Sunday, March 3, 2019

VA pushes slogan instead of solution on suicides

VA suicide high priority claim equals enduring slogan

This is the headline from NWA News
Boozman Seeks VA Improvements to Reduce Veteran Suicides
And this is what the article boils down to.
“The VA has indicated that suicide prevention is its highest clinical priority and, with the alarming number of suicides in the veteran community, it absolutely must be. Congress is appropriating resources and the VA is turning that into action, but the numbers continue to trend in the wrong direction. This is why it is vital that we have metrics to measure the effectiveness of the VA’s mental health and suicide prevention programs. This bill will help Congress and the VA isolate meaningful suicide prevention programs so we can ensure resources are focused on efforts that save lives.”

This was in the article too.

The GAO released a report in 2018 entitled Improvements Needed in Suicide Prevention Media Outreach Campaign Oversight and Evaluation. The GAO reveals in the report that the VA had failed to establish targets to evaluate the efficacy of its campaigns, that leadership turnover led to a dramatic decline in media outreach activities and that the VA spent a fraction of its budget for suicide prevention media outreach during the last fiscal year. 

This is what it was like back in 2008
Retired Vice Adm. Dennis McGinn:

Veterans with PTSD, he noted, have “much greater loss of employment and earnings” than those with physical disabilities.
McGinn recommended separate criteria on the rating schedule for PTSD, as well as a way to compensate unemployable veterans for lost quality of life, not just their inability to work.
So-called “individual unemployability” veterans may have formal VA disability ratings of less than 100 percent, but are still rated fully disabled because of their inability to work. The commission found that almost half of the 223,000 IU veterans have primary diagnoses of PTSD or other mental disorders.

The problem is that if a veteran has physical disabilities that lead to a 100 percent disability rating, he can still work and keep his full compensation. But a veteran who has a 100 percent disability for a mental disorder tries to work, he loses his compensation. 
And yet, they are still trying to take that away when a veteran reaches retirement age...not thinking about what the reduction actually means to them suddenly losing their 100% and all that goes with it. Guess they didn't figure on the fact these veterans stopped paying into Social Security BECAUSE THEY WERE TOO DISABLED TO WORK in the first actually believed permanent and total meant something they never had to worry about again.

While in the same year, the GAO found that there was no accountability for claims processors, we kept seeing the same every year after year, and doctors were accused of trying to blame the veteran as if PTSD was a matter of greedy and looking for a free ride the rest of their when Norma Perez had to apologize for telling counselors to start making fewer diagnosis's of PTSD...and some still do.

I think the worst thing out of all of this is, we keep hearing how it is a top priority for the well as the DOD, but the evidence is showing it has become a top priority to use the slogan instead of find solutions.

We also knew that female veterans were lacking in the care they were supposed to be receiving from the VA...and while they did some outreach to OEF and OIF veterans, they forgot about the veterans from previous wars...not just ignoring them, but pushing them to the back of the line for claims and services...and still do.

There was also a huge effort beginning on educating members of law enforcement about PTSD. Give what we've seen among officers and firefighters, they still have not learned what they needed to know...and still do.

We knew that veterans in rural areas of the country were lacking in services....and still are.

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