As a Veteran, VA patient, VA employee and the son of two former VA employees, I have been affiliated with VA in some form or another almost my whole life. As a Veteran, I share an all-too-common story with many of my service brothers and sisters.

While VA helps thousands of Veterans each day, some of us still walk away feeling short-changed – and news about VA seems to confirm our negative experiences. If I am being honest, other VA employees and I have not always felt empowered to speak up to leadership when faced with problems or unethical activities. On the other side of the coin, leaders have not always listened or provided solutions when employees do speak up.

“The idea is to confront and correct potential issues when they are small.”

Recently, I have been encouraged to see VA staff and leadership talking about changing VA culture to address issues of speaking up and listening up. As an example of that change, I am excited to be part of VA’s 2018 National Compliance and Ethics Week, which takes place May 14-18.

This year’s theme is “Speak Up! Listen Up!” VA is encouraging all employees – as well as Veterans and their families – to speak up when they have concerns about potential fraud, waste, abuse or ethics issues. VA is also encouraging leaders and management to listen up whenever someone brings a possible problem to their attention.

Education and Training Sessions

Staff at VA facilities around the country will participate in education and training sessions, and other activities that will help them identify fraud, waste, abuse and unethical situations, as well as learn how to take action to address what they see. This week also aims to encourage VA management and leadership, from the front lines to VA Central Office, to listen to their employees when change is needed. The idea is to confront and correct potential issues when they are small – before they grow into real problems that can be harmful to Veterans.

Of course, speaking up and listening up do not end with this single week. VA has developed many tools and initiatives to let VA employees carry out these key themes in their daily work.

VA culture can and will change when VA employees are empowered to take responsibility for that change. Compliance and Ethics Week is part of the process.

Ian Holk, Writer-Editor, VA National Center for Ethics in Health CareAuthor:  Ian Holk is a Writer-Editor with the VA National Center for Ethics in Health Care, and an Army Veteran (And his son Max)


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Published on May. 8, 2018

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Views to date: 599


  1. Teresa Louise May 26, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    The system is broken, From incompetently read X-ray reports that contradict your DoD service connected disability rating to practitioners refusing to document any and all concerns that may substantiate a future claim (not all but most.) First, one must remember that the VA serves a double role: both as a medical provider and an assessor of your medical conditions as Compensation and Pension Examination or DBQs Disability Benefits Questionnaires ordered by the VBA or Veterans Benefits Administration. These two roles are a Conflict-of-Interest. As a former Veterans Service Officer of one of the Veterans Service Organizations, I have seen veteran’s service records.

    A medical health or mental health practitioner must first assign a diagnois that is “More likely than not related to your military service.” This is a tough proposition because, in my humble and experienced opinion? Getting a VA doctor, mental health provider or nurse practitioner or of all things a social worker to commit to this is difficult. Why, because in many causes upper-management discourages it.

    I’ve seen so many adversarial medical and mental health notes put in veterans records it just disgusting. If you want to amend your mental or medical health records? Skip the Hospital you are going to, go directly, via a FOIA request with the proper VA Form to the Veterans Health Administration proper.

    I requested falsifications of my Mental Health record amended. I was told by the Chief of Mental Health and Saginaw and the Privacy Officer that all I could do was add to the falsified information. Mind you one month prior to the false information I had been given a diagnosis for the condition by a real VA doctor. But a Social Worker decided I was making it up and created a narrative that has haunted my entire Mental Health treatment. It is crazy making and diminishing. I encourage all veterans not to use the Blue Button and to obtain copies of their printed medical and mental health records. The Blue Button does not contain all of the information. You are led to believe it does; this couldn’t be further from the truth. When in treatment, ensure that you are having an open dialogue with your clinician about your diagnosis. I was totally derailed when I looked at a year of records. These providers acted like they had my best interest at heart and were lying and saying everything was about child hood issues. Mind you i had a current MST rating and they said things like she leafed through her medical records and decided to file a claim for MST.

    You must be involved and very informed about your treatment, your records and the relationship you have with your provider. Things are not always what they seem. As I learned the hard way. Recourse is not on the veteran’s sided. If you have PTSD? It is really hard when you are doubly paranoid about people having it out for you and not believing you.

    Re-victimized by VA Clinicians.

  2. Donna therese Stearns May 17, 2018 at 11:23 am

    There’s nothing nice of good about having your medical and mental health care downplayed by the very people that are getting paid to help the Veterans at the VA Healthcare facilities…but it is a well known problem…

  3. Upto There May 13, 2018 at 3:25 am

    I am a victim of many years of abusive treatment by several and was retaliated against for submitting a complaint to the Joint Commission that nearly cost one individual their job. I have tried to get resolution via many avenues, including the Hospital Director, the Chief of Staff, Chief of Addictions, as well as the Joint Commission, Sen Duckworth, The Whitehouse VA Complaint line (12 calls), the President, the DAV, the VA OIG, and finally the VFW (where I received the number to a legal hotline). I really didn’t want to sue, but they are leaving me no choice!

  4. Crotalus May 12, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    VA continues to censor out evidence backed complaints, like you did to me May 8th

    Even the White House VA hot line complaints only go to my VA staff abuser to handle. No win possible

    All levels of VA leadership continue to ruberstamp my VA ‘s retaliators policies, while I continue to not have a major voice in my own health care since these policies started.

  5. Nancy Gresham May 11, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    My husband is a resident of the Bedford MA VA Hospital suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. He is totally incapable feeding himself, walking, talking etc. He is in a wheelchair all day from morning to just after dinner. He constantly slides down in his chair which I can only imagine is painful on his, hips and knees. Because my husband is non-verbal, no one notices that he slid down and he is FORCED to stay that way until I come in and call it to someone’s attention! He is at a high risk for falling. He DESPERATELY needs a seat belt on his chair as do many of the Vets in his building (#62) so he and the others can be safe from falling or from sliding down . The ruling at the VA is that the Vets must be “free”. That’s fine for those folks who are able to get up and walk around. My husband and several others do not have that luxury. They are forced to sit there as is until I speak up. I am fortunate to live close enough to that VA and I can go up every day to be sure he is safe. Others are not that lucky!

    The VA NEEDS to realize that some Vets are at greater risk for falling and just for being terribly uncomfortable all day and adjust their thinking. These folks need seat belts to keep them safe and to keep them from terrible back/body pain. It’s only right! My husband cannot even stretch his legs because the foot bed is too short! He has two artificial knees, imagine his pain all day! I have offered to buy a seat belt for my husband, but staff jobs have been threatened if they put one on him. I’m his wife, I should have the say over some silly policy instituted during the Clinton years! How can I get someone’s attention??? VA administration does not want to hear the words seat belt on the Bedford campus!!!!

  6. Mark Jeffrey Mode May 10, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    Dear Sir or Madam:

    I was a 19 year old young man when I received a brain concussion onboard the U. S. S. Juneau L P D – 10.

    I was assigned to a Working Party. We were taking on supplies before leaving Portland, Oregon. The ship was
    in a civilian Shipyard. The Medical Officer never sent me to a Hospital after receiving a Head Injury due to a 5 gallon
    bucket of paint falling on my head after my shipmate had slid the bucket of paint down to me from the deck above.

    I suppose he would have sent me to a Naval Hospital if the ship had been in it’s Home Port of San Diego, California.

    When I was on active duty, no x – ray or MRI was made.

    I had an MRI made over two years ago at the Veterans Hospital at Asheville, North Carolina.

    I’ m at a 10 % Service Connected Disability. Also, I’m on Social Security Disability.

    The U. S. Navy did me lousy. I gave the U. S. Navy 10 years of Honorable Service plus I spent sometime in the
    U. S. Naval Reserve.

    Thank You.


    Mark Jeffrey Mode

    U. S. Navy Veteran

    P. S. I still have some damage to the front lobes of my Brain.

  7. Ronnie Kelly May 10, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Note the number of veterans posting here reporting that they have been referred to Mental Health – Mental Health is a VA tactic, among dozens, to discredit anything the veteran says. I hear: “She/he is under care of Mental Health and this fact explains the veterans’ anger”. Therefore, ignore the complaint.

    Consider, then, that which most of us veterans have experienced: VA people respond to complaints, firstly, saying the veteran is under the care of Mental Health doctors; therefore, the veterans’ complaints are attributed to mental issues and not because of inferior care by VA doctors. Ronnie Kelly Chico CA.

  8. Ronnie Kelly May 10, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Speak – you have to be kidding! Patient advocate, VA Chico CA, Ken Baker shits down the throat of combat veterans who speak out to him. Baker and his boss, Mr. Black, use severe military tactics to abuse, browbeat, and intimidate combat veterans who already have experienced abuse from VA doctors (I exempt nurses, since they are on the front line of immediate care in order to stop the bleeding). Ken Baker’s preferred response is to report the veteran to the VA Discipline Committee in order to shut down legitimate complaints. And who functions as Discipline Committee Chair and members? Doctors, who consult secretly with the accused doctors and do not get the story from veterans. Get the picture? Doctors not investigating but merely speaking among themselves, which is the proverbial fox guarding the hen house. Do veterans receive medical care from VA? Yes. But mostly inferior care. I have been with the VA since 1984. For the previous two years I have avoided the VA as much as possible. Emergency care is passable, extremely slow, and life threatening – for me. Mental health is death dealing. Had I continued with Chico CA VA doctors, I would not be living today. Their pill factory had me on the couch, overweight, inactive, unmotivated – VA doctor response to my begging for help? Increase dosage until I, one day, looked round, and thought: If I continue with these VA quacks, I will die. Therefore, I dumped VA pill doctors. Speak up? You insensitive asshole article author, we combat veterans have been speaking up and VA patient advocates have been stabbing us in the back. By the way, you do know that most patient advocates are both double dippers and triple dippers. The last thing on their mind is service to veterans. Ronnie Kelly

  9. Mark Jeffrey Mode May 9, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    Dear Sir or Madam:

    You are probably sick of my stories, but I served in the United States Navy during Peace times and Times of
    War. I not very happy with all of the treatment, that I’ve had from the Veterans Hospital at Asheville, North Carolina.

    I have had some VA doctors who have come and gone. I’ve had to see new Doctors, both Medical, and Mental
    Heath. I have Mental issues. I have a Medical Doctor at a VA Outpatient Clinic, and Mental Health Doctors.

    When they can’t help me, I have to travel to the Veterans Hospital at Asheville, North Carolina. The Outpatient Clinics
    do not have the equipment to facilitate all of the needs of the Veterans who are are assigned to the Clinics.

    I regret to have to inform you of this.

    Thank you.


    Mark Jeffrey Mode

  10. Larry Sortor May 9, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    I left a detailed description of my worthless VA Dr. but missed the CAPTICHA Code. Instead of a second chance, my input was deleted. Best way I know of to prevent negative comments!!!!

  11. Mark Jeffrey Mode May 9, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Dear Sir or Madam:

    I am very dissatisfied with the Charles George VA Medical Center at Asheville, North Carolina, because they won’t
    do surgery on my Back. A Class Mate from My Mother’s High School Class took a friend of his to the Veterans Hospital
    at Asheville, NC recently, because this Veteran was going to have to have Back Surgery. This blew my mind.

    I just don’t understand why I was told No? I have been to Physical Therapy through the Veterans Choice Program.

    Why can’t I have surgery? I’m on medication.

    Thank You.


    Mark Jeffrey Mode

    U. S. Navy Veteran

  12. Mark Jeffrey Mode May 9, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    Dear Sir or Madam:

    I am very dissatisfied with the Department of Veteran Affairs. I’m at 10 % Service Connected Disability Compensation.

    The Award was stopped in August of 2017, because I received letters stating, that I was going to have to pay the
    Department of Veterans Affairs back over $3,000.00. I applied for a Wavier. It was granted.

    I was told, that my Social Security Disability was too much. After the Wavier was granted, I haven’t been reimbursed
    for the months of September 2017 thru May 2018.

    I have to pay for all of my medication plus travel to the Veterans Outpatient Clinic and the Veterans Hospital.
    I have other expenses. The Travel pay doesn’t help very much either.

    Thank you.


    Mark Jeffrey Mode

    U. S. Navy Veteran

  13. Mark Jeffrey Mode May 9, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Dear Sir or Madam:

    I’m a Veteran of the U. S. Navy. I received a Brain Concussion during my 1st Enlistment. I was assigned to a Working
    Party. I was helping put 5 gallon buckets of paint away. One of them fell on my head from the deck above me while
    my shipmate was sliding it down to me.

    The ship, that I was stationed on was in a civilian shipyard. The Ship’s Doctor never sent me out to a Hospital.
    We were in Portland, Oregon. I suppose, that I would have been sent to the Naval Hospital if the Should would
    have been in it’s Home Port.

    I don’t think, that I received proper care onboard ship. I was never X – rayed or sent to have an MRI.

    I had an MRI done over 2 years ago at the Veterans Hospital at Asheville, North Carolna.

    I’m at 10 % Service Connected Disability. I feel like it should be increased due to the lack of care from
    the United States Navy.

    I was a 19 year old young man when I got hurt onboard ship.

    Thank you.


    Mark Jeffrey Mode

    U. S. Navy Veteran

  14. Tina Garcia May 9, 2018 at 10:14 am

    I’m grateful the Denver Regional Office gave me an affidavit to show my discharge documents were altered.
    That took a lot of courage. Hopefully, when I submit this next claim for direct combat service connection benefits, it won’t be denied.

    Good luck, fellow Veterans

  15. Daniel Furlong May 9, 2018 at 10:07 am

    I have nothing but good things to say about the care I have received from the VA. I have been in the system since my retirement in 1983. I now get service from a community based clinic in Bloomington, Indiana, and Rodebush Medical Center in Indianapolis, about 65 miles away. This distance makes it difficult to get to the hospital to see specialists when required, as a result I see local specialist, such as Cardiologist, Gastrointerologist Vascular Specialists, and Orthopedic Surgeons. If the VA would fill prescriptions from these doctors it would be a big help. The expense would be offset by elimination of the travel allowance ($37.16) I receive for driving up to the hospital;

  16. John Quintal May 9, 2018 at 8:55 am

    I am a retired Air Force Vet and go to the VA in Boise, Idaho (not Iowa). I retired in Aug 2004 and I must say I have been treated well by all staff members. I do believe some people have been wronged but I appreicate the service I have been given and say THANK YOU for YOUR service to me.

  17. E May 9, 2018 at 1:45 am

    I have seriously made a conscious effort in speaking up against the unethical practices against the San Diego VA Medical Center specifically the Mental Health Immediate Management, Director of Nursing, and the Executive Nursing Management, but as staff departs, it is obvious no one within the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in Washington D.C. is listening. The staff turnover rate is remarkable. There was once a time when nobody would ever leave a federal position, when pride within the military extended into the workforce. Not here in San Diego. The bullying that is allowed to go one is horrific. Patient care is put on the backburner by management as staffing levels are dangerously low, and acuity is non-existent. Assistant Nurse Management manipulates scheduling and threatens staff with placing nurses in geriatric position when nurses have NEVER been properly trained resulting in pressure ulcers, and wound injuries, and increased falls. One nurse on the CLC was sexually assaulted and this still goes unaddressed! This nurse mysteriously had her transfer taken away by the Phoenix VA Hospital Director. So you ask us to report, but then wonder why we don’t? This is why. The BEST thing that can happen would be for the President to SHUT DOWN the VA System, save billions of dollars, and have the patients be cared for by private practitioners. This is coming from a VA employee.

  18. Alice June Eldridge May 8, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    When I review my records, those that are available, I ALWAYS find inaccuracies, downright fraudulent notes, and HIPAA violations. I have spoken with the VA patient advocates who assure me that my concerns will be looked into. I have had calls from department heads, but I am still finding the same concerns with EACH visit. I have also found that there are no available ways to rebut records inaccuries and falsehoods. I, too, have found that a vet’s concerns about pain control are ignored or downplayed, even by pharmacists who have been contacted by physicians, who have ignored medical histories, and recommended medications that would place me in jeopardy for heart attack.

  19. CONRAD MORENO May 8, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    I’m trying to find your ethics standards so that I can see all the do’s and don’ts. I have my own ethics but what are the VA’s?

  20. Shar McKelvie May 8, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    I think it is very interesting as well that there is no way to actually “speak up”. I have searched for ways to file complaints regarding the VA and the only possibility is to try to talk to the assigned liaison at the facility…..I doubt that complaining to the same people at the same facility causing the problem will help.

  21. Patricia Farnsworth May 8, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    Had the VA not misfiled my son’s MRI which showed his TBI, he would probably be alive today. I am ANGRY that the very day my son was killed, the VA Dr assigned to my son stated she had found the misfiled report (after my visit 2 days earlier complaining about their lack of addressing his TBI). Prior to that she had no clue he had been diagnosed as having a TBI, only PTSD. Now he’s dead. I hold the VA equally responsible for my son’s death. Just more horror from the PHOENIX VA.

    • TERRY WEST May 11, 2018 at 3:14 pm


  22. John Thompson May 8, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    what is the point the VA does not listen to us ANYWAY

  23. Juan Davalos May 8, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    Been with VA health care since 2005, Initially the care was excellent, but recently the care has been worse or non existent.
    for years I have complained of chest pain and at an appt last year I told provider about the chest pain continued and he ordered another Ekg and Stress test as a precaution, I tried to explain that this had been done along with cardiac cath procedure and all is ok. A few weeks later, I get a call from the provider telling me that stress test was normal, I then asked, “what about my chest pain”, he told me to have a good day and did not know and said see you at your next apt in 9 months. I wrote a letter to the administrator of the clinic asking that I be re-assigned to a different pcp due to current pcp not being able to provide answers or guidance for my problems, I was re-assigned to another provider that was given a copy of my complaint and only addresses those complaints at my appts, I will have one last apt at the end of this month and will probably seek a civilian pcp for my care. Why can’t the largest medical entity in the world hire Mds That are qualified to treat and care for all that have served, worse thing, is that a lot of these employees are veterans themselves and only care about drawing another government pension

  24. Jose Cruz May 8, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    im an AF vet and have had muliple surgeries and suffer from chronic back and shoulder pain. my doctor (goldhammer from san antonio) without justification will not continue to prescribe my pain meds. because of her actions i had to purchase my meds on the black market – which i cant afford. i hope some one with authority reads this and could help out because its just not right that i have to purchase meds from drug dealers.

  25. Sheri Ann Wanless May 8, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    I moved to Georgia about a year ago. I had my own private insurance, Health Partners, so I thought I was ok until I tried making appointments with different clinics. The clinics had never even heard of Health Partners, let alone take it. It’s a very big company in MN. For as long as I can remember, I had my dental exams, my physicals, mammograms etc. regularly. Now I’m in a new state with no insurance. I was talking to a stranger one day and somehow we got on the subject of the military. We found out that we were both veterans and he asked if I had my Vet card? Had no idea what he was talking about. He told me to go to the VA and get one. I did, and they gave me medical insurance. That took a big load off my back. So good, bad or indifference, I’m very glad that there is a VA and I wish I knew the young man that gave me the information. We never know when we make a difference in someone’s life.

  26. thomas parker May 8, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    I realize the VA is a Political Football,whenever news is down,pick on the VA.I have gone to VA Bay Pines (C.W. Young) here on the West Coast of Florida for the past 9 years.The staff has always treated me in a friendly,caring,professional manner.I also know not all VA’s may not be doing as good a job.But it sort of bugs me,that that 1% of workers ,just like in civilian jobs,can bring down the great job the rest are doing.On top of that,the VA sends you a notice around 2 weeks before your appointment,they even call you call you a couple of days before that appointment.And stll Vets somehow miss them? I like many senior Vets might have to wait a little longer in the waiting room from time to time, because people didn’t arrive when they should have.I think The VA here is doing a GREAT JOB.

  27. Gerald Shippe May 8, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    I have a growth near my eye actually on the side of my nose. Could be a wart. Doesn’t look like it. It has grown quickly the past couple of weeks. To the point others have asked what it was. Luckily I have Medicare and an HMO also. I called today because I was really concerned about it. I have an appointment tomorrow. Not with my regular primary care doctor but one who is available. I don’t rely on VA for all my health care. I left them over 10 years ago and just recently rejoined them. They have failed me in the past. I was one of the vets who waited almost two and a half months for a scheduled appointment marking it off everyday on my calendar. When I got there I was told I didn’t have one. I strongly objected. They finally huddled and told me they would fit me in. Two hours later. It was for depression. We all know the heads of VA were getting a bonus for “controlling” the amount of appointments being scheduled at the time. At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list.The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.

  28. Ross Robles May 8, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    I’ve been waiting for months to get reimbursed for my travel pay in November 2017, February, two visits in March, and April 2018. I’m going back to get my infusion next Friday May 18, 2018 and that will be 6 visits total and all they tell me at the Texas VA is that they are understaffed. The care I get is A plus but other departments within this VA is totally unacceptable.

  29. JESSE REALMO May 8, 2018 at 4:03 pm


  30. Anya JuanRisco May 8, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Veterans need to be aware of people trying to exploit their service incurred injuries for their own benefits. A Veteran having a civil dispute with a person, that person a public servant found guilty of the civil dispute in retaliation will try to ask for the Veterans Medical Records to discredit the Veterans’ testimony.

  31. bri May 8, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    I get my care from the VA and so did my Father and all of my cousins and we never had any issues. You give respect and you’ll get respect. It’s the narcotic seekers that seem to be causing the issues and slamming the VA. I notice the VETS coming in and berating the employees and acting out and threatening the staff with violence. If you did this on the outside you would unable to receive care period. Vets deserve care, but that does not give them the right to berate others and act out and threaten the staff. You have channels you can use if you are not satisfied with your care. Use them…don’t berate others because their hands are tied by the higher ups and they have no control of what is being dictated to them. These employees chose to work for the VA to serve and take care of the VETS, and 90% of them are VETS themselves. Remember that the next time you berate them…..they served just like you did….

    • BEVERLY HAMILTON May 14, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      I have not found that most of the employees are Vets, quite the opposite. My husband has been trying to get a wheelchair since March 6, and we still don’t have one. There is a great problem with the Temple, Texas VA. Our primary doc is great, but we cannot seem to get anything done in Temple VA. I have also seen many employees taking over an hour breaks in the canteen. They do not seem to care at all in this facility.

      • Ed Ruckle May 24, 2018 at 7:20 am

        Beverly, I am a Retired, Air Force Veteran. I advocate for Veterans, family members, and caregivers.

        I don’t charge for what I do, I do what I do because someone has to.

        (phone number redacted)

  32. Raymond Smith May 8, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    I am very happy with the care I get from the VA in my area. My doctor is very knowledgeable and provides me with the needed information at my visits. I use the messaging service to contact all of my care providers at the VA and have always received prompt and appropriate responses.
    Any and all medicines that I order from the Pharmacy are shipped to my house in a timely matter and I have never had a problem with my prescriptions. I thank all of those that work at the VA for a job well done.

  33. Keith J. Whitmore May 8, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    A lot of the veterans I come in contact with are “stuck” with the VA because that’s the only insurance that they have. Then there are a lot of us that worked in the private sector after we got out of the service that have their own insurance programs. And, we use these instead of the VA because we all think the same concerning the VA, that they are a bunch of quacks. These vets like myself don’t trust the VA and we don’t. The funny thing about the whole thing, (if you think that it is funny), is you talk to someone in the VA and what you get back is nothing. The way we find out anything is through another veteran. Seems like they went through a lot of grief themselves to get information & talk to other veterans what to do. As most of the people who work for the VA only think about protecting their own butts & not to rock the boat. All in all all the VA wants us to do is die then they don’t have to pay us any longer. That’s what we think the VA wants!

  34. Ronald D. Bowman May 8, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    I read with a great amount of anticipation a VA announcement I received in an email that the VA was now making it possible to make an appointment for care via email. I followed the instructions to do this after finding out that my local VA facility was on the list of outlets using this capability. Long story disappointedly short, I was eventually directed to accomplish this by phone.

    • Ed Ruckle May 24, 2018 at 7:24 am


      I am a Retired, Air Force Veteran. I advocate for Veterans, family members, and caregivers.

      I don’t charge for what I do, I do what I do because someone has to.

      (phone number redacted)

  35. Charles Stout May 8, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    I have been going to the VA off / on sens 1974. I have been over & under prescribed medications at the Sup VA. It still can take months to get a appointment. and as a walk in I have been turned away told to come back another day. And to get to the main VA hospital is 24 miles away. with Los Angeles Traffic for a 10am appointment took 2 hours to get there. There needs a on going way to report problems 24/7.

    • Ed Ruckle May 24, 2018 at 7:26 am


      I am a Retired, Air Force Veteran. I advocate for Veterans, family members, and caregivers.

      I don’t charge for what I do, I do what I do because someone has to.

      (phone number redacted)

  36. Ryan May 8, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Please close the DCVA medical center that way vets can get real help and treatment!! I’ve felt more comfort at a concentration camp then I do at the DCVAMC!!

  37. John Gove May 8, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    The VA program has as a whole gotten better if I have one complaint…the Eye center in Tampa …it is a 2-3 hour wait time and when I said anything they said they over book as to prevent no shows, I complained and received a call from a VA person up the ladder in Virginia, I told her my complaint and she said she would send it up but it will end up in the waste can,,,that is just the way it is…please help


  38. Matthew Webber May 8, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    I had to essentially become my own doctor because the VA “doctors” I was seeing became out of control. To this day I have never seen the same “doctor” for my condition. Luckily for me I took matters into my own hands and lost almost 200lbs which really made a difference in my health. I could not of done this without doing my own research followed with lots of convincing to VA staff to put me on autoimmune therapy instead of just having them shove antibiotics down my throat followed by some brutal surgeries where I felt everything (VA does not believe that severe pain is severe pain anymore due to the opioid epidemic. Luckily I was smart enough to be proactive about my health where I took a holistic approach to treating my own service connected disabilities. While the VA is far from where they need to be (and sounds like it is getting worse) I think we as veterans really need to step it up in regards to making sure we are healthy because let’s face it….we are all responsible for our own health. It is certainly disturbing how poorly the VA system is when compared to other hospitals and the VA needs to seriously make things less complicated for veterans who do not live in major metropolitan areas and lack transportation to VA clinics that are out in rural and suburban areas. This has become completely unacceptable and it seems with this new election things have only become worse for a majority of us who depend on the VA for our care.

  39. John D Fogel May 8, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    I usually get hit with 2 or 3 spam email.

  40. Ted Bishop May 8, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    I have been a veteran in the VA health care for 35 years. They have taken perfect care of me. It could not have been any better. We veterans have better health care than anyone else. The VA paid for my schooling when I was finished with my active duty. They then financed a home for me. The veterans in this country are treated better than anyone in any other country. Thank you VA.

    • Redelia Ford May 9, 2018 at 4:03 am

      I agree, as I did speak up on other issues and it became so overwhelming and hostile environment yet ignored. I emailed everyone from the Secretary to my direct supervisor not one thing happened for 14 1/2 months. I went from an all star employee to 5 reprimands, adbominishment, 30days FMLA, 3 day suspension, 5 day suspension to finally being fired. Even the NVP said in an email he thought I may have been misrepresented by my AFGE reps. I was an outsider didn’t know about or never heard of EEOC never worked for a major corporation. My supervisor had me so strung out and stressed out I couldn’t even think straight when I walked into the door until I left for the night. So this would be great but we all know how it really works, if they want you out they will do like they did to me, broke me into a million pieces. I have been through a ton of crap with other jobs I have worked lots of places and had many tragedies throughout my working career. The Department of Veteran Affairs Lincoln Regional Office Fiduciary Department was the absolute worst working environment I have ever worked in, and to this day coming back to Lincoln NE creates so much emotional distress I don’t even want to come but my son and grandson live here and I need to be here for them.

  41. David Shepardson May 8, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    Knowledgeable supervisors willing to direct employees under them is in need of improvement, to allow the work force to do as they please with no direction from “the boss” is not a good thing, I often refer to the deadwood as affirmative action slugs who have the mindset of “once hired/never fired”.

  42. Travis Crall May 8, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    Speak up article is interesting, but there are no references or links on where to go to make your voice heard. The VA systems need continuous attention in order to improve and hopefully surpass a subpar health care community. A recent trip to the Denver VA left me distrout after spending over 3 hours waiting on simple blood draws at the laboratory. Meanwhile hundreds of employees wandering the building, and conversing in large groups. A simple task of drawing blood consumed my whole productive day

    • M May 9, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      It comes down to poor management. Until the entire upper echelon is revamped, nothing will change. After three years, I give up. I am going back into the private sector. Nothing in this world is worth the headaches of watching these idiotic executives do nothing. I’ve been to two VA’s and it is the same. We have blocked Fire escapes, electric extension cords on the ground, non-trained geriatric staff, highly acute psych mixed with elderly and the nurse director and psych docs say it’s perfect! OIG does nothing, Joint Commission doesn’t care, staff sleeps at night, patients complain, yet another day in the desert. I feel your pain.

      • Ed Ruckle May 23, 2018 at 8:57 am

        Travis, I agree with you.

        We need to start a “VET FOR VET ONLY” council.

        The council would consist of Veterans, their families, and caregivers, and report directly to the VAMC Director.

        Your thoughts,

  43. Bruce L. Weatherspoon May 8, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Dear VA Representatives,

    I am a retired Army Captain having served as an NCO and as an Officer. I have had nothing but good experience with the VA Hospitals in Frankfort, Germany, Fort Benning, Georgia, Fort Stewart, Georgia, Marion, Indiana and Fort Wayne, Indiana. The physicians and nurse have been both professional and courteous. I have had biopsies, surgeries and found that for the most part, all who I have dealt with have taken pride in their work and sought to provide superb care.

    Sincerely Yours,

    Bruce L. Weatherspoon

    • Pamala McBrayer May 9, 2018 at 12:13 am

      Welcome to care as an officer. I think if you were enlisted, you might have a different experience.

    • Marc Frank May 9, 2018 at 12:42 am

      I’m with you my friend, In the 5 years I have been in the system, I had unpleasant appointment. That can and does happen with any Health Care Facility. At 66, I now have the best Doctor I have ever had in my life. My last two appointments at Dorn, I arrived earlier than they requested. One was a CT Scan, the second one was my first appointment with my Pulmonary Specialist. In both cases, I was finished and out the door driving back home faster than any other Health Care system. I take my appointments seriously and always on time.

  44. William Michael Johnson May 8, 2018 at 11:58 am

    As veterans participate in the STAR program everyone looks for positive reinforcement. Imagine my chagrin when I made the simple request to weigh myself to determine how much weight loss had accompanied my cessation of alcohol and was told this would be impossible. You constantly ask veterans to diet, excersise and drink responsibly and offer no means for us to monitor our progress. When I asked to simply weigh myself I was denied. I felt stigmatized by this since my request was from the “mental” side of the building.

    • Vincent Waterhouse May 8, 2018 at 7:23 pm

      Now that you are asking for input from “Us” The Veteran/s. The ineptitude that surrounds the VA and grinds out negative remarks as well as hopeleness … is predicated on that fact that when something is working, the VA managenent makes sure that they make-up some rule [no vet is allowed to see that rule as it is just a Ghost]. TO BREAK IT !!! I am a Veteran at the VA Hospital here in West Palm Beach, Fl. THEIR ARE VOLUMES OF MEDICAL JOURNALS THAT TELL YOU WHAT IS RIGHT AND WHAT IS WRONG. It falls on deaf ears!!
      The rule here [ for vets] is to keep it broken. Should it get fixed by some miracle … you can be sure that the staff will find a way to break it. This statement is pointed at the Doctors.
      First: Your appointments are spread out so far, that one must use the ER to solve the issue.
      Second: In situations that have proven side effects, they go unanswered. Cancer does have a significant amount of side effects based on Chemo and Radiation. It is comman knowledge that those side effects go unanswered. One area that is very perplexing, is the fact that Primary Care Doctors, cannot and will not prescribe any prescriptions that have a no-no attached to a product that will [maybe] help in some way, including OTC MEDS …. it gets thrown to Mental Hygene!!!!!!! Now you must do a tap dance to get an appointment with the local Nut Doctor. His/Her use the “lets wait and see attitude ”
      The problem never gets any attention ….their job is to stare at the computer screen and ask to you smoke, do you drink etc. That takes around 15 minutes and you never get to the source of the problem. See me in six months!!! Standard answer. To improve the quality of care, the Medical Staff should listen to the patient … not some guess work that the Doctor preconceives. There is alot of lip service at these institutions but getting fixed is a tough call.
      Another waste of taxpayers money is the fact that when it comes to prescriptions … that is a laugh out loud organization. The patient states that xyz medication does not work ….but they keep on prescribing it in the hopes you will forget it. WASTE!!!
      We are supposed to have what is known as a “Patient Advocate” Bigger waste of time …. they do not service your problem … they outsource your request!!
      I am going to attach my name and last four to see if this venue you are pushing has any validity to it. When we signed the dotted line stating that we would defind this country come hell or high water, the military would look after us and provide whatever was neccesary to keep us safe and alive. That is a total lie. We accepted what was on paper but the realerty is we were just pawns in a chess game. The people that benefit the most are the one’s that are employed …their retirement is quite rewarding. You basically cannot be fired from a government agency. The sadness is that you sponser an event that is supposed to generate logical answers in the subject of improvement, its all just eye wash, Looks good on paper and you can say “look what we did” …you have done nothing to improve the care that we need. I am sure that alot of vets respond to what you are trying to market, but as usual it falls on deaf ears. Happy Trials!!!
      Vincent Waterhouse

      • Larry Sortor May 9, 2018 at 4:09 pm

        I had a pain in my foot. I told my VA doctor. She didn’t even look at it because she was behind schedule. Six months later, my next scheduled appointment, I told her again about the pain. Again she didn’t look at my foot. This time I wouldn’t let it go she finally scheduled me for an x-ray. The x-ray report said I had a bunion – but it did not address the pain I was having on the OTHER side of my foot. I went back to my VA Dr. but didn’t get past her nurse. She said there was nothing that could be done because the x-ray was clean. I made an appointment and finally saw my VA Dr. a few week later. When I continued to complain, she just scheduled me to see a VA foot doctor. My Dr. NEVER looked at my foot. The VA foot Dr. appointment was to be another 2 months. I declined and asked for the Choice program. After a few weeks I saw a Sports Medicine Dr. He diagnosed the problem in 5 minutes and said any Dr. could have found the problem. I’m in treatment for an inflamed tendon. I completed a survey about the lack of care by my VA Dr. and never heard anything back.

    • Joe washburn May 13, 2018 at 4:49 pm


      Yep. That is EXACTLY my experience at Claims and Appeals.

      • Robert l. Mason May 14, 2018 at 12:44 pm

        Deny, Deny and make them die from frustration about VA corruption at the VAMC, West palm beach and especially here in Cleveland, Ohio. I just had a C&P exam at the Parma Out patient clinic, the examiner screwed this up so bad and he had help from the R/o Cleveland, they were suppose to have him examine how my nerves were when I got in 69 reference to my original claim from 5, July 69., instead he went off on a tangent , attacking me saying I felt everyone was out to get me?? He then said my wife tried to kill me, never happened, then he brings up the illegal locking me up in 2007.He also brought up a Secret Service investigation of 75, I was cleared of this in 75. It was an investigation of me being a possible presidential assisin. The Secret Servcic cleared me of this, why does the VA bring it up? I even found out who set this up and settled out of court with them and have documents to prove it , again WHY ARE THEY BRINGING THIS UP/?
        The 2007 incident as a patient advocate say on tape , it was all done in retaliation because I blew the whistle on a corrupt VAMC doctor.

      • Harry eames May 22, 2018 at 4:34 am

        I was told that I needed both knees need to be replaced by my dr. but ortho refused to do the surgery

    • Margie Collier May 14, 2018 at 10:21 pm

      I read this and couldn’t stop laughing. No, the VA does not want you to speak up, and if you do they will still do nothing. I have been fighting for 2 years because they failed to disclose or treat a MRSA infection my husband had in his foot. The infection was found via a wound culture taken during a surgery. They posted “isolation and contact precautions” in his record but never treated it or told us about it so we could find other treatment. My husband, Ken, received a liver transplant in 2003 and basically has no immune system, they knew this, still they did not treat. Weeks later he lost his left leg above the knee to a MRSA infection at another local hospital. They saved his life, they VA could have cared less. I filed a Tort Claim after the Dayton VA sent me a letter apologizing for not telling us but said they acted appropriately. Yep, the VA Special Counsel’s office agreed, they were not negligent. Really, the VA policies state that MRSA has to be treated and that all test results that require attention have to be given to the patient within 7 days. Still they did not treat or disclose to us ever, and they did nothing wrong. Speaking up to the Patient Advocate, Chief of Orthopedics, Director, Chief of Staff, Secretary Shulkin’s office, the VA IG and finally the claim for medical negligence, did nothing as they banded their wagons and said we’re sorry we should have told you but we did nothing wrong. Basically sorry for your luck. Vets deserve better, all people deserve better. Now I have less than five months to bring a lawsuit against the Federal Government if there is ever to be justice for Ken. So I’m trying to figure out how to do it on my own because the list of lawyers provided to me by the VSO all said, “infection” “VA” “you’ll never win” and said it wasn’t worth their time. I will keep fighting, but when I see articles like this I want to beat my head against a wall. No, the VA does not care and they don’t want to hear from anyone who doesn’t fall in line with them!!! #nowaytorunahospitalDaytonVA – visit us on facebook to see the documentation and hear the real story from local media and Stars and Stripes. Thanks!!

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