Saturday, July 18, 2015

Slow Saturday Special: Vet Neglect

You had to wait about four days for your appointment with the Globe:

"VA problems mount as missteps continue; Hospitals may close, many die waiting for care" by Matthew Daly Associated Press  July 18, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs faces a serious numbers problem — multiple, in fact.

It can’t count how many veterans died while waiting to sign up for health care. It says some VA hospitals may have to close if the agency can’t get $2.5 billion. And a year after scandal rocked the department, congressional Republicans want to know why the number of employees fired is so low.

I was told Obama and Sanders fixed all that.

What an absolute disgrace. The liars who led them to war and denigrated those who dissented are now neglecting the burden of care. Soldiers are like equipment. If it breaks down, you get a new recruit to take the place.

Then there is the $y$temic looting and rot of the V.A. itself. Too much time phoning up waiting lists to get that promotion and bonus, too many administrators making six figures. The way of AmeriKan in$titutions in the 21st century.

Congress approved a sweeping overhaul of the department in response to headline-grabbing woes, but the VA continues to be plagued by missteps, including an internal report indicating that nearly one-third of veterans with pending applications for VA health care likely have already died.

It adds up to roughly one-quarter of a million servicemen. The disconnect between the self-adulating propaganda spewed by war-criminal politicians and their actual actions is astounding. But its those antiwar people who saw all this coming and were screaming no that were/are the problem.

VA officials said they were unable to determine how many veterans died, whether they truly were seeking VA health care, or had merely indicated interest in signing up. 

Yeah, they don't know. Just give 'em another $2.5 billion.

To make matters worse, the VA said this week it may have to shut down some hospitals as soon as next month if Congress does not address a $2.5 billion shortfall for the current budget year.

Maybe it's the terrorists, but I'm all feared out. Shut down the wars for a while. That should help.

The VA says it needs to cover a budget gap caused by a sharp increase in demand by veterans for health care, including costly treatments for the deadly hepatitis C virus.

They died with their hospital gowns on. I say that with spiteful sarcasm and no pleasure at all, and if you could see the look on my face (maybe some of you can).

The VA’s request has met with resistance from lawmakers in both parties, who fault officials for failing to act earlier on the impending shortfall or fix other problems, including a failed VA hospital project in Denver that is more than $1 billion over budget.

And they just gave you $17 billion a year ago.

The VA is a ‘‘broken bureaucracy’’ that ‘‘continues to be plagued by a culture of neglect and mismanagement that is denying veterans ... across the United States access to the quality health care that they were promised,’’ said Senator John McCain, a Republican of Arizona and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

And you wonder why I no longer want national health care? 

Btw, McCain, the transport is waiting to take you to Iran. Have fun taking the war to 'em.

Despite its ongoing problems, the VA says it has made significant progress in the past year to improve its health care system and service delivery and set the course for long-term reform.

That is part of the problem, too; the reiteration of that from all levels of government when their hair is on fire and things are blowing up in the background.

‘‘Veterans need VA and many more Americans benefit from VA,’’ said VA Secretary Robert McDonald.

House Republicans have a simple solution — fire more people at the department, and do it now.

Sounds good, should happen, but it won't solve it. This is decades worth of corruption and neglect, and it's going to take that long to fix things. The first step is no more wars and ending the ones still going.  

Congress made it easier for McDonald to fire senior executives in the overhaul law approved last year, but House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican of Ohio, and other lawmakers say McDonald has been slow to act.

‘‘President Obama promised reform at the VA. It hasn’t happened. He promised accountability. It hasn’t happened,’’ Boehner said at a news conference this week, as leaders announced a House vote later this month on new VA legislation.

He promised a lot of things.

By Boehner’s count, only two VA officials have been fired as a result of the uproar over long waits for veterans seeking medical care and falsified records to cover up the delays.

Oh, no, AmeriKan government never covers things up, no.

Not so, says the VA.


The VA has pushed for the removal of six senior executives, including four who were fired and two who retired, said spokeswoman Victoria Dillon. One of those fired was Sharon Helman, the former director of the Phoenix VA health care system, the epicenter of the wait-time scandal.


What some are doing while they are waiting:

"Newer Army soldiers found most likely to attempt suicide; Study says risk high for women, school dropouts" by Lindsey Tanner Associated Press  July 09, 2015

CHICAGO — Wartime suicide attempts in the Army are most common in newer enlisted soldiers who have not been deployed, while officers are less likely to try to end their lives. At both levels, attempts are more common among women and those without a high school diploma, according to a study billed as the most comprehensive analysis of a problem that has plagued the US military.

Suicides in the military have gotten the most attention, but attempts sometimes have different contributing factors. They’re ‘‘an opportunity to intervene,’’ said Dr. Robert Ursano, psychiatry chairman at the Uniformed Services University and the study’s lead author.

The study analyzed records on nearly 10,000 suicide attempts among almost 1 million active-duty Army members during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, from 2004 to 2009. That compares with 569 Army suicide deaths during the same period reported by researchers last year in a different phase of the same study. Rates for both increased during that time.

New soldiers may be particularly vulnerable because of trouble adjusting to military life and anxiety over potentially being deployed, said psychologist Craig Bryan, associate director of the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah.

An atmosphere that encourages mental toughness may discourage some suicidal soldiers from seeking help, said Bryan, whose research found promising results with an intervention that uses military-sounding names for traditional behavior therapy methods. For example, dubbing the ‘‘hope box’’ method of focusing on positive thoughts a ‘‘survival kit’’ made it more appealing to soldiers.

What's in a name?

The new research was published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. Some key points:

22 veterans a day are successful.


I neglected to post that in a timely fashion.