The VA, we honor our Veterans! but not really

 

The Veterans Affairs department is a Federal agency that provides medical care to U.S. War Veterans. The five core values of the VA are Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence.

Integrity: Act with high moral principle. Adhere to the highest professional standards. Maintain the trust and confidence of all with whom I engage.
Commitment: Work diligently to serve Veterans and other beneficiaries. Be driven by an earnest belief in VA’s mission. Fulfill my individual responsibilities and organizational responsibilities.
Advocacy: Be truly Veteran-centric by identifying, fully considering, and appropriately advancing the interests of Veterans and other beneficiaries.
Respect: Treat all those I serve and with whom I work with dignity and respect. Show respect to earn it.
Excellence: Strive for the highest quality and continuous improvement. Be thoughtful and decisive in leadership, accountable for my actions, willing to admit mistakes, and rigorous in correcting them.

Taking the first letter of each word—Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, Excellence, creates a powerful acronym, “I CARE,” that reminds each VA employee of the importance of their role in this Department. These core values come together as five promises we make as individuals and as an organization to those we serve.


 

Today we are going to take a closer look at VA operations and see if they live up to their reputation and  their acronym. I myself am a Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom OIF and Operation Enduring Freedom OEF (Afghanistan) so i have personal experience in this area.

First things first, lets start with “I” for integrity. The VA defines the integrity as acting with high moral principle. Adhere to the highest professional standards. Maintain the trust and confidence of all with whom I engage.

I find this a tad hard to believe considering the VA DEATH PANEL. It was discovered that the VA in Phoenix Arizona had a secret waiting list with over 1600 veterans on it.The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources. At least 40 Veterans have died while on this waiting list.

Call me crazy but I’m not sure that secretly deciding who lives and dies would be concidered acting with high moral principles and the highest professional standards.

phoenixvabillboardEDIT

 

VA Integrity = FAIL


Next is “C” for commitment. The VA defines this as working diligently to serve Veterans and other beneficiaries. Be driven by an earnest belief in VA’s mission. Fulfill my individual responsibilities and organizational responsibilities.

Im going to go ahead and disagree with the VA’s dedication to commitment. I know from personal experience that VA staff is not committed to their jobs. I could start listing off things that have happened to me but i feel the 22 Veterans who commit suicide every single day reflects the VA’s level of commitment.

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Please take a few moments to realize that by the end of today 22 veterans who fought for you and your freedoms will be dead by self inflicted wounds. Then realize that its going to happen again tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.

Every single soldier who commits suicide is in the VA system, the VA is suppose to take care of us when we get home from war. Does it sound like they are commited and working diligntly to serve Veterans?

VA Commitnment = FAIL


Up next “A” for Advocacy, which the VA defines as being truly Veteran-centric by identifying, fully considering, and appropriately advancing the interests of Veterans and other beneficiaries.

I personally know that this is false. In September 2015 my back went out bad and i ended up in the hospital. I decided to go to TRIA Orthopedic because thats where the NFL and NHL send their players with back injuries. They discovered that i had 3 balduging disc and i was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease with an approved physical therapy treatment plan. However, in order to pay for physical therapy i had to use the VA’s system. It took them 4 months to approve it, and another month for them to call and set up the appointment. Yeah, i had to wait 5 months to start physical therapy and my condition has worsened in that time. I called them many times during that period asking them WTF!!!!! but they are all clueless.

My case manager is suppose to advocate for me but all he did is give me wrong phone numbers and make me do all the work. When i told him i don’t have time to sit around and make phone calls all day, especially when they always put you on hold for an hour, he said he didn’t have the time either…

VA-5

VA Advocacy = FAIL


Moving on to “R” for respect, which the VA defines as treating all those they serve and with whom I work with dignity and respect. Show respect to earn it.

I will say that yes the employees do treat you with respect, for the most part. They always say “Thank you for your Service” but its just fluff.

Imagine calling your doctor in January trying to set up an appointment for back pains your having, now imagine them saying “Great, see you in August”. Thats what happened to me, it took them 8 months to get me in for my very first appointment and it literally takes years to get your benefits.

As of August 2015 there were more than 8,000 requests for care with wait times longer than 90 days at one VA location. They can say “thank you for your service” until their red in the face but when veterans are dying waiting for medical care, thats a disservice. I don’t feel very respected when i have to wait 8 months to see a doctor.

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VA Respect = FAIL


Finally we arrive at “E” for excellence, which the VA defines as striving for the highest quality and continuous improvement. Be thoughtful and decisive in leadership, accountable for my actions, willing to admit mistakes, and rigorous in correcting them.

Meet Minnesota’s own Kimberly Graves, she is a director at the Minneapolis VA and she was caught creating 2 positions that had very few responsibilities. She then transferred to one of the positions and retaining her salary of $173,949. She also abused a relocation program and receiving almost $130,000 in moving expenses. She also received over $8000.00 in performance bonuses that year. Once this was discovered she was called to congress to answer for her crimes, she plead the 5th and wouldn’t comment like the coward that she is.

In 2014 alone VA employees were paid $142 million dollars in performance bonuses, 8030 veterans commited suicided that year and thousands are forced to wait months for appointments while suffering. That doesn’t sound to excellent to me, i also find it funny that they in the VA mission statenment it specifically says VA employees are willing to admit mistakes and the director of the MN VA plead the 5th to congress!

VA Excellent = EPIC FAIL



 Lets review 

Integrity = FAIL

Commitment = FAIL

Advocacy = FAIL

Respect = FAIL

Excellence= FAIL

The point I’m trying to prove here is that the VA is absolutey horrible and in denial. Ive personally been dealing with the VA for 4 years and i sure you it really is this bad. However, the problem doesn’t lay with the people per-say, i feel that complexity is the real enemy.

For example, they VA seems to have a rotating door when it comes to case managers and primary doctors. I have had 5 different case managers and 8 different primary doctors in 4 years. This chaos makes it very hard to accomplish anything, every doctor want to take their own approach which results in a lack of progress. For instance, my second doctor was pretty good, i was getting things done and felt as if i was moving in the right direction. Then suddenly she was reassinged and i was forced to get a new doctor, he scrapped all the work we had been doing and put me on a 2 week round of antibiotics, then after there was a scheduled follow up phone call, he never called, even after i called them to remind them, i haven’t heard a word since.

They have made their system so complex that it barely works and when it does it takes years, if you survive that long without medical care that it.

The bottom line is this- I received my injuries in Afghanistan when i was 28, I’m 32 now and my health issues are worse than ever and the VA has done nothing but make my life worse. So basically i fought to defend the freedoms of this country and in turn have had my freedom taken away from me.

The public and the media need to start talking about this because

THIS IS A NATIONAL DISGRACE!!

 

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3 thoughts on “The VA, we honor our Veterans! but not really

  1. Thanks for sharing you story. This is a national disgrace. Depending on our ages in the class, I would think some of us have heard about the Walter Reed Army Medical Center scandal and would have a general idea about what veterans went through, at least back then. To know that it continues to this day is disgusting. Is there any way the average citizen with a video camera and home film studio can help your’s and other veterans cause to get the medical treatment you/they deserve? Or even if they average citizen doesn’t have video equipment, are there groups they can join or advocate for?

    1. Thank you for your comment and concern. I do feel that if i was to make a video of my story (theres a lot more that i didn’t mention) that the public would be outraged and the VA would have tons of backlash. In fact i threatened to go to the press with my story and ever since then they have been getting things done fast. If they deny my ratting again I’m going to lose my mind and will move forward with a full blow public relastions smear campaign. It just really bothers me that i would have to go to those lengths when all i want is what i deserve.

  2. I hear you. It’s unfortunate that a lot, if not most large organizations, wait to fix a certain issue until someone or some organization does threaten to expose them to the public for what they are. Hopefully things go smoother for you.

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