Tag Archives: Department of Veterans Affairs

Trump administration has fired hundreds of Veteran’s Affairs officials

VA health care wait times
VA health care wait times

I expected Trump to get into trouble on Twitter even after he was elected, and he is certainly doing that. But he’s also doing a lot of conservative things, too. And those are more important, because they are policies.

Here’s the latest “Good Trump” news reported by the far-left CBS News.

Excerpt:

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today that more than 500 officials have been fired for misconduct since President Trump took office earlier this year, according to data posted online.

In an effort for more transparency and accountability within the VA, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David J. Shulkin announced that a public list of employee “accountability actions” will be posted online and updated weekly.

The list outlines a total of 747 disciplinary actions including 526 employees who were fired since January 20. The actions affected a myriad of positions ranging from a tractor operator to VA attorneys.The list does not include employee names due to privacy reasons but does note the employee’s position and VA region.

“Veterans and taxpayers have a right to know what we’re doing to hold our employees accountable and make our personnel actions transparent,” Secretary Shulkin said in a statement.

This announcement comes less than a month after President Trump signed the Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act which strengthened the ability of Secretary Shulkin to discipline VA officials. President Trump said that previous laws “…kept the government from holding those who failed our veterans accountable.”

Why is this important? Well, the VA health care delivery system is the only true single-payer health care system in the United States. It’s run by Big Government bureaucrats who get paid a lot of money, regardless of how they serve their customers. When the administrators want a raise, they just falsify records to hide their failure to perform. It’s so bad that veterans are dying while waiting for treatment. And since it’s not a for-profit system, there’s nothing they can do about it. They can’t threaten to withhold payment, and they can’t take their business somewhere else. It’s a government-run monopoly, and customers are treated like garbage.

Here’s an example reported by the Washington Free Beacon:

More than 100 veterans died while waiting for care at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Los Angeles, Calif., over a nine-month span ending in August 2015, according to a new government report.

The VA Office of Inspector General found in a recent healthcare inspection that 225 veterans at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System facility died with open or pending consults between Oct. 1, 2015 and Aug. 9, 2015. Nearly half—117—of those patients died while experiencing delays in receiving care.

The inspector general reported that 43 percent of the 371 consults scheduled for patients who ended up dying were not timely because of a failure by VA employees to follow proper procedure. The report was unable to substantiate claims that patients died as a result of the delayed consults.

Fox News has a different example from a different VA hospital:

More than 200 veterans have died while waiting for medical care at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix, two years after the facility was at the center of a scandal in which patient records were altered to hide the length of their waiting period.

In a report released Tuesday, the VA Inspector General’s office (OIG) found that 215 deceased patients had open specialist consultation appointments at the Phoenix facility on the day they died. The report also found that one veteran never received an appointment for a cardiology exam “that could have prompted further definitive testing and interventions that could have forestalled his death.”

[…]The report also found that nearly a quarter of all specialist consultations in 2015 were canceled, in part due to employee confusion stemming from outdated scheduling procedures that were not updated until this past August.

The Free Beacon and Fox News are centrist news sources, so let’s look at something from the radical kooky fringe of fake news.

Here’s the far-left Clown News Network (CNN) reporting on another VA failure from 2014, when Obama was still President:

At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list.

The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.

For six months, CNN has been reporting on extended delays in health care appointments suffered by veterans across the country and who died while waiting for appointments and care.
But the new revelations about the Phoenix VA are perhaps the most disturbing and striking to come to light thus far.

Internal e-mails obtained by CNN show that top management at the VA hospital in Arizona knew about the practice and even defended it.

Dr. Sam Foote just retired after spending 24 years with the VA system in Phoenix. The veteran doctor told CNN in an exclusive interview that the Phoenix VA works off two lists for patient appointments:

There’s an “official” list that’s shared with officials in Washington and shows the VA has been providing timely appointments, which Foote calls a sham list. And then there’s the real list that’s hidden from outsiders, where wait times can last more than a year.

I hope that’s not fake news, but with CNN, you never know. Let’s just assume it’s real for now.

Right now, we have a Republican President, Republican House, and Republican Senate, so something is finally being done to fix a problem that existed throughout the eight years of the Obama administration.

Hillary Clinton downplays VA scandal: 307,000 veterans died on VA waiting lists

VA health care wait times
VA health care wait times

Before we find out what Hillary Clinton thinks of the Department of Veterans Affairs health care scandal, let’s find out what the problem is, using this article from Breitbart News.

Excerpt:

The Department of Veterans Affairs office Inspector General has released a report revealing that about 307,000 sick veterans have died while waiting for care on the VA’s eligibility waiting list. In fact, the report finds that many have been dead for more than four years.
The report confirms the worst-case scenarios about the long VA wait times that have made news reports and sparked questions in Congress since last year.

On Wednesday, the OIG revealed that of the 800,000-some records stalled in the VA’s health care enrollment system, 307,000 veterans have already died anywhere from months ago to more than four years ago.

“As of September 2014, more than 307,000 pending [enrollment system] records, or about 35 percent of all pending records, were for individuals reported as deceased by the Social Security Administration,” the report discovered.

But even that number was disputable because the VA’s databases are in such disarray.

“[D]ue to data limitations, we could not determine specifically how many pending [enrollment system] records represent veterans who applied for health care benefits,” the report continued. “These conditions occurred because the enrollment program did not effectively define, collect, and manage enrollment data.”

The study resulted after whistleblowers warned of the utter mismanagement at the Veteran Affairs offices that included incorrectly making unprocessed applications and the deletion of thousands of records over at least the last five years.

The OIG found one veteran who had been on a waiting list for 14 years and another veteran who died in 1988 but still had unprocessed applications in the VA system.

Scott Davis, a program specialist at the VA Health Eligibility Center, told CNN that millions of veterans are still at risk because of these failures.

“People who fought, and who earned the right to VA health care were never given VA health care,” Davis said. “They literally died while waiting for VA to process their health care application.”

Now let’s see what Hillary Clinton said about the VA scandal.

Hillary Clinton look bored about the deaths of 4 Americans who asked for her help
Hillary Clinton look bored about the deaths of 4 Americans who asked for her help

Here she is, in her own words, before a friendly audience:

She says this about the VA problems: “It’s not been as widespread as it has been made out to be”.

Single-payer health care

This is health care policy expert Sally Pipes, writing in Investors Business Daily, about the VA single-payer health care system.

She writes:

A new report from the Government Accountability Office has confirmed that the Department of Veterans Affairs can’t take care of those it’s supposed to serve.

The GAO has placed the VA’s health system on the “high risk” list of federal programs that are vulnerable to “fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.” The agency is still struggling to recover from an 8-month-old internal audit that revealed that returning soldiers had to wait more than 90 days for care. Some patients died while waiting.

The GAO’s findings apply far beyond the VA. The agency’s problems — which include long wait-times and out-of-control costs — demonstrate what happens in any government-run, single-payer health care system.

[…]Defenders of government-run health care claim that it will control costs by cutting out middlemen such as insurance companies. The evidence shows otherwise. According to the GAO, the VA budget more than doubled between 2002 and 2013 even as enrollment increased by less than a third.Single-payer’s “guarantee” of access to high-quality care is a myth, too.

“Despite these substantial budget increases,” the GAO report says, “for more than a decade there have been numerous reports … of VA facilities failing to provide timely health care.”

[..]Last summer, lawmakers allocated $10 billion to a program intended to reduce wait times by permitting veterans to see private doctors outside the VA system. So far, the agency has only authorized 31,000 vets to seek private care — out of a possible 8.5 million.That has to change — 88% of veterans say that they want the ability to choose where they receive their care.

The VA health care system is the purest single-payer health care system in the United States. Every claim billed and processed by the government. Customers have ZERO CHOICES if they want to go to a competitor for better service, or less cost. They pay their money to the government in mandatory taxes, and then take their places in line to wait for bureaucrats to act. Bureaucrats face no pressure from competitors to perform for their customers. They have already been paid, and their customers cannot go anywhere else.

In single-payer system, health care is doled out to those customers whose votes are desired by the government. And if you get to the point where you need more health care than you are paying for in your mandatory in taxes… well, that’s what euthanasia is for. It’s very popular in countries that have single-payer, as a way of cutting costs. Canada has a single-payer system, and they just legalized euthanasia.

We have single-payer health care already in the VA system – is it working?

VA health care wait times
VA health care wait times

This is health care policy expert Sally Pipes, writing in Investors Business Daily.

She writes:

new report from the Government Accountability Office has confirmed that the Department of Veterans Affairs can’t take care of those it’s supposed to serve.

The GAO has placed the VA’s health system on the “high risk” list of federal programs that are vulnerable to “fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.” The agency is still struggling to recover from an 8-month-old internal audit that revealed that returning soldiers had to wait more than 90 days for care. Some patients died while waiting.

The GAO’s findings apply far beyond the VA. The agency’s problems — which include long wait-times and out-of-control costs — demonstrate what happens in any government-run, single-payer health care system.

The VA’s failings ought to give pause to the liberal politicians and policy analysts who would love to introduce single-payer health care for all Americans. But they don’t seem to have heeded the GAO report. Within a week of its release, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., called for “Medicare for All.”

Champions of socialized medicine used to point to the VA as proof that single-payer worked. In 2011, economist Paul Krugman called it “a huge policy success story, which offers important lessons for future health reform.” In a 2009 debate with me, Princeton professor Uwe Reinhardt said that there’s an example of a single-payer system in the U.S. that works — the VA.

The VA offers lessons about health reform — just not the ones single-payer’s proponents have in mind.

Defenders of government-run health care claim that it will control costs by cutting out middlemen such as insurance companies. The evidence shows otherwise. According to the GAO, the VA budget more than doubled between 2002 and 2013 even as enrollment increased by less than a third.

Single-payer’s “guarantee” of access to high-quality care is a myth, too.

“Despite these substantial budget increases,” the GAO report says, “for more than a decade there have been numerous reports … of VA facilities failing to provide timely health care.”

Over the last decade, more than 63,000 veterans have been unable to get a doctor’s appointment. At least 40 veterans have died because of long waits.

Things aren’t likely to get better anytime soon. The VA has yet to act on more than 100 GAO recommendations for improving care.

Last summer, lawmakers allocated $10 billion to a program intended to reduce wait times by permitting veterans to see private doctors outside the VA system. So far, the agency has only authorized 31,000 vets to seek private care — out of a possible 8.5 million.

That has to change — 88% of veterans say that they want the ability to choose where they receive their care.

However, there is one military person who is getting health care – convicted traitor Bradley Manning. He’s getting sex-change surgery while he is in jail for leaking national security secrets to our enemies. He won’t have to wait at all for his health care. This is what happens when you take money out of your wallet, give it to the government, and then hope that when you get sick, someone in the government will decide that you are worthy of treatment. Which you aren’t, unless they want your vote.

It’s not just the VA health care system – government-run health care doesn’t work in other places:

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service, for instance, is notorious for denying patients everything from certain cancer medications to hip replacements.

The program is also financially unsustainable. According to its own medical director, Bruce Keogh, “if the NHS continues to function as it does now, it’s going to really struggle to cope because the model of delivery and service that we have at the moment is not fit for the future.”

In Canada’s single-payer system, the average wait time between referral from a general practitioner and the actual receipt of treatment by a specialist was more than four months in 2014. That’s nearly double the wait time of two decades ago.

The Canadian system is the one that Democrats want to emulate – but Canada’s rich left-wing politicians come here when they want care. They don’t want to wait in line. Why should we want to wait in line? We need to prefer consumer-driven health care over government-controlled health care.