January 30, 2009 – The recent article about yet another foul-up within the Veterans Administration system was met with no surprise by many of the veterans who use the V.A. as their health-care provider.
The phrase “fumble, stumble and regroup” seems to be the mantra within this seriously flawed system. Testing drugs on patients without their knowledge, paperwork logjams due to bureaucracy and a propensity to push pills in place of practical medical alternatives are just a few of the problems facing veterans when they look to the V.A. to do what has been promised. And that doesn’t include the mistakes their doctors make all on their own.
Compounding the problem is the Department of Defense. Among its efforts to help our military men and women move from active duty to civilian is the “pre-existing” catch phrase they attach to health problems as a way of denying they are service-connected.
If this was about the rights of illegal aliens or how some entertainer has set new environmental standards by getting a tattoo of a dolphin on his or her backside, the media would be all over it, with the American public not far behind.
Congress has made a fuss about this latest V.A. mistake. And, after awhile, it will be forgotten and everyone will move to something else that will give them more media exposure.
President Obama has installed Eric Shinseki as the new secretary of the V.A., with the promise of positive changes to come. That doesn’t sound too bad – if you don’t consider that every new secretary was ushered in with the same promise of change.
If Mr. Shinseki takes a serious look at the system, without help from the V.A. spindoctors, talk to veterans who have to deal with this department of smoke and mirrors, and follow up on the things posted on Web sites, then there could be positive changes.
If the American public would take the time and start to really complain to everyone in government about this serious disservice that is being foisted upon the men and women who have stood in harms way on our behalf, maybe something positive would be done.