This joint effort to reform the VA will offer veterans an integrated healthcare system within their community that reduces red tape, enhances their quality of life and provides care that is worthy of their service and sacrifice.”
Who Are Winners With More VA Privatization
Disenfranchised Veterans Win
Many disenfranchised veterans reluctant to receive their medical care from VA employees, and all other veterans not reasonably able to receive care from VA in a timely manner, stand to benefit from advanced privatization and greater access to community care. These veterans, according to the senators, would be allowed more control over doctor selections.
This advancement of VA privatization comes just after VA administrators loosened requirements on primary care providers due to shortages and cost benefits. Now, clinical pharmacists and advanced practice nurses, referred to as mid-level providers, can provide direct medical care to veterans without oversight of a medical doctor.
Veterans who want to receive medical care from bone fide doctors might now be able to receive that care from non-VA providers while veterans content with receiving care from lesser-qualified and trained mid-level providers can advance their careers in states that preclude such arrangements in non-VA facilities.
Other VSOs have opposed advanced veterans choice due to fears that outsourcing of some elements of VA healthcare would result in outstripping so many services that VA could not survive. This argument is overblown and more of a chicken little opposing argument, but some still argue this position.
Contractors TriWest Healthcare Alliance And Health Net Win
The newly proposed legislation stands to benefit Veterans Choice Program administrators TriWest and Health Net, the two primary government contractors who operate the program. Both contractors have ample experience providing insurance services and administration of the Department of Defense Tricare system, a program created by TriWest in 1996.
RELATED: Health Net Has Sanctions History
TriWest, an Arizona company, is the also the administrator of the VA Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) program.
RELATED: VA Revokes TriWest Appointment Scheduling Duties
All is not necessarily rosy for TriWest. A recent investigation into the company’s practices revealed it overcharged VA for services it billed to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. The company is also in the middle of a grand jury investigation.
RELATED: Veterans Choice Overbilled, Grand Jury Investigates
Given these problems, I would normally expect VA to fire TriWest, but that seems unlikely since its founder, David McIntyre, was a staffer for Senator McCain before creating TriWest to take over the duties of the military’s old CHAMPUS health care system for retirees and their families under President Bill Clinton, in 1996.
Health Net, formerly known as Foundation Health, was awarded the first outsourcing of CHAMPUS as a pilot program in 1988. In 1996, DOD adopted Tricare as a solution. TriWest and Health Net administered that program for many years since then. TriWest lost its contract after 17 years after it was caught overbilling DOD in 2012.
VSOs Supporting VA Privatization Reform
American Legion Letter Of Support Excerpt
“On behalf of the 2 million members of The American Legion, I write to support your bill titled, Veterans Community Care and Access Act of 2017,” said American Legion National Commander Denise H. Rohan. “The bill, as currently written, would modify the already existing Choice program, providing veterans with the 21st Century medical system they rightfully deserve.”
READ: American Legion Full Letter
AMVETS Letter Of Support Excerpt
“AMVETS is pleased to support the Veterans Community Care and Access Act of 2017. Veterans need health care, both inside and outside of the VA system of care,” said AMVETS National Executive Director Joe Chenelly. “This measure addresses funding, implements ongoing patient surveying in conjunction with community care teams, and devises re-evaluation of both VA and private sector care. Both need oversight. All veterans have a right to receive the quality health care they have earned, and we applaud the hard work and insight that has taken place for this type of measure to be created. We urge its swift passage and will assist however we can.”
READ: AMVETS Full Letter
Veteran Organization Supporting Advanced Choice
I wanted to delineate between Congressionally chartered veteran service organizations like American Legion and AMVETS because the legal responsibilities, fiduciary responsibility, and general support for veterans is different when compared to Concerned Veterans for America (CVA).
CVA has remained controversial because it is not considered a “real” VSO by many insiders due to its lack of hands-on support for veterans benefits claims and its Koch Brother funding early on. The Koch Brothers reportedly want VA Health Administration privatized.
It is important to note that the source of money and lack of veteran service officers does not mean an organization’s position is not worth paying attention to, but it may be relevant to consider.
Personally, I support the advancement of VA privatization to allow an opportunity for veterans to choose where to get their health care in part because I am a disenfranchised veteran who does not want VA employees to provide me with health care. It is not safe, and I do not want to receive medical care from a nurse or medical student.
Concerned Veterans For America Letter Of Support Excerpt
“Despite tens of billions of dollars in budget increases for the VA over the past three years, there are still far too many veterans waiting long periods of time for critical appointments and still too frequent reports of veterans suffering as the result of substandard care at the VA,” said Concerned Veterans for America Executive Director Dan Caldwell. “The Veterans Community Care and Access Act of 2017 would change that by reforming how the VA delivers health care to our veterans. The legislation would give veterans more options in their healthcare and change how it is delivered. Additionally, the legislation creates a plan to combine multiple outside care programs at the VA that will reduce bureaucracy and streamline reimbursements to community providers… Concerned Veterans for America strongly supports this legislation and we thank you for leading on this important issue.”
READ: CVA Full Letter
The following is the full highlight document from Senator McCain’s press release on this new legislation that provides a summary. The italicized paragraphs below were taken directly from Senator McCain’s document:
Highlights – The Veterans Community Care and Access Act of 2017
The Veterans Community Care and Access Act of 2017 – authored by U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Jerry Moran (R-KS), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies – would transform Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care into a modern, efficient and easy-to-use system that will increase veterans’ access to quality care. Key components included in the legislation are below.
ESTABLISHING VETERANS COMMUNITY CARE PROGRAM
The bill would establish the Veterans Community Care Program, which would consolidate all community care authorities into a single cohesive program to deliver hospital care, medical services and extended care services to veterans in their communities. The bill would require each VA medical facility to coordinate the care of veterans participating in the community care program.
STRATEGY FOR HIGH-PERFORMING INTEGRATED HEALTHCARE NETWORK
The bill would require the VA to assess, develop and implement a reoccurring strategic plan to create a high-performing integrated healthcare network at the VA. This would be informed by periodic market assessments that examine the total demand for care on the VA system, identify gaps in care, and balance improvements to the VA and capacity in the community. Finally, the bill would standardize access and quality measurements to assure a consistent experience for veterans.
ADDRESSING ACCESS & QUALITY STANDARDS
The bill would implement data-driven access standards to inform veterans about their eligibility for community care. The VA Secretary would be responsible for determining standards of access for the following types of care: Primary, specialty, behavioral health, urgent, home health, dental or any others determined by the Secretary.
These standards would improve veterans’ ability to compare care at the VA and other federal facilities with care at community hospitals. They would also inform the public about the state of VA healthcare.
The VA quality standards would also align with Department of Defense, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and industry quality standards, and would establish a remediation protocol if the VA fails to meet those standards. Access and quality standards would not interfere with the discretion of VA clinicians, but would guarantee a common standard if the VA is unable to provide safe and timely care.
IMPROVING ACCESS TO WALK-IN CARE AND VA TELEMEDICINE
The bill would grant veterans access to care at walk-in clinics that are part of VA’s community care network. It would also expand authority for VA health care professionals to practice telemedicine in other states, regardless of their location or that of the veteran. The VA would be required to submit a report to Congress within one year of enactment on the VA’s telemedicine program, including information about provider and patient satisfaction, the effect of telemedicine on wait-times and utilization, and other measures.
ENSURING SAFE OPIOID PRESCRIBING PRACTICES
The bill would ensure that contracted providers review evidence-based guidelines and make certain the VA shares with community care providers the relevant medical history of veteran patients to guide the prescription of opioids through the community care program. It would also make the VA responsible for coordinating the prescription of opioids, which would be directed to VA pharmacies for dispensing, except in the case of a prior authorization or when the provider determines there is an immediate medical need for the prescription.
PROMPT PAYMENT TO PROVIDERS
The bill would establish and require publication of regulations for a prompt payment process that would obligate the VA to pay for, or deny payment for, community providers’ services within a set timeframe after receipt of a claim – 30 or 45 calendar days depending on the type of claim.
These provisions would include a specific requirement for prompt payment to Critical Access Hospitals at the designated Medicare cost-based rate.
PROTECTING VETERANS FROM UNSAFE & UNFIT PROVIDERS
The bill would protect veterans seeking care in the community from being treated by a provider who was fired, suspended, or had his or her license revoked by the VA or violated the requirements of his or her medical license.
GRADUATE MEDICAL EDUCATION & RESIDENCY PROGRAM
The bill would authorize the VA to increase the number of graduate medical education residency positions at covered facilities by no less than 1,500 positions in the 10-year period following enactment of the legislation.
IMPROVING COLLECTION OF HEALTH INSURANCE INFORMATION
The bill would require anyone seeking VA medical care and services to provide his or her health plan contract information to the VA. This section would also clarify that the VA could seek collections in the event the VA pays for care, rather than just delivers it.
IMPROVING INFORMATION SHARING WITH COMMUNITY PROVIDERS
The bill would clarify that the VA could share records with non-Department providers for the purpose of delivering care and enhancing the VA’s ability to recover funds from other responsible third parties.
PILOT PROGRAM ESTABLISHING GRADUATE MEDICAL RESIDENCY PROGRAMS WITH INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE
The bill would direct the VA Secretary to consult with the Director of the Indian Health Service to develop a pilot program or affiliate with a graduate medical education residency training program, specific to rural or remote areas. The pilot would begin in no more than four locations and would extend eight years beyond the bill’s enactment.
The VA OIG is a joke:
“We cannot force the local VA to do anything”.
That is a blunt and blatant statement but the VA OIG.Then what is the purpose of the VA OIG? Simple…. To appease the veteran and their families.
The Los Angeles VA voc rehab director, his staff or wannabe employees to include the voc rehab offices at Loma Linda are criminal deviants. Liars.
They literally threaten, manipulate, and deny veterans due process.
A letter is being drafted to many different newspapers, media sorts, and DC. HMMM. Can I publicly mention va employee names when using media and newspapers?
The end all be all is for each and every veteran to go into ALL VETERANS ADMINISTRATION facilities and physically take them over. Nothing else works. THIS WILL!!!!
EEOC VA BRANCH FRAUDULENCE AGAINST VETS
OIG, FRAUDULENCE vs Veterans in EEOC CASE, VA PHX
Honorably served Vet, Vietnam Era, corpsman with 1st MARDIV. I was RED FLAGGED by Helman at VAPHX for writing letter of support for Paula Pedene, a 25+ year VA employee. HELMAN had 2 OIG officers come to my door in a thinly veiled threat. She retaliated against me also by having me silently blacklisted for VA hire. I took out EEOC case, investigated, but the VA arm of the OIG kept deliberately sending documents/correspondence to my old address or addressing it wrong, causing significant delays in my receiving and responding. It made me look negligent, thus giving them the grounds to dismiss my case. I never had a melt down nor threatened anyone at the VA, it was pure and simple RETALIATORYY!! MY CIVIL RIGHTS WERE VIOLATED by both Sharon Helman and Dr. Carlos Carrera, and Dr. Darren Deering, her minions as well as the VA PHX. When I transferred to VA San Diego the mental health unit with Dr. Ellen Lavin, after investigating the fraudulent use of the Red Flag against me, dismissed it, for lack of corroborating evidence by Helman and Carrera and the Disruptive Behavior Committee at the PHX VAMC in not substantiating their false allegations! IN OTHER WORDS THEY FALSIFIED AND LIED about me and SMEARED ME causing me deep stress and grief and embarrassment as well of loss of livelihood. I have tried to find an attorney in San Diego to rep me with this, I will not give up, for Helman and her henchman did this to others was well. That evil machinating Sharon Helman needs to fry, and should never be rehired by the VA, as she is now seeking to do. If anyone knows of a San Diego attorney who would help me I would b e eternally grateful?
1. Dual health care. So injured veterans or disabled former soldiers can step outside the VA Health Care system, and get a second private medical opinion (or even a third private medical opinion, if need be), or simply get health care treatment where he/she was denied health care at the VA.
2. From my experiences. Being cut loose from the service injured without medical notes. The VA is not doing any injured veterans and disabled former soldiers any favors, when it comes to having a better life. From of course my perspective.
3. Not enough bad things can be said about the VA hospital in Akron Ohio and VA in Ohio in general. Not enough bad can be said about the VA hospitals in general. Not enough can be sad bad about these three doctors, and their corrupt support staff (Pedophila like Ring, or VA Kult-of-Money behavior)
1. Eric Canna Akron VA Ohio Clinic Waterloo Road Non Veteran Catholic, who stated, and said,
“ALL VETERANS WANT (Care about) IS MONEY. THE ONLY THING VETERANS CARE ABOUT IS MONEY SO THEY CAN BUY HOUSES AND CARS. ALL VETERANS LIE. YOU CAN ONLY GET HURT IN THE MILITARY BY BOMBS AND BULLETS. OK ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO DO THAT? THIS WILL EFFECT YOUR BENEFITS.”
2. Pamela Sue Sherer VA Akron Ohio Clinic Waterloo Road Non Veteran Catholic, taking only other catholic non veterans prescribed disorders. Catholic Non Veterans to Catholic Non Veteran
3. PETER M. BARACH NPI# 1396773610 Ohio, license No.3280 Ohio VA Wade Park Louis Stokes Cleveland Ohio Jewish Non Veteran Draft Dodger 1970-1973. John Hopkins Flunkie.
4. This “morally bankrupt” PETER M. BARACH: The VA’s LAPDOG. The VAs Forensic Whore, The VA Forensic Prostitute. Paid over and over again. Lying and creating 20 page C and P exams by “Cherry Picking” only sentences from another Catholic Non Veteran Draft dodger in Lancaster Pennsylvania. PETER M. BARACH, Being called in to cover up injuries (directed to cover up injuries), and the damage the VA has done to the injured vet’s and disabled former soldier’s lives. PETER M. BARACH who Create C and P Exams by “Cherry Picking” through medical notes to create “False Narratives”, and “Checker” the truth about in service injuries, and damage to one entire life based on the injury and being denied VA medical treatment. The VA Gate Keeper” Peter Barach, who is paid to do “The Devil’s Work” on Sundays, and directed do hatched jobs six ways to Sunday on disabled former soldiers, and injured veterans.
5. And Peter M. Barach 2 of 2 lovely supervisors, 1. Diana Johnson VA Wade Park Cleveland Ohio, and 2. Ellery Smith VA Parma Ohio (phone #216-739-7000 ex2509), who still have NOT documented “The full Complaint” filed against Peter M. Barach, extent and who have still not fully documented the damage, and wrong doing done to me by the VA and Peter M. Barach. And who “knowingly” know Peter M. Barach is retaliating against injured veteran’s and disabled former soldiers, who reach out to their Ohio Senators and Congressmen for help.
* But Peter M Barach goes on record to say and said, “I have no ties to the VA and I am objective”
*But yet this “Forensic whore” Peter Barach has two supervisors (2 supervisors), grew up across the street from the VA Cleveland Ohio, and has family ties and family members working at the VA in Cleveland Ohio. But yet two supervisors! This is medical misrepresentation (he is misrepresenting the VA and the injured vets) in itself, (LYING). ALso he is throwing this sickness in front of VA DRO Judges with out any “DUE PROCESS”. Peter M. Barach attempting to taint the Decision Review Officers Opinions, and sabotage injured vets benefits and disabled former soldiers claims.
6. Oh, and the Patient Advocate/Employee Advocate Akron Ohio VA Waterloo Road, Patricia Brown Sales (phone #330-724-7715 ex1169), where complaints still sit on her desk undocumented, and had to be forwarded to,
Senator Sherrod Brown Ohio office,
Senator Rob Portman Ohio’s office, and
Congressman Tim Ryan’s Office Ohio (Asst to Tim Ryan Matt Vadas Warren Ohio Phone 1-800-856-4152). Where these complaints, with medical evidence sit with all these state of Ohio Reps. so the complaints could be forwarded by the state of Ohio reps,
to The Medical Director Cleveland Ohio VA Susan M. Furher, and her asst Jeff McPeaks (phone #216-791-3800 ex4070
And had to be forwarded and FAXd to Cleveland Ohio VA Director TONY MILONS, who still has not answered back…
7. Yes. I am a strong advocate of Dual Health Care for injured veterans and disabled former soldiers. Two health care insurances. Private insurance so a vet can go outside the VA in order to get a second opinion or a third opinion Vs the VAs bizarre medical (Pedophila Like Ring) opinion….
All is not lost, I was just there a few month ago, it is going to be a cold winter make sure you have plenty of wood and provisions.
Some blame the Clintons, others blame Sen. Daschle in 1987; however this problem has been going on for decades.
Wikipedia “Born on the Fourth of July, published in 1976, is the best-selling autobiography by Ron Kovic [Kovic was born on July 4, 1946], a paralyzed Vietnam War veteran who became an anti-war activist. In 1974, Kovic led a group of disabled Vietnam War veterans in wheelchairs on a 17-day hunger strike inside the Los Angeles office of Senator Alan Cranston.”
I had work with Sen. Cranston on the Slidematic Case and little was done—until I contacted my Senators from Ohio [Glenn and Mentzenbaum] then I contact Deconcini and McCain because the jobs went into Arizona. All hell broke loose [Keating Five].
Before the VA is fixed there will be a fight.
Where? Do you mean the “read more” article tab that comes into view? That’s a feature of this website theme I am working on. I do plan to including an opt in popup for the newsletter and some other things but haven’t had a chance yet to execute.
I removed the comment truncation feature as I believe this was not helping anyone. However, I might still stick with the plugin instead of going back to Jetpack.
Nonsense! It’s only a partial fix. Privatizing could include putting it out to bid, and you know, governments go with the lowest bid. There would be no way to guarantee improvement in quality of care over what the VA so pitifully provides.
Again, my suggestion has been and continues to be: Dissolve the VA medical system. Take that budget and transfer it into the Medicare system. Issue each Veteran a Medicare account and card. Each account and card would provide a specific level of care, whether in line with the VA gradations or a new system. This way, EVERY VETERAN can go get care from the facility or doctor of THEIR CHOICE, JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE IN THE COUNTRY. That solves the horrors of being pegged into either a VA facility (which we already know is nothing better than a disaster); or, some lame contracted rip-off contractor.
It’s quality that we need. Stay focused on the goal; not just an option for option-sake.
Ben, I very much appreciate your focus on veterans and how things may benefit veterans, rather than whether it is a right or left issue.
Many people lean right or left or both depending on the subject, but on veterans issues, veterans should lean veteran regardless of who looks good or bad.
As for privatization, whether full, partial or none at all, I would only support it based on the amount of control the VA still has over it, and even with McCain’s bill, they STILL have too much control.
McCain’s bill shows the VA will continue controlling a vets access to community care by doing market assessments, their balancing act, rigging the numbers to drive data and the fact that the VA clinician has final say.
Who does a vet appeal to when the VA continues gaming the system and those numbers and refusing to allow a vet to be seen locally?
What if a vet would rather see a human locally instead of having a telemedicine appointment through the VA?
All of that language leaves plenty of room for the VA to keep tight control over a vets health care.
On mandating bill payment, show me the money! Does McCain’s bill have any teeth? Or is it just guidelines where the VA and contractors continue to stiff providers? Another vet posted on the VA is Lying FB page last night an image of a letter sent to veterans calling on us to contact our worthless Senator Cory Gardner. The Colorado provider is owed over $1 million from Choice for the past 2 years.
I oppose any kind of TriCare like change to the VA, because in the 1990s when TriCare came to be is when retirees started having to pay copays and other fees for health care that they were promised if they retired from the military. How long will it take for the VA to transition veterans to paying copays and other fees for service connected medical care?
Yeah, you can go to the VA and wait months to get that xray, but for just $60 a month, you can get TriCare and go see a private doctor quicker.
With TriCare, both political sides found out they could make out like bandits, or their contractor friends could. It continues with Nancy Pelosi’s friend George Miller sitting on the board at Health Net, McCain’s staffer at TriCare, and Tommy Thompson and Dick Gephardt at Centene, parent company of Health Net.
In reading this, if McCain’s intention is to fix doctor and nurse shortages and timely access to care, why wait for the VA to hire them rather than allowing a vet to see someone locally, without the huge overhead cost of hiring a full time VA doctor? Why wait for bullshit numbers gamed by the VA?
Why do some VSOs ignore the shortages of providers and lack of timely care, other than to protect their gravy train, protect their access to power and protect their ability to act as gatekeepers between veterans and the VA.
Finally, why is McCain offering this veterans bill from the Armed Services committee rather than any of the worthless toads on the Senate or House VA committees? Legacy building?
Legacy of a Turtle. Yep. There will be a special wing at Mayo Clinic named after him and you mark my words, there will eventually be a redefined Choice or ChampVA in McCain’s name…many may not know this but McCain and Graham have been fiercely adding to out of pocket expenses to ChampVA and McCain wanted even more increased to premiums and out of pocket for dependents…easy for an old turtle with a platinum spoon and golden beer empire wifey poo…legacy…again, am thinking some McCain gray matter was jiggled like jello and it activated a bit of a guilt legacy thing…maybe. Rant out on the old toad, err, turtle. Reptiles/Dinosaurs all the same.
All I know is that my girlfriend has already stated we would be getting married and I would be added to her healthcare before she would let me step foot in a VA facility for treatment.
NO, NO, and NO!!!
Look at the rest of government when it comes to contracting. If we privatize the VA the way McCain wants to do it, the inefficient and corrupt government people will be managing the contracts for the private companies.
We already have too much fraud and kick backs to contract officers in the VA and other agencies. Also contractors overbill because they know the government will not go with the price/efficiency, but who has connections (especially to some politician’s campaign contributions).
Allow veterans to choose their own providers without government picking who those providers are (like your average citizen who has health insurance). When insurance companies and health providers see veterans have “options”, they will compete for veterans’ business. That will drive down costs and drive up efficiency. That will also hold people accountable because they will not want to be subject to malpractice lawsuits.
It is real simple, but the government wants to make it complicated beyond comprehension. Your VA plan ID (on the card) should give you access to either VA care of private care.
Reimbursement should be at the same rate as Medicare with the same deductibles or co-pays which VA charges non Service Connected Veterans. For Service Connected vets and those under the VA Pension program, no deductibles or co-pays should be charged and those administering the SS program would be able to do that in a heartbeat. We don’t need new agencies, and convoluted programs. All Medicare has to do is bill the VA. One huge savings would be in beneficiary travel for disabled vets. This past year the VA paid me $1021 in travel pay. Had I been able to go to local medical providers, first of all, I would be happy to give that up, and secondly, it really wouldn’t matter as most of it would have been a 4 mile trip instead of a 130 mile trip.
The VA argument of coordination of care is pure BS. What doctor has time to look through the volumes of crap that go into your medical record? I got tired of getting print outs at my Release of Information Office about 5 years ago, after I realized that no one would ever be able to decipher the 2000 pages I had accumulated by that time.
But, anything that would get me care by a local, competent care provider would be welcome.
I hope all Veterans who reads this call your Senators and Representative contact the Veteran Affairs Committee try to convince your belief how to improve Health Benefits and Veteran Health Care Issues but the bug the Shit out of your Senators and Representative don’t say they won’t listen and Spread your belief.
I remember when someone suggested veterans should be able to use “Champva”! Maybe that’s the ticket! My PCP is NOT addressing my medical needs. (The nurse I see before hand, actually does more asking of questions and other things!) I quess those two medical degrees she received over in Hungary and Poland aren’t as goodas she thinks!
As far as McCain is concerned, he’s only doing this for his reelection campaign! Gotta sneaky suspicion he just might get booted out next year. There’s someone running against him who is considered a better choice!
VHA’s nationwide need to be exposed for ALL their CRIMES against veterans. Employees need to be, not only exposed, they need to be arrested and prosecuted for their crimes!
As far as I’m concerned, I don’t care one way or the other, IF I ever set foot in the VHA again!
The VA may suck. Well, no – it does suck, big time. It’s wishful thinking that veterans will, in the long term, receive better care. The latest tax bill is a prime example, they’re going after medicare and social security. The no cost or very low cost VA care will disappear in the hands of Pig Pharma and Pig Med. The insurance companies will end up driving the bus and vets will get the same hind-tit treatment that seniors now get. The really good doctors aren’t supporting Medicare. What’s left are a bunch of pill pushers and crooks double-dipping. Congress has known of the corruption in Medicare forever, and has done nothing. ditto the VA.
At our core is one common thread. Everything in Washington is corrupt. Until that changes – any government institution will be a Charlie Foxtrot.
We the sheeple have not demanded accountability – ever. We shouldn’t be surprised rectal bleeding outcomes any time we come into contact with the government.
Satan’s flaming rod the VA and Gov’t wields does have a swift cauterizing effect, so there IS that! 😀
Wrong Windguy, Medicare and Social Security not included in current proposed tax bill. And, there are highly credible doctors taking Medicare.
reinventing the mouse trap. When two or more political whores take on a job, somebody is going to get screwed
I hope the VA is completely dismantled. The VA is corrupt to its core and it starts at the regions. Millions of tax payer dollars and being paid out for tort claims and lawsuits for negligent VA providers. Enough is enough. The VA has been given chance after chance and has not changed. Privatize thay corrupt system as Trump promised on the campaign trail. I want to have access to the top medical facilities in the world as promised. I do not want to be subjected to VA care and not know of the doctor is actually a doctor, or worst has a history of claims for gross negligence. Or a suspended license. Veterans walk in the VA, but may leave in a body bag.
Choice providers in AL are riddled with the same problems as the VA. Takes forever to answer the phone, can’t provide referrals promptly and reliably, and can’t seem to pay the bills they are responsible for promptly causing many doctors to refuse to treat Vets. It all comes down to having enough competent people to do the job because hiring people costs money and cuts into the profit margins…Any system that has profit as it’s driving force is not going to provide the most bang for the buck…
And like any insurance program they will provide the minimum service they can get away with for the amount they are able to bill…
Yep. Just rec’d. the SSA letter showing the 2% COLA increase and guess what those cunning folks did? They raised Medicare monthly premium exactly, 2%, so nevermind the cost of food, rent and everything else has been increasing…it’s still a more sane choice for me rather than utilizing the VHA for my deathcare.
There are still some kinks to be worked out. I’m going to a private mental health clinic on Choice in Scottsbluff, NE, 30 miles from my home. The Scottsbluff VA Clinic has dropped the “assigned patient” requirement that was in effect 3 years ago, perhaps because of my complaint.
Choice was apparently unaware that a PTSD program had been set up at the Scottsbluff VA Clinic and assigned me to the private clinic. I’m 3 months into seeing my current clinician so not in a hurry to switch clinicians.
My clinician gets paid slowly. Essentially Choice is Medicare without co-pays if you are over 50% or being treated for a service connected condition. You still have to get prosthetics from the VA. I have to go to Cheyenne for braces, eye glasses and hearing aids.
Do Veterans who reads this do you really so call Senator John McCain before he was a Senator?
“I am Groot”.
In the news, Senator McCain proposes to pass a law to fix VA.
In other news, Congress just passed another law designed to keep stray dogs from humping each other in public, and this time vowed to hold the animals accountable individually. Animal control agencies have asked for more funding.
Meanwhile the Senate is debating a bill that would ban fresh baked bread from molding. In a statement the Senate unanimously agreed that the nation is ready to move forward with government control of moldy bread erradication and vowed to hold bakeries more accountable. Bakeries have asked for additional funding.
President Trump also announced sweeping reforms which will end unregulated street prostitution in America. This comes on the heals of a plan that will finally wipe out marijuanna usage in America as well which the government has tied to street whores not being held accountable. DOJ has asked for more funding.
It has indeed been a fruitful time for our nations lawmakers and we all wait with baited breath to witness the results. As Senator McCain reminds us, to fix things we just need a new law – and additional funding.
How hard can it be?
Give Senator McCain a can of high-test JP40 Jet Fuel and ask him to put out the fires of VA scandal with that jet fuel. That analogy should make an explosive impression of how yet another law to ‘fix’ a fixated VA will play out. I’m thinking it must be getting close to Insane McCain’s molting season when he needs Veteran stage props to be re-erected.
Senator John McCain is a textbook example of why & how the VA is so fuxated with self-glorious, self-serving assholes.
How can we take McCain seriously when he could have taken the opportunity with his brain tumor to shed light on the fuxheads at the VA but NO…the fuxhead went to The Mayo Clinic. Fuck Off you old turtle.
Maybe the Mayo Clinic jiggled that guilt part of Insane McCain’s Brain and he’s having phantom 20/20 hindsight guilt? Like a ghost limb? Hmmmm?!
“[…As will be discussed below, the founder of TriWest, David McIntyre, was a staffer for Senator John McCain before being awarded a $2.5 billion contract to administer part of the Tricare program in 1996 under President Bill Clinton…]” — It’s ALL about conquering the VA Cookie Jar, not so much I provingthings or McCain would have thought of such better initiatives 2014 and years before ground zero of VA scandal broke out in his fuxated state.
Oh say it isn’t soooo….
A contractor having connections with a politcian who proposes legislation to allow the contractor to make money???
Say it isn’t so!!!
you wanna give it to the man in his final brain tumor wishes to improve what he hasn’t in long decade.hum????
u gotta point .
FUCK the turtle .
whats up with these senators with black eyes harry Reid, john mcain.is it a secret bitcoin society where they announce there own holiday highest bitcoin collector gets to punch a senator in the eye or give him cancer in the eye region or something like that. fucking weird man.
The real question now is that what jurisdiction does the OIG have over these providers.
The OIG has never been held accountable for whitewashing reports, false criminal referrals against whistleblowers.
And finally, under the false color of authority aka #MistakenBacon will accept a request for an independent investigation of it’s responsibility that led to the creation of the Choice Act?
Btw CIGIE does not count, they have no jurisdiction. Eff VA, Eff AFGE , Eff all those VSOs who are straight scammers
From a 1st degree blackbelt to second degree suspenders.
I see them displaying their fake 5326 designations. Freddie the Frog dont play that shit.
tell them to Drink Some Cool aid Mr. Jim Jones.
Freddie and the Frog dont play that shit. lol
thats a fucking cult phrase right out of there film biography. take your fucking medicine.lmfao.
Actually Freddy the Frog is fictional character created by Sharon Burch in the early 90s.
It does not have any context to references that I made.
The context here is that there are misrepresentations by VSO with their fake tridents ( froggers) and service ribbons scamming the system.
There are many fake veterans out there that would like to silence the truth about the atrocities at VA.
No meds straight truth.
JUST PUTTING LIPSTICK ON THE VA NASTY PIG DUMB ASS US TAXPIYERS VA WILL BLOW BILLIONS OF $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ USA TAXPAYERS DONT BE STUPID @ LET VA BLOW $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ ON IS TAX PAYERS $$$$$$$$$$ VA NASTY HOG PIG VA BUDGET IN 2018 IS 2186 BILLION $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ VA SEWAGE RATS ARE DOGS IN HEAT FOR THE $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ SO THE VETS CAN EAT SHIT @ DIE VA RATS DONTGIVE A RATS ASS ABOUT DEAD VETS PENDEJOS
AMEN BRO IF I DONT SO SO MYSELF
VETSFORJUSTICE INC: Always a favorite commenter! You go bro..tell em like it was, is and always will be…same fucking VA, different era Veterans. One by one they die off, and the VA holds it’s hungry hungry hippo parties to celebrate the death of an era, and to celebrate the fucking of an entire new era.
Hey VA, you like fish? goooood perch on this:
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