Waste Failed IT Projects

Waste: Veterans Affairs Blew $1.1 Billion (Or 5,000 Doctors) On Failed IT Projects

Veterans Affairs blew $1.1 billion on failed IT projects in the past six years. Meanwhile, veterans went without 5,000 doctors as VA played with bad code.

The majority of the $1.1 billion was split between 15 companies to update the agency’s VistA electronic health records system. One of those contractors, Cerner Corp., received about $13 million of the kitty. After the failure was well known, Cerner was then awarded the sole-source contract in an effort to fully privatize electronic health records for the agency at the tune of $10 billion.

VA says the new IT project, despite its high price tag, will improve data center optimization and electronic health record portability between DOD and VA. Now, the agency has fought with DOD for over a decade to make this happen. Now, both agencies have turned their hopes to the private sector for a solution.

Failed IT Projects Logic To Promote

How often have you failed your job only to then receive a 100,000% promotion?

I remember the first time I failed at a job. The last thing I ever expected was to not only get hired back but to get paid a stupid amount of compensation beyond what I was paid for the initial failure.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…

Like VA math for disability compensation rating combinations, VA logic when blowing taxpayer dollars makes no sense at all.

RELATED: Why Is VA Misleading Veterans About My HealtheVet Blue Button?

What If We Hired Doctors?

It seems novel these days, right? If we hired doctors instead of wasting money on government contracts who often failed IT projects, how quickly would VA transform? Or, is transformation dependent on fancy bells and whistles?

While Cerner and other government contractors like MITRE and Booz Allen helped the massive fail, veterans suffered greatly without access to medical doctors for health care. For example, at $200,000 per salary, VA could have hired 5,000 doctors.

The failed IT projects ran from 2011 to 2016 during the same time Phoenix VA and the agency nationwide was caught withholding healthcare from veterans to boost performance numbers to earn fraudulent bonuses.

Unicorns, Rainbows, And Milk Chocolate Rivers

Present VA CIO Scott Blackburn told Congress the move not only makes sense but that VA will be even better off as a result of data center optimization. Over the next 10 years, the supposed upgrade will create unicorns, rainbows, and milk chocolate rivers.

RELATED: VA Awards QTC Management $6.8 Billion Contract Deal

Seamless Electronic Health Record Portability

Blackburn says the transition will allow health officials to “seamlessly” transfer medical records back and forth between DOD and VA. Now, in this day and age of XBOX vs PlayStation, I am a little surprised intra-agency operability is still an issue.

Better Data Center Optimization

Blackburn also said the change will improve VA’s current score of “F” for data center optimization. The agency believes the new Cerner system will reduce the agency’s reliance on data centers from over 400 to just 14 by 2020.

RELATED: VA Sweetheart Booz Allen Wins Part Of $22 Billion IT Contract

Do you think this is possible?

Bet $1?

If I were a betting man, I would bet $1 that VA does not reduce the number of data centers to 14. There is no chance in hell this will be accomplished. No way, especially in light of previous failures to modernize electronic health records at VA and entrenched hooligans putting self-interests ahead of the mission.

Source: Nextgov

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  1. 12/13/2017

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    As stated: “But since VA does not learn from its mistakes…”

    The VA is not making mistakes, go deeper.

    The VA knows exactly what it is doing.

    And those who guide the VA also know exactly what they are doing.

    It is UnAmerican.


    Don Karg

  2. “Surviving War, But Not The Veterans’ Home”

    “Since July 2015, 13 residents of a veterans’ home in west central Illinois have died from Legionnaires’ disease. Eleven families are suing the state for negligence.”

    By Dave McKinney and Tony Arnold
    December 12, 2017


    Excerpt from the article”

    ““He was proud to be a veteran,” said Jana Casper, one of his daughters. “He earned that right to be able to go to live there.”

    But in 2015, her father was one of 12 residents to die in an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at the home. That disease came back in 2016 and sickened five more people. And it came back again this past fall, sickening three and contributing to the death of another veteran.

    “When’s it going to stop?” Casper said in an interview with WBEZ. “How many more people are going to have to die before they can get to the bottom of what’s causing it?”

    In three straight years, legionellosis killed 13 people and sickened at least 61 residents and staff at the downstate veterans’ home, and the state has failed to stop the outbreaks despite investing millions of taxpayer dollars.”

    “A WBEZ investigation is spotlighting how veterans who endured unspeakable experiences on the battlefield died at the facility after being sickened by bacteria-contaminated water. Their families contend they weren’t diagnosed nor given antibiotics quickly enough to fend off what typically is a treatable form of waterborne pneumonia.

    And now, Illinois’ senior U.S. senator, Dick Durbin, is saying the facility should be shuttered until its water system is fully safe. And he said it’s a “scandal” and an “insult” to veterans that the state hasn’t been able to rid the facility’s water system of Legionella bacteria over the course of nearly 30 months.”

    1. Why is the Veterans Administration still giving this place a clean bill of health?

      Why isn’t the Veterans Administration pulling their Certifications to house Veterans?

  3. Any Fans of Agent Orange Denier Thomas Murphy might want to note that he may be on his way out.

    In a recent Bloomberg article about Acting personal in government positions and that after they hit the 300 day mark. Under the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act, a position vacated by a presidential transition generally cannot be filled by acting officials for more than 300 days unless a permanent nominee has been named and is awaiting Senate confirmation.

    “For almost all positions, if you’re serving in violation of the Vacancies Act, anything that you do is void as a matter of law,” said Anne Joseph O’Connell, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

    Mr. Lipshit himself a.k.a Curt Cashour, had this to say about Murphy’s position.

    “Our primary goal is to find the right permanent official for these critical leadership roles rather than simply fill for expedience,” Department of Veterans Affairs press secretary Curt Cashour said in an email.

    In many cases the administration has downgraded the title of an acting official, while delegating the authority to carry out the job’s duties to them. After an inquiry by Bloomberg, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs retroactively delegated authority to the official who had been serving as acting undersecretary for benefits to perform duties of that role without the acting title, Cashour said.

    “VA is aware of the acting title issue and is fixing it,” Cashour said.

    Source: “Trump’s Stand-In Bureaucrats May Have Overstayed Limits”
    By Josh Eidelson ‎December‎ ‎12‎, ‎2017‎ ‎2‎:‎57‎ ‎PM


    1. Worth mentioning Murphy’s Bio at the VA dot Gov website has been changed to hide the facts about Murphy being in his position for more than 300 days.

      His CAREER CHRONOLOGY used to say:

      Jan 2017 – Present Acting Under Secretary for Benefits
      Jun 2016 – Dec 2016 Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits
      Feb 2015 – Jun 2016 Acting Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits
      Aug 2010 – Jan 2015 Director, Compensation Service
      Aug 2009 – Jul 2010 Director, San Juan Regional Office

      Now it says:

      Jun 2016 – Present Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits
      Feb 2015 – Jun 2016 Acting Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits
      Aug 2010 – Jan 2015 Director, Compensation Service
      Aug 2009 – Jul 2010 Director, San Juan Regional Office

      Note they removed the line stating:

      “Jan 2017 – Present Acting Under Secretary for Benefits”

      Also his former title and first few lines of his bio on the page changed from:

      “Thomas J. Murphy

      Acting Under Secretary for Benefits

      Thomas J. Murphy is currently the Acting Under Secretary for Benefits.”

      was changed to

      Thomas J. Murphy

      Executive in Charge, for Veterans Benefits Administration

      Thomas J. Murphy is currently the Executive in Charge, for Veterans Benefits Administration.”

      1. Given he is serving in violation of the Vacancies Act, anything that he does is void as a matter of law.

  4. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Roy Moore for flipping the deep red state of Alabama BLUE!!!!! Without his particular brand of craziness and religious zealotry not to mention his penchant for doing young girls, we would not be celebrating a win for the good guys. Looks like Don the Con is pretty toxic, anything that joke touches turns to shit. Expect more GOP flips in 2018 guys. Also watch for old fuckface McConnel to try and get the tax bill through before Jones takes his seat. At this point the Fascists can only afford to lose 1 vote. 2018 can’t come soon enough 😀 😀 😀

    1. WyldeChylde,

      I take it that you think the reported results are correct. In this day and age of confirmed election fraud it might be to soon to call.

      1. While I know the Dems have their fat Trannie up singing. I personally haven’t heard the fat lady sing yet on this election.

  5. Way off topic but the included information in this mind-blowing video may help some veteran dealing with Gulf war diseases or depleted uranium illnesses, etc. Have posted it on my FB but not getting too many readers yet, I think. The illness info is at about 40 to 43:00 for bio warfare and such. Hopefully this may clear up some unresolved or misdiagnosed health issues for someone out there.

    This one may just disappear too so watch it quick if possible. No, I am not affiliated with these folks, just playing info spreader and little messenger.

  6. and still nothing is being done. Millions of letters going to the White House would make a point

  7. 14 data centers would put hundreds of union members out of work.

    You are right Ben, it isn’t going to happen.

  8. if I could own a firearm I’d be using pictures of Cox for target practice. Maybe some kind Veteran would send Cox a used target of himself on my behalf? I think that would make a wonderful Christmas present.

    Better yet lets get him to attend an awards show in his honor and present it to him on stage in front of everybody. Nice tight groupings in the head and chest.

  9. I agree. I can’t see how 400 data centers can be reduced to 14 with all of the hands stuck in that money pot grabbing as much as they can.

    Contractors providing “services” to each center, managers of those centers, AFGE types employed as overpaid monitors of these systems, all of the myriad of AFGE type IT hacks around the country insuring data gets to the data center, etc….

    And many years after congress mandated a seamless medical record between the DOD and VA, with billions wasted, they are still no where close to having shared, seamless records.

    For the amount these geniuses have pissed away, they could have built a Google or NSA data center many times over.

    Can Blackburn make it happen? Well, he has the background and training, but his background and training is not in getting around all the politically connected contractors with one hand up a congressman’s ass and the other in the taxpayers wallet.

    1. “[I can’t see how 400 data centers can be reduced to 14 with all of the hands stuck in that money pot grabbing as much as they can…]”

      I’m convinced the VA is not only bad with numbers but is dyslexic. When reinterpreted in this light of skewed numbers, “The VA intends on closing 14 data centers and opening 400 additional…”– how else to keep the ratty claws open begging congress critters on Stairmasters for more, Sir? The VA only grows, like a woodland tick.

      1. LOL. Isn’t Google going to help make the VA crap smoother sailing? I don’t know about other states but here whenever I try to find another decent MD for healthcare it’s all the same. The want for more medical file releases and longer waits while we are investigated and wait for the MDs office to get paper files, one foot thick they claim they have to read through, all interspersed clinics and info making a mess to read through, and MDs to complain about. Then it all boiling down to them not giving a damn or fed up with dealing with some old veterans forced out of VA care to which they all just say to go back to. Nope, not me.

        I have signed all the papers and sometimes in triplicate to appease all the requests for “efficient changes for electronic transfers of medical care” info for fast treatment, testing, and in case of emergencies. Started signing those papers and release of info going back at least six years. For the VA, pharmacies to civilian care. Not happening here.

        Local claims by the medical people is that by the time an ambulance has to come pick you up and your arrive at a hospital or ER they already have your med files loaded up and ready to treat you. I don’t know anyone who has experienced that swift all knowing service in quick time either.

      2. You can bet if Little Cox has anything to say, those data center numbers will be doubled.

        For the veterans, of course.

      3. Well, of course! There then would need to be at least 4 AFGE Data Center Champions with their heads up each other’s asses at each Data Center obfuscating any benefit to Veterans. Just keep the pot stirring…

  10. If you think that $1.1 billion spent on worthless IT solutions is horrific, just consider his;

    How many hundreds of billions has VA spent on surgeries that were worthless, harmfull, and deadly? How many billions have been spent on worthless group therapies, worthless D student interns, and how many more billions have been spent on worthless, posters, billboards, flyers, and slogans to tell is vets how fucking good they are at all of it?

    Ben, it’s more than just billions.

    1. There’s the salvos of Veteran’s Blood that’s used as the ink for all those travel pay fraud warning posters, those lives surely are worth Trillions?

  11. Still using a hardware solution for a software problem enabling lock in contracts. Welcome to your local kyosk

  12. Did you ever read the gibberish which describes the duties of VA bureaucrats when they advertise a higher paid job?? WHO IN THE HELL WRITES THIS CRAP?
    ”Lil” Cox has way overstepped his bounds, he is part of a disease that will kill this country. Shitty Shulkin is a pussy cat when it comes to dealing with the real issues and he needs to be replaced by an angry American.

  13. *Meanwhile back in Oz where the Wizard Shithead Shulkin wants to create even more homeless Vets*:
    “[Homelessness is not a new issue to America’s West Coast. But it’s getting worse – much worse.

    On any given night, more than 105,000 people are sleeping unsheltered in some of the country’s biggest and trendiest metropolises, driven there by soaring housing costs, rental vacancy rates that rival those in Manhattan and a booming tech economy that’s leaving thousands behind. Another 63,000 are sleeping in shelters or transitional housing with no safety net.

    The rising numbers have pushed abject poverty into the open like never before.

    San Diego now scrubs its sidewalks with bleach to counter a deadly hepatitis A outbreak that has spread to other cities and forced California to declare a state of emergency. In Anaheim, home to Disneyland, 400 people sleep along a bike path in the shadow of Angel Stadium. Organizers in Portland, Oregon, lit incense at a recent outdoor food festival to mask the stench of urine in a parking lot where vendors set up shop.

    All along the coast, elected officials are scrambling for solutions.

    “It’s a sea of humanity crashing against services, and services at this point are overwhelmed, literally overwhelmed,” said Jeremy Lemoine, who works for a Seattle nonprofit that provides various forms of assistance to the homeless. “It’s catastrophic.]”

    1. Suprise auto races on Verrmont Ave., when the shitheads get out of their little cubby holes at the end of their day where they do absolutely nothing for veterans but connive to steal and plunder. Who does Shitty Shulkin think he is fooling??
      When I wanted to attend a meeting re: homeless veterans in D.C. the VA officials said that it was a “closed” meeting and then they brought in the cake and refreshments for all of the boobecrats.

      1. When you see that much fluffy cake heading towards some already engorged boobecrats do this instead: close your eyes and click your heals together three times while also stating: There’s nobody here that knows the Heimlich Maneuver, There’s nobody here that knows the Heimlich Maneuver, There’s nobody here that knows the Heimlich Maneuver…:D

    2. namnibor,
      “Shithead Shulkin” is wanting the “Veterans Suicide Rate” to “climb up the tree of hopelessness and dispair!” Which, by the way, will give his lower rank and file MORE bonuses! Keep the employees happy and hopefully they won’t turn “whistleblower”! Basically, turning them into “Slaves of the establishment!”

      With ALL the evidence of MASSIVE corruption within ALL of our government agencies and nongovernmental organizations coming into the light, VA included, the rest of the world is laughing their asses off at America!
      “We the People” need to see a solution to ALL of the corruption going on! [“Civil War” may be on the horizon!]

  14. Ben, this article is certainly deserving of the Howitzer award.

    ░░░░░░███████ ]▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▃==========O>——-(+)V.A.B.S.

    And from what I can tell, you had a direct hit!!

  15. NOW we know the “WHY” “Shithead Shulkin” wants to take “IU away from disabled veterans!”
    Just one more “Sham/Scam” by the upper management of VA!
    I want to know, WHO in Washington D.C.’s VA upper management has “off shore accounts”? And, IF it’s found these reprobates are “skimming taxpayers monies from these bogus contracts, they need to be arrested, tried and convicted for these crimes! “RICO” is running rampant in VA!

  16. If I was to launder government (taxpayer money) the way big pharma. corporations contractors do I would be in prison for a long long time. Al Capone????

  17. To VA: I have a constant chronic flow of a form of chocolate milk river for your close observation and adornment this morning and it will not even take an Oregonian Poop Canon because my ass is armed and aimed at you, VA. FUCK OFF and…DIE. (mind the chunks)

  18. Fat bastard “Lil” Cox and his 1st mate Shulkin will be sailing the Good Ship Lollipop down that milk chocolate river.
    Fuck VA, Fuck AFGE.

    1. there is a Keebler elf with a M14 sugar coated long barrel attachment crouching in the licorice willows near a smelly ass chocolate river they call a dream.
      bring all my cookie god damn friends if that is the case to count the wires in this story.

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