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Va Struggles With Disability Claim Surge


allan

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fwd from kelly

VA struggles with disability claim surge

http://www.2ndbattalion94thartillery.com/Chas/OutgoingBS.htm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Outgoing VA Secretary Jim Nicholson acknowledged Tuesday that he's struggling to reduce surging disability claims from injured Iraq war veterans.

Mr. Secretary this has nothing to do with any surge of claims. Before the war, it was the same old VA BS. = Deny deny until VA cannot deny anymore and then go to Plan B – stall and stall and stall until the Veterans or Widow comes up in the VA lottery in the hopes of Plan C = the Veterans death or just giving up. Give me a break here - this is so much BS.

Addressing Congress for a final time before stepping down Oct. 1, Nicholson suggested to a House committee that the VA has yet to find a clear solution for long waits.

The long waits are “As Designed” in the processes and procedures of the VA meant to do just as they have been doing for the White House and DoD since Vietnam as they allow Vets to die before their claim is approved or have them subsidize their own government created disability.

Nicholson also said, though, he's proud of many accomplishments during his 2 1/2 years as head of the Veterans Affairs Department, pushing forward initiatives such as requiring screenings for brain-related injury, adding storefront walk-in clinics and boosting mental health counselors.

Proud of what should have been done decades ago. Better late than never except for those fellows that killed or tried to kill them self because of lack of treatment or the VA process itself.

But citing in part growing demands from a prolonged Iraq war, Nicholson also said the VA faces difficulties in meeting challenges and expressed sympathy to injured veterans who might have unfairly suffered as a result of unnecessary red tape.

Sympathy? I do not think any Veteran or Widow wants your damn sympathy. Justice maybe but not sympathy. I wish just once we would get someone honest with a little dab of integrity in this office that would come out and say, we just do what the White House and DoD tells us to do. No different than the VA losing in court the Blue Water Issues they fought for the White House; and now the White House is trying to change the law since VA lost on their behalf. Making an end run as it where to rear end the Veterans like they had nothing at all to do with it. Sooner or later, we need to realize these are nothing but political appointees that do the dirty work our own Presidents that will not admit to nor try and fix. Although I think in 1979, Kissenger let the Political Cat out of the bag as to how Washington really looks at the military. We just did not believe it at the time. Actions now demonstrate that exact White House Philosophy recanted by Kissenger.

"We have learned that, in many instances, we were not as sensitive to those needs as we could have been — and we have tried to adjust, while at the same time caring for veterans of different wars and different eras," Nicholson said in testimony prepared for delivery to the House Veterans Affairs Committee. "My heart has gone out to service members or veterans who seem to have slipped through the cracks."

Then you should have been honest enough to do something about it! Again, you had your chance to be a hero. Take your “heart going out” and your baggage and get out!

Regarding the claims backlog, Nicholson said the department has hired 1,100 new processors to reduce delays of up to 177 days in processing disability payments. But he predicted another rise in compensation and pension claims this year, citing the additional applications pouring in during "the midst of war."

This is also BS statement. You might get a denial in 177 days only. Getting actual financial help this 177 BS answer does not apply.

The increase, he said, is coming from Iraq war veterans as well as veterans from previous conflicts who were prompted to file additional claims for new or additional benefits amid the current public focus on war-related injuries in Iraq.

Had our own government and government scientists been the least bit truthful the above paragraph could not and would not apply. Instead, we get government lies instead of justice.

"The claims backlog is an issue that has bedeviled me and many that have come before me," Nicholson said. "In fact, VA can influence the output — claims decided — of its work product, but it cannot control the input — claims filed."

Lets see, every Secretary since “Bows and Arrows” has failed to address this same issue or solve the problem. So all of them in total could not solve this problem. Either we have had the wrong folks in there all this time or obviously the problem is above their pay grade and probably has resided at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and the Pentagon with many of them working on Capital Hill.

He also blamed gaps in VA's mental health care partly on "areas of the country where certain specialty health care providers simply can't be hired, no matter what you would pay them."

Nicholson abruptly announced in July that he was resigning. His appearance Tuesday comes amid intense political and public scrutiny following reports of substandard outpatient treatment at the Pentagon-run Walter Reed Army Medical Center and at VA facilities.

In recent weeks, injured Iraq war veterans have filed a lawsuit against the VA alleging undue delays in health care, particularly in mental health coverage. The VA inspector general's office also found the VA repeatedly understated wait times for injured veterans seeking medical care and in many serious cases forced them to wait more than 30 days, counter to department policy.

The report also concluded that Nicholson and VA Undersecretary for Health Michael Kussman earlier this year falsely reported to Congress that 95% of veterans' outpatient appointments — rather than 75%, as the IG found — were timely.

Gee now whom do these two work for? You guessed it!

In his prepared remarks, Nicholson did not mention the IG report while repeating his belief that the VA still offered the best health care system in the world. The VA has questioned the IG report's methodology and said it would hire a contractor to do another study.

"To be sure there have been disappointments, but I believe we have made tremendous progress," Nicholson said. "Together we have made VA a stronger, more focused organization — focused on the very real needs of all of our veterans, especially those currently engaged as warriors in the Global War on Terror."

The above two statements just reeks of politics - not facts!

Among the achievements Nicholson cited:

• Launching a campaign to reduce high rates of obesity and diabetes in veterans. Some 25% of veterans under VA care suffer from adult-onset Type II diabetes, which can lead to blindness, renal failure or amputations.

• Creating a new multi-campus academy in partnership with U.S. nursing schools to address a nursing shortage and encourage nurses to work for the VA.

• Hiring suicide prevention counselors at each of VA's 153 hospitals and creating a 24-hour prevention hotline in July.

• Centralizing the VA's information technology system to minimize the risk of data loss. That came after nearly 26.5 million veterans' personal information was put at risk of identity theft last year after a VA employee lost a computer hard drive.

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