Posts Tagged ‘katz’

We Haven’t Forgotten (Note From Lars)

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Greetings Friends:

Well, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the new VA secretary, Eric Shinseki, but given that he has kept all of the old VA bureaucrats in charge, it doesn’t look like we can expect much “change”.

To my mind, one of the most offensive retentions is that of Michael Kussman as under secretary for health.  This guy is one of the most callous characters I’ve ever seen.

For those of you that haven’t seen it, here’s an email Kussman sent about Veterans suicides:

—– Original Message —–
From: Kussman, Michael J, M.n.
To: Katz, Ira R.; Zeiss, Antonette
Cc: Cross, Gerald M.; Van Diepen, Louise R; O’Grady, Laura (VHACO)
Sent: Sat Dec 15 10:26:382007
Subject: Suicides
In the Clips this morning. our friend Chris Adams in the McLatchy Papers alleges that 18 veterans kill themselves every day and this is
confirmed by the VA’s own statistics. Is that true? Sounds awful but if one is considering 24 million veterans.
Michael J. Kussman, MD, MS, MACP
Brigadier General, United States Army, Retired
Under Secretary For Health
Veterans Health Administration
Department of Veterans Affairs
Washington, DC, 20420

“Sounds awful but if one is considering 24 million veterans.”

Well, gee, there’s so damn many Veterans, 24 million, what’s the big deal about 18 a day?

Hey!  This is good for the gubmint!  If only we could figure out how to get 180 to commit suicide each day!

How about 1800?  Wouldn’t that be great!?

Wouldn’t be long before we could get rid of the whole bunch!

Unless of course you’re a retired General.  Like Eric Shinseki and Michael Kussman.  Those are “keepers”.

The only solace that I get is in the knowledge that Shinseki and Kussman will have to meet their maker come judgment day.   And I’m convinced it ain’t gonna be pretty for these two and their ilk.

Ut Prosim


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

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.

Short Attention Span Theater

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

So Senators Murray and Akaka are holding a press conference today to “Talk about the state of mental health care at the VA and renew their calls for strong leadership and improved care.”

We still haven’t heard anything from Akaka about why he circumvented the normal process and scheduled the confirmation vote on the Peake nomination “expeditiously”, despite assurances by the committee that there would be 48 hours advance notice.

We also haven’t heard why Akaka is only calling for the resignation of Ira Katz and not any other criminally culpable VA bureaucrat.

Murray stated during Peake’s confirmation hearing: “While we shouldn’t dwell on the mistakes of the past, we must learn from them and I expect General Peake to
learn from his predecessors’ failures.  If he fails to change the direction of this agency, he will have to answer for it.”

On the nomination of Kussman, Akaka stated: “I urge you, Dr. Kussman: if you are confirmed, to first and foremost serve as an advocate for veterans. I am quite cognizant of the constraints placed upon you by the White House and OMB. I promise you my full
cooperation and assistance, but I tell you now, that I will not be satisfied unless you work to uphold the promises made to all our troops.”

Because Akaka has a warm and fuzzy relationship with Kussman he is satisfied with Kussman’s status as “advocate” despite the email in which Kussman accepts that it is OK for 120 Veterans per week committing suicide because there are 24 million Veterans.

Because neither Murray nor Akaka are doing anything besides political posturing, Peake, Kussman, Katz, Chasen, Zeiss, Cross, Van Diepen,  O’Grady, and a whole host of other VA bureaucrats who committed felonies by covering up information that could save countless Veterans lives, are getting another free pass.

When will these criminals be brought to justice?  If their fate lies with Murray and Akaka, the answer is never.

Never in this time, that is.  Their actions committed in the dark will be brought into the light, sooner or later, and they will have to answer.

More Anti Veteran Stuff From The VA

Friday, April 25th, 2008

It’s pretty thoroughly reported that there is an epidemic of suicides amongst Veterans. One way the VA deals with Veterans who are severely mentally ill and symptomatic is to kick them out of the VA health care system and deny or terminate any financial benefits that they are entitled to by law.

The reason the VA does this is driven by the image police. The absolute last thing that the VA wants to deal with is the ramifications that would result from a VA employee being killed by a Veteran.

That would look to the public like there are crazed killer Veterans on the loose and everyone is in danger.

To avoid this, the VA has a policy of severe overreaction. If you are a mentally ill Veteran and have an “outburst” or are determined to be “uncooperative” you are immediately removed by police and permanently banned from receiving treatment at VA facilities.

A perfect example is the case of Sonny Anthony Iovino, a 55-year-old, mentally ill Vietnam veteran who froze to death under the Benton St. Bridge.

From that Wall Street Journal article: “Local police officers had tried to get Iovino the care he needed just 48 hours before his death. But he was refused a bed at the local homeless shelter and then turned away from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center here because he was “uncooperative.”

Another example is my own personal story of being the victim of VA “care”.  Anyone who wants to hear it can contact me.

The VA should be, without exception, a place where a Veteran can get life-saving treatment.  The actual risk to persons posed by mentally ill Veterans, or mentally ill anybody for that matter, is extremely low and easily mitigated. There are obvious exceptions; However, the number of Veterans killed by VA “professionals” is countless.

The VA’s policies toward Veterans are simply abhorrent.  That’s why when I hear these bureaucrats and clueless politicians claim that Veterans are getting “World Class Care” I say BULLSHIT.