Showing posts with label Tricare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tricare. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Military clinics will stop taking 200,000 non-active duty patients

These military clinics will stop taking 200,000 non-active duty patients. Here’s the list.

Military Times
20 minutes ago
The plan includes a reduction of roughly 18,000 uniformed medical personnel, with those retained focusing on the medical readiness and treatment of active duty personnel.

In this file photo, a Navy corpsman assigned to Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christ, administers an influenza vaccine to a patient. The facility is among those slated for changes under a new Pentagon plan to shift the mission of some military health facilities to caring for only active duty personnel (U.S. Navy photo by Bill W. Love/Released)

More than 200,000 Tricare beneficiaries, including 80,000 active-duty family members, will no longer be seen at 37 military health clinics across the country in the coming years, according to a Department of Defense report sent to Congress Wednesday.

The Pentagon is planning major changes to 50 military health facilities that will force many beneficiaries to find civilian doctors in their communities over the course of two to four years.

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Thomas McCaffery said Wednesday that the realignment supports the department’s effort to support the military health system’s return to focusing on troop health and military readiness.

According to the report Restructuring and Realignment of Military Medical Treatment Facilities, the clinics include Air Force, Army and Navy facilities. Two additional facilities will close and several others have already started transferring non-active duty beneficiaries to Tricare providers in surrounding communities.
read it here

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Lowlife jerks caught ripping off veterans and troops and sexual assaults

Businessman indicted in $510 million Tricare fraud scheme

By: The Associated Press
September 27, 2019

JACKSON, Miss. — Federal prosecutors say a Mississippi businessman has been indicted in one of the nation’s largest health care fraud investigations.

The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday announced that 52-year-old Wade Ashley Walters of Hattiesburg is charged for his alleged role in a scheme involving fraudulent prescriptions.

Prosecutors say the fraud led to TRICARE and other health care benefit programs reimbursing various companies more than $510 million.

The scheme targeted people insured by TRICARE, which covers military members, their families, retirees and some National Guard members and reservists. read it here

Doctor pleads guilty to sexually exploiting VA patients

By: The Associated Press
September 27, 2019

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — A California doctor has pleaded guilty to sexually exploiting five women — several of them veterans — while doing work for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Edgar Manzanera pleaded guilty Wednesday as trial was to begin on more serious charges of sexual assault. Instead of potentially facing more than a dozen years in prison, Manzanera will be sentenced to three years of probation. He also must surrender his medical license and register as a sex offender.
read it here

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Veteran Navy Corpsman lost Tricare and told Bernie Sanders he would kill himself

UPDATE Veteran who contemplated suicide reunites with Bernie Sanders The Naval Air Force veteran said he was buried in medical debt.

Ailing Navy veteran tells Bernie Sanders at Nevada town hall: "I'm gonna kill myself"

SEPTEMBER 15, 2019

In a dramatic moment caught on video, an ailing Navy veteran struggling to pay off his medical bills said he was contemplating suicide while speaking at a Bernie Sanders town hall in Carson City, Nevada. The veteran, named John, said Friday his Tricare was taken away, leaving him with more than $130,000 worth of medical bills.

"How are you going to pay it off?" Sanders asked the veteran.

"I can't, I can't. I'm gonna kill myself!" John responded.
In a video clip captured by CBS News' Cara Korte that has now gone viral, John told Sanders that he served 20 years in the Navy, including tours in Kuwait and Somalia.

"I saved lives. I was a Navy corpsman," he said. "We take care of our own except now. My Tricare is not acceptable anymore, they took it away."

The veteran said he suffers from Huntington's disease, a genetic disorder that causes the breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. According to the National Institutes of Health, there is no treatment for the disease.
read it here

Monday, December 26, 2016

DOD: Private Healthcare Providers Saw 795,000 Under Tricare?

Navy aims to mimic Wal-Mart, Delta to get more sailors choosing military health care
The Virginian-Pilot
By Brock Vergakis
Dec 25, 2016
The military has achieved a 97 percent survival rate for wounded personnel during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he doesn’t want to see those numbers drop in future conflicts.

By comparison, the survival rate was about 80 percent in World Wars I and II, and about 84 percent during the Vietnam War, according to various studies cited by the Navy.
The Navy’s top doctor wants more sailors, Marines and their families to get their health care from the military so its medical personnel will be well-trained for the next conflict, and he’s eyeing private-sector methods to achieve his goal.

Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, the service’s surgeon general, said in a recent interview at Portsmouth Naval Medical Center that he’s working to make accessing care more convenient, to improve patient experiences and to leverage technology in an effort to appeal to young people.

He said about three of every four sailors were born after 1986, making them digital natives who are changing expectations of how health care should be delivered.

“We’ve got to adapt to that,” Faison said, mentioning videoconferencing and mobile apps.

Sailors, Marines and their family members are allowed to use the federally subsidized Tricare health program to seek treatment from private providers, and Faison is on a quest to recapture some of those patients.

Throughout the Defense Department, military facilities saw 250,000 inpatient admissions in the 2015 fiscal year; private facilities in the care network had more than three times as many – 795,000.

Faison said the Navy needs a variety of patients at home so its doctors, nurses and hospital corpsmen are prepared for anything that comes up during a deployment.
read more here

Monday, May 5, 2014

Navy not following Army's lead on health care

Navy not following Army's lead on health care
By Ed Friedrich
The (Bremerton, Wash.) KitsapSun
Published: May 3, 2014
Active-duty service members and their families are automatically enrolled in TriCare Prime, a health care program that costs them nothing and covers everything.

BREMERTON — Naval Hospital Bremerton officials want local sailors and their families to use their facilities, but, unlike Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, aren’t making them leave private doctors.

Lewis-McChord, after opening new clinics in Puyallup and Lacey within the past two years, has extra capacity. Active-duty families that were allowed to use their Tricare military health insurance to pay for care at private facilities when space was tight are getting letters telling them to come back. The Army says military-run clinics can better track patients’ medical needs and influence their health.

Naval Hospital Bremerton also sent letters, but they only encourage families to enroll.
read more here

Monday, February 24, 2014

New Defense Budget targets troops!

DoD budget seeks cuts in BAH, commissary, Tricare benefits
Army Times
By Andrew Tilghman
Staff writer
February 24, 2014

The Pentagon on Monday proposed the deepest and most far-reaching cuts to military compensation in the 40-year history of the all-volunteer force, explaining that such cuts are necessary in order to pay for more modern gear and high-tech weaponry.

Some highlights of the Defense Department’s budget proposal for fiscal 2015 include the first-ever rollback in Basic Allowance for Housing; a military pay raise that would match last year’s 1 percent hike, the lowest in the volunteer era; massive cuts to commissary subsidies; and potentially increased health care fees for both active-duty families and retirees.

Together, the proposals signal an end to a decade-plus wartime era of rising pay and benefits for troops. Even after the proposed cuts, military compensation would remain comparatively more generous than it was in the 1980s and ’90s. But the Pentagon has never before sought to pare back existing benefits in the all-volunteer era.

Moreover, personnel costs would be slashed further by significant reductions to the size of the force, including the smallest Army since the before the Second World War.
read more here

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Orlando Lake Nona VA Hospital Q and A

Orlando Lake Nona VA Hospital Q and A
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 11, 2014

Town Hall meeting for veterans in the Central Florida at the American Legion Post 286 in Orlando last night was filled with information veterans need to know.

If you read the Orlando Sentinel article from yesterday, "New VA Hospital unlikely to open by December" they got the projected opening date wrong. It is not "an additional 90 days" but more than 120 days after construction is done.
You can hear more about that in this video. Parking has been a huge issue as well and according to the VA it is ok to park on the grass since there are not enough spaces at the Lake Baldwin Clinic. Remember, as you'll hear in the video that it is just a clinic and was never intended to be a full hospital. Space for what is needed is the reason why we are getting the new Lake Nona VA Hospital.

The Orlando Sentinel also got the number of veterans a bit wrong. While there are 400,000 veterans in Central Florida, according the the VA they only have a little over 100,000 veteran patients. There are 2,800 employees and 1,100 volunteers. Counties served are brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia.

Who is eligible for VA and the Affordable Care Act were also addressed.

Transportation has been an issue as well and projected to become a huge issue but the DAV and the VA have been working on it for a while. Part of the confusion regarding the vans the DAV supplies the VA with has come from funding. The federal government does not supply funds or the vans. The DAV does and funds come from members and donations. You'll hear that cleared up as well.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Stateside Tricare Service Centers Closing April 1

Stateside Tricare Service Centers Closing April 1
by Amy Bushatz
Jan 14, 2014

All stateside Tricare in-person service centers will be closing April 1, Tricare officials recently confirmed.

The closure of the 189 facilities is expected to save the Defense Department about $50 million a year, officials said. The Tricare Service Centers, which handle about 137,000 visitors a month, are staffed by contractors and handle issues ranging from processing provider changes to billing problems.

"The change will not -- let me repeat that -- will not affect any Tricare medical benefit or health care service," Army Col. Steve Warren, a DoD spokesman said in a statement. "What it will do is allow the department to save $250 million over the next five years, allowing Tricare to invest in more important services."

All of the services currently dealt with by service center staff can be currently handled exclusively over the phone, they said.

Officials don't plan to add any staff to call centers as a result of the closures since shuttering the service centers is anticipated to only marginally increase call center volume, officials said.
read more here

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

At Senate hearing, military health care gets scrutiny

At Senate hearing, military health care gets scrutiny
Stars and Stripes
By Chris Carroll
Published: June 11, 2013

WASHINGTON — For a fleeting moment, at least, lawmakers seemed to be coming around to the idea that the Pentagon benefits system has its limits.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday that legislators’ continued pushback against Pentagon requests for modest Tricare fee and copay increases for working-age retirees will put DOD in a financial bind in coming years. And, legislators seemed inclined to listen.

“We’re not going to fight our enemies with a good health care plan,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., asked Hagel and Dempsey whether they have started communication efforts with veterans — a segment of society heavily invested in military success, he said — to explain that rising military benefit costs and falling defense budgets could leave future troops without adequate equipment or training.

Both answered yes, and DOD Comptroller Robert Hale laid out an estimate of how much money DOD hopes to recoup from higher health care costs for Tricare members.
read more here

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

American Legion Commander "Washington is failing troops and veterans"

Washington failing military, Legion leader says
Army Times
By Rick Maze
Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Feb 26, 2013

The head of the nation’s largest veterans’ group said Tuesday that Washington is failing troops and veterans.

Army veteran James Koutz of Boonville, Ind., national commander of the American Legion, criticized politicians for using the defense budget and service members as pawns in a battle over deficit reduction and spending priorities.

He also objected to attempts to increase out-of-pocket Tricare costs for retirees and opposed a recent Pentagon move to create a new medal for drone operators that ranks higher in precedence than some medals awarded to combat troops on the ground.
read more here

New VA clinics, expansions left in limbo
By Kevin Freking
The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Feb 26, 2013
WASHINGTON — A veterans’ health clinic in Brick, N.J., is in such disrepair that when the snow gets heavy, patients have to go elsewhere for fear the roof might collapse. Another in San Antonio has extensive mildew and mold problems that could prove a health hazard for employees and patients in the coming years.

In Lake Charles, La., it’s not the condition of a clinic but the lack of one. It’s estimated that 6,000 veterans would enroll in VA health care if the community were to get a new clinic.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has cited these examples as it sought approval from Congress last year for a dozen new or expanded health clinics around the country.

Lawmakers anticipated that the cost for the current fiscal year would probably run into the tens of millions of dollars, but the estimate from the Congressional Budget Office came in at $1.2 billion. The nonpartisan CBO said that sound accounting principles require the full cost of the 20-year leases for the clinics be accounted for up front.

The huge jump in the clinics’ price tag left lawmakers scrambling, and in the face of the budget-cutting climate on Capitol Hill, the VA request stalled. Now the agency is warning that unless lawmakers act, some currently operating clinics may have to close after their old leases expire and other long-planned expansions will not go forward.
read more here

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tricare Prime fees jump 17% today for some

Tricare Prime fees jump 17% today for some
Army Times
By Patricia Kime
Staff writer
Posted : Monday Oct 1, 2012

Military retirees enrolled in Tricare Prime will see a dip in their net retirement pay starting today: Annual fees for the health benefit increased as of Oct. 1.

The fees rise by 3.6 percent for some retired military members and their families and by 17 percent for most.

Military retirees who enrolled in the system on or after Oct. 1, 2011, and all new beneficiaries will pay $269.28 a year for an individual, up from $260, and $538.56 for a family, up from $520.

Those who were in Prime before Oct. 1, 2011, will see their annual fees increase from to $269.28 from $230 for individuals and to $538.56 from $460 for families.

Affected retirees and family members received notification of the increase by mail in August.

The fee increases are within limits set by Congress last year. Legislation passed in 2011 restricted the amount the Pentagon can increase annual fees to the annual military cost-of-living adjustment. The 3.6 percent increase is equal to the most recent cost-of-living adjustment in military retired pay for 2012.
read more here

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Medication from US won't be mailed to troops in Germany

4 minutes ago
Medication from US won't be mailed to APOs in Germany
Stars and Stripes
Published: September 19, 2012

HEIDELBERG, Germany — Prescription medications addressed to military post office boxes in Germany soon will be flagged by U.S. postal clerks stateside and not sent.

William Kiser, the top postal officer for U.S. forces in Europe, said that U.S. post offices would stop sending the medications and a variety of other items the German government has banned or restricted from import. The target date is Jan. 1, Kiser said.

Postal clerks will match restriction codes for the items with ZIP codes.

Late last year, German authorities began confiscating mailed medications, U.S. officials said, enforcing a law the Germans say has been on the books for years.

U.S. authorities only learned recently, after packages were confiscated, that the mailed medications they thought were legal — covered under the status of forces agreement and viewed as domestic mail — were not.

The longtime practice had been encouraged by Tricare, the military health insurer, as both less expensive and more convenient, especially as more military health centers closed along with their garrisons.
read more here

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


By Bob Brewin

By sending troops diagnosed with drug and alcohol addiction to 20-day treatment programs at civilian rehabilitation centers, the Defense Department is taking a Band-Aid approach to dealing with a problem of epidemic proportions, psychiatrists, former combat commanders and treatment experts on the front lines of veteran care told Nextgov.

Such a short stint at an inpatient facility can only begin to chip away at addiction and will do little to help troops cope with the combat experiences that many of them have tried to suppress with alcohol or drugs, experts said.

Combat veterans rarely talk about the experiences that sit at the core of post-traumatic stress disorder and are reluctant to share them in a civilian setting with patients who have no military service, let alone combat experience, said Jack Downing, president of We Soldier On, a Leeds, Mass.-based shelter and rehabilitation center for homeless veterans.

The facility provides beds and housing for 295 veterans, including a 39-unit apartment complex in nearby Pittsfield it developed and then sold to veterans.

Residents’ service spans generations, from a 92-year old WW II veteran to Vietnam veterans and about 35 who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Downing said the preponderance of his residents arrive addicted to alcohol and drugs, some of which have been prescribed by the Military Heath System or the Veterans Affairs Department. Recovery, he said, begins with addiction treatment and then moves on to dealing with the effects of war.
read more here

How PTSD and Addiction Can Be Safely Treated Together
August 15, 2012
The vast majority of people with addiction have suffered significant previous trauma, and many people who struggle with addiction suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) simultaneously. But the treatment of these patients has posed a conundrum: experts have believed that PTSD treatment should not begin until the addicted person achieves lasting abstinence, because of the risk that PTSD treatment may trigger relapse, yet addicted people with untreated PTSD are rarely able to abstain for long.

Now, a new study suggests that there may be no need to wait. Researchers found that using exposure therapy — the gold-standard treatment for PTSD, which involves exposure to memories and reminders of patients’ past trauma — can successfully reduce symptoms of PTSD, even when people with addiction continue to use drugs. And, although exposure therapy requires patients to face some of their worst fears, it does not increase their drug use or prompt them to drop out of treatment more than ordinary addiction therapy, the study found.

“The exciting thing in my view is that [the study] supports people with drug and alcohol problems having access to other forms of psychological interventions, rather than being fobbed off and told to sort out their alcohol or drug problem first,” says Michael Farrell, director of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Center at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, where the research was conducted.
Read more

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Tricare web base mental health program shutting down

Tricare to close online mental health program
By Patricia Kime - Staff writer
Posted : Saturday Mar 31, 2012

 The Tricare Assistance Program for behavioral health counseling is being shut down due to lack of use, Tricare officials said Friday. The $3 million demonstration program, launched in August 2009, was designed to test use of Web-based video conferencing for mental health counseling.

The instant messaging and Web-based chat program facilitated communications with patients and counselors on non-medical concerns ranging from deployment anxiety and work stress to family and relationship issues. The program logged 5,109 calls during a two-year period, with 89 percent coming from the Tricare West region, according to Tricare spokesman Austin Camacho. Only 1,188 were initial calls, while the rest were follow-ups, he added. read more here

Thursday, January 26, 2012

GAO finds Defense Center for Excellence lacking

GAO: DoD fails to detail mental health spending
By Patricia Kime - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Jan 25, 2012 19:18:28 EST
A new report from a congressional watchdog agency raises concerns about the Defense Department’s accounting of $2.7 billion marked for treating and researching psychological health issues and traumatic brain injuries.

The report released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office says DoD has not provided reports required by law detailing how those funds were spent. The money was distributed between fiscal 2007 and fiscal 2010.

The GAO described as “unreliable” the obligations data — information that gives an overview of what contracts and programs the funds support — in the reports.

“We found that the Tricare Management Activity, which administered funds allocated to [the Defense Centers of Excellence] had not developed written policies and procedures to ensure the proper recording of obligations and that it had not properly classified most of DCoE’s fiscal 2009 contract obligations,” the report states.

GAO also said the strategic plan of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, responsible for the Pentagon’s head injury and behavioral health programs, lacked clear guidance on its statutory responsibilities.

Instead, responsibilities for creating standards of care for injured and mentally ill service members as well as training, outreach, research and patient care are spread among the DCoEs, Tricare, the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and other agencies.
read more here

Friday, October 14, 2011

Department of Defense hit with lawsuit over lost Tricare data

DoD hit with lawsuit over lost Tricare data
By Patricia Kime - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Oct 13, 2011 18:09:42 EDT
The Defense Department has been hit by a $4.9 billion class action lawsuit filed on behalf of four military family members and the 4.9 million Tricare beneficiaries whose personal information was contained on tapes stolen from a car in San Antonio in September.

The suit alleges that Tricare “intentionally, willfully and recklessly violated” the privacy rights of the plaintiffs by failing to take precautions to protect their personal information, including Social Security numbers, clinical notes and lab results.

The information disappeared Sept. 13 when backup tapes were stolen from the automobile of an employee of Science Applications International Corp., a defense contractor responsible for transporting them to a facility where they were to be secured.
read more here

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Tricare fees, end to combat pay 'windfall' voted

Makes perfect sense to me since these same folks wanted to make sure corporations kept tax cuts, when we got job cuts and cut backs but we also need to remember when it came to wars, they voted for them but never thought about paying for them before, durning and especially after.

Military Update: New Tricare fees, end to combat pay 'windfall' voted
Special to Stars and Stripes
Published: June 23, 2011
The Senate Armed Services Committee has agreed with House colleagues to approve a small increase in Tricare Prime enrollment fees for working-age retirees, and to allow these fees to be raised annually by the percentage cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) applied to military retired pay.

The vote ensures that Tricare Prime enrollment fees for individual retirees under age 65 will be raised in the new fiscal year by $30, to $260 a year, and that retiree family coverage will climb by $60, to $520. These will be the first fee increases since Tricare rates were set in 1995.

The Senate panel also joined with the House to endorse an Obama administration plan to restructure Tricare pharmacy co-payments to encourage use of mail order for refills instead of having local drugstores, at far greater cost to the government, refill prescriptions for chronic conditions.
read more here
New Tricare fees, end to combat pay 'windfall' voted

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Soldier's Wife Fights For Daughter's Meds

Soldier's Wife Fights For Daughter's Meds
Girl Has Dravet's Syndrome
Reported By Forrest Sanders

A Fort Campbell soldier's wife said her long fight was worth it. The mother wrote congressmen, senators and mayors to get help for her daughter's rare medical condition.

"If you have a child with special needs, don't give up," said Felicia Harris.

She and her husband were married after being high school sweethearts. Three years ago, they welcomed their daughter Lexy -- a happy baby suffering a rare syndrome.

"They did the blood test, and it came back, and she did have the gene," Harris said. "It's genetic. Hers is a mutation."

It's called Dravet's syndrome.

"It's just a severe type of epilepsy," said Harris. "Their seizures can last from five minutes to hours. My daughter's longest seizure was two hours and 45 minutes."

Harris said the only answer is a medication called stiripentol, but it isn't approved by the FDA and not covered by TriCare, the military's health care plan.
read more here
Soldier's Wife Fights For Daughter's Meds

Friday, March 26, 2010

Who lied to veterans over Tricare?

Most of this week there have been several posts on this issue. What it boils down to is that when politicians decided to lie to veterans and the troops to scare them, they betrayed the men and women risking their lives as well as the veterans of combat for the sake of this country. This betrayal requires they be held accountable. If they lied because "they didn't know better" it was their job to know what the hell they were talking about. Vote them out because they have proven they are not interested in working for the people. If they knew they truth but lied anyway to score political points, then they should be kicked out of office. We all need to stop letting politicians get away with telling us lies but it is more disgraceful when they use the troops and veterans to get what they want.

Dems: Health reform threat to Tricare overblown
By Tom Philpott, Special to Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Saturday, March 27, 2010
Republican lawmakers raised the specter of military families and survivors of veterans seeing health care costs rise as a result of the national health reform law that President Obama signed March 23.

But the threat was never more than a notion and it is fading away. That’s the consensus among most military associations and veterans groups, as reinforced by statements from the secretaries of defense and veterans affairs, the White House and chairmen of key congressional committees.

White House officials were angered, and some veterans groups perplexed, by press releases issued last Sunday from Republicans on the House armed services and veterans’ affairs committees, and by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, hours before the House voted to approve the landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

The VFW said "the president and the Democratic leadership are betraying veterans" by not adopting a Republican amendment that explicitly would list Tricare and VA survivor health benefits as meeting the health reform bill’s minimum essential coverage standard.

Without that status, ranking committee Republicans Howard "Buck" McKeon (Calif.) on armed services and Steve Buyer (Ind.) on veterans’ affairs, argued these beneficiaries and even some veterans’ children could be forced to pay a penalty or buy extra health insurance.
read more here

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

VFW Lies for the GOP, Attempts to Kill Health Care

When I did this post earlier today, Officials Reassure Troops On TRICARE
I didn't think the answer would come so fast as to who is behind the lies being told. I'm heartsick. The VFW does great work for our veterans. The members of the VFW, at posts across the nation are dedicated. They are Republicans. They are Democrats. But above all, they are our American veterans of foreign wars. The political action committee however must be answering to an agenda that is not about veterans or taking care of them. Had this been the case, when the Bush Administration had two wars going on, producing more and more wounded, they would have been shouting as loudly as possible that the troops were not being taken care of.

Most of the members of the VFW were not told the truth about this. Most of the members of other service organizations had no clue the Gulf War had more doctors and nurses employed than were employed with Iraq and Afghanistan returning wounded at a higher rate than during any other war. We look at the fatalities, but while those numbers are lower than other wars, the casualties are higher. Battlefield medical advances have saved the lives of soldiers that would have died of their wounds before. This meant there would be a greater need for doctors and nurses working for the VA along with case workers, claims processors and mental health professionals. No one put the needs of the troops we sent into combat before paying contractors.

The lines grew and the claims piled up higher and higher as wounded, disabled veterans were forced to suffer while waiting. For the most part the PAC of the VFW was silent. When some in congress began to scream about the failings of the VA, others in congress were complaining there were two wars to pay for and they couldn't afford to increase funding for the VA. You'd think the VFW PAC would have been screaming about this, but the ones calling for increasing the VA budget were Democrats and the Republicans were saying there wasn't enough money to do it. It's doubtful the VFW PAC watched CSPAN.

While the members of the VFW expect to be told the truth their leadership has let them down. Having legitimate disagreements about what politicians do is part of what makes America work but when politics come before the truth, the veterans are the losers in the end. Once they discover their leadership has lied to them, they leave the VFW and other organizations. That's the greatest loss of all because these members are more interested in the troops and other veterans than anyone else in the country.

Posts have been taking the lead on helping combat veterans heal from PTSD and find the support they need. They have been doing great work but if they keep allowing some in their organization to betray the members with political games, the veterans they have been trying to help will lose.

I go to a lot of veterans functions and hear them talk about what they heard here and there or read in some kind of viral email. What they say is just repeating what they heard instead of knowing the facts. Their hearts are deeply committed to caring for the troops and other veterans but when they are mislead, when they are not told the truth, they feel betrayed by the people they trusted. All organizations need to be aware of what the truth is and what the spin is.
VFW Lies for the GOP, Attempts to Kill Health Care
Richard Allen Smith
Editor of the blog VetVoice
Posted: March 21, 2010 04:41 PM
Among all of the Congressional elections in 2006, there were two that were particularly interesting. In Virginia, an incumbent Republican Senator who received a deferment from service in Vietnam was endorsed by the VFW's political action committee over a former Navy Secretary who was awarded the Navy Cross while serving as a Marine Officer in the conflict. Also, in a House race that same PAC endorsed a Republican candidate with no service record over an Iraq Veteran who left two legs on the battlefield.

Surprising? Shouldn't be. VFW PAC operates as little more than a subsidiary of the Republican Party, as does the leadership of their parent organization.

Today, that organization issued a statement toeing the GOP line on the health care vote. Of course, in order toe to that line, the VFW had to make things up:

"The president and the Democratic leadership are betraying America's veterans," said Thomas J. Tradewell Sr., a combat-wounded Vietnam veteran from Sussex, Wis., who leads the 2.1 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries.
click link above for more