Archive for May, 2008

Another Bit Of Truth Makes It Out

Friday, May 16th, 2008

Anyone who has extensive experience with the VA mental health system knows that PTSD is a four letter word.  VA mental health practitioners will go to extreme lengths to not diagnose and not treat PTSD.

The reason for this is driven by economics.

As evidenced in the most recent VA employee email  controversy.

In the email a VA employee states the “actual” policy of the VA instead of the “published” policy. Anyone who has been victimized by the VA system will tell you that the VA will go to extraordinary lengths to deny Veterans the benefits that the law allows. Giving an incorrect diagnosis is just one example. How about conducting C&P exams for the same issue over-and-over until the desired result is achieved. That result being one doctor who will state that they don’t believe the issue is service-connected and the Veteran is just “compensation seeking”. And it’s not just PTSD, but PTSD is the hot potato that the VA doesn’t want to acknowledge.

I’ll be the first to tell you that there are a whole bunch of leeches that lied and cheated their way into getting VA benefits.  They should be prosecuted for fraud just like anyone else; However, that should not be an excuse for the VA to paint all Veterans as “compensation seekers”.

 

Will You Believe Me Now?

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

“I disagree with the premise that there was some effort to cover something up,” Kussman testified Thursday. “We don’t obfuscate.”

That came from testimony Kussman gave in the “Veterans Lawsuit“.

In an article appearing in The Saginaw News on May 9th, Jean Spenner states: “Comments from Ed Mason, president of the union chapter at the center, must go through the public affairs office, said Carrie Seward, public affairs officer.”

The story is about a hangman’s noose that was found in an employees locker at the VA hospital in Saginaw.

I have been a very vocal critic of the VA spin and rotation propaganda machine for a long time.

And that’s why.  At the same time that Kussman is testifying, under oath, that the VA doesn’t obfuscate, Carrie Seward is giving us another example of just how the VA does obfuscate.

By ensuring that all comments from the employee union president are routed through her, Carrie Seward can guarantee that only the “Official Message” makes it out.

And that’s the way the VA works.  Just like in the email that Katz sent to the VA spin doctor Everett (call me Ev) Chasen asking for guidance on how to spin the fact that 17 Veterans EVERY DAY are committing suicide.

The Nazi and Soviet propaganda machines could have learned many lessons from the VA.

The Chinese, Cuban, and Myanmar propaganda machines still can.

Head, Meet Wall

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Another Hearing Another Day. The Hearing is being pimped as “The Truth About Veterans Suicides”.

The first panel of witnesses is Peake, Cross, and Katz. Would you trust these three and their minions to provide valuable testimony at a hearing?

Maybe the committee missed the emails.

If you, and me, and a few thousand of our friends faxed the emails to the committee at (202) 225-2034 or called the committee at (202) 225-9756 and refreshed their memories.

Remind them that Peake, Kussman, and Katz think that it is OK that 120 Veterans are committing suicide every week.

You know what they will say, don’t you? They will say that they are going to “grill” them. The politicians will feign righteous indignation and will tell those VA bureaucrats that they are “angry” and “frustrated”.

The politicians will read “heartfelt” statements that were prepared by high-paid lawyer staffers.

Another sham hearing just so politicians can posture.

 At the end of the day the VA will still be unwilling, to the point of belligerence, to do anything about the Veterans Suicide Epidemic.

Opponents carry injured home run hitter around the bases

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

PORTLAND, Ore. – With two runners on base and a strike against her, Sara Tucholsky of Western Oregon University uncorked her best swing and did something she had never done, in high school or college. Her first home run cleared the center-field fence.But it appeared to be the shortest of dreams come true when she missed first base, started back to tag it and collapsed with a knee injury.

She crawled back to first but could do no more. The first-base coach said she would be called out if her teammates tried to help her. Or, the umpire said, a pinch runner could be called in, and the homer would count as a single.

Then, members of the Central Washington University softball team stunned spectators by carrying Tucholsky around the bases Saturday so the three-run homer would count – an act that contributed to their own elimination from the playoffs.

Central Washington first baseman Mallory Holtman, the career home run leader in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, asked the umpire if she and her teammates could help Tucholsky.

The umpire said there was no rule against it.

So Holtman and shortstop Liz Wallace put their arms under Tucholsky’s legs, and she put her arms over their shoulders. The three headed around the base paths, stopping to let Tucholsky touch each base with her good leg.

“The only thing I remember is that Mallory asked me which leg was the one that hurt,” Tucholsky said. “I told her it was my right leg and she said, ‘OK, we’re going to drop you down gently and you need to touch it with your left leg,’ and I said ‘OK, thank you very much.’”

“She said, ‘You deserve it, you hit it over the fence,’ and we all kind of just laughed.”

“We started laughing when we touched second base,” Holtman said. “I said, ‘I wonder what this must look like to other people.’”

“We didn’t know that she was a senior or that this was her first home run,” Wallace said Wednesday. “That makes the story more touching than it was. We just wanted to help her.”

Holtman said she and Wallace weren’t thinking about the playoff spot, and didn’t consider the gesture something others wouldn’t do.

As for Tucholsky, the 5-foot-2 right fielder was focused on her pain.

“I really didn’t say too much. I was trying to breathe,” she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday.

“I didn’t realize what was going on until I had time to sit down and let the pain relax a little bit,” she said. “Then I realized the extent of what I actually did.”

“I hope I would do the same for her in the same situation,” Tucholsky added.

As the trio reached home plate, Tucholsky said, the entire Western Oregon team was in tears.

Central Washington coach Gary Frederick, a 14-year coaching veteran, called the act of sportsmanship “unbelievable.”

For Western Oregon coach Pam Knox, the gesture resolved the dilemma Tucholsky’s injury presented.

“She was going to kill me if we sub and take (the home run) away. But at the same time I was concerned for her. I didn’t know what to do,” Knox said.

Tucholsky’s injury is a possible torn ligament that will sideline her for the rest of the season, and she plans to graduate in the spring with a degree in business. Her home run sent Western Oregon to a 4-2 victory, ending Central Washington’s chances of winning the conference and advancing to the playoffs.

“In the end, it is not about winning and losing so much,” Holtman said. “It was about this girl. She hit it over the fence and was in pain, and she deserved a home run.”

More Fuzzy Math

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Anyone who has been a homeless Veteran knows about the “monkey trail”. In Washington, D.C. there’s a comparable occurrence. It’s the never ending flow of bureaucrats from 810 Vermont Ave. NW to Capitol Hill and back.

One key difference between these groups is that the homeless Veteran has nothing to carry and the VA bureaucrat has another bureaucrat carrying their water.

Lately, many of these bureaucrats have been trudging up the Hill to tell “outraged” politicians that the VA has hired gazillions of mental health professionals to help alleviate the non-existent Veterans suicide epidemic.

What the bureaucrats don’t tell and what the politicians don’t ask is how many of the existing mental health professionals are quitting the VA in droves, or are being fired or forced into “early retirement”.

The reason for this is simple. They do this because if people knew the truth they would be outraged and demand accountability. They don’t like accountability. Accountability is hard. Feigning outrage is easy, and it plays well on TV.

However, some people are doing some research at websites like http://www.fedscope.opm.gov/index.asp

And an interesting thing shows up in the statistics. An example is the 4th quarter of FY08. In that quarter the VHA had 8,049 accessions and 4,865 separations during that quarter.

Net result = 3,184 new people. The VA won’t tell you that though. They just talk about the accessions.

The end strength reported for 4Q FY08 in VHA is 233,274. Ira Katz claims that 17,000 of those are mental health professionals. He also claims that the mental health professionals group consists of: “part-time psychiatrists, part-time psychologists, social workers, mental health nurses, counselors, rehabilitation specialists, and other clinicians.”

Why doesn’t he mention residents? Anyone who has been a victim of VA healthcare knows that the vast majority of the experimentation done on Veterans is done by residents.

The majority of the time that the part-time psychiatrists and psychologists spend is on the supervision of these residents.

Is the term “other clinicians” a codeword for resident? We think it is.

Bottom Line? The VA is engaging in fuzzy math tactics to alleviate the intense scrutiny that would come from honesty and forthrightness.

The unobfuscated truth is that only seven percent of VHA employees are “mental health professionals”.

It is reasonable to conclude that there are at least 1 million Veterans seeking mental health treatment through the VA. That is twenty percent of enrolled Veterans. Logic would suggest that seven percent of employees dedicated to twenty percent of the “population” is a woefully inadequate response.

O! Wait. We forgot.

“I disagree with the premise that there was some effort to cover something up,” Kussman testified Thursday. “We don’t obfuscate.”

Silly me! The VA doesn’t obfuscate.