THE LYING GAME: New VA Chief Delivers Fresh Baloney on Sunday Talk Show, as Vets Still Dying For Care

*Editor’s Note: There are two emerging issues that clearly show how VA seeks to trick Americans into believing the recent scandals at Phoenix and elsewhere are actually being fixed.

The first report comes from The Blaze.

On the Sunday morning talk show “Meet The Press,” VA Secretary Robert McDonald claimed 900 VA employees were fired since he took over. Perhaps it is true. But the big lie is this.

He said so in a clever way, to where most innocent-minded folk would conclude the firings were related to his making good on public pledges of reform and to fix the scandal-ridden agency.

It’s like how to succeed with a big lie, without technically (perhaps legally) telling a lie.

What The Blaze found, was that he is actually doing the opposite of what he wants people to believe; it is just another classic example of Washington D.C. trickery by tongue.

According to the report, McDonald in his first six months as VA secretary has actually fired fewer employees per month than did his predecessor Eric Shinseki.

The Blaze cited a VA report to congress issued this month that states clearly just EIGHT employees at VA had been fired due to their roles in the “Secret Wait List” scandals.

Here is a link to The Blaze story:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/02/16/va-secretary-claims-60-people-fired-but-really-it-was-just-eight/

Another separate issue which VA has been attempting to serve up to the American citizenry amounts to a Big Whopper, or to be more direct, a BS Burger with everything.

This has to do with VA’s new “Choice Cards,” which recently were issued to veterans so they could get immediate health care from private providers outside the VA if they have been waiting more than 30 days for an appointment, or live more than 40 miles from a VA facility.

This move was in direct response to the Phoenix VA “secret waiting list” scandal that was said to have caused at least 40 veterans to die while they waited on VA for treatment.

Some had waited up to three years to be treated for their illness or injury. Others just gave up altogether and took their own lives via suicide.

VA claims that just 27,000 veterans (of 9 million enrolled at VA) have used the Choice Card for non-VA medical care.

Further, they want the public to believe the reason the number using Choice Card is so low, is that veterans prefer their VA medical care to what is offered by private providers oJutside the VA.

What the VA fails to tell the public, is that any veteran who goes outside VA and attempts to get treatment using the Choice Card must navigate an incredibly “user unfriendly” administrative nightmare process in order to get treatment.

They must first get VA to pick up the phone when they call to request permission to use the card. VA has a reputation (well documented) of discouraging veterans by simply not answering the phone, or refusing to return calls in a timely manner.

And even when a veterans finally gets through, most requests are denied, or decisions for approval delayed … until the veteran just gives up in frustration.

This behavior is a classic VA tactic.

Make the process so frustrating, painful and complicated that most will give up, and either go without treatment (saving VA billions in unpaid claims) or pay out-of-pocket (for those few lucky enough to have the means).

So, really … just how many veterans have requested care outside VA with the Choice Card, hmmmm?

VA is not talking.

Certainly, the number of Choice Card denials is far far higher than the 27,000 veterans VA says it has approved for using Choice Card.

Here is another clever VA trick.

VA says if the veteran live more than 40 miles from VA, the veteran may use the Choice Card. Here is what they do not tell the public.

That 40-mile distance is “as the crow flies.”

So when vets learn to fly, maybe they will finally be able to get timely medical care outside the VA.

Click here to read several recent reports about the failures of Choice Card:

The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2015/02/16/it-was-meant-to-reduce-wait-times-but-veterans-say-new-choice-cards-are-causing-more-problems/

Newsmax.com

http://www.newsmax.com/US/VA-choice-card-Tim-Huelskamp-Robert-McDonald/2015/02/17/id/625193/

NY Post

http://nypost.com/2015/02/15/va-empire-strikes-back-bureaucrats-vs-veterans-health/

VA SHOOTING: Man Kills Self at Fort Bliss VA Facility After Fatally Shooting Doctor

*Editor’s Note: Violence erupted today at an El Paso, Texas VA facility. Follow the latest at the El Paso Times website.

Click here to get updates at El Paso Times website:
http://www.elpasotimes.com/latestnews/ci_27267044/live-coverage-report-shooting-at-el-paso-va

TOXIC LEADERSHIP: Another Sailor Dies From Suicide After Being Bullied by Her Commanders

Toxic Command Climate Cited in Sailor’s Suicide

by Dianna Cahn
The Virginian-Pilot, Dec. 17, 2014

NORFOLK, Va. (Tribune News Service) — A sailor’s suicide on board the Norfolk-based destroyer James E. Williams in June can be blamed in part on a toxic command climate that involved bullying and retribution, a command investigation has found.

The investigation was spurred by the death of the sailor but grew in scope when the investigator began examining the ship’s leadership. What he found was misconduct and abusive behavior among senior enlisted personnel while the commanding officer and the executive officer failed to take charge.

Among the allegations to surface in the report were accounts of a second suicide attempt, sexual assault, a reprisal and alcohol abuse by the ship’s command master chief — the top enlisted sailor.

The ship’s skipper, Cmdr. Curtis Calloway, handed over the reins in September. He was reassigned, along with his deputy, Cmdr. Ed Handley, and Command Master Chief Travis Biswell, to desk jobs in Norfolk pending the investigation. All three faced nonjudicial punishment for dereliction of duty in October, while Biswell was also found guilty of drunken and disorderly conduct.

“As the CO, Cmdr. Calloway owned the culture on board USS James E. Williams,” Rear Adm. Andrew Lewis, the Carrier Strike Group 12 commander, wrote in his endorsement of the report.

Calloway’s failure to hold senior enlisted personnel accountable, including the command master chief, “enabled a culture that empowered the chief petty officers to target, belittle and bully junior sailors,” Lewis wrote. “Cmdr. Calloway was either willfully blind to problems on board his ship or he was in an extremely negligent state of denial.”

The Williams left on an eight-month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea on May 30. Seaman Yeshabel Villot-Carrasco died June 19 after taking a toxic dosage of sleeping pills, according to the investigation.

The report found that she was upset about her treatment on board and felt she was being singled out and selectively punished because of her small stature. The investigation found that she’d faced reprisal in the form of disciplinary action after telling her superior that she planned to file an equal opportunity complaint. She also struggled with perceptions on board that she was involved romantically with another sailor while her husband was on a different ship.

The investigation said she sought assistance the day she took the pills, but support networks that are required to be in place were not functioning. It found that the initial ship’s investigation was incomplete and that the commanding officer failed to address concerns it raised about command climate, misconduct and missed warning signs.

“Her belief that she was being treated unfairly by her leaders… was not her only source of stress but it was significant,” the investigator found.

About a week after the suicide, another sailor tried to kill herself by attempting to jump overboard. She was physically restrained by others, the report said.

Read the rest of this story:

http://www.stripes.com/news/navy/uss-james-e-williams-toxic-command-climate-cited-in-sailor-s-suicide-1.319730

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