Showing posts with label veterans health care. Show all posts
Showing posts with label veterans health care. Show all posts

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Widow stuck with medical bills after VA wait time

This is a heartbreaking story but not for what you may think. In a perfect country, the one more of citizens envision when they think about our veterans, no veteran would ever have to fight for any care in return for their service. This is far from a perfect country and there are rules in place. Rules to stop all veterans from getting free healthcare without strings attached.

Getting out of the military? Ok, then you have free VA healthcare for 5 years even if you do not file a claim for disability. File a claim for compensation and then you get in line for your claim to be read, reviewed and then sent to another pile. If you do not agree with the decision, you get into another pile while your appeal is reviewed. Until your decision rating is made, you are responsible for what care the VA gives you unless you meet the income threshold for free care.

If you are getting out of the military, the VA covers your healthcare for 5 years but not your family. If you have a disability rating of 100% then your family can be covered under CHAMPVA.

This story is about a couple dealing with this. The veteran had cancer but was not seen as fast as he should have been and now the wife is dealing with losing her husband as well as a huge medical bill from a civilian hospital.
"Toward the end of Gene's life, he ended up in the emergency room in Kingman, and that care left Delores with nearly $200,000 in medical bills the VA wouldn't pay."
The kicker to all of this is that a small percentage of veterans actually use the VA. There are about 22 million veterans bu the VA pays compensation to less than 5 million. Yep, we can't even take care of the veterans seeking care from the government and far too many veterans won't ask for anything until they have tried everything else. This usually leaves them in a health crisis expecting to be taken care of only to discover they have arrived at the end of the line.
Did Veterans Affairs fail Gene Broadwell?
By Darcy Spears
CREATED Jul 11, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Would a veteran still be alive today if the VA saw him sooner or took care of him better? His widow says yes.

Cancer is often a death sentence. But it doesn't have to be, if you catch it early enough. That's a "what-if" scenario Delores Broadwell can't shake.

"They could have found it maybe earlier and did the chemo and the radiation. He'd still be sitting here talking to us."

We can still hear Gene Broadwell talk, thanks to audio tapes Delores made, with the doctors' permission, at Gene's visits to the VA, capturing his frustration.
read more here
You can find a lot more answers from the VA under Frequently Asked Questions

Friday, April 27, 2012

New Hampshire VA psychopharmacologist was intoxicated while providing patient care

“Why I Quit the VA”
April 26, 2012

Nicholas Tolentino spelled out the reasons he resigned from New Hampshire’s main Department of Veterans Affairs health center Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.

While his prepared remarks also detail just how flexible the VA’s data are when it comes to showing that vets are getting adequate mental-health care, it’s why the 14-year Navy vet says he left the VA last December after two years that may be most illuminating – and frustrating:
I could detail other instances of unethical practice at the Manchester VAMC that contributed to my decision to resign, but the final straw occurred when the medical center failed to take meaningful action in response to the discovery that a VA clinical psychopharmacologist was intoxicated while providing patient care. On October 31st, 2011 the Mental Health Service Line Manager discovered that a psychopharmacologist at our facility was noticeably intoxicated and slurring his speech. The Service Line Manager became aware of this situation when a veteran reported that the clinician had failed to appear for an appointment. Looking into the matter, I discovered that he had written numerous prescriptions during that day, presumably during the period of his intoxication.
read more here

Monday, April 23, 2012

Veterans healthcare exempt from budget cuts

Vets health care exempt from sequestration cuts
By Rick Maze -
Staff writer
Posted : Monday Apr 23, 2012

Funding for veterans’ health care programs is not subject to sequestration, the White House budget office announced Monday, ending months of speculation about how across-the-board budget cuts could be applied early next year if Congress cannot find a way to avoid fiscal disaster.

Sequestration, looming because Congress and the White House failed to reach an agreement on a 10-year, $1.2 trillion deficit reduction plan, also will not cut veterans’ benefits, leaving only administrative expenses of the Veterans Affairs Department potentially subject to reductions, according to legal opinion issued Monday by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

The announcement came in a letter to the Government Accountability Office, which had asked the White House for clarification about the automatic cuts’ effect on VA.

The Budget Control Act of 2011, which set up mechanism for cutting federal programs if a deficit spending agreement wasn’t reached, specifically exempted veterans’ benefits but had no clear statement about what might happen to veterans’ medical care expenses. read more here

Friday, March 9, 2012

Former VA Montana managers calling on Director Korogi to resign

Former VA Montana managers calling on Director Korogi to resign

Posted: Wednesday, March 7, 2012

At least four former high-level managers in the VA Montana Health Care System, including a former human resources director, attorney, physician and facilities manager, are calling for Director Robin Korogi to resign immediately because she has created an acrimonious work environment, jeopardized patient safety and subjected VA Montana to lawsuits.

"She has to go," said Charlie Hail, who worked as an attorney for the VA for 21 years.

"Absolutely. No questions asked. She continues to fire people without cause and is opening up the VA to litigation."

The chorus of voices calling for Korogi's resignation comes on the heels of a Billings Gazette article published Sunday focusing on why VA Montana has failed in recruiting in-patient psychiatrists to staff a mental health facility at Fort Harrison. The eight-bed acute-care wing has not been in operation since the $7 million facility was opened in June 2011. Current and former employees say the toxic work environment makes it impossible to recruit psychiatrists to the facility, and they hold Korogi responsible.

The situation has become so dire that it was a subject on Capitol Hill last week when U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., the state's only member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, brought it to the attention of VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki and VA Undersecretary for Health Robert Petzel.
read more here

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Expanding VA clinic meets hike in demand

Expanding Lynn VA clinic meets hike in demand

By David Liscio / The Daily Item

LYNN - With ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and baby boomers who fought in the Vietnam War now reaching retirement age with medical needs, the Veterans' Administration clinic on Boston Street is a busy place.

The clinic recently underwent a major expansion, increasing in size from 1,900 to nearly 8,000 square feet. A ribbon-cutting was held last month.

According to Arthur Salkins, 64, of Lynn, a U.S. Air Force veteran and commander of Franco-AMVETS Post 161, the clinic had 900 registered patients when it opened in 1998. Today, there are 2,143, said Salkins, who counts himself among them.

"Lynn has the highest number of veterans of any community in Essex County," he said Wednesday. "That's why this location is so important."

Michael Sweeney, the city veterans' agent, explained the expansion required gutting the first floor. "It was worth it and work is still under way in some parts of the building," he said. "The clinic provides a level of comfort. It's close by, so there's easy access. For some of the young returning veterans, that may make the difference of whether they come in for services or not."

U.S. Rep. John F. Tierney, a Salem Democrat and longtime proponent of the clinic, said the five-year fight during the Bush Administration to keep the facility in Lynn paid off. "We were able to convince them not to consolidate the clinic. Their proposals didn't stand up to what the actual facts were," he said Wednesday. "
read more here
Expanding Lynn VA clinic meets hike in demand

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Unique common oddities

Unique common oddities

Sarah Palin is not the brightest woman in the country, not the richest and certainly not the prettiest although when it comes to politicians, she may be the most attractive. The problem is, being attractive does not qualify someone for being in charge of anything. The media created the fascination. She was not nominated for the presidency but we don’t hear much about John McCain. The media hang on every Tweet she posts and they cover every appearance she makes. Yet John McCain, the actual nominee for the presidency, followed into the slow decent into the media abyss along with John Kerry and Al Gore, the spotlight on Palin has yet to dim. It is not driven by attention from us commoners but driven by the media.

Politicians and political ads fill the days as we attempt to watch TV. Their ads stuffed in our emails. CNN, MSNBC and Fox have dropped in-depth reporting on topics they used to make sure we knew about. It wouldn’t be so bad if the reporters knew their topic well enough to actually ask the questions the rest of us want answers for, but they don’t. We want to know, need to know, what the candidates plan on doing should they be elected. People deserve to know who really wants to cut Social Security, Medicare, Veterans Healthcare and the Department of Education when they talk about cutting spending. When they talk about worrying about the deficit and passing on the bill to our kids, we are worrying about surviving today and the current state of our lives knowing full well that if we fail today, the future will inherit all of this trouble.

Money flows into the campaigns allowing them to buy airtime. The media provide them with free advertising and that attention causes people to donate more. It’s big money for the media outlet and each year it costs more and more to run. Each year, there is more and more political ads being bought feeding the chain of attention. These people running for office are just as common as the rest of us but while we go to work on regular jobs taking care of one particular business, their business is the state they live in. It has never really been a matter of how well they do their jobs nut more about what kind of coverage they get from the media. The media decides what we learn and whom we learn about. It is one of the biggest reasons I no longer watch CNN, MSNBC or Fox.

When was the last time you actually heard anything about Iraq or Afghanistan? Our troops are deployed into two combat operations but we don’t seem to hear much about either one. We certainly don’t hear about the suicides, attempted suicides, the medicated state of soldiers suffering because they were sent over and over again into combat any more than we hear about the homeless veterans created by combat. Unless you are interested and invested enough to search for reports, you have no clue what any of them are going through. The media decided that reporting on them was just not sexy enough.

Here’s a thought. Considering the billions of dollars Iraq and Afghanistan caused us to spend along with the billions predicted to care for the combat wounded in the Veteran’s Healthcare system, wouldn’t it be great if the media figured out that there are more veterans of combat than politicians running for office? There is more money being dedicated to taking care of them than going into the political campaigns they find worthy of coverage. While they want to talk about the deficit, how about reporting on the fact neither war was in the budget or funded up until this year. It was all supplemental request for additional funding but none of the reporters have thought this is an important fact to mention. It is a certainty the politicians silently accepting all of this will find it in their best interest to remain silent on this fact.

Here in Florida with much of the population on Social Security, the ads try to cause the to fear cutbacks by the wrong people. It is true that money was cut from Medicare but it was not cut from benefits. It was cut from the waste, fraud and abuse hurting our seniors. The politicians the ads support actually have it in their plan to privatize Social Security. This fact is not mentioned by the ads or by the media. They also claim to care about our veterans but also in their plan is turning veterans’ healthcare over to private companies. We have over 400,000 veterans and the new VA hospital in Lake Nona is due to open in 2012. Do Florida politicians plan on turning that over to private companies too?

This nation sent them into combat. They served this one nation. This nation owes them the care they were promised. The VA is a government run program some politicians call a “welfare program” totally disregarding the facts behind the need for it. While there are problems in the VA you read about here everyday, some want to end it instead of fixing the problems. We deserve the truth on who is behind this just as much as we deserve to know who is really fighting for veterans but they are a minor topic for the media.

Getting back to the media darling Palin, the media did a lousy job covering that campaign when they did not report on McCain’s deplorable votes on veterans issues. It is disgraceful how he votes against them all the time while all these years he’s run as being one of them. The media just allowed the myth to go on much as they decided all along who they would turn into a common oddity to advertise as unique.

The next time you hear someone complain about the money being spent remember this.

VA Tops $1B Mark in Recovery Act Distributions

Upgrades Include Energy Projects, Medical Facility Upgrades,

Cemetery Improvements

WASHINGTON (Oct. 15, 2010)- The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has
distributed more than $1 billion in funds made available through the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, agency officials have
announced. Recovery Act funding is being used to modernize and replace
existing VA medical facilities, make improvements at national cemeteries
and award grants to states for Veterans homes.

"America's Veterans are getting more modern, efficient and greener
facilities that are better suited to provide them the comprehensive care
and service they have earned," VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said.
"These upgrades are possible through Recovery Act funds that are not
only revitalizing VA's extensive infrastructure, but also moving needed
money into the economy," he said.

The funding is part of President Obama's economic recovery plan to
improve services to America's Veterans. VA committed its total Recovery
Act funds of $1.8 billion by July.

To help Veterans access their care, Recovery Act projects at VA medical
facilities are adding or improving more than 26,000 parking spaces. VA
is also upgrading nearly 14,000 inpatient bed spaces and 16 pharmacy
renovation projects will help Veterans get medicines quicker and more
efficiently. More than 14,400 clinical improvement projects, some with
multiple exam rooms, are being undertaken.

Physical improvements to VA medical facilities include investments in
energy efficiency projects; almost $400 million overall is targeted for
energy projects and some $90 million for renewable energy studies and

VA is installing solar photovoltaic systems at facilities in
Albuquerque, N.M.; Tucson, Ariz.; Dublin, Ga.; Calverton, N.Y.; and San
Joaquin and Riverside, Calif.

The department is erecting a wind turbine in Bourne, Mass., and
constructing a geothermal system at its medical center in St. Cloud,
Minn. Additionally, VA is building renewably fueled co-generation
systems at five medical facilities: Togus, Maine; White River Junction,
Vt.; Chillicothe, Ohio; Loma Linda, Calif.; and Canandaigua, N.Y. It is
also installing metering systems at all VA-owned facilities to monitor
energy utilities, including electricity, water, chilled water, steam and
natural gas consumption.

VA is investing $197 million in energy and water infrastructure
improvements. Its facilities across the country are upgrading
properties and structures to reduce energy consumption and water usage
and better manage related costs.

Throughout VA's system of 131 national cemeteries, 392 improvement
projects are underway using $50 million in Recovery Act funding. VA is
restoring and preserving 47 historic monuments and memorials, becoming
more energy efficient by investing in renewable energy sources (solar
and wind), implementing nine energy conservation projects, and improving
access and visitor safety with 44 road, paving and grounds improvement

Funds are also being used to raise, realign and clean approximately
200,000 headstones and markers, repair sunken graves, and renovate turf
at 24 VA national cemeteries.

VA Recovery Act grants totaling $150 million are also assisting states
to construct, improve, or acquire nursing home, domiciliary or adult day
health care facilities.
Let someone tell you they are not worth it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

John Boehner wanted to cut VA bill that just passed House

For veterans bill, Republicans put budget ax aside

WASHINGTON — House Republicans who have spent months demanding spending cuts blanched Wednesday at their first opportunity to actually make them, instead joining Democrats in treating a bill to pay for veterans programs in 2011 as politically sacrosanct in an election year.

The veterans measure is the first of a dozen spending bills for the upcoming 2011 budget year to come up for a vote. Democrats, meanwhile, were doing some ducking and weaving of their own to avoid time-consuming floor debates and politically difficult votes on other measures.

It's of little surprise that Democrats picked the Veterans Affairs bill as the first in the appropriations pile to bring to a vote. It passed by a 411-6 vote.

Only a handful of others are likely to get as far before the November election, even though all 12 are supposed to pass both the House and Senate and be signed by the president before Oct. 1. Last year at this time, the House had passed all 12 bills.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, offered the only amendments to cut the veterans bill but withdrew them as soon as Democrats started making political hay out of them.

Boehner wanted to cut the Veterans Affairs Department's rapidly growing policy office as well as its congressional lobbying operation and skim $45 million from the VA's $3.3 billion request for computer systems, which the agency itself admits was too high.
read more here
For veterans bill

Friday, March 5, 2010

DAV Recognizes President for Supporting Veterans

DAV Recognizes President for Supporting Veterans Health Care Budget Reform

WASHINGTON, March 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Disabled American Veterans (DAV) National Commander Roberto "Bobby" Barrera today presented a personalized commemorative baseball bat to President Barack Obama to recognize his support for the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act and going to bat for veterans.

"The President's support of this advance appropriation act truly honors the service and sacrifice of our nation's disabled veterans and their families," said Commander Barrera. "His support for this initiative throughout the 2008 election campaign and as President has improved health care delivery to veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)."

The law, signed Oct. 22, 2009, authorizes Congress to fund VA health care one year in advance at the start of each fiscal year. It effectively ends the funding delays that have plagued the VA and forced it to ration health care to veterans when Congress failed to pass an appropriations bill on time.

The commemorative DAV baseball bat was presented to President Obama by Commander Barrera, accompanied by DAV National Adjutant Arthur H. Wilson and National Headquarters Executive Director Richard E. Patterson.

"President Obama's continuing support in the recently proposed $125 billion VA budget will provide expanded health care to a record number of veterans and includes $60.3 billion for discretionary spending, mostly for health care," said Commander Barrera. "That is nearly $4.2 billion more than the fiscal year 2010 appropriated level." The budget request includes advance appropriations recommendations of $54.3 billion for medical care programs for fiscal year 2012.
read more here
DAV Recognizes President for Supporting Veterans

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Coburn lifts hold on vet benefits bill

Coburn lifts hold on vet benefits bill

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Nov 18, 2009 9:48:11 EST

One senator’s hold delaying consideration of a veterans caregiver and health benefits bill has been lifted.

A new agreement will allow a final vote on S 1963 after senators consider an amendment that would pay for stipends, health care, counseling and other benefits for people taking care of severely disabled veterans by cutting the U.S. contribution to the United Nations.

As a result of the agreement, the Senate is now expected to take up and pass the bill this week, allowing House and Senate negotiators to begin work on a compromise measure that could become law this year The U.N. amendment will be offered by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., the person who since Memorial Day has prevented the Senate from taking up veterans legislation because he thinks it is wrong to pass new benefits without paying for them.
go here for more

Thursday, September 10, 2009


What we know for a fact is, two active military campaigns but there were less doctors and nurses working for the VA than after the Gulf War. They wanted to privatize the VA by getting sub-contractors to replace VA workers. This was done in a lot of departments including IT and claims processing.

The rest, well you've read most of it here but even I didn't know how low they would sink when it came to veterans. The real issue here is that this is life and death for our veterans. Now you can end up getting ten or twenty emails from your "Republican friends" about the non-existent death book of doom, but I doubt you'll ever receive what was going on that was really hurting our veterans. As I said many times, when you get emails wonder what the motive is behind it and check it out. It is a fact the VA budget was not even close to where it needed to be and it is a fact that money was returned unspent while veterans were committing suicide. There are a lot of facts we do know about but what was behind all of this will come out in law suits which I bet are being put together right now if this article is true. Don't forget that most of the people working for the VA are in it because they love veterans. They could make a lot more money working some place else. If there are plants in the VA trying to destroy it, they need to be found out and let justice handle the rest.

What I know has happened, but not sure what was behind it, will be in bold. The rest, well, not sure right now. If this is all true, then every veteran suffered because of this.




Information was leaked to Veterans Today that General Shensiki, Veterans Affairs Secretary, has been briefed on the source of the scandals plaguing his department.

Months into his tenure, late by our standards, staffers have finally revealed the depth of a Bush era plan to maintain control of the DVA and sabotage its medical and compensation programs in order to embarass the Obama administration.

Shensiki was informed that key administrators and regional directors, some long term employees and all promoted based on willingness to undermine veterans medical care and other programs have been working, not only to hold up implementation of needed reforms but to cause public scandals and embarassment.

The series of recent scandals where VA directors and legal staff have operated directly outside Shensiki policies have seriously undermined confidence in the VA and its current leadership. We are told that a program to purge the VA of Bush "moles" is underway. This is some of the activities of this "holdover" group:




















read more here

Friday, July 17, 2009

Initial 45 Projects Targeted for New VA Management

Recent VA News Releases

Secretary Shinseki Announces Next Steps in Technology Advancements to
Reduce Wasteful Spending and Increase Accountability

Initial 45 Projects Targeted for New Department-Wide Management System

WASHINGTON (July 17, 2009) - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
announced today that it will temporarily halt 45 information technology
projects which are either behind schedule or over budget. These
projects will be reviewed, and it will be determined whether these
projects should be continued.

"Leveraging the power of Information Technology to accelerate and
modernize the delivery of benefits and services to our nations Veterans
is essential to transforming VA to a 21st century organization that is
people-centric, results-driven and forward thinking," Secretary of
Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said.

Secretary Shinseki ordered a review of the department's 300 IT projects
and implementation of the PMAS, designed to increase the department's
accountability for IT projects.

Each of the 45 projects will be temporarily halted. No further
development will occur and expenditures will be minimized. A new
project plan that meets the requirements of Program Management
Accountability System (PMAS) must be created by the project manager and
approved by VA's Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology
before resuming.

"VA has a responsibility to the American people, who are investing
millions of dollars in technology projects, to deliver quality results
that adhere to a budget and are delivered on time." Shinseki said.
"They need to have confidence that the dollars they are spending are
being effectively used to improve the lives of our Veterans."

PMAS is a management protocol that requires projects to establish
milestones to deliver new functionality to its customers. Failure to
meet set deadlines indicates a problem within the project. Under PMAS,
a third missed customer delivery milestone is cause for the project to
be halted and re-planned.

"Our goal is to increase our success rate for our systems development
projects," Roger W. Baker, VA's Assistant Secretary for Information and
Technology, said. "We will use every tool at our disposal to bring
about greater accountability and ensure that taxpayer dollars are being
spent wisely. PMAS and the IT Dashboard will be critical indicators of
whether our IT projects are on schedule and on budget, and if they are
not, we will take swift action to cut down on waste and redundancy."

PMAS, in conjunction with the analytical tools available through the IT
Dashboard, will ensure early identification and correction of
problematic IT projects. The IT Dashboard
, launched last month, is a one-stop clearinghouse of information,
allowing the American people to track federal information technology
initiatives and hold the government accountable for progress and

Over the next year, all IT projects at VA will be required to move to

The Obama Administration has made management reform a key
government-wide priority. From IT accountability to personnel and
contracting reforms, the administration is committed to providing better
value, efficiency, and effectiveness for taxpayers' dollars.

Below is a complete list of all projects temporarily halted under PMAS
at this time:

o Scheduling Replacement

o Laboratory System Reeingeering Project (LSRP)

o Pharmacy Re-Engineering Pre .5

o Health Data Repository (HDR) II

o Pharmacy Re-Engineering Pre1.0

o HeVet Middleware Services

o Person Service Identity Management

o Administrative Data Repository (ADR)

o Document & Ancillary Imaging

o Clinical Data Service

o VA Learning Management

o Home Telehealth (HT) Development

o Occupational Health Record Keeping System (OHRS)

o Enrollment System Redesign (ESR) v4

o CHDR - Chemistry & Hematology: ADC Automation

o Clinical Flow Sheet - CLIO

o E-Gov: E-Training

o Barcode Expansion

o Delivery Service

o Organization Service

o Enrollment System Redesign (ESR) v3.1

o Health Data Repository (HDR) Data Warehouse

o Home Telehealth (HT) Infrastructure Enhancements

o Radiology Outside Reporting

o BCMA Inpatient Medication Request for SFG IRA

o Blood Bank - VBECS v1.0

o Prosthetics Enhancements

o VIC (Veterans Identification Card) Development

o Spinal Cord Injury & Disorders Outcomes v3.0

o Radiology HL7 Interface Update

o Ward Drug Dispensing Equipment (WDDE) Interface

o Lab Data Sharing & Interoperability (LDSI) - Anatomic

o HBPC Medical Foster Home (MFH)

o eClaims Plus

o ASISTS Modification - Case Management

o National Teleradiology Program

o CAPRI Enhancements

o Master Patient Index

o RMS - Rights Management Server

o National Teleradiology Program

o Problem List Standardization

o Radiology Standardization

o LDSI Terminology Support

o Clinical/Health Data Repositories (CHDR) Phase II

o Fee Data and HERO

Monday, June 8, 2009

Veterans score one more undo of Bush policy

I received this from a member of NAMI
VA Reopening Health Care Enrollment to Thousands of Veterans
On June 15, The Department of Veterans Affairs is poised to welcome nearly 270,000 more Veterans back into medical centers and clinics across the country by expanding enrollment.

Under a new regulation, VA will enroll Veterans whose income exceeds current means-tested thresholds by up to 10 percent. These Veterans were excluded from VA medical care limits were imposed in 2003 on Veterans with no service-connected disabilities. There is no income limit for Veterans with service-connected disabilities. (see my comment below on this)

Veterans who have applied for VA health care at any point in 2009 will have their applications reconsidered under the new formula. Those who applied before 2009, but were rejected due to income, must reapply. VA will contact eligible Veterans through a direct-mail campaign, Veterans Service Organizations, and a national and regional marketing campaign.

Information about enrollment and an income and assets calculator is available at

The calculator provides a format in which Veterans enter their household income, number of dependents, and zip codes to see if they qualify for VA health care currently or under the change effective June 15. In addition to applying online, Veterans may also contact VA’s Health Benefits Service Center at 1-877-222 VETS (1-877-222-8387).

Each VA Medical Center across the country has an enrollment coordinator available to provide Veterans information about this program.

Notice the date this rule was in place? It was 2003 under President Bush. This is one more step in the direction to undo some of the damage done to this nation's veterans.

As for the comment about "service connected" not being charged, that all depends on if they have a VA rating and approved claim. Otherwise, the term "service connected" does not apply unless the VA approves the claim. This is one more thing that Congress needs to undo. In the 90's a rules change allowed the VA to collect for any "non-service connected treatment" if the veteran had income. This rule changed allowed the VA to collect for treatment on any real service connected disability if the claim had not been approved. Considering the huge backlog of claims, this is doing a lot more harm to veterans than anything else. Those claims in the pile are from veteran seeking treatment and compensation for what happened in service and they are being charged for the treatments.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

100 Days On Veterans: A Reason To Hope

In 1982 I met a Vietnam Veteran and my life changed. Totally unaware of what the Vietnam War was all about, without a clue what PTSD was, I managed somehow to fully research it so that I could help veterans like my husband and their families. Keep in my at the time Jack was in Vietnam, I was only 11. This has been my mission and my ministry ever since. I've researched it and tracked it as if my life depended on. So now you know where what I am about to write comes from, aside from my heart.

When President Obama was running for the office, as a US Senator, he was on the Veteran's Affairs Committee. He was on that committee when most of the monumental changes and improvements were made to make lives better for our veterans. That gave me some hope. I was still on the fence about how serious he was until he made a stunning judgment.

There are hundreds of programs across the country to address PTSD and suicides. One of the best ones has been what the Montana National Guard came out with. They developed this program after the suicide of Spc. Chris Dana. With all the programs Obama could have picked to support, he picked this program. To me, that was the most telling moment in what he would do as President. Keep in mind that I've researched all of this since 1982, so for me to come across this program was nothing odd, but for a man with so many other things on his mind and issues to face to zone in on this showed he was fully invested in our veterans. It showed he did not just care with words, but serious attention and action. President Obama did this quietly and that sense of seriousness along with compassion touched my heart to the point where I had hope again. I still do.

Were there mistakes made by his advisers? Sure but they all make mistakes but the important thing is what the intent is. The intent is to once and for all prove the slogan "grateful nation" is true in this country and with him leading the way, we may just catch up to what other nations are doing for their veterans and then lead the way once more.

If you hear a veteran slam Obama for anything over the first 100 days, ask them where they were all these years when the veterans were betrayed and used. Ask them where their anger was when the VA was cut under President Bush or when there were less doctors and nurses working for the VA with two active military campaigns than there were after the Gulf War. Ask them where they were when Secretary Nicholson was returning funds at the same time veterans were coming back from Iraq and committing suicide because they could not get the care they needed from the VA. The list of things they ignored for political reasons caused so much damage to the veterans suffering and fighting for care, they cannot be forgiven for remaining silent. When it comes to our veterans, politics should never, ever come first. They should since they put the nation first everyday. They are Democrats, Republicans, Independents, all serving side by side. They come from red states and blue states. They come from cities and towns across the nation and they do not serve just one party with their lives, but the entire nation including the people they do not agree with. As a nation we need to all come together and support the veterans with whatever they need because they earned it!

100 Days On Veterans: A Reason To Hope

Jon Soltz
Co-Founder of, served as a Captain in Operation Iraqi Freedom
Posted April 29, 2009 09:01 AM (EST)

There's only so much a President can do in 100 days, and we don't know what a President will do in the remaining 4-years-minus-100 days, so it is hard to say a whether a President has been a success or failure. However, when looking at the needs of veterans at the end of the Bush administration, and whether those needs have been fulfilled, it's tough to say that President Obama's first 100 days haven't been incredibly encouraging.

When it comes to veterans care, most issues fell under three categories as the President took office - funding, confusion, and lack of access. In all three areas, while there's a ton to still do, there's been dramatic improvement in the first 100 days.


This area, above all, is the shame of the Bush administration. The Department of Veterans Affairs was consistently underfunded by the Bush Administration. The low-point came when then-Secretary Jim Nicholson had to come groveling to Congress for more than a billion dollars in emergency funding, admitting that the administration had not prepared for the boom in returning veterans in need of care, as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The underfunding had dramatic consequences across the board - from research and treatment into Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to the shameful commonplace practice of veterans having to duct tape their prosthetic limbs, because the VA couldn't get them decent ones.

President Obama's budget for the VA errs on the side of caution - funding the department over the amount determined adequate by the Independent Budget (the budget offered by the nation's Veterans Service Organizations), and increases funding by $25 billion over the next five years.
click link for more

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Deluded need to wake up fast!

This person (below) wrote an opinion piece and it was printed. The problem is, she is so wrong it's beyond belief but too many people will agree with her simply because they have not paid attention in all these years. That's right! Years! She is blaming Obama for the deplorable conditions veterans have been subjected to for years but President Obama has not even been in office for a hundred days yet.

Where was she and others when the veterans and the wounded troops were being subjected to this appalling treatment since 2001 and the first troops were sent to Afghanistan?

Where was she when Bush cut the VA so there were less doctors and nurses working for the VA than there were following the Gulf War but we had two military campaigns producing more and more wounded joining the veterans already in line for the care they were promised?

Where was she as the backlog of claims jumped from 400,000 to almost 900,000?

Where was she when PTSD wounded were being dishonorably discharged under "personality disorders" instead of being treated for this war born wound?

Where was she when Nicholson returned funds out of the VA budget as wounded soldiers returned to this soil, turned away from the VA when they sought help for PTSD and committed suicide? Did she weep at their graves?

The list of offenses Bush committed on our veterans is so long it would take hours to list, yet people like the writers of this opinion piece fail to acknowledge any of this. While she said " Over the last year" it was before Obama took office but she did not mention all of this happened while Bush was President. She also did not notice the fact that it was not "over the last year" but over all the years Bush was in office. Never once did she mention what the Democrats have accomplished since they managed to finally get in charge of the Veterans Affairs committee or the fact that Obama was on that committee.

She raised the point of the "private insurance" that Obama was considering but when he listened to the voices of the veterans he abandoned any thoughts of doing this. Again the key word is "thought" and not plan. While something like this would help veterans needing treatment but having their VA claims denied, since if they happen to have jobs they are charged for their care without an approved claim and a recognized "service connected disability" they pay out of their pocket because insurance companies can deny paying because as they put it "it's the responsibility of the government to cover this care." just as they did in the 90's when congress changed the rules under Bill Clinton. Again, she failed to pay attention.

When it came to what Napolitano had to defend herself and the administration over, again she failed to acknowledge the fact that under Bush the recruitment problems escalated to the point where they lowered the requirements so far down criminals were allowed to enter into the military. These criminals are heavily armed and serving right next to the rest of the troops who wanted to join because they wanted to serve the country instead of wanting to avoid time in jail. Gang members were allowed to join as well. Ever think about how violent gang members are when it comes to them getting their hands on the training the military offers?

The "tea party" was something else she avoided when it came to veterans around the country being part of the taxes they don't want to pay since the VA is paid by tax dollars and the budgets have been increased since the GOP has been out of control over it or the fact that they were responsible for the VA budget falling short every year. I wonder if she ever watched CSPAN when the budget was being debated and the GOP kept saying they couldn't afford to increase the VA because of all the money being spent in Iraq and Afghanistan? When it came to what Bush wanted, everything was vital, but when it came to what our veterans needed, well, there just wasn't enough money for it and then they managed to fight for tax cuts for the wealthy. Wonder if she noticed how this made veterans feel as they were sitting in their living rooms holding yet another denial from the VA telling them they could file an appeal?

She also avoided mentioning the fact that when our troops are wounded by PTSD and untreated, left abandoned by the nation they were willing to risk their life for, left to suffer financially and emotionally, it can lead to a lot of problems for the rest of society as it has already when they are suffering from PTSD driven flashbacks and nightmares that put them back into battle mode. If she cannot even consider the fact they have been treated so poorly by Bush and his leadership they could turn into disgruntled veterans, then she has a real problem.

There are so many needing help right now that have been unjustly treated, denied the care they were promised and left to suffer for serving it should make any American sickened but too many in this country would rather avoid knowledge of how it got this bad and who was responsible for all of this. It's easier to just jump on whatever the Obama Administration gets tripped up over instead of what they have been really trying to fix. We avoid the facts at our peril because this nation depends on the men and women serving it. They should never be used as part of some kind of twisted political game. If this woman had paid attention to facts instead of claims made by some talking heads on a certain cable channel, she would not be so deluded.

Letter: Obama isn't proving to be veteran-friendly
Thursday, April 23, 2009

President Barack Obama’s mantra to our veterans is: “I will take care of you.”

Upon taking office, Obama immediately set out to attempt to force veterans to pay for their own health coverage. Outcry and outrage surfaced in Washington, forcing Obama to relent.

Over the last year, the Veterans Administration has been trying to get all its psychiatrists and psychologists to deny veterans a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress syndrome in hopes of preventing permanent disability payments for them and their family members.

When this surfaced, Obama’s secretary of veterans affairs, Eric K. Shinseki, refused to comment.

Now we have Secretary of Homeland Security Janet A. Napolitano categorizing veterans as potential violent extremists who may be future threats who may join terrorist cells. Officials base this claim on Timothy McVeigh’s attack on the Oklahoma City federal building.

When veterans’ groups expressed outrage at this news, Napolitano tried to save face by stating that the Obama administration “honors” veterans.

During the Tea Party demonstration in Vero Beach, two-thirds of 3,500 members of the crowds were veterans. Not a single violent act disrupted this demonstration.

Every veteran brings honor, dignity, commitment and sacrifice on behalf of our great nation. As a veteran of the U.S. Navy, I am sickened and devastated by the Obama administration’s attitude and stance.

If this is President Obama’s example of how he will “take care” of our veterans, he definitely has a long way to go.

Letter: Obama isn't proving to be veteran-friendly

If you want to know who wrote the rant above, click on link.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

President Obama, don't pass the buck of veteran's care

Good luck to them! According to Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which we had at the time my husband's claim was tied up, the insurance companies do not have to cover any services related to serving the nation. According to them, it's the responsibility of the government to cover any condition caused, or related to serving this nation. If the insurance industry can figure that one out, then what the hell is wrong with Congress and what is President Obama thinking? He cannot pass the buck onto them for what serving this nation cost them in blood, body and mind.

Vets object to billing private insurance for service injuries
Story Highlights
Possible change in billing angers veterans groups

White House would neither confirm nor deny the option is being considered

Argument for the proposal would be to free up more money for VA

Spokesman: Charging for service-related injuries would violate "a sacred trust"
By Adam Levine
Pentagon Supervising Producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Veterans groups are warning President Barack Obama against going ahead with a possible administration move to charge veterans' private health care for service-related injuries.

Veterans groups say it's "wholly unacceptable" to charge their private insurance for service injuries.

In a letter sent by 11 of the most prominent veterans organizations, the groups warned that the idea "is wholly unacceptable and a total abrogation of our government's moral and legal responsibility to the men and women who have sacrificed so much."

CNN obtained a copy of the letter sent to the White House last Friday by groups including The American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Read the letter (PDF)

A White House spokesman would neither confirm nor deny the option is being considered.
click link for more

Space Coast Veterans:A sacred trust

Our views: A sacred trust
Obama budget helps veterans with expanded VA care
March 3, 2009

During the campaign, President Barack Obama promised to boost veterans’ health care to fulfill the sacred trust often neglected between the government and those who have served.

His new budget follows through on that pledge in a major way that helps veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and those who have fought in past conflicts.

Some numbers show how it could aid many of the 75,000 veterans along the Space Coast:
click link for the rest

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Veterans Turn to VA Clinics in Tough Economic Times

Veterans Turn to VA Clinics in Tough Economic Times

Nov 15, 2008
November 13, 2008 - The worsening economy is taking a big toll on veterans.The Anoka County Veterans Services Office says it could see as much as a 25 percent increase in new clients this year.
Many veterans say that in this economy, they wouldn't be able to pay for medical care without their veteran’s benefits."I would probably just take the medicines I thought I could afford, which would be skimping on my health," said Michael Calistro, a veteran. "I would not be able to afford it."Another factor driving the increase in new clients is an aging veteran population, especially in veterans from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.
Click here to watch this news story.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Honoring our veterans takes more than words

JOHN MURTHA Honoring our veterans takes more than words

The Tribune-Democrat

Veterans Day is a time to honor those Americans who answered the call to service and who proudly fought to defend our freedoms.

America owes an immeasurable debt to each of the 23.4 million veterans alive today, including the tens-of-thousands living right here in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Honoring our veterans means more than just words and speeches.

For Congress, it means putting our money where our mouth is and fully funding the Veterans Administration. It means ensuring that our veterans have first-class health care and providing them with access to jobs and higher education.

For too long, the Veterans Administration was under-funded and unable to adequately meet the needs of our veterans. We’ve changed that over the past few years.

The Democratic Congress has made an unprecedented commitment to our nation’s veterans by passing the largest spending increase in the 77-year history of the Veterans Administration – a record $16 billion increase in just two years.

For the 5.8 million veterans in the VA health-care system, this increase provides for the hiring of an additional 15,000 VA health-care workers, including 1,700 new doctors and 6,450 nurses.

This means better care, more services, and shorter wait times.

The Veterans Administration will also hire more than 5,200 new caseworkers to reduce the significant backlog in the claims processing system, which will help our veterans get their earned benefits faster.

For the first time since 1979, when gasoline cost less than $1 per gallon, Congress increased the veterans’ mileage reimbursement rate from 11 cents to 41.5 cents per mile.

Veterans in our area who are forced to travel to Pittsburgh or Altoona for care will now be more fairly reimbursed for their travel.

Congress also provided significant research, treatment, and counseling funds for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

It is estimated that more than 300,000 of our returning troops will suffer from these mental-health problems, and we provided over $1.2 billion in just the past two years to take care of these injuries.

We have seen a dramatic increase in suicides in the wake of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Congress passed legislation directing the Veterans Administration to develop a comprehensive suicide prevention program which includes access to mental-health staff and a 24-hour toll-free suicide prevention hotline.

Already some 30,000 veterans, family members and friends have used the hotline, and it has helped to prevent more than 1,200 suicides.

Also this year, Congress passed a new 21st Century GI Education Bill to benefit our service members who have served since Sept. 11, 2001.

The new GI Bill funds a full, four-year public university tuition, provides a monthly living expense, and allows service members to transfer unused educational benefits to their spouse and children.

I was given the opportunity to attend college under the G.I. Bill, and I believe it is our responsibility to ensure that America’s next generation of veterans receives the same higher educational benefits.

Over the past two years, the Democratic Congress has put its money where its mouth is.

The new Congress and President Obama will continue to provide our veterans with the services and benefits worthy of their courage and sacrifice.

On this Veterans Day, let us remember the sacrifices of millions of Americans who answered our nation’s call to service.

While we can never fully repay the debt of gratitude we owe to the men and women who put on the uniform, we can and will work to fulfill our promise of taking care of each and every veteran.

We owe them no less.

U.S. Rep. John Murtha,

D-Johnstown, is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Congress Passes Sweeping Veterans' Mental Health Legislation

Congress Passes Sweeping Veterans' Mental Health Legislation
Akaka notes that bill is a tribute to Justin Bailey, an Iraq War veteran lost to suicide
By Jesse Broder Van Dyke, 9/27/2008 11:37:38 AM
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, expressed great satisfaction with Senate passage of S. 2162, a sweeping veterans’ mental health care bill. S. 2162, the Veterans Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008, passed the Senate today by unanimous consent. The bill makes various improvements to veterans’ mental health care and other forms of health care, and is a tribute to Iraq war veteran Justin Bailey.

“Justin’s story is far too common: he survived the war in Iraq only to be lost to PTSD and substance abuse-related suicide,” said Akaka. “Invisible wounds such as PTSD are an injury - and an enemy - that many veterans face when they return home from war. This bill will provide better mental health support for our wounded warriors.”

S. 2162’s improvements to veterans’ mental health care include:

Setting a standard minimum level of care for substance use disorder, and creating innovative enhancements to treatment

Improving treatment to veterans with multiple disorders, such as PTSD and substance use disorder

Mandating a review of VA’s residential mental health care facilities, to ensure that they are adequately staffed

Creating a research program on PTSD and substance use disorder, in cooperation with the National Center for PTSD

Enabling VA to provide mental health services to veterans’ families, and setting up a program to aid the families of returning servicemembers
click post title for more

Text of this Bill

Monday, September 15, 2008

September 11th and 12th Congressional Veterans Affairs visit

A wonderful friend of mine, known as "Jackpot", Agnes "Irish" Bresnahan was in Washington DC doing what she always does, fighting for veterans. She sent this report about what went on. Anyone dealing with issues with the Department of Veterans Affairs should pay attention to all of this. If we cannot take care of Vietnam veterans after all these years, how can anyone expect that we will take care of the new veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan?

September 11th and 12th Congressional Veterans Affairs visit – Both the house and the senate membership


I want to thank Fred, Irish, Helen, and Carl for being there and supporting these efforts. Some of this support and its’ outcome still must remain silent for now but it is ‘all’ good and may have landmark results for both Veterans and Widows to our 40-year war with our own government.

I handed out the self explanatory cover sheet as to what we proposing, evidence, and the bills so many have worked so hard to even get proposed that we demand they support, along with the ‘Issues CD’ and the ‘Veterans and Widows Testimonial CD’.

Those addressed the following with objective evidence:

· Backlog of Claims Issues

· Birth Defect Issues Associated

· All Site Cancer Issues Associated

· Dose Rate Issues

· Immune System Issues Associated

· Degenerating Neurological Issues Associated

One of the separate issues in my own personal March Order, separate from the intent of the trip, was the fraudulent activities that have gone on for decades now denying many of our issues. I handed out letters to those Committee Chairs that I thought should be involved outside of Veterans Affairs. Issues such as the purposeful exclusion of data in taxpayer paid for published reports. Purposeful exclusion that in 2005 the scientists in that government funded study looking for good/sound science and not government-controlled science had voted overwhelming to include the data found in studies of associations to dioxin and or demonstrated statistical found increases (i.e. increased risk of incidence) in the study of Vietnam Veterans with known levels of dioxin levels and MOS of mixing and dispensing the Rainbow of Militarized Herbicides in both defensive and offensive operations. Including those that did not participate in such activities but were indeed exposed which pretty much concluded dose rate was never an issue even when used against us in scientific factors of analysis.

This effort was not to the Veterans Affairs Committee membership; although I did include a copy of the letter and evidence I was submitting to the Government Oversight and Reform and Judiciary Committee’s. Explaining how it is we as victims and stakeholders over on one side trying to get those known issues associated and then having the government entities themselves working for the Executive Branch “purposefully exclude” scientific data that proves our case. A clear violation of the government’s own research integrity rules. The Executive Branch/DoD/Air Force must be challenged and held accountable. Even when told of the levels of mismanagement and scientific fraud this would bring forth before the publishing of such reports with the real facts found omitted, the Executive Branch/DoD/Air Force clearly made the decisions that they were indeed above the legal rules of government research integrity and decided, one would guess, for the betterment of those that indeed served this Nation in some of the most despicable actions one citizen can ask of another and then died or become disabled were not privy to the found scientific study facts paid for by the taxpayers. Of course, the Department of Veterans Affairs then cheered all these actions being able to continually deny Veterans and Widows their rightful Service Connected death and disability issues no matter how much evidence to the contrary is provided by the victim or stakeholder. A nice neat government circle of deception and deceit used for 40 years including the more recent Gulf War Issues.

I believe I made my point with objective evidence of such government actions and requested investigations begin immediately. Of course, nothing will be done as eight appointed federal prosecutors losing their appointed positions is much more important than millions in a segment of society being totally mislead and lied to by our own government. But I got that thorn out of my side that said this has got to be illegal, manipulative, and fraught with government collusion at some of the highest levels of our government. I guess they all protect themselves or their party and both political parties have been at fault; there is nothing new here that we did not know what was going on as far back as 1979. They just did it such a fashion this time to say we are above the law and have about zero integrity, especially since you Veterans and Widows are now “set aside and have no legal rights to anything,” much less justice from any form of legal “separation of powers” court. Those are reserved for criminals and terrorists to make sure they do have rights of redress.

Of course, this includes the Executive Branch Department of Defense denying many issues they knew were false denials with no repercussions. Lies resulting in nothing but Veterans Affairs denials for dead, dying, and disabled Veterans who served in combat in Laos and Cambodia. Yet, Executive Branch Department of Defense knew during those lies that their own reports released such as one example in “Corona Harvest the Defoliation of Southeast Asia” clearly defined OPERATION Ranch Hand missions beginning as early as 1964 in those nations. Meanwhile Veterans Affairs applauds the lies even when Veterans show them the published Department of Defense reports that were formally secret documents that clearly demonstrate the lies made by the Executive Branch Department of Defense. Evidence means nothing in this circle of government deception and deceit used for 40 years including Gulf War Issues to deny Veterans and Widows service connection in death and disability created by our own government. And this is just one example of many including the inclusive dates for those that served along the DMZ in Korea, Blue Water, and other overseas places and state side exposures.

George Washington once said, when the government creates the Veteran you do not lay aside the Veteran. Yet, the above discussion and further discussions later demonstrates the effect of this laying aside of the Veteran and I would add his widow and offspring also. This effect has and is on-going constantly within the circle of government deception and deceit to do exactly that with great gusto and certainly pride in that fact within our Veterans Affairs (VA) Department and their continued lack of objective performance based on ‘Adversarial Philosophy, Policies, and Procedures’ allowed and even condoned by our own government.

I am proud to announce that I was able to make contact with Mr. Peter Holstein of Congressman Kagen’s office and thank him personally for his efforts after my meeting with Congressman Filner last year in which Mr. Holstein was in attendance. Coupled with that meeting and his efforts Congressman Kagen’s bill (HR 6798) as most of you know will add many more cancers to our presumptive list, as common sense should have dictated. Not all cancers are in this bill but certainly it is a wonderful start to making all cancers presumptive as the data indicates in many studies that all National Institute of Cancer Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) cancers coded are indeed associated through many Herbicide genetic damages and altered genetic pathways.

As I was walking out, Congressman Kagen came in and shook hands, thanked all Veterans for their service. I was able to describe to him the emotional swings I had when I received the e-mail from Mr. Holstein on this bill with him citing that my meeting/presentation with Congressman Filner was the catalyst. Emotions from almost open crying to jumping around with shear joy that someone had finally recognized this great injustice done to our Veterans and Widows that so many had worked so hard to get recognized. Yes, I know that the list of cancers is not complete but you must take into consideration the more cancers we get on the presumptive list the more impossible it comes for Veterans Affairs/IOM to deny the other associations. Although it will take more stalwart efforts to get them such as glioblastoma cancers recognized; someone else will have to do that. For those that are reading these please do not think I have a dog in this cancer hunt personally; I do not.

I also explained to Congressman Kagen the widows and suffering cancer Veterans I am in touch with and their joy at this bill and grateful appreciation for his efforts but also the apprehension that our government will not support this bill. His answer was ‘everyone’ must support this bill.

So there you have it. Since I am bowing out of this battle it is up to every Veteran, Spouse, Widow, voting offspring of Veterans, and friends of Veterans to contact congress even on a daily basis and make sure this bill gets passed. At the same time contacting the senate to make sure they will sponsor a similar bill and get these cancers approved ASAP.

If it does not pass then we have very little excuse except for ourselves.

I discussed some of the other bills with whoever would listen.

The one issue that I brought up as I could (referenced above) is this set aside legal system for Veterans only that no other segment of society faces. I think anyone in the military knows and realizes the need for the Uniform Code of Military Justice while you are on active duty. There are things that are expected of soldiers not expected in the private sector that must be maintained.

However, I stated that if we are going to be relegated to some set aside legal system with no separation of powers after military service, which I stated personally I thought was unconstitutional for any citizen, then it must at least approach the same level of justice, level of evidence required, and unbiased Executive Branch justice; since the Executive Branch is indeed the defendant and perpetrator of deeds. Of course we know this is not and has never happened.

This includes the selection of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs who should not be former political party chairmen of the current Executive Branch administration. Nor the former chief medical officer or chief operating officer of a disability examination firm contracted by Veterans Affairs that is awarded millions of dollars per year. Yet, our own senate confirms these types of Executive Branch appointments with no question of possible bias against Veterans. Or no one in congress addresses how it is that a Secretary of Veterans Affairs, working for and appointed by the Executive Branch, can take a found disorder by the Veterans Advisory Committee on Environmental Hazards (VACEH) found associated by that committee to dioxin; then allow that Executive Branch appointed Secretary to add disclaimers and time limits to that disorder to make sure that no Veteran can be found Service Connected to that dioxin, TCDD disorder. Yet, no one at Veterans Affairs including that same Secretary or any Secretary can tell the stakeholders, nor anyone else for that matter, how or in what location the dioxin, TCDD can create the medical disorder to the point it can only be a transient disorder with time limits of 360 days to manifestation and a complete resolution within 720 days. It makes no sense scientifically or medically. Including that the Institute of Medicine, also a government contractor, despite the evidence to the contrary of many studies done on the same exposure victims decades after exposure demonstrate the exact development of the same disorder manifestation can then also deny the existence of this associated disorder as being dioxin latent for decades, chronic, and degenerating. Statistics and scientific findings not only to dioxin statistical positive levels of association but increased risk ratios and odds ratios found are zeroed out by the stroke of an Executive Branch appointees pen and the collective biased brain trust at Veterans Affairs. As one Ranch Hand Committee member stated,

“Good science may yet win out.” I would suggest…not as long as VA/DoD/IOM are involved in the decision and recommendation making processes with no check or oversight of integrity and truthfulness and an open widow into their processes deciding legal cases the stakeholders are not privy, which they will never do because of self incrimination.

I also included that if we are going to have this set aside legal system it at least must have some level of mandated performance. I gave examples such as:

A Veteran puts in for esophageal cancer as associated. Veterans Affairs knows they are going to deny that claim no matter how much evidence the Veteran or Veterans Widow submits based on what the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has stated. They may thank you for the education you give them but they still deny the claim. Why does it take two years to get that denial when VA knew going in they were going to deny the claim? All the while VA is making the Veteran or Widow jump through hoops like a dog creating additional physical and mental injuries just playing games and smiling the whole time thinking to themselves what a bunch of morons these Veterans are that we have. I cannot believe I am getting paid to do this work of just stalling with no performance for this job. How did I fall into this gravy train?

Double the staff and production drops by 50%…how can this be? With that performance if congress doubles the staff again then they, VA, would have the perfect job; getting paid with no work output done at all.

If Social Security took over two years to deny a disability claim the citizens of the US would probably burn the White House to the ground in anger. Yet they handle civilian and Veterans claims. I think that there are only about two percent of the entire population are Veterans. The other 98% get handled in a timely manner but not at the VA.

Bottom line how they take two years to deny a claim they knew going in they were never going to approve is just mind boggling to say the least. This not only makes no sense it stalls the Veteran or Widow for two years in their absolute right to take the local VA denied claim to the Board of Veterans Appeals. A joke in itself but at least in some cases the Veteran through the Veterans lottery or roulette wheel can get a claim approved eventually after litigating for another two years or longer. Providing of course he or she did not succumb initially in the first ten months after their initial submittal. In that case, VA has done what it set out to do on behalf of the Executive Branch and with the help of some members of congress…stall to the death of the Veteran. Remembering that any money that would have been given to the Veterans family is no longer recoverable. The ten months the family used up its own savings. Family assets are now used to subsidize our government for the cost of war and monumental government mistakes of using Herbicides (weapons of mass destruction IAW with the Geneva Convention).

Then we have the presumptive disorders. Presumptive disorders, in most cases, require no C & P at the time of award because of the disability-rating schedule. This is spelled out if the Veteran has a service-connected cancer, especially stage IV (terminal) the award is at least 100% for six months. By then the Veteran is either passed or ‘free of’ or still fighting the government created cancer. However, the validation or qualifying is only verifying three clear and simple data points which seems to be nearly impossible for VA to do in less than eight or nine months or even over a year. This looks like a simple ten-minute decision not ten months.

Did the Vet serve in Nam?

Does he have a diagnosis?

Is that diagnosis on our presumptive list?

If the answer is yes to all…then approve. I do not know how much simpler this task can be in trying to get the Veteran and his family the financial support they not only need but have earned in military service to this nation.

But there is even more reward for Veterans Affairs doing a poor job on behalf of the Executive Branch in this issue. Reward in the total savings of millions of dollars a year by rear-ending the Veteran. If the Veteran is not approved before he dies then of course as we discussed the Veterans family gets zero and VA has met its goal. Knight Ridder in its sued for VA information found that 12,000 were dying each year waiting on Veterans Benefits saving millions of dollars a year. This is a direct result of this set aside legal system I was discussing with some of the congressional offices. Of course when this happens then the widow and/or minor offspring then have to resubmit for the claim that should have been approved in a timely manner to begin with and start at the end of the longest line. The cumulative effect is that the dying Veterans family may go for over two years or longer even on a presumptive disorder with no financial support and no service connected death.

When one talks of the non-presumptive disorders even though we know Executive Branch Appointees deny presumptive...this time frame can be over a decade of no support if a case if even eventually won or as we say the Veteran finally came up in the lottery system.

Again in another subject I specifically addressed how could Veterans serve side by side, the same area, the same time frame. One goes to the BVA and is approved after years of fighting the system. The other Veteran goes through the same process and is denied. This was on point as to if we are going to have a set aside legal system only for Veterans and their families then it must equate to the real constitutional justice system. Then could someone explain why one gets approved and the other denied when the only difference is the name and possibly the rank they achieved. Is this justice or even close?

And if there are several claims already litigated for years maybe even a decade and approved by BVA for the exact same thing and the exact same circumstances then why is not the flow down back to the VA…’given these claims have been found to be valid with all evidence and circumstances found positive and claims approved’…DO NOT send this similar claim up to BVA but approve automatically as BVA precedence at VA level. Does not our own constitutional legal system have a legal order of precedence and citing that legal order of precedence? Is not this lack of legal order of precedence the main contributing factor of the backlog of claims and its continual growth while Veterans wait for their turn in the VA/BVA lottery system litigating the exact same case over and over infinitum? Every congressperson and senators talks about working hard to reduce the backlog of claims. I suggested whatever they are doing is not working and has not worked and will not work with the present VA philosophy and processes totally targeted at not approving claims or adding stalling and denying processes at every level.

While I was in Senator Akaka’s office he scurried through headed for the on-going hearings that day. Then when I get home I find he made statements regarding suicides such as:

“Their wounds, and their enemy, are unseen”. (So are latent toxic chemical war wounds for decades after exposures as the men and women tried to work until they develop a discovered cancer or the cumulative issues of dioxin exposure become so manifested they can no longer work or no longer work full time.

“But the reality and the sometimes-deadly consequences of these invisible wounds cannot be ignored. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are not the only ones suffering from service-related mental health injuries.”

I wonder if the Senator has ever considered the direct inactions or actions of our wonderful Veterans Affairs is directly associated with this rising impact. VA treats veterans already sick from government causes like they are nothing but garbage. Even sick, mistreated, and dying animals have the protection of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (SPCA) with laws that actual punish the perpetrators of such crimes. Who does the Veteran or Widow have? After all Secretary Kissinger stated in 1979 Military men were nothing but dumb stupid animals to be used as State Department Pawns. Where is the Veterans/Widows SPCA? Certainly not Veterans Affairs and with few exceptions it is not even our own elected Government Officials. They talk like it but their deeds and actions or lack of action do not confirm that talk.

Anyway I believe we may have given them something to think about as they go home for the elections. Not coming back to the issues until after the first of the year of which I intend to do also.

Let me give you one closing example. And I hate to say my claim or I because it has never been about me. But I think this is a super example of how even the DC Appeals Mis-management center works even after you go through the BVA joke.

My claim has been remanded with explicit directed actions by BVA including the claim must be expedited. Now I guess expedited has many different meanings in any context but it is safe say that the Veteran should be able to expect some semblance of the word and directive.

Mine has been in remand since January of 2007. So I would conclude that 21 months is not what BVA meant by expediting.

Finally even my very patient wife decided enough is enough and called Congressman John Linder’s Office. I contacted Senator Saxby Chambliss office but refused to contact Senator Johnny Isakson office because that office has never done anything even though he serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Meanwhile we filled out the same forms for these offices we had filled out twice before and they made inquiries into the status of my claim, which apparently is all they allowed to do.

Now bear in mind I had been calling on the status myself already and gotten so many variables in answers I had no idea what in the hell the status was after waiting for 21 months for what I was told was an expedited claim.

Now the two contacted the Appeals Mis-Management Center as to the status and why it was taking so long. Then to show they were actually doing something, I am sure just a coincidence from the those inquires, the Appeals Mis-Management Center after 21 month then sends me the same forms to fill out I have filled out I know at least five times. Although; they did send out a C & P request for an auditory C & P which was on the remand back in January of 2007. That in effect did happen soon after the C & P request came. Not surprised but then now we have more decisions to be made.

So the Appeals Mis-Management Center can then say to the two congressional inquires we are actually working on it when prior to that action a few months ago nothing was being done and I must assume and you would probably bet on nothing is being done now since they answered the inquiry by the congressional letters. What a nice joke these folks play. Yet, congress will do nothing to stop this kind of treatment.

Will any of efforts we put forth September 11th and 12th do any good even though we provided evidence with objective facts/data? I would think that what I ran off in cover sheets, bills to support, and the CD’s made and delivered are already out of the office trashcans and in the House and Senate dumpsters in the basement.

But do not ever let them tell you they did not know the facts---the facts were there and hand delivered; they just chose to disregard them.

I have never been political in this fight but since I am closing out this part of my life unless I get inquires from the IOM or Congress I am going to.

It kills me to see Veterans due to political ideology fight each other when none of them really give a damn about your used up obsolete government asset from the President on down. Neither party. You served your purpose and now you are nothing but an obsolete government asset, costing too much money to maintain; no different than an obsolete computer they put on fire sale. If anyone of them gave a damn we would not be where we are today 36 years after the war with more killed by our own government not service connected than the entire NVA Army and Viet Cong killed put together. Senator Akaka discussing suicides yet more Vietnam Veterans killed themselves than the numbers on our memorial wall.

Do not think for a minute that those in congress love to see these obsolete assets fighting amongst themselves. Political ideology and Veterans Issues are two different subjects. Today’s ideology difference seems to me at least:

Do you want redistribution of wealth (communist manifesto) and cradle to grave care (socialism) with no personal accountability for much of anything?

Do you want what is supposed to be a nation built on capitalism, work ethic, and personal success? Although even this is getting clouded since we are almost to the point we do not have a sovereign nation anymore, and the capitalist system is not on a level playing field with the rest of the world and government bailing out companies that due to mismanagement are failing. Sending billions of dollar to nations that would destroy us if they had the power. What is next the government nationalizing our companies?

I have to laugh at the promises the government made when NAFTA was signed into law about how even Mexico would buy our products and how that would increase so much in even the selling of used cars. Boy what a lie and misdirection that was. Yet, decades after what once was a trade surplus is now a trade deficit and congress is sitting around with their fingers where the sun does not shine stating where in the world did all our fairly high paying middle class manufacturing jobs go, much less the influx of 30 million illegal workers as if we had the massive birth rate increase. Yes, I say 30 million because the first amnesty was supposed to be for 8 million and yet it actually was 12 million. So the estimates of the newer illegal immigrants are suspect at best. 30 million more cars on the road, 30 million more using the infrastructure not budget for, 30 plus million more children in school unbudgeted for at local levels and on and on plus how many on our handed out like candy welfare (excuse me social programs) that were not estimated. Blows my mind they hand out this stuff with no questions, no marriage certificates or birth certificates and yet it took me five damn months to prove to VA I was legally married and should be paid as a Veteran with a spouse. In comparison VA treated me then and now like I was a damn criminal. A damn criminal that helped develop most of the weapons in the military arsenal today.

In fact, if you look at the only two parties we have, except for a few issues, which are personal preferences, they are moving closer and closer to the very same ideology. The only difference now seems to be how we get to those points in the future.

Anyway I would like to think I made a difference but like so many before me thinking if we did provide concrete objective evidence the government would change. It seems that is not to be for Veterans/Widows Issues. Data means nothing. Although the one bill I guess is some impact if you folks get it passed.

I have about two weeks of work to get my file up to my lawyer (Mr. Robert Walsh) since it is obvious a person with an IQ of over 140 cannot make a dent in the VA system. Then I am done unless the Congress or IOM wants me to respond to something.

So much has been tried and done by so many I would like to thank:

Just to name a few that have helped me.

Paul Sullivan

Mike Eckstein

Frank Wilcox

Kurt Pressman

John Rossie

Canada Kelly Franklin

New Zealand Lindsey Skinner

Australia Bob Gibson

Final comment after reviewing what has gone on for the past 60 years. Veteran Service Organizations for the most part should be listed as so and so organization “an affiliate of the Department of Veterans Affairs.” Yet, congress in committee turns to them for hearings. Who appointed them our spokespersons before congress is the question, since they represent about 3% of all Veterans?

It has been interesting but certainly not fun continuously hitting my head against the brick wall that is the VA/IOM but time to hand over the baton to someone else and hope they had more success than I did.

No truer words were stated in the definition of Patriotism. Support your Nation all the time but support your government only when they deserve it. (Thanks Paul)

Too bad our government does not feel the same way in the support of Veterans/Widows/minor offspring. Not only do these men and women deserve it they actually did something for the nation to earn it.

Best to all,