Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Veterans Affairs Claims Logjam: Should Prez Obama Declare National Emergency?

Veteran Suicide Rate

From Denny:  There's a wonderful reason my husband is nicknamed "Satan" at our house.  Most times it's because he specializes in being the most annoying irritating person on the planet because it's his idea of fun when he gets bored - while he is the only person laughing. There are those times when Home "Satan" comes up with a wickedly good idea. "Satan" proposed it is past due time for President Obama to issue an executive order to declare a temporary suspension of all federal workers' rights and pay who work in the Veterans Affairs Administration until the claims logjam is accomplished.

Shocking, isn't it?  What's more shocking is how many veterans are committing suicide as a result of the VA falling down on the job.  Let the unions and the courts sort it out later.  As President, Mr. Obama should bring this call to action to pierce the logjam with a motivation for workers to keep their jobs.

That's right; until the almost one million claims logjam is truly quickly processed then it's time for the workers to feel the same pain.  Because of their ineptitude, laziness, poor leadership at the top and/or middle management, lack of proper resources and/or all of the preceding reasons and excuses the end result is that thousands of veterans are committing suicide each year because they cannot get the help America promised them.

This health care hell travesty is killing military morale.  Friends and family of veterans are angry.  Fellow soldiers are angry and resentful their friends are receiving this disrespectful treatment in their hour of need.  This cannot continue with the Pentagon sitting on their hands yet again.

Military Sacrifice iPhone 5 Case

No military sacrifice is ever left behind or forgotten, thank you

* * *  Please support Warriors Pearl Foundation - contributing to fund efforts to help homeless female military veterans come home.  Visit Denny Lyon Gifts  @  -  see what's new!  And a special thanks to those of you supporting this effort!  You rock!

It's past due time to task these VA claims employees with a completed project done in a very short time or they lose their jobs and their pensions. It's past due time for a hard-nosed hard-ass attitude to break this logjam. No more excuses; no more whining; no more protecting their turf. Veterans, their families and the public are fed up with this mess that no one wants to clean up in a timely manner.

I guarantee there are those motivated and conscientious VA employees who are good and effective scroungers who have been creatively navigating this mess for decades just to achieve the little victories here and there to help a vet.  They have made thousands of attempts to clean up the mess over the years.  They were sidelined and shouted down by middle and upper management who were angry they dared to "rock the boat" and would not protect the status quo of "this is how it's always been done."

These same motivated employees have witnessed the attempts at modernization for decades too.  They can identify the "problem children" that need replacing in key positions in order to break this logjam.  Listen to them.  

Why not free these people to fix this huge mess, each in their small group, branching out to a larger area, then a region and eventually connecting up with the rest of the country?  There are over 20,000 employees in the claims department, many who have been on the job for decades.  They have witnessed every attempt to modernize the broken system and learned to jump through ridiculous hoops just to keep this broken system limping along for the next generation.

Put all of these 20,000 claims department employees on around-the-clock shifts to break this logjam.  No one gets paid until they complete the project.  Or they get paid half pay.  Or you pay them but let them know they will be fired if they do not complete this project in less than 90 days.  Period.  End of discussion; you are out if you don't do this right and do it now.  

Why haven't VA Director Shinseki and his entire upper and middle management staff across the nation rolled up their sleeves and gone down to join the front lines of the claims department?  They all must get personally involved on a daily basis.

ALL management must sit in the place of a claims employee and do the actual work, take a note of the time and the day, and see what exactly is involved and how many months and resources it takes to complete a claim for a vet.  It's one thing to read a report or a news story about the length of time and the ridiculous things that happen along the way while determining a claim.  It's quite another if you witness it up close and personal when you have invested your own time and effort into the endeavor.

Besides, when you look at this mess as more than just chasing after paper records in various states for just one claim or the technology mess that is impeding success, you figure out how to simplify it all.  Why not just take new patient histories from the vets?  There can be a legal penalty if they lie or try to con the government.  Let the VA's Inspector General figure out who the three percent of con artists are later.  Meanwhile, quit holding up the 97 percent who need help now.

The American public would rather take the temporary hit of someone conning the government out of some expensive treatment than let the guy ten people down in line get so frustrated he kills himself waiting for the claims folks to decide if the con artist is legit.  Quit trying to prove the claims before giving them help.  Just give them the help and take care of the fools later.

It's past due time to bitch slap the hell out of the Pentagon and the VA until they break this logjam.  Another problem-solving idea post tomorrow - and for as many days as it takes to get the VA moving in the right direction and at breakneck speed.  It's a sad day in America when the most vociferous advocate veterans in need possess is a no name woman journalist who stands ready to bitch slap the entire Pentagon until the job is done.

And, hey, if you still don't get it, my idea for the retired Special Forces veterans to form an organization to help bring down the world's political temperature -

Time For New Unorthodox Solutions For Rapidly Changing Dangerous World Situations? 

- is the perfect vets group to go into the VA and start our first project: breaking the logjam.  "Charity begins at home" as the saying goes and we require a practice case before we go into other countries.  So, where is my "Work Satan" (retired Navy Seal Richard Marcinko)?  Send him down to Louisiana ASAP.  

We have thousands of suicides to prevent and you will put us all to work immediately.  It's the only honorable thing to do and it's past due time America returned to honor.  No one should be left behind or told to wait for indefinite periods, especially our PTSD veterans.

Related Articles and Veterans Links

Jon Stewart Hammers Vet Affairs Failing to Break 1 Million Claims Logjam (this blog and more video - May 2013) 

The Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 press 1) connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring VA responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text (Text 838255). Veterans and their loved ones can call, chat online, and text message.

* * *  Please support Warriors Pearl Foundation - contributing to fund efforts to help homeless female military veterans come home.  Visit Denny Lyon Gifts  @  -  see what's new!  And a special thanks to those of you supporting this effort!  You rock!

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