Showing posts with label claim backlog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label claim backlog. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

90 BVA judges decide cases, with an “inventory” of over 425,000 cases pending

When the VA misrepresents performance, veterans suffer

The Hill
Veterans suffer from this misrepresentation. The volume of veterans’ appeals is huge. The vast majority are related to disability compensation claims. Some 90 BVA judges decide cases, with an “inventory” of over 425,000 cases pending. A veteran must wait seven years for the BVA to decide his or her case. If the decision is incorrect, the veteran must hire a lawyer, appeal yet again, and spend years to get the error fixed. Veterans are caught in this “churn” of appeals, creating extreme cynicism among some veterans groups. In one veteran’s assessment, VA’s error-prone case handling consists of “delay, deny, hope they die.”

Administrative judges appear to be performing better than ever, in spite of huge increases in performance quotas. The Trump Justice Department implemented an annual “production quota” of 700 cases for immigration judges. The Social Security Administration requested its disability judges to increase their output by almost 20 percent over the past few years. And the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) increased its output by a whopping 62 percent in one year, deciding 52,661 cases in 2017 and 85,288 cases in 2018.

The Constitution demands that agencies decide cases accurately. And in spite of the production increase, the BVA reported an “accuracy rate” of 94 percent for 2018. According to this reported rate, only 6 percent of BVA decisions contain legal mistakes. If true, these statistics would mean that agencies deciding hundreds of thousands of cases each year — more than all federal courts combined — can provide high quality justice for immigrants, veterans and the disabled at unprecedented rates.

Has the BVA finally cracked the constitutional code of mass adjudication? Nothing could be further from the truth. Our research teams at Stanford and UCLA unearthed data on nearly 600,000 cases never before studied by outside researchers, as well as hundreds of pages of agency documents. Drawing on this information and in-depth interviews with agency officials, our research shows that the BVA is seriously misrepresenting its performance.
A typical case for veterans benefits involves thousands of pages of exhibits and numerous complicated legal issues. A veterans law judge must decide 25-30 of these cases each week. Commenting on the impact of rushed decision-making on the quality of his work, one veterans law judge confided that he found himself forced to sign decisions he never would have signed in earlier years: “I could have integrity here or I could stay employed.”
read more here

Saturday, November 17, 2018

FORTUNE got GI Bill report WRONG

Reporters need IT upgrade!

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 17, 2018

"10,000 Student Veterans Haven't Received Crucial GI Bill Payments, VA Admits" is how Fortune reported the GI Bill payments what were not delivered. WTF?

We just read how the number is 82,000!

They also got the wrong info on the IT system!
“Essentially, the law requires a 50-year-old IT platform that was designed to do the equivalent of basic math to instead perform something akin to calculus in short order,” a VA spokesperson told the Journal in an email.

The VA spent $4 million on 300,000 hours of overtime August through October to try and deal with the immediate ramifications. The agency further estimates that 450,000 veterans have some sort of error in their payments.

Last year, the VA estimated that the necessary computer changes to update their systems would cost $70 million.
Ya, they did, but what happened to all the other millions and all the lost years?
"We live in a world where we never want to see what goes on in the lives of the men and women we depend on for what we enjoy. No one wants to see the price they pay or how hard they have to fight in combat we send them into or the nightmare they have to go through trying to move on with their lives. It's easier to ignore them as if they weren't there." Kathie Costos Wounded Times
In 2008, the thought was to create a new GI Bill that would inspire more recruits into the military. This was reported by Stars and Stripes.
"It is a very attractive incentive package, there’s no question about that. So individuals will be very interested in enlisting for education benefits," predicted Curtis Gilroy, director of accession policy for the Department of Defense. "But we will see a spike in the quality of our enlisted cohort as well," Gilroy added, because that heavier flow of prospective recruits "primarily will have college in mind."
The House was very busy back then. They were also adding funds to what came after the recruits were turned into veterans.
By a vote of 409-4 the House today passed legislation funding the Department of Veterans Affairs for FY 2009. The bill (HR 6599) includes $3.8 billion for mental illness treatment and $584 million for substance abuse treatment in the VA, significant increases over current year funding. Overall, the Veterans Health Administration budget is set at $40.8 billion for FY 2009 -- $1.6 billion more than the President requested and $3.9 billion more than current levels. It is projected that the VA will serve 5.8 million veterans in 2009.

It is really a shame on all of us when there was a surplus of funds that were supposed to be for suicide prevention.

Oh, but the problems with the VA did not happen overnight  and when we look back at what was promised, what was spent, and what the results turned out to be, most heads explode!
In 2008, there were reports on how the system was not just broken, but plans to fix it were AWOL.
VBA's pending compensation and claims backlog stood at 816,211 as of January 2008, up 188,781 since 2004, said Kerry Baker, associate legislative director of the Disabled Veterans of America, during a Wednesday hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. 
Baker said VBA must have the funds necessary to upgrade its IT infrastructure to handle the backlog and a growing caseload. Anything short of an increase is "a recipe for failure," he added. 
Carl Blake, national legislative director for the Paralyzed Veterans of America, said VBA needed $121 million in its fiscal 2009 budget for its information technology. According to VA budget documents, VBA requested an IT budget of $109.6 million for its compensation and benefits programs, down $23.8 million from $133.4 million in 2008. VA requested an overall 2009 IT budget of $2.53 billion in 2009, up from $2.15 billion in fiscal 2008, with the largest portion earmarked for the Veterans Health Administration.
But that only added to the 8,763 veterans dying while waiting for their claims to be honored. But since that was not enough, by June of 2009, the VA claim backlog hit 1 Million! The answer was to spend $70 million more to replace the  appointment system.

I could keep going on this, but you get the idea now that no matter how much money contractors got paid to deliver the care our veterans deserve, they did not have to repay one dime and Congress just kept funding more of the same. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

VA Claim Backlog 70,537...maybe?

Inspector general finds VA claims backlog greater than reported
Stars and Stripes
Nikki Wentling
September 10, 2018

WASHINGTON – The number of backlogged benefits claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs is larger than the agency reported, according to findings released Monday from a government watchdog.

The VA considers backlogged claims to be veterans’ claims for benefits that take longer than 125 days to approve or deny. The VA Inspector General’s Office reported officials omitted 63,600 backlogged claims from its count during the first half of 2016, creating a misrepresentation of how many claims were delayed.

Overall, the VA’s estimated backlog represents only 79 percent of actual backlogged claims, the IG determined.
read more here

Friday, March 30, 2018

How many times are we going to sit back and let this happen?

Are we really going to accept this betrayal?
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 30, 2018

Ok, I need to clear the air after the post from yesterday calling what President Trump did an evil act. That is exactly what is. 

Why is sending veterans into the private health system bad? If you are a citizen, you know what we have to deal with on a daily basis. If you are healthy, you have no problems, but if you need to see a doctor, you know it is never really fun.

Just to clarify, I have a lot of problems with my back. I work a full time job, plus do 45 hours of volunteer work a week. I am busy, with no time to really take care of myself. 

Anyway, two years ago I started falling down a lot more often. I had pain running down my leg. I knew something was wrong. I called my Doctor and waited for an appointment.

I would have had to wait longer but I am an established patient, so they got me in as soon as they could. It was about 4 days later, I was in the exam room and he was pretty sure I was dealing with nerve problems. He wanted me to get an MRI.

I had to wait for that appointment, still in pain because he didn't know what he was dealing with. Then a couple more weeks, I had the MRI. 

He wanted me to see an Orthopedic surgeon. I had to wait for that appointment, still in pain. Two weeks later, I got an phone call saying they were sorry but they didn't take my insurance. Two more weeks and I ended up with an appointment with an office that accepted my insurance, and yep, you guessed it, another week before I got to see them.

That doctor took an Xray, then looked at the MRI. Turns out that my back was a mess. A vertebrate moved, crushed discs, nerves and top that off with arthritis and fluid build up.

Still in pain, we talked about an operation but we decided to do pain management instead.

Yes, you guessed it. No pain meds, still in pain, then waited for an appointment. Once again, they didn't take my insurance, so we had to find another office. Needless to say, that took another three weeks.

Finally got an appointment, they set up getting shots into my spine and I finally got some pain meds.

Shots over and feeling better. Went for the followup and told him the pain was ok to deal with. That lasted 6 weeks. It came back worse. I called to have more shots done, but that Doctor left the practice. They didn't have anyone to replace him. I was also running out of pain meds.

Phone call after phone call, finally I went to the office and told them I was not going to leave until they found me another office to go to.

I ended up with someone who did not have the right authorization to do the shots. 

I went back to my primary care doctor. He referred me to another office and refilled my meds.

Waited longer again, then went for the consultation. Waited for the shots and they stared working.

All in all, that took about a year and a half to get semi out of pain.

In that time, my husband, who goes to the VA had several appointments for all kinds of things. They are pretty quick on getting him in, or if they can't, they refer him out. That doesn't happen often at all.

He is also an established patient at the VA. He doesn't have to worry about his insurance being turned down, or having a doctor leave without someone filling their place. He doesn't have to go from one part of Florida to the other and praying someone helps him.

Why the hell would anyone think it was a good idea to send veterans into our hell after they paid for their coverage the day they became a member of the military and were disabled for their service? Why the hell would anyone forget that? Reject the fact that these veterans were promised this care? Who the hell would have such disrespect for that service they even consider treating them like the rest of us?

The fact President Trump has been complaining about our healthcare system for decades should be a clue that he knows what he is sending our veterans into. Does he even care?

Ok, now, lets talk about the VA and the backlog of claims.
As of 2016, the VA "enrollees" were 8.97 million out of 21,681,000. 

On claims, you can check out the back log here 

January 2009 390,000 pending with 86,084 over 180 days. The C and P Claims were 624,755 and over 180 days were 129,872. 

What is C and P? Compensation and Pension exams. That is to figure out of what the illness or injury is, are tied to military service, at what rate or if it falls under pensions. Without that rating, the veteran is waiting for money and usually, treatment.

By July it was 416,085 and 82,122 over 180 days. C and P 737,575 and 147,311 over 180 days.

January of 2014, pending claims were 685,686, over 125 days it was 405,938.

As of December 2017 308,621 and 72,440 over 125 days, and I bet by know you have a better idea of what they all have in common. Veterans waiting for Congress to actually do their jobs and fix the VA so veterans won't have to go to a private practice and be treated like they did not deserve the best care this country could give them!

We've listened to all the bullshit all the time but it is about to get even worse now that there is yet another election year coming up and all the members of the House of Representatives will talk about how bad it is for our veterans and how much they plan on fixing it. After all, they all say it but none of them have managed to ever explain WHY THE HELL THEY HAVE TREATED YOU LIKE YOU NO LONGER MATTER AT ALL!

So, yes, dear reader, what POTUS just did is evil. It is also evil while he talks about sending you into this mess, he is also saying that older veterans and families, like mine, have the  "permanent and total" reduced down to when the President thinks we deserve it! Good luck on all the money you'll lose after not paying into Social Security because you were disabled by service and could not work! Hope your kids and grandkids have extra room when you can't pay your rent, or mortgage, or any care that will no longer be available from the VA they took care of when you were 100%.

How many times are we going to sit back and let this happen?

How many time will we allow any politician talk about and plan for destroying our lives?

They used to be ashamed to admit this was their goal all along. Now POTUS is actually proud to say it? WTF!

Someone needs to tell him and every member of Congress, veterans are not taking it anymore!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

VA paid out roughly $1.1 billion to break promises

VA wants $782 million for electronic health records overhaul...still? may have shocked you, but the GAO has an even bigger shocker.

The Government Accountability Office found that VA paid out roughly $1.1 billion between fiscal 2011 and 2016 to contractors working to update the agency’s outdated Veterans Information Systems and Technology Architecture system. The agency has relied on the platform to manage health records for its 9 million beneficiaries since the 1980s.
The department gave the bulk of the billion to 15 contractors—one of which is getting a sole-source $10 billion contract to try again.
NextgovJack CorriganDecember 8, 2017 
The Veterans Affairs Department wasted more than a billion dollars over six years attempting to upgrade its electronic health records system before scrapping the projects in June, according to a congressional watchdog.
Fifteen individual contractors received about two-thirds of the money spent during that period, and the remaining funds were distributed among 123 other firms. The VA has since announced plans to give one of those 15 major contractors, Cerner Corp., another crack at modernizing the agency’s health IT with a sole-source $10 billion contract to rebuild its medical record management platform.
read more here
And what did veterans get out of all that money? Backlog of claims, missing records and misery!

What they sure didn't get was an apology from members of Congress.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

POTUS Is Too Old To Not Know Better

When Does Accountability Actually Happen?
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 24, 2017

"Responding to an Obama-era scandal in which veterans died waiting for doctor’s appointments" is just too sickening to be funny at this point. 

President Donald Trump displays the “Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017” after signing in the East Room of the White House, Friday, June 23, 2017
Responding to an Obama-era scandal in which veterans died waiting for doctor’s appointments, Mr. Trump said the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 will “make sure that the scandal we suffered so recently never, ever happens again.”
“What happened was a national disgrace, and yet some of the employees involved remained on the payrolls,” Mr. Trump said. “Our veterans have fulfilled their duty to this nation, and now we must fulfill our duty to them.”
Gee that sounds really good and what happened with the last President was really bad. It sounds that way but it is pure political bullshit!

History has shown that none of this is new but it also proved that all the speeches about them giving a crap in the first place, have produced too little changes for the better.

Last week we had to battle to make sure that senior veterans did not get hit by the "unemployable" portion of their comp being cut. Well, veterans actually won that part because folks paid attention and fought back. The problem is, it wasn't the first time veterans had to fight for what they should have been able to count on.

Here is a little blast from the past
This is from just before the last President took the oath in 2009

Wounded Warriors in Beetlejuice altered universe

Getting benefits for post-traumatic stress, for losing flexibility, for being in the kind of shape in which you want to work but can't do what you once did — these are the kinds of injuries backlogging the system. 
"We're combating an archaic VA system," said LeJeune, who has been in contact with the state's congressional delegation about his concerns. 
Congress introduced a bill signed into law in December 2007 that increased veterans' funding to help reduce the 400,0000 backlogged claims and 177-day average wait, according to information from U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter's office. 
"It has become an adversarial system," said Shea-Porter. "It certainly isn't supposed to be that way. The frustration we're hearing is accurate. Congress is aware of it. Part of the problem is, we didn't have resources; we were forced to make these terrible unfair decisions." 
LeJeune has been fighting to get his disability rating at 100 percent. It is now at 90 percent. 
"Two-thousand seven hundred dollars a month total disability," Worrall said. "That ain't a lot to live on, (along with) Social Security. I used to make $85,000 a year on the job. I'll be fine because I've planned for retirement. My ability to make that kind of money is gone. What happens to these kids who never had a career? You're going to make them live on three grand a month?" 

That cut was nothing new. Politicians have been pulling that stunt for decades. Veterans had to fight to stop Congress from cutting $75 million from homeless veterans. Oh, almost forgot to mention that was back in 2011.

Then again, historical facts hardly ever get mentioned anymore when the press does a report that should actually matter enough for us to get the whole truth. Messy business telling the truth is. When you are up against popular folks telling you what they want you to know, they somehow manage to trip you up with nonsense.

Time for history lesson  
Am J Psychiatry 1991; 148:586-591 Copyright © 1991 by American Psychiatric Association
Suicide and guilt as manifestations of PTSD in Vietnam combat veterans

RESULTS: Nineteen of the 100 veterans had made a postservice suicide attempt, and 15 more had been preoccupied with suicide since the war. Five factors were significantly related to suicide attempts: guilt about combat actions, survivor guilt, depression, anxiety, and severe PTSD. Logistic regression analysis showed that combat guilt was the most significant predictor of both suicide attempts and preoccupation with suicide. For a significant percentage of the suicidal veterans, such disturbing combat behavior as the killing of women and children took place while they were feeling emotionally out of control because of fear or rage.

CONCLUSIONS: In this study, PTSD among Vietnam combat veterans emerged as a psychiatric disorder with considerable risk for suicide, and intensive combat-related guilt was found to be the most significant explanatory factor. These findings point to the need for greater clinical attention to the role of guilt in the evaluation and treatment of suicidal veterans with PTSD.

Although the link is from 1991 it applies even more now.

From Senator Akaka 2006

In addition, a March 20, 2005, article in the Los Angles Times pointed out how concerned veterans' advocates and even some VA psychiatrists are with VA's handling of PTSD services, saying VA hospitals are "flirting with disaster." The article highlighted the situation at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, specifically the Los Angeles VA hospital, which last year closed its psychiatric emergency room. A decade ago, VA hospitals in Los Angeles had rooms to treat 450 mentally ill patients each day. After a series of cutbacks and consolidations, however, the main hospital can now accommodate only 90 veterans overnight in its psychiatric wards. During the same 10-year period, the overall number of mental health patients treated by the VA Greater Los Angeles increased by about 28 percent, to 19,734 veterans in 2004. Mr. President, if this is how VA handles PTSD care for our veterans at the nation's largest VA hospital, how does that bode for the rest of the nation?

VA Cuts 2006
WASHINGTON, May 27 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Budget Resolution passed by both houses of Congress will result in staff reductions in every VA Medical Center at a most inauspicious time—as veterans return from the war in Iraq and as increasing numbers of veterans need care from the system, said Thomas H. Corey, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA).
The impact will be significant among those returning troops who suffer from mental health issues such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), those who have sustained loss of limbs, and other serious injuries.

Military Suicide 2005
Gordon Smith: "It's a tragedy to ever lose a soldier for any cause, but it just seems extra cruel when the cause is suicide. They're defending our country, America's interests and if we can't give them mental health assistance when they're in harm's way, we're really falling down on the job."Preventing suicide is a very personal issue for Oregon Senator Gordon Smith -- his own son Garrett committed suicide. 88 active duty soldiers killed themselves in 2005, a number that was up 13% over 2003 and more than 70% over 2001.


VA officials agreed that the earlier estimate of 2,900 new cases for all of fiscal 2006 was an “underestimate.” Indeed, it was even lower than the 3,600 cases the VA diagnosed in the last three months of fiscal 2005.

VA Budget request in 2006

"This budget request indeed has glitter," Bock said. "But I am not yet sure how much of it is gold. It is a budget request that appears to table long-needed construction dollars, particularly in the area of grants for state veterans homes and leaves CARES (Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services) under-funded again. It takes a $13 million bite out of VA research. It also fails to provide sufficient funds for staffing and training in the Veterans Benefits Administration to address a claims backlog fast approaching one million."

Bock said he sees the estimate of 109,000 new VA patients in 2007 from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as a step toward better forecasting. "The under-estimated number of VA patients from the ongoing war contributed mightily to the $1.5 billion budget shortfall for VA health care in 2005," Bock said. "This appears to address that." He also applauded a requested increase in mental-health-care funding, from $2.8 billion to $3.2 billion.

Wait time to process claims in 2006 145 days
Although the Bush administration expects the backlog to continue rising, its 2007 budget proposal calls for decreasing the staff that directly handles such cases - 149 fewer workers, from the current year's 6,574.

The VA has long wanted to reduce its backlog to less than 250,000 claims. But the department's most recent projections have it rising to nearly 400,000 by the end of 2007.

Those are just a few reports from my old site. You know what is on this one.

Wait time 180 days in 2008 and 69,000 veterans waited more than 30 days for an appointment.

“For the 400,000 veterans, including combat-wounded vets, who are having to wait too long to have their [health] benefits cases reviewed, this bill means over 1,800 new VA caseworkers to reduce the unacceptable delays in receiving earned benefits,” Edwards said. “For veterans with traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, mental health care issues, and lost limbs, this bill means renewed hope to rebuild their lives.”
President Bush signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 today, handing over an extra $3.7 billion to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Bush had to sign the act by Jan. 18, or VA would have lost the promised extra funding, which will be used to hire and train people to process the backlog of more than 600,000 benefits claims, said Dave Autry, spokesman for Disabled American Veterans. Some of the money also will go toward medical research for conditions such as traumatic brain injuries. 
That was reported on Army Times January 17, 2008 and the link is still on Wounded Times

Veterans dying waiting for care in the news

29 Patients at Marion VA January 2008 and there were more, and more, and more.

Ok, and now for accountability: Exactly when does that happen?

Hint: It won't happen until we actually pay attention enough to know when what happened and who did it first!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

BOHICA Presidents Inherit Obligation to Veterans

Presidents Inherit Obligation to Veterans
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 17, 2017

Remember the expression "everything old is new again" because we've been down this road for so long now it is almost as if members of Congress forgot they were responsible for what the VA does and does not do. After all, they got jurisdiction over caring for our veterans back in 1946.

“Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.” ― George S. Patton Jr.
None of this BS was either one of those. If anyone tells you that all the problems our veterans and families face is new, it is all old news to us. After all, we've been living with it for decades, listening to promises when politicians on both sides want our votes, yet fail us once they get into office.

Or, did we fail ourselves and all the other generations to come? 

When I started to really pay attention 35 years ago, President Reagan had been in charge for a year. Maybe what he said summed up exactly what had been happening to veterans with these words.
"The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."
Part of the jobs politicians take is actually making the best use of taxpayers funds but the other part is actually delivering on the promises made to the men and women risking their lives for this country no matter who is Commander-in-Chief.

So far I've paid attention to what President Reagan, President Bush, President Clinton, President Bush and President Obama left behind as much as I'm paying attention to what President Trump is doing to veterans after making speeches of what all of them would do for veterans. While we never heard them say BOHICA, that is exactly what veterans and families have ended up with.

Stars and Stripes reported "VA Secretary: Money for Choice program will 'dry up' by mid-August"
Money is quickly and unexpectedly running out for a program that allows veterans to seek health care outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and VA Secretary David Shulkin is urging Congress to fix it.

In March, approximately $2 billion remained in the Veterans Choice Program, which was created following the 2014 wait-time scandal in order to allow veterans to seek outside health care. The funds dropped to $1.5 billion about a month later, and the account now holds $821 million, Shulkin told the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on June 14.

Shulkin had originally estimated $626 million would be left in the account by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. Now, he’s expecting all of the funds to run out before money for fiscal 2018 is appropriated.
To continue the Choice program through the end of the fiscal year, Shulkin is seeking the authority from Congress to transfer money from a separate community care account that holds approximately $2 billion. The VA secretary does not have the power to move the money between accounts.
Gee that sound bad. What is actually worse is that veterans do not want to have to make a choice between being by the VA or being seen by private providers. Rural veterans do need this option because their VA hospital is just too far away. In those cases, clinics or "community care" would be great, if they were run by the VA and not contractors. Having to see a contractor, frankly pisses them off.

Still, what makes all this worse is Congress let it get to the point where they are even talking about billions going to private providers instead of the care they were promised.

Here is a brief history of what veterans have had to deal with.

Richard and Vicki Wild of Hillsborough, N.C., said they were mystified when their son Mark’s disability claim was rejected. “We had 10 years’ worth of hospital records,” Mr. Wild said. Credit Jeremy M. Lange for The New York Times

Disability Cases Last Longer as Backlog Rises

"The agency's new plan to hire 150 new appeals judges to whittle down the backlog, which soared to 755,000 from 311,000 in 2000, will require $100 million more than the president requested this year and still more in the future.
Yes, you read the dates right. There were 311,000 in the backlog before President Bush took office. By 2007 it was 755,000. By June of 2008 it was 879,291. It was taking 185 days to process a veteran's disability claim.

And then it was President Obama's turn. by June of his first year in office, the backlog was over 915,000.

Now, while we actually got a brief sense of relief this week with news that senior veterans were not going to be forced to pay for the "care" with massive cuts to their disability checks, we cannot go back to sleep. What they get away with today will be something all other generations will have to be face with if we do no nothing about any of this.

Aren't you tired of reading how veterans keep getting failed? Then start fighting back! Don't wait for all the service organizations to do the job for us. After all, the OEF and OIF generation are controlling the news through social media because everything we had to deal with was still hanging over our heads and no one cared but us. 

UPDATE on something else in the news lately...
Everything old is still broken?
"House appropriators have provided $65 million in Fiscal Year 2018 funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs’ recently announced plans to switch its legacy electronic health record system to a commercial product from Cerner. However, the funds come with strings attached."
"VA announced June 5 that it plans to replace its decades-old legacy Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) records system with Cerner’s Millennium EHR, the same platform that the Department of Defense is currently implementing as part of Military Health System (MHS) Genesis."
So what did they get for the $6 Million and the other millions?

Congressional Record, House October 6, 2000 "The demonstration project may be conducted at several multi-specialty tertiary-care military medical treatment facilities affiliated with a university medical school. One of such facilities shall be supported by at least 5 geographically dispersed remote clinics of the Departments of Army, Navy and Air Force, and clinics of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and a local university.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Memphis VA Erased Claims of Veterans?

FOX13 Investigates: Claims of Memphis veterans being erased from VA system
FOX 13 News
by: Marius Payton
Nov 24, 2016

Waiting over a year just to see a doctor. FOX13 Investigates, obtained a secret wait list from a whistleblower who works at the Memphis VA hospital.
This list shows ridiculous wait times for dozens of vets to get the care they need and some may never get it at all. Some of these veterans are suffering from mental health issues and need help.
Of the 47 people on the list, the longest wait is 403 days, the shortest 206. We've all heard the phrase "Support Our Troops". Well, a whistleblower who wishes to remain anonymous tells FOX13 there are hundreds of veterans in need of support and the VA hospital here in Memphis is treating them more like villains instead of the heroes that they truly are.
"We were told not to add any more people to the electronic wait list.” When we asked what happens to the people who are on the existing list, the whistleblower responded emotionally. “They were still on the consultation list and then the consultations were discontinued.”

FOX13 obtained this internal email telling the staff, "Once a veteran is placed on the EWL, or electronic wait list, the consult should be discontinued."
read more here

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Vietnam Veteran Sent Wrong Medical Records by Congressman?

Reminder, none of this is new. Vietnam veterans have been fighting to have their claims honored since the 80's, stood in lines, fought backlog of claims and all of this, when no one was paying attention. Now that it seems as if everyone is paying attention, no one is doing anything to change what has been happening all along.

My husband's claim was filed in 1993. It took six years to get approved. We heard all the speeches and promises but had to live with the reality of members of Congress breaking all the promises they made to take care of our veterans.

One more reminder is Congress has jurisdiction over the VA budget, rules and laws. They don't like to remind anyone of that so if you member of Congress has been in longer than 2 years, ask them why they didn't fix all this before. It isn't as if they didn't know what was going on.
Vietnam veterans struggle to navigate VA system
Victoria Advocate
By Laura Garcia
September 3, 2016
He was upset that the congressman’s office accidentally mailed him medical documents that belonged to two other individuals.
Vietnam veteran Weldon Holmes came back from the war 46 years ago,
but has long fought with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Photo by Rugile Kaladyte.

Weldon Holmes, 67, clenches and unclenches his fists as he tries to figure out what exactly he wants to say.

He wants to tell his story and for someone to listen.

But he also wants change.

For at least the past 14 years, the Vietnam veteran has struggled to get through the bureaucracy of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Holmes is one of more than 440,000 veterans in the country with pending appeals that need to be resolved by the Veterans Benefits Administration.

The average wait time is three years, according to a press statement by VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald earlier this year. And for the appeals that reach the Board of Veteran Appeals, the wait is at least five years with thousands of cases lasting much longer.

McDonald said the VA needs resources to create a simplified appeals process that would enable the department to resolve appeals in a reasonable time frame. He said the backlog of claims has been reduced to 82,000 from a peak of 611,000 in March 2013.

But to veterans like Holmes, who are still waiting, this offers little consolation.

Some days Holmes is hopeful, and other days he can’t hide his anger from boiling over.
read more here

Thursday, March 10, 2016

VA Puts Deadline on VA Claims

VA gives deadline to veterans who have applied for health care
By Brandon Gray
Updated: Mar 09, 2016
The VA inspector general in September found extensive problems with the VA's health applications, including evidence that employees lost 10,000 applications and that more than 245,000 veterans on the pending list actually were deceased.
(MILITARY TIMES) - The Veterans Affairs Department has figured out how to fix a backlog of health care applications that dates back at least four years: Enforce a law requiring veterans to furnish the necessary paperwork, or the applications will be closed.

In a press release issued on Monday, VA officials said the department will “extend the healthcare enrollment application for one year” to 545,000 veterans who have applied for VA health care to allow time for VA to contact them and for the veterans to furnish the required information.

By law, VA must notify applicants with incomplete applications, and if the veteran receives the notice but does not provide the information, the department closes the request.

In the past, the VA's Health Eligibility Center has not tracked the status or timing of applications, resulting in an applications backlog that includes the applications of 545,000 living veterans and 245,000 deceased veterans.

“What happened is there had been a lot of deferred maintenance on this system ... and the HEC did not have the proper leadership making sure these records were being actively case-managed," said VA acting director for member services Matthew Eitutis.

According to VA, officials will reach out by mail and phone to all veterans on the pending list, as it has for 30,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who were mistakenly on that list.

These veterans automatically are entitled to health care for five years following their transition to the civilian community, but in many cases, the VA's software system mistakenly labeled their applications as needing signatures or income information.
read more here

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Will Congress Notice Neglect of Veterans Began With Congress

Neglect of Veterans Began With Congress!
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 29, 2015

"Gus Bilirakis represents Florida's 12th congressional district" wants to hold the VA accountable. Sounds good however veterans are wondering when members of Congress will hold themselves accountable in the first place. It isn't as if he hasn't known about all these problems.

He heard them just last year. Veterans tell Bilirakis about heath care complaints

Holding the VA accountable
Washington Examiner

Our veterans have bravely fought for our country. They have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy on a daily basis, and I am forever grateful for their service.

As vice chair of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, I have the privilege to work with my colleagues in the House to serve our nation's heroes. This is not a job I take lightly. This is my top priority – to ensure our veterans receive the support and care they deserve.

Unfortunately, as the committee has seen firsthand through many reports, hearings and meetings, our veterans often face unnecessary barriers when it comes to accessing quality care.

Earlier this year, a Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General report found "serious" problems with enrollment data for veterans seeking healthcare. The VA's inspector general confirmed that nearly 900,000 military veterans have officially pending applications for healthcare. Of those 900,000, an estimated 307,000 veterans listed died before their applications for care were processed.
read more here
Why not mention that a VA Claim does not go away until the veteran gives up? They can keep a claim in appeals for as long as they have the will to fight in them. Even when they pass away, the family can keep the claim in the system. Justice for veterans does not end when their lives do.

Why not mention the simple fact that veterans have been living on a rollercoaster of claims going way up over and over again as the line gets longer? While we're on the subject, how about mentioning the fact that Congress approved of the VA paying contractors to process claims as well as provide substandard care members of Congress always blame the VA employees for?
Not that he hadn't heard about all these problems going back to when he was first elected.
Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis is a Republican from Palm Harbor, representing Florida’s 12th Congressional District, which includes all of Pasco and northern parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. He was first elected to Congress on November 7, 2006, and is currently serving his fifth term in the United States House of Representatives.
But this part sums it all up!
Vice-Chairman, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs
Subcommittee on Health: Legislative, oversight, and investigative jurisdiction over the Veterans Health Administration, including medical services, medical support and compliance, medical facilities, medical and prosthetic research, and major and minor construction.

Bilirakis wrote,
They are depending on us to ensure the commitments made to them are upheld, as they have honored their commitment through service and sacrifice.
And he's right on that but what he is wrong about is the fact they blame members of Congress since they have jurisdiction over the VA. They heard all the speeches, read all the claims members have made since 1946 and they are fed up. Tied of promises delivered over and over again only to discover their pockets have been picked as they are pushed to the back of the line past sessions of Congress promised to fix.

Here's a few links to what they already know.

VA is buried in a backlog of never-ending veterans disability appeals

History Repeated on Veterans Waiting for the VA and Congress!

Veterans Crisis Proves the Devil is in the Details

Daily Show Jon Stewart credited for clueing in Congress?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Veterans Appeals Never-Ending Wait

VA is buried in a backlog of never-ending veterans disability appeals
LA Times
Alan Zarembo
November 23, 2015
If they limit veterans to one appeal a claim, it makes the system more efficient at the detriment of veterans' rights.
- James Vale, director of benefits for Vietnam Veterans of America
It's a veteran disability case that never ends.
Ivan Figueroa Clausell with paperwork from his disability appeals to the Department of Veterans Affairs. (Erika P. Rodriguez / For The Times)

In 1985, Ivan Figueroa Clausell filed a claim for a variety of conditions he said stemmed from a car accident while training with the Puerto Rico Army National Guard. The Department of Veterans Affairs ruled that he wasn't disabled.

He appealed and lost. He appealed again and lost again, and again and again.

In all, the VA has issued more than two dozen rulings on his case over the years. Still, he continues to appeal. Even after he won and started receiving 100% disability pay, he pressed on in hopes of receiving retroactive payments.

"I'm never going to give up," said the 66-year-old Vietnam veteran. "I don't care how long it takes."

Figueroa's is the oldest case among the more than 425,000 now swamping a veterans appeals system that advocates and government officials say is badly broken.

The appeals system does not have enough staff to handle the record number of veterans — from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as Vietnam — filing for disability payments over the last decade, then appealing when all or part of their claims are denied.

But experts point to a more fundamental problem. Unlike U.S. civil courts, the appeals system has no mechanism to prevent endless challenges. Veterans can keep their claims alive either by appealing or by restarting the process from scratch by submitting new evidence: service records, medical reports or witness statements.
Appeals that can't be resolved at VA regional offices around the country wind up at the appeals board. The 65 judges who handle cases ruled on 55,713 cases last fiscal year — an all-time high.
read more here