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Old 05-15-2014, 06:39 PM   #1
Act of God
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What happened to the VA?

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/14/politi...nseki-preview/
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(CNN) -- A mounting crisis of deadly waiting times and allegations of cover-up at VA hospitals face Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki as he speaks to members of the U.S. Senate on Thursday.

With his job on the line and a growing number of critics calling for his resignation, Shinseki will go before the Veterans Affairs' Committee. The retired decorated Army general will be asked to explain just how the VA's wait-list scandal became such a mess.

Shinseki is likely to be grilled about delays at numerous VA hospitals and a long list of serious problems and allegations of falsifying wait times, many of which were exposed and reported by CNN.

For six months, CNN has been reporting on deadly delays in medical appointments suffered by veterans across the country and veterans who died or were seriously injured while waiting for appointments and care.

The most disturbing and striking problems emerged in Arizona last month as inside sources revealed to CNN details of a secret waiting list for veterans at the Phoenix VA. Charges were leveled that at least 40 American veterans died in Phoenix while waiting for care at the VA there, many of whom were placed on the secret list.

But even as the Phoenix VA's problems have riveted the nation's attention, numerous whistle-blowers from other VA hospitals across the country have stepped forward in recent weeks. They described similar delays in care for veterans and also varying schemes by officials at those facilities to hide the delays -- in some cases even falsify records or "cook the books."

The secret waiting list in Phoenix was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers there who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources who spoke exclusively to CNN.

"The scheme was deliberately put in place to avoid the VA's own internal rules," said Dr. Sam Foote, a 24-year Phoenix VA physician who just retired this year and who appeared in an interview for the first time on CNN last month.

The VA requires its hospitals to provide care to patients in a timely manner, typically within 14 to 30 days.

"They [Phoenix VA officials] developed the secret waiting list," said Foote, a respected physician. He told CNN that the elaborate scheme in Phoenix involved shredding evidence to hide the long list of veterans waiting for appointments and care. Foote and the other sources say officials at the VA instructed their staff to not actually make doctor's appointments for veterans within the computer system.

Instead, Foote says, when a veteran is seeking an appointment, "they enter information into the computer and do a screen capture hard copy printout. They then do not save what was put into the computer so there's no record that you were ever here," he said.
Article is super long.

I recall conversations where people would point to the VA as a shining example of the government doing something well. As someone who has had almost every male member of his family serve, I have seen differently since I was a kid.

I don't know who is responsible for this, but it surely seems to point out the ineptitude of huge government undertakings. Are heads going to roll?
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:01 PM   #2
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I've been reading about some of the recent issues with the VA.....pretty deplorable stuff that's been happening, but unfortunately, nothing is perfect.


You're last line....in reference to ineptitude of huge government undertakings....what would be the alternative for providing veterans with care? That seems like something that only the government could do, no?
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:13 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by evolved View Post
I've been reading about some of the recent issues with the VA.....pretty deplorable stuff that's been happening, but unfortunately, nothing is perfect.

Your last line....in reference to ineptitude of huge government undertakings....what would be the alternative for providing veterans with care? That seems like something that only the government could do, no?
That is the first conclusion I would come to, yes, but perhaps we aren't equipped to do the job? Seems like our government would rather take care of ill illegals than the people literally sacrificing themselves for us. Taking care of vets should be a high priority, if not the highest.
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:17 PM   #4
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That is the first conclusion I would come to, yes, but perhaps we aren't equipped to do the job? Seems like our government would rather take care of ill illegals than the people literally sacrificing themselves for us. Taking care of vets should be a high priority, if not the highest.
So, under the assumption that the government isn't equipped to do the job properly, who would be with better results?
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:23 PM   #5
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What happened to the VA?

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Are heads going to roll?

I hope so. Though I have access to VA medical care, I'm not inclined to use it for fear of the VAs ineptitude. On the other hand , I've been quite pleased in how they've processed my disability benefits, that it was a seamless transition from active duty to civilian life with benefits ready upon discharge. That, and I've been quite happy in the VA's handling of my 9/11 GI Bill benefits. Though, I've been waiting since Dec for a claim I processed and according to their online system...they're behind their 6 month processing window. Well no sh*t...




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Old 05-15-2014, 11:07 PM   #6
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I recall conversations where people would point to the VA as a shining example of the government doing something well. As someone who has had almost every male member of his family serve, I have seen differently since I was a kid.

I don't know who is responsible for this, but it surely seems to point out the ineptitude of huge government undertakings. Are heads going to roll?
The VA is a travesty and has been for decades. Going back to at least the early 70's, that I know of. It is unfortunate that we take such crap care of our veterans in this way. Maybe it was different in the pre-Nam era. And perhaps the VA did slightly better when they didn't have so many wounded vets coming back from service tours. But, if you are gonna engage in war, the number of vets requiring medical assistance is going to go up and the system has to be fixed to deal with that. It is a consequence of war.

One can only hope that perhaps this time, the media coverage will damage the government enough for them to take action. Unfortunately, I doubt it.
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Old 05-16-2014, 12:26 AM   #7
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I've been reading about some of the recent issues with the VA.....pretty deplorable stuff that's been happening, but unfortunately, nothing is perfect.

You're last line....in reference to ineptitude of huge government undertakings....what would be the alternative for providing veterans with care? That seems like something that only the government could do, no?
I know very little about the VA, but I'm sure they're not providing any different medical care than regular hospitals do, right?

If the VA system is running that much over their capacity, couldn't vets go to a regular hospital for care and have the hospital paid by the govt, a la Medicare?

Not that Medicare isn't a friggin mess. And not that a system like that can be implemented overnight as far as administration, billing and the increase in capacity at the regular hospitals.

But jeez, that's gotta be better than vets dying or getting much sicker because the line's too long at the VA (if that's really happening, I haven't researched).
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Old 05-16-2014, 07:06 AM   #8
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I know very little about the VA, but I'm sure they're not providing any different medical care than regular hospitals do, right?

If the VA system is running that much over their capacity, couldn't vets go to a regular hospital for care and have the hospital paid by the govt, a la Medicare?

Not that Medicare isn't a friggin mess. And not that a system like that can be implemented overnight as far as administration, billing and the increase in capacity at the regular hospitals.

But jeez, that's gotta be better than vets dying or getting much sicker because the line's too long at the VA (if that's really happening, I haven't researched).
Maybe come up with way to allow hospitals and doctors to provide services to certain veterans who are on the waiting list (based on what their needs are) so that they can get off the list and allow someone else to move up. The hospitals could maybe charge the government OR maybe they could somehow use it for tax credits? Just a thought.

It's embarrassing.
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Old 05-16-2014, 08:19 AM   #9
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the biggest problem is getting into the VA system and getting things documented as actually service connected. I see my VA doctor every 18 months or so just to stay in the system.

When we came back, everybody went through the post deployment health assessment, and there were several people sitting in line for the military docs saying they had issues, but were just going to keep their mouths shut so they could go home faster and they'd just go to their PCP at home. Everybody knew that if you had issues and mentioned them, it could potentially delay you going back home. Which also prevents the military from being able to document these things as directly related to overseas service.

When you go to the VA five years later because you're in constant pain from that truck rollover you were in in Iraq, now the real pain starts. Since you cleared through the post deployment check up with no issues, you now need to provide a lot of documentation regarding that accident from so long ago, sworn statements, the accident report, medical files from then, etc etc etc.

This is just one example. Happened with a friend of mine prior to our deployment in 2010. He didn't want to document his injuries for various stupid reasons, and ended up going through major trouble to get the VA to one pay disability and two cover back surgery for him.

Not all examples are like this, granted, but every person that goes through sh!t like this ties up a claims examiner with another lengthy claim that diverts their time. They probably also deal with a bunch of fraudulent claims that also take their time away from dealing with the people who actually need and deserve help.
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:30 AM   #10
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Like I said, treated worse than dogs. Sad, that in a nation of this wealth, the very people that protect it are getting shafted and the people that are screwing this country up are sitting like King Croesus.
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:32 AM   #11
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So, under the assumption that the government isn't equipped to do the job properly, who would be with better results?
There should be no such thing as a VA. All military personnel should be given vouchers to purchase ANY insurance plan they they want and use private hospitals and doctors. There is no reason why military personnel can't use any doctor or hospital they like, and have the government pick up the tab. If we can do it for the lazy and the illegal, we sure as sh!t owe it to the military.
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:35 AM   #12
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There should be no such thing as a VA. All military personnel should be given vouchers to purchase ANY insurance plan they they want and use private hospitals and doctors. There is no reason why military personnel can't use any doctor or hospital they like, and have the government pick up the tab. If we can do it for the lazy and the illegal, we sure as sh!t owe it to the military.
It's not quite as simple as that. It would be if you could assume every health issue a prior service member has is service-connected.

Current military personnel use Tricare for health care. Tricare is not the issue here.
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:42 AM   #13
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It's not quite as simple as that. It would be if you could assume every health issue a prior service member has is service-connected.

Current military personnel use Tricare for health care. Tricare is not the issue here.
I could care less if it's service connected...price of doing business in the US of A....you want to run an insurance company and make billions? Then you must cover those that give you the freedom to do it.

My 5 easy step set it and forget it act now $9.99 only military fix plan would transform the military in the US.

1) Military personell are exempt from ALL taxes besides sales tax. They paid their dues. (will boost enrollment.)

2) Employers that hire ex-military deduct the employee entirely, and pay absolutely no costs towards said employee. Government picks up that tab.

3) Military salaries/benefits are directly tied to congress...they get a raise, military gets a raise. They get the cadillac plan, military gets a cadillac plan. That includes cuts, but at a 10X scale....cut military salaries by 1%, congress gets cut by 10%.

4) Free medical care, and I mean FREE for military members and their immediate families. Maybe if we spend money where it needs to be spent, we won't have enough to take care of the illegals, the drug addicts, etc.

5) Zero interest loans directly from the treasury for military members and their immediate families for schooling and home purchase.

Im sure I could come up with a few more things I'd change, but that's my starting point.
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:46 AM   #14
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I could care less if it's service connected...price of doing business in the US of A....you want to run an insurance company and make billions? Then you must cover those that give you the freedom to do it.

My 5 easy step set it and forget it act now $9.99 only military fix plan would transform the military in the US.

1) Military personell are exempt from ALL taxes besides sales tax. They paid their dues. (will boost enrollment.)

2) Employers that hire ex-military deduct the employee entirely, and pay absolutely no costs towards said employee. Government picks up that tab.

3) Military salaries/benefits are directly tied to congress...they get a raise, military gets a raise. They get the cadillac plan, military gets a cadillac plan. That includes cuts, but at a 10X scale....cut military salaries by 1%, congress gets cut by 10%.

4) Free medical care, and I mean FREE for military members and their immediate families. Maybe if we spend money where it needs to be spent, we won't have enough to take care of the illegals, the drug addicts, etc.

5) Zero interest loans directly from the treasury for military members and their immediate families for schooling and home purchase.

Im sure I could come up with a few more things I'd change, but that's my starting point.
And that's great until you start looking outside of the active duty. National Guardsman does one weekend a month, two weeks a year (lol), then gets deployed. In a rollover accident, has some back pain.

He's also an avid dirt bike rider and has wrecked numerous times with various trips to the hospital.

Is the government (read: taxpayer) on the hook for all of his injuries?

Case two:
Guy does five years in the military, gets out. Never has a health issue or injury while in the military. Five years later, he's got chronic pain. Is this connected to his five years of service? Is it connected to his off duty activities? Is it connected to something that happened after he got out?

Is the taxpayer suddenly on the hook for 100% of everything this guy ever deals with because he put in a few years? How much government spending do you like?
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:51 AM   #15
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And that's great until you start looking outside of the active duty. National Guardsman does one weekend a month, two weeks a year (lol), then gets deployed. In a rollover accident, has some back pain.

He's also an avid dirt bike rider and has wrecked numerous times with various trips to the hospital.

Is the government (read: taxpayer) on the hook for all of his injuries?

Case two:
Guy does five years in the military, gets out. Never has a health issue or injury while in the military. Five years later, he's got chronic pain. Is this connected to his five years of service? Is it connected to his off duty activities? Is it connected to something that happened after he got out?

Is the taxpayer suddenly on the hook for 100% of everything this guy ever deals with because he put in a few years? How much government spending do you like?
I'll nominate you to iron out the kinks in my plan, which Im sure there are....

Simple question....regardless of the type of service I do (5 years in the military, or the national guardsman that does one weekend a month...)....do I have a chance of getting killed in the line of duty for the country?
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:51 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by NOVAbimmer View Post
And that's great until you start looking outside of the active duty. National Guardsman does one weekend a month, two weeks a year (lol), then gets deployed. In a rollover accident, has some back pain.

He's also an avid dirt bike rider and has wrecked numerous times with various trips to the hospital.

Is the government (read: taxpayer) on the hook for all of his injuries?

Case two:
Guy does five years in the military, gets out. Never has a health issue or injury while in the military. Five years later, he's got chronic pain. Is this connected to his five years of service? Is it connected to his off duty activities? Is it connected to something that happened after he got out?

Is the taxpayer suddenly on the hook for 100% of everything this guy ever deals with because he put in a few years? How much government spending do you like?
Both excellent points.
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:58 AM   #17
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Oh, and as for government spending, I have no problem spending a heap on our military servicemen, and cut from other places...cut entitlements, cut foreign aid, etc etc etc. This would literally make this country untouchable. Im sure you know about what the japanese said about invading the US on land "can't be invaded because there would be a gun behind every blade of grass" (referring to our 2nd amendment and gun ownership), and this would create a massive military, a happy military, a proud military, and a very patriotic populace. These costs would also be fairly "reasonable" if the government would control it's other spending, and fix the regulations skyrocketing healthcare costs and choking jobs.
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Old 05-16-2014, 10:03 AM   #18
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Oh, and as for government spending, I have no problem spending a heap on our military servicemen, and cut from other places...cut entitlements, cut foreign aid, etc etc etc. This would literally make this country untouchable. Im sure you know about what the japanese said about invading the US on land "can't be invaded because there would be a gun behind every blade of grass" (referring to our 2nd amendment and gun ownership), and this would create a massive military, a happy military, a proud military, and a very patriotic populace. These costs would also be fairly "reasonable" if the government would control it's other spending, and fix the regulations skyrocketing healthcare costs and choking jobs.
Very Sarah Palinesque of you.
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Old 05-16-2014, 10:10 AM   #19
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literally make this country untouchable.
literally untouchable!!!
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Old 05-16-2014, 10:21 AM   #20
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I could care less if it's service connected...price of doing business in the US of A....you want to run an insurance company and make billions? Then you must cover those that give you the freedom to do it.

My 5 easy step set it and forget it act now $9.99 only military fix plan would transform the military in the US.

1) Military personell are exempt from ALL taxes besides sales tax. They paid their dues. (will boost enrollment.)

2) Employers that hire ex-military deduct the employee entirely, and pay absolutely no costs towards said employee. Government picks up that tab.

3) Military salaries/benefits are directly tied to congress...they get a raise, military gets a raise. They get the cadillac plan, military gets a cadillac plan. That includes cuts, but at a 10X scale....cut military salaries by 1%, congress gets cut by 10%.

4) Free medical care, and I mean FREE for military members and their immediate families. Maybe if we spend money where it needs to be spent, we won't have enough to take care of the illegals, the drug addicts, etc.

5) Zero interest loans directly from the treasury for military members and their immediate families for schooling and home purchase.

Im sure I could come up with a few more things I'd change, but that's my starting point.
But isn't this basically socialism, anathema to the right/conservatives?
Shouldn't we simply pay them a suitable wage for there time/labor (which may well be much more than currently) and otherwise leave them to the tender mercies of the marketplace like every other American?
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