No Sin Too Great To Lose Your Job At The VA? *Open Thread*

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The news recently has been dominated by the continuing revelations regarding the terrorist couple on San Bernardino. Suffice it to say, everything the FBI is learning is basically contradicting the claims made by President Obama in his Sunday night oration. Shocking, I know.

This Branco cartoon from Legal Insurrection sums it up perfectly:

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Uh, yeah. And awesome job of vetting there, by the way.

But while the media is focusing on these terrorists, there is another bombshell I don’t want to let slip through the cracks. That would be this revelation from the NBC News channel out of Washington via Hot Air regarding the VA:

Some local Veterans Affairs employees weren’t fired despite severe cases of misconduct — including sleeping in hospital patient rooms or having sex while on the job, according to a News4 I-Team investigation.

A review of agency disciplinary records shows agency leaders issued reprimands or brief suspensions to dozens of employees who’d engaged in misconduct in recent months at local Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Martinsburg, West Virginia.

[…]

They include:

One VA Maryland Health System employee was reprimanded for failing to treat a patient who’d suffered a head injury in a medical center hallway.

In another case, an employee was issued for for leaving a medicine cart unattended at the D.C. VA Medical Center.

The I-Team also found a recent series of acts of employee misconduct at the Martinsburg Medical Center.

Some employees had sex on the facility grounds, according to the records.

In another case, an employee was found sleeping while on the job, beneath a blanket in a patient room.

Another employee was investigated for being high on cocaine while on duty.
Another worker was arrested for distribution of heroin off-the-job, but was allowed to return to work.

In an 2013 incident, the agency suspended a Martinsburg employee for bringing a loaded gun and a knife onto the grounds.

So let’s see: high on Coke? No problem! Having sex while supposedly working? Meh. Heroin pusher? Sure, why not?!

Are you KIDDING me with this??? How in the hell do these people STILL HAVE A JOB??? How do they still have a job in general, much LESS at the expense of veterans’ health and taxpayer funds?? Seriously, how INSANE is this??

Because the Veterans Affairs department is a cesspool of bad behavior dismissed, defended, and tolerated, according to their response:

(Jeff) Miller (Chairman of the U.S. House Veteran’s Affairs Committee) said the I-Team’s findings indicate the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs fails to hold all of its employees accountable for bad actions.

In a statement, the Department of Veterans Affairs said, “Where performance or conduct issues warrant removal, VA takes appropriate action to terminate employment.”

An agency spokeswoman explained the decision to issue only a suspension to the employee found with the gun and the knife, which are strictly prohibited on the grounds. She said the employee was a military veteran with a strong performance ranking.

“The employee’s written and oral replies, lack of prior disciplinary action, performance, length of service, remorsefulness and potential to be rehabilitated were all taken into consideration,” she said. “The employee stated the firearm was in his vehicle because it was going to be used for target practice and he forgot it was in the vehicle. He also stated he always carries the three-and-a-half-inch knife because it is a useful tool.”

Agency records do show the VA terminated more than 1,700 employees between July 2014 and July 2015.

That is the only good news – the number of people for whom they did terminate employment. But it sure makes you wonder just what THOSE people did to get fired when being high, sleeping in patients’ rooms, or selling heroin do NOT. WOW.

Meanwhile, as the article highlighted, the VA has acted against some employees in a big way. That would be VA whistleblowers (click here to see the NBC News 4 video), as Dr. Katherine Mitchell makes clear:

Dr. Mitchell is just ONE of the physicians who blew the whistle, and who suffered retaliation from the VA as a result.

But not just doctors, but veterans themselves who blew the whistle:

It is APPALLING what the Veterans Affairs Department is doing – or NOT doing. Clearly, there needs to be a complete overhaul of the Veterans Affairs agency from top to bottom.

As Vanessa Lech said above, this needs to change NOW. People having sex at work? Gone. People sleeping in patients’ rooms? Gone. People high on cocaine?? Gone. Heroin pushers? GONE (and should be in jail). It is obscene, absolutely OBSCENE, that our veterans are being subjected to these kinds of sub-par employees. And it is a ripoff of taxpaying Americans that these people are being paid by US.

Congress needs to step it up and now. This kind of thing cannot continue to stand.

That’s what I think, anyway.

Now back to all the news about Trump saying this about Muslims, Clinton saying that about Trump/Republicans, the FBI on-going investigation into the terrorists and their families, etc., etc.

This is an Open Thread.

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23 Responses to “No Sin Too Great To Lose Your Job At The VA? *Open Thread*”

  1. kenoshamarge Says:

    How sad that a good person like Vanessa Lech has to be subjected to harassment by people who aren’t fit to stand on the same planet.

    The VA problem has gone on for many administrations. Each subsequent administrations promises to clean up the problems. They don’t.

    I would suggest that perhaps we, as voters, tell anyone elected, to congress or the White House, that they have one term to do better. Not a little better, not lip service but a lot better. Better in the sense that the clean up is started and will continue.

    If not, then don’t vote for them again. No matter what else they do. The VA problem has gone on far too long and needs immediate attentions and solutions.

    I’m not smart enough to know how to fix the problem but I’m smart enough to know that having substandard employees, i.e. those that don’t do their damn job, is no way to “fix” anything.

    Second, any thing that even has a slight odor of “politics” on this topic is verboten. It is the fault of BOTH parties and they must work together to fix it. Now!

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      No kidding. The doctors, the staff, those who dare to speak up are then the ones treated so horribly while those who engage in rampant misconduct continue to keep their jobs. There is something so seriously wrong with this picture on so many levels, it isn’t funny.

      True enough that this has been going on for a while, but yes – it needs to be a priority, a REAL priority, for elected officials. I’m with you – if they don’t do something more than cosmetic fixes, out they go. Our veterans deserve so much better than this. So do we.

    • mcnorman Says:

      Telling the congresscritters has made the mess worse imho. Now, they have a third party administrator running the show thanks to the critters. So, if you have a tumor, you get your appointment at the VA quickly. If they have no hospital, they outsource to the outside so that anyone who is willing to take less than Medicare pay sees them. (Keep in mind, Medicare pays about .08 on the dollar). So, they have a referral by this Triwest and now comes the fun part. The authorization is for a looksee. The outside providers do not have acess to the VA internal files which is going to make this a looksee. The intermediary sets up the appointment. (Atleast 99% of the time, they don’t have the accurate info to provide to the scheduler what this person needs to be seen for.) If this person had a biopsy done already, they don’t know or don’t have it or whatever, but that is going to make for more waste of time. Those records should come with the authorization, but rarely do. Anyhow, the looksee date comes up and they are seen at which time a follow up to do a biopsy (if there wasn’t one done at the VA) must be requested. So, that appointment gets set up. This might already be a loss of a month in time. When the results come back, another appointment is set up and then another request for whatever comes next and so on and so on. Are you getting the picture? Congress created this mess. IMO they should have to participate in it. The intermediary must make money. The providers have no incentive to work like this. Less pay than Medicare when they are already bailing on that? Mother may I requests that require a minimum of 10-14 days for an answer. The list goes on and on. It isn’t the providers or the workerbees, it is the dumbells at the top that don’t have a clue. FYI, I asked one of the big higherups for help many months ago…he said he would call me back…I’m not holding my breath and it was a very simple request. My suggestion is for vets to go medicare. It’s safer.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        Ohmygosh, that gave me a headache reading how the system works. I cannot even IMAGINE what it is like for those trying to get THROUGH the system. Holy smokes.

        Do we change this system to make it serve the patients for which they are supposed to care, or just abolish it as you suggested and have veterans go on Medicare?

        For that matter, how do we make Medicare a better system? Privatize it, perhaps?

        • mcnorman Says:

          That is just the tip of the iceberg unfortunately. This is a simple example. Those that have huge problems are really screwed. Medicare is straightforward. Unfortunately, Medicare has had congresscritters meddling there as well. I think Medicare works far better than the Advantage beasts. The problem with this care is that Medicare is basic. BTW, sitting from behind the counter I would NEVER EVER go on an advantage plan. The sell is that they pay for more stuff, but the truth beknown is that behind the door a lot of stuff is off the table and you must stay within their system. You don’t and never will know what has been taken off the table. You follow their rules and play their way. It’s a nightmare. The country has been on a path toward socialized medicine for decades. It is time that we accept that is what it is. Stop feeding the insurance companies at the taxpayer trough and cough up the necessary dollars. I’ve spoken to many and it is about 20% of your wages. The waiting in line for whatever is what always worried everyone. Now, the fact that many will not take Medicare makes you wait until you can see someone that does.

          • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

            I so appreciate your sharing your front line experience with us, mcnorman. I totally hear you abt us moving closer to socialized medicine, but it isn’t working (like Socialism in general does not). I HOPE that somehow we can get this changed to being able to buy ins. across state lines, make companies more competitive and all of that. For now, it is a HUGE, expensive mess, made so much worse by Obamacare…

  2. kenoshamarge Says:

    With all the problems facing this nation, the LSM gives us this:

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      I am so, so sick of the Trump-palooza I could scream. This morning, they showed that Cruz was speaking and I said to Suzy, “If that was Trump, they’d be showing the whole thing.” I don’t get it, and I sure as hell am tired of hearing abt him, tired of hearing him, and tired of the reactions to him. UGH.

  3. lyn Says:
  4. mcnorman Says:

    I want you to know that the local VA staff that I work with are PHENOMENAL although they have some pretty flaky administrators. The problem is not the workerbee, it is the fluff management.
    I was told that in order for the management to sit at the helm, they must do something related to their degree /MD once a week. We had one guy who basically sat in his office all week long and saw one patient during the week. Keep in mind that if they were short staffed (for instance when one of the MDs had to undergo cancer treatment) you would have thought that the charge guy would have taken over, right? No, he didn’t. Slowly, these guys are being put out to pasture. Sadly, it is very slow.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      mcnorman, thank you for saying that. I meant to highlight what Vanessa Lech said, that most of the staff is wonderful. It seems management is the problem, from the top on down.

      Well said!

  5. foxyladi14 Says:

    Great post Amy. 🙂

  6. kenoshamarge Says:

    The Trump Cult of Personality and its Conservative Media Enablers

    Sixty-eight percent of Trump supporters say they would still vote for him if he ran as a 3rd party candidate.

    Of course they would; this is how cults of personality operate. Please recall this Huffington Post poll released in September. It demonstrated how Republican voters — driven, it would seem, by Trump backers — became astonishingly supportive of (a) maintaining the Iran nuclear deal, (b) government-run and -funded healthcare, and (c) race-based affirmative action when the pollster informed respondents that those positions were held by Donald Trump, as opposed to Barack Obama. The punchline is that his supporters don’t care at all.

    Trump’s Democrat-style campaign is driven by feelings and identity, not issues. The HuffPo survey also revealed the same phenomenon at play on the other end of the spectrum, as hordes of Obama cultists reflexively tossed foundational liberal-left ideals overboard after they were told they were agreeing with Trump, versus Obama. Can we abandon all reason and alleged principles in order to march in lockstep with an anointed political figure, or oppose a bete noir? Yes we can. The point is that emotion-based hero worship can heavily erode afflicted parties’ previous adherence to values, ideology, and critical thinking.

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2015/12/10/poll-nearly-70-percent-of-trump-followers-would-support-him-in-independent-run-n2091546

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Tucker Carlson said last night on the All Star Panel that Trump already IS running as a third party, that he is most definitely NOT a Conservative, with many of his policies being far closer to the Dems than anything else. No kidding – that is EXACTLY what we have been saying:

  7. kenoshamarge Says:

  8. kenoshamarge Says:

    Absolutely love, love, love this Mollie Hemingway piece. Even if I found myself on her list. It gave me an insight I was lacking. Thank you Mollie.

    When It Comes To Donald Trump, I Hate Everyone

    I hate Donald Trump, people who love Donald Trump, people who hate Donald Trump, and media who cover Donald Trump.

    We’re now in month eight or so of Trumpmania. He has a core of support, and the media can’t get enough of him. The effect he has on people is fascinating. But it’s also remarkably annoying. Every casual utterance by Trump leads the news cycle until the subsequent outrage. And everyone flips out. Trump flips out. His fans flip out. His enemies flip out. The media flip out.

    It’s enough to make you hate everyone. In fact, it does make me hate everyone. That probably includes you. Here’s a list of everyone in the Trump saga who is awful:

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/12/10/when-it-comes-to-donald-trump-i-hate-everyone/

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      LOL – I had planned on writing this up tomorrow, and thought of you when I read it earlier. Hemingway is just brilliant, isn’t she? And funny, too…

      Great piece!!!

  9. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    A Facebook friend had a piece by Marco Rubio abt the VA. Rubio’s brother, Mario, was a Green Beret, and was injured in the line of duty, so Rubio truly cares abt this issue: https://marcorubio.com/news/marco-rubio-va-reform-speech-iowa/

  10. kenoshamarge Says:

    Donald Trump Says He’d Mandate the Death Penalty for People Who Kill Cops

    While I’ve written before about how I support the use of the death penalty, there’s a few things wrong with what Trump said. Namely, it violates the 10th Amendment as well as the 6th Amendment, and possibly the 8th and 5th. Also, it’s not exactly the most “conservative” thing in the world to alter the criminal justice system via executive order.

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/christinerousselle/2015/12/11/donald-trump-proposes-something-unconstitutional-part-20184234-n2092263

    FYI I am against the death penalty not because I don’t think some murderous scum deserve to be put to death but because I don’t trust the “system” to get things right. More than one ambitious DA has rushed to convict for political purpose not for justice. And “mandating it” by executive order? Another would be emperor in the White House is just what we need.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      I completely agree, Marge. I imagine there are a few cases where the crime is so clear as to not be susceptible to political machinations, but it is one of those things that once done, cannot be undone. I wouldn’t want to take that chance generally speaking.

      And Trump continues to show his true colors. Not that it matters one whit to his Faithful, unfortunately. Just like with Obama, no matter what he says or does, they are firmly in his corner, even when he is pushing a policy Elizabeth Warren herself loves. It just doesn’t matter to them, so I assume his wanting to violate almost HALF the Bill of Rights won’t make much of a difference either.

      How in the hell did we get to this place?!?!

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