Yes, there is positive news items from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) but it is pretty sparse. For example, here are a couple of headlines:
Good news indeed. But these headlines are overshadowed when compared to the other stories.
Consider the report that the VA banned Christmas trees as decorations in public areas at the Salem, VA, Medical Center:
Displays must not promote any religion. Please note that trees (regardless of the types of ornaments used) have been deemed to promote the Christian religion and will not be permitted in any public areas this year.”
The letter explained “When the public (Veterans and beneficiaries) accesses the Federal workplace, their reasonable impression should be that the government is not sponsoring or endorsing on religion over another.”
Gee, evidently they forgot that Christmas is, yes, a federal holiday!
In April, 2014, Rep. Jeff Miller, (R-Fla), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs said, “dozens of VA hospital patients in Phoenix may have died while awaiting medical care.”
The next month, a VA investigative task force arrived at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ., whereupon the team “determined that Phoenix’s Human Resources Management Service was “severely under-resourced” and “nearly a third of the HR staff had quit.”
However, when they returned early in 2015, they were turned away from the facility!
Regardless, in March, 2015, President Obama visited this hospital complex and reported, “while progress has been made to improve service, more work needs to be done to restore the trust of veterans who rely on the facility.”
Oh, by the way, in an attempt to download a application form to enroll in the VA healthcare system with the goal of completing and mailing it to the Health Eligibility Center you get this message:
Your connection is not private. Attackers might be trying to steal your information”.
This makes a lots of sense, doesn’t it? “stealing passwords, messages, or credit cards” from an online form that contains absolutely no information whatsoever?
And finally, adding to the VA’s dismal treatment of veterans comes the news that it had “wrongly declared more than 100 veterans dead and suspended their benefit payments.” Over the period of July 7, 2014, to April 1, 2015, the VA stopped payments to 115 veterans because they believed they were dead. Mike Rieker, a 69-year old Vietnam Navy veteran, was totally unable to convince the VA that he was alive and desperately needed his benefits. Of course, a VA spokesman said they were “updating its process to request further confirmation of the beneficiary’s death before it terminates payments.”
The question is, of course, why did these events happen in the first place? The answer is that the VA is totally out-of-control and a housecleaning is way overdue!
Retired United States Navy SEAL and Navy Cross recipient Marcus Luttrell, whose story was told in the book and film, “Lone Survivor”, has often said he doesn’t feel worth of praise. He once said,
If the job you had in the military was not worthy of anything then the job wouldn’t exist. Everyone who serves is part of the spear whether the staff, tip or razors edge. Always carry your head high and shoulders back. Enjoy this day you earned it.”
Mr. Lattrell: it’s a very hard thing for us to do with this news in 2015. But we will do our best!