Showing posts with label VA healthcare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label VA healthcare. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Still think that the VA is bad for veterans?

Still think that the VA is bad for veterans?

For all the people who say that sending veterans into the civilian healthcare system is a good idea, remember this sample of what you do not read about as much as you complaints against the VA.

Oh, by the way, since when is it OK to forget that veterans pre-paid for their healthcare WHEN THEY DECIDED TO DIE IF NECESSARY FOR THIS COUNTRY?

10 latest healthcare industry lawsuits, settlements
Becker's Hospital Review
Written by Ayla Ellison
December 10, 2018

From hospitals suing HHS for finalizing a site-neutral payment policy to a nurse pleading guilty in a telemedicine fraud scheme, here are the latest healthcare industry lawsuits and settlements making headlines.

1. Hospitals sue HHS over site-neutral payment policy
The American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges and three hospitals sued HHS Dec. 4 for finalizing a policy that will cut Medicare payments for hospital outpatient clinic visits.

2. BCBS of Texas beats physician lawsuit alleging ER underpayments
A lawsuit filed by 49 physician groups against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas was dismissed Dec. 3.

3. Walmart, 3 pharma companies sued over impure drugs
Four companies — Walmart, Aurobindo Pharma, ScieGen Pharmaceuticals and Westminster Pharmaceuticals — were hit with a lawsuit alleging they contributed to the sale and production of impure drugs.

4. Medtronic resolves medical device probes for $50.9M: 5 things to know
Medtronic will pay $50.9 million to resolve three U.S. Justice Department probes. The payments settle allegations that companies it now owns conducted improper medical device marketing, paid illegal kickbacks to hospitals and participated in other physician-engagement practices.

5. Tennessee nurse pleads guilty in $65.7M telemedicine fraud scheme
A nurse practitioner pleaded guilty Nov. 27 to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud for her role in a $65.7 million scheme that involved prescribing expensive compounded medications to Tricare beneficiaries.

6. Indiana medical company hit with first multistate HIPAA lawsuit: 7 things to know
Attorneys general from 12 states united to sue an Indiana medical company over a 2015 data breach.

7. 7 New York hospitals reach settlement, agree to stop improper billing of rape survivors
Seven New York hospitals agreed to pay restitution to rape survivors and revise billing procedures as part of a legal settlement.

8. Chicago physician convicted of billing fraud
A Chicago physician was convicted of billing insurance companies for nonexistent chiropractic manipulations.

9. Bristol-Myers Squibb must answer lawsuit claiming it knowingly underpaid Medicaid
A federal judge in Philadelphia ruled that Bristol-Myers Squibb must face a whistle-blower lawsuit alleging the drugmaker knowingly underpaid rebates it owed to state Medicaid programs.

10. Scientologist physician sues North Dakota hospital over religious discrimination
A former Grand Forks, N.D.-based Altru Health System physician filed a lawsuit against the hospital Nov. 20, claiming the hospital system discriminated against him because he is a Scientologist.
read more here

U.S. veterans' hospitals often better than nearby alternatives

By Lisa Rapaport
(Reuters Health) - - U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals may provide better quality care than other hospitals in many American communities, a U.S. study suggests.
Researchers looked at 121 regional health care markets with at least one VA hospital and one non-VA facility. Altogether they assessed 135 VA hospitals and 2,988 non-VA hospitals using Hospital Compare, a public database that ranks hospitals on quality measures like mortality rates for common diseases and preventable complications.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Veteran got hurt at home, complained VA was too far away?

Here is a bullshit article for you about a veteran getting hurt at home, but complaining about having to drive to the VA hospital hours away instead of going to a local hospital for something that has nothing to do with his disability!

Lack of VA hospital in Jacksonville means long drives for certain types of care
One Friday night Hawkins tripped over a hose that someone left out after watering a tomato garden. The tomatoes were held up by a metal rod; and when he fell, the rod went through his ear. He got the rod out and the bleeding stopped, but it 11:30.“I looked at the time and realized there was no VA [clinic] open, and the closest treatment was either to drive to Lake City or to Gainesville,” Hawkins said.
If he is 100%, and getting his healthcare from the VA, all he had to do was call them, explain the emergency and they would have covered it. That is the way it has worked for a very long time.

So why didn't he get it taken care of at a local hospital?
Hawkins pointed out that the injury to his ear likely wouldn’t have been deemed an emergency by the VA, nor would have the serious cut on this finger he suffered a month or so ago. It too needed stitches, but, again, he went untreated.
In other words, he guessed. 

I've been dealing with the VA and emergencies all my life. My Dad was 100% and my husband is 100%. Before the VA opened in Orlando, we carried private insurance on top of that even though we were told he would have been covered, we did not want to take a chance. 

While the VA does cover all my husband's medical care, they bill out what is not tied to his claim. Before it was our private insurance and now it is Medicare. That leaves many unanswered questions in this article.

Does he have Medicare or any other insurance? He goes to our family doctor too! Why only use the VA for things that have nothing to do with his disability if it is too far to travel? Why didn't he use the Choice program everyone in Congress thinks is so great for our veterans?

One more thing they got wrong on this article is this part.
"Orlando, opened 2015. Current veteran population in metro area: 139,801"
But the news on that is while the groundbreaking was in 2008, it took a while for it to open. 
Hospital representative Michael Strickler said the entire hospital will be open by early 2016. The 134-bed patient tower and emergency department are the last two to open.
So, there you go on lousy reporting once again. Remember, when I screw up reporting something, I do not get paid to do it. They do!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

VA David Shulkin Fired--Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson Replacement

Shulkin is fired; White House physician Jackson will take over at VA
Stars and Stripes
Published: March 28, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday fired David Shulkin as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs and replaced him with Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, the president's White House physician.

After weeks of speculation that Shulkin would lose his job, Trump finally announced his decision to dismiss him through the president’s preferred mode of communication — a tweet.

Now Jackson, 50, will be responsible for the second-largest federal agency, with more than 350,000 employees. It operates on a nearly $200 billion budget and includes a health care system serving nine million veterans nationwide.

Jackson was selected as White House physician in 2006, while he was still serving in Iraq as an emergency doctor. He served as a physician for former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Jackson appeared before the White House press corps earlier this year, when he reported he examined Trump and found the president to be in "excellent health.”

Jackson must still be confirmed as VA secretary by the Senate. In the interim, Trump announced Robert Wilkie would serve as the acting secretary. Wilkie serves now at the Defense Department as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
read more here

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Lawmakers Only Want to See Choice They Want Veterans To Take

No real need to wonder if these politicians noticed it is their job to make sure the VA takes care of our veterans. After all, they had the authority since 1946, ergo, if the VA has problems, it was their job to fix them.

So why didn't they? Why would they want to spend this kind of money on private healthcare providers instead of actually fixing the problems with the VA? Easy answer is, private healthcare providers will make a lot more money off "treating" our veterans. 

Veterans not only deserve the best care this nation can give, but should never have to settle for the least lawmakers are willing to do! None of these problems veterans face are new ones.
Lawmakers to take on veterans issues after weeklong recess
Published: July 8, 2017
Shulkin is seeking emergency funding or authority from Congress to transfer money from a community care account that holds about $2 billion. Currently, he does not have the power to move money between the accounts.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the White House Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington on May 8, 2017, as veterans from Colorado were in town participating in an Honor Flight event. A host of veterans issues are slated to be addressed as lawmakers return to Washington following the July 4th holiday break.
WASHINGTON — As they return this week from a July Fourth break, lawmakers are set to discuss Department of Veterans Affairs health care, its 2018 budget, how veterans are affected by the opioid crisis and how the VA handles claims for Gulf War Illness – all while facing a short timeframe to do something about quickly diminishing funds in the VA Choice program.

Choice funding VA Secretary David Shulkin warned lawmakers June 16 that money was unexpectedly running out for the Choice program, which allows veterans to seek health care outside the VA. Despite projecting the VA would roll over $626 million for Choice funding into the next fiscal year, Shulkin said the fund would be depleted by Aug. 7.

He attributed the faster spending to the increased popularity of the program among veterans this year.

Now, there’s concern that without action from Congress, more veterans will have to receive care within the VA, creating longer wait times and adding stress to the system that the Choice program was meant to alleviate.
VA budget
A Senate Appropriations subcommittee will propose a fiscal 2018 VA budget at a Wednesday meeting, which will be followed by a full committee markup of the proposal Thursday morning.

Last month, House appropriators proposed a $182 billion budget for the VA, an increase from 2017 levels but still short of the $186.5 billion Trump is calling for.
read more here

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Colorado VA Employee Quit Job to Save Homeless Veteran

Feds investigate veteran's death 
KUSA Melissa Blasius
February 2, 2015

GRAND JUNCTION - Federal investigators will visit a Colorado VA hospital this week to determine whether a patient died due to inadequate care. Whistleblower Chris Blumenstein worked at the Grand Junction Veterans Affairs Hospital as a social worker, and he says he investigators from the Office of Inspector General will interview him Tuesday.

Last year, Blumenstein quit his job in protest as he advocated for a Vietnam-era veteran named Rodger Holmes. Holmes was a formerly homeless veteran who was suffering from Hepatitis C. Blumenstein said Holmes should have been treated by a liver specialist, but the Grand Junction VA did not have one on-staff and did not make a referral for outside care.

Holmes died just before Christmas, and Blumenstein believe Holmes would still be alive if he had received better care from the VA. read more here

Monday, February 2, 2015

Fewer Veterans Wanted "Choice" Over VA Care

8 minutes ago Budget: Obama proposes big increase in VA funding
Stars and Stripes
By Heath Druzin
Published: February 2, 2015
"The suggestion to divert some of the Veterans Choice Act money was in response to fewer than expected veterans expressing interest in seeking care outside the VA healthcare system, VA Assistant Secretary for Management and Chief Financial Officer Helen Tierney said."
WASHINGTON — Facing a growing national crisis in veterans’ health care and a flood of new veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the president wants to give the beleaguered Department of Veterans Affairs a nearly 8 percent boost to hire more VA doctors, give veterans more healthcare options, and increase money for construction.

The proposed 2016 budget includes roughly $70 billion in discretionary funding for the VA, for a total budget of about $168 billion – the rest being made up of mandatory benefit programs such as pensions and disability payments. read more here

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Veterans Choice Card Limited to Miles Not Need

Family upset with new veterans Choice Card 
Leslie Ackerson
December 31, 2014
"If you're with a 40-mile radius of a VA healthcare," explained VA Chief of Business Steven Hillis, "then the mileage no longer comes into play."
New choice program hopes to improve veterans accessibility to healthcare.
(Photo: WBIR)
The federal Department of Veterans Affairs faced a scandal-filled year, and now there is new controversy over a new program.

The problem centers on what's called the Choice Card. The goal is help more veterans get access to healthcare. If they live more than 40 miles from a Veterans Administration hospital or clinic, they get a choice to pick their own provider. The VA created the Choice Card to improve patient access.

However, the Autrys of Oneida are not satisfied. They are concerned over how the VA measures their 40 miles.
read more here

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

New Members Appointed to VA Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans

New Members Appointed to VA Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans
12/03/2014 03:18 PM EST

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced the appointment of five new members to the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans. The committee was chartered on November 2, 1994, and advises the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on the needs of the nation’s 4.7 million minority Veterans with respect to compensation, health care, rehabilitation, outreach and other benefits and programs administered by the VA. The Committee assesses the needs of Veterans who are minority group members and recommends program improvements designed to meet their needs. The committee members are appointed to two or three-year terms. Minority Veterans comprise nearly 21 percent of the total Veteran population in the United States and its territories.

The new committee members are:
Patricia Jackson-Kelley: Lt. Col. (US Army-Ret) of Los Angeles, California; Served as one of the first full time Women Veteran Program Coordinators at the Los Angeles VAMC. Currently serves as a member of the LA County Veterans Advisory Council; Board Member of Military Women in Need Organization and LA County Council Commander of the American Legion.

Librado Rivas: Command Sgt. Maj. (USA-Ret) of Manassas, Virginia; State Commander of the DC Chapter, American GI Forum of the United States; National Liaison Officer in Washington, DC, for the National Office of the American GI Forum, and Director of the Army Lean Six Sigma.

Rebecca Stone: Staff Sgt. (USA-Ret) of Columbia, Maryland; served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was medically retired under the Wounded Warrior Program through Warrior Transition Units. She is a certified suicide negotiator/first responder. She was also the recipient of the National Association of Female Executives (NAFE) Women of Excellence Award.

Cornell Wilson, Jr.: Maj. Gen. (USMC-Ret) of Charlotte, North Carolina; currently serves as Military Advisor to the Governor of North Carolina, where he also advises state agencies and Veteran’s organizations on the needs of Veterans.

Anthony Woods: Army Veteran of University Park, Maryland; currently serves as the Senior Manager at Cisco System’s Consulting Services and consults with the Department of Defense and the Army on IT transformations. Mr. Woods also volunteers with organizations such as Got Your 6 and Hiring Our Heroes.

The new members join current members:

Marvin Trujillo, Jr., Committee Chairman, Marine Corps Veteran

Richard de Moya, Lt. Col. (USA-Ret)

Elisandro (Alex) Diaz, Navy Veteran

Many-Bears Grinder, Col. (USA-Ret)

Harold Hunt, Army Veteran

Sheila Mitchell, Air Force Veteran

Teresita Smith, Sgt. First Class (USA-Ret)

In addition to working closely with the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans, VA is improving its services for Veterans who are minority group members:

Establishing the Office of Health Equity Research and Promotion, which assesses health equity and health disparities within the health care system to ensure adequate policies are in place to reduce disparities in vulnerable minority Veteran populations.

Funding projects focused on Pacific Rim Veterans, including Spinal Cord Injury outreach and treatment in Hilo, Kona, Maui, Molakai, and Kauai; leveraging telehealth technology to provide clinic based tele-mental health care on the island of Kauai.

Conducting a 3-year project through VA’s Office of Rural Health to establish a collaborative National Native Telehealth Training and Consultative Service which aids in the replication of tele-mental health clinics for use by rural Native American Veterans.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Congress Still Not Doing Their Jobs for Veterans and It Shows

THE JOB OF CONGRESS IS TO KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS! They have committees in the House and subcommittees. They also have them in the Senate. For them to not know what has been going on means they WERE NOT DOING THEIR JOBS~

VA didn't track vacant medical jobs until this year
AZ Central
The Republic
Paul Giblin
November 16, 2014

The Department of Veterans Affairs' record-keeping processes were in such disarray in recent years that the agency didn't track its number of unfilled medical positions until June of this year, according to VA officials.

The VA's lax record-keeping occurred against a backdrop of year-over-year funding increases while VA administrators created secret lists of patients who languished for months waiting for medical appointments.

The disclosure came in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by The Arizona Republic seeking the number of medical vacancies nationally and at the three VA hospitals in Arizona.

Four months after the newspaper requested vacancy statistics dating back to 2010, Veterans Health Administration FOIA Officer Barbara Swailes responded that the information was unavailable.

"The VHA Central Office did not start collecting vacancy information until June 2014," she wrote in a letter earlier this month. The newspaper requested the information in July.

The VA started collecting the data only after a wide-ranging scandal involving the VA became the focus of national attention following congressional hearings and media coverage by The Republic and other news outlets.

Earlier this month, the VA released to The Republic records showing that on a national basis, the number of unfilled medical positions hit 31,006 on July 15, 2014. In Arizona, it was 997.

U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., said she was unaware of the number until told by The Republic on Friday.

"Oh, my God. Thirty-one thousand vacant positions?" she said. "OK, now we know why they were so behind in treating people, right? They didn't have any staff. That is huge. That's huge."

U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, had a similar reaction.
read more here

Sunday, November 9, 2014

VA patients treated with bogus medical equipment, supplies

HOSPITAL HORROR: VA patients treated with bogus medical equipment, supplies
Johnson and Johnson memo blames reverse auctions for influx of ‘gray market’ devices
The Washington Times
By Jim McElhatton
Thursday, November 6, 2014
An inspector general’s report earlier this year issued a scathing rebuke to the VA over its dealings with FedBid, and said a VA procurement official, Susan Taylor, had improper contacts with FedBid. The inspector general recommended FedBid be disbarred. Ms. Taylor resigned soon after the report.

Unauthorized and potentially counterfeit, dangerous surgical devices and medical supplies have flowed unchecked into the Department of Veterans Affairs supply chain and into VA operating rooms, according to internal agency correspondence from a major supplier who blamed new procurement rules.

The bogus supplies gained a foothold when the department started using reverse auctions to fulfill some contracts, according to both department officials and a 2012 memo from Johnson and Johnson, the world’s largest medical device business.

Officials also warned the VA that an ongoing corporate investigation into the gray market showed how some unauthorized sellers were passing off products stolen from other hospitals.

“We do not believe that the VA intended for its efforts to utilize new procurement tools such as reverse auctions to result in these outcomes,” a company official wrote.

The Johnson and Johnson memo included a list of seven gray market surgical supply purchases by agency medical centers in a half-dozen states. But the company made clear there were more examples across the VA.
read more here

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Disabled Marine Veteran "canceled appointment" 4 days after he died?

VA inspector general finds no evidence of falsified record in Marine's death
Star Tribune
Updated: October 10, 2014
In its letter to the congressional delegation, the inspector general said an e-mail shows that Buisman used his cellphone to call the VA’s automated appointment center to cancel an appointment on Nov. 26 at 11:17 a.m., and that he died later that day.

The notification generated by his telephone call was subsequently transmitted to a VA schedulers’ e-mail group on the following day, Nov. 27, at 6:01 a.m.

At 10:11 a.m. that day, the scheduler who ultimately canceled Buisman’s appointment transmitted a response to the schedulers’ group that she would take care of the request. The scheduler was on leave on Nov. 28. On Nov. 30, she entered a note in the system that she had canceled the patient’s appointment as requested and tentatively scheduled him for the next available appointment, which was Jan. 17, 2013.
read more here
Minn. VA paperwork shows Marine rescheduled appointment — from the grave
The Washington Times
By Douglas Ernst
September 23, 2014

The family of a deceased Marine is looking for answers after records from the Department of Veterans Affairs showed that he rescheduled an appointment after his death.

Cpl. Jordan Buisman, a former Marine videographer, was medically discharged after developing epilepsy. In June 2012 he saw a neurologist at a Minnesota VA, who instructed him to seek an appointment if there were any changes in his condition. After Cpl. Buisman had a seizure in September, he scheduled an appointment with the VA on Oct. 12, and was confirmed for an appointment Dec. 20, a local NBC affiliate reported.
Cpl. Buisman died Nov. 26, 2012, with “seizure disorder” listed as the cause on his death certificate. On Nov. 30, four days after his death, someone wrote in the Marine’s VA records that he canceled his appointment and rescheduled it for Jan. 17, NBC reported.
read more here

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

VA appointment 2 years after Vietnam Vet died

In all fairness, this veteran was being treated by the VA but the veteran and his wife wanted care closer to home and that is what they were waiting for. It wasn't a case of waiting to be seen. Just goes to show what you can do with a title,,,,,,
Veteran finally gets VA appointment 2 years after his death
The Washington Times
By Jessica Chasmar
Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Department of Veterans Affairs has issued an apology after a Massachusetts widow received a letter offering her husband an appointment almost two years after he died.

Doug Chase, a Vietnam veteran, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2011, his widow Suzanne, of Acton, told a CBS affiliate in Boston.

In 2012, Mrs. Chase said she tried to move her husband’s medical care from Boston to the VA hospital in Bedford, so they could be closer to home, but they waited four months and never heard anything. He died in August 2012.

Ms. Chase said she received a letter in the mail two weeks ago that was addressed to her husband, saying he could call to make an appointment.

“It was 22 months too late, I kind of thought I was in the twilight zone when I opened this letter and read it,” she told the news station.
read more here

Monday, June 23, 2014

Veteran in VA Mental Health "care?" for 8 years with no care

Reminder, none of this is new and that is the part that should get to you the most. Countdown top VA scandals from 2008
Eight years for psych eval a “harmless error,” VA says
Stars and Stripes
By Travis J. Tritten
Published: June 23, 2014
6 minutes ago

WASHINGTON — A veteran admitted to a long-term VA mental health care facility in Massachusetts waited eight years for his first comprehensive psychiatric evaluation by staff.

Another patient with a 100 percent service-connected psychiatric condition was committed at the same Brockton facility for seven years before a single psychiatric note was placed on his medical chart.

The cases are among dozens of incidents whistleblowers in the Department of Veterans Affairs have reported out of concern for patients’ safety but the VA has failed to take the incidents seriously, or admit they might affect the quality of treatment in its nationwide system of hospitals and clinics, according to a letter sent to President Barack Obama on Monday by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

The VA has instead claimed such incidents were “harmless errors,” according to the OSC, an independent federal watchdog charged with protecting whistleblowers and fielding complaints.
read more here
Now consider this. The House Veterans Affairs Committee has been in operation since 1946. They have had that long to fix the VA and take care of our veterans. Anyone ask why they didn't?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Congress Owes Veterans

Congress Owes Veterans
Not the other way around
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 26, 2014

Like most Americans I was deluded. I just assumed this country took care of veterans no matter what war, no matter where they lived or what they needed. My Dad was a Korean War veteran, 100% disabled and was taken care of after a fighting to have his claim approved. My uncles were WWII veterans but didn't go to the VA until they were elderly.

It was not until 30 years ago my rude awakening began. It didn't matter which party was in control or who was in the Oval Office at the time. Veterans were never taken care of properly.

While members of the House and Senate are trying to figure out how to pay for the new round of spending on veterans, people need to be aware of the simple facts.

America's Wars Total (1775-1991)
U.S. Military Service during Wartime 41,892,128
Battle Deaths 651,031
Other Deaths (In Theater) 308,800
Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater) 230,279
Non-mortal Woundings 1,431,290
Living War Veterans (Total will be more than sum of conflicts due to no “end date” established for Persian Gulf War.) 16,962,000
Living Veterans (Periods of War and Peace) 23,234,000
Since 1979, VA’s Readjustment Counseling Service has operated Vet Centers, which provide psychological counseling for war-related trauma, community outreach, case management and referral activities, plus supportive social services to veterans and family members. There are 232 Vet Centers.

Yes you read the year right. 1979.

When you read anything on PTSD and veterans remember how long they have been "doing" something.

Congress keeps talking about the number of veterans in this country, however the VA has never had all veterans in their system.
In fiscal year 2008, VA provided $38.9 billion in disability compensation, death compensation and pension to 3.7 million people. About 3.2 million veterans received disability compensation or pension from VA. In addition, about 554,700 spouses, children and parents of deceased veterans received VA benefits. Among them are 170,144 survivors of Vietnam-era veterans and 235,000 survivors of World War II veterans.

1988....Legislation to elevate VA to Cabinet status signed by President Reagan. 1989....On March 15, VA became the 14th Department in the President's Cabinet. (Department of Veterans Affairs)

Secretaries of Veterans Affairs
Eric K. Shinseki 2009 – Present
James B. Peake 2007 - 2009
Bush left a backlog of 816,211 in 2008. This was left after some veterans were just cut off in 2003. VA officials say they must focus on veterans with the greatest needs - those with the most serious service-related illnesses and injuries and those too poor to afford other health care. But many veterans - and the organizations that represent them - say it is a broken promise.
R. James Nicholson 2005–2007
Anthony J. Principi 2001–2005
Before Afghanistan and Iraq veterans required VA.
In FY 2000, more than 3.8 million patients used VA health care, over 2.6 million veterans and family members received monthly VA disability compensation payments
Clinton left a backlog of 400,000 in 2001.
Over the next 5 years, we anticipate losing over 1,100 experienced VSRs due to retirement. To avoid a skill gap, we have added a significant number of new employees and will continue to do so for the next few years. We expect our quality and timeliness will be affected as we recruit and train new employees. It takes 2 to 3 years for VSRs to achieve a full level of decision-making expertise.
We expect a significant increase in workload due to (1) the Veterans Claims Assistance Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-475, also referred to as the Duty to Assist), which requires additional duties in assisting claimants; and (2) a recent regulatory change, which makes diabetes a presumptively service-connected disability for Vietnam veterans who served in Southeast Asia. As a result, we amended our FY 2001 performance target upward from 142 days to 195 days.
Togo D. West Jr. 1998-2000
Jesse Brown 1993–1997
Edward J. Derwinski 1989–1992

It does not matter which of our elected officials are sitting in the chairs because they never take care of the men and women putting their lives on the line. Had any congress been interested in fixing the VA for all veterans since 1989 there would be no need of veterans suffering and waiting for the care that was promised. Congress forgot that the bill is not what veterans owe but is in fact what congress owes them.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Members of congress forgot Veterans already paid the bill!

This is about treating all veterans and families the same, not just covering certain families of certain generations and certain wars! As for paying for it, some members of Congress must have forgotten that it was already paid for by the veterans when risked their lives!
Massive veterans bill heading toward Senate vote
Gregg Zoroya
February 24, 2014

What has been characterized as the most sweeping veterans legislation in decades could reach the Senate floor for a vote as early as Tuesday.

The legislation authored by Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who chairs the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, contains 143 provisions and would cost more than $30 billion.

With a long title — the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014 — the bill, among other things, includes: restoring cost-of-living increases for military retiree pensions; expanding Department of Veterans Affairs health care, allowing the VA to acquire 27 new medical facilities and paying for reproductive services for 2,300 troops wounded in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

It would expand compensation for family caregivers of disabled veterans — something now provided for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan — to families of veterans of all wars.

Nearly all veteran organizations support the bill.
read more here

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Town Hall meeting for veterans in the Central Florida

Public service announcement
A Veterans Town Hall meeting for veterans in the Central Florida area will be February 10th, 2014 at 7 p.m. to gather information on the services of the VA Medical Center. The information gather will assist in the medical benefits and services of the Medical Center.

Each year the System Worth Saving Task Force members conduct a series of site visits to the Medical Facilities of Department of Veterans Affairs.

As part of the System Worth Saving initiative, guest representatives attending the Monday night Town Hall meeting are the National American Legion Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation program chairman, the VA Medical Center Director, Orange County government officials and National/State American Legion officers.
We want to know:
Why do you come to the facility?
What is the biggest challenge that you face at the facility?
What can be improved in the services you receive?

All area veterans and interested individuals are invited to attend. The meeting agenda will focus on services and benefits render by the VA Medical Center. Hosted by American Legion Post 286, (529 E. Fairlane Ave., Orlando, FL 32809, 407-859-1460).

The American Legion Family (Legionnaires, Auxiliary, Son of Legionnaires) founded in 1919, the world's largest patriotic service organization continues to serve veterans and their families across American. We need your input on how better to serve. Please attend this free Veterans Town Hall meeting.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

VA told veteran with cancer it was just hemorrhoids

When it comes to the VA it all depends on where you live, not where you served or what you need.
The new document obtained by CNN shows a worse problem than has previously been made public by the VA.

As CNN has previously reported, as many as 7,000 veterans were on a backlog list -- waiting too long for colonscopies or endoscopies -- at VA facilities in Columbia, South Carolina and Augusta, Georgia.
In some areas of the country the VA has been able to get veterans in for appointments when they should but are lousy at approving claims that get them in the door. Some states it is the opposite. Great on claims but lousy on appointments.

Americans are under the impression that it doesn't matter where our veterans live because that is the way it should be. The truth however shows all veterans are not treated equally or adequately.
Veterans dying because of health care delays
CNN Investigations
By Scott Bronstein, Nelli Black, and Drew Griffin
January 30, 2014

CNN has learned 19 veterans died because of delays in basic screenings
The delays occurred at VA hospitals and clinics
It took a year for veteran Barry Coates to get a colonoscopy
He is now undergoing chemotherapy for rectal cancer

(CNN) -- U.S. veterans are dying because of delays in diagnosis and treatment at VA hospitals.

At least 19 veterans have died because of delays in simple medical screenings like colonoscopies or endoscopies, at various VA hospitals or clinics, CNN has learned.

That's according to an internal document from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, obtained exclusively by CNN, that deals with patients diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and 2011.

The veterans were part of 82 vets who have died or are dying or have suffered serious injuries as a result of delayed diagnosis or treatment for colonoscopies or endoscopies.

Barry Coates is one of the veterans who has suffered from a delay in care. Coates was having excruciating pain and rectal bleeding in 2011. For a year the Army veteran went to several VA clinics and hospitals in South Carolina, trying to get help. But the VA's diagnosis was hemorrhoids, and aside from simple pain medication he was told he might need a colonoscopy.
read more here

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Veterans exposed to cadaver parts from contaminated lab

Veterans exposed to cadaver parts from contaminated lab
By Kathleen Miller
January 24, 2014

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs ordered $241 million of cadaver tissue and other material derived from human and animal bodies in the last three years, some of it from vendors warned by federal regulators about contamination in their supply chain.

About $4.7 million of the VA purchases came from Alachua, Fla.-based RTI Surgical Inc. and the nonprofit Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation, of Edison, N.J., according to data obtained by Bloomberg News under a Freedom of Information Act request.

The VA ordered human tissue from the two suppliers after they were warned by the FDA for safety deficiencies — RTI for contaminated products and processing facilities, and Musculoskeletal Transplant for distributing tissue from tainted donor bodies, according to federal contracting data compiled by Bloomberg.

The suppliers said they have addressed the problems, which weren't tied to human harms.

The disclosures come as Congress and veterans' advocates are pressing the VA about whether it tracks body parts and other implants used to treat veterans well enough to warn patients of potential dangers. In September 2012, the VA shelved a system it was building to help alert patients when the parts are recalled. Some of the VA's buying was made outside standardized purchasing contracts without required justifications, the Government Accountability Office said earlier this month.

"It's a big accident waiting to happen," said Rick Weidman, executive director for government affairs with the Silver Spring, Md.-based Vietnam Veterans of America.
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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Snowbirds plucked from VA Healthcare in Florida

Received an email from a friend living halftime in Florida and halftime in Massachusetts.

This is happening to me at Bay Pines. If I switch, I can lose all my Massachusetts veterans benefits. For over 10 years I have been seen by a Doctor at both Bay Pines and Bedford VA's. who both order blood tests that monitor drug treatment levels. I am not the only one. They are discouraging all snowbird disabled vets not to us the VA.

Bay pines says"

Service connection does not come into play when duel primary care provider is decided. It is based on medical necessasity. For your medical needs your are followed by coumadin clinic here as well as Mass. and your follow up appointments can be scheduled appropiatly timed when you are up in Mass.

You will be seen here for urgent matters.

You do not have to choose a different primary every time you go to a VA. You can only have 1 primary Doctor and 1 primary VA and you need to decide what facilty you want as your primary VA.

When you go to a different VA each VA has what is called an urgent care unit sort of like a walk in clinic. We have many Vets who get seen here but they have primary care providers at their main VA it is up to you who you want to stay with as your Primary care physician.

You can be seen here for the coumadin clinic like you have been but if you need to see a doctor when you are sick then you go to our MOD A
1: Choose what VA your want as permanant VA Bedford or Baypines
2: You will be seen here in the coumadin clinic
3: If you get sick you can go to MOD A
Vets are never refused care no matter where they go
Here is part of a news report from last year

Snowbird veteran denied VA clinic care
Highlands Today
March 11, 2013

A disabled veteran from Michigan said Tuesday that as a snowbird living in Sebring six months out of the year, he was recently denied care at the local VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, when they had cared for him in years gone by.

Vietnam veteran Gary L. Johnson said he served 19 months in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged as a sergeant with the 25th Infantry Command Group.

He earned two Bronze Stars, a National Defense Service Medal, a Vietnam Service Medal, a Combat Infantry Badge, a Good Conduct Medal and a Vietnam Campaign Medal.

He has a two-bedroom home in Whisper Lake.

Johnson is 100 percent disabled. Some of his illness is linked to exposure to Agent Orange, he said. He also suffers with post traumatic stress disorder.

"I've been coming down here for quite a few years," he said. "I started going to the Sebring VA clinic approximately five years ago. I've always been taken care of. This year I went there and they said they couldn't treat me, that I had to go over to Bay Pines (in St. Petersburg).

"So that's 100 miles each way, which is kind of asinine to me when they have a place this close where they can do it as they've done in the past. This is the first time that it's happened. They give fantastic care at the Sebring VA clinic. I even bought them pizza and pop last year before I went back home."

This whole situation has made him feel like he's just another number to the government he served.

"I served my country," he said. "I served it well. I'm paying for it now."
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

No one knows how to pay for new VA bill?

No one knows how to pay for new VA bill?

43 minutes ago
Sanders: Veterans bill will get bipartisan support, despite few details on how to pay for it
Stars and Stripes
By Leo Shane III
Published: January 22, 2014

WASHINGTON -- Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is confident that lawmakers from both parties will support the initiatives in his wide-ranging legislative package for veterans if it comes up for a chamber vote next week.

But Senate leaders still haven’t settled on how they’ll pay for its $30 billion price tag, and that decision will likely determine its future in the House.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has promised the bill -- which covers dozens of changes to Department of Veterans Affairs appropriations, veterans education benefits and post-military health care -- will be brought up for a vote “as quickly as possible.”

But how to pay for the legislation hasn’t been worked out yet. Sanders said his staff is looking at tapping into overseas contingency funding as the most likely option, saying he sees plenty of waste and excess in that account that could be redirected for the post-war needs of veterans.

That’s unlikely to gather Republican support in the House, since leadership there has resisted tapping into overseas resources to pay for new programs.

Republicans have blasted Democratic efforts to use annual reductions in contingency spending to offset new spending, arguing that the approach is nothing more than a budgeting gimmick.
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