Seventh VA office finds secret wait list — with over 200 veterans on it

posted at 10:01 am on May 16, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki declared himself “mad as hell” over the allegations of wait-list fraud in Phoenix, where 40 veterans passed away before accessing medical assistance while the office falsified records. Shinseki also pronounced himself saddened by the consequences of the VA’s failures, and pledged to get to the bottom of them — and allegations at five other offices that arose from other whistleblowers:

At nearly the same time as Shinseki testified yesterday, the Ocala News (Florida) reported that a seventh VA office in Gainesville had discovered a secret wait list that had 200 veterans waiting for medical care:

Three mental health administrators at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville have been placed on administrative leave after U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officials found a “secret” waiting list of more than 200 patients, a local union president said Thursday. …

News recently surfaced of alleged secret waiting lists and falsified records at VA hospitals around the country, including reports of allegations that some veterans on such a list at the Veterans Affairs Health Care system in Phoenix had died while waiting for appointments. Reports have said the secret waiting lists were meant to hide delays and could have been used so management executives could get bonuses related to shorter wait times.

Muriel Newman, union president for the local chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees, told The Sun that the VA administration had placed chief psychiatrist Dr. Rajiv Tandon, administrative officer Karen Chin and Peter Durand, the chief of the mental health service call line, on administrative leave after the discovery of the list at the Gainesville VA hospital.

Wisnieski confirmed those three employees have been placed on paid administrative leave while a review is conducted into the list and the circumstances surrounding it.

The union claims that this wasn’t a “waiting list,” but a list of veterans who needed callbacks for appointments. That sounds like a distinction without a difference. Appointment callbacks in most medical offices are used to confirm appointment dates. If these veterans were being listed outside the computerized appointment system, that sounds very much like an attempt to avoid entering them into the system for longer than 14 days before the first available appointment. What other purpose would a paper list containing 219 patients serve, anyway?

Marco Rubio sent out a statement this morning demanding everything the VA currently has on its wait-list scandal:

“I am troubled by new reports suggesting secret waiting lists were being kept at the Gainesville VA hospital, potentially to the detriment of our veterans’ health. This would be outrageous in its own right, but it’s even more so because of the pervasive problems emerging about the VA each day in all corners of the country.

“Earlier this week, I asked VA Secretary Shinseki for all information regarding secret VA waiting lists in Florida and Biloxi, MS. I don’t want to wait until everything is ready. I want to see what is available now, starting with Gainesville.

“It also highlights the need to bring real accountability to the VA. From problems in Phoenix to Miami and now potentially Gainesville too, we’ve seen plenty of finger-pointing and excuses, but no one actually being fired for incompetence and negligence in the performance of their duties. As an easy first step, Congress should approve the VA reform bill Congressman Jeff Miller and I have introduced.”

Let’s not forget that the VA first found out about wait-list fraud more than a year ago, and again last fall. Shinseki’s very late to the party to declare himself “mad as hell” about it, and especially to pledge to take responsibility for reform. Jim Geraghty calls this a familiar refrain in this administration:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s declaration that she takes responsibility for the failure to secure our facilities and personnel in Libya — with no word on any actual consequence of this failure — is the most recent example. But the approach began from the very start of this administration. …

* After ObamaCare passed, the president admitted he hadn’t kept his promises on how the legislation would be handled. He told congressional Republicans that most of the debate had been aired on TV — except for some of the talks close to the Senate vote. “That was a messy process,” Obama said. “I take responsibility.” But it was too late to change anything about the law at that point, obviously.

* Obama said he “took responsibility” for the 2010 midterm results… but there was little or no sign that he changed his governing approach, philosophy or policies in response to the lopsided results in favor of the Republicans that year.

* Finally, in summer 2011, the president admitted that he’d misjudged the severity of the economic difficulties facing the country when he came into office: “Even I did not realize the magnitude, because most economists didn’t realize the magnitude of the recession until fairly far into it,” Obama said. “I think people may not have been prepared for how long this was going to take, and why we were going to have to make some very difficult decisions and choices. I take responsibility for that.” But the policies and approach we’ve seen since that declaration of responsibility are the same as what we saw before it; nothing changed.

The new way to avoid taking responsibility is to tell the world you’re “taking responsibility.”

How many people lost their jobs over Benghazi?


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Shinseki’s very late to the party to declare himself “mad as hell” about it, and especially to pledge to take responsibility for reform

The very cold and detached way he said he was mad as hell doesn’t synch with his words. Where is the passion and outrage? And the “bite me” attitude he told off the Senator shows that he knows his job is safe- even if he did know all about this fraud. And if he didn’t why not?

Happy Nomad on May 16, 2014 at 10:06 AM

The federal bureaucracy is our enemy.

rbj on May 16, 2014 at 10:07 AM

I hope Hillary runs on Universal Healthcare…

Then people can say it’s sexist to bring up veterans dying at the VA.

Washington Fancy on May 16, 2014 at 10:07 AM

40 veterans passed away before accessing medical assistance while the office falsified records.

Forty. FORTY.

What would happen to a private company of some sort who falsified their records and failed in their due diligence which then resulted in 40 people dying.

Man, this great gift created by the Founders and the 3%’ers who fought to make it happen, only to come to this; just sad and pathetic.

Bishop on May 16, 2014 at 10:07 AM

This has to be system wide.It was cooked up and passed around to the right people and they ran with it.

docflash on May 16, 2014 at 10:07 AM

This has gone beyond coincidence. I’m starting to think this was a group effort to hide just how awful government run care really is. If the VA system is rotten, then single payer will kill us all.

NotCoach on May 16, 2014 at 10:08 AM

ALL OVER THE NATION.

If it happened in one, it’s happening in 7, it will eventually be found to be in virtually ALL VA’s.

Because that’s how leftists operate.

Meople on May 16, 2014 at 10:09 AM

SSDD with this administration
No accountability… promotions!

cmsinaz on May 16, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Yesterday, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki declared himself “mad as hell” over the allegations of wait-list fraud in Phoenix, where 40 veterans passed away before accessing medical assistance while the office falsified records.

Haven’t you got the official message, Eric? No one is madder than Obama.

Rix on May 16, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Just as I said on another thread yesterday, Shinseki will be scapegoated to make this go away. The White House is pushing out these “another VA Hospital secret waiting list” stories to make it ALL ABOUT Shinseki, rather than what it is — THE FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE. Everyone is being trolled right now.

Rational Thought on May 16, 2014 at 10:11 AM

How many people lost their jobs over Benghazi?

Four, including the Ambassador…

right2bright on May 16, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Out: Hide the Decline

In: Hide the Deaths

faraway on May 16, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Why on the lead photo is the term “Honorable” not blacked out? There is no honor is letting vets die while you sit on your azz pushing paper!!!

libbyscooter on May 16, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Reports have said the secret waiting lists were meant to hide delays and could have been used so management executives could get bonuses related to shorter wait times.

Excellent.

I can’t wait for single payer.

Bishop on May 16, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Obama will be madder then anyone when he reads about this in the paper….

Electrongod on May 16, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Shinseki will be scapegoated to make this go away.

Rational Thought on May 16, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Perhaps Shinseki will be forced to resign. The White House official heading up the VA internal review certainly isn’t there to protect Shinseki. Nevertheless, how can a co-conspirator be considered a scapegoat?

Happy Nomad on May 16, 2014 at 10:19 AM

When failure is inevitable because of a mismatch of resources and requirements and management insists that failure is not an option, you get lying–pervasive widespread lying. And since management knows there is a mismatch and does not want to admit it, they tolerate the lies and even tacitly encourage them until the you know what hits the fan at which point management throws the lower level liers under the bus. The fact that this was going on at so many VA’s shows this was not a low level lier problem. It was a problem of top level administration management and it includes inadequate oversight and possibly funding by Congress.

KW64 on May 16, 2014 at 10:21 AM

So…is it accidental or intentional?

maevio on May 16, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Example of a shovel ready job: building a new prison to house the Obama Administration.

ConstantineXI on May 16, 2014 at 10:24 AM

From the Shinseki hearing:

1) Falsification of government records is not necessarily grounds for termination.

2) Complete inaction on earlier whistle-blower reports is to be ignored.

3) The VA Inspector General (like most of the Obama IG’s) apparently has no clue about what is going on in the organization it purports to audit.

4) In order to solve the “problems” at the VA, an large increase in budget will be demanded.

Our government bureaucracy is inefficient, dishonest, and wasteful, but needs more taxpayer money to spend.

pilsener on May 16, 2014 at 10:25 AM

It was a problem of top level administration management and it includes inadequate oversight and possibly funding by Congress.

KW64 on May 16, 2014 at 10:21 AM

It demonstrates what single payer would look like. We already know from Canada and the UK this same type of crap happens in their systems. And while it is beyond egregious that our vets are treated like this, it is inevitable in a government run healthcare system. Bureaucrats have zero incentive to provide excellent service.

NotCoach on May 16, 2014 at 10:25 AM

So you get put on a ‘wait list’ if you are a bothersome patient who gives a GS employee grief over your next appointment time?

Joseph OHenry on May 16, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Wait List = Death Panel

rodeoclownmonkey on May 16, 2014 at 10:26 AM

If the media ever report this, and Obama reads about it, nobody is going to be madder. I’m pretty sure that in King Barky the Incompetent’s reign of error this is BOOOOOOSSSSHHHH’s fault.

It will never be Obama’s fault until something goes right. Ergo it is never going to be Obama’s fault.

jukin3 on May 16, 2014 at 10:27 AM

When failure is inevitable because of a mismatch of resources and requirements

KW64 on May 16, 2014 at 10:21 AM

You make it sound as if the VA has been underfunded.

The 2015 budget request is for $163.9B (yes billion) dollars which includes $59.1B for healthcare. I would argue that the VA has not experienced a mismatch they have been grossly mismanaged.

The VA in Phoenix spent $180K last year on landscaping alone. It’s Phoenix. They landscape with rocks and cacti.

Happy Nomad on May 16, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Anyone who got a bonus for having a secret wait list pays a fine 10 times the amount of the bonus per vet. If anyone died on that list then the administrator is tried for murder.

HotAirian on May 16, 2014 at 10:31 AM

This perfectly illustrates why we need a single-payer European style health care system.

Under single-payer, there’d be no need for VA hospitals. ALL hospitals would be available to provide free health care to ALL people.

Americans have clearly earned the right to receive the same quality of medical care we provide to our uneducated and misguided military veterans.

Frank Lib on May 16, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Just as I said on another thread yesterday, Shinseki will be scapegoated to make this go away. The White House is pushing out these “another VA Hospital secret waiting list” stories to make it ALL ABOUT Shinseki, rather than what it is — THE FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE. Everyone is being trolled right now.

Rational Thought on May 16, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Shinseki isn’t even going to be scapegoated. The Republicans will raise a clamor for a month or two and then it will be gone down the memory hole, just like Fast and Furious, IRS, etc. No one will be fired and these practices will continue.

Doomberg on May 16, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Looks like Shinseki has copied the bamster. This is Limbaugh Theorem 101. Act as if you don’t know anything that is happening under your very nose and then promise to get to the bottom of it. Shinseki is either a liar or an idiot.

neyney on May 16, 2014 at 10:34 AM

“Some people live……….

Some people die………” – Deathwatch Sebelius

Electrongod on May 16, 2014 at 10:46 AM

How many people lost their jobs over Benghazi?

Could there be a more infuriating answer about Benghazi than “what difference does it make” and “dude, that was two years ago?”

“DANG IF I KNOW”

Brat on May 16, 2014 at 10:46 AM

The federal bureaucracy is our enemy.

rbj on May 16, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Its become that way even more so thanks to our current WH aministration and its splendid leadership in that regard. The WH has become Mordor.

hawkeye54 on May 16, 2014 at 10:46 AM

“Some people live……….

Some people die………” – Deathwatch Sebelius

Electrongod on May 16, 2014 at 10:46 AM

“….and we decide.”….the VA and the forthcoming ACA Death Panels.

hawkeye54 on May 16, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Everyone Wants Investigation into Benghazi Except the Enemedia.

ama on May 16, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Late as hell.

Love it Ed.

gwelf on May 16, 2014 at 10:48 AM

This has to be system wide.It was cooked up and passed around to the right people and they ran with it.

docflash on May 16, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Exactly my thought. How many reports does it take, from multiple regions, to deduce that they are operating on direction from the national level?

jffree1 on May 16, 2014 at 10:48 AM

No one – and I mean no one – is more outraged by this fake scandal than Obama.

gwelf on May 16, 2014 at 10:49 AM

If it takes a Democratic president to get Republicans to give two shirts about veterans services, then so be it. I suppose those who care about how we care for military workers better hope a Democrat wins in 2016, otherwise these types of questions and public hearings will return to their status as “comfort to the enemy.”

libfreeordie on May 16, 2014 at 10:51 AM

The nameplate in the photo has the word Honorable on it. That’s not the correct word to describe Mr. Shinseki. Add the prefix Dis in front of the word Honorable and the nameplate will be correct.

rukiddingme on May 16, 2014 at 10:51 AM

And to think that Mooch and Doctor Jill Biden took on Veterans as a “pet project”…. F.A.I.L.

Our vets deserve better – fire the entire administration… We’re not going to last another 2 years with Obama in office.

Key West Reader on May 16, 2014 at 10:53 AM

If it takes a Democratic president to get Republicans to give two shirts about veterans services, then so be it. I suppose those who care about how we care for military workers better hope a Democrat wins in 2016, otherwise these types of questions and public hearings will return to their status as “comfort to the enemy.”

libfreeordie on May 16, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Ha ha ha. You’re a real piece of work fascistordie.

gwelf on May 16, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Ah Shinseki, black berets for everyone…..

roy_batty on May 16, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Our focus should be Obama on this, Shinseki is a red herring, and that is how Obama gets away from this. We even had the total Obama supporting Buffoon O’Reilly on TV last night saying it is not Obama’s fault.

georgealbert on May 16, 2014 at 10:54 AM

If it takes a Democratic president to get Republicans to give two shirts about veterans services, then so be it.

libfreeordie on May 16, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Who is the executive in charge of the VA system?

I suppose those who care about how we care for military workers better hope a Democrat wins in 2016, otherwise these types of questions and public hearings will return to their status as “comfort to the enemy.”

The VA system has been rotten for almost 100 years. Ever ask yourself why, or are you incapable of thinking beyond intellectually vapid talking points? How long has your brain been rotten? I’m betting longer than 8 months.

Here’s a simple question for you. Which of the founding fathers did not subscribe to the communitarian ethos Calhoun deploys to rationalize slavery? *sets sundial*

libfreeordie on August 21, 2013 at 9:30 AM

None. They weren’t nascent Commies like John C. Calhoun, and full blown Commies like you. Don’t you think you need to provide some proof for such a ridiculous smear there Mr. Calhoun? You’re a history perfesser, right?

NotCoach on August 21, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Oh dear God….hold on, give me 10 minutes.

libfreeordie on August 21, 2013 at 9:45 AM

NotCoach on May 16, 2014 at 10:56 AM

This has to be system wide.It was cooked up and passed around to the right people and they ran with it.

docflash on May 16, 2014 at 10:07 AM

It is absolutely system wide. It’s the way the machine is built. As long as upper admins can shed all responsibility by passing impossible-to-implement orders down the chain while remaining studiously ignorant of the results, there will be lower admins who will do whatever it takes to keep their jobs. Those actions may include the odd useful reform, but ultimately include dodges like secret waiting lists that permit them to signal “willco” back up the chain. Although everyone at all levels knows that it’s a fantasy, on paper it’s all good. This is, by definition, “government healthcare”.

Administration by plausible deniability isn’t limited to the VA. It’s cultural. Notice Barky or Sebelius taking responsibility for anything? SOS? Congress?

bofh on May 16, 2014 at 10:58 AM

New Obama Pivot:

OLD & BUSTED: “Nobody is madder than me.”

NEW HOTNESS: “I’m concerned and angry”

FUTURE NEW HOTNESS: “Not a smidgen of corruption.”

jukin3 on May 16, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Ha ha ha. You’re a real piece of work fascistordie.

gwelf on May 16, 2014 at 10:53 AM

BOOOOOOOOSH DID IT!!

NotCoach on May 16, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Perhaps Shinseki will be forced to resign. The White House official heading up the VA internal review certainly isn’t there to protect Shinseki. Nevertheless, how can a co-conspirator be considered a scapegoat?

Happy Nomad on May 16, 2014 at 10:19 AM

He’ll be a scapegoat because the White House will get rid of him and claim that the problem originated with him and is now solved. Neither of those will be true. Socialist health care REQUIRES rationing. Indeed, rationing is at the very center of government health care. Otherwise, why not just give veterans a nice Blue Cross plan that covers everything and send them on their way? Because in the private sector, the government can’t manage its death panels like it can in the VA system. They just got caught. They’ll be more careful next time. But the rationing will continue, with or without Shinseki. No rationing? No government health care. The two simply MUST go hand in hand.

Rational Thought on May 16, 2014 at 11:00 AM

I suspect *most* of the VA facilities are doing this; this is not an exception, but rather the rule.

Midas on May 16, 2014 at 11:00 AM

NotCoach on May 16, 2014 at 10:56 AM

That never gets old.

It immediately reveals his intellectual shallowness.
And reminds everyone that he’s nearly always wrong when he asserts something as fact.

gwelf on May 16, 2014 at 11:01 AM

The Dishonorable Eric Shinseki.
Did you want to fall on your sword for the prez? Because you threw everything away for him.

vityas on May 16, 2014 at 11:01 AM

BOOOOOOOOSH DID IT!!

NotCoach on May 16, 2014 at 10:59 AM

As we all know Clinton fixed the VA. Bush screwed it up again – so badly that Obama hasn’t been able to fix it.

And Obama will give this outrageous scandal the same considered attention he promised to give on the IRS scandal, Benghazi, and all the rest. Which means that in 4 months if this is mentioned you’ll be accused of “politicizing” it and that obstructionist Republicans are really to blame.

gwelf on May 16, 2014 at 11:03 AM

What position can Shinseki be promoted to?
There must be some rent-seeking “private sector” job beckoning if the pattern holds in the most transparent and accountable administration in American history.

gwelf on May 16, 2014 at 11:05 AM

this would make 8 not 7.
the austin and san antonio offices were covered in 1 story.

dmacleo on May 16, 2014 at 11:05 AM

As we all know Clinton fixed the VA. Bush screwed it up again – so badly that Obama hasn’t been able to fix it.

And Obama will give this outrageous scandal the same considered attention he promised to give on the IRS scandal, Benghazi, and all the rest. Which means that in 4 months if this is mentioned you’ll be accused of “politicizing” it and that obstructionist Republicans are really to blame.

gwelf on May 16, 2014 at 11:03 AM

If only we had President Fauxcahontas to fix all of this.

NotCoach on May 16, 2014 at 11:06 AM

If only we had President Fauxcahontas to fix all of this.

NotCoach on May 16, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Lieawatha knows that Democrats didn’t build that – you did.

gwelf on May 16, 2014 at 11:08 AM

40 veterans passed away before accessing medical assistance while the office falsified records.

Forty. FORTY.

What would happen to a private company of some sort who falsified their records and failed in their due diligence which then resulted in 40 people dying.

Man, this great gift created by the Founders and the 3%’ers who fought to make it happen, only to come to this; just sad and pathetic.

Bishop on May 16, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Please don’t blame the founders! All these scandals have this in common:
1) Falsification of records
2) People dying (exception; the IRS scandal)
3) None of the perpetrators can or will be fired!

When did federal employees become immune to disciplinary action & when is Congress going to rectify the problem. As much as I hate to say this, the president is not responsible for this one even though those acts were probably done with the intent to aid & abet him.

Boats48 on May 16, 2014 at 11:11 AM

The federal government’s view of its purpose is solely to grow, employ more government union workers, and to tax as much as possible. The supposed purposes of each agency simply provide cover.

GaltBlvnAtty on May 16, 2014 at 11:20 AM

There are now five VA locations in Tx. that have been named in various stories: Dallas, Waco, Austin, San Antonio and Harlingen. There seems to be some confusion in reporting because there are 7 different VA regions in the state with 6 medical centers and dozens of out-patient and affiliated clinics. The fact remains… if you can name San Antonio, Dallas and Harlingen… that is three of the seven districts which extend from the Mexico border to the OK line. Impossible to believe that the other districts are not doing the same thing.

jffree1 on May 16, 2014 at 11:21 AM

Privatize the VA?

nazo311 on May 16, 2014 at 11:30 AM

What kind of mental midget are we dealing with here?

SHINSEKI: Gee – our wait times are too long, so I’m going to require that all patients be seen within 14 days of their initial contact with their local VA hospital. Or else!

SHINSEKI: Gee – for whatever reason, local VA hospitals can’t meet that requirement – so they’re falsifying records to cover their butts. I’m shocked mad as hell.

Did this idiot really think that he could magically transform the VA hospital system – just by setting new standards?

Hill60 on May 16, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Is mass murder an impeachable offense? Who is the Commander in Chief?

Key West Reader on May 16, 2014 at 11:43 AM

This is how Obamacare will work, only worse. Vote for Democrats and live; vote for the other side and die. Right out of the book “Tyranny for Dummies”.

newpine on May 16, 2014 at 11:44 AM

VA, IRS, TSA, DHS, BLM, HLS, EPA, COE, FWS. Alphabetical order.

newpine on May 16, 2014 at 11:45 AM

If it takes a Democratic president to get Republicans to give two shirts about veterans services, then so be it. I suppose those who care about how we care for military workers better hope a Democrat wins in 2016, otherwise these types of questions and public hearings will return to their status as “comfort to the enemy.”

libfreeorgan on May 16, 2014 at 10:51 AM

…dump and run dumb!

KOOLAID2 on May 16, 2014 at 11:46 AM

They need to check the “wait listed” veterans to see if they were targeted politically! That would be consistent with this administration’s SOP.

newpine on May 16, 2014 at 11:49 AM

If it takes a Democratic president to get Republicans to give two shirts about veterans services, then so be it. I suppose those who care about how we care for military workers better hope a Democrat wins in 2016, otherwise these types of questions and public hearings will return to their status as “comfort to the enemy.”
 
libfreeordie on May 16, 2014 at 10:51 AM

 
Wow. The post mentioned the current (D) president before being critical of how (R)s, who aren’t in power, are managing veterans services.
 

“There is no one more distinguished, more determined, or more qualified to build this VA than the leader I am announcing as our next secretary of veterans affairs — Gen. Eric Shinseki,” the newly inaugurated President Barack Obama said in making the announcement.

 
That’s amazing.

rogerb on May 16, 2014 at 12:04 PM

The new way to avoid taking responsibility is to tell the world you’re “taking responsibility.”

+ 100..Hear!..Hear!..:)

Dire Straits on May 16, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Rational Thought on May 16, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Spot on..You are on a roll..+ 100..:):)

Dire Straits on May 16, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Traitor Boehner is busy cavorting with Valerie Jarrett, on amnesty.

Boehner and obama hate the Veterans, dead and alive.

See the Va.

See the Marine in the Tijuana jail.

See the released 36,000 criminals, by obama, with Boner’s blessings.

All of you who stand with Boehner, go to Hell with him.

Schadenfreude on May 16, 2014 at 12:10 PM

This is going to be a very big problem for the Obie administration..Folks will not put up with this..The LSM needs to do their job and quit reporting the meaningless stories (Sterling and Sam) and start reporting on this..This is shameful..:(

Dire Straits on May 16, 2014 at 12:13 PM

The union claims that this wasn’t a “waiting list,” but a list of veterans who needed callbacks for appointments. That sounds like a distinction without a difference.

It’s kind of like saying there are no ‘death panels’ in Obamacare. They can instead be called ‘Life Panels’.

They don’t decide who dies. They decide who gets to live.

No real difference in the outcome for those affected, but the focus groups will think ‘Life Panels’ sounds a lot better.

s1im on May 16, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Shinsecki doesn’t know what “honorable” means.
If he did, he would publically apologize and commit seppuku.
III/0317

Sgt Stryker on May 16, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Shinsecki is really, really mad now!

Herb on May 16, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Demos keep telling us there are no death panels.

formwiz on May 16, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Did this idiot really think that he could magically transform the VA hospital system – just by setting new standards?

Hill60 on May 16, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Yes.

Remember, he comes out of a career in the military, where he could actually hold people accountable for not making targets, even if the goals were next-to-impossible.

When Eisenhower became president, one of his erstwhile colleagues lamented, “Poor Ike. I wonder what he will do, when he gives an order and nothing happens.”

Which doesn’t excuse his failure to either set reasonable standards, or make sure they were reached without subterfuge, or alter them after plain evidence that the resources didn’t support the targeted goal.

The management rule about software (often seen in comments on the Obamacare website debacles) applies to all projects: if you have a fixed deadline (the 14-day rule) and a fixed budget (no additional resources to address the deadline), then you cannot control the quality of the product.

* * *
I can’t turn up the Eisenhower quote on Google, so it may be apocryphal, but it impressed me when I encountered it sometime during my graduate studies in political science, back in the day.

AesopFan on May 16, 2014 at 10:46 PM

Not that there is any evidence that Shinseki even tried to address the situation or make it work somehow.

AesopFan on May 16, 2014 at 10:47 PM

Isn’t falsifying government documents, like, you know, a crime?

Has anyone been charged?

Is there any intent to bring charges?

Who is Attorney General?

Never mind.

schmuck281 on May 17, 2014 at 12:58 AM

If it takes a Democratic president to get Republicans to give two shirts about veterans services, then so be it. I suppose those who care about how we care for military workers better hope a Democrat wins in 2016, otherwise these types of questions and public hearings will return to their status as “comfort to the enemy.”

libfreeordie on May 16, 2014 at 10:51 AM

I’m going to cut lib some slack, here; not because he is right, but because he states an opinion which is undoubtedly current among the Left, and I enjoy dissecting Leftist rhetoric to see if there is any “there” there.

Looking past the actionable slander implied by his words, I think he raises a debatable point, although it is phrased inartfully because he was primarily interested in making the insult.

Lib asserts that, since investigations by conservatives (private lawsuits or Congressional hearings) of VA scandals occurs “only” when a Democrat is president, that “fact” is an argument for electing another Democrat to the office, because only then would malfeasance at the VA be exposed by the GOP.

Lib implies that, under a Republican president, conservatives (those who care about how we care for military workers) would be so determined to implement their (presumably) conservative agenda, that they would do so even if it entailed jettisoning the bedrock conservative principle of caring for our wounded and sick veterans (these types of questions and public hearings will return to their status as “comfort to the enemy”).

That’s the slanderous part. And please note that lib asserts that ignoring veterans is an on-going habit of the Right: “will return to their status” implies they have done it in the past, and will do it in the future, and would probably be doing it now, if a Republican happened to be president instead of Obama (which would entail a significant counter-factual history, since the 14-day wait time was initiated by Obama’s administrative officer VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.)

Now, lib should have linked an example or two of some Republican calling Democrats’ questioning of VA health care problems as giving “comfort to the enemy”; omitting to produce evidence of his claim indicates that he really is not interested in serious debate (he seldom is any more, which is why most commenters dismiss him out-of-hand now, instead of trying to engage him in a discussion as they used to).

However, just for the exercise, let’s debate it anyway.

Resolved: Conservatives are unprincipled GOP shills who only give two shirts about veterans services when a Democrat is president, and don’t when a Republican is elected.

Is this true, or false?
Without a tally of actual cases, how can we tell?
When lobbing attacks of this type, the plural of anecdote is not data.

Here’s one person defending the VA:

Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has long touted the VA system as the epitome of government-run healthcare. “Exhibit A for the advantages of government provision [of healthcare] is the veterans administration, which runs its own hospitals and clinics, and provides some of the best-quality healthcare in America at far lower cost than the private sector,” Krugman claims.

But that’s a Leftist defending a Democrat administration, which is a different (although possibly analogous) Resolution.

IIRC, the Walter Reed Army Medical Center scandal was the only one on Bush II’s watch.

The Walter Reed Army Medical Center neglect scandal resulted from a series of allegations of unsatisfactory conditions, treatment of patients, and management at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) in Washington, D.C. culminating in two articles published by The Washington Post in February 2007. Several cases of patient neglect and shoddy living conditions were reported as early as 2004. Significant public and media attention was generated [in 2007], which in turn prompted a number of congressional and executive actions, including resignations of several high-ranking officers [1]

Now, bad conditions were known as early as 1999; that’s Clinton’s last year, so they had developed (or continued to exist) under his “Command”. But, we don’t know which party — if either — was complaining then. We do know what the party in power did in response (or didn’t do, as the case seemed to be).

The problems associated with Building 18 were not new to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center community. As early as 1999 the extensive problems with Building 18 were identified to senior level leadership, and funding for renovations and improvements were denied.

No remedial action appeared to be taken in 2004 either (how significant is “several cases”?).

Although Army officials claimed to be surprised at these conditions [in 2007], a Salon.com series beginning in January 2005 had previously exposed them. In 2004 and 2005, articles appeared in the Post and in Salon interviewing First Lt. Julian Goodrum about his court martial for seeking medical care elsewhere due to poor conditions at WRAMC

That’s all Wikipedia says about that, but it doesn’t look good for the GOP.
Of course, the Wiki editor might just have omitted any articles published in conservative media outlets; we don’t know. Google didn’t archive any, but USA Today was mentioned as a source by one blog, as was UPI, which gave a little more detail indicating that the situation was not as clear-cut as the Wiki editor makes it look:

Doctors say Goodrum suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, or combat stress, from Iraq. Last summer Goodrum asked for an investigation into the death in Iraq of a 22-year-old soldier in his 212th Transportation Company. He was also quoted in a United Press International article about poor medical care at Fort Knox, Ky., that helped spark investigations in Congress.

Last fall Goodrum sought mental health care at Fort Knox but was turned away — just days after complaining in the press about poor medical treatment at Fort Knox. …

A form from Fort Knox from the day Goodrum says he sought help states that Fort Knox officials in charge of medical care “do not want him” in the medical-hold unit at the base.

Goodrum then went to see a private doctor who hospitalized him. That doctor alerted Fort Knox that Goodrum had been hospitalized, according to Goodrum’s medical records and documents from that doctor. But Fort Knox cut off his pay, terminated his Army medical insurance and threatened to charge him as absent without leave.

Goodrum showed up at Walter Reed hospital in Washington Feb. 9, where doctors admitted him to Ward 54, the locked psychiatric unit.

Walter Reed medical records reviewed by UPI describe Goodrum as “cooperative and polite” when he arrived, but also “anxious and depressed” and “largely preoccupied with concerns about legal charges and financial stressors.”

Records show Goodrum progressed well over the next few days. “Patient in bright spirits, good mood, thought processes logical,” his medical records say on Feb. 14. “Denies (suicidal or homicidal thoughts) and has been fulfilling all responsibilities.” He was encouraged to take a weekend pass out of the hospital. Doctors planned to move him to outpatient therapy — out of the locked ward — on Feb. 19.

But records show Fort Knox officials contacted Walter Reed on Feb. 18 and said to keep him in the locked ward.

So, some interpersonal relations feuding, and meddling by one hospital in the affairs of another. Not quite the same thing as in 2007.

Less than a week after the [2007] article, new Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Walter Reed and said those responsible would be “held accountable”…The Army announced it had relieved of command Maj. Gen. Weightman, a physician who had headed the hospital for only six months. In a brief announcement, the Army said service leaders had “lost trust and confidence” in Weightman’s leadership abilities “to address needed solutions for soldier outpatient care.” It said the decision to fire him was made by Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey.
Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, Army Surgeon General and ex-commander of Walter Reed, submitted retirement on March 12.

Harvey then named Army Surgeon General and former Walter Reed commander Kevin Kiley as interim commander, but Harvey himself was forced to resign by Gates on March 2. Gates felt Harvey wasn’t getting the Army to move fast enough on making necessary changes. Maj. Gen. Eric Schoomaker was named the new commander of Walter Reed on March 2. Kiley himself retired on March 12, 2007 after acting Army Secretary Pete Geren asked for Kiley’s resignation..
University of Miami President and former Clinton cabinet Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, along with former Republican Senator Bob Dole, were appointed by President George W. Bush to lead … an investigative panel regarding the various allegations. … This commission released their final report on July 26, 2007 and issued their findings in testimony to the U.S. Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs on September 26, 2007.

The scandal at Walter Reed led to an extensive analysis of the veteran’s healthcare system, as well, managed by the United States Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Amidst accusations of mismanagement and excessive bureaucracy [where have we heard that recently?],the VA announced an extensive review of all of their medical facilities to ensure healthcare standards are being met.

That only took 8 months from news-flash to investigation results, with lots of heads at the top of the food chain rolling along the way.

No indication there that the GOP obstructed the reviews or firings; and none that they were castigating Dems for raising questions.

So, the system “broke” under Clinton, was “fixed” by Bush (but how much actually got done in the 15 months remaining in his term? obviously, not enough), then broke again under Obama because of deliberately inflicted strain on an already weak “patient”.

Remind me again which party doesn’t “give two shirts about veterans services”.

* * *
I don’t know how many other scandals surfaced and were addressed publicly before the WRAMC fiasco (that numerous other scandalous situations constantly occur has been testified to in numerous comments just on Hot Air).
I did find one link to some non_VA scandals, just for perspective.

A lot of people get hurt and die in medical scams and other criminal enterprises; incompetence per se was not addressed in the link.
* * *
However, the essential point is that lib’s recommendation itself (vote in the Democrat for president to draw GOP attention to VA hospitals) is nonsense.

Let’s look at the analog I think he is implicitly referencing:

Conservatives often point out that the MSM protects Democrat administrations by ignoring, spinning, or otherwise massaging stories that would be detrimental to the Democrats; but the media would pounce on the same or similar situations like a cat on a junkyard dog were the stories damaging to Republicans. Thus, the fact that rigorous investigative journalism occurs more often when a Republican is president becomes an argument for electing a Republican to that office, because only then would malfeasance in government be exposed by the press.

The Republican v. MSM observation always carries a /sarc tag, because we know that the Media leftists are determined to get their agenda implemented — which requires a Democrat president — even if it entails sacrificing their (alleged) reportorial skills.

Of course, he ignores the fact that the media would be happy to unearth a scandal they could hang on a Republican president, just as conservative citizens and some Congressmen are pursuing Obama’s scandals in the face of media torpor and executive obstruction.

So, his recommendation implies that a stonewalling GOP administration could stand against the onslaught of media and Democrat attacks, which is demonstrably false (cf. Nixon, Bush II), while a Democrat president would necessarily yield to the forces of the virtuous Right, which doesn’t appear to be happening yet.

I also believe lib is seizing on the VA scandal to give his analogy more general application.

The relative importance of the scandals is also important (Christiegate vs Benghazi, for instance).

However, what actually matters is not who investigates scandals, but how often they occur, and their “weighted” importance (laws broken, bodies buried, virtue suborned, money wasted or outright embezzled).

It also matters whether they are deliberate choices to break the law (IRS persecution of conservatives, support of actual and potential voter fraud, gun-running enterprises,… vs. Iran-Contra, Watergate, …) or systemically corrupted implementation of inept and unwise policies (Obamacare, VA wait-lists, EPA power grabs, BLM land grabs, … vs. NCLB, Walter Reed Hospital, …). Wars are omitted by fiat, since the two parties never agree which category the administration’s actions fit under, although we should probably put most of the controversial ones under both.

I don’t know if it is humanly possible to get a list complete enough to say which Party is the more partisanly protective.

AesopFan on May 17, 2014 at 1:36 AM

But that’s a Leftist defending a Democrat administration, which is a different (although possibly analogous) Resolution….
Remind me again which party doesn’t “give two shirts about veterans services”.

QED

Step 3 is where ABC’s Jon Karl found himself today, on the receiving end of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s indignation at the mere asking of questions after the administration has expressed grave concern and started an investigation.

YCMTSU

AesopFan on May 17, 2014 at 1:44 AM

I’ll be danged!

Obama running the show like Detroit.

IF, Obama ran Detroit he could have done wonders in even less time.

Just imagine….

Like in History of Violence how can he eff up such a great country in such short order?

Sherman1864 on May 17, 2014 at 3:56 AM

This wait list is just a extension of the death panels. no medications or therapy for those who are deemed to expensive to keep alive. Tell me how this administration is the most caring and open again. I remember (any every one should) Obama telling the woman, that asked the question about her 90 year old mother, to take the pill. Wake the hell up they don’t care about life if it cost them anything.

jainphx on May 17, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Is this “mad as hell” the mad as in angry, or is it the mad as is insane? My bet is on the latter.

savage24 on May 17, 2014 at 9:53 PM

Sounds like those fancy “conventions” they hold across the country include “records falsification” seminars.

RADIOONE on May 18, 2014 at 11:06 AM