Two more VA offices falsifying records to hide long wait times, whistleblowers allege

posted at 10:41 am on May 7, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs widened this morning to include two more offices, both in Texas, accused of falsifying records to hide horrendous wait times for medical treatment. Jeremy Schwartz at the Austin American-Statesman reports that a whistleblower within the VA told investigators that he and other employees were verbally ordered to falsely register patient requests so that it appeared that they had to wait very little time for treatment. In fact, the wait times for veterans went to three months in Austin and San Antonio:

A Department of Veterans Affairs scheduling clerk has accused VA officials in Austin and San Antonio of manipulating medical appointment data in an attempt to hide long wait times to see doctors and psychiatrists, the American-Statesman has learned.

In communications with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, a federal investigative body that protects government whistleblowers, the 40-year-old VA employee said he and others were “verbally directed by lead clerks, supervisors, and during training” to ensure that wait times at the Austin VA Outpatient Clinic and the North Central Federal Clinic in San Antonio were “as close to zero days as possible.”

The medical support assistant, who is seeking whistleblower protection and has been advised to remain anonymous by federal investigators, said he and other clerks achieved that by falsely logging patients’ desired appointment dates to sync with appointment openings. That made it appear there was little to no wait time, and ideally less than the department’s goal of 14 days. In reality, the clerk said, wait times for appointments could be as long as three months.

The claims echo recent allegations that VA officials in Arizona and Colorado similarly manipulated wait time data or maintained secret lists to obscure lengthy wait times for medical care. Three top administrators at the VA medical center in Phoenix have since been put on leave and the VA’s inspector general is conducting an investigation into an alleged secret wait list at the facility. A retired doctor at the Phoenix facility told CNN that more than 40 veterans there died while waiting for an appointment.

That brings the total number of offices to four — so far. Given the geographic dispersal of these locations, it’s almost a sure bet that these aren’t the only VA offices that have been told to falsify records. It’s also almost a sure bet given the distribution of incidents that the direction for this practice isn’t just coincidentally happening on a local level, but is coming from up above the office level, and above the regional control level.

Two Republican Senators had already demanded the resignation of CA Secretary Eric Shinseki over the first revelation about the Phoenix office:

Two Senate Republicans have called on Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign in the wake of reports that at least 40 veterans died while waiting for care at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system , which worked to cover up the long wait times by creating a secret waiting list an later destroying the evidence.

The two senators, Republicans John Cornyn of Texas and Jerry Moran of Kansas, echoed the call from two major veterans groups. The American Legion, which is the nation’s largest veterans group, and Concerned Veterans for America, have both said Shinseki should step down.

“The president needs to find a new leader to lead this organization out of the wilderness, and back to providing the service that our veterans deserve,” Cornyn told reporters Tuesday. He also called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to investigate the issue with emergency committee hearings.

Harry Reid made the blunder of getting ahead of the story by defending Shinseki:

Shinseki wasn’t “fired” for his advice on the Iraq War; his retirement had already been announced prior to that, although he was pointedly not asked to stick around. Reid talks about the burden that Congress imposed on Shinseki by demanding better record-keeping at the VA, but he’s been VA Secretary since January 2009, more than five years ago. Shinseki is responsible for the issues of access and wait times, and now it appears that multiple offices have been told to falsify records to comply with Congress’ mandate on wait times. If Shinseki’s not responsible for the VA’s performance and lack thereof after 5-plus years, exactly who is?

So far, Shinseki isn’t going away:

The head of the Department of Veterans Affairs said Tuesday he won’t resign, but will work to rebuild confidence after the nation’s largest veterans organization called for him to step down Monday amid allegations of inadequate treatment of patients at some VA facilities.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal Tuesday, Eric Shinseki said his department will strive to improve its communication and collaborate with veterans-advocacy groups. The retired Army general who took over the agency in 2009, also highlighted what he said were positive changes during his tenure.

“I serve at the pleasure of the president,” he said when asked if he would be resigning. “I signed on to make some changes, I have work to do.”

We’ll see. It might have been easier to hold out when the corruption involved just one field office. With a pattern emerging and with Shinseki’s long tenure, though, his position will become more and more untenable. Reid and Barack Obama had better start thinking about a replacement soon, preferably before more whistleblowers emerge to make both look like even bigger fools.

Update: Investors Business Daily predicts we’ll see much the same kind of corruption with ObamaCare:

ObamaCare simply builds on this failed model — expanding access to “free” or “low cost” care while rationing access. Most blatantly, it does this by expanding Medicaid. But patients in many private ObamaCare plans have found that a multitude of doctors and hospitals are now off limits.

The so-called “Accountable Care Organizations” ObamaCare forces into existence are little more than newfangled HMOs, which long ago developed a reputation for rewarding doctors who denied patient care.

Then there’s the new Independent Payment Advisory Board for Medicare. While officially banned from rationing care, the board can achieve the same end by setting payment rates so low that seniors will have trouble finding doctors who’ll see them.

As ObamaCare’s tentacles reach further into the nation’s health care system, so too will come schemes to ration care, along with the inevitable political pressure to cover it all up.


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This is starting to sound like it was standard operating procedure. Not unlike the IRS. Can they make a quick fix before the subpenas are issued so some lives can be saved. They aren’t even giving these guys some pills for their pain as Obama promised for old people.

Cindy Munford on May 7, 2014 at 10:46 AM

That brings the total number of offices to four — so far

Oh expect all larger VA’s to be part of this.

upinak on May 7, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Wait till ZeroCare takes hold…you can multiply this story by 1000 and the bodies will start piling up…

“Death Panels”…

PatriotRider on May 7, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Shinseki needs to go. Isn’t he the idiot who changed everyone’s headgear to berets?

dogsoldier on May 7, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Shinseki needs to go. Isn’t he the idiot who changed everyone’s headgear to berets?

dogsoldier on May 7, 2014 at 10:49 AM

For the Army… yes.

upinak on May 7, 2014 at 10:50 AM

I don’t see why this can’t be done like Medicare. Go to what ever doctor or hospital accepts vets and send the bill to the government. Assuming there will still be doctors and hospitals soon.

crankyoldlady on May 7, 2014 at 10:50 AM

There was an infamous incident in the USSR. Stalin ordered a canal to be built. On an impossible time table. Many workers died building it, but the canal was built on time. And Stalin was able to stand on a tug and float through the canal.

Secret being, the tug was flat bottomed and the canal was uselessly shallow. We are now repeating those mistakes.

Once again, government is the problem, not the solution.

rbj on May 7, 2014 at 10:51 AM

I wonder if the active list is for Democrats and the long wait list is for Republicans???

Wouldn’t surprise me at all with this scumbag corrupt administration.

txdoc on May 7, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Is anyone really shocked? I mean, this is where all government healthcare leads.

joekenha on May 7, 2014 at 10:54 AM

The scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs widened this morning to include two more offices, both in Texas, accused of falsifying records to hide horrendous wait times for medical treatment. Jeremy Schwartz at the Austin American-Statesman reports that a whistleblower within the VA told investigators that he and other employees were verbally ordered to falsely register patient requests so that it appeared that they had to wait very little time for treatment. In fact, the wait times for veterans went to three months in Austin and San Antonio . . . . .

Ed Morrissey on May 7, 2014 at 10:41 AM

.
The exposing of what really goes on at most VA hospitals has been too long in coming.

I suppose “better late than never” applies, but it’s still been way too long . . . . .

listens2glenn on May 7, 2014 at 10:54 AM

“Wait times” will become part of the news here as Obamacare leads to single payer. To prepare yourself, read the short article from Canada linked below about surgeries being cut in one British Columbia “health region.” Have a glance at the chart at the bottom while you’re at it.

This is how the future will work for us, unless…

Fraser Health cuts surgeries to make budget

The Lower Mainland hospitals with the worst surgical waits in the first three months of the year were Burnaby Hospital at 47.7 weeks to reach the 90 per cent completion mark, Abbotsford Regional at 39.2 weeks, 36.9 weeks for Langley Memorial, 36.7 weeks for B.C. Children’s, 35.7 weeks for Peace Arch and 35 weeks for Surrey Memorial.

Drained Brain on May 7, 2014 at 10:55 AM

This is all part of Obama’s Marxist plot to destroy our military.

People looking at the VA hospital problems and think – gee I don’t think I want to join the military and sacrifice life & limb if they are going to treat me like shit….

The vets that are now in these situations are the sacrifice to the leftist gods.

In Obama’s mind they should have died anyway….he does not care.

There might be some good VA doctors and staff – they need to come forward and expose the left for what they are…..

redguy on May 7, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Our government is the problem, it is corrupt, only serves itself and special interests.

The tree of liberty needs to be re-planted…

PatriotRider on May 7, 2014 at 10:58 AM

listens2glenn on May 7, 2014 at 10:54 AM

The waits have always been a bit long, but when you start to lie about it, it’s a whole new ballgame. Have the waits been getting longer and why is it now unacceptable to the point of inventing an entirely new system scheme to hide it? My experiences with the VA, in the past, have not been bad but it makes me wonder what if my past was now?

Cindy Munford on May 7, 2014 at 11:00 AM

The left’s favorite general officer strikes again.

metprof on May 7, 2014 at 11:00 AM

we’ll see much the same kind of corruption with ObamaCare

Now now Ed. I am confident that Obaka, when he finally does read about this, will assure me that there is not a smidgen of corruption to be found anywhere in his government.

Brat on May 7, 2014 at 11:00 AM

redguy on May 7, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Ah okay.

You have to ask around with other veterans concerning care at a VA hospital. Some will say they have no problems, and those are the smaller clinics, not hospitals. Others who are closer to VA hospitals will talk your ear off about the problems, even before Obama took office.

Dallas/Ft Worth VA will be one of the next in this list. As well as Seattle. When you have such a large amount of veterans in a tight area, there are always going to be problems.

Not to say that this isn’t bad, but anyone who isn’t a veteran or has worked with/for the VA, this isn’t surprising.

upinak on May 7, 2014 at 11:02 AM

I don’t see why this can’t be done like Medicare. Go to what ever doctor or hospital accepts vets and send the bill to the government. Assuming there will still be doctors and hospitals soon.

crankyoldlady on May 7, 2014 at 10:50 AM

This! This exactly! I don’t understand it at all. Why should my vet neighbors have to drive over 3 hours to get to a hospital or doctor? We have an awesome regional medical center within an hour, and regular doctors and smaller hospitals within 20 minutes.

(If they need specialized care, I still don’t know that the government bureaucracy is the best place to handle that, but fine. Keep that portion and get regular medical issues back to local doctors/hospitals.)

cptacek on May 7, 2014 at 11:06 AM

So sad, and yet you see Odumbo and his wife talking abnout supporting the troops and vets. They despise the military.

rjoco1 on May 7, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Maybe it’s semantics, but I don’t see corruption in this. It’s typical government CYA, it’s a scandal that people are dying of it, but no one is paying bribes, getting personal enrichment or preferred treatment.

Mu on May 7, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Is anyone really shocked? I mean, this is where all government healthcare leads.

joekenha on May 7, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Exactly!
This is NOT something new.
I haven’t trusted the VA since my Air Force exit exam at the Denver VA Hospital in 1987. They gave me a contaminated storage case for my contacts while they dilated my eyes – causing burns on my cornea when I put the contacts back in. They gave me some anesthetic eye drops (which make open lesions worse) for the hour drive home and rushed me out the door – refused to check me in for the night to fix the problem – claimed I was probably allergic to the dilation drops. Horrible pain for days that a civilian eye doctor finally fixed – and the VA denied anything ever happened.

dentarthurdent on May 7, 2014 at 11:10 AM

Phony scandal.

Global warming!

rightside on May 7, 2014 at 11:12 AM

The leftists hate the Veterans and the Soldiers.

Lip-service, from obama on down. Period.

All this is done for their own fat bonuses.

They don’t care how many die.

What a country!

Schadenfreude on May 7, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Maybe it’s semantics, but I don’t see corruption in this. It’s typical government CYA, it’s a scandal that people are dying of it, but no one is paying bribes, getting personal enrichment or preferred treatment.

Mu on May 7, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Wrong!!
Government employees are falsifying official government records, and they are getting bonuses and promotions based on that false data.
They dam well ARE getting personal enrichment and preferred treatment as a result of intentionally fraudulent records – while the vets die from what’s really happening.
How is that NOT corruption?

dentarthurdent on May 7, 2014 at 11:14 AM

cptacek on May 7, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Because the doctors have to be vetted, and most doctors don’t want to deal with the paperwork.

There is also the fact that they want to check the patient before referring them to a different doctor, that is approved.

upinak on May 7, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Maybe it’s semantics, but I don’t see corruption in this. It’s typical government CYA, it’s a scandal that people are dying of it, but no one is paying bribes, getting personal enrichment or preferred treatment.

Mu on May 7, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Are you on drugs…

PatriotRider on May 7, 2014 at 11:17 AM

dentarthurdent on May 7, 2014 at 11:14 AM

I also believe it is lack of record keeping.

I and my husband decided a couple years ago to get copies of our records from the VA, and noticed that we had other people’s paperwork in our files. We both checked the last 4 of the social, and notice they were the same.

SO I think it is a double whammy, falsified as well as lack of training or people not giving a crap. We both contacted the VA (and military hospital) and had them fix the files.

upinak on May 7, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Just coincidental that all these lone wolves look like they’re acting in coordination.

jdpaz on May 7, 2014 at 11:19 AM

That brings the total number of offices to four — so far.

It’s pan-institutional. It has to be. That’s the way the machine is built. If you have demand outstripping supply, patients are just going to have to wait. In fact, that wait would be expected to continue to lengthen, as the demand backlog steadily builds (minus those that die or just give up). “Under-utilized” facilities (another way of saying “those that don’t have long waits”) are usually punished with closure or aggregation. (After all, it’s just semantics: one man’s “under-utilized” is another man’s “running nicely”, and we’ve seen how assiduously this administration works to shift the Overton window)

You can hide it for a while with bookkeeping and scheduling tricks, but sooner or later it comes out.

BarkyCare will follow the same trajectory, and delivering additional healthcare to all those incoming undocumented true Americans that will soon be added to the rolls will tax it further. As will the reduction in supply due to retirement (both scheduled and premature) of Doctors. Plus, the smart kids, at least the ones that are awake enough to read the handwriting on the wall, are no longer going into Medicine as a career, dooming us to a future of healthcare delivery by technician and “FMG” (Foreign Medical Graduate). If we’re even that lucky.

bofh on May 7, 2014 at 11:28 AM

I don’t see why this can’t be done like Medicare. Go to what ever doctor or hospital accepts vets and send the bill to the government. Assuming there will still be doctors and hospitals soon.

crankyoldlady on May 7, 2014 at 10:50 AM

You would end up in the Medicaid predicament. Sure, you have this great coverage, but because of the low reimbursement rates, you can’t find a doctor who will take it, leaving you with the VA hospital as the only choice.

Occams Stubble on May 7, 2014 at 11:29 AM

The problem seems to be endemic and, therefore, Shinseki needs to set aside his burghey and fall on his sword. I am fortunate to be living in a small WNC town where the local VA clinic is topnotch. I like the workers, from top to bottom, and my assigned doc. I’ve nothing but good to say about my dealings with the Asheville VA Hospital. But,I hope my experiences are the norm, not the exception, nationwide.

vnvet on May 7, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Maybe it’s semantics, but I don’t see corruption in this. It’s typical government CYA, it’s a scandal that people are dying of it, but no one is paying bribes, getting personal enrichment or preferred treatment.

Mu on May 7, 2014 at 11:08 AM

yeah….I mean the bonuses gotten for appearing to meet the timetables in phoenix are not really enrichment right?
right?
smarten up.

dmacleo on May 7, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Maybe it’s semantics, but I don’t see corruption in this. It’s typical government CYA, it’s a scandal that people are dying of it, but no one is paying bribes, getting personal enrichment or preferred treatment.

Mu

As a veteran, and a disabled one at that, I must ask, are you really that special kind of stupid?

Gothguy on May 7, 2014 at 11:35 AM

When I broke my right wrist (I’m right-handed) at the AF Academy in 1980, the airman at the base hospital ER wouldn’t check me in and let a doctor see me until I signed the check-in form.
Think about that.
And then the x-ray tech took all the wrapping and ice packs off for the x-ray – and handed them back to me and told me to go back to the ER and wait for a doctor – watched my wrist balloon to the size of a grapefruit waiting for a doctor….

Unfortunately, incompetence in the military and VA medical system is not new – corruption maybe – but incompetence is nothing new.

dentarthurdent on May 7, 2014 at 11:36 AM

vnvet on May 7, 2014 at 11:32 AM

You said exactly what I said earlier. And I really think it is the norm.

upinak on May 7, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Because the doctors have to be vetted, and most doctors don’t want to deal with the paperwork.

There is also the fact that they want to check the patient before referring them to a different doctor, that is approved.

upinak on May 7, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Please explain more. I still don’t understand. All doctors are vetted by the state medical board. Do vets need extra special vetting for common problems? Not trying to be insensitive here, I just don’t understand.

You would end up in the Medicaid predicament. Sure, you have this great coverage, but because of the low reimbursement rates, you can’t find a doctor who will take it, leaving you with the VA hospital as the only choice.

Occams Stubble on May 7, 2014 at 11:29 AM

So up the reimbursement rate? The political fight over providing veterans insurance would be much less than the fight over Medicaid.

cptacek on May 7, 2014 at 11:39 AM

listens2glenn on May 7, 2014 at 10:54 AM

.
The waits have always been a bit long, but when you start to lie about it, it’s a whole new ballgame. Have the waits been getting longer and why is it now unacceptable to the point of inventing an entirely new system scheme to hide it? My experiences with the VA, in the past, have not been bad but it makes me wonder what if my past was now?

Cindy Munford on May 7, 2014 at 11:00 AM

.
If you had better experiences with the VA … great !

My father-in-law (WWII vet) wasn’t quite as blessed.

He was handled by whatever VA facility is just outside of Wilmington, Delaware, and that would have been 25 years ago.

listens2glenn on May 7, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Please explain more. I still don’t understand. All doctors are vetted by the state medical board. Do vets need extra special vetting for common problems? Not trying to be insensitive here, I just don’t understand.
cptacek on May 7, 2014 at 11:39 AM

The doctors have to fill our specialized paperwork (like doctors who do medicare) to treat veterans. They also have to do a background check, and those doctors who are former veterans have preference. But the issue isn’t having a doctor for whatever the ailment may be, it’s the contract. If the doctor asks for a high amount, the VA can say no, and pull it.

This is for all types of doctors, from surgeons to dentists and optometrists. The other issue is distance. Like someone mentioned earlier, with a 3 hour drive to see a doctor, it’s usually a specialist that they do not have where they live and make the veteran come in… and the VA also pays their mileage and hotel if they have to stay. My Husband does this quite often and sometimes has to go out of state up to 3 times a year to see one.

listens2glenn on May 7, 2014 at 11:39 AM

:( I am sorry to hear that LG.

upinak on May 7, 2014 at 11:45 AM

is it wrong to be rooting for shinsucky to get the ax 4 this?

ABreitbart on May 7, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Is anyone really shocked? I mean, this is where all government healthcare leads.

joekenha on May 7, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Relax! With a warmhearted guy like Zeke Emanuel involved, how could you possibly worry?

butch on May 7, 2014 at 12:00 PM

This denial of care for veterans by hiding them on secret lists until they die seems to be getting a lot of negative press lately. Once you learn the real purpose behind the secret lists, you’ll understand why they’re a good thing.

Several years ago, the DHS published a report that showed the greatest threat to the US government is US military veterans. Instead of standing around and waiting for an uprising, your government has been busy taking actions to reduce the threat. This is merely one of them.

We did it for you..and your children.

BobMbx on May 7, 2014 at 12:01 PM

In recent decades the U.S. government has tried to screw over troops and veterans when they are no longer needed.

Prediction: the military will “RIF” current members (including those who have served in Afghanistan) to make room for “Dreamers.”

bw222 on May 7, 2014 at 12:01 PM

You fools were warned
just like the european models it is based upon
lower standards.
long wait times.
people dying while waiting
liberal govt officials lying and getting bonuses by falsfying records

what the obama admin does to the vets under the VA today

this is what obamacare will do to all of YOU tomorrow.

sniffles1999 on May 7, 2014 at 12:02 PM

The Government owes
Vets higher level of care.
Not so much with you…

If they abuse vets,
How much worse will they mistreat
Common folk like us?

Haiku Guy on May 7, 2014 at 12:05 PM

BobMbx on May 7, 2014 at 12:01 PM

While veterans have abnormally long waits, illegal aliens simply go to the nearest emergency room for everything from sniffles to serious injuries … and the taxpayers pay the bill.

bw222 on May 7, 2014 at 12:05 PM

This reminds me of the scandal with the NIH in Britain. The government was embarassed by long wait times in Emergency Rooms, so they passed a law that all patients had to be seen within two hours of arriving at an Emergency Room. The result was that patients were held in ambulances parked at the curb just off hospital property until room was available inside, at which time the ambulance would be permitted to drop off the patient, provided he was still alive.

Haiku Guy on May 7, 2014 at 12:09 PM

See? This is why we need huge government bureaucracies incapable of empathy handling the most important part of our lives: our health. At least they don’t have to compete against similar entities to do a better job and, thus, win the right from us to managing our well-being. Only evil, free market businesses have to do that. Competition is the problem, not the solution. One big sloth-like entity is what we need. See? /double-face-palm

brentspolemics on May 7, 2014 at 12:10 PM

bw222 on May 7, 2014 at 12:05 PM

To be fair…
For emergencies, the VA will cover the costs of a veteran who needs to go to another hospital for emergency care.
If you are a veteran, know what benefits risking your life for the security of the nation has earned you. I did not and I paid a hospital bill the VA would have covered to the tune of about $6,000.
There are rules and limitations of course, contact your VA to learn more.

astonerii on May 7, 2014 at 12:16 PM

http://www.nonvacare.va.gov/brochures/NonVA_Emergency_Care_FactSheet.pdf
For veterans who need medical care they cannot get in the VA this might be a good place to start your research.

astonerii on May 7, 2014 at 12:20 PM

listens2glenn on May 7, 2014 at 11:39 AM

There seems to be a two tiered system. My dad was also a WWII vet who was paralyzed in an accident long after the war ended. The VA supplied all the physical therapy, paraphernalia to get him back behind the wheel of a car and periodic checks through his life up to and including treatment for lung cancer. This took place at McGuire in Richmond (which closed) and then in Hampton, VA. My husband’s aunt was the widow of a Navy retiree and she got most of her care in a mix of naval and civilian hospitals and doctors, including treatment for a brain tumor. Between medicare and Tricare she didn’t pay a dime. There should not be any disparity between my experiences and those of your family. The government is suppose to be equal.

Cindy Munford on May 7, 2014 at 12:21 PM

“Wait times” will become part of the news here as Obamacare leads to single payer. To prepare yourself, read the short article from Canada linked below about surgeries being cut in one British Columbia “health region.” Have a glance at the chart at the bottom while you’re at it.

This is how the future will work for us, unless…

Fraser Health cuts surgeries to make budget

The Lower Mainland hospitals with the worst surgical waits in the first three months of the year were Burnaby Hospital at 47.7 weeks to reach the 90 per cent completion mark, Abbotsford Regional at 39.2 weeks, 36.9 weeks for Langley Memorial, 36.7 weeks for B.C. Children’s, 35.7 weeks for Peace Arch and 35 weeks for Surrey Memorial.

Drained Brain on May 7, 2014 at 10:55 AM

That’s pathetic, but that’s the Canadian system. The British NHS is the role model for the Democratics, -that’s where we are headed if the piece-of-crap Obamacare fails as it was designed to.

slickwillie2001 on May 7, 2014 at 12:23 PM

brentspolemics on May 7, 2014 at 12:10 PM

You didn’t really need the sarc tag.
That was Bishop or Frank Lib quality snark there.
Well done!!

dentarthurdent on May 7, 2014 at 12:23 PM

astonerii on May 7, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Now this is where the VA didn’t work for us. They sent us to the closest hospital for my dad’s care and that is where he passed away and they did not pay. I will say that there may have been steps that we didn’t take or know to take because of ignorance.

Cindy Munford on May 7, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Now this is where the VA didn’t work for us. They sent us to the closest hospital for my dad’s care and that is where he passed away and they did not pay. I will say that there may have been steps that we didn’t take or know to take because of ignorance.

Cindy Munford on May 7, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Sorry I could not have been there before… That is why every time this subject comes up I post this information, so others do not needlessly suffer.

astonerii on May 7, 2014 at 12:27 PM

If it can be shown that these veterans died because of the delays can these corrupt bureaucrats be charged with Criminal Negligence?

slickwillie2001 on May 7, 2014 at 12:32 PM

I called the VA one day because I knew I had an appointment coming up, I looked on their website but it showed no appointment and when I called them they said yes I have one, today. I never got a mailed notice or phone call, which has always happened in the past. I asked them about it when I arrived and they said it is the system. Now I wonder.

Sven on May 7, 2014 at 12:36 PM

To be fair…
For emergencies, the VA will cover the costs of a veteran who needs to go to another hospital for emergency care.

astonerii on May 7, 2014 at 12:16 PM

To be fair, the taxpayers cover everything for illegal aliens in emergency rooms … emergencies and non-emergencies alike.

bw222 on May 7, 2014 at 12:37 PM

astonerii on May 7, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Don’t feel bad, it was waaay back in 1995. You would think that the two medical institutions would work it out or at least give direction. The civilian hospital lost out, there was no estate to recoup the cost.

Cindy Munford on May 7, 2014 at 12:42 PM

bw222 on May 7, 2014 at 12:05 PM

AH yes….the fearsome “No Habla” Division.

BobMbx on May 7, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Look closely at Shinseki’s reply, ‘Strive to improve communication’ and “I have work to do”

1.) Completely and utterly irrelevant action to even address that his employees are falsifying documents, effectively denying veterans access to medical care.

2.) What in the blue Hell has he been doing for the last 5 years?

America, witness thine healthcare future.

a5minmajor on May 7, 2014 at 12:48 PM

… I bet there is a lot of scrubbing and shredding going on right now………….probably a frenzy!

KOOLAID2 on May 7, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Sven on May 7, 2014 at 12:36 PM

That has happened to us a few times. We are fortunate that we are personal friends with a few of the front, and they will call even if there is a mysterious “appt” that shows.

They issue with the mysterious Appt., is this. If you are a 100% disabled veteran, and you MISS an appt. on purpose or cancel for undefined reasons, the VA can TAKE away your disabled status, in which you have to appeal to the VA on why you didn’t go to said appt.

I wonder if this is the mysterious appt issue? If they are selectively picking people who are 80-100% disabled and making mock appt. with the possibility of losing their disability?

upinak on May 7, 2014 at 12:58 PM

There are a lot of Rangers who have been waiting for this.

formwiz on May 7, 2014 at 12:59 PM

upinak on May 7, 2014 at 12:58 PM

That could be, I am 80%.

Sven on May 7, 2014 at 1:09 PM

That could be, I am 80%.

Sven on May 7, 2014 at 1:09 PM

That would be my Husband as well… 100%

upinak on May 7, 2014 at 1:10 PM

upinak on May 7, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Are you chomping at the bit for the king run?

Sven on May 7, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Are you chomping at the bit for the king run?

Sven on May 7, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Yes! But we may not be able too if Fish and Game say the counts are too low. I also have classes this summer, friends coming in from out of state, and house remodeling… I am a very busy person.

upinak on May 7, 2014 at 1:16 PM

upinak on May 7, 2014 at 1:16 PM

I miss it up there.

Sven on May 7, 2014 at 1:26 PM

If Shinseki’s not responsible for the VA’s performance and lack thereof after 5-plus years, exactly who is?

Boooooooosh! Who else?

jnelchef on May 7, 2014 at 1:32 PM

upinak on May 7, 2014 at 1:16 PM

I miss it up there.

Sven on May 7, 2014 at 1:26 PM

I hope to go some day.
I was born in Anchorage when my dad was working at King Salmon as a meteorologist. My mom had a bush pilot fly her to Anchorage just before I arrived. But the family moved down to the east coast before I was a year old – so I’ve never actually seen Alaska – other than the many family photos of King Salmon / Naknek, Point Barrow, Wales, Nome, and such.

dentarthurdent on May 7, 2014 at 1:35 PM

I miss it up there.

Sven on May 7, 2014 at 1:26 PM

dentarthurdent on May 7, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Come on/back up. We aren’t as expensive as most places, except for food and fuel. It was a overly mild winter. I think South Central is in a drought.

upinak on May 7, 2014 at 1:42 PM

upinak on May 7, 2014 at 1:42 PM

When I retire again I plan to spend summers up there.

Sven on May 7, 2014 at 1:47 PM

How many more Vets must die through VA lies and manipulation: 1,000, 2,000, 10,000. Whats the magic number. Throw these bureaucrates out of office.

leader4hru on May 7, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Starting to sound like the exception is the VA offices that do things in a timely manner.

sadatoni on May 7, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Fox News producers or a former CBS lady:

Go to these waiting rooms at the large hospitals, use older guys who look and dress like Vietnam Vets. Get them to appear sort of lost as they enter.
Sit in the waiting rooms and record and film the goings on.

A “guy” with a VFW hat or shirt on will end up sitting down next to the “wired” vet. It will go like this.

“You new here?”, “This place is hard to follow the paper work, but if you need some help I know a thing or two.”
some more back and forth

“You know I like you and I can help you get more out of the VA say on a disability claim.” I will “help” you fill out the claim and in fact I know an atty who does this stuff.”

Ya, they are there on the law firm/or the “disability online operation” payroll doing the dirty deeds.

All any one has to do is just take the time to look, there be snakes about under just about every rock at a VA hospital.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 7, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Come on/back up. We aren’t as expensive as most places, except for food and fuel. It was a overly mild winter. I think South Central is in a drought.

upinak on May 7, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Some day – I hope….

dentarthurdent on May 7, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Yes and we saw it first hand at the VA Hospital in Bohnam Texas.

Saw it the three times we were in the waithing room.

Same guy doing it every time.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 7, 2014 at 2:48 PM

or ya,, He said he was an expert on how to handle a “agent orange” claim,,,”I know the areas you need to say you where stationed in nam and thats all’s you got to know at first,,, I will handle you all the way to the claim….

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 7, 2014 at 2:50 PM

The reason for the faked numbers is important.

The VA has been paying bonuses based on “improved” wait times. So the bookkeeping change to not officially “make” the appointment until within a few weeks of when the patient would actually be seen does nothing to help the patient, but pays big $$$ dividends to everyone in the administrative chain.

Back in the day, we used to call faking numbers get money under false pretense “fraud.”

←→↔←

The VA system is terribly inefficient. Veterans should be put on vouchers, let them see the health care provider of their choice, anywhere in the country. There is no reason to maintain a whole separate system which provides substandard care.

Adjoran on May 7, 2014 at 3:37 PM

If you like to play with numbers here is one that although really not of value but never the less is a bit scary.

“The Chance of a soldier surviving combat in the first Gulf War is greater then surviving the care in a VA Hospital.”

Before everyone tears me a new one on this. The First Gulf war was only 100 hours long and had a very unusually low fatality rate. The Va has had 24 years of treating these vets.

I do believe that these problems are spread through out the VA system. After many complaints I finally got my VA glasses back and repaired. It only took 5 months. The problems I have experienced with the VA is that it ranks from #1 to #10 all on the same day. There are people that care and those in it for the pay check. The problems seems to be in the middle and upper management that do not do their jobs of seeing that others do theirs.

Every day at a VA Hospital and Clinic you will find people plugin away to make it the best possible experience the Vet can have in-spite of having to work with those that just want the check. What ever comes of these complaints let us never forget the service that these highly dedicate Va Employees provide. Lets go after the middle and upper management where the blame lies.

jpcpt03 on May 7, 2014 at 4:03 PM

To be fair, the taxpayers cover everything for illegal aliens in emergency rooms … emergencies and non-emergencies alike.

bw222 on May 7, 2014 at 12:37 PM

I am perfectly happy to get rid of on demand emergency room care regardless of payment. Feel free to find the political coalition that can get it done. As it stands, veterans do at least have some access to emergency room care. The fair argument is the FULL argument, not the one that leaves out parts because it is not convenient for your side of the argument.

astonerii on May 7, 2014 at 4:19 PM

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 7, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Yeah, I have seen the stuff several times and been given the instructions about what to say a few times. It is sickening this is where our nation is. Too many veterans seem to be willing to go along for a free ride.

astonerii on May 7, 2014 at 4:22 PM

The problems with the VA hospitals are legion.

There are three generations of veterans in my family, one 100% disabled, and none of us have had the quality of treatment that prisons routinely provide to inmates.

Maybe it’s because inmates can sue.

But, as much as I am unimpressed with Obama and his minions, the problems long predated the present administration.

In fact, the problems predate so many administrations that I wonder if it has ever operated well at all.

I would suggest the possibility of rolling the VA into Tricare, but Tricare has a lot of problems itself.

One major problem with the VA is the involvement of the government and I have yet to be able to think of a way of providing a government benefit that doesn’t involve the government.

But there should be a Nobel Prize in it for anyone who does.

schmuck281 on May 7, 2014 at 10:25 PM

In communications with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, a federal investigative body that protects government whistleblowers, the 40-year-old VA employee said he and others were “verbally directed by lead clerks, supervisors, and during training” to ensure that wait times at the Austin VA Outpatient Clinic and the North Central Federal Clinic in San Antonio were “as close to zero days as possible.”

The medical support assistant, who is seeking whistleblower protection and has been advised to remain anonymous by federal investigators, said he and other clerks achieved that by falsely logging patients’ desired appointment dates to sync with appointment openings.

Advised to remain anonymous???

Based on these 2 paragraphs alone, we know that the whistleblower is male, 40 years old, a VA employee, a “clerk”, works at one of 2 (or both) of these facilities, and has already admitted to falsifying these records to some extent.

Based on this info alone, how tough could it be for his boss to figure out who he is? Why put so much PII out in a story publically if you don’t want him identified?

This guy is already targeted. Don’t poke the bear or you WILL suffer the consequences, likely at the hands of the very people hired to protect you as a whistleblower in the first place.

runawayyyy on May 8, 2014 at 11:35 AM