Sunday, June 1, 2014

Former VA Executive Explains Part of Problem Leading to Treatment Scandal

The good news is that a former executive from the Veterans Administration is being honest about the lack of production among health care professionals whose job is to treat our veterans. The bad news is that very few people are addressing the fact that single-payer systems - a euphemism for government-operated health care, are microcosms for what happens in nations that have socialized medicine.

If you have a problem that, for example, only occurs intermittently and never in a manner in which you can predict the onset of symptoms, you will have a lot of trouble if your only option is a government-run system. Unless what you are experiencing has all the marks of a life threatening condition, you will not receive the tests that you would hope to get. I have experienced this dilemma firsthand, and I have yet to find a case in which the results were different. Despite the fact that all of the employees and equipment is all - as the they say, "paid for", these still entail monetary costs. Any procedure, appointment, or test will be reviewed those staff whose responsibility it is to ensure that costs are kept as low as possible, and deviations from standard procedure will not be allowed.

This can also occur in the private sector, but here the patient has it a bit easier. My youngest had what was found to be a temporary strain of his neck muscles that was a result of a car accident in which we were hit from behind while stopped. Due to the fact that the injury was the result of a motor vehicle accident, the auto insurer had to approve any appointments, tests, etc. He was prohibited from wrestling for his school team until he could be medically cleared, but we eventually found that the neurologist who was initially consulted to check my son had no intention of making a decision or whether or not he could wrestle- even after the X-rays and  MRI yielded negative results. Note that we had made in clear from the beginning that the only reason that we were seeking his opinion was to ascertain of he would be able to participate in the school wrestling program.

With the auto insurer (since they are not in the business of helping people participate in youth sports)  not willing to approve another doctor, we were stuck.

That is, until I decided to find another specialist and pay for the appointment myself.

We brought copies of the test results to the second neurologist, who approved and medically cleared him in one visit. I paid for the visit myself, and later submitted a claim to my own medical insurer, who agreed to pay part of the costs.

In a single-payer system that option wouldn't available, and only those with the best connections at the top would have been able to pull strings to get some "favors"  approved.

Link-pasting is still not working. This came from The Blaze and is dated June 1, 2014:

"Many factors have contributed to the Veterans Affairs waiting lists debacle, but the number of returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan was hardly a major factor, said a former top VA official who believes the real problem is bad management that goes beyond the bureaucratic mess of the past.

Low productivity – such as some specialists seeing only two patients per day – and the decision to increase the number of non-service-related medical conditions treated also have significantly contributed to the problem, said Darin Selnick, the former special assistant to VA Secretary Anthony Principi from 2001 to 2004.

“The VA has all the funds it needs and all the staff it needs,” Selnick, a retired Air Force captain, told TheBlaze. “It’s just bad management.”

The VA estimates there are 2.1 million veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Of that number,616,487 had VA health care in 2013, according to the department. The VA estimates 689,974 will be treated in 2014. The percentage of post-9/11 veterans more than doubles the percentage of the 1991 Gulf War, but that doesn’t mean it’s insurmountable for VA’s resources.

“It’s smoke and mirrors. There has always been a continued rate of increase. You didn’t have two million dumped on the VA,” Selnick added. “About 11 percent of the veterans [enrolled for VA care] are post-9/11. That’s not going to overwhelm the system.”...........

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned Friday over the waiting lists scandal two days after a scathing report from the VA’s inspector general said the problem was national in scope. The IG report stated 1,700 veterans were waiting for appointments at the Phoenix medical facility but were not on the official waiting list. It also found that some veterans had to wait for 115 days to get appointments. The report did not address reports of whether 40 veterans have died while waiting for care.

Selnick, now a senior VA advisor for Concerned Veterans for America, blamed Shinseki and political employees in the VA for allowing a culture of poor accountability and said a good secretary could have prevented some of these problem

“There has always been a customer service problem and a problem with bureaucracy,” Selnick said. “It 
doesn’t take much for an already shaky system to melt down.”......

The department has faced some genuine problems, said Joe Davis, director of public affairs for Veterans of Foreign Wars and a former Air Force sergeant.

Asked whether the VA is facing an insurmountable case load or if the agency is just performing worse than before, Davis answered, “all of the above.”..........

That said, The Daily Beast recently reported that some VA doctors apparently aren’t working that hard.

There are eight cardiologists at the VA facility in Albuquerque, Virginia; but some are seeing two patients each day, or about 36 patients per week. For perspective, the Daily Beast cites a 2013 survey of medical professionals that found 60 percent of private-practice cardiologists see 50 to 124 patients per week, more than the entire practice at the Virginia clinic in question sees in a week.

Selnick believes this is indicative of a larger problem of poor productivity by the department. He said the VA has 33 specialties, but there is no staffing plan for 31 of those specialities to determine how to address the anticipated patient load.

“It’s not (that) there are not enough doctors, it’s just that they are underutilized,” Selnick said. “It’s not the amount of doctors; it’s the amount of productivity.

-Previous post. Again, no link can be pasted

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

US Military Cited as Proof That Socialism Can be a Paradise

Added 6/1/14 - I corrected "regimental" to "regimented" in the opening statement. I need to slow down on my spell check choices.
This article should leave no one in doubt; the Left seeks to create a regimented structure for each and every one of us - right down to the most basic of details.

When one chooses or is conscripted into the military, he must surrender a whole lot of what he once took for granted. In the vast majority of cases (with the ultimate decisions always being those of his superiors) the following will now be decided for him:

-Where he lives (both in location and type of housing)
-The instruction that he will receive 
-the choice of coworkers and roommates
-The job that he will be assigned
-When and how he will exercise
-When and what he will eat
-What personal articles he may posses (including reading material in some cases )
-The degree of his freedom of association (a crucial aspect of a free society is the Liberty to join or be associated with virtually any organization)
-The degree to which he is free to exercise both his freedom of conscience and religion 
-When (and for how long) and where he is allowed to go on his own
-When and for how long he can sleep
-When he will be subjected to searches of his person or quarters
-The type and amount of medical treatment that he will receive
-If and when he will be allowed the privilege of having a personal vehicle
-When and if he may attend even family funerals (those in training schools will often be denied leave for the death of a grandparent unless that individual was the legal guardian of the member) 
-There of course is more 

All of this is of course for a purpose; the military must by its very nature be organized and managed in a certain manner.It also is by its nature only applicable to a small subset of a society.  Now see this world being held up as an example of how Socialism can create a paradise - presumably for all of us.

"It may come as an unwelcome surprise to conservatives, but America’s military has one of the only working models of collective living and social welfare the country has ever known.

Every day before dawn, brave men and women of different races and backgrounds rise as one, united by a common cause. They march together in formation, kept in step by their voices joined in song. These workers leave their communal housing arrangements and go toil together “in the field.” While they are out doing their day’s labor, their young are cared for in subsidized childcare programs. If they hurt themselves on the job, they can count on universal health care. Right under your nose, on the fenced-in bases you drive past on your way to work or see on the TV news, a successful experiment in collectivization has been going on for years.....................

The U.S. military is a socialist paradise. Imagine a testing ground where every signature liberal program of the past century has been applied, from racial integration to single-payer health care—then add personal honor, strict hierarchy, and more guns. Like all socialist paradises, the military has been responsible for its share of bloodshed, but it has developed one of the only working models of collective living and social welfare that this country has ever known.........

So what’s life like for those in uniform living in the socialist paradise?

The military is an enormous jobs program. [Which uses rather than creates wealth]  There are more than 2 million active duty and reserve members of the armed forces spread out between bases in more than 150 countries. As with any employer of that size, you’ll get a range of answers about working conditions depending on who you ask and how much they got screwed by the bureaucracy, let down by their leaders, or punished by circumstance.

................... It’s the commonness of the life, actually, that makes it unique. From Fort Bragg to Camp Pendleton, there is a shared experience on a scale that exists almost nowhere else in America.

Millions of people on military bases live in communal arrangements. They participate in centrally run programs that govern the most basic and fundamental aspects of their lives, from their housing and children’s educations to where and how they shop for food.

Service members and their families live for free on base. People living off base are given a stipend to cover their housing costs. They shop in commissaries and post exchanges where prices for food and basic goods are considerably lower than at civilian stores. Troops and their families count on high-quality education and responsive universal health care. They expect to be safe at home, as bases, on average, have less violencethan American cities of comparable size. And residents enjoy a wide range of amenities—not just restaurants and movie theaters but fishing ponds, camp sites, and golf courses built for their use............

On social issues, the military has consistently been ahead of the country at large. President Truman ordered the armed forces desegregated in 1948, shamefully late but two decades before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And since the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2010, gay service members have been getting married and collecting the same benefits as their straight peers, while the issue still works its way through the states......................."

-Previous related posts:

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