Friday, May 16, 2014

Honoring OUR VETERANS : Neglected.

Memorial Day around the corner . Now a new
scandal surfaces in the Obama Administration.
Time to fix it .
The saddest thing that been going on in our nation is lack of appreciation for our Veterans .  Yes, Memorial Day is approaching. One presidential administration after another has vowed to fix the embattled VA, which employs more than 300,000 men and women and is the second largest department in the federal government after the Pentagon. President Obama has even increased VA's annual budget to an all-time high of $150 billion. But VA’s health care system continues to worsen in more and more dangerous ways, severely undeserving the nearly 7 million veterans who rely on the network for care annually. Now it's come up to a new but scandalous hearing at Washington D. C.  (1)  The Obama administration, battling to tamp down yet another scandal, announced the resignation Friday afternoon of a top Veterans Affairs official amid mounting questions over patient deaths possibly tied to delayed care.  How can this be in America in the  (2 ) .age of making healthcare affordable ? The department initially placed a few officials on leave after reports emerged that up to 40 patients died waiting for care at a Phoenix facility. On Friday, as pressure mounted, the administration announced the resignation of the top VA health official, Under Secretary for Health Robert Petzel -- a day after that official testified alongside VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. We have failed our veterans. Shinseki was disgraceful in defense of his weak leadership. Our veterans are dying and we are allowing the problem to continue in their destructive roles. “It makes me as mad as hell,” said Mr. Shinseki. “I could use stronger language here, but in deference to the committee, I won’t.” We have all heard how "bad" the Canadian healthcare system if you were to compare as in horror stories , but this one is for the ridiculous . Investigations are proceeding at VA hospitals across the country as whistle-blowers step forward with tales of endless waits for veterans who need care at once. In a report last month, the Government AccountabilityOffice found that in a third of cases reviewed, it took up to 210 days for a patient to schedule a colonoscopy. In 4 of 10 veterans needing physical therapy, the wait was up to 152 days. Shinseki labeled possible links between long waits and veteran deaths as allegations, way back in 2010 The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been severely criticized for the diagnoses of wounded veterans with a personality disorder, instead of PTSD, thus denying them disability pay and medical benefits. More than 22,500 soldiers have been suspiciously dismissed with personality disorders, rather than PTSD. By doing so, the military saves money in disability pay and medical care over the lifetimes of veterans. How many homeless veterans, discharged for personality disorders rather than PTSD, would be off the homeless roles if they had disability pay and VA medical care? In response, in 2010 the VA has issued new regulations liberalizing the evidentiary standard for veterans claiming service-connected PTSD   The new liberalized regulations may allow the VA finally to reach its stated goal “to provide excellence in patient care, veterans’ benefits and customer satisfaction.” Despite cries of “support our troops,” it is shameful that the U.S. can't  spend $1.3 trillion for ( Vets from all wars )  and counting in our Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but neglect our veterans at home continue to suffer.

What Obama 'knew'?

White House, as Press Secretary Jay Carney said President Obama knew nothing about the long wait times and deaths at the VA until he read about it in the newspaper.  The Obama administration received clear notice more than five years ago that VA medical facilities were reporting inaccurate waiting times and experiencing scheduling failures that threatened to deny veterans timely health care — problems that have turned into a growing scandal. Veterans Affairs officials warned the Obama-Biden transition team in the weeks after the 2008 presidential election that the department shouldn’t trust the wait times that its facilities were reporting.The briefing materials, obtained by The Washington Times through theFreedom of Information Act, make clear that the problems existed well before Mr. Obama took office, dating back at least to the Bush administration. But the materials raise questions about what actions the department took since 2009 to remedy the problems.


(1). Obama said on the campaign trail in 2008: "We cannot expect our young men and women to serve in our armed forces if we are not making sure that when they come home, they are getting the treatment they deserve," (2).  Many U.S. military veterans lack health insurance and are ineligible for care in Veterans Administration health care facilities. Using two recently released national government surveys--the 2004 Current Population Survey and the 2002 National Health Interview Survey--the authors examined how many veterans are uninsured (lacking health insurance coverage and not receiving care from the VA) and whether uninsured veterans have problems in access to care. In 2003, 1.69 million military veterans neither had health insurance nor received ongoing care at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospitals or clinics; the number of uninsured veterans increased by 235,159 since 2000. The proportion of nonelderly veterans who were uninsured rose from 9.9 percent in 2000 to 11.9 percent in 2003. An additional 3.90 million members of veterans' households were also uninsured and ineligible for VHA care. Medicare covered virtually all Korean War and World War II veterans, but 681,808 Vietnam-era veterans were uninsured (8.7 percent of the 7.85 million Vietnam-era vets). Among the 8.27 million veterans who served during "other eras" (including the Persian Gulf War), 12.1 percent (999,548) lacked health coverage. A disturbingly high number of veterans reported problems in obtaining needed medical care. By almost any measure, uninsured veterans had as much trouble getting medical care as other uninsured persons. Thus millions of U.S. veterans and their family members are uninsured and face grave difficulties in gaining access to even the most basic medical care. ~ source

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