Our Vets are Dying
Praying Mantis Manny
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.
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!
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.
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.
The moment I wake up
Before I brush my wings
I say a little prayer for you.....