Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day, we must commit to honoring those who died BY PAYING ATTENTION

Memorial Day Omission Mission
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 28, 2018

Well, here is something you do not see everyday...just almost all of them. Someone decided that attacking the VA on Memorial Day, passing it off as factual, just got attention for omission mission.

Here is a lesson on how history does not begin when someone decides to pay attention to it.

The title of the opinion piece I just read is,
Memorial Day 2018 — let's remember those who died as a result of VA's lack of accountability
but you cannot have accountability unless you actually know what that is and how long veterans have been waiting for it!

Every Memorial Day, our news and social media channels are filled with images of heroic veterans, reminding us that “all gave some, but some gave all.” Typically, when we are honoring those who died in service to our country, we conjure up images of soldiers who died nobly on the battlefield, taking their last breath while shots blaze and bombs go off all-around them.

However, this Memorial Day, we must commit to honoring those who died for their country, albeit in a much less glamorous and unnecessary way — those who died as a result of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ lack of accountability.

By now, the VA’s woes since the patient wait-time scandal of 2014 first broke have been well-documented, including the fact that as many as hundreds of thousands of veterans have died as a result of inability to access VA care. From the current drama over the appointment of a new Secretary to Congress’s cold feet on choice and caregiver expansion legislation (the latter of which looks like it will soon be remedied), veterans issues have enjoyed, albeit somewhat reluctantly, a top spot in the Trump administration’s list of more here

"...patient wait-time scandal of 2014" seriously may have been the only time this person paid any attention to what has been going on since men and, yes, even women returned to their homes after the Revolutionary War! 

I did not plan on spending Memorial Day actually getting people to remember the facts. Looks like I have to yet again. This article is a joke! And so is every other one trying to make it seem like any of this is new to prove a political point.

This is one of the biggest reasons why I think that all politicians should apologize!

January 2008
600,000 in the backlog

This is from February of 2008 reported by Hope Yen for the Associated Press. It not only shows how members of Congress were asking for accountability, they were also acting as if they cared.
Peake wants to reduce wait times from roughly 180 days to 145 days by the start of next year. He cited aggressive efforts to hire staff, noting the VA will have 3,100 new staff by 2009. VA also is working to get greater online access to Pentagon medical information that he said will allow staff to process claims faster and move toward a system of electronic filing of claims.
Electronic filing of claims...but veterans are still waiting for that to happen efficiently. 

Ten years later we have this piece of news.
VA inks $10 billion contract with Cerner for new electronic health record
Peake promised to “virtually eliminate” the current list of 69,000 veterans who have waited more than 30 days for an appointment to get VA medical care. Such long waits runs counter to department policy, and a group of Iraq war veterans have filed a lawsuit alleging undue delays. He said VA plans to open 64 new community-based outpatient clinics this year and 51 next year to improve access to health care in rural areas.
 Ten years later, we have this,
The $51 billion bill provides for a newly combined “community care” program that includes Choice and other VA programs of outside care. It could face escalating costs due to growing demand from veterans seeking the convenience of seeing private physicians. Some House Democrats warn the VA won’t be able to handle a growing price tag, putting the VA at risk of unexpected budget shortfalls next year. 
A veteran had waited for four years. And then there is this from GovExec in 2008
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.
In June of 2009 it was proven that all that really did not mean much at all.
The VA's claims backlog, which includes all benefits claims and all appeals at the Veterans Benefits Administration and the Board of Veterans Appeals at VA, was 803,000 on Jan. 5, 2009. The backlog hit 915,000 on May 4, 2009, a staggering 14 percent increase in four months.
The issue has become so dire that veterans now wait an average of six months to receive disability benefits and as long as four years for their appeals to be heard in cases where their benefits were denied.
Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said during a hearing in March that the VA is “almost criminally behind in processing claims.”
I could keep going on this with over 29,000 posts on this site, but I think you get the point now.

Politicians create veterans when they send them to fight our battles...then make them fight Congress to repay the debt. 

If anyone ever tells you that sending veterans into the private healthcare system the rest of us deal with is good for them, ask them why. Why would anyone ever think disabled veterans should be treated like the rest of us?

If anyone wants to blame one political party over another, ask them when they started to pay attention to what they do. Veterans have never had a VA that is able to take care of all the veterans Congress created because Congress failed them first!

They have had jurisdiction over how our veterans are treated since 1946! If it still sucks to be a veteran in this country, ask politicians why they never apologized to them!

As for veterans dying waiting for care, that is not as simple as some want to think it is. Most veterans do not use the VA until they get a diagnosis from a private doctor that ties the illness to service. Then, they go to the VA, expect to have their claim approved and treated, but never look at the long line already ahead of them.

But again, nothing new considering ten years ago there were 8,763 veterans died waiting for their claims to be approved.

Why do they wait? Most think the VA is for veterans who cannot work, some think the VA is terrible because of stories they have heard and others, well, they did not think they would ever need them. Some are still getting trapped in the system with years of waiting.

Watch this video I did a couple of years ago to get even more ticked off!

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