Our Vets are Dying

Praying Mantis Manny

Source

Death at the VA

Good Morning, Breakfastpoppers. Today is Monday, April 28, 2014. Our insect family friend, Praying Mantis Manny, is at the breakfast table this morning. He is filled with rage and sadness upon discovering that the Department of Veterans Affairs kept double books to hide the fact that veterans were dying awaiting care. Sharon Helman, director of the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, has been accused of creating a fake waiting list that gave the false impression that our veteran's were being treated in a timely manner. Earlier in the month, the VA denied a Freedom of Information Act request from Howard Altman, a Tampa Tribune reporter, investigating deaths at the VA. Shame on the VA and shame on every single person who allowed this to go on without bringing it to the public's attention right away. The men and women who are serving our country deserve better.

Source

Death In the Paperwork

Buried in tons of paperwork are the names of VA hospitals conducting this same despicable behavior. The VA has a reputation and habit of not responding to press and congressional requests for information. Every veteran in this nation has the absolute right to know the level of care attributed to the VA Hospital they rely on for care. The VA is hiding information. Veterans are dying for lack of care across this country and we need to get to the bottom of this ugly mess.

The fake waiting list in Phoenix hid the real truth that 1,600 sick veterans were waiting for care for months. At a minimum, 40 veterans on the secret list died while waiting to be seen by a doctor. Naturally, Helman defended the way things were run under her leadership. Helman previously served as director of a VA facility in Spokane, Washington, where the number of veteran suicides was miscounted. The term "miscounted" is rather mild, in light of the fact that between July 2007 and the beginning of 2008, at least 22 veterans committed suicide. During this period nine suicides were reported along with 34 attempted suicides. It would appear that the VA approved of her "work" in Spokane, because instead of firing her they moved her to Phoenix!

Source

Time to Move!

Abuses in government are handled very differently from the private sector. If Helman worked in private industry she would have lost her job in a New York minute. The same cannot be said of bloated government. Helman was rewarded for her deception by being moved to another location. She and others she worked with were never held accountable for anything. Just as an aside, Helman received a $9,345 bonus last year in addition to her base salary of $169,900. Apparently, it is quite lucrative to fudge numbers for the government. The fact that people died on her watch doesn't seem to factor into her compensation.


Source

The Tip of Iceberg...

Our government is adrift in investigations that never seem to conclude. The government is awash in committee hearings that never take action. No one is ever held accountable. This situation must play out differently. We ask our young men and women to enter the service on our behalf. They do so with pride and determination. To even imagine that we treat veterans so badly defies comprehension. Many government departments and agencies hide behind something called Exemption 5 of the Freedom of Information Act. The VA cited this exemption but it was deemed inappropriate. Exemption 5 allows government employees to give advice informally to each another on public policy. What it has become is quite another matter. In real life, it is the perfect way to hide documents from the public.

The bottom line is this. The VA must come clean about ongoing abuses at VA hospitals. The VA had better clean up their "act. The VA must get rid of employees at every level who participated in these policies. Each and every one of them is responsible for the deaths of our veterans and they should pay a heavy price for their role in this nightmare.

Source

Manny's Song


The moment I wake up

Before I brush my wings

I say a little prayer for you.....


Manny

More by this Author


Comments 48 comments

Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 2 years ago from Moundsville, WV

Pop and Manny,

Another fine example of government run health care.


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 2 years ago from Arizona

Another issue in the government. There always does seem to be investigations...and they never conclude. It is about focusing on unimportant matters and getting the public swayed in another direction. And time has a way of making people forget and focus on the current issue de jour. I will be at the Inn tonight..perhaps for some rum and diet coke.


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 2 years ago from Rural Arizona

This is an outrage worse than any of the previous scandals that are supposedly being investigated. This lady needs to be prosecuted and sent to prison for the rest of her life.

As long as the government continues to reward failure by its employees, things such as this will continue to happen. I seriously doubt this lady will ever pay the price for what she has done. I see her getting retirement with full pension and benefits just as many others before her have received.

Even in our schools and some sporting activities children continue to be rewarded for failure. They receive trophies just for showing up to the event. We are teaching them that failure is acceptable and to be expected.

Because of the large number of deaths involved with this scandal, they will have a problem brushing it off and just pretending to take action. This lady and everyone who worked with her that was aware of this secret list belongs in prison. I really doubt this practice was exclusive to the Phoenix VA and possibly exists in other VA hospitals and treatment centers.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Good Morning Tom,

Just imagine what we all have to look forward to.....See you at the Inn. Let's toast our veterans and hope they get the care they deserve. They sure don't deserve this!


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Good Morning carol,

You have stated the mess we are in to a tee. Lots of talking and no action going on. See you at the Inn. Forget the diet coke, it's not good for you!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

The poor treatment of our veterans is inexcusable. Thank you for raising awareness about this topic. Well done as always.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Good Morning Mike,

I firmly believe more bad news is yet to come. Frankly, I am not that surprised. I used to work for a group of doctors many years ago. Medicare was constantly telling patients that our office never submitted the forms. That, of course, was a bald-faced lie because it was done electronically. The purpose was to delay payment and to frustrate the older population. They succeeded at both. Shame on every single person involved. I hope they all go to jail. See you at the Inn where people still have values and are decent.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Good Morning billy,

This speaks volumes about big government, corruption and the values of individuals. It's not good reading! See you at the Inn.


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 2 years ago from Arizona

I know diet coke is bad and haven't had it for over 10 years..does that tell you something LOL


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Dear carol,

It says a lot. I may order onion rings!!!!


Pino Krisio 2 years ago

POP: This is shameful! Don't hold your breath waiting for Sharon Helman to be prosecuted. Maybe she will be promoted again. This administration must give bonuses for unique ways to fool the people. I wonder if she will ever be held accountable! I'm off to the bar. Save me a seat...


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 2 years ago from Rural Arizona

I would never defend this womans actions, but:

Back in my days with the corporate world we were often given assignments that were impossible with the current staffing levels and equipment on hand.

When asking for additional personell, we were of course denied.

When asking permission to work overtime, we were denied.

When asking for additional equipment, we were denied.

Bottom line is it was always about the reported numbers rather than the task at hand. The only difference between this and government operations is we had to take the blame for failure, not get promoted for failure.

My point is that there are people above this lady who were pushing for better numbers and could care less how she got them. For this to be going on without the knowlege of a higher-up would indicate those in charge were not doing their jobs all that well either.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

When we questioned government's ability to smoothly run our health care under Obamacare, the left smugly pointed to the VA as a model of efficiency. I already knew better than that because I took my father-in-law to the Phoenix VA many times before he passed away just to pick up his prescription, which was an ordeal that took anywhere from an hour to three hours.


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 2 years ago from Rural Arizona

My son, a 24 year veteran with the Army Rangers has been involved in a battle with the VA for over 4 years now. This is in regards to just some of the many injuries he received during combat tours in many far off godforsaken places.

It seems that there are no records of treatment received by medical personelle on the battlefield. So the VA says they have no proof that these injuries occured during his time on active duty. They did have proof from an Army hospital regarding a bullet wound through his leg, but that is one of the few injuries that is not causing him any problems. Shame on those battlefield medics for not stopping to write a report while they are treating the wounded on a battlefield.

Jumping out of airplanes with full packs and battlegear takes a physical toll on every one of our Vets who chose this career.

One VA employee actually told him that he knew it was dangerous when he signed up, so why should they be held responsible for the treatment of his injuries.

These men and women are heros that deserve much better. It is because of them we are still speaking English as our native language and enjoying the freedoms we have left.

Shame on our government and the VA.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Washington gives lip service to the military, and then forgets about them. Whenever the people demand cuts is spending, the military is almost always the first target, and it almost always involves benefit cuts. When did we ever see a cut in vote buying welfare?


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 2 years ago from Rural Arizona

We haven't seen a cut in entitlements. Most people don't realize the cost for those "Obama Phones" they used to buy votes shows up on their own bill every month. More "free lunch" stuff that someone else has to pay for.


Gawth profile image

Gawth 2 years ago from Millboro, Virginia

A very good friend of mine, a former helicopter pilot in Vietnam, received a terminal diagnosis from the VA. They told him he was suffering severe circulation problems as a result of his exposure to Agent Orange. They gave him six months. His brother talked him into going to a specialty hospital in Arizona and they ran exhaustive tests on him. What was found was that he had some vitamin and mineral deficiencies and needed some physical therapy. It's three years later and he's still alive. His last words to the VA doctor after confronting them with the new findings were pretty under-stated (I thought). He said you practipce p---poor medicine and have a sh--ty bedside manner.

From my own VA experience--which has been ok but not great--the greatest frustration is not being able to see a real doctor. PA's and Nurse Practitioners do most of the work. I predict the same for all medicine now that ObamaCare is the ruling body. Only the rich will see a doctor outside the Emergency Room unless the situation is very serious.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"From my own VA experience--which has been ok but not great--the greatest frustration is not being able to see a real doctor. PA's and Nurse Practitioners do most of the work. I predict the same for all medicine now that ObamaCare is the ruling body. Only the rich will see a doctor outside the Emergency Room unless the situation is very serious."

And you are correct. That's exactly what Obama said would be employed to cut costs...PA's and Nurse Practitioners, so look for decreasing life spans, which of course, will also 'cut costs'.


taxlarry 2 years ago

Aside freom the jerk in the white house and the jerks in congress, all departments are guilty of shoddy work practices. From the IRS, to DHS, to the VA, these folks believe they are owed a living no matter how bad their proformanace. The Inspector General has to make an awful lot of inspections of federal departments and agencies to deterrmine if people are working and doing the job they are supposed to do. Our tax dollars go to these a--holes for doing a horrible job and partying with our money. Manny, put a plague on them.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Dear Pino,

I am beyond pissed, quite frankly. Is this what we have come to? The government has made it acceptable to condemn people to die. Helman and many others who followed her orders must be held accountable. See you at the Inn, Pino.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Dear Mike,

I get what you are saying, but in this case we are talking about life and death. To care more about numbers than the health of our vets is to be an animal. This can't be brushed off as business as usual. Heads should roll all the way to prison. See you at the Inn. By the way Mike, I really love this back and forth we've been having and you have been having with other poppers. It makes things very interesting. Thanks so much.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Dear Will,

Thanks for the info. There is nothing like first-hand experience. How can a country with the reputation we had for being civilized, treat our soldiers so badly? I think we are morally corrupt. See you at the Inn.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Dear Mike,

I am so disgusted I could do mad. Apparently, the care your son should receive is as only as good as the idiot he is speaking to. Bureaucracy never works. It provides safe harbors for fools and uncaring incompetents who never have to fear for their jobs and don't have an ounce of decency in their bodies!!! See you later and please thank your son for his service.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Dear Gawth,

Your friend's experience will become commonplace outside of the service, as well. This is precisely why we all must retain the right to choose our doctors and to seek medical help elsewhere when things don't add up to a resolution. As for the way our vets are being treated, all I can say is, I want those responsible to pay a heavy price for their indifference. See you at the Inn, Gawth.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Dear Will,

Obamacare will shrink the number of people wanting to go into medicine. Doctors will have to see patients quickly and trust me,, important health concerns will be overlooked. The army's way will become our way, because whenever government gets their hands on anything,they ruin it.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Dear taxlarry,

A plague may be the only solution. The way thinks go now, we have a plethora of committees investigating a host of scandals with no results. I am sick of all the inaction. Heads should roll at the State department, the IRS, the NHS, the VA, the EPA, the Bureau of Land Management, Congress and the administration. Lunatic corrupt people without a conscious between them are running the country. See you at the Inn, taxlarry.


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 2 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

"And you are correct. That's exactly what Obama said would be employed {in Health Care} to cut costs...PA's and Nurse Practitioners, so look for decreasing life spans, which of course, will also 'cut costs'."

Is that an example of unanticipated consequences? Shortened life expectancy and less opportunity to vote and contribute to the taxbase? Who will pay the lawmakers when they make laws with these sort of unanticipated consequences?


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Good Morning FitnezzJim,

Perhaps the consequences were intended....


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 2 years ago from Arlington, TX

The VA medical system is the very reason I avoid seeking any treatment there. I'd have to be dying! Whoops! There ya go...

The government investigating itself is ridiculous.

The Frog Prince


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Good Morning Frog Prince,

The government itself is ridiculous!!! See you at the Inn.....


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 2 years ago from Rural Arizona

Anyone who thinks the top administrators were not aware that something was amiss are fooling themselves. The top administrators may not have known the details of the "secret list," but they knew something had changed with the improved numbers at this facility.

They had not added staff or resources, yet when this lady took over the results were outstanding. There also had to be a large number of employees involved in playing this numbers game. They are equally guilty in my opinion.

Every one who had knowledge of this fake scheduling scheme should be held accountable and lose their jobs. Some of them need to go to jail for the crime they have committed.

But as history shows us, rather than be punished they will be promoted, transferred, or allowed to reitre with full benefits and pension. It will be interesting to see what comes of the investigation and just how high up this attrocity goes.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Good Morning Mike,

It's just my opinion but the top officials had to know what was going on. If they plead ignorance, I'd fire them for supreme incompetence. I agree with every sile thing you say. Those involved at every level should be held accountable and pay a price. Does that even happen anymore? I'll see you at the Inn. I need to vent some more.


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 2 years ago from Rural Arizona

Poppy - The top officials may not have known the details of what was going on, but they liked the reported numbers and didn't ask any questions.

That makes them equally guilty. I wonder where this will go in the stack of scandals currently being investigated. Even the liberals can't ignore this one and call it a phoney scandal.


tsadjatko profile image

tsadjatko 2 years ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

The tip of the iceberg is the truth BP! And now we have a couple investigations going on which will take forever to bring anyone to justice if at all and do you know how many millions of dollars these investigations and prosecutions will cost?

What the government needs to do is offer total amnesty for 30 days to anyone who reports any fraud or wrongdoing and answers all questions about it no matter where it leads. After the thirty days anyone who hasn't copped is subject to all the consequences.

Actually this is what the government should be doing in every branch, agency and program. It would literally save billions of dollars spent on investigations and prosecutions, is the only way to stem the fraud,

but you know what?

The lawyers are in charge of our government and there is no way they will let the government do anything that will keep them from pocketing billions of OUR tax dollars spent on investigating and prosecuting (and defending) perpetrators, investigations and prosecutions which in many cases cost more than the damage caused by immoral and corrupt government employees.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Dear Mike,

This scandal had better get traction and people must pay for what they did. Anyone making excuses for this or even defending what took place and is probably taking place across the country should also pay a heavy price. Is there any good news out there? See you later at the Inn.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Good Morning tsadjatko,

We have plenty of investigations and a whole lot of talking going on without any action. Benghazi is a perfect example. You present an interesting idea, but I hate to see the guilty ones cop a plea. I can only imagine what would happen if they offered amnesty and money! People would start running off their mouths like crazy. Our government is corrupt. We have adopted all the qualities of a third world nation. But, like our esteemed president has so often pointed out, we are not the center of the universe and boys will be boys! See you at the Inn.


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 2 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

We are getting a lesson in how to abuse taxpayer dollars.. Gain power, do criminal things, demand expensive investigations, hire criminals to do the investigation and commit more crimes. When it looks like you'll be held accountable, rewrite the law, pardon, or refuse to proesecute. Keep all on the payroll as watchdogs. The pardons are coming.


tsadjatko profile image

tsadjatko 2 years ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

BP, immunity is money. Imagine the book title, "How I Defrauded the Government and They Let Me Walk". Best seller for sure.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Dear FitnezzJim,

It is with great sadness that I say that you have written the definitive State of the Union message.

I am at the Inn waiting for you.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Dear tsadjatko,

With this administration everybody walks! I am at the Inn Where are you?


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

I've been watching the coverage on this and it's horrible. The agency along with the employees should be ashamed of themselves. These patients fought for us and should not be treated this way.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Dear Glimmer Twin Fan,

I think this kind of treatment is part and parcel of how the VA operates. Clearly, we will be hearing more and more about other hospitals as workers start to speak up. There is no excuse for any of this. What we don't need is a long winded investigation. We need action now! See you at the Inn.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

There are things that render me totally speechless......sad, angry, outraged and nearly to the brink.....THIS is a BIG one in particular.

If I say anything more....I'll be banned forever!......Arghhhhhhhhhhhh!


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 2 years ago from Rural Arizona

Do you suppose the fact they unable to "fire" any employee regardless of how poorly they perform could be part of the problem? No private business could survive for very long and excell at what they do with these rules.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Good Morning fp,

Consider all you want to say said. I am with you all the way. Hearing Obama spout meaningless gibberish about our soldiers made me ill. See you later at the Inn. I'll save you a seat.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Good Morning Mike,

That's the problem with the entire government! The people who work at every level feel immune to criticism and consequences. That is also the problem with the teachers and everyone else in a union! See you at the Inn. I am so riled up, I may leave now!


tsadjatko profile image

tsadjatko 2 years ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

The Government is totally incompetent to run anything. If they couldn't raise your taxes or print money there would be no America, all government enterprises (if they can actually be considered enterprises) would cease to operate and at some point the case will be they can't print anymore money or raise taxes anymore and that will be the end.

The only thing anyone gives the government credit for operating successfully is the military but truth be told that is in spite of run away waste and fraud and at the enormous cost of unnecessary loss of life. They are totally incompetent at winning a war, protecting our own diplomats and patriot soldiers under fire.

Sure the main problem now is with this administration being an incompetent commander in chief (and I say administration because it is obvious Obama's political advisers are calling the shots when commanding the military) but where is the spine of these generals? Are they so worried about their careers they won't stand up to a corrupt president for the sake of the lives of their men? Why would anyone in command stand down from sending help to the men in Benghazi? Anyone in command who wouldn't ignore that order when he knew he could make a difference is a coward, I don't care what his rank. The military has all been politicized as is obvious in General Petraeus' case as I believe he was blackmailed by the administration (knowing about his affair) to do their dirty work - that case has still not been closed. Obama has been retiring and moving out old guard Generals and replacing them with "politically correct" robots he can better control ever since he took office.

The problem with incompetent government has not been a partisan problem but has been exasperated and frankly brought to historical heights in these last 5 1/2 years of the Obama administration, the culmination of historical ineptitude in government as evidenced from the economic collapse in 2007 caused by incompetent government policies to never ending scandal after scandal under this administration. And all this is just the tip of the iceberg.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago Author

Good Morning tsadjatko,

Thank you for this spot on commentary. Government simply can't run anything. It consists of layer after layer of people from the top to the bottom who are never held accountable for anything. They all suffer from terminal immunity and that simply has to change. If any of these hideous things happened in the private sector heads would roll. I am waiting, but don't expect, rolling heads. See you at the Inn!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working