A discussion on VA problems…

Following is a discussion I had in comments in The Military Times about this article:  http://www.militarytimes.com/articles/roe-va-budget-session-start?fb_comment_id=fbc_1020645278036523_1021687661265618_1021687661265618#f118f324070050c

Don Avant ·

At least partially true…If the VA didn’t waste billions on cost over-runs at Aurora, millions for media spin doctors, millions for solar panels over parking lots of all things, millions on “art” to decorate VA buildings and MORE millions on unjustified bonuses, the VA would have MORE than enough to fulfill it’s core function…PROVIDING CARE AND BENEFITS TO VETERANS. Anything that is not directly involved in that mission is wasted…

Janya Orfeyeva

Except a lot of the art is bought at low cost from amateur veteran artists. Solar panels lower electricity bills for the building and pat for themselves in a,few years. And Doctors and med staff make well below private sector. The salary studies are only done every 10 years. Cemetery Administration which is part of the VA, is,the leanest run of any federal agencies with hardly any overhead. So…. I think you’re looking in the wrong place. When I worked in PT at VA, I saw integrated care, caring staff and lots of no shows and last minute canceled appointments dur to older population whSee More
Like · Reply · 1 · Feb 1, 2017 2:22pm

Don Avant ·

Janya Orfeyeva:  While I partially agree with you, I disagree with several points…RE: “a lot of the art is bought at low cost from amateur veteran artists”

I’ll need to some reference for this…I’ve read several articles regarding the art purchased for the VA and none mentioned Veteran artists…

RE: “Solar panels lower electricity bills for the building and pat for themselves in a,few years.

Builidng solar panels and saving the environment is NOT the VA’s mission…These expenditures and efforts detract from the primary mission of caring for Vets and the projects almost never come in onSee More

Like · Reply · Feb 1, 2017 3:32pm

Janya Orfeyeva

Don Avant,

I can’t comment on Aurora as I have not done any real research. Each VA region and even facility is run a little differently so what you see at one, you may not see at another. I have seen nice newere facilities and ones definetly in need of updating in every way.

The art I’ve personally seen at DOD and VA buildings and when I worked with Wounded Warriors, we had art therapy as part of the recreational therapy programs, they were always submitting for contests, where if won art would be on display at VA or DOD. Purchasing is preferred from Vet owned business and over 25% of VA is staffed by veterans.

I’m in no way defending incompetance, however not all bonsuses are tied to performance metrics. Some are sign on, some are given for tenure, or other deparmental reasons. And every head should roll for those Jackasses that shredded patient lists.

However….Our building at WW was LEEDS platinum, (not a VA building but built by govt to new standards) saving lots of $ on operational costs for water an energy, both $$$ here in CA. So yes, it sucks when projects are not well managed as happens on occasion, it should not be the norm. Anything that saves on long term operations IS a worthwhile undertaking. That $ can ease tax payer burden and be used for other things like new equipment.

From what I see (and I’m married to a vet with combat disability), most of the frustration comes from very long waits for claims processing and wait times for some providers at some of the busier locations. Also the hiring process is insane, almost 6 months for physical therapy. If there is waste, it’s not likely in solar but beaurocracy. Why can a regular hospital hire me in a week? also VA is subject to tons more reporting and disclosure than private sector hospitals. And they are the largest medical system in the country by several million.
They also negotiate prescription prices which helps save $. Most med systems dont’t do that.

I did my clinical internship at the VA for physical therapy there and saw amazing things with amputees and other things that were very expensive but needed given the amount of amputees this war has generated. I hope the guys in that dept got their bonuses, they certainly earned them. One of the other things I know they have done recently is updated their medical records system and storage. And THAT is not cheap. But it was awesome because it allowed an integrated whole patient approach that allows the providers to communicate with each other easily (even some providers outside the VA), so psych, PT, primary, oncology could all talke to each other. It allows better care delivery, and that system is not avaialbe in every public sector (some still used paper records!). So in many ways the VA adopts things that then become standard practice for the rest of the field, such as advances in prosthetics. I’m sure there IS waste but I’m not sure its as much as people thik, it just sounds like a good sound bite for “cutting govt spending,” using a snap shot of one layer of a huge onion. Hacking and chopping just to get a better number by legislators who have never used the system, been a provider, or every managed a health care company is not necessarily going to help. This needs to be done carefully by managed care experts, vets and providers.

Like · Reply · 11 hrs

Don Avant ·

Janya Orfeyeva
RE: “I did my clinical internship at the VA for physical therapy” Thank you, from a Nam Vet…
You seem to be the caring person
Vets need. Just curious, why did you leave (if you did)?

RE: “From what I see (and I’m married to a vet with combat disability), most of the frustration comes from very long waits for claims processing and wait times for some providers at some of the busier locations.”

VERY true…but from where I sit, that’s just the tip of the iceberg…The wait list scandals brought a previously unheard-of scrutiny to the VA and latter investigations revealed SOOOO much more. There seems to be a new scandal every month and even the old scandals are not addressed properly. Wait times at Phoenix are still almost as bad or even worse in some areas as when the scandal broke…

The causes are many: An overburdened system that’s not keeping up with increased demand. ( Gulf war that’s still going on and producing new casualties) A concerted push from The Right to keep costs down and continued resistence to increased funding. Millions spent on stuff that is not essential to the core mission (Caring for Vets) and a continued effort by both upper and middle VA mangement to hide the truth about how money is spent…I could go on but but I can feel my BP rising just thinking about it…

The VA motto is “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan” (Abraham Lincoln)

POTUS, Congress and the VA needs to step up and fulfull this mission…Instead the VA has become a huge pile of money surrounded by everybody and his brother with their hand out…

Here’s what Vets can to to combat the problem:

National Veteran’s Action Committee

You can join the NVAC HERE:  http://donavantwebsites.com/veterans-political-action-committee/

One thought on “A discussion on VA problems…”

  1. My belief that Veteran Medical Centers should have a Cosmetic Dentistry Dentist that knows how to put in G4implants at any Veteran Medical Center plus if a Veteran is 100 percent service connected if he or she needs to see Medical Provider outside the Veteran Medical Center should have a choice of the Medical Provider wants.

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