While we were distracted with the Bergdahl rescue
Given the Obama administration fascination with “never let a serious crisis go to waste”, the Bergdahl rescue and ensuing controversy has distracted a Nation and the world from a wider ranging National shame. The Veteran’s Administration Scandal has been shelved, almost no media coverage offered for a solid week. ‘Patients are still dying’
After laboring in relative obscurity as a doctor in the Phoenix VA Health Care System, Dr. Sam Foote just wanted to put a stop to deaths and delayed care at the Phoenix hospital.
He had no idea that when he filed a complaint with the VA Office of the Inspector General late last year it would lead to nationwide investigations, congressional hearings, presidential speeches and the resignation of a Cabinet secretary.
But all of that transpired in just seven weeks, and the fallout continues this weekend as Foote makes the rounds of network news shows in the aftermath of President Barack Obama’s announcement Friday that he accepted VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation.
“I’d rather not be in the media spotlight,” the 61-year-old Paradise Valley resident said in an interview with The Arizona Republic on Friday. “I wish it was just 15 minutes of fame. I’m praying now it’s not 15 months.”
Foote, a doctor of internal medicine, grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from UCLA and earned his medical degree at Hahnemann Medical College, now part of Drexel University, in Philadelphia.
The story of his transformation into a news figure began in late 2012, when he started to suspect that Arizona veterans werebeing short-changed on medical care. As more patients enrolled in the VA system, physicians worked overtime to address the increased workload and backlog.
The stress caused an exodus of medical practitioners, which magnified the caseloads. New patients were forced to wait more than a year for initial appointments, and those seeking specialist care also faced prolonged delays.
Just as troubling, Foote said, doctors and nurses were under such a strain that medical mistakes became more likely.
At the same time, Foote said, VA administrators were earning promotions and bonus pay by issuing reports that said patient access had improved dramatically. He said he realized the data on wait times was falsified.
In August of last year, a colleague told him that scheduling clerks who made calls for appointment reminders had been informed at least 10 times that the patients already were dead.
Put aside what the favorable reviews in MSM are telling you about the “origins” of this crisis, the Obama administration has known about this crisis for a very long time, have made it central issues of TWO campaigns for the Presidency. As I detailed in an earlier article, the outgoing President Bush administration briefed the incoming Obama administration transition team on the severity of the crisis. In fairness Obama has made good on some of his promises, at least on the surface, but deep underneath where it truly matters on a daily basis, revelations of corruption, falsifying records pertaining to treatment and benefits determination dates nearly nullify these gains, at least in the mind of THIS Vet.
“Keeping faith with those who serve must always be a core American value and a cornerstone of American patriotism. Because America’s commitment to its servicemen and women begins at enlistment, and it must never end.”
– Barack Obama, Speech in Kansas City, MO
August 21, 2007
Records and memos indicate that the Obama administration and the VA has known about record manipulation since as early as 2010 and apparently did nothing.
This memo shows that the VA knew of records manipulation in 2010
BY JOSH HICKS
May 20 at 5:24 pm
Robert Petzel resigned last week as the top health official for the Department of Veterans Affairs, just one day after testifying before a Senate committee that he knew VA health clinics were using inappropriate scheduling practices as early as 2010.
Whistleblowers claim the schemes continued until this year, leading to a recent wave of outrage that sent the VA and White House scrambling to correct the alleged problems and restore confidence in the department.
Petzel admitted that he knew of the issue after Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) questioned him about the 2010 memo below, in which a top VA executive warned all VA health networks that questionable scheduling practices would “not be tolerated.”
The message summarized at least 17 tactics that VA hospitals were known to have used to hide treatment delays and give the impression they were meeting the department’s goal of seeing patients within 14 to 30 days.
Obama has actually cut many Veterans crucial benefits.
While President Obama talked about many initiatives to help veterans during his State of the Union address Tuesday night, veterans’ groups criticized him Wednesday for not demanding a full repeal of cuts to military retirement benefits.
Last month’s budget deal included a provision to reduce working-age military retirees cost-of-living adjustment to one percent below inflation until a retiree reaches age 62. Veteran’s groups and many lawmakers have united in calling for a fix, with many members of Congress introducing plans to pay for a $6 billion repeal.
“The American Legion is disappointed that President Obama did not show more leadership in dealing with the COLA issue,” Daniel M. Dellinger, the American Legion’s national commander, said Wednesday in a statement.
“He promised us, back in August 2011 at our national convention, that he would not balance the federal budget on the backs of America’s veterans. But that is exactly what he is allowing Congress to do,” he said.
The omnibus appropriations bill completed earlier this month repealed the cuts for disabled veterans and surviving families of deceased veterans, but the cuts are still scheduled to take effect for other retirees in December 2015.
Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America, also said he was frustrated that the president was silent on the issue of military retirement cuts.
“Veterans across the country are reeling from the surprise attack to their earned benefits. We need immediate action from the president and Congress to restore the promises our country made to them and their families,” Mr. Rieckhoff said in a statement.
“Veterans don’t want any more excuses and won’t take no for an answer. It’s time to restore the retirement cuts,” he concluded.
Time and again Obama has ridden a wave of respect earned BY Vets, promised us improvements in every area the Veteran’s Administration presides over, time and again he has failed to deliver, in fact making life itself either worse or allowed to cease, for favorable numbers. I will offer nor honor any quarter in this fight. The deplorable way in which this Republic has treated the men and women who gave ALL to deliver and protect her MUST END. We must break this abominable record which gave us such events as the Bonus Army to prevent it ever happening again. Our government is still killing her own …