Tag Archives: VA

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.

Government-run healthcare: transgender surgeries first, the rest wait in line

Obama speaks to the Human Rights Campaign
Obama speaks to the Human Rights Campaign

How well is 100% government-run health care working in the United States? Well, the Veteran’s Administration is 100% government-run health care. Let’s see how it works.

The Stream explains:

The number of veterans waiting more than a month for care just passed the 500,000 mark, according to new data on patient wait times released by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Patient data, current up through May 15, shows that the number of veterans waiting more than 30 days jumped by 10,000 in just two weeks, to exactly 505,880.

And over the course of a month, the number of veterans waiting more than 30 days surged by 23,000. The average number of days to wait for a primary care appointment saw an increase to an average of 6.89 days. For days to get specialty care, the average bumped up to 10.15.

The VA also provided data on vets who have had to wait for 1-2 months. There are 297,013 vets who have waited that time period, a figure which increased by 5,000. For vets in the 3-4 month category, the number jumped by 2,000 to 46,672.

Although the new wait time data is not encouraging, VA Secretary Robert McDonald recently downplayed the importance of that metric, instead preferring to cite other apparently superior figures like overall veteran satisfaction with the experience. To justify his prioritizing the “satisfaction” metric, McDonald said that Disneyland does the exact same thing and doesn’t place a whole lot of importance on wait times for rides as such, but rather how much its patrons enjoy their experience at the amusement park as a whole. Citing Disneyland plays to McDonald’s philosophy of bringing corporate management techniques to the VA from his private sector experience as CEO of Procter & Gamble.

“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?” McDonald said, according to The Washington Examiner. “And what I would like to move to, eventually, is that kind of measure.”

Shut up and wait, he says. Be happy you even get a place in line at Disneyland at all. And they get big fat bonuses for this, as I blogged previously. We are being forced to pay taxes to pay this clown’s salary.

But there is one kind of treatment that is a top priority for the Democrat VA administrators.

This is from the Daily Wire.

Excerpt:

A reported 307,000 veterans have died while awaiting health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs. In May of 2015, 53-year-old military veteran Thomas Murphy pulled into a VA parking lot, put a gun up to his head and pulled the trigger. The incident is suspected to have been done in the VA parking lot to bring awareness to the department’s unacceptable shortcomings. Again, in July of 2015, 30-year-old military veteran Tom Young killed himself after being sent to voicemail when he called the VA’s suicide hotline. In as recent as March of this year, another veteran set himself on fire outside a VA clinic in New Jersey.

And the list, sadly, goes on.

While the VA lets countless brave men and women who have served our country die due to their utter incompetence, bureaucrats from the department are focusing their attention on paying for highly controversial sex-reassignment surgeries for self-identified transgenders. As reported by theMilitary Times, a new rule proposed by the department “would remove a long-held ban on the surgery.”

The proposal claims that “increased understanding of both gender dysphoria and surgical techniques in this area have improved significantly, and surgical procedures are now widely accepted in the medical community as medically necessary treatment for gender dysphoria.”

“Gender dysphoria,” states the proposal, “is a serious condition that has had severe medical consequences for certain patients if transition-related surgeries and procedures are not provided.”

It should be noted that though the VA is claiming that sex-reassignment surgery is the proper response to the mental illness of transgenderism, many in the medical field have warned against such action. One of the more vocal is former Chief of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital Dr. Paul R. McHugh, a man who has studied transgenderism and sex-reassignment surgeries for 40 years, who said that those who push for such surgeries which enable the mentally ill are simply “collaborating with madness.”

Johns Hopkins Hospital eventually stopped providing such surgeries after psychiatrists’ research led them to conclude that the hospital was “fundamentally cooperating with a mental illness.”

The government controls health care for veterans – it is 100% government-controlled. Should we give them control of the res of health care? It seems to me that government-run health care is basically mandatory taxation, followed by doling out health care to those who are most likely to vote for the radical leftists who now control health care. Don’t allow them to do take it over.

In other news, Obama has declared June to be gay pride month. This is what we voted for in 2008 and 2012, people. This is not an accident. All of Obama’s supporters are on board with putting the gay agenda above common sense. That’s what they voted for.

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.

White House review of VA finds “corrosive culture” to blame for poor patient care

The Wall Street Journal reports.

Excerpt:

A White House review of the VA health system points to a culture that has degraded the timely delivery of care and requires a restructuring to improve transparency and accountability.

Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson and Rob Nabors, White House deputy chief of staff, told President Barack Obama on Friday that significant further action was needed to address systemic problems.

Six weeks after the president dispatched Mr. Nabors to assess problems within the VA, the president’s aide outlined a long list of issues affecting access to timely care at VA medical facilities.

Mr. Nabors’s work is the latest in a series of reviews and reports issued in the past two months, including those from the VA’s independent inspector general, the Office of the Special Counsel and the VA itself. The new report found what Mr. Nabors described as a “corrosive culture” that affects employee performance and patient care. He added that the Veterans Health Administration structure has “impeded appropriate management, supervision and oversight.”

The review also found that the VA’s goal for scheduling many medical appointments within 14 days is “arbitrary, ill-defined and misunderstood.” That goal had been set in 2011. The VA recently eliminated that 14-day target.

Mr. Gibson praised the report. “We know that unacceptable, systemic problems and cultural issues within our health system prevent veterans from receiving timely care,” he said in a statement.

The White House has scrambled to respond to evidence of widespread mismanagement within the VA and to fill a growing number of vacancies in top posts. An internal assessment also revealed improper appointment-scheduling procedures and efforts to hide long wait times across the VA health system.

Another interim report from the VA inspector general confirms that:

The VA’s independent inspector general office has said it would likely issue in August its full report on its sweeping review of the department. An interim report, issued just days before Mr. Shinseki’s resignation, showed problems throughout the VA. They included employees tinkering with official patient appointment wait times to make them seem much shorter than the actual times veterans were having to wait.

In case you were wondering why this is all happening in the VA health care system and not in the private health care system, it’s because the VA is 100% pure government-run health care, as health care expert Avik Roy explains in Forbes magazine. The VA is not scandal is not some sort of aberration from government-run health care. Long wait times and patient deaths are essential to government run health care, in practice.