Showing posts with label Larry Scott. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Larry Scott. Show all posts

Monday, July 12, 2010

VA official to clinics: Stop gaming the system. Thank you Larry Scott

VA official to clinics: Stop gaming the system

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Jul 12, 2010 13:38:45 EDT

After years of complaints from veterans who say they aren’t getting VA medical appointments within 30 days even if Veterans Affairs Department records show they are, a top VA official sent out a memo asking employees to quit “gaming” the system.

“It has come to my attention that, in order to improve scores on assorted access measures, certain facilities have adopted use of inappropriate scheduling practices sometimes referred to as ‘gaming strategies,’ ” wrote William Schoenhard, VA’s deputy undersecretary for health for operations and management, in the April 26 memo.

The “gaming” came after VA required its employees to ensure patients were given initial appointments within 30 days of entering the VA system. Instead, several clinics came up with ways to make it look as if the veterans had canceled their appointments or hadn’t asked for one until within 30 days of when the appointment was made.

“As we strive to improve access to our veterans, we must ensure in fact that improvement does not focus or rely on workarounds,” Schoenhard wrote. “Workarounds may mask the symptoms of poor access and, although they may aid in meeting performance measures, they do not serve our veterans.”

The memo, first reported by Larry Scott of, comes in the wake of exceptional gains in reducing appointment waiting times announced by VA officials.
read more here
VA official to clinics: Stop gaming the system

Friday, July 2, 2010

VA Scandal - VA Manipulates Appointment Scheduling

Thanks to Larry Scott over at this became a story in the first place. Then Paul Sullivan over at Veterans For Common jumped on it to get the word out to even more people. These are the heroes who track what is really happening to veterans day in and day out. Want to know how we really care, or should I say, don't really care about our veterans, read some of the work they do and then you'll know what are fairytales and what is their worst nightmare. We cannot go blindly day to day and just assume all is well with our veterans because it isn't and it won't be until the American people actually do pay attention as much as they pay attention to them coming home to their hometowns in flag draped coffins.

VA Scandal - VA Manipulates Appointment Scheduling

On June 23, 2010, veteran
Larry Scott at VA Watchdog uncovered a huge VA scandal. Larry posted VA's memo descrbing 24 "tricks" or "gaming strategies" so VA would appear to help veterans get appointments fast. In fact, VA was delaying and denying medical care.

VA failed to fulfill the agency's promise to provide our veterans with prompt medical care. Instead of taking responsibility and actually improving access to care, VA is cooking the books and hoping no one will dig deeper.

VA cheated, and our veterans suffered.

Thanks go out to the investigative journalist who wrote the first news article about the VA scandal, Nora Eisenberg at AlterNet. Additional commendation goes to Kyra Phillips at CNN for making this national news. The CNN article contains a VCS statement about VA's outrageous "Cooked Appointment Books" scandal.

Vets' care hurt by bureaucratic games, memo says
By the CNN Wire Staff
July 2, 2010 12:25 p.m. EDT

Paul Sullivan, from the group Veterans for Common Sense, told CNN the memo is "absolutely" symptomatic of a nationwide problem with the VA. "It's tragic (and) beyond unacceptable," he said. If VA employees are "cooking the books, (they) need to find another job."

Memo: Veterans being denied care due to improper scheduling practices
VA employees using "gaming strategies" for better performance scores
Top VA official promises to stop denial of care
Advocate for veterans says practice is "tragic" and "unacceptable"

(CNN) -- Military veterans are being denied health care due to "inappropriate scheduling practices" at VA facilities, according to an internal memo from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The memo, written on April 26, says employees at various VA facilities often canceled veterans' appointments with doctors in order to generate better performance scores in reports to supervisors.

"In order to improve scores on assorted access measures, certain facilities have adopted use of inappropriate scheduling practices sometimes referred to as 'gaming strategies,'" the memo says.

"Example: as a way to combat Missed Opportunity rates some medical centers cancel appointments for patients not checked in 10 or 15 minutes prior to their scheduled appointment time. Patients are informed that it is medical center policy that they must check in early and if they fail to do so, it is the medical center's right to cancel that appointment."
read more here
Vets care hurt by bureaucratic games, memo says

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


This is from Larry Scott and pretty much sums up how I feel as well.

Mr. Rieckhoff, your non-apology is not accepted.

And, to the staff at IAVA: Keep Paul Rieckhoff away from all computers. He's the only person I know who can dig a hole with a keyboard.

Rieckhoff can claim what he wants in order to defend what he said, but the truth is, all you have to do is listen to him talk when he pops up on cable stations and know, he really isn't interested in Vietnam veterans or other veterans at all. It really is a shame because he can't understand he ended up insulting every other generation of veterans in the process. I wonder how many of those "other" veterans supported the IAVA and ended up shocked by what he said?

This is really beyond just slamming Vietnam veterans. The media has not been interested in them at all but they have been suffering from lack of care longer than the newer veterans. Not only are they still trapped in the monstrous backlog of claims, they are being treated to appointments cut back to make room for the newer veterans. Does Rieckhoff ever think of this? Does he use the media spotlight to bring this appalling treatment into the public's mind? No. Does he bring it to the public's mind that had it not been for the Vietnam veteran he just slammed, none of the understanding, as pathetic as it is, would have been available for "his kind of veterans" had they not fought for it and demanded it over 30 years ago and never gave up fighting for it for their generation as well as all other veterans? Does he acknowledge at all that because of the way Vietnam veterans were treated when they came home "his kind of veterans" have been treated with respect and appreciation by the public and people around the country are fighting like hell to make sure they are taken care of including the Vietnam veterans and their families?

Rieckhoff has had no use for me or this blog. After all, I can't gain him any attention. If he had been interested at all he'd see how hard this Vietnam veteran's wife is fighting for "his kind" of veteran as well as all veterans. We have one Department of Defense and we have one Veterans Administration supposedly taking care of all generations and if there is a problem with "his kind" of veterans then he needs to fully acknowledge there is a problem with ALL generations of veterans. I am so tied of the spotlight focused on just the newer veterans because people like Rieckhoff get their attention but people like Larry Scott don't. He's focused on what the VA does and does not do for ALL veterans! You'd think the media would get the message that as they focus on the newer veterans suffering we still have Vietnam veterans suffering after all these years and yes, they watch TV too! Plus they don't consider how many more Vietnam veterans there are than the newer veterans. Wonder what their ratings would be if they ever paid attention to them?

IAVA chief claims remark was about who fragged the most and not meant as disrespect.

by Larry Scott, VA Watchdog dot Org

Sometimes I wish people would just do the simple and correct thing when they open their mouth to change feet: Apologize for an un-smart comment and move on.

But, no ...

Sometimes I wish people would just do the simple and correct thing when they open their mouth to change feet: Apologize for an un-smart comment and move on.

But, no ...

Most people have to explain and explain ... and explain some more in an attempt to make it appear that what they said really was correct and really wasn't meant to be offensive ... thus trying to put the onus back on the person(s) they offended.

Such is the case of Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).

Yesterday we reported that Rieckhoff, in response to a soldier killing five fellow troops in Iraq, said, in part:

"Unlike during the Vietnam War, today's military is a professional, all-volunteer force."

This remark greatly offended me ... as it did Veterans' Advocate Jim Strickland ... and, we let our feelings be known. It also offended many other veterans as noted by the angry comments at the bottom of the article.

Instead of just saying, "I'm sorry. It was an insensitive remark and doesn't reflect my true feelings. I apologize," Rieckhoff tried to explain his way out of it.
go here for more

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Paul Rieckhoff you should thank Vietnam Veterans and not slam them

Mr. Rieckhoff,
After you served your country and then turned around to start the IAVA to take care of the veterans of those two wars, it is shocking you have failed all other veterans.

All wars were fought with draftees, in case you didn't notice and this includes WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. After Vietnam then it was up to the young to enlist. Unlike WWI, WWII and Korea, the Vietnam veterans came back in force to address PTSD. All other generations of mankind have been wounded by this but it took them to fight for it and it was their courage to take a stand that has placed this nation as far as we are today in taking care of the generation of veterans you care for. Did that ever dawn on you?

Do you think that Vietnam veterans had any less dedication to their brothers or to the mission just because some were drafted? How dare you? Did it dawn on you that with Iraq and Afghanistan veterans you also have people the standards were lowered for so they could boost manpower? How about gangs suddenly allowed in? How about criminals allowed in? Does any of this dawn on you? Do these facts end up reflecting badly on the rest of the men and women serving in the military today? Absolutely not. How can you even begin to use any kind of language that slams Vietnam veterans when they came home to make sure ALL generations of veterans were taken care of? How can anyone claiming to be serving veterans forget there are more veterans in this country needing this country as much as the newer generation but waiting far longer for it?

This is the part I can never understand about you and what you do. How many Vietnam veterans turned to you for help considering how much media attention you get only to be turned away? This part the media doesn't discuss but the veterans do. The other service organizations including Vietnam Veterans of America will help all veterans because they made it their next mission to live up to "Never again will one generation abandon another" but you don't seem to let that bother you one bit.

I've supported you and your organization in the past and posted a lot about what you had to say. From now on, if you say it, it will not be posted but if others from your organization do, I will post it. That is unless you apologize to the Vietnam veterans because had it not been for them, your generation would be screwed even more than they are now. By the way, do you know how many veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have parents that were Vietnam veterans? Want to bet some of them had been drafted too?

Learn something and maybe begin with watching Ken Burns The War and learn some facts about WWII to know about the drafted heroes of that war. Larry Scott is right and you are clearly wrong!

Calls Vietnam veterans unprofessional and takes a swipe at all draftees.

by Larry Scott, VA Watchdog dot Org

In 2004, Iraq War veteran Paul Rieckhoff founded Operation Truth.

Operation Truth was an almost-anti-war, definitely anti-Bush organization funded by vast amounts of left-wing money ... which is not necessarily bad, but it always helps to know where the money comes from. (The editor at a well-known military web site names George Soros as the source of much of the funding.)

The goal was to co-opt veterans' issues by using the media contacts of the left-wing money ... to make the country think of "veterans" as those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rieckhoff became a star on such programs as the Rachel Maddow Show on Air American Radio and MSNBC-TV.

Realizing that he needed a broader base, Rieckhoff changed the name of the organization to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).

IAVA became a lobbying powerhouse on Capitol Hill. Even though Iraq and Afghanistan vets make up just 3% of the veteran population, and IAVA membership is just a few thousand of that 3%, IAVA became a loud voice.

Rieckhoff's agenda has always been a divisive force in the veteran community.

Because of Rieckhoff's work, we now have a two-tiered VA system, with vets from Iraq and Afghanistan getting priority treatment for health care and first-in-line status for disability claims ... while the other 97% of veterans just have to wait.

In fairness, Rieckhoff has worked hard for his constituency, and it has paid off ... to the detriment of other veterans.

Now, we see Rieckhoff's feelings about other veterans, especially those who served in the Vietnam War.

Today, it is reported that a GI in Iraq killed five fellow soldiers. Rieckhoff issued a press release about this, and said, in part:

"Unlike during the Vietnam War, today's military is a professional, all-volunteer force."
go here for more

Thursday, October 23, 2008

VA Shredder, national scandal, national disgrace

Larry Scott, of VA Watchdog, was outraged the media had not reported on this story and he is not alone. Many of us, advocates working very hard to make sure that veterans feel appreciated and are really taken care of, have been faced with this startling fact that no matter what we do, no matter how hard we work, no matter what the veterans who served this country were promised, it has now been wasted.

When you think of how reports like this make veterans feel, you are only beginning to understand what far reaching catastrophic consequences come with this. Imagine if you will being a veteran with your service still fresh in your mind. You know you cannot work because you were sent to risk your life in combat. You know your family is suffering financially and the added stress on your relationship is killing you. First you are told you would have to wait until your claim makes it through the "process" and "these things take time" only to find out that while you were suffering, waiting for your claim to finally be approved, borrowing money so that you and your family do not go homeless or hungry, you find out that the VA has piles waiting to be shredded and your claim could be in it. How would you feel?

Well that is exactly what is happening to men and women across this nation and all the yellow ribbons, hand shakes and welcome home speeches won't do a damn bit of good for any of them. Where is the outrage? Where is the press coverage on CNN, MSNBC, FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC? Where is the coverage on the local news stations? There are many reports in the print media but not enough so that the general public is aware of how bad this is.

We really need to wonder why the major stations are finding it just not news worthy enough to report on this when we have a nation election along with many state elections and the people we send to Washington will be responsible for all of this all over again. Is it that the troops and our veterans just don't matter enough? Is it that while so many young men and women are serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Nationals Guards and Reservists, they are also joining the growing ranks of veterans who expected their service to be honored when it really matters to them but Sarah Palin's wardrobe is more "news worthy" and gets them more viewers?

It's not just the major TV and cable stations I have a problem with. It's the radio ones as well. It's time for us to stand up for the veterans and demand they report on what is going on. We are paying attention but most of America is focused on their own problems and they need to be made aware of all of this so they can do something about it. Read the reports from VA Watchdog and know how bad this all is then wonder how you'd feel if it happened to your own family. Wouldn't you want someone like you to fight? This is not only a scandal but it's a disgrace!

Senior Chaplain Kathie Costos
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington



UPDATE: NEW VA FIGURES SHOW NATIONWIDE PROBLEM WITH SHREDDING CRITICAL DOCUMENTS (10-23-08)VA finds hundreds of documents critical to veterans' claims in shredder bins across the country.AND --





Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ladies, VA Watchdog wants to hear from you on the VA

From Larry Scott, VAWatchdog.


But, what do you say, women veterans? Is this really the case?

I get lots of email from women veterans.

Almost all of it has unkind things to say about the VA and VA services for women.

Now, the VA is touting the great job they do for women veterans in the press release below.

Is this really so?

Well, women, here's your chance to let me know more. Send me an email about your VA experiences...and we'll get them posted as a response to the VA's claim of "reaching out" to you.

Email me here... email Larry
We will not use your name or any identifying information.

For what caused Larry to ask click below.

The government likes to say it's doing this and it's doing that, but when you get right down to it, if they were doing half the things they say they are doing, there wouldn't be this many reports coming out on what they are not doing.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

VAWatchdog takes on Sally Satel and AEI over PTSD

LEGISLATION FOR PTSD VETS -- "Treatment First Act"
would urge vets with mental health issues not to file
for VA disability but seek treatment instead.

Dr. Sally Satel of the American Enterprise Institute

by Larry Scott

Dr. Sally Satel is a psychiatrist, paid mouthpiece and think-tanker for the American Enterprise Institute. And, she's back in the news pushing her agenda to marginalize PTSD veterans.
This time she's joined by two old friends, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID). Burr is the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Craig was the Ranking Member until the Republican party removed him after he got caught playing tappy-toes with an undercover cop in an airport men's room.

Burr has introduced a bill (S. 2573) titled Veterans Mental Health Treatment First Act. Craig is the only cosponsor of the bill.

Now, Satel, who is not known for her love of veterans or her ability for rational thought, has decided that "Treatment First" is a must for veterans with mental health issues. (For background on Sally Satel, use the VA Watchdog search here... )

Satel's basic premise is: Work will set you free. Seems to me I've heard that someplace. Satel says, "By abandoning work, the veteran deprives himself of its therapeutic value: a sense of purpose..."
Satel's web site is here...

Satel's email is...

The "Treatment First Act" will give a small allowance to vets with mental health problems who forego filing a VA disability compensation claim and enter treatment.

The "Treatment First Act" is just a way for the VA to save money by conning veterans into delaying filing a claim. Even if the veteran goes into treatment, and then a year later files a claim, a lot of money has been saved.

Also, this program would cause a shift in attitude at the Veterans' Benefits Administration (VBA) that handles claims. If a vet does not go into the program and just files a claim, it would be easy for a claims person at VBA to feel that the vet doesn't want to "get better" and then deliberately mishandle the claim, causing delays in compensation.

Below you will find two pieces of information. First is the Sally Satel opinion piece from The Wall Street Journal. Second is the Veterans Mental Health Treatment First Act as posted on Thomas.
Satel opinion here...

go here back to VAWatchdog

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Larry Scott, VAWatchdog, clears up PTSD new rule

Leave it to Larry Scott of VAWatchdog to get to the bottom of this.



veterans who are diagnosed with PTSD while on active duty

should be recognized as having PTSD for VA purposes.

by Larry Scott

Yesterday it was reported that the VA had a new policy regarding proof of trauma in PTSD claims. That story here...

Unfortunately, a confusing story published by the Military Times Group did not mention that the new policy applies only to those diagnosed with PTSD while on active duty.

We now have a clarification from Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

Akaka's press release on this matter is here...

As posted earlier, it sounded too good to be true. It's a step in the right direction but leaves too many holes to be plugged up.

Personality Disorder discharges, all over 20,000 of them, along with the misdiagnosed are left with what under these new rules?

PTSD being diagnosed while active, in other words by the DOD, have not protected any of them so far. Remember the redeployed under medication for PTSD? Where does this leave them?

What about the discharged who were diagnosed with PTSD but at such low levels they are receiving zero compensation or ridiculously low compensation?

This will do nothing to reduce the backlog of claims in the VA especially if they were diagnosed after they were discharged. Then we also have to figure in those who have not been diagnosed yet but are trapped in the waiting line. How do they turn around and prove the traumatic event happened? Are they supposed to end up like the Vietnam veterans still trying to find people who will offer support for a claim?

Like I said, it's a step in the right direction but why does it have to be such a tiny baby step?