VA System Failure, Blame Robot Congress
A “Robot Congress” is one that is operated from behind the scenes, by political party platforms controlling their every move. Your favorite Representative or Senator may have had good intentions when you elected them, but when the Washington DC reality slapped them in the face, they turned into ROBOTS! Political Party platforms are determined by contributed MONEY!
Contributed money wants to insure the environment is hospitable to their business profit margin. Their money will only support politicians who remove or neuter regulations that may cost a bit more than the MONEY Donors are willing to pay! “MONEY, MONEY, MONEY makes the world go ’round”, at least that’s what the big corporations believe and defend. When the profiteering from wars and conflicts wind down, corporations want to sit back and count their money. But consequences have a way of intruding on that fun stuff. Today’s wars have a lot more survivors than deaths. The survivors are costing more and more to fix. Big corporations don’t want to pay for those fixes, through increased taxation. It is sooo much cheaper to donate a million here and there to appear more Philanthropic.
An unrealistic ROBOT Congress has caused a serious VA System Failure, and we All suffer. The ROBOT Congress has to satisfy it’s Party Platform donors who are at best a corporate Oligarchy with Elitist and Misogynistic attitudes that use Evangelism as it”s weapon.
We are accepting damaged goods back into our homes, our families, our churches, our workplaces! These returning veterans are working very hard to mask what they have experienced. They struggle to avoid remembering things that still bother them, and may gloss over certain activities they witnessed or participated in. They don’t want to be reminded about anything they feel guilty about. Damaged Goods is the most impersonal term I can use … Damaged Goods is how Congress and American Society treats anyone returning from a traumatic deployment, with symptoms. Viewed with a suspicious eye, these veterans are reluctant to admit any effects from their experiences. With the burden of appearing the same person as before, the act of denial can be hazardous to the veteran and anyone around them. It is almost fortunate if a veteran has a visible wound to describe their trauma, fewer questions are asked. But as a society and culture, America and it’s politicians have failed to include the consequences of sending human beings into harms way and expecting them to come home and resume their everyday lives. .
Again and again, reports are flooding the media, that Veteran’s Administration inability to process the thousands of claims submitted by military veterans. Many instances the processing time exceeds a year. What does a year look like to a suffering veteran? Congressional austerity efforts have devastated many government agency services that serve as lifelines for many Americans. With the revenge and glory that America’s current wars represent, those who are sent into harm’s way seldom anticipate the consequences. Every soldier, contractor and journalist will be changed, whether they admit it or not. Some of those returning will not discover their injuries for months or even years after they return to civilization. My personal experience includes my neighbor suffering from PTSD triggered by Viet Nam, took his life in 2007. Over the past 5 years I have published articles spotlighting the inadequacies plaguing the Veteran experience.
These are American Veterans from many wars who must struggle for attention from the Veteran’s Administration. In spite of heroic efforts by the Veteran’s Administration to attend to their patients, funding and military dysfunction have put impossible barriers on their service. With reduced personnel and tight funding and preventing fraud, the Veteran’s Administration is tasked with the impossible of digesting the tens of thousands of applications from current wars.
Government Agencies provide SERVICE! Congress has chosen Government Agencies as TARGETS for their noble efforts to CUT COSTS necessary to run this nation. The detail of where the money comes from is a disgusting excuse. You and corporations don’t want to be taxed! You and corporations don’t want to take any more loans from China or Saudi Arabia. You and corporations don’t want to pay interest on the billions of dollars of US Treasury Bonds that are sold around the world. So, with all of those barriers in place, the American public and American private will slide into a dark age of doing without, and enjoy the consequences.
The VA is suffering from the same attitude as most government agencies. They are ambivalent about the job they do, because Congress has removed their ability to do a good job. Cuts in funding and personnel have hamstrung their mission. How can they take their jobs seriously when Congress is no longer answerable to the American Citizen, but gives that task to inadequate agencies. Agencies have to beg for funding to do their jobs. So, now the VA has been nailed for misappropriation of funds and is going through it’s own scandal at a critical time for returning veterans.
Uncounted Casualties: The War Within
“I am frequently frustrated in my ability to provide care,” said Washington, who has also been authorized to speak on behalf of the 600,000-member American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal employees union.
Washington said VA schedulers are under enormous pressure to meet the VA’s 14-day deadline for new patients and this robs therapists of the ability to manage growing numbers of veterans requiring ongoing and lengthy counseling.
She said problems will persist “as long as scheduling continues to be driven by clerks pressured by management to make the numbers look good — and as long as mental health providers have little or no say about where and when to best serve patients.”
The VA director of mental health operations, Mary Schoen, says the department has increased its staffing by nearly 50% since 2006, and continues to look for ways to improve access to care. The VA’s failure, however, to acknowledge significant problems led committee member to question the credibility of Schoen and her staff.
Many family members noticed dramatic changes in their loved ones after they returned from the war and before committing suicide.
Senate panel hears of battles for care by veterans with PTSD – Accounts of chronic staff shortages among Department of Veterans Affairs mental health staff and veterans discouraged over delays in therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder were brought before a Senate Veterans’ Affairs committee hearing today.
The U.S. government tests hundreds of Marines and soldiers before they ship out to help predict who is most susceptible to PTSD.
“Too often, I am told that the patient will have to wait as long as six weeks for the first appointment. But after waiting that long, many patients lose the motivation for treatment, or their PTSD worsens while they are waiting,” testified Michelle Washington, a coordinator of PTSD care at a VA hospital in Wilmington, Del.
Forty percent of about 600 Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans surveyed by the non-profit Wounded Warrior Project in recent weeks, and who were seeking VA mental health treatment, reportedly struggled in getting help. And among those, 40% received no therapy at all, said John Roberts, executive vice president of the organization.
Roberts called the survey result a “stark call-to-action.”
The committee has been pressing the VA hard in recent months on delays in treating mental health cases after a survey done within the department earlier this year showed that 70% of clinicians believe the VA lacks staffing or space to handle the mounting numbers of veterans seeking care.
It does not help veterans, but does play into the hands of stingy corporations, that there are professional scammers out there that “game” the system and collect fraudulent benefits. These scammers commit fraud, rake in millions of dollars and ruin efforts of government agencies to serve the needs of valid claims. Publicity about these scams are fodder for anti-government arguments. Complaints that all government assistance is fraud and communism, throws accountability out the window. There is more government support than meets the eye. You may have enjoyed government assistance without even realizing it.
What some Americans don’t realize is that fraud becomes rampant when other services fail … like enforcement. Today, we are enjoying the consequences of extreme right wing efforts to cut funding to those same government agencies that protect us. Extremists enjoy saying “I told you so”, only after they made sure the failures will happen by cutting funding. My conspiracy side tells me, that once enforcement was neutered, these same extremists took advantage and scammed money or benefits for themselves. You really have to look closely at these extremists and the arguments they present. The selfish attitude that lumps all recipients as leaches on society, is self serving to people who think they are special … some supreme being has endowed them with the ability to select who survives and who suffers. These special people have a well know author and philosopher to give intellectual credence to their movement … Ayn Rand. This was an author who was an elite industrialist, money motivated dreamer. Absolutely nothing would stand in her way or her hero’s way to achieve their perception of success. If you measure success by how many corpses mark your pathway to privilege, then you need to keep electing extremist ROBOT lawmakers to destroy government accountability, along with the environment, people and the health of planet Earth.
PTSD claims a very dear friend – I share my sadness – 37 years suffering from PTSD, the VA finally re-evaluated and acknowledged his condition after 15 years of benefit applications. My friend and neighbor was decorated Marine and a Tunnel Rat in Viet Nam. His experiences were horrific. By the time VA decided to help, the PTSD had progressed beyond drugs and therapy. My friend lived in drug induced limbo for another 17 years until a bureaucratic discrepancy denied his medications for 2 weeks. By the time the medications were approved, my friend took his own life and left a note of apology to his family and friends.