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Tear Down the VA

May 10, 2014 , , ,

I saw a doctor and a veteran on the national news who said the way to solve the VA problem is to dissolve it. I agree completely. I volunteered at the VA because I still believed I could raise the standard of care when I did it. Not only was it impossible to raise the standard of care for just one person to whom I was assigned, the entire institution is unethical and scary as hell.  The electronic medical records system is abused constantly, as are the patients.  As a taxpayer I was shocked and upset at the use of funds to do nothing for the patients.  Money is used liberally, but the outcomes and the patients are the least of the agency’s concern.  As featured in the recent Phoenix scandal, the employees at the VA are shooting for big bonuses rather than improving the lives of the Vets.  They are so far off course that it can’t be remedied.  There is a culture of extreme abuse and fraud.  Those Veterans can just go to doctors of their choice and we can run it like the congressional health care system.  We don’t need to institutionalize abuse any more than we already have.

I was assigned to visit patients at home.  My fist dude lived at home with his wife. After he died I was assigned to  my second patient who lived in a care home.  Both of them mentioned problems with health care and thought I could help them.  I thought so too, until I tried.  The premise was that we would report unsafe of undesirable conditions, which the VA could fix. The problem was that no matter how much money was spent they never addressed the issues.  They simply did something, with no consideration of the needs of the patient. It was a waste-o-rama.  When I met my second patient I could hear the feedback from his hearing aid across the room.  He asked if I might be able to help him get hearing aids that did not screech.   That seemed simple enough, but after more than a year and several long hard visits to the hospital his hearing aid was still loud enough for me to hear it from across the room.  He was suicidal and talked frequently about it, but after a few attempts at helping him with other VA problems I knew it was a mistake to tell them anything that would make them torture him any more.   I finally threw in the VA towel when they directed me to leave him as I found him one day, unconscious and unresponsive in his care home. I had called a nurse, who looked at him for about a minute and left.  I was instructed by the VA not to call 911 or take any action to save his life.  I had to quit my official position and visited him myself without doing any reports to the VA.  His health was in severe decline and he was not able to wake up most of the time, so I eventually stopped visiting him because it was emotionally draining and frustrating.  Nothing he or I asked the VA to do for him was done, but plenty of people received salaries milling around pretending to care for him.  I called the local senior care advocate to help him get out of some of his problems, which did work.  The VA told me that was a conflict of interest, and I was never to seek real help for him from other institutions. I was working against my own beliefs by representing the VA, so I had to end that.

Being left on a waiting list for care is unacceptable, but sadly, so is the care given when they finally manage to give it.  I have heard of those who have had good experiences with VA health care, but nothing recent.  There is no reason to have a separate, corrupt and highly unregulated system that does not serve the patents well.  If we can reform health care, we can eliminate the waste and abuse that the VA contains. Those who have risked everything deserve the best.  Taxpayers deserve to know we are giving them the best care available.  This situation is highly symbolic to me of the disrespect government frequently displays for the citizens who pay for it.  I am a pacifist, so my concern for the soldiers is moral and ethical.  I did not want to send them off to war, but since it has happened I sincerely believe we need to honor that sacrifice they made.


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I really don’t know what the VA does…over here we have an NHS on it’s knees but at least it still operates


May 11, 2014

It is a separate and corrupt health care service for our servicemen and women…They should receive the best we have, but are getting the shaft from the agency in charge of their care. A recent scandal has brought it into focus.



May 11, 2014

So glad to see you write something up about this topic. It’s definitely gotten a lot of attention in California!


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