Saturday, November 17, 2018

FORTUNE got GI Bill report WRONG

Reporters need IT upgrade!

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 17, 2018

"10,000 Student Veterans Haven't Received Crucial GI Bill Payments, VA Admits" is how Fortune reported the GI Bill payments what were not delivered. WTF?

We just read how the number is 82,000!

They also got the wrong info on the IT system!
“Essentially, the law requires a 50-year-old IT platform that was designed to do the equivalent of basic math to instead perform something akin to calculus in short order,” a VA spokesperson told the Journal in an email.

The VA spent $4 million on 300,000 hours of overtime August through October to try and deal with the immediate ramifications. The agency further estimates that 450,000 veterans have some sort of error in their payments.

Last year, the VA estimated that the necessary computer changes to update their systems would cost $70 million.
Ya, they did, but what happened to all the other millions and all the lost years?
"We live in a world where we never want to see what goes on in the lives of the men and women we depend on for what we enjoy. No one wants to see the price they pay or how hard they have to fight in combat we send them into or the nightmare they have to go through trying to move on with their lives. It's easier to ignore them as if they weren't there." Kathie Costos Wounded Times
In 2008, the thought was to create a new GI Bill that would inspire more recruits into the military. This was reported by Stars and Stripes.
"It is a very attractive incentive package, there’s no question about that. So individuals will be very interested in enlisting for education benefits," predicted Curtis Gilroy, director of accession policy for the Department of Defense. "But we will see a spike in the quality of our enlisted cohort as well," Gilroy added, because that heavier flow of prospective recruits "primarily will have college in mind."
The House was very busy back then. They were also adding funds to what came after the recruits were turned into veterans.
By a vote of 409-4 the House today passed legislation funding the Department of Veterans Affairs for FY 2009. The bill (HR 6599) includes $3.8 billion for mental illness treatment and $584 million for substance abuse treatment in the VA, significant increases over current year funding. Overall, the Veterans Health Administration budget is set at $40.8 billion for FY 2009 -- $1.6 billion more than the President requested and $3.9 billion more than current levels. It is projected that the VA will serve 5.8 million veterans in 2009.

It is really a shame on all of us when there was a surplus of funds that were supposed to be for suicide prevention.

Oh, but the problems with the VA did not happen overnight  and when we look back at what was promised, what was spent, and what the results turned out to be, most heads explode!
In 2008, there were reports on how the system was not just broken, but plans to fix it were AWOL.
VBA's pending compensation and claims backlog stood at 816,211 as of January 2008, up 188,781 since 2004, said Kerry Baker, associate legislative director of the Disabled Veterans of America, during a Wednesday hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. 
Baker said VBA must have the funds necessary to upgrade its IT infrastructure to handle the backlog and a growing caseload. Anything short of an increase is "a recipe for failure," he added. 
Carl Blake, national legislative director for the Paralyzed Veterans of America, said VBA needed $121 million in its fiscal 2009 budget for its information technology. According to VA budget documents, VBA requested an IT budget of $109.6 million for its compensation and benefits programs, down $23.8 million from $133.4 million in 2008. VA requested an overall 2009 IT budget of $2.53 billion in 2009, up from $2.15 billion in fiscal 2008, with the largest portion earmarked for the Veterans Health Administration.
But that only added to the 8,763 veterans dying while waiting for their claims to be honored. But since that was not enough, by June of 2009, the VA claim backlog hit 1 Million! The answer was to spend $70 million more to replace the  appointment system.

I could keep going on this, but you get the idea now that no matter how much money contractors got paid to deliver the care our veterans deserve, they did not have to repay one dime and Congress just kept funding more of the same. 

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