Sunday, June 25, 2017

Veteran Affairs

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wounded warrior project fraud

The wife of a triple amputee Veteran had something to say when she received a hat from the Wounded Warrior Project.

Courtney Leigh Schumacher posted her thoughts to her personal Facebook page and they quickly went viral:

Dear Wounded Warrior Project,

Please stop sending us merchandise. We do not want the hats, stickers, magnets, clothing and backpacks you send us throughout the year. I don’t understand how you have the funds for these items, yet you can’t help the countless Veterans who need it. You can show us your programs and have a few Veterans testify for you, but it means nothing. I’m not a person who read a negative article about you and is now deciding to speak out. I am a caregiver who approached you in my time of need and I was told no. I was 3 weeks away from delivering our second son when my husband was injured. I flew from California to Bethesda to be by his side.

I asked for baby items and assistance with travel for our immediate family so I could recover. I was told no. These were two of my dozen of requests that were all denied. I asked then what can help us with and you said “whatever you need.” Merchandise was the only thing we have ever received from you.

She goes on to list another organization that did help her and provided baby items and plane fare so that she could be in Maryland with her husband.

This isn’t the first time that the Wounded Warrior Project has come under fire from veterans who are less than happy about the way they were treated by the organization. Nor is it the first time that how the group spends its revenue has been questioned.

They have been accused of having too much in assets and not spending enough directly on veterans, but rather giving money to other organizations via grants where even more of it is swallowed up in administrative fees.

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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A Veteran in Idaho was sent a letter from the Department of Veteran Affairs informing him that they were coming to pick up his guns.

John Arnold, 70, who recently had a stroke had been rehabilitating at the local VA hospital. While filling out the paperwork, John accidentally checked a tiny little box that then put his freedom in jeopardy.

When the Veteran checked the box saying he was financially incompetent, he was on the verge of becoming another victim of Obama’s gun grab. According to the VA and the Obama administration, if you are financially incompetent then you cannot buy, sell or even possess firearms.

John was shocked when he got the letter and told his good friend Ranger Rick. The news spread on social media around the small Pries River community until something incredible happened.

On the day that the Government was coming to take the guns, dozens of people showed up to support a Veteran and a person in their community. As the crowd gathered and grew, no official came that day to pick up the guns.

“A couple days ago it was going to be me sitting here with Jon and today it’s quite a few folks. It’s veterans taking care of veterans,” said Ranger Rick, John’s friend and one of the people who helped spread the message.

Since the incredible showing of support for the veteran, the VA has reached out to John. They didn’t show up the day all the people were there and now want to help “correct the mistake”.

Obama may want to take guns away from Veterans, but with good Americans like John Arnold, Ranger Rick and their friends, Obama is going to have a hard time collecting.

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Liberty News reported on Wednesday about a disturbing case of a VA doctor telling a veteran to kill himself over social media. Attention-grabbing cases like that one combined the huge backlog of VA patients unable to obtain necessary medical have been in the news and the public consciousness, leading some former armed service members to quip “sticks and stones may break your bones, but the VA will *$&#ing kill you.”

Congress took a step towards fixing the VA problem Wednesday, passing H.R. 1994, the Veterans’ Affairs Accountability Act, in a lopsided 256-170 vote. 16 Democrats crossed party lines to support the measure, with a single Republican voting against it.

Introduced by Floridian Republican Jeff Miller, the bill is designed to make it easier to discipline or fire VA employees for incompetence or misconduct. “The presence of poor performers and misconduct ranging from unethical practices to outright criminal behavior can spread like a cancer through a workforce,” said Miller.

The Obama administration, perhaps predictably, threatened to veto the bill if it clears the Senate. The president’s statement said, in part “These provisions remove important rights, protections, and incentives which are available to the vast majority of federal employees in other agencies across the government and are essential to ensure that federal employees are afforded due process.”

Carol Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executives Association, was quick to call out Obama’s hypocrisy given his support for last year’s Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, which had similar intent to H.R. 1994. The 2014 Act is a more draconian version of HR,” said Bonosaro, “yet the Administration had no issue then with whether the new legal removal authority and process affected the due process rights of career Senior Executives, who are not in any bargaining unit and therefore are not represented by unions.”

Miller also credited Obama’s newfound resistance to VA reforms to undue union influence. The voice of the unions should not be heard over the voice of our veterans,” he said. “We need to continue to push for the same change we pushed for last year. Now is not the time to change our belief in the need for greater accountability within VA.”

In a harsh editorial, the Military Times called for greater transparency, accountability, and better service from the VA. The Times pointed out that one in three veterans died waiting for care, and pointed out the madness of protecting incompetent workers in cases where lives are literally on the line: “If you can’t do your job, let’s find someone who can.”

Earlier this month, Miller told reporters at a press conference that H.R. 1994 is important to reign in “federal government gone amok,” and stated that only two employees had been fired from 110 medical centers in the wake of a fraudulent wait-list scandal. The VA originally claimed 60 employees were fired, but later recanted.

Greater accountability for “bad behavior,” as Miller said, can only be good news for veterans awaiting care. Part of our social contract with our veterans is exemplary health care, and if we’re not, as a nation, providing it, we need to get rid of the people who are part of the problem, and start bringing in people who will be part of the solution. Hopefully President Obama will see that, and shelve his ill-conceived veto threat.

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A psychiatrist at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs office told a veteran to “off yourself, please,” via Facebook.

Dr. Gregg Gorton launched into his tirade in response to a Facebook post by a veteran, Joshua Bailey, who wrote a defense of the Second Amendment:

“This is why I always carry my 45. I am all for gun control. If there is a gun in the room, I want to be in control of it. I do commend you on your efforts and hope you continue trying to take away more of our rights. [Because] of you people, more and more Americans are buying guns. Thank you. Hopefully you idiots will get more and more attention so that more and more people will buy guns.”

In the wake of the latest liberal push to take away America’s guns, and effectively nullify the Second Amendment over gun control, that’s hardly a radical statement from a Second Amendment activist.

To Dr. Gorton? It was sacrilege. Gorton responded, very simply, “off yourself, please.”

facebook comment

Bailey is a veteran, merely voicing his opinion about a very American issue in a public forum.

But Gorton is an employee of the VA–literally tasked with helping heal the mental scars on America’s veterans. In many instances, presumably, trying to convince these brave men and women not to “off” themselves in the face of their personal demons.

Gorton’s shocking, tone-deaf comments come at a time where the VA has been under increased scrutiny after it was revealed last year that thousands of veterans are not receiving the care they need–and, horribly, VA offices were lying about the backlog.

The scandal, centered around the VA’s office in Phoenix Arizona, caused Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, to resign–but so far, President Obama has not fired or punished any of those at fault. Recent reports show that the VA continues to deny and delay veterans’ care–even though “reforms” have already happened.

And worse, even veterans who do get care are apparently receiving treatment from doctors like Gorton–who thinks the Second Amendment is a suicidal offense, and is willing to tell a veteran, like those whose psychological health are left in his hands, to kill themselves.

Dr. Gorton is obviously not the kind of person you’d want helping heal America’s veterans. A psychiatrist who actively calls for them to “off” themselves is clearly unfit to serve our nation’s wounded heroes.

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Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employee Landis Bradfield takes great satisfaction in helping our nation’s veterans deal with the health problems they face and has worked for the last 12 years perfecting his skills for the job.

Unfortunately, his skills have begun to deteriorate because he hasn’t helped a veteran in nearly six months.

Instead, Mr. Bradfield – who is armed with a master’s degree in nursing that he would like to use to benefit patients at the VA Illiana Healthcare System in Danville, Illinois – reports to the institution’s library at 7:30 a.m. and passes time every day since last November doing nothing.

And Bradfield thinks he knows why. He believes he was stripped of his duties and moved to a quiet corner of the library in retaliation by management for complaining about poor patient care and other problems at the veteran’s care facility.

In recent years, Mr. Bradfield drew the attention of management to a range of unsafe practices that include everything from improperly stored medicine and reused syringes to poor performance by fellow employees – complaints that led to bullying in the workplace followed by banishment to the library.

Mr. Bradfield is not alone. He and a second nurse the VA have been removed from patient care for complaining about conditions at the facility and reassigned to administrative paper work or taking classes to keep their nursing credentials current.

And even if the VA gave Bradfield the greenlight to return to work tomorrow, he would need to repeat the entire new employee-orientation process before he could return to his old job because his VA training certifications are out-of-date. In an interview with The Washington Times, Bradfield said:

“There’s still two of us [who] for six months now have provided no service to the veterans [yet are] drawing full salary. At the very least, that is a waste.” “As an employee, I am glad I’m getting my salary. As a taxpayer, I am very irritated that people get paid to do nothing.”

Still, some relief may be coming Mr. Bradfield’s way.

In April, the House oversight subcommittee on oversight and investigations held a hearing where VA employees like Bradfield were given an opportunity to air charges of continued whistleblower retaliation within the VA.

“The retaliatory culture, where whistleblowers are castigated for bringing problems to light, is still very much alive and well in the Department of Veterans Affairs,” subcommittee Chairman Mike Coffman, Colorado Republican, said at the hearing.

Critics say the retaliation continues despite the replacement of former Secretary Eric K. Shinseki with new VA Secretary Bob McDonald last July – a former top executive with Procter & Gamble. Upon taking office, McDonald said he would reduce long wait times, improve patient care and punish management officials who retaliate against lower level whistleblowers.

Despite changes at the top, retaliation has not subsided.

“The number of new whistleblower cases from VA employees remains overwhelming,” Carolyn Lerner, head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which oversees compliance with federal whistleblower statutes, told the House Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee hearing in April.

Ann Good, who has worked for eight years as a nurse at the VA facility in Danville, Virginia, has also been subject to retaliation by VA management.

Like Bradfield, Miss Good was assigned to spend her days in the library and became so bored after a month in that capacity that she asked if she could do administrative work or help departments make photocopies or do filing. Miss Good said:

“I was told I couldn’t do that anymore because it was preferential treatment and [was] told to go sit in the library…” “I just think we’ve ticked some people off, and they don’t want to let us to go back to work, to be honest.”

Meanwhile, patients suffer.

Patients face long waits for appointments, receive inadequate attention leading to preventable health problems like bedsores and, in many cases, die while waiting for attention by a country that promised veterans when they signed up that they would receive the care that they needed, that they earned and that they deserved.

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Project Veritas founder and journalist James O’Keefe released a new hidden camera video this week showing VA employees, contractors and volunteers talking about the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the agency’s practice of prescribing veterans pain killers to cope with the physical and emotional cost of war rather than diagnosing and treating the causes of their pain.

According to Project Veritas:

Dr. Maureen McCarthy, the Deputy Chief of Patient Services for the entire VA, was caught on hidden camera telling a Project Veritas investigative journalist that: “It’s people that have drug problems, some of which are caused by us and our prescribing.”

In discussing the various cocktails of drugs given out by the VA, McCarthy stated: “That combination in particular is like candy for some people. It’s like they want it, they want it, they want it.”

Treating the symptoms of physical and emotional and emotional injuries suffered by veterans with pills rather than providing them with needed surgeries, psychological counseling and emergency intervention in times of crisis has led, in part, twenty-two U.S. veterans to take their own lives each day.

O’Keefe described the practice as the VA’s way of moving veterans through the system for numbers sake saying:

The VA appears to be a bit too eager to simply write prescription after prescription and move on to the next patient, rather than actually getting to the root of the problem many soldiers with P.T.S.D. (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) face.

Georgeann Davis, a senior VA volunteer based in Buffalo, NY, told a Project Veritas investigative journalist that: “In my opinion, they are creating drug addicts.”

In his new video, O’Keefe included clips from an on-the-record interview with Bob Cranmer. Cramer’s son David was a veteran who took his own life one month after being diagnosed with P.T.S.D. telling O’Keefe that his son’s death was preventable if the VA had given him the treatment he needed. O’Keefe said:

“This story truly saddened and humbled me”…“twenty-two veterans taking their own lives every day after they have returned home from the battlefield is incomprehensible and unacceptable.”

The acknowledgement by Dr. McCarthy, a high-ranking VA official, that the VA is essentially turning its patients, our veterans, into drug addicts is shameful and most certainly warrants both congressional and public scrutiny.

O’Keefe ended his statement with this promise. “Project Veritas will continue to expose the VA and fight for our nation’s heroes.”

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In an exercise of callous gutter humor, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) official Robin Paul, manager of the Seamless Transition Integrated Care Clinic at the Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis emailed a picture of an elf committing suicide to her employees at the center.

The cartoon that was e-mailed to center personnel leading up to Christmas last December drew outrage from Veterans’ groups who are working to reduce the epidemic of suicide by returning veterans from Iran and Iraq who are having difficulty readjusting to civilian life – many after multiple deployments to conflict zones over the past decade.

Many returning veterans are coming home to broken families, chronic unemployment, depression and anxiety leading to self-medication through drugs or alcohol and homelessness without the benefit of psychological counseling, cognitive therapy and psychiatric care – help that often comes with a stigma of weakness by soldiers who have faced the horrors of war.

The problem of veteran suicide is a top priority at the VA and veteran groups wonder why it took more than two months for VA administrators to discipline Paul for sending it. In addition to an image of an elf committing suicide, the illustration showed an elf begging for much-need pain medication at a VA clinic.

Officials at Roudebush did not take action until The Indianapolis Star contacted the center earlier this month. Center spokeswoman Julie Webb said:

“The email is totally inappropriate and does not convey our commitment to veterans,”…“We apologize to our veterans and take suicide and mental health treatment seriously, striving to provide the highest quality.”

Ken Hylton, Commander of the Indiana Department of the American Legion told The Indianapolis Star that the cartoon was:

“It is a slap in the face to our recent and past veterans suffering from mental health issues every single day,”…“These men and women went to war and do not deserve this type of ridicule. This is a disgusting display of mockery. This is supposedly someone who is caring for our veterans, and we in the Indiana American Legion are disgusted.”

Legislation to deal with the problem of veteran suicide received rare bipartisan support this past February with the passage of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, which aims to bring down the suicide rate of 22 veteran suicides per day. Jonah Bennett writing for the Daily Caller News Foundation reported that:

“The law is named after Clay Hunt, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who committed suicide back in 2011 after battling with the Department of Veterans Affairs for proper PTSD treatment.”

“A full 18 months after his death, the VA finally decided to boost Hunt’s PTSD disability rating to 100 percent after appeals. Current figures place veterans at 1 out of every 5 suicides in the nation. Annual, third-party reviews of military mental health facilities will now be required at the VA.”


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