Category Archives: Dept. of Veterans Affairs

This is rich: Obama tells Americans to remember fallen heroes by taking care of loved ones at home

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From HuffPo: President Barack Obama urged Americans to remember the nation’s fallen service members on Memorial Day and to honor their memories by taking better care of their families and loved ones at home.

“Here, at Arlington, the deafening sounds of combat have given way to the silence of these sacred hills,” Obama said. “The chaos and confusion of battle has yielded perfect, precise rows of peace. The Americans who rest here, and their families, the best of us, those from whom we asked everything, ask of us today only one thing in return: that we remember them.”

“Those who rest beneath this silence, not only here at Arlington, but at veterans cemeteries across our country and around the world, they didn’t speak the loudest about their patriotism. They let their actions do that. Whether they stood up in times of war, signed up in times of peace, or were called up by a draft board, they embodied the best of America,” the president added.

Obama also urged Americans to honor the dead by making sure service members are welcomed home with jobs and good health care.

Read all the details here.

misadministration

I know Obama doesn’t practice what he preaches. How else do you explain all these stories:

Most of all, how do you explain this?

Hillary Clinton what difference does it make

Two hundred and thirty-two days until this CIC is gone.

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Saturday funnies!


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VA accused of shredding documents needed for veterans’ claims

If you’ve read about the past scandals of the VA, this will come as absolutely no surprise to you.

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From Fox News: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been systematically shredding documents related to veterans’ claims — possibly affecting benefits for veterans, according to an investigation by the inspector general.

Investigators with the Department of Veterans Affairs audited 10 veterans benefits offices around the country and found that staff were destroying mail related to claims, according to a report by Military.com, citing an OIG report released on Thursday.

The surprise audit, which was conducted at the offices on July 20, 2015, came after reports of such document shredding in Los Angeles, the website reported.

Investigators reportedly sifted through some 438,000 documents awaiting destruction at the regional offices. Of 155 claims-related documents, 69 were found to have been incorrectly placed in shred bins at six of the regional offices, according to Military.com.

Those offices were in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Reno, Nev. At least two of the 69 documents headed to the shredder directly affected benefits and nine had the potential to, according to the website. 

The OIG report concluded that, “The potential effect should not be minimized.”

Considering that there are 56 [VA regional offices], and if weekly shredding is conducted, it is highly likely that claims-related documents at other VAROs are being improperly scheduled for destruction that could result in loss of claims and evidence, incorrect decisions and delays in claims processing,” the report said.

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Click for more from Military.com

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Obama goes after Social Security recipients’ guns

Obama said that his top priority for his remaining time in office is gun control.

He’s already done it to our military veterans — getting the dysfunctional Veterans Administration to take guns away from veterans deemed “mentally unfit”. (See “Obama regime prohibits disabled veterans from owning firearms and ammunition”)

Now, Obama is extending the same BOHICA “courtesy” to Social Security recipients.

Obama guns

Alan Zarembo reports for The Los Angeles Times, July 18, 2015, that Obama plans to ban millions of Social Security recipients from owning guns, as “part of a concerted effort by the Obama administration after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., to strengthen gun control, including by plugging holes in the background check system.”

For the links to the posts FOTM has published on the Sandy Hook false-flag, go here.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), with a database of more than 13 million records, is used to prevent gun sales to felons, fugitives, drug addicts, illegal immigrants, domestic abusers, dishonorably discharged service members, and others. The law requires gun stores to run the names of prospective buyers through the computerized background check system before every sale.

Already, Obama’s Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has expanded the category of “others” to include veterans who are incompetent to manage their pension or disability payments, and are assigned a fiduciary. Conservative groups have denounced the policy as an excuse to strip veterans of their gun rights.

Social Security has never participated in the background check system. Now, Obama means to change that by including some 4.2 million Social Security (SS) recipients who “lack mental capacity” — whose monthly disability payments are handled by others (“representative payees”) due to “marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease.”

Critics — including gun rights activists, mental health experts and advocates for the disable — say that although such a ban would keep people who pose a danger to themselves or others from owning guns, the strategy undoubtedly would also include people who may just have a bad memory or difficulty balancing a checkbook.

Yale psychiatrist Dr. Marc Rosen, who has studied how veterans with mental health problems manage their money, points out that “Someone can be incapable of managing their funds but not be dangerous, violent or unsafe. They are very different determinations.” Rosen said some veterans may avoid seeking help for mental health problems out of fear that they would be required to give up their guns.

Ari Ne’eman, a member of the National Council on Disability (NCD), said the NCD would oppose any policy that used assignment of a representative payee as a basis to take any fundamental right from people with disabilities.

Steven Overman, a 30-year-old former Marine who lives in Virginia, said he “didn’t know the VA could take away your guns” and that his case demonstrates the flaws of judging gun safety by the yardstick of financial competence.

After his Humvee hit a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007, Overman was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and a brain injury that weakened his memory and cognitive ability, and was deemed 100% disabled by the VA. In 2012, after declaring Overman incompetent and making his wife his fiduciary, the VA reported him to the background check system. So Overman surrendered his guns to his mother and began working with a lawyer to get them back because he enjoys target shooting and has never felt he is a danger to himself or others.

More than a year and a half after Overman filed his challenge, the VA finally lifted its incompetence ruling, allowing his removal from the background check system. Overman, who hasn’t worked since leaving the military, said he and a friend are now thinking of opening a gunsmith business.

In the case of the proposed Social Security Administration policy to take guns from SS recipients, what is even more of a concern is that the agency has been drafting its policy outside of public view.

Even the National Rifle Association (NRA) was unaware of it. Told about the initiative, the NRA issued a statement from its chief lobbyist, Chris W. Cox, saying: “If the Obama administration attempts to deny millions of law-abiding citizens their constitutional rights by executive fiat, the NRA stands ready to pursue all available avenues to stop them in their tracks.”

On April 23, 2015, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) introduced a bill to change the VA’s gun policy. H.R. 2001, the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, would require a court to determine that somebody poses a danger before being reported to the background check system. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.

H/t FOTM’s maziel

UPDATE (April 24, 2016):

To counteract Obama’s sneaky way to take guns from Social Security recipients, Congressman Sam Johnson (R-Texas) has introduced a bill, HR 3516: Social Security Beneficiary 2nd Amendment Rights Protection Act.

The bill is a short one. Its purpose is “To amend the Social Security Act relating to the use of determinations made by the Commissioner.” The bill says: “No determination by the Commissioner of Social Security with respect to an individual, including a determination that benefits under this title to which such individual is entitled shall be paid to a representative payee, shall be considered to be a determination that the individual has been adjudicated as a mental defective for purposes of subsections (d)(4) and (g)(4) of section 922 of title 18, United States Code.”

On Sept. 21, 2015, HR 3516 was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Social Security.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3516/text

~Eowyn

Suspended VA bosses to return to agency jobs next week

Only in a government job can you majorly screw up, receive a paid leave, and then return to your position.

You would think that these employees would have some kind of remorse. You would think.

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AZCentral.com reports that Lance Robinson and Brad Curry, two Department of Veterans Affairs administrators in Phoenix, will return to work Monday, 19 months after they were put on paid leave and given termination notices. They were suspended at the outset of a crisis over delayed patient care.

Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Legislative and Political Director Dan Caldwell said the VA “has shown that it does not take accountability, or Congress, seriously” by allowing Robinson and Curry to return to work. He said the message sent to the public is that the agency is protecting its own instead of helping veterans.

Robinson and Curry have declined interview requests since they were placed on suspension. Since May 2014, they’ve received hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay and benefits while not working.

Robinson and Curry were the subject of internal probes to determine their “knowledge, involvement and culpability” in patient-scheduling fraud and retaliation against whistleblowers.

Read all of the disgusting details here.

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See also:

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VA doesn’t have ‘legal authority’ to require executives to return $400K they received in job transfer scam

Earlier this month I told you about how The Department of Veterans Affairs reportedly paid out more than $142 million in performance bonuses in 2014 despite a string of scandals inside the agency.

The bonuses continued even after former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, who resigned last year amid the scandal over falsified wait-times, suspended certain bonuses. But that move only restricted bonuses for senior execs in the embattled Veterans Health Administration. 

The VA continued to pay bonuses to other workers in other departments, including those facing their own controversies. 

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Now the AP is reporting this wonderful news:

The Department of Veterans Affairs will not try to recoup more than $400,000 from two senior VA executives who manipulated the hiring system to get their jobs of choice and received hundreds of thousands in extra money to relocate.

The most transparent administration evah has remained silent on questions about its decision to demote and transfer but not fire executives Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves, and whether it would collect repayment of those relocation benefits.

Photo from disabledveterans.org

Photo from disabledveterans.org

On Sept. 28, 2015, the VA Inspector General’s office issued a report finding that Rubens and Graves had “inappropriately used their positions of authority for personal and financial benefit” by arranging the transfer of subordinates whose jobs they wanted and then volunteering to fill the vacancies.

When asked about the determination by the Office of General Counsel and whether criminal charges would be referred against Rubens and Graves, the Office of Inspector General said, “We do not have information that is responsive to your questions,” and deferred questions of possible prosecution to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Neither that office nor the Department of Justice immediately responded to a query on the issue.

“This move is an insult to veterans and taxpayers, who are left footing the bill,” Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., who chairs the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, said in a statement Tuesday.

Curtis Kalin, spokesman for the nonprofit Citizens Against Government Waste, said the VA’s systemic problems “not only hurt taxpayers, but cost some veterans their lives.”

Read the all pathetic details here.

See also:

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Navy vet’s death blamed on contaminated VA medical scopes

Wonder if anyone at this VA facility received a bonus for their “talent“?

misadministration

The following will come as no surprise given the scandals accumulated by the VA under the Obama administration. See examples of the mishandling of our veterans’ health care here, here, here and here.

The mistreatment of our veterans is also occurring in Seattle. In early October I reported on how dozens of West Coast military veterans incorrectly received letters indicating they’d lose unemployment benefits after an overworked Department of Veterans Affairs office in Seattle lost track of records the veterans had submitted.

In May of this year, the Seattle VA hospital stranded a veteran outside the emergency room. Donald Siefken drove up to the Seattle VA with a broken foot and all he asked for was a little help getting inside. Instead, a hospital employee who answered Siefken’s cellphone call told him to call 911 himself, then hung up on him, Siefken said.

Chief Petty Officer William Piersawl/Photo Courtesy Samantha Armenta

Chief Petty Officer William Piersawl/Photo Courtesy Samantha Armenta

Now comes news of how the VA Puget Sound Health Care System may have contributed to the death of veteran William Piersawl. This may have been attributed to the a deadly infection he obtained with ties to dirty medical scopes and to scope-washing machines ordered recalled last week by U.S. regulators because of increased risk to patients.

That’s according to an amended lawsuit awaiting approval Monday in U.S. District Court in Western Washington, which raises new questions about ongoing problems with so-called “superbug” outbreaks in Seattle and across the nation.

William Piersawl, 60, was a 25-year Navy veteran and died in February 2013 of Gram-negative pneumonia, an infection resistant to most available antibiotics. Secondary causes included sepsis and lung cancer, his death certificate showed. His widow, Carolyn Piersawl filed a complaint earlier this year claiming that the VA Puget Sound Health Care System contributed to his death by failing to properly sterilize bronchoscopes, medical devices used to examine the lungs.

During his treatment from 2009 to 2012, Piersawl received at least two exams with bronchoscopes that had not been disinfected according to manufacturers’ instructions, leaving them “dirty after supposed sterilization,” potentially contaminated with bacteria that could have led to the infection that caused his death, according to the complaint. His widow said, “He didn’t deserve this”. The couple were married for 34 years and have three children and two grandchildren.

There was a whistleblower at the Puget Sound VA who reported on the filthy procedures being practiced at the VA facility. Barbara Deymonaz, 63, a registered nurse who worked as a nurse educator in the sterile processing unit at the Puget Sound VA from 2012 to 2013, said she complained multiple times to federal officials about lapses in procedure that put patients at risk. “Every rock you turned over, it was just a mess,” she said.

Of course, VA officials have denied all allegations in the Piersawl lawsuit. VA spokesman Ndidi Mojay said the agency cannot comment on pending litigation. A 2013 investigation by the VA Office of the Inspector General didn’t find any problems that left instruments unsterile or placed patients at risk.

But Piersawl’s case underscores concerns about deadly infections potentially transmitted by improperly cleaned medical scopes. Last year, an outbreak of multidrug-resistant infections tied to contaminated duodenoscopes — devices used to examine the gut — was linked to 39 patients at Seattle’s Virginia Mason Medical Center. Eighteen patients affected by the outbreak died, although the role the infections played isn’t clear. The outbreak prompted the hospital to overhaul the way it cleans and tests the devices, resulting in no further infections, a hospital spokesman said.

In August, VA officials released results of an investigation that found that superbug infections may have occurred at VA sites across the nation, although the risk was very low. The analysis of 40,000 patient records concluded “any transmission appears highly unlikely.” But problems with duodenoscopes at hospitals across the nation prompted the FDA to issue new guidelines for cleaning the devices — and new warnings about potential problems with other types of scopes as well.

Between January 2010 and June 2015, the agency received 109 reports concerning infections or device contamination related to the bronchoscopes. No deaths were reported. The agency emphasized that proper “reprocessing” or cleaning of such devices is crucial.

It’s not clear what specific bacteria caused Piersawl’s Gram-negative pneumonia, which was listed as his primary cause of death. No culture results were reported in his records and the scopes used to treat him weren’t cultured, either. The lawsuit is set for trial next summer, said Jessica Holman Duthie, a Tacoma lawyer who filed the complaint.

Read the whole story at the Seattle Times here.

DCG