Fix this, Mr. Secretary. (Or, what’s up with my Country? Part 1: The VA)

Yep, it’s that time again. Again. Time to start another new series. This one is called what’s up with my country these days? In this series, I’m going to look at strange and interesting and troubling trends in current events and see what comes up when I start connecting dots. In some cases I don’t know where the dots lead, yet, so you, my beloved audience, will get a window into my mind as you see me connect them.

I’ve written before about immigration reform, recently suggesting that some quotes from high-ranking politicians and political operatives might tell us something about why the Government wants amnesty. I want to consider what the cultural, economic and political ramifications of making 11 million new citizens overnight. Plus 30 or 40 million of their close relatives. That dot collecting part of the amnesty issue will come into the ‘What’s up with my Country’ series. I will leave the policy part for stand alone pieces. But I’m going to leave that for a bit longer.

I also want to discuss people losing things – not car keys or TV remote controls, that happens to everyone.  I want to discuss people losing things because of what they say. We have two recent examples in the last few weeks with the Sterling fellow out in Los Angeles who made the racist remarks and may lose his sports team, and now with the brothers who lost their TV show over their unpopular beliefs.  I want to look at the incidents, the public response and then what the corporation (or league) did and see if there’s a trend that’s good or bad.

But I think I’m going to leave that for a couple of days as well, because there’s some news that hit over the weekend, that I absolutely must talk about.  And it ties into this theme:  What’s up with the VA health care scandal?

Yesterday, 18 May 2014, the Daily Beast and Yahoo! News reported that a VA hospital in Albuquerque, NM, was destroying or compromising records of extended wait times and proof of inaccurate record-keeping. (http://news.yahoo.com/v-scandal-just-got-much-worse-032000825–politics.html).

And why was the Albuquerque VA doing this? In response to an expose of similar ‘secret waiting lists’ in Phoenix.  On 23 April 2014, ABC 15 in Phoenix and CNN reported that as many as 40 Veterans may have died while on a ‘secret’ waiting list for medical services. (http://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/central-phoenix/phoenix-va-hospital-scandal-40-vets-die-on-secret-phx-va-waiting-list-cnn-reports).  The report goes on to say that between 1,400 and 1,600 Veterans experienced wait times of several months for doctor visits.

And the creme de la creme…?  Also yesterday, the Washington Times reported that the current Administration’s transition team was briefed by that last Administration regarding extended wait times and inaccurate reporting in the VA. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/18/obama-warned-about-va-wait-time-problems-during-20/)

So, some reporters will follow the predictable lines of investigation such as, “What did Secretary Shinseki know and when did he know it?”  Or “Mr. Secretary, were those six incidents you cited in your testimony to Congress really as isolated as you said?”  Pundits will say, “Look at another example of socialized medicine that can’t even work in America! (The first example would the Bureau of Indian Affairs health system).  In this case, I will leave that to the other pundits.  At least for now.

I’m simply saying this is an outrage.

If anyone in America deserves their health care for little or no cost, it’s the Veterans who fought for everyone else’s freedom.  And these are the ones who are slipping through the cracks.  If anyone should be kept track of and receive all the health services they need, it’s these brave men and women who went into harm’s way with the understanding that the rest of the country had their backs.

Secretary Shinseki must get to the bottom of this now, fire those responsible, document the evidence for possible prosecutions and remedy the situation as soon as humanly possible. The Veterans need their health care; we all promised to give it to them when they marched, or sailed or flew into battle.  Fix this, Mr. Secretary.  Fix it like you did for the Army when you got us the Stryker vehicles and the Medium Brigades.  If anyone can do this, sir, you can.

What do you think about the VA health system having extended wait times, and possibly hidden waiting lists? Sound off below in the comments.  Better yet, write your Congressman/Congress-woman (www.house.gov) and both of your U.S. Senators (www.senate.gov).

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Views and opinions expressed in these writings are my own, unless attributed or documented to someone else, and either way are not necessarily those of my employers.

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Fix this, Mr. Secretary. (Or, what’s up with my Country? Part 1: The VA)

  1. This is a horrid system. While I am eligible and able to receive healthcare with the V.A., I no longer use them. Twice now, the staff has put my life in serious danger. The first time was a mistake in surgery that led to a large, unexpected incision on my side. I can forgive mistakes. However, it ended with staph infection and 33 total days (3 separate trips) to the hospital. After telling my wife to plan for the worst, she removed me from the V.A. It turned out they were trying to treat the staph infection with the equivalent of penicillin. I also ended up having my intestines fuse to my other insides and had to have another surgery (from outside the V.A.) to fix this. I have a large lump of scar tissue between the size of a softball and bowling ball on my side that will never go away. The scar tissue is always painful and looks awful. I had to pay for all care outside of the V.A. and was given no compensation to fix the botched surgery (yes…I “applied” for it). I still need plastic surgery to fix the scar tissue but that will have to be paid for by me even though the V.A. did the damage. I feel poorly for those without this entitlement, but maybe they are luckier than they realize. There is no recourse for mistakes. They are content to let you go and tell your family to make arrangements, though. We deserve better as Veterans.

    1. Welcome Sid! This guy is a friend from back in Cadets. He and ehwojo and I were in spirit band together.

      Thank you for being a faithful reader and for sharing your VA story. So glad you were able to be seen and treated on the free market.

      St Thomas

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