Posts Tagged ‘Peake’

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.

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.

Peake To World: “Erroneous”

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Despite the unassailable smoking gun evidence of the  emails, Peake stated:

“The notion we’re not trying to get the truth out there is erroneous”

 

Fascinating. Peake also thought that the complaints he was getting about Walter Reed were “erroneous” when he was the Army Surgeon General. The hypermyopia of Peake, Kussman, Katz, and others is doing nothing to stop the Veterans suicide epidemic. The May 6th hearing is listed as “The Truth about Veterans Suicides”. It seems that if Congress wanted to get at the truth, the last person on Earth to testify at that hearing would be Peake. Congress could hold hearings every day, all day, and have an inexhaustible supply of witnesses in the group of War Veterans that have attempted suicide and the parents of War Veterans who succeeded. When will we say “enough”? When 220 War Veterans a week are committing suicide? 440? 880? When? Until Peake and his ilk are held accountable there will be no progress, it will only get worse.

 

 


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.

 

Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

One of the first “News” Releases in the Peake Dynasty of the VA has this in it: “…ensure America’s veterans receive world-class health care,” said Dr. James B. Peake, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. “America’s veterans deserve the best this country has to offer, and VA is achieving that high standard.”

Matter of semantics? When the VA uses the term “World-Class Health Care”, we think they mean that is compared to health care that’s provided in parts of the world by “alternative” providers. One example: I spent a year in the Philippines. My friend Jack was married to a Pilipina. She was having some kind of female specific problems. They called in the Doctor. The Doctor slit a chicken’s throat and splashed blood all around the room and began dancing and chanting. The problems persisted. They took her to Olongapo General Hospital. They determined that she had an ectopic pregnancy. They were able to save her life.

So when the VA claims to be providing “World-Class Health Care”, they are comparing themselves with practitioners that use chicken’s blood, dance, and chants to heal the sick.

We have absolutely no explanation for how they can claim to be providing Veterans “the best this country has to offer”. Unless their talking about Edy’s Grand Ice Cream, but we’ve never seen that served by the VA. The VA serves those little styrofoam cups that has like two bites in it. Like the kids in kindergarten get.

Believe me when I tell you that no one is more disappointed by us being right about Peake then we are.

According to VA’s own research, Veterans who are eligible for both Medicare Providers and VA Providers will choose Medicare-only 36% of the time and VA-only 18% of the time. Source: (PMID: 17304078 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]).

Doesn’t it then logically follow that if the VA were providing Veterans “the best this country has to offer” that those results would be different?  When I had both Medicare and VA I used Medicare 90% and VA 10%.  Since I can no longer afford Medicare, I’m all VA nowadays; However, I’m confident that the VA will kill me before long so I won’t have to suffer through their BULLSHIT too long.  Hei Peake, call me.  Let’s do lunch.

Merry Christmas? Maybe Not.

Monday, December 24th, 2007

The VA staunchly maintains that there is no suicide epidemic among Veterans. They claim that the numbers that CBS News reported are not reflective of the actual numbers.

For the sake of this argument let’s assume the VA is right. Let’s say that the reported 120 Veterans suicides per week is exaggerated.

Let’s further assume that the actual number of Veterans suicides is only 60 per week. Half of what was reported.

Now, let’s say that we believe the VA when they say that they have the most greatest, biggest, most venerated, fail proof, most respected suicide prevention program in the
known Universe.

Now to the questions: If the assumptions above are true, then why is the entire home page of the VA website largely covered with pictures and stories about the new VA Secretary, James Peake?


Wouldn’t it make sense that if the VA did, in fact, have such a great suicide prevention program, and that it is widely believed that the suicide rate increases during the “Holiday Season”. Wouldn’t it make sense that the VA website, where many people go to try and find helpful resources for themselves or a Veteran family member in crisis.

Wouldn’t it then make sense that instead of trying to find the link to suicide prevention buried in a list between “Job Opportunities at VA” and “ Summary of Benefits for Veterans and Dependents”.

Wouldn’t it then make sense that the homepage of the Government agency charged with preventing suicides among Veterans, the agency that has several Federal laws that mandate more aggressive suicide prevention among Veterans. Wouldn’t it then make sense that the home page of that agency have a very prominent, easy to identify, and easy to access “banner” that leads to suicide prevention information?

Let’s Do a Compare and Contrast:

If you do a Google search for “veterans suicide”, which is probably a very likely search phrase someone in crisis trying to find help, or a concerned person trying to find help for their Veteran, would use, this is what you would get These Results.

However, if you do a Google search for just suicide you get These Results.

OK. More questions:

The VA spends millions of dollars each year on their Public Affairs Propaganda Machine. Why is it they won’t spend a few bucks to get Google AdWords, and other similar advertising programs that cause the issue to be prominently featured in web searches? Like the well managed private suicide prevention providers do.

Why don’t some of those Veterans Charities that claim to care so deeply about Veterans Issues spend some of the exorbitant amounts of money they spend on fundraising, conventions, executive salaries, executive travel, gourmet meals, and political lobbying on buying some advertising targeted at spreading information about the epidemic of Veterans Suicides?

O, we forgot. There is no suicide epidemic among Veterans.

What Part of DONT TREAD ON ME do you not understand?
–The Reverend Larry D Fagre, Founder