VA: A Bureaucratic Mess

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

We’ve seen this before, especially us “Nam Vets as we returned, tens of thousands, and those needing and seeking the care from their service in a war became backlogged, or just plain denied. Many of us veterans were trying to be heard, over the rising drum beat of war, of what was coming especially if invading a country that did absolutely nothing to deserve that invasion and occupation. We were one of those groups politically labeled, by our hired administration, as a ‘focus group’ that they didn’t listen to. But it wasn’t only the administration not listening it was the greater majority of this country, they don’t mind spending billions upon billions upon billions……….. on the war machine and waging war with same, but when the soldiers start returning and the system gets overwhelmed the country doesn’t want to hear anything about that, or if they hear they most certainly don’t want to pay..

The Veterans Administration has really never been perfect, nothing is, but in a once supposedly rich society it always could have been better, much better. During the years of basically no conflicts it ran fairly well but than the country got what it deserved, for eight years a totally incompetent administration and congress, the proof has been witnessed over and over, more than willing to show the countries might and in doing so, with the drums of war beating louder and louder, never once mentioning nor acting on enhancing the agencies that will be taking care of not only the active wounded but the veterans of two invasions and occupations even as the problems started surfacing. It wasn’t only the political leadership but also the country as a whole, No Sacrifice!

Under the leadership of the previous Commander in Chief of the Military Forces, the President, with a willing Congress and the Country, more and more is coming to the surface of the total incompetence and apathy!

Veterans Department A Bureaucratic Mess

CBS Evening News: Missing Files, Unopened Mail, Deliberately Misdated Forms Revealed By Inspector General

Iraq War veteran Jason Scott is one of thousands who have endured disastrously poor health care coverage from the Veterans Affairs Administration, which lost his health files, and, according to an inspector general’s audit, is sitting on 16,000 pieces of unopened mail in a single office.

All too often, our veterans feel like they’re David battling Goliath, when dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In the latest outrage involving the VA, it turns out thousands of claims for benefits weren’t even opened, reports CBS News correspondent David Martin.

Jason Scott is one of nearly 350,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who depend on the VA for health care. When CBS News met him two years ago, he was already worrying about what would happen after he was discharged from the army.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Joint Hearing of Oversight and DAMA Subcommittees “Document Tampering and Mishandling at the VBA”

DAV calls for prosecution of VA employees who fraudulently withhold benefits or destroy records: “The message must be clear…you will go to jail.”

House Subcommittees Probe Mishandling of Veterans Disability Claims

“In the last few months, we have tracked a problem brought to our attention with misdating of claims information at the New York Regional Office,” said Chairman Hall.  “This situation was a clear attempt by managers to fudge performance numbers.  The incorrectly entered data made the regional office look like it took fewer days to process claims than in actuality – yet still beyond acceptable levels to me, or to most veterans.  Although veterans were not directly harmed by this practice, since the effective date of a claim was logged correctly in a different system, perpetrators of this kind of dishonestly impact the entire veteran community’s ability to trust the institution charged with its welfare.  This is shameful!”

National Council on Disability Says More Needs to be Done for Service Members and Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury

WASHINGTON-The National Council on Disability (NCD) today released a report recommending changes in the continuum of health care provided to service members and veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

The report, Invisible Wounds: Serving Service Members and Veterans with PTSD and TBI – doc, addresses those concerns and makes 10 recommendations.

Unopened claims letters hidden at VA offices

A new report about Veterans Affairs Department employees squirreling away tens of thousands of unopened letters related to benefits claims is sparking fresh concerns that veterans and their survivors are being cheated out of money.

VA officials acknowledge further credibility problems based on a new report of a previously undisclosed 2007 incident in which workers at a Detroit regional office turned in 16,000 pieces of unprocessed mail and 717 documents turned up in New York in December during amnesty periods in which workers were promised no one would be penalized.

“Veterans have lost trust in VA,” Michael Walcoff, VA’s under secretary for benefits, said at a hearing Tuesday. “That loss of trust is understandable, and winning back that trust will not be easy.”

Kathryn Witt of Gold Star Wives of America said survivors trying to receive VA benefits have long complained about problems getting accurate information and missing claims. “When they call to check on the status of the claim, they are often told that the VA has no record of their claim and that they should resubmit their paperwork,” she said.

In one case, a woman claimed she had to submit paperwork to VA three times to prove she was married and had three children, Witt said.

And having to resubmit the same claim, she added, does nothing to reduce the backlog that already forces survivors to wait six to nine months for simple claims to be approved.

The Congressional Hearing Yesterday, brings up the video player.

Wartime brain injuries could reach 360,000

About 20 percent of troops suffer head trauma, Defense Dept. doctors say

WASHINGTON – The number of U.S. troops who have suffered wartime brain injuries may be as high as 360,000 and could cast more attention on such injuries among civilians, Defense Department doctors said Wednesday.

The estimate of the number injured – the vast majority of them suffering concussions – represents 20 percent of the roughly 1.8 million men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, where blast injuries are common from roadside bombs and other explosives, the doctors said.


    • jimstaro on March 5, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    18 deaths in February investigated as possible suicides

    Thursday Mar 5, 2009

    As many as 18 soldiers killed themselves in February, Army officials announced March 5.

    Of the 18 cases in February, two are confirmed as suicides and 16 others remain under investigation. About 90 percent of such pending cases typically are ruled suicides.

    Seventeen of the soldiers were male; one was female. Of the deaths, 14 occurred in the U.S. and four overseas.

    Last month’s numbers are higher than the previous February, when 11 soldiers’ deaths were confirmed as suicides.>>>>>>>

  1. But over the breakfast table it is “I’ll be damned if I’ll give those effing feds any more of MY money. I have a Puker P-1 to pay off.” And a ski-boat, and a snow-go, and a “Hey I’m going to Cabo to catch me a marlin.”

    It is so easy to feel good sending someone else’s kid off to fight, and possibly die, but try and squeeze a dime out of those arm chair warriors….. and it is “Throw the bums out of office, unless they give me a tax cut, of course.”

    I believe it is the peter principle that describes the process in bureaucracies where-in a person rises to their highest level of incompetency. Add that to underfunding of the VA, and unfortunately, it is very easy to see how care for our returning vets is as abysmal as it is in many, but not all of the VA facilities. And in much of the VA system abysmal doesn’t begin to descibe the situation, as you have pointed out so well. Files hidden, decsions of eligibility delayed, poorly trained and uncaring staff, the problems are multitude, and criminal might be the best description.

    I find it important to say that not all of the VA care is lacking, or non existent in some cases. I live in Washington state, and have found the VA care in Seattle to be out standing. I would not be alive today if it were not for the Seattle VA. Many other vets I have spoken with in Seattle have said the same, Seattle VA is a life saver, literally, while other VA hospitals around the country almost killed them.

    I don’t have any idea why there is such a differential in care between facilities, I can only presume it is administrative personnel. In a sort of perfect storm, lack of funding does not attract top notch administrators, nor build top notch facilities. And that leads back to the guy with the Puker P-1 that’s going to Cabo to go fishing.

    And that leads back to the media. The corporate media that spreads the myth that war is honorable and good, the myth of America as Empire, sole protector of democracy. It is the corporate media that sells the P-1 to the poor fisherman who is putting his big fish on MasterCard. the poor fisherman who has listened to non-stop buybuybuybuy in between ole Jack saving the world on 24, and the pathetic “reality” shows that are scripted from the get go.

    War is not good and honorable, self defense IS. Democracy IS good, unless it is only camouflage for the corporate goal of financial hegemony. And once again, it is the corporate media that determines how Al Average views these concepts.

    It is the Murdochs, and the Rev. Moons who are the greatest war criminals in the history of the world. Criminals not only for the wars of aggression that they promote, but also for the aggressive lack of reporting of problems that would paint a negative picture of their hegemony and the blow by of their wars.

    The VA, per se, is not at fault in much of what they are accused. The fault lies in the power of the corporate media in under reporting these faults of the VA, and other ills here at home. And that helps the war mongers to be elected, once again helped, in their bloody goals of conquest of the financial world, by the corporate media.

    If it were possible, for just once, I would have Froggie plunk his magic twanger, and the rules surrounding ownership of the media would be changed to allow only 1 print outlet, 1 radio outlet, and 1 tv outlet per person: to include corporations, LLCs, and holding companies owned by said individual.

    I may have seemingly gotten OT somewhat, but I don’t think that it is that much of a strech to say that I am only following the fault trail, so to speak, vis-a vis the faults attributed to the VA. Pump up the pay to attract better staff and spend some money on facilities, and many of the problems would evaporate. Where does the money come from? Try outdated cold war technology weapon systems consuming billions and billions of undisclosed black budget Pentagon funding.

                                                        NO MORE EMPIRE          

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