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May 29, 2014 at 2:09 am #611482May 29, 2014 at 2:25 am #808810
Pisses me off big-time hopefully they get things fixed before more die and I might need some services.
JimMay 29, 2014 at 2:48 am #808811
Agree completely clark. Thank you for your service.
I guess I was just waiting for the sheep to repeat what they’ve been hearing in the media. Bush’s fault, poor funding, a “surge” of vets (no duh!), etc.
After 5 1/2 years in charge this should have been known and fixed by the Commander in Chief.
Wasn’t fixing it part of his campaign?May 29, 2014 at 2:48 am #808812
as a vet myself, yes, the silence is deafening. But their still handing out big tax cuts (and bragging about it) to billion dollar corporations. Support our troops before, during, and after a war? Certainly not our GOP’s in Congress. Do NOT get me started !May 29, 2014 at 2:51 am #808813
Smitty…you and I both know the president can’t do it by himself…somewhere along the line Congress (i.e., the House) has to step in and act like they’re earning their money, instead of taking donations from the richer than rich. They said in the beginning they wouldn’t cooperate with him, and they certainly didn’t lie about that.May 29, 2014 at 2:55 am #808814
Didn’t he run on this AND hold both houses of Congress for 18 months?
What was submitted and what was blocked?
I honestly do not know. But will research.May 29, 2014 at 3:02 am #808815
the past is past, we hear all the time about Bush. Can we say the same about 6-7 years ago. Sadly, cynical me knows that what one says they will do while running, and what one really accomplishes after one has won are two different things. Let us know what your research shows about those first 18 months compared with the years following when he didn’t have the full majority in Congress.May 29, 2014 at 3:27 am #808816
please, as someone to the right of center, explain this to me…May 29, 2014 at 3:32 am #808817May 29, 2014 at 3:59 am #808818
The difficulties getting care from the VA are nothing new…
In fact, the wait times in Phoenix have been pretty legendary for decades…
My father-in-law used to drive to El Paso, Texas from Tuscon, Az to get medical care because of the wait times in Phoenix…
he died several years ago.
I am glad this is finally getting airtime… but having worked with chronically ill vets off and on for the last 40+ years, i can tell you that the VA has had funding problems and wait times for some time..
if you are feeling patriotic..
Let those Republican Senators who would privatize the system so their buddies could make a buck off of it know how you feel about the way they are treating our vets.May 29, 2014 at 4:08 am #808819
On the flip side, a waiting list might also prolong a vet’s life. My dad became seriously ill about 2 weeks following routine colonoscopy at the VA in March 2008–taste of shit in his mouth and extreme bloating. After about 20 emergency visits and cluelessness from the “doctors” there, my mom finally just drove him to a private hospital in August. In surgery asap, colostomy, 2 months in ICU, life support turned off, and he made it through … just long enough to have an auction and screw up all of his estate for my mom. Dead the following January. (O. Ripped intestine during colonoscopy.)
Yes, we’ve complained to the “management.”May 29, 2014 at 1:09 pm #808820
you name the hospital or medical care facility and i can probably find someone who has a similar horror story to tell.
heck.. i have a couple of my own that i can tell you… i am just lucky that i have survived to be able to tell them.
on the flip side i can find someone whose life would have been lost had fate or the ambulance not taken them the one place where they could receive the care that saved their life.
the VA medical system is incredible at what it does best… acute and chronic care of vets with war related injuries.
it is just as poor at delivering care for chronic illnesses as any other medical system i have encountered.
and i have never encountered a medical system that i would trust with a second opinion on care given by their physicians.
I am sorry you lost your dad to such a tragic mistake…May 29, 2014 at 6:02 pm #808821
I’ve spent 23 years in healthcare, the last 10 years focused solely on the VA and DoD. I’ve been to 106 of the 132 acute care VA Medical Centers around the country and I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly.
Good: a large number of the care givers are veterans themselves or family of veterans and they do care and understand their mission. VA hospitals are connected to academic medical schools in most large cities and this gives them access to newly trained, creative clinicians and care tools. That means that most physicians have trained or spent time in a VA and understand the patients. An enormous number of new “CBOCs” or community clinics have been stood up in the last 10 years that help bring care to veterans outside the cities. The volunteers are stunning in most cases – friendly, service minded people really trying to help.
Bad: The main facilities are post WWII aged behemoths that are cracked and failing and poorly located for the current population. The administrative infrastructure of the VA is a bureaucracy through and through, staffed largely by classic government employees clocking in at 9:01 and out at 3:59. The desire for standardization nationally doesn’t allow for much variance at the local level to address that population’s needs. While many I know are terrific, the VA does have difficulty recruiting and retaining quality physicians and nurses. Good money is wasted due to so many problems, not the least of which are the employee unions balking at every change.
Ugly: Despite warnings and notice, they simply were not prepared for the volume of new patients from OEF/OIF and the significant increase in mental health needs – they are just now getting organized to really catch up. The management efforts from the Secretary on down are NOT aligned with the budgets and funding – that is what caused Phoenix (and others you’ll learn about I’m sure). Combine that with the lack of accountability and lack of power to make change and you have a recipe for failure. Like any government entity poor performance is tolerated because it is a nightmare to fire someone and if you do you’ll lose the FTE. So mediocre people that would wash out anywhere else continue to bear responsibility and fail. There is mighty leakage of money from the top line budget to the patient and nobody knows where that time and money goes. The funds are there – dollar for dollar they have as much money to care for the population they serve as any commercial healthcare network – they just don’t use it well.
It is one of the largest unified healthcare networks in the world and it’s not going to be perfect. But it needs to be much better and any problems that do occur need to be acceptable parts of life not due to human greed and misdeeds. It’s a basic formula:
1. fairly and quickly assign benefits to the Vet
2. triage and establish care plans and teams for them and fund the facilities and staff needed
3. proactively manage and maintain their health and wellness.
Unfortunately they fail on each of those steps and it compounds the overall failure of service to their patients.May 29, 2014 at 6:38 pm #808822
Sounds like they should have a system more closely aligned with Medicare/Medicaid? They seem to function more efficiently than what you describe.May 29, 2014 at 7:00 pm #808823
Definitely more efficient, Wake, and applicable for some of the care the typical Vet needs. Don’t be surprised if there is hue and cry for such a change soon.
The problem is that there are two prongs of the model that the VA is tasked with in “caring for those who have borne the battle”: dealing with the illness and injury associated with their service and the ongoing (ie normal) healthcare needs throughout their life. The VA is responsible for both even though they are divergent.
There are calls for “vouchers” or the like and the elimination of the VA. Even though that may help some patients, there is a tremendous amount of specialized care that goes on in the VA that the commercial space is not geared to deal with: prosthetic implants and therapy, traumatic brain injury (TBI), PTSD, non traditional infections (agent orange, radiation) and all their co-morbidity. We need the VA and the focused, specialized care it can provide.
There is a lot of what the VA does (standard ER stuff, chronic care, diabetes (huge problem), cardiac issues and general aging) that could and possibly should be cared for outside the system effectively and that should be explored. I believe the VA should continue, as it is more than just a clinic or hospital. It’s a community … many Vets choose to go there just to be with their comrades and feel that connection that is such an important part of their lives. We should honor that and invest in that too.
I think what you’ll see in the short term is an offloading of some care to the commercial world, with the method of payment and sponsorship being a big problem. Then longer term perhaps an entrenching of the specific VA work with possible pressure to coordinate more closely with the DoD and share military treatment facilities for the highly specialized, service-related injuries and care.May 29, 2014 at 7:20 pm #808824
You sound a little hopeful – with the caveats you mention? Let’s hope they get it sorted soon. It’s not like we haven’t known there was a huge and growing need for vet care for 10+yrs. now.
I saw a segment on Rachel Maddow describing how this has been an issue through several administrations. Here’s hoping that Obama and the Congress get it right this time.May 29, 2014 at 9:29 pm #808825May 29, 2014 at 9:38 pm #808826
Yeah, I think I am hopeful Wake because I know The People support the VA, the politicians do at least in election years and the money is there. I’d love to strip the bureaucracy away but that’s a pipe dream. Like most of these things we just need to put experienced, intelligent people in there and let them do their thing.
The nation, and humans in general, tend to work better with a deadline and an issue/challenge so I hope we can take the negatives of this visibility and concern and turn it into positive energy for positive change.May 30, 2014 at 1:31 am #808827
thanks for bringing light to this discussion…
We can’t keep churning out injured vets at our current rate without funding the system that provides their care.
it really is that simple.May 30, 2014 at 1:43 am #808828
we should place the blame squarely where it belongs … on the 1921 Senate and House and either President Woodrow Wilson or Warren Harding … and every Congress and President since then.
It is interesting to see so many politicians foaming at the mouth, and yet:
‘The issues identified in current allegations are not new. Since 2005, the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued 18 reports that identified, at both the national and local levels, deficiencies in scheduling resulting in lengthy waiting times and the negative impact on patient care. As required by the Inspector General Act of 1978, each of the reports listed was issued to the VA Secretary and the Congress and is publicly available on the VA OIG website.’
So, where has Congress been?June 1, 2014 at 4:08 am #808829June 1, 2014 at 4:34 am #808830
“we should place the blame squarely where it belongs”
On the doorstep of “We the People”.June 10, 2014 at 7:50 pm #808831
the real reason why Congress (R’s and D’s) have ignored the VA over the past 10 years? MONEY! I know, you’re as shocked as I am. Turns out that the point of being elected to Congress is not to actually pass useful legislation that benefits the country. Nope, the real job of a member of Congress is to amass power and rake in donations so you can get re-elected (and to set oneself up for a cushy consulting or lobbying job down the road.)
how’s that deafening silence from Faux Noise on this issue working for you?
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