Latest News re: the VA

| November 9, 2018

For today’s VA, it’s the best of times and the worst of times – By: Leo Shane III  

Full story is here:

WASHINGTON — In a White House press conference Wednesday, amid a host of other topics, President Donald Trump stated thatbecause of his leadership “our vets are doing better than they’ve ever done.”

Yet his critics contend that over the last eight months, the Department of Veterans Affairs has never been in more disarray, with a confusing series of leadership scandals and management overhauls further diminishing public faith in the institution.

They both may be right.

“It really is the tale of two VAs right now: It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times,” said Melissa Bryant, chief policy officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

“We’ve had major legislative victories years in the making. But a lot of what we have seen in 2018 has been political theater, unfortunately.”

This Veterans Day, VA leaders once again find themselves at a critical moment for the department. Trump just signed into law the largest VA budget ever, topping $200 billion. Congress has given him nearly every major piece of legislation on veterans policy he has requested, including new rules that make it easier to fire poorly performing VA workers and reforms that aim to speed up the benefits claims process.

But as deadlines loom for implementing numerous health care and management initiatives, Democrats in the House are already preparing new scrutiny over how policy decisions are being made inside VA and what unplanned side effects those changes will have.

The rest of the article is at the link up above. It’s a long article, but well worth a read. It covers all the issues we’ve been seeing for the last 6 years. I have yet to have any issues with the VA, but like any other collective health care system, there are many good things about it and likewise, bad things. The FHCC I go to is fine, and the wait times are brief, for now, but it that could be because it also serves an active duty military base. I’d prefer to stick with a known quantity than have to choose a provider whose patient agenda is governed by XX minutes allowed, which does happen in the Medicare system.


Category: "The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves", "Your Tax Dollars At Work"

Comments (18)

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  1. thebesig says:

    I had both an eye examination, and a routine medical checkup, at my local VA clinic. I also had my labs done days before the medical appointment. It’s busy, especially given its location close to our business district. However, all professionals that I saw were efficient, provided above average service, and left me very satisfied with their individual and overall services.

    They have a new CBOC in my area, I found out that if I were to go there to have my labs done, I would be “in and out”, not much waiting.

  2. JTB says:

    The government should get out of the Medical business…Give veterans a VA card and let them go to the hospital of their choice…The way its set up now is a pain in the ass for a lot of veterans…

    • Aysel says:

      ^^this, maybe if this were the case my husband could finally get a PP and the therapy he needs.

      Also I feel like the VA had a hand in the death of my dad, but it’s hard to quantify a feeling.

      • 5th/77th FA says:

        Took decades for that bloated system to be built. Will take decades for it to be trimmed down. Have never used the system since I had health coverage thru my employer. I’ve heard good, bad, and indifferent about them and the care. I do agree that the system still needs major work, and that the overall best thing may be for the gov to get out of the business. Probably won’t happen. Too many entrenched politicians and civil service workers. Listening to y’all and others, and comparing it to what I’ve gone thru the last 7 months, it ain’t much better on the private health insurance/Blue Cross side. Hell, they are all just “practicing medicine.”

    • desert says:

      That might be ok for some places, but my clinic is a hell of a lot better than the butcher shop we call a hospital!!

  3. Dustoff says:

    I had a VA appointment today. I brought up to my gastroenterologist if a certain scale was used while performing a biopsy (something that has been in use for years in the medical field btw). She replied with “Well I’ve never heard of that , we don’t always have the latest methods around here”.Face meet palm.Hopefully, 200 billion dollars will fix this.

  4. AW1Ed says:

    Folks who want Universal Health Care need look no further than the VA. I’m not in the system, so from where I stand I see mostly great care from the physician and medical staff side, and pretty much a Cluster Foxtrot from the Admin side.
    Pretty close?

    • HMC Ret says:

      Nailed it. The providers: doctors, nurses, mental health, radiologists, technicians, etc., are first rate. The support staff, OTOH, suck a bag of dicks. The apathy is rampant. I’m not just a patient, I worked there for 11 years, both in NC and in FL.

      I agree the feds should get out of the health care business but it will never happen. As mentioned, there are far too many firmly entrenched bureaucrats who would have to be dragged out the door by their feet. Also, no politician, State or Federal, will agree with losing that ‘ace in his/her hand’ within their district.

      The road to progress, though, may begin with the elimination of the union clout. Right now, short of committing multiple felonies, nobody can be canned for cause. And there is more than enough ’cause’ to go around.

      Give me a Veterans Choice card (I once had one as did my wife) and send me on my way. Use the VA for the things for which they are rightly recognized as being among the best in the field: prosthetics, mental health (although the VA is understaffed in this area), and a few other areas.

      OK, rant is over. I am extremely grateful for the care I have received from the VA since 1991, but it is a flawed program that needs major change.

      $200 BILLION? The problems need more than money to be resolved and to bring the VA on par with civilian health care facilities.

      OK, rant over. JMHO..YVMV

  5. Dragoon 45 says:

    Last time I had an appointment, the Patient Services Specialist or what ever they call them, manning the front desk for my team, refused to check me in for my appointment, could not be bothered to look up from his fucking game on his phone. Said I had to use an automated kiosk to check it, yet everyone in the business office and patient advocate’s office said there is no such requirement. Had to contact my Congressional Representative over that and the VA apologized to my Congressman but never said a fucking word to me. So someone please tell me how the VA has improved one iota?

  6. Mike Simpson says:

    Anything IAVA says, the opposite is always true. They are a PAC for Paul Reickhoff. Nothing more.

  7. Comm Center Rat says:

    I use the VA healthcare system as a complement to my private providers. I’ve had only a couple of appointment cancellations and rescheduling over the last six years. I’ve also had a urologist fail to show for an appointment. One of the nurses said he never arrived that day and was AWOL.

    I allow VA to do non-invasive procedures such as physical exams, scans, podiatry, and lab work. I avoid doctors that work on a contract basis with VA. For instance, I was scheduled for a colonoscopy with a contractor so I researched her patient ratings. She was poorly rated so I contacted my civilian PCP who set me up with the physician who performed his last colonoscopy.

    While President Trump may now be able to fire more senior VA employees quicker, the career civil servants are firmly entrenched and protected by collective bargaining agreements. Across the entire federal government about .50% (a half of one percent) of employees are fired annally on a historical basis. Its why the federal civil service is called the “fourth branch of government.”

  8. JIB says:

    Almost all VA facilities could be sold to other hospital management companies…

  9. RetiredDevilDoc8404 says:

    You want to fix the VA? Make the Congresscritters go there for all their healthcare; put the comp people in charge of the payroll for the Congresscritters and their staff; pop some corn and watch the fun begin as Pelosi’s face melts because her Botox connection dries up. The system would be reformed so fast the deadwood in the VA system would think they were in a time warp. Every time I hear somebody say how the Medicare for everybody is a great idea I tell them about how “great” the VA healthcare system is – most of them change their tune, although how permanent it is I can’t say for sure.

  10. David says:

    Expect the VA to become a Democrat chew toy in the next few years… Trump claimed it is good yet XX is wrong, etc. Me, I am using VA for routine stuf… but have Medicare and private supplemental insurance just in case.

  11. 26Limabeans says:

    Fee Services!
    Move far enough away from a VA Hospital to qualify and you can go anywhere you want.

    Just mailed in a quality survey they sent me.
    I gave the program high marks.