Saturday, June 17, 2017

BOHICA Presidents Inherit Obligation to Veterans

Presidents Inherit Obligation to Veterans
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 17, 2017

Remember the expression "everything old is new again" because we've been down this road for so long now it is almost as if members of Congress forgot they were responsible for what the VA does and does not do. After all, they got jurisdiction over caring for our veterans back in 1946.

“Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.” ― George S. Patton Jr.
None of this BS was either one of those. If anyone tells you that all the problems our veterans and families face is new, it is all old news to us. After all, we've been living with it for decades, listening to promises when politicians on both sides want our votes, yet fail us once they get into office.

Or, did we fail ourselves and all the other generations to come? 

When I started to really pay attention 35 years ago, President Reagan had been in charge for a year. Maybe what he said summed up exactly what had been happening to veterans with these words.
"The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."
Part of the jobs politicians take is actually making the best use of taxpayers funds but the other part is actually delivering on the promises made to the men and women risking their lives for this country no matter who is Commander-in-Chief.

So far I've paid attention to what President Reagan, President Bush, President Clinton, President Bush and President Obama left behind as much as I'm paying attention to what President Trump is doing to veterans after making speeches of what all of them would do for veterans. While we never heard them say BOHICA, that is exactly what veterans and families have ended up with.

Stars and Stripes reported "VA Secretary: Money for Choice program will 'dry up' by mid-August"
Money is quickly and unexpectedly running out for a program that allows veterans to seek health care outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and VA Secretary David Shulkin is urging Congress to fix it.

In March, approximately $2 billion remained in the Veterans Choice Program, which was created following the 2014 wait-time scandal in order to allow veterans to seek outside health care. The funds dropped to $1.5 billion about a month later, and the account now holds $821 million, Shulkin told the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on June 14.

Shulkin had originally estimated $626 million would be left in the account by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. Now, he’s expecting all of the funds to run out before money for fiscal 2018 is appropriated.
To continue the Choice program through the end of the fiscal year, Shulkin is seeking the authority from Congress to transfer money from a separate community care account that holds approximately $2 billion. The VA secretary does not have the power to move the money between accounts.
Gee that sound bad. What is actually worse is that veterans do not want to have to make a choice between being by the VA or being seen by private providers. Rural veterans do need this option because their VA hospital is just too far away. In those cases, clinics or "community care" would be great, if they were run by the VA and not contractors. Having to see a contractor, frankly pisses them off.

Still, what makes all this worse is Congress let it get to the point where they are even talking about billions going to private providers instead of the care they were promised.

Here is a brief history of what veterans have had to deal with.

Richard and Vicki Wild of Hillsborough, N.C., said they were mystified when their son Mark’s disability claim was rejected. “We had 10 years’ worth of hospital records,” Mr. Wild said. Credit Jeremy M. Lange for The New York Times


Disability Cases Last Longer as Backlog Rises

"The agency's new plan to hire 150 new appeals judges to whittle down the backlog, which soared to 755,000 from 311,000 in 2000, will require $100 million more than the president requested this year and still more in the future.
Yes, you read the dates right. There were 311,000 in the backlog before President Bush took office. By 2007 it was 755,000. By June of 2008 it was 879,291. It was taking 185 days to process a veteran's disability claim.

And then it was President Obama's turn. by June of his first year in office, the backlog was over 915,000.

Now, while we actually got a brief sense of relief this week with news that senior veterans were not going to be forced to pay for the "care" with massive cuts to their disability checks, we cannot go back to sleep. What they get away with today will be something all other generations will have to be face with if we do no nothing about any of this.

Aren't you tired of reading how veterans keep getting failed? Then start fighting back! Don't wait for all the service organizations to do the job for us. After all, the OEF and OIF generation are controlling the news through social media because everything we had to deal with was still hanging over our heads and no one cared but us. 

UPDATE on something else in the news lately...
Everything old is still broken?
"House appropriators have provided $65 million in Fiscal Year 2018 funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs’ recently announced plans to switch its legacy electronic health record system to a commercial product from Cerner. However, the funds come with strings attached."
"VA announced June 5 that it plans to replace its decades-old legacy Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) records system with Cerner’s Millennium EHR, the same platform that the Department of Defense is currently implementing as part of Military Health System (MHS) Genesis."
So what did they get for the $6 Million and the other millions?

Congressional Record, House October 6, 2000 "The demonstration project may be conducted at several multi-specialty tertiary-care military medical treatment facilities affiliated with a university medical school. One of such facilities shall be supported by at least 5 geographically dispersed remote clinics of the Departments of Army, Navy and Air Force, and clinics of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and a local university.