After two bills enacted into law that require the Veterans Administration to let our veterans get appointments outside the VA rather than wait interminable time periods to see a VA doctor, the problem has gotten worse. Now there’s a wait period at the VA to get those outside appointments—because the VA must give permission for the outside appointment rather than standing and delivering. It’s especially bad at the Shreveport, LA, VA hospital, but it’s not unique to that place.
This time it’s the Marion, IL, Veterans Administration clinic.
In 1971 Kirby Williams went to Vietnam as a US Army draftee and worked as a finance clerk. In 2010 he went to a Veterans Affairs clinic in southern Illinois where a radiologist took a scan of his kidneys.
Unfortunately, the radiologist missed a 2- to 3-centimeter mass in one of his kidneys, and by last December that mass had grown to between 7 and 8 centimeters. Now the 66-year-old has, at most, two to five years to live.
Williams isn’t the only victim.
…or worse and worse, depending on your perspective. Not only is the Veterans Administration continuing to make bad/false/improper payments, they seem to be getting acceleratingly worse about it. The Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General reported that the VA made $5 billion in “improper” payments in 2015, and then while that drew attention, the VA increased their improper payouts to $5.5 billion in 2016.
To show how terrible the rates can be, here are some data from James Clark at the above link:
- the VA Community Care had 75% of their payments as “improper” payments in 2016
Dr Dale Klein is, formally, on the Veterans Administration payroll—to the tune of a $250,000/yr salary—but he’s not employed by them, and so his pain management skills are actively denied our veterans who would benefit from them. Klein blew the whistle on his proximate employer’s—Southeast Missouri John J Pershing VA facility—secret waiting lists and wait time manipulation practices. Now he’s shunned by his employers and banished to a room by himself where he’s denied access to his patients and patients are denied access to him.
Now it’s the Veterans Administration hospital in Durham, NC, that’s come to light.
Hanna and Stephen McMenamin posted photos of two aging veterans in the hospital’s waiting room who were in obvious pain and getting no help, for hours. One man was having trouble staying in his wheel chair, and another wound up lying on the floor because he kept asking for a place to lie down and getting no response. The second veteran finally got a response—to make him get back in his waiting room chair.
Medical Center Director DeAnne Seekins finally reacted, after the McMenamins posted their photos:
The wife of an Iraq veteran, blinded by a suicide bomber has a story to tell (RTWT) from the veteran’s spouse’s perspective, and she has asked the central question. Her question is this:
[T]here has to be a better way for our federal government to make it easier for the spouses, parents, and siblings who have to quit their jobs and forfeit their livelihoods to care for an injured veteran.
Her husband’s—and her—problems with this failed agency include things like this [emphasis added]:
And once again, its blow contributes to a death. This time, it’s the VA’s Talihina, Oklahoma, facility, and this place allowed maggots to breed in the injury of a veteran.
Executive Director Myles Deering said the maggots were discovered while the patient was alive but were not the cause of his death. He said the man came into the center with an infection.
Deering tried to play down the incident:
He did not succumb as a result of the parasites. He succumbed as a result of the sepsis.
Reform the Veterans Administration? It’s still not happening. It’s hard to believe the folks nominally in charge (they can’t be termed “leadership”) are even trying.
An Illinois Veterans Affairs hospital already under fire for excessive wait times, festering black mold and kitchen cockroaches faces a new shame—the bodies of dead patients left unclaimed in the morgue for up to two months without proper burial, whistleblower documents allege.
One example of the VA’s…failure…here is in this string of emails, beginning 7 Dec 2015, that a whistleblower provided outside authorities.
It just keeps on keepin’ on.
Officials at the Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston and its associated clinics altered records to make it appear that hundreds of appointments canceled by staff were really called off by patients, according to the VA’s Office of Inspector General. The federal audit determined the changes were made to hide unacceptable wait times as VA hospitals around the country were under fire for neglecting patients.
This was for the 12 months ending June of last year, but it’s still after widespread corruption at VA facilities across the nation had been exposed. No one in VA management, apparently, cares a whit about the veterans in their supposed care.
That’s the heart the title of USA Today‘s piece earlier this week on the Veterans Administration’s continued failure to perform. This smacks of active coverup by the top levels of the VA.
A Senate investigation of poor health care at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Tomah, WI, found systemic failures in a VA inspector general’s review of the facility….
The probe by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee found the inspector general’s office…discounted key evidence and witness testimony, needlessly narrowed its inquiry, and has no standard for determining wrongdoing.
And [emphasis added]