Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Everyone is Wrong When It Comes to the VA

Obama has done a poor job of preparing to handle the influx of veterans coming into the VA system.  George Bush did a horrible job in preparing the VA with enough funds and personal to handle the massive increase from the two wars he initiated.  The Republicans, including Thune, have  blocked legislation to increase funding and support for our veterans.  The Democrats were asleep at the wheel and failed to use their majority to deal with the VA crises.  

I agree with Rick Weiland in his calls for President Obama to ask for Eric Shinseki resignation, but going beyond what the GOP seems to only care about, Risk is also right in pointing fingers at basically everyone in Congress:

This week Rick called on Secretary Shinseki to resign as the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, but noted that one resignation is not nearly enough to solve the problems that our veterans face. 
Rick said: “Making changes at the top of the Department of Veterans Affairs is useless unless the culture of indifference that exists in the United States Congress is changed. Many in Congress are pointing fingers at Shinseki and the Department, but it’s not only mismanagement at the VA that has caused these outrages, it’s also the financial indifference of Congress that has caused the VA’s failure to provide care on a timely basis.
Many Senators and Representatives are faking outrage despite the fact that they knowingly have failed the needs of our veterans.  This is a fact that came out after Republican Richard Burr from North Carolina and a ranking member on the Veterans Affair Committee produced an open letter complaining that only the American Legion was willing to call for Shinseki's removal.  The other veteran services organization had something to say about the political posturing.  The Veterans of Foreign Wars pointed out:
“For years, the V.F.W. has come to Congress with hat in hand, and for years we’ve heard the same old story,” the heads of the veterans group wrote to Mr. Burr. “You can be assured, Senator, that you’ve done a superb job in showing us the error in our ways. You can also be assured that in the future, we will spend a substantial percentage of our time seeking to inform our members and our constituents of the repeated failure to act by our elected officials.”
A representative for Disable American Veterans stated:
To that sentiment, the national president and the executive director of the Paralyzed Veterans of America added, “Perhaps you should have shared with all veterans in your ‘open’ letter that you cared so much about their health care that you were not actually present during the testimony that the V.S.O. representatives provided, and you did not ask a single question.” V.S.O. stands for veterans service organizations.
Calls for a top-down review will mean nothing until you are willing to back them up.  Our country has asked a great deal from the young men and women.  It is the least we can do to say that we are willing to find the money to make sure that you get the care you need. 


  1. Why is there no outrage at Senator McCain, the Senator from AZ who should have been aware of what is going on at the VA there. When will there be Mandatory funding of the VA? Here is a comment that was posted on line last night to an article on Senator Burr's comments to the VSOs. Here is what is really going on:

    1. Campaign Cash. Burr has received $1,156,200 in campaign cash from the Health care related companies.


    2. Funnel Billions To His Campaign Contributors. Burr is on record wanting to privatize the VA, which would mean billions of dollars flowing into the hands of private health care companies.


    3. Veteran Groups Oppose Privatization. Burr was hoping the problems at the VA would help his crusade, but the Veterans groups aren't playing along. The VFW is vehemently opposes privatization:

    News Day: May 22, 2014:

    "We're against privatizing the VA system,' Joe Davis, national spokesman for Veterans of Foreign Wars, told me in no uncertain terms.

    "The people who receive VA care by and large rave about it," the VFW's Davis said.


    As does the American Legion:


    4. Veterans Love the VA. Every survey shows the veterans love the VA. For example, a 2014 survey of Veterans and patients in private care showed the VA rates 20 points higher than private care.

    VA Outpatient: 83
    VA Inpatient: 80
    Private Care: 63


    5. VA Provides Better Care. Multiple studies show the VA provides better Medical care. For example, 2013 study of the Quality of Care, and Safety shows the VA scores better than private hospitals in "Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set" (HEDIS) Scores:

    VA Average HEDIS Score: 84%
    Private Care HEDIS Score: 65%

    The VA outscores commercial hospitals in 18 out of 19 measures of patient quality of care. They Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) shows patient satisfaction is higher at the VA than private hospitals in 18 out of 20 categories.


    There have been half a dozen other reports over the last 10 years showing the same thing.

    6. The VA Treats Sicker Patients and Costs Less. Per-Patient per-year Health Care Costs:

    Medicare: $10,353
    Private healthcare: $7,681
    Veterans Administration: $7036

    According a study published in the "Archives of Internal Medicine,"VA patients are sicker and more difficult to treat than the average population. They analyzed 128,099 patient records, comparing VA patients with private patients based on the number of medical conditions, number of outpatient physician visits, number of hospital admissions, and number of hospital days each year.

    "Veterans Affairs veterans were 14.7 times more likely to have poor health status than the general population, and 14 times more likely to have 5 or more medical conditions than the general population."


    25 MAY 7:37 PM
    On May 26, 2014, at 4:38 PM, MMo159@aol.com wrote:

    Veterans Groups Rip Into Sen. Richard Burr For Questioning Their Priorities

  2. Thanks Lanny. That is a treasure trove of information. The narrative now about the VA is that it is a death chamber for veterans and all veterans hate it.