Friday, May 16, 2014

While it is admirable for federal state legislators look for reassurances of their veterans, it would be a mistake to create vast changes in the VA.

May 16, 2014
By Jennifer Emert

South Carolina's Congressional (click here) representatives talked with Dorn VA Administrators about face to face audits, among prolonged delays in care at Veterans Affairs facilities nationwide.
After meeting with Dorn administrators about issues of delays both Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Joe Wilson told us they don't believe the issues seen in Phoenix with the secret wait lists are an issue here at Dorn, but they both believe there are issues to address.
Both have continued to hear complaints about delays in care, but they attributed some of that today to a lack of physicians not only here in Columbia but at clinics in Florence. They talked some about the pay rate for physicians. Wilson told us he believes Dorn has already made improvements from when he was here in January, but there needs to be accountability for the VA's medical directors....

There have been changes implemented that cost real money. The computer network of the VA has yet to be completed and it's link to the US DOD is still in the works. When the VA has an internet system that actually works there may be far more efficiency.

Audits by computer will be far easier and can be performed more quickly. If there is standardized software throughout the VA there cannot be manipulation of the waiting time for treatment. A centralized processing of treatment to be sure the more acute cases are receiving priority. 

November 13, 2013
Far fewer veterans (click here) are facing long waits for disability compensation after the Department of Veterans Affairs spent the past six months focusing on the backlog, including mandating case worker overtime and rolling out a new computer system.
The progress came amid a torrent of public pressure that followed a March report from The Center for Investigative Reporting. 
Internal VA documents, obtained by CIR, revealed the agency’s ability to provide earned benefits quickly had virtually collapsed under President Barack Obama, with the number of veterans waiting more than a year for compensation increasing by more than 2,000 percent, to 256,000 in March....

There are a lot of ideas circulating around, but, the idea there has to be more money spent is not prudent. This isn't about a general problem that is systematic. This is about a few individuals that disregarded the law. There isn't any amount of money able to fix that. 

I heard the suggestion Tricare should be the only veterans insurance. Tricare is very different than the services provided by the Veterans' Administration. There is more care and coverage though the VA. When veterans reach age 62 they are also eligible for Medicare.

Tricare is through the DOD. There is the ability to have Tricare for Life, but, it doesn't simply translate into benefits as if it were a private healthcare insurance provider.

 Tricare for Life Benefits: (click here)
  • For services payable by both Medicare and TFL, Medicare pays first, any other health insurance pays second, and the remaining beneficiary liability may be paid by TFL.
  • For services received from a civilian provider, the provider first files claims with Medicare. Medicare pays its portion and electronically forwards the claim to TFL for processing. TFL sends its payment for the remaining beneficiary liability directly to the provider, and beneficiaries receive a Medicare summary notice (from Medicare) and a TFL explanation of benefits (EOB) that indicates the amount paid to the provider.

See this film.

Christopher Orr 
May 16, 2014

...It’s an excellent start to the film, heavy with foreboding and punctuated by genuine loss. And sure enough, when Joe and Ford infiltrate the quarantine zone together, they find at its center a secret facility performing experiments on a giant, larval monster that feeds on nuclear radiation. Yes—it’s Godzilla!

Actually, no, it’s not Godzilla....

I saw it last night in 3D and it was one of the coolest films yet. If one likes mystical monster movies. This one could easily be named, "Mr. and Mrs. Muto vs Godzilla."

Ready? Godzilla swims with the US Navy!

Asking Secretary Shinseki to resign is the easy feel good answer. It won't solve the problem.

When it was his turn to speak, Shinseki vowed to remain in office as long as he has President Obama’s support. He told the lawmakers that the allegations of impropriety made him “mad as hell.”...

...Phoenix and Fort Collins, Colo., used elaborate schemes to hide the records of patients who waited months for care....

Gen. George Weightman, the administrator at Walter Reed resigned when the scandal broke there. This issue in Pheonix and Fort Collins, Colorado is more than a scandal as there are allogations of 40 deaths of our veterans. There are people who made the decision to skirt their responsibilities and people died. They must be held responsible. At the very least it is reckless endangerment.

Secretary Shinseki is not the man who decided it was okay to put our veterans in danger by postponing their treatment. Secretary Shinseki was the one person most responsible for changing the system to decrease the 'wait time.' 

This episode in Phoenix and Fort Collins speaks more to the culture that permits this level of mismanagement. How is it the administrators of the VA actually thinks they don't have to actually carry out the law? Secretary Shinseki didn't make the decision to decrease waiting times for political purposes. The country was experiencing a sincere problem as we were losing veterans to suicide. There are also complaints by veterans they are not receiving timely cancer treatment.

It is all too easy and convenient to blame a Secretary that as a General actually stood up to Bush/Cheney when it came to the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

So, everyone can go back to their corners and regroup to pursue the individuals who are actually the arrogant SOBs who thought veteran lives were as disposable as Bush/Cheney did on the battlefield.

This testimony was on February 25, 2003 and the die had been cast by Bush to invade Iraq which occurred on March 19-20, 2003; only 23 days later. General Shinseki's testimony was a matter of formality for Bush. He didn't care what his generals were saying. Hell, he didn't even care what the intelligence was until it was 'cooked up' by Cheney.

It is so very ironic that Bush circumvented his generals and would place his military priorities on Commanders on the ground. Heirarchy of command made no difference to Busy/Cheney. The smart guys who knew what they were doing always got in the administration's way. So. Listen to Shinseki? Never.

Secretary Shinseki has yet to neglect his responsibility to improve the outcomes of our veterans. The system is huge and evidently full of angry incompetents that simply aren't understood by Washington and have to strike out on their own even in the face of deaths.

General Shinseki was not or is he a lackey. He was the Army Chief of Staff at the time of this testimony and his words should have carried enormous weight. Unfortunately, he never played the right politics to win favor with Bush/Cheney by lying under oath to 'make it happen.' One might ask how "Curveball" ended up determining the invasion into Iraq rather than a General dedicated to the safety and successful deployment of his soldiers. The disrespect shown him then as now only proves the depraved nature of our political culture and media. Not much has changed since Iraq, has it?

The US Army took the greatest death toll in Iraq, followed by the US Marines. There were 4397 deaths in Iraq of which 60 percent were Army and 40 percent were Marines. Unless, Shinseki is speaking the words from a script they don't count.

Every wave to President Goodluck Jonathan as he leaves for a meeting while 300 girls are still waiting.

By Wale Odunsi
May 15, 2014

...Mr. Jonathan(click here) is also scheduled to travel to Paris, France, for a regional security summit where the Boko Haram insurgnecy will be discussed....

France should ban his arrival until the girls are home.