Veterans No Longer Eligible for Gender Reassignment Surgeries at VA Hospitals

Obama to Joint Chiefs: Cut A-10 Warthog & Abrams Tank: We Need Funds for Transgender Surgery. (Photo: Public Domain)

Obama to Joint Chiefs: Cut A-10 Warthog & Abrams Tank: We Need Funds for Transgender Surgery. (Photo: Public Domain)

November 15, 2016

Written by Lorra B.

Due to the inability to come up with a cohesive plan to cover the exorbitant cost, the VA has squashed the rule change that would have allowed gender reassignment surgeries.

According to Military.com, the Department of Veteran Affairs covers the expense of mental health care and hormone therapy for the preoperative qualified gender reassignment veterans. “The change would have added gender reassignment surgery to that list.”

The VA stated, “VA has been and will continue to explore a regulatory change that would allow VA to perform gender alteration surgery and a change in the medical benefits package, when appropriated funding is available. Therefore, this regulation will be withdrawn from the Fall 2016 Unified Agenda.”

President of the pro-LGBT Amirian Military Partners Association, Ashley Broadway-Mack, said that the decision is ‘deeply disappointing.’

“All of our nation’s veterans, regardless of their gender identity, deserve access to the medical care they earned serving our nation,” Broadway-Mack said. “This is a deeply disappointing setback in making sure an often medically necessary procedure for transgender veterans is part of that care. Moreover, as we face a new incoming administration, we implore fair-minded Americans to stand united in holding our new administration officials accountable by insisting this be fixed. The medical care of all our nation’s heroes, including transgender veterans, must be a priority.”

Gender reassignment is a very expensive undertaking and, according to the Transgender Law Center, surgeries can be between $25,000 and $100,000. Taxpayers have very mixed feeling on the issue and just how their tax dollar are and should be spent.

In 2011 President Barack Obama made clear that costs were to be taken into consideration when suggesting rule changes. Because the VA did not submit a plan to cover the cost of the reassignment surgeries the rule was scrapped, though plans for funding are still in the works.

No view has been stated by the Trump administration on the issue of government-funded gender reassignment surgeries or their care.

Related Video:

Written by Lorra B.

It’s a Busy Signal for Veteran’s in Crisis

Between 20 and 22 Veterans take their own lives every day.  (Photo: Public Domain)

Between 20 and 22 Veterans take their own lives every day.
(Photo: Public Domain)

September 27, 2016

By Lorra B.

The Veterans Suicide Hotline, opened in 2007, has been plagued with issues and been in the headlines for the past few years. Poor staff working habits, long wait times, busy signals and troubled veterans being put on hold being just a few of the problems.

The former director of the VA’s Veteran Crisis Line, Greg Hughes, stated that less than five calls a day are being taken by many of the hotline workers and that they leave before their shifts are even over.

In an internal email, Hughes stated that some of the staffers actually “spend very little time on the phone or engaged in assigned productive activity. Coverage at the crisis line suffers because we have staff who routinely request to leave early.”

Perhaps saying ‘No’ to requests to leave early had never occurred to the director.

Hughes resigned on June 17. He stated, “If we continue to roll over calls because we have staff that are not making an honest effort, then we are failing at our mission.”

This has been an issue for a very long time. The VA’s office of inspector general stated that approximately 1 out of every 6 calls from veterans are rolling over to other crisis centers who do not have as much training when dealing with issues of suicide. Calls would then roll over to voicemail.

Many of the hot-line staffers had no idea there was even a voicemail system. How is this possible?

This is unacceptable by any standards.

To ensure that the VA crisis line answers all calls, text messages and other communications in a timely manner, on Monday a bill was unanimously approved by the House requiring just that.

“A veteran in need cannot wait for help, and any incident where a veteran has trouble with the Veterans Crisis Line is simply unacceptable,” stated the bill’s backer, Rep. David Young, R-Iowa.

According to AP, “The VA said Monday it is increasing staff at the New York-based hotline and opening a new hub in Atlanta.” AP went on to report, “The agency also pledged to continue efforts to improve training, as it responds to a report by an internal watchdog that said crisis calls are routinely allowed to go into voicemail and callers do not always receive immediate assistance.”

Last year alone over 500,000 calls to the crisis line were received, “50 times the number it received in 2007, the hotline’s first year of operation.”

Between 20 and 22 veterans decide to take their own lives every day. They are hurting and reaching out to a system that isn’t currently working.

With determination and hard work this system can be fixed.

It is in your hands now, Senate Representatives. The bill is waiting your approval.

The toll-free hotline number is 800-273-8255

 

By Lorra B.

Veteran Anger – Has Obama Really Made a Difference In Veteran Care & Homelessness?

End Veteran Homelessness (Photo: Public Domain)

End Veteran Homelessness (Photo: Public Domain)

August 2, 2016

By Lorra B. 

In a speech on Monday, President Obama addressed the many issues facing the veterans health care system. In fact, Obama insisted that long wait times to see doctors had dramatically declined since he took office and that veteran homelessness had been cut nearly in half since 2010.

Out of the nearly 40,000 veterans that are homeless, 13,000 are living on the streets. According to this figure that was released on Monday, there are 56% fewer homeless vets living on the streets, according to HUD and the VA.

Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ affairs, Rep. Jeff Miller, said the cost of the homeless program is increasing dramatically and the program is showing limited results.

The cost of this program is 1.5 billion annually, reports USA Today.

Obama had promised to end veteran homelessness by 2015. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro, stated, “The effort has been an unqualified success over the last few years.” But has it really?

Even Obama calls the delays that continue to plague the VA system “inexcusable” and that veterans “remain frustrated by the health care bureaucracy,” according to The New YorkTimes.

“We’ve hired thousands more doctors, nurses, staff,” Mr. Obama said at a conference of the Disabled American Veterans. “When we really put our sweat and tears and put our shoulder to the wheel, we can make things better.”

These are some of the statements by the Obama Administration that completely frustrate Veteran and Fox News affiliate, Pete Hegseth.

“This is exactly why people are frustrated with Washington DC because our ruling class in Washington tell them time and time again that things are getting better, their lives are better,” stated Hegseth. “And then they look at their own lives, and in this case for veterans, their own waits [wait times], [the] care that they are getting and then they say, ‘It’s not better, in fact it’s even worse.’ And the stats they are quoting to people are stats that grow government. More spending, more staffing, more clinicians. If you’re adding so much more on top, why is my life not getting better. Why has my wait time actually increased? Why do I still not have a choice?  Why has no one still been fired?”

“This is why Donald Trump resonates, because elites are lying to us about the reality. And this speech at the VA from…Barack Obama is a perfect example of that.”

Donald Trump supports more privatization of the Department of Veteran Affairs, though Obama adamantly rejects that idea.

The current secretary, Robert McDonald, has been a critic of the Obama administration. In 2014 problems and corruption within the VA surfaced including manipulated waiting lists to see doctors and the compulsory resignation of Eric Shinseki.

According to McDonald, more people need to be held accountable, though he does remain optimistic about putting an end to veteran homelessness.

“I don’t know when we’ll get to zero,” McDonald said. “Zero continues to be the goal.”

The cost to create and maintain the VA programs have skyrocketed and, according to many, the payoff has been tremendous and the programs a huge success. Others believe the programs to be a failure and that the continued wait-times, homelessness and deaths remain unacceptable.

There is one thing all parties can agree on and that is that the VA system needs vast improvement. No veteran should die waiting to see a doctor or remain homeless. No president, past, present or future, should be content with the status quo but do all in their power to protect the very Heroes that have risked it all for this great Nation.

 

By Lorra B. 

While Over a Thousand Veterans Die, Veterans Affairs Spends Millions On Frivolous Items

Devastating: A veteran of the Iraq War becomes emotional while visiting a grave site at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia (May 25, 2014). (Photo: Public Domain)

Devastating: A veteran of the Iraq War becomes emotional while visiting a grave site at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia (May 25, 2014). (Photo: Public Domain)

July 28, 2016

By Lorra B.

Open the Books, a taxpayer watchdog group, and Cox Media partnered to get an oversight report detailing Veterans Affairs spending. What they found may shock you.

While over a thousand veterans died waiting for treatment, The VA administration felt compelled to spent a whopping $20 million on extravagant artwork and sculptures, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

“In the now-infamous VA scandal of 2012-2015, the nation was appalled to learn that 1,000 veterans died while waiting to see a doctor,” wrote Adam Andrzejewski, the founder and CEO of Open the Books, in an editorial for Forbes. “Tragically, many calls to the suicide assistance hotline were answered by voicemail. The health claim appeals process was known as ‘the hamster wheel’ and the appointment books were cooked in seven of every ten clinics.”

“Yet, in the midst of these horrific failings the VA managed to spend $20 million on high-end art over the last ten years—with $16 million spent during the Obama years,” Andrzejewski said.

Some of the items purchased included a $21,000 Christmas Tree, $115,600 “art Consultants” and $32,000 for pictures to cover the walls at the San Francisco VA. Then, of course, there was the $482,960 worth of “rock sculptures” that the veterans couldn’t even see because they were blind.

“In an ironic vignette, at a healthcare facility dedicated to serving blind veterans—the new Palo Alto Polytrauma and Blind Rehabilitation Center—the agency wasted $670,000 on two sculptures no blind veteran can even see,” Andrzejewski said. “The ‘Helmick Sculpture’ cost $385,000 (2014) and a parking garage exterior wall façade by King Ray Studio for the ‘design, fabrication, and installation of the public artwork’ cost $285,000 (2014).”

A gross misappropriation of taxpayer’s money. So, basically, dressing up the walls and halls of the VA was seen as more important that the lives of our Heroes. Wrap your brain around that.

Where is the outrage??

Veteran’s aren’t interested in the fancy décor costing millions of dollars…they want to see a doctor!

 

 

Obama Seeks to Strip Promised Benefits From Veterans

d

February 4, 2015

By Lorra B.

President Obama’s most recent 2016 budget proposal allowing more options for veterans to be seen outside the Veterans Affairs system will be rolled back, taking their choice from them.

In August of last year, Obama signed into law the Veterans Choice Program granting additional benefits to veterans. These additional benefits would allow veterans much more flexibility in handling their health care needs and faster access to care outside of the long waiting lists that have plagued the VA.

According to the Washington Examiner, however, Obama is going back on the promises made to our veterans.

On Monday, Obama declared his intention to send a legislative proposal to Congress allowing the siphoning of the $10 billion in the program’s funding. This was done after Obama said the money “is needed to support essential investments in VA system priorities in a fiscally responsible, budget-neutral manner.”

“That money was specifically allocated by him [Obama] for the choice program,” stated the legislative director for Concerned Veterans for America, Dan Coldwell. “What that would do is cause the choice program to be a lot shorter and to inevitably serve fewer veterans.”

The VA’s chief financial officer, Helen Tierney, is defending this siphon stating that “What we are getting…is that they are looking for more care within the VA system.”

But, wasn’t the whole point to give the veterans more of a CHOICE?

This new mandate not only keeps the VA system supplied with a continued built-in clientele but it also lines it up with deep pockets for awhile.

VA officials are defending the move saying the ‘choice program’ was being utilized and that veterans expressed their desire to receive care at VA facilities.     

Veterans groups are saying something completely different stating that the program was full of ‘red tape’ and difficult to use. Even the Choice Card itself was a problem for veterans who after receiving it would have to call in to the VA and check if they were even eligible to use it.

Jeff Miller, House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman, stated, “The president’s idea to reallocate a portion of Veterans Choice Program funding to other areas of VA is a complete non-starter, which I will not support. When a near-unanimous Congress worked with President Obama last year to create the choice program, we made a promise to veterans to give them more freedom in their healthcare decisions. I will not stand idly by while the president attempts to renege on that promise.”

The president made promises to our veterans. He promised to give them a choice in their healthcare decisions. How can you take this small freedom from the very men and women who defend YOUR freedoms, Mr. President?

 

President Obama Again Gives Veterans the Middle Finger

dJanuary 9, 2015

 

Current Opinions Of News:

Source: The Washington Times

Blog Post Written by thomlucci, a Disabled Veteran

Republicans and veterans asked the still controversial president to visit the VA hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, that began a VA healthcare scandal, but instead the Muslim, Marxist, reputed homosexual president gave a speech less than a mile away about home ownership.

At Central High School in Phoenix he spoke about his plan(s) to reduce mortgage fees charged by the Federal Housing Authority.

His motorcade sped past the Phoenix VA hospital, but ignored it.

Again, this despicable man, this highly controversial president, who I still do not recognize as being a U.S. citizen or authorized by the U.S. Constitution to be president, ignored veterans and Republicans, preferring, instead, to choose a photo op for his next executive action.

Veterans died while waiting for VA healthcare. Veterans needing healthcare were put on secret waiting lists. The White House and the Administration made an effort to fix the problems, but ole Barry never took a leadership role in those fixes, and has pretty much ignored the situation entirely.

It is no secret he does not like the military, nor does his “wife”, whatever her gender really is.

Previous presidents have realized the role our veterans play in protecting our freedoms and the freedoms of our allies and made it clear they supported the military and our veterans, but this president, this sorry excuse for a man, continues to give the military and our veterans his middle finger.

 

 

Hillary Clinton also has made public her disdain for the military. She never has and probably never will support the military or our veterans.

It’s high time we had a Republican in the White House again. Only a Republican can restore our faith in our country and our pride for its history and what it means to us and the world.

Do you remember what Michelle said during the 2008 presidential campaign?

Paraphrasing, she said, after her husband was nominated for the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, this was the first time in her life she had been proud of her country.

THE FIRST TIME IN HER LIFE!

In other words, in her entire life, she found absolutely nothing about the United States past or present that made her proud of her country.

Well, maybe she should have packed her black ass up and gone to Africa. After a few years (or preferably decades) living there, she MIGHT find something about America she could be proud of.

Need I spell it out? I despise Barry Soetoro (who calls himself Barack Obama) and his bed partner more than I have ever despised anyone in my entire life.

He is a traitor, a Marxist, an anti-Christian, a pathological liar, an enemy of the United States, and a whole list of other negative descriptions.

Here is my “salute” to the scumbag who was elected not once, but twice by voters who were too blind to see exactly what kind of man he is:

Middle Finger

 

Suicide Rate SPIKES Among Young And Older Veterans

December 5, 2014

Comment by Jim Campbell, Citizen Journalist, Oath Keeper and Patriot.

stephenbicknelluneral1aIn a discussion with Poet years ago when he finally sought care for his PTSD, he related the following:

“So I meet this guy and I ask him, have you ever heard the sounds of incoming?  Faced incoming rounds, or been shot at?”  The therapist replied, “No,” and Jon just got up and said than you can’t help me. 

Suicide rates among Vietnam veterans continue to rise.

This is likely the case and until more combat vets receive training in PTSD therapy the suicide rate among those so afflicted will likely go unchanged or continue to rise.

 

The Feds Probe Allegations of VA Whistleblowers

 

(Photo: Nick Oza/The Republic

(Photo: Nick Oza/The Republic

There have been dozens of complaints of backlash against whistleblowers who have come forward concerning the conduct of VA hospitals. A federal regulator is investigating the allegations of reprisal at the Department of Veteran Affairs. These allegations come after a nationwide scandal stunned Americans in which 40 veterans allegedly died due to claims of secret waiting lists and backlog wait-time issues.

To date, there are 86 allegations of VA reprisal, though other reports suggest there are upwards of 1000 against whistleblowers in 19 states.

There are 37 out of the 86 staff members who are claiming “scheduling improprieties and other potential threats to patient safety,” that allege they have been retaliated against by the VA for exposing the abuse and other misconduct, according to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. This independent investigative organization is responsible for protecting all federal employees from any improper employment practices which include backlash against whistleblowers.

The VA has been under a tremendous amount of scrutiny of late for the delays in patient care but the Office of Special Counsel stated that not all 37 complaints are related to the VA scandal.

“We’ve definitely seen an uptick in whistleblowing complaints for scheduling and health and safety issues at the VA generally,” commented a representative of the Special Counsel. “They’re all related to patient safety, but not all have to do with appointment scheduling.”

As I previously reported, Sam Foote, a retired VA doctor, was instrumental in exposing secret logs of patient waiting lists that may have played a role in the deaths of many veterans at the VA hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. Foote worked for the VA for 24 years and retired, in large part, so that he could unveil the events being played out in the VA hospital system.

“When the Veterans Administration in Phoenix began to fall significantly behind on a policy stating that veterans should get the care they need within 30 days, workers devised a solution that involved entering information into a computer screen, printing the screen, and then not saving the record. This allowed them to hide the long wait times some veterans endured, sometimes longer than a year, from oversight. The nations veterans were denied healthcare they were promised, and the organization responsible for providing that care was hiding it’s failures with a scheme that apparently involved Arizona VA employees from front-line administrators all the way up to the top management. It turns out VA offices around the country were using similar tricks,” stated The Atlantic.

The Obama administration’s reaction and response to the scandal seems to have ruffled a few feathers. Many Americans believe Obama’s response should be swift and without hesitation, much the way his response to the Healthcare.gov disaster appeared to be. Though the two are drastically different, one being a technological malfunction and the other a human malfunction, speed is a necessity when lives are at stake.

“I feel very sorry for the people who work at the Phoenix VA, Foote stated. “They’re all frustrated. They’re all upset. They all wish they could leave ‘cause they know what they’re doing is wrong…But they have families, they have mortgages and if they speak out or say anything to anybody about it, they will be fired and they know that.”

The Atlantic reports, “Despite the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, the federal government during the Bush and Obama administrations has grown increasingly hostile to whistleblowers. Barack Obama campaigned on transparency and whistleblower protection; his transition agenda said, ‘”Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse is government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled.”’

Why then, President Obama, were only 62 out of 1000 whistleblower revelations of abuse, fraud, health and safety issues given back to the Office of Special Counsel for additional examination?

Regardless of the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, whistleblowers are afraid of, and are, losing their jobs or facing retaliation in some form. But receiving blunt, straightforward information from staff members is absolutely crucial if problems are to be addressed and solutions found.

Head of the OSC, Carolyn Lerner, stated, “However, employees will not come forward if they fear retaliation.”

Employees at the bottom level will not feel led or comfortable exposing the truth until they are assured of zero reprisals and given pure amnesty. This assurance should be filtered down from the top to incorporate the over 5 million administrative personnel. If not, they may never feel secure in doing the right thing.

“From the prosecution of Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden to the woefully inadequate implementation of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, the Obama administration had helped to maintain an environment of fear among federal-government employees,” writes The Atlantic.

According to the OSC, a whistleblower was suspended for 7 days after telling the VA Inspector General of incidents of computer coding measures, and improper scheduling techniques. Not only was this employee reassigned to a different position, they also claimed their performance evaluation was lowered as well and that it was lowered immediately following the report given to the IG.

The OSC disallowed disciplinary actions, last month, against staff members while investigations are underway.

If reports of wrongdoing are being discouraged through fear, we may never know if or when the problems plaguing the VA hospitals are resolved and this simply won’t do.

“Unlike Healthcare.gov, there’s not a publicly visible website that anyone can try out. Whistleblowers are the only avenue for accountability.”

By Lorra B. Chief writer for Silent Soldier

http://SilentSoldier.us