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Posts from the ‘Veterans Aid Complaints’ Category

VA Called To Showcase American Veterans Artwork

 

After it was revealed the VA spent some $20 million on lavish art at facilities around the country, a watchdog group is calling on the Veterans Affairs Administration to showcase and support American Veterans Artwork. A report was released on spending at the VA — showing the administration purchased millions in luxury art at the height of the veterans  healthcare scandal during which thousands of veterans died while waiting to see doctors.

The $19.7 million tab included a $700,000 sculpture to adorn a California facility for blind veterans. The VA also spent $21,000 for a 27-foot fake Christmas tree; $32,000 for 62 “local image” pictures for the San Francisco VA; and $115,600 for “art consultants” for the Palo Alto facility.

The watchdog group, as well as several U.S. lawmakers, are now calling on the VA to feature the work of their own. “American veterans should benefit from art displays, not vendors who sell the VA pricey art,” said Adam Andrzejewski, founder and CEO at OpenTheBooks.com.

“Veterans have their own art museum. Why is the VA spending millions on lavish art when American veterans are already producing great art?”asked Andrzejewski.

A social media campaign was started on Twitter with the hashtag #vetsart4va. Veterans can upload their art with this hashtag to showcase their work to the VA.

Such art can be found by members of the group, Veteran Artists Program, or VAP, a New York City-based nonprofit that takes artists who are also veterans and propels their works and careers into the mainstream creative arts community.  VAP covers the performing arts and fine arts — showcasing many talented painters, sculptors and photographers whose work portrays the struggles and triumphs of America’s brave.

Shawn Ganther, an Air Force Veteran who served with U.S. security forces in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, said, “I want Americans to see soldiers as the heroes who fight and die in the name of freedom — and to stop and reflect on the privileges they sometimes take for granted.”

Veteran Artists Program has previously displayed artwork by veterans at the Pentagon and U.S. Senate office buildings. BR McDonald, founder and president of VAP, said his organization is currently working with at least 10 VA hospitals around the country to feature work by veteran artists.

McDonald said spending such money on veteran artists gives them a “voice to tell their story” and helps them transition into civilian life. We hsoudl be ebbcouraging the support and use of American Veterans Artwork.

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VA Wait Times Not Fixed Yet

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has not done enough to prevent schedulers from manipulating appointment wait times.  VA wait-time data remains misleading and underestimates how long veterans wait for care, according to a nonpartisan watchdog report. So fixing the VA wait times is still a long way from done.

“Ongoing scheduling problems continue to affect the reliability of wait-time data,” the Government Accountability Office found.

The Piecemeal Approach to American Veterans Aid

The GAO said the VA has taken a “piecemeal approach” to addressing the problems since the wait-time scandal broke in 2014 in Phoenix, where schedulers falsified wait times and at least 40 veterans died awaiting care. But the agency needs to take comprehensive action, the GAO concluded in its audit, which stretched from January 2015 through last month.

Auditors found schedulers at three of the six medical centers they reviewed had improperly changed dates so the VA system falsely showed shorter or zero wait times. In a review of scheduling records for 60 individual veterans at those three centers, they found improper scheduling in 15  — or 25% — of the appointments.

While the system showed average wait times of between four and 28 days in the cases reviewed, the actual averages were between 11 and 48 days. The audit characterized the schedulers’ actions as mistakes rather than deliberate falsification.

“Until a comprehensive scheduling policy is finalized, disseminated, and consistently followed by schedulers, the likelihood for scheduling errors will persist,” the GAO said in its draft report.

The findings bolster recent claims by VA whistle-blowers that schedulers across the country are still falsifying wait times. And they cast doubt on the effectiveness of corrective actions VA officials touted as recently as 10 days ago.

USA TODAY reported April 7 that the VA inspector general found schedulers at 40 VA medical facilities in 19 states and Puerto Rico regularly “zeroed out” veteran wait times and supervisors at seven of those facilities instructed them to do so.

VA Wait Times for Aid and Care

VA officials at the time said many of those probes had been finished more than a year ago and they had already imposed discipline in some cases and instituted refresher training for all schedulers. But local VA officials overseeing five centers told the GAO their own internal audits also found schedulers continuing to enter dates improperly.

The VA, in its response to the GAO report, said it will review the situation and make improvements where necessary by the end of the year.

While we know we can do more to improve our access to American Veterans aid and care, we are aggressively implementing changes in our systems, training and processes to improve access, the statement said.

They claim they are doing everything they can to fix the VA wait times and rebuild the trust of veterans who depend on the VA for care.

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American Veterans and Sleep

One of the complaints often heard from American Veterans is that they suffer from sleep disturbances. Hundreds of thousands of vets struggle regularly with insomnia, both falling and staying asleep, as well as nightmares. The high occurrence of depression in returning veterans has also been linked to the inability to get good sleep.

A variety of treatments are available to address these problems. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia is effective for those who have a difficult time falling asleep.  A high blood pressure medication has shown in numerous research studies that it can eliminate nightmares.  However, if you don’t suffer from high blood pressure this medication could cause other problems.

Unfortunately, the treatment of insomnia and nightmares has historically required multiple treatments, often from multiple providers, and sometimes using highly addictive drugs with serious side effects. The treatments effective for insomnia were not necessarily effective for nightmares. And the treatments effective for nightmares were not necessarily effective for insomnia.

The Natural Approach to Helping American Veterans

One of the safest ways to deal with this American Veterans complaint is to use a natural nutritional approach –  such as vitamin B1.  It’s been shown to be very effective with addressing nightmares. A Calcium and Magnesium combination intake has proved extremely effective in calming the nerves and muscle tension, and helping with a healthy sleep pattern.

A New Therapy

According to Military Times, a relatively new therapy called Exposure, Relaxation, and Rescription Therapy (ERRT) has now emerged. It is a mix of education about insomnia and nightmares, techniques for learning to sleep better, intentional exposure to content of nightmares, and ‘rewriting’ and rehearsing new dreams.

While this approach is still in research and testing phases, it shows a step in the direction of assisting vets with their specific issues that they face upon returning.

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99 year-old American Veteran Still Seeking Benefits

One Filipino World War II veteran is still seeking recognition and equity pay for his service to the U.S. during the war.  Celestino Almeda, who will turn 99 years old this June, still has the determination he had back when he was a member of the Philippine Commonwealth Army under control of the U.S. Army. he regards himself as an American Veteran.

His service and documentation earned him U.S. citizenship and even VA health benefits, but he is yet to see the $15,000 lump sum payment due to Filipino WWII veterans — compensation granted to Filipino veterans after President Barack Obama signed the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Act of 2009.

For the last two years, Almeda has been appealing for his equity pay at the congressional level. In May, he had a chance to bring his question to the nation’s capitol. Still no decision has been made.

Read the full story on NBC News

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American Veterans Share Complaints about Healthcare

 

 

When executives from the Phoenix VA came to Show Low last week they told veterans the system is getting better.  However, vets at this event told a very different story: American veterans aid complaints run high.  They’re fed up with long waits for appointments and the long drives to the Valley to get care when there are qualified local physicians who could see them.

One veteran of the Korean War has been trying to get help for the pain in his arm without success. He waited for more than a month for an appointment and when he did get seen the healthcare professional did nothing more than poke his arm and say he needed surgery.

He saw another person at the Show Low VA who told him he needed an MRI before he could recommend anything, including surgery. Later he was told he needed physical therapy.  To this day he has pain in his arm.  He is now fed up with the VA and says he wants nothing from them anymore.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident.  American Veterans complaints about benefits, aid and healthcare are rampant. Released Monday, the Government Accountability Office’s review of appointment wait times for patients new to VA health care found that veterans wait three to eight weeks for medical appointments. Others could not see a primary care doctor at all because VA staff did not handle the appointments correctly, the report GAO report says.

All VHA employees now have a set of foundational principles called “MyVA Access Declaration,” to guide them to providing timely care to former service members..

“A year from now we will not be having this discussion on wait times,”  said VA Undersecretary for Health Dr. David Shulkin.

Not everyone agrees – “You paint too rosy a picture,” Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., told Shulkin. “The system is broken. The people in my district are frustrated and angry.”

There is no doubt that American Veterans aid complaints need to be addressed and access to healthcare needs to be improved.

 

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