The VA…Continues

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 VA Fails Again

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]:

Veterans Administration Strikes Again

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.

The VA Strikes Again

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.

Veterans Administration Mendacity

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.

“Systemic” Failures at VA Watchdog

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….

And

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]

The VA Strikes Again, Again

The Department of Veterans Affairs has mistakenly declared [more than 4,000] veterans to be deceased and canceled their benefits over the past five years, a new snafu to emerge at the embattled department.

Of course, one thing that’s carefully elided is the “evidence” the VA uses to tell a veteran he’s dead.

The department doesn’t keep records of the causes behind such errors.

Can’t have things like this be known to be commonplace:

A clerical error led to the first instance of [Navy veteran Michael] Rieker’s canceled benefits after a VA employee identified him as Michael G. Rieker—though his middle initial is “C”—and declared him dead in the system, according to a department letter sent in December.

Wait Times, Schmait Times

A disabled veteran needing to see a VA doctor—or a non-disabled vet who’s “merely” sick, come to that—should blow off his wait times—too often weeks or months—just as he does his half-hour or hour wait times at Disney parks.  That is, if the disabled vet can partake of a Disney park at all.  Or so said Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald:

When you got to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line?  Or what’s important?  What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience?  And what I would like to move to, eventually, is that kind of measure.

More Veterans Administration…Misbehavior

Department of Veterans Affairs investigators conducted spot checks at 10 veterans benefits offices around the country and came to a disturbing conclusion: the VA has been systemically shredding documents related to veterans’ claims—some potentially affecting their benefits.

The VA Office of Inspector General conducted the surprise audit at 10 regional offices on July 20, 2015, after an investigation into inappropriate shredding in Los Angeles found that staff there was destroying veterans’ mail related to claims….

And

Of 155 claims-related documents [in the to-be-shredded bins], 69 were found to have been incorrectly placed in shred bins at six of the regional offices: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Reno[.]

Continuing Veterans Administration Failure

Kyndra Rotunda, ex-Army JAG and currently Professor of Military & International Law and Executive Director of the Military and Veterans Law Institute at Chapman University, had some comments in her Wall Street Journal op-ed [emphasis in original].

When Congress enacted the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 in the wake of revelations about bureaucratic dysfunction at the Veterans Affairs Department, the plan was to reduce wait times at VA hospitals, give veterans access to outside health care and allow the VA to quickly terminate problem employees.

How is the VA doing? For starters, government statistics show that hospital wait times are 50% longer than two years ago.