19
   

VA Scandal

 
 
revelette2
 
  3  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2014 09:28 am
@Baldimo,
You are right, Obama and everyone else in congress should have done something about it, they couldn't have not known about it since it has been going on for so long.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2014 04:56 pm
@revelette2,
How did you come to the conclusion that I fail to realize that this mess pre-dates the current administration, and how does that fact mitigate the damage being done right now; the crimes being committed right now?

Are we supposed to say to the VA employees who cooked the books for bonuses: "Well, this stuff happened under Bush so I guess we can't fire you."

Last time I looked Obama, not Bush, was president.

Bush can't do anything to fix it, and couldn't over the last six years.

The guy in the White House now campaigned on a promise to improve the VA.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2014 05:03 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Oh and BTW, if you think it makes a difference, I'm more than willing to say Bush and his Administration are also to blame.
0 Replies
 
bobsal u1553115
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2014 05:29 pm
Fox Analyst On VA Controversy: “Where Was The Outrage During The Bush Years?”

http://crooksandliars.com/2014/05/fox-analyst-va-controversy-where-was

Via FreakOutNation. By: FreakOutNation.com, 5/24/2014, 2:35:13 PM

http://freakoutnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Peters-350x178.png

Friday night, Former Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a Fox News military analyst, offered a surprising defense of President Obama and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki over the VA scandal. Peters defended Shinseki as the media’s “whipping boy” over a long-troubled VA.

He said, “Where was the outrage during the Bush years? I’m not a defender of President Obama by any means, but this is a long-standing problem.”

Mediate reports:

He told Megyn Kelly that blaming Shinseki and booting him out would be like a patient blaming the doctor for their cancer; he’s just one administrator overseeing the problem, and even if he is at fault, he’s hardly the first VA Secretary who hasn’t done a bang-up job at the position.

Peters was bothered by how everyone calling for Shinseki’s head (including a Democrat here and there) has not gone further to make any concrete suggestions or name any names for who could replace him. He said a lot of the outrage is likely “mock” because people have known about this for years.

American Legion National Commander Daniel Dellinger argued that Shinseki is at fault because he was supposed to be different and fix the problems, but he didn’t and needs to be held accountable.

Peters found it remarkable how this has “suddenly” become a crisis.

Watch (uploaded on YouTube via Mediate):

We should all be outraged over the controversy, but fingers can be pointed at a lot of people, including the previous administration. Cuts to Veterans benefits, funding cuts for hospitals, staffing and equipment, for extended unemployment benefits, for jobs and training are also at issue so be careful where you point your fingers.

Just fix it.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2014 06:42 pm
@bobsal u1553115,
Fair question, but how will the answer do anything to fix the problem and punish the guilty?
0 Replies
 
bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2014 06:56 pm
Finally Teapublicans have regained some minor grasp on reality!

House votes to ensure speedier care for US vets
Email this Story

Jun 10, 2:22 PM (ET)

By ALAN FRAM

(AP) Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., right, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans'...


WASHINGTON (AP) — United and eager to respond to a national uproar, the House overwhelmingly approved legislation Tuesday to make it easier for patients enduring long waits for care at Veterans Affairs facilities to get VA-paid treatment from local doctors.

The 421-0 vote was Congress' strongest response yet to the outcry over backlogs and falsified data at the beleaguered agency. Senate leaders plan debate soon on a similar, broader package that has also drawn bipartisan support, underscoring how politically toxic it could be for lawmakers to be seen as ignoring the problem.

The VA, which serves almost 9 million veterans, has been reeling from mounting evidence that workers fabricated statistics on patients' waits for medical appointments in an effort to mask frequent, long delays. A VA audit this week showed that more than 57,000 new applicants for care have had to wait at least three months for initial appointments.

"I cannot state it strongly enough — this is a national disgrace," said House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chief author of the legislation.

"We often hear that the care that veterans receive at the VA facilities is second to none — that is, if you can get in," said Rep. Mike Michaud of Maine, top Democrat on the committee. "As we have recently learned, tens of thousands of veterans are not getting in."

The controversy led Eric Shinseki to resign as head of the VA on May 30, but the situation remains a continuing embarrassment for President Barack Obama and a potential political liability for congressional Democrats seeking re-election in November.

Monday night, a top VA official told the veterans committee that there is "an integrity issue here among some of our leaders."

Philip Matkovsky, who helps oversee the VA's administrative operations, said of patients' long waits and efforts to hide them, "It is irresponsible, it is indefensible, and it is unacceptable. I apologize to our veterans, their families and their loved ones."

Matkovsky did not specify which VA officials had questionable integrity. The agency has started removing top officials at its medical facility in Phoenix, a focal point of the department's problems, and investigators have found indications of long waits and falsified records of patients' appointments at many other facilities.

(AP) House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, joined by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor,...
Full Image
Asked by panel chairman Miller whether officials at the agency's main office had ordered manipulation of patients' data, Matkovsky said he was not aware of that, adding, "I certainly hope they have not."

Richard Griffin, acting VA inspector general, told lawmakers his investigators were probing for wrongdoing at 69 agency medical facilities, up from 42 two weeks ago. He said he has discussed evidence of manipulated data with the Justice Department, which he said was still considering whether crimes occurred.

"Once somebody loses his job or gets criminally charged, it will no longer be a game and that will be the shot heard around the system," Griffin said.

The VA drew intensified public attention two months ago with reports of patients dying while awaiting agency care and of cover-ups at the Phoenix center. The VA, the country's largest health care provider, serves almost 9 million veterans.

The House bill would let veterans facing long delays for appointments or living more than 40 miles from a VA facility to choose to get care from non-agency providers for the next two years. A relative few vets already have that option for outside care, and this would expand the offer.

The bill also would ban bonuses for all VA employees through 2016 and require an independent audit of agency health care. An earlier House-passed bill would make it easier to fire top VA officials.

Miller said VA would save $400 million annually by eliminating bonuses, money the agency could use for expanded care at its centers.

Senators have written a similar bill, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said his chamber will consider "as soon as it is ready."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the chamber should debate the bill immediately, instead of first considering a Democratic measure letting borrowers refinance student loans at lower rates.

"Veterans have been made to wait long enough at these hospitals. Congress shouldn't keep them in the waiting room by putting partisan games ahead of solutions," McConnell said.


On Monday, the VA released an internal audit showing more than 57,000 new patients had to wait at least three months for initial appointments. It also found that over the past decade, nearly 64,000 newly enrolled veterans requesting appointments never got them, though it was unclear how many still wanted VA care.

The audit covered 731 VA medical facilities. It said 13 percent of scheduling employees said they'd been instructed to enter falsified appointment dates, and 8 percent used unofficial appointment lists, both practices aimed at improving agency statistics on patient wait times.

As a result, the agency said it was ordering further investigations at 112 locations where interviews revealed indications of fabricated scheduling data or of supervisors ordering falsified lists.

Sloan Gibson, the acting VA secretary, directed several steps to address Monday's audit, including a short-term boost in medical services at overburdened facilities, including using mobile units.

The agency has contacted 50,000 veterans awaiting appointments and plans to reach 40,000 others to accelerate care, letting them choose VA treatment or local non-VA health care providers.

---

Associated Press writer Matthew Daly contributed to this report.
hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2014 06:56 pm
@bobsal u1553115,
Quote:
He said, “Where was the outrage during the Bush years? I’m not a defender of President Obama by any means, but this is a long-standing problem.”


The reports I have seen indicate that the problem grew exponentially when Obama added 500,000 to the workload without an appropriate addition to the resources. He also greatly added to the workload by other means, such as new standards on PTSD disability. This is a none sense argument that because some problem existed years ago the problem then can be assumed to have be equivalent to now. No, it might be, but the one making the argument needs to prove that it was, no reasonable rational person is going to assume that it was.

Quote:
Peters found it remarkable how this has “suddenly” become a crisis.


hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2014 07:01 pm
@bobsal u1553115,
Quote:
The bill also would ban bonuses for all VA employees through 2016


these people are idiots...a major part of the problem is that the VA has to compete for workers in a market where their is a shortage, and when they offer low wage scales.

Quote:
Miller said VA would save $400 million annually by eliminating bonuses,


VA retention problems are about to get a lot worse. And training people is expensive.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2014 07:15 pm
@hawkeye10,
Apparently congress doesn't think bureaucrats can be trusted with Bonus plans.

And they can't if there is no meaningful oversight of performance at every level of management, and no swift and significant consequences when malfeasance is discovered.

But then Bernie Sanders and Harry Reid don’t trust Agency leadership to fire the right guys for the right reasons.

This a bill from the House. It may have been passed unanimously (who now is going to vote against a VA Reform bill?), but it still has to get past the Senate.

Harry will work his tricksy way and keep in from consideration, thereby permitting Dem Senators to avoid passing something the Public Sector Unions don’t like, without having to on the record as against reform.


hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2014 07:26 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:
Apparently congress doesn't think bureaucrats can be trusted with Bonus plans.
they also dont think that judges can be trusted, they have to write all kinds of specifics into the laws on what they can consider, and then tell them what kind of sentences to hand down. This would be a riot if the harm to America was not so great, the most inept group of people to run Congress in at least 90 years thinks that they owe it to America to tell everyone else how to do their jobs.

Most of America rather that they would do nothing, or possibly pick a very few tasks that they might with enough practice be able to tackle competently. The obamacare law was never even read before voting, and when people did get around to reading it it turned out to be the worst written piece of legislation in anyones memory. And they cant pass much of anything by regular order. And they cant ever seem to get budgets done on time. THe is the most basic of their work AND THEY CANT GET IT DONE!

But they seem to think that they know how to do everyone else's job better than the career experts in that line of work do. Drunk
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2014 08:20 pm
@hawkeye10,
Do not forget that when the debate about the ACA was taking place, the Dems were using the VA and it's system as a model for how the rest of us should get care. When Bush was in office the Dems rallied against what was taking place in the VA and demanded that changes be made. The way I see it, the only people who thought the VA was fixed were the Dems, but only when it was convenient to push through the ACA. It has been one giant flip flop for a decade.

The reason Obama and the current administration have gotten so much **** is because they said they could make it better. They have had 5 years and things have only gotten worse.
hawkeye10
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2014 08:45 pm
@Baldimo,
And thqt they had warning by way of at least one major polling of VA workers that the level of performance was falling, and that the front line workers felt that managment was failing. OBAMA and the rest of Washington did nothing. Obama took ownership of the VA when he massively changed their mission. We see again that he sets out grand designs for government in big speeches, but that the management follow through tends to be non existant. This is the Obamacare website all over again.
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2014 08:55 pm
@hawkeye10,
This is more than Obamacare, it is big govt. Can you imagine what would happen to any major company who tried to do business like the US govt does? They would be in jail and or fired within the first year. People say you can't run the govt like a business. How do they know? Have we ever tried to run the govt like a business? I don't believe we have. Dems and GOP would both be out of work if that were the case.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2014 03:39 am
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

Quote:
Apparently congress doesn't think bureaucrats can be trusted with Bonus plans.
they also dont think that judges can be trusted, they have to write all kinds of specifics into the laws on what they can consider, and then tell them what kind of sentences to hand down. This would be a riot if the harm to America was not so great, the most inept group of people to run Congress in at least 90 years thinks that they owe it to America to tell everyone else how to do their jobs.

Most of America rather that they would do nothing, or possibly pick a very few tasks that they might with enough practice be able to tackle competently. The obamacare law was never even read before voting, and when people did get around to reading it it turned out to be the worst written piece of legislation in anyones memory. And they cant pass much of anything by regular order. And they cant ever seem to get budgets done on time. THe is the most basic of their work AND THEY CANT GET IT DONE!

But they seem to think that they know how to do everyone else's job better than the career experts in that line of work do. Drunk


But there are people out in the world...especially on the Internet forum A2K, it seems...who know exactly how to run an efficient government--one with no waste, corruption, or stupidity.

Why these people don't run for office and set things right is beyond me.

That is the real mystery...and the real sadness of our nation's situation.
hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2014 05:00 am
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
Why these people don't run for office and set things right is beyond me.

That is the real mystery...and the real sadness of our nation's situation.


you dont get it? Really?

Signing on to be a member of Congress is about as prudent a decision as signing on to be a part of the management of Sears. Washington is completely broken down, nothing of value is going to happen there for the foreseeable future. Only fools let their lives get chewed up in that toxic wasteland,
Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2014 05:21 am
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

Quote:
Why these people don't run for office and set things right is beyond me.

That is the real mystery...and the real sadness of our nation's situation.


you dont get it? Really?

Signing on to be a member of Congress is about as prudent a decision as signing on to be a part of the management of Sears. Washington is completely broken down, nothing of value is going to happen there for the foreseeable future. Only fools let their lives get chewed up in that toxic wasteland,


But you, particularly, seem to know exactly what should and should not be done to deal with the problems...and it seems to me that you ought to be doing as much as possible to get elected to show that it can be done.

Or...you can sit in your armchair and call the correct play after the coach's play has been run. Easiest thing in the world to do...tell a coach why his play was the wrong one to run after it fails...or why he did exactly the right thing when it works. Dan Dierdorf does it all the time.
bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2014 06:57 am
@hawkeye10,
So lets stop the political hot potato game and get it fixed. I don't think shaming Shineseki proved or fixed anything.
0 Replies
 
bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2014 07:01 am
@hawkeye10,
Quote:
Miller said VA would save $400 million annually by eliminating bonuses,


I have my doubts about the $400 million figure. And I would like to knowhow thw bonus progam works.
0 Replies
 
bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2014 07:04 am
@Baldimo,
Do you really think that VA and ACA resemble each other? REALLY??????
revelette2
 
  2  
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2014 07:46 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Actually in a lot of ways he did. Wait times exist in the private sector too, they just don't have the list and bonus factor. Do away with the bonuses, seems simple enough on that problem.
Quote:

21st Century VA
The President’s message to those who serve is this: when you come home to America, America will be there for you. This Administration is committed to ensuring that DoD and VA coordinate to provide a seamless transition from active duty to civilian life and help fix the benefit bureaucracy. This Administration has worked towards modernizing the way health care is delivered and benefits are administered for our nation's veterans.

Progress
On August 31, 2012 President Obama signed an Executive Order that strengthens suicide prevention efforts across the Force and in the veteran community and improves access to mental health services for veterans, service members, and military families members.

First Lady Michelle Obama announced on August 22, 2012 that more than 2,000 American companies had answered President Obama's challenge and had hired or trained 125,000 veterans and military spouses in the past year through Joining Forces. This effort, combined with policies and legislation put in place by the President, have resulted in a 20 percent decrease in veteran unemployment compared to the same time last year.

President Obama signed the Veterans Skills to Jobs Act on July 12, 2012. This legislation will make it easier for veterans to put their skills to work and complements the new partnership launched by the Obama Administration that will make it easier for manufacturing companies to hire thousands of returning service members who have the skills our country needs.

On April 11, 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden announced a commitment from more than 150 state and national nursing organizations and over 500 nursing schools to further educate our nation’s 3 million nurses so they are prepared to meet the unique health needs of service members, veterans, and their families.

As part of President Obama's broader plan to help millions of Americans refinance and save thousands of dollars a year, support the communities hardest-hit by the housing crisis, and help families avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes, on March 6, 2012 he announced new measures major mortgage servicers will be taking to provide significant relief to thousands of service members and veterans.

President Obama signed the "VOW to Hire Heroes Act" into law on November 21, 2011. The Returning Heroes Tax Credit provides businesses that hire unemployed veterans a maximum credit of $5,600 per veteran, and the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit offers businesses that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities a maximum credit of $9,600 per veteran.

On November 7, 2011 President Obama introduced new resources created to help veterans translate their military skills for the civilian workforce. These online tools were designed to aid their search for jobs and make it easier to connect our veterans with companies that want to hire them:

•Veteran Gold Card Post-9/11 veterans can download the Veteran Gold Card, which entitles them to enhanced services including six months of personalized case management, assessments and counseling, at the roughly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers located across the country. This could help serve the more than 200,000 unemployed Post-9/11 veterans. The President directed the Department of Labor to launch this initiative in his August 5, 2011 speech at the Navy Yard.

•My Next Move for Veterans: The Department of Labor will launch My Next Move for Veterans, a new online resource that allows veterans to enter their military occupation code and discover civilian occupations for which they are well qualified. The site will also include information about salaries, apprenticeships, and other related education and training programs.

•Creating a Veterans Job Bank: The Veterans Job Bank, at National Resource Directory, is an easy to use tool to help veterans find job postings from companies looking to hire them. It already searches over 500,000 job postings and is growing. In a few easy steps, companies can make sure the job postings on their own websites are part of this Veterans Job Bank.
On August 5, 2011 President Obama announced new commitments to service members and veterans that will provide a comprehensive plan to lower veteran unemployment and ensure that service members leave the military career-ready through hiring tax credits, private sector commitments, and reforms that improve the way we prepare, train, and educate service members for life after the military. The commitment to America's veterans includes:

•Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits: A new Returning Heroes Tax Credit for firms that hire unemployed veterans (maximum credit of $2,400 for every short-term unemployed hire and $4,800 for every long-term unemployed hire) and a Wounded Warriors Tax Credit which will increase the existing tax credit for firms that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been unemployed long-term (maximum credit of $9,600 per veteran) and continue the existing credit for all other veterans with a service-connected disability (maximum credit of $4,800).

•A Challenge to the Private Sector to Hire or Train 100,000 Unemployed Veterans or Their Spouses by the End of 2013: The President will challenge businesses to commit to hire or provide training to unemployed veterans or their spouses. Joining Forces will lead this work with businesses and industry.

•Presidential Call for a Career-Ready Military: The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, working closely with other agencies and the President’s economic and domestic policy teams, will lead a new task force to develop reforms to ensure that every member of the service receives the training, education, and credentials they need to transition to the civilian workforce or to pursue higher education. These reforms will include the design of a “reverse bootcamp,” which will extend the transition period to give service members more counseling and guidance and leave them career-ready.

•Transition to the Private Sector: The Department of Labor will establish a new initiative to deliver an enhanced career development and job search service package to transitioning veterans at their local One-Stop Career Centers. The Office of Personnel Management will create a “Best Practices” Manual for the private sector to help businesses identify and hire veterans.

•Expand Ground Forces to Meet Military Needs and Improve Quality of Life: Increasing end strength in the Army and Marine Corps will help units retrain and re-equip properly between deployments, reduce the strain on military families, and help put an end to stop loss. We also plan to halt end strength reductions in the Air Force and Navy.
Lighten Burdens on Our Brave Troops and Their Families: Those in uniform are not the only ones who serve; military families are a top priority for this Administration. The President has announced plans to raise military pay and continue providing quality child-care, job-training for spouses, and expanded counseling and outreach to families that have known the separation and stress of war. First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched the Joining Forces initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.

The Recovery Act provided the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with more than $1.4 billion to improve services to America’s Veterans

•The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) enabled the VA to improve medical facilities and national cemeteries, provided grants to assist states in acquiring or constructing state nursing homes and extended care facilities, and to modify or alter existing facilities to care for Veterans.

•VA dedicated ARRA funds to hire and train 1,500 temporary claims processors to speed benefits delivery to Veterans and pursue needed information technology initiatives for improved benefits and services. Funds were also used to oversee and audit programs, grants, and projects funded under ARRA.

•As part of the President’s Recovery plan, VA made one-time payments of $250 to eligible Veterans and survivors to mitigate the effects of the economic downturn.

•The President announced the Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Initiative. The Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs have worked together to define and build a system that will ultimately contain administrative and medical information from the day an individual enters military service throughout their military career, and into the Veteran phase of life.

VA Healthcare
With Secretary Shinseki, the President will make sure the VA provides veterans the best care possible. This means improved care for poly-trauma, vision impairment, prosthetics, spinal cord injury, aging, and women's health.

Because the nightmares of war don't always end when our loved ones return home, this Administration will work to meet the mental health needs of our veterans. Untold thousands of servicemen and women and veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or other serious psychological injury. This Administration is determined to address the challenges of caring for those affected by PTSD when they return home.

Because thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have suffered from Traumatic Brain Injury, one of the signature injuries of these wars, this Administration will continue to improve services for cognitive injuries and ensure our veterans receive the on-going care they need. and the President supports advance appropriations for the VA budget so that healthcare for veterans is not hindered by budget delays.

VA Services
We all share the shame of well over one hundred thousand veterans going homeless on any given night. This Administration has worked on pilot programs with not-for-profit organizations to make sure that veterans at risk of losing their homes have a roof over their heads.

Finally, this Administration recognizes that our veterans deserve something more -- an equal chance to reach for the very dream they defend. This Administration is committed to providing the resources to effectively implement the Post-9/11 GI Bill – providing every returning service member with a real chance to afford a college education.


source
 

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