In response to David Shulkin’s latest interview;
Well people, it appears as though the good secretary has chosen the same low path approach to the problems at the VA as his predecessor. Let’s just do the easiest and obvious thing and take the few of his statements from this interview available through this article and shine some light on them shall we?
“[Veterans] Choice was authorized for three years, and … the end for that is this August. If that program expires and we don’t get a reauthorization, or the ability to continue that program, veterans are going to be back waiting for care, and we’re going to find ourselves exactly where we were.”
“BACK” to waiting???,,,,,,,where we “WERE” ????? Why this sounds as though they went anywhere positive with the program when the larger truth here is that they in fact did not go anywhere but further DOWNHILL since that program came into play. The wait times have only gotten WORSE and the gaming of the appointments is at epidemic levels. The cover-up is what got better, not the wait times themselves.
Let’s remember too here that before one DIME of that 10 BILLION dollar allocation was ever spent on care for veterans 4.3 BILLION was GUTTED from it to cover the VA’s construction cost over-runs and other fiduciary “mismanagement” issues. So because the expiration date was not pulled back to compensate for ALL THAT MONEY that went to everything BUT health care for our veterans they SHOULD have ran short at about the halfway point in this program. Oh but the VA knew EXACTLY what to do about that, they just refused to pay the doctors outside the VA who stepped up to take in veterans. They did not refuse to pay ALL of those doctors though. The ones who were glad handed, crony friends of the VA’s whispered policies of denial as are money medical universities, got paid. Those who would not go along with the low to no quality care the VA is known for got stiffed. The REAL doctors got stiffed. Let us also understand that congress knew something on the order of a 4.3 BILLION dollar fraud was about to go down too. There is no way congress continued that 10 BILLION dollar deadline for a program that ended up with only 5.7 billion in funds to run on. Congress KNEW a huge fraud operation was going to have to be mounted.
So there was never any time frame compensation onto the program to offset the 4.3 BILLION that was leached from it and the only way to make it through to the deadline set by congress was to rip off a bunch of doctors and MAKE THOSE DOCTORS PAY for the fiduciary malfeasance the VA embarked upon that cost the CHOICE program 4.3 BILLION, leaving only 5.7 billion of the original 10 billion for the purpose to which congress had originally authorized the funding.
The larger truth on the theft of the services from outside providers though is that this was FAR from the first time the VA has pulled this on outside doctors. The VA in fact was far in debt for services rendered by those doctors to the tune of BILLIONS before the Choice program was even launched. That program fraud only put the VA billions DEEPER into debt with those finest of care providers. Will those doctors ever be paid? Will our veterans who were wrongly denied benefits and care ever be repaid? Will those surviving dependents of veterans wrongly denied benefits ever be paid? Not if Shulkin and his VA lackeys have anything to do with correcting the issues they won’t.
“It’s the largest health care system in the country, and we have many job openings. This is actually something you see across America, particularly in rural America,….”
This one is going to take a awhile. David has acquired the VA’s well known PR knack for cramming as many lies into as short a phrase as possible.
First up it’s NOT the largest “health care system” in this nation. Using non credentialed crony hires to dictate to the real doctors what medical procedures are going to be used mitigates the value of the credentials held by the real doctors working there. Then you have all those fiction writers and database gamers working in tandem to scam the system that in reality falls somewhere between a sci-fi writer’s forum and a national gamer’s association for medical miscreants. This is the REAL VA and that David would slander the real American medical community by declaring the VA to be a part of that fine and noble league of professionals no doubt ruffles some feathers there.
“…..and we have many job openings. This is actually something you see across America, particularly in rural America,….”
No David, you have many job openings that CAN NOT BE FILLED because the ones who could fill them aren’t about to be sucked into the VA’s pretend world of self proclaimed “medical care”. The VA’s shortage of professionals has nothing to do with locations either, as the largest facilities are all nicely situated in highly desirable urban population centers . The primary reasons why the VA is having such a hard time hiring doctors are listed below.
1. Real doctors do not like to have high school football coaches directing their patient care.
2. Doctors do not spend the time and money to attain their knowledge and credentials in order to run to jobs where they will not even be able to ascertain why a patient missed an appointment critical to their health and well being because the gamers are playing the scheduling. The doctors will never know either because of the lies that continue to be entered into the records detailing the fiction for those missed appointments.
3. REAL surgeons want GOOD outcomes for their patients. Those are pretty hard to find when they are being forced to operate in ORs that have mold and rust being blown into the incisions they make by filthy air circulation while OR nurses are busy shooing away cockroaches. On top of that, they will also be forced to deal with the surgical instruments that weren’t properly cleaned of bone, flesh, and bodily fluids before they were flashed “sterilized”. The real medical paradigm knows well how that works out, but the VA still seems to think that this too is somehow part of quality care. It’s not!
4. And then the doctors will also have to work with a system who shoves patients out of the acute post op care after only 3 days instead the 5 days deemed acceptable by outside care providers.
The VA uses this tactic as a display of how GREAT the care is, (OUR PATIENTS HEAL FASTER!). The facts about what REALLY happens when nursing home staff totally untrained to spot complications that can and do arise from various procedures go totally overlooked or can not be quickly or effectively treated are neatly hidden away from public view. Quality of care will never be of paramount importance at the VA. Only those numbers that are generated by killing patients and leaving all too many who survive worse off are important there.
“We’re out actively trying to recruit many health care professionals … and the negative attention that’s been put on VA has hurt the morale of our work force.”
Oh this is just !@#$%^&*(). So you are blaming those who are speaking up about the ongoing issues for your hiring problems instead of the reprehensible and untenable (by YOU) issues that have not gone away eh? This, while you try to delude us into thinking that this is a NEW VA now? We have all heard that before David. What you are doing is nothing new, in fact your former boss McDonald pulled the very same thing and you see how well that worked out for him don’t you? Yet you persist under the impression that somehow the information age is going to be graceful about accepting your lies. You’re a FOOL David Shulkin.
“So what we’re trying to do is get people to understand that when they come to work at VA, this is really a terrific place to work.”
Oh yes I believe that! It is indeed a very great place to work for those do not really want to work. You know David, like those building engineers who are supposed to properly tend OR ventilation systems and those drains chock full of human remains that won’t drain? Like those “doctors” who want to leave by 1PM but still take home a full week’s pay? Like those who refuse to learn or abide by ANY of the written VA policies? Like those who do not want to adhere to the laws of the land governing quality medical care everywhere else but at the VA? Like those who enjoy gaming databases? Like those who enjoy writing fiction into patient records? Like those who look right at cancer precursors and IGNORE them until the only diagnosis left is stage 4 cancer and death? Like those who do the same (IGNORE) with heart issues and painful neurology issues? Like those who thwart proper infection control issues and then too refuse to acknowledge the infections that were spread around by their actions? Oh yes David, the VA must be GREAT pace to work for those sorts of people because those are the ones who never leave and are promoted to higher positions where they insure that NOTHING will ever change for the better there.
And speaking of the wait time issues; “Well, we’re talking about now something back almost three years ago.”
No David, we are not talking about anything that is not STILL an ACTIVE issue even after 3 years because NOTHING has been done to contain or mitigate the problem. In fact wait times have gotten WORSE but the constant database manipulations are now at full throttle trying to cover it all up. Misleading America into believing something has been actually done to tend to this issue is what that statement was all about. Because the ones manipulating the data are in no fear of being fired for doing so, that manipulation is now standard operating procedure at MOST VA facilities. YOUR approach is the same as McDonald’s alright, do NOTHING to address the problem but everything you can to mislead our nation into believing it has been fixed. THIS while the problems only in fact are getting worse, and worse, and worse.
“There is no doubt that suicide is my number one clinical priority.”
No David, it is your and the VA’s number one propaganda target.
” And of the 20 vets who take their life every day through suicide, just six are getting care in the VA health care system.”
This lie is so far beyond the pale. In truth it is estimated that 80% of those who attempt suicide do so within 30 days of their last VA appointment. This FACT was put in stone by an NBC research report that was released in early 2015. What’s more, those of us in my field of operations (veteran advocacy) who are NOT taking the dirty VA money have not reported any drop in suicide numbers and in fact are seeing an increase in it. That the VA’s 25 million dollar a year PR budget can spin a decrease from 22 to 20 per day is what it is here, and what it REALLY is is another total lie. NOTHING has gone well with the suicides, they are not going down and in fact just like those waiting lists things are indeed getting worse there as well. On top of that here we have all those cases of suicide by veterans who were TURNED AWAY from VA care after being FORCED to beg for what the VA was not about to deliver in EARNED care benefits. They most certainly were not under VA care David, because you and yours did not WANT them under VA care.
So what we have here is another Old McDonald song and dance actor who seems to continue to believe that if he tells the same lies for a long enough period of time they will be taken as being the truth. This is right out of Joseph Goebbel’s play book. The largest problem David is having is that the book he is reading from was written before the information age. He too will be cast aside soon in disgrace just as was his former boss. After that, nobody will be able to complain when somebody like Phillip Roe or Pete Hagseth is loaded onto the bridge deck at the VA. Before that happens though, a path for ALL veterans to care outside the VA must be brought forward. The VA is heading for haircut unlike anything ever seen in our American government. That trip to the barber shop is going to no doubt be one that will continue to be spoken of for hundreds of years too.