Mil Times: VA Doctor Regrets Post Telling Gun Advocate to ‘Off’ Himself

Gregg-Gorton-Facebook-Post

So typically VA.

Gorton was responding to a post that came through his Facebook page by an apparent gun-rights supporter, according to images posted to the website Imgur and described by the newspaper.

“I am all for gun control,” the user wrote. “If there is a gun in the room, I want to be in control of it.”

Gorton replied: “Off yourself, please.”

Gorton said he would not call himself a gun-control activist.

“I have concerns about gun violence, but many of us do,” he said.

He should have concerns about his next paycheck, because he should be fired immediately.

For what it is worth, and it is worth a ton, the VA Hospital in Philadelphia commented on the incident, as the AP tells:

“The post was totally inappropriate and does not convey our commitment to veterans. We are taking steps immediately to address the situation,” the VA told the newspaper.

Yes, it perfectly portrays your commitment to Veterans.   And is a symptom of a much larger problem.

In an unrelated matter, VA officials told Congress this month that nearly a dozen employees at the regional office in Philadelphia could face discipline over their errant handling of a backlog of benefit claims.

The VA’s inspector general had found that Philadelphia staff neglected mail, altered claims dates and reviews and made $2.2 million in duplicate benefit payments as it tried to reduce backlogs.

Unrelated, my ass.  The debacles in Phoenix and in Philadelphia and across the VA system should result in people being charged with criminal misconduct (including Federal charges relating to retribution against whistle-blowers), and if clinicians are found to have had knowledge or willfully participated in the scandals, they should have their licenses to practice medicine revoked.

The VA is an unaccountable, unresponsive, inefficient, bureaucratic nightmare, where medical care is decidedly uneven.  There are good people trying to do good work, to be sure.  But far, far too many who are of the ilk that begets the kind of despicable and dishonest mismanagement we hear about daily from the VA.  Secretary Bob McDonald, who took over for Eric Shinsecki, needs to fire people, loudly and publicly.  Heads on plates.  Gregg Gorton’s should be among them.  Along with his newly-revoked license to practice psychiatry.   If Gorton’s head is not on that plate today, perhaps Bob McDonald’s head should be served.

Time for Shinseki to go.

The Veterans Administration has long been criticized for its inability to provide prompt quality care to veterans. And of course, there’s the recent news that various hospitals in the VA system, under criticism for the long wait times veterans face, have been resorting to an administrative trick to appear to be meeting the announced standard of no more than a 14-day waiting time.

Eric Shinseki, the current secretary of the VA, has struggled more than most secretaries to bring the VA bureaucracy into alignment with the mission of the department.

We find ourselves in agreement with John Donovan, in that, yes, every secretary has failed as secretary of the VA, but that this is a rather more egregious failure than most.

Me, I’d take the administrators involved in the false reporting, and if I couldn’t fire them direct, I would appoint them as “Special Assistants” with duty at Minot, North Dakota, no relocation assistance provided.

If I couldn’t collect them all in some place so uncomfortable they wouldn’t want to go, fine. A buddy made a good suggestion for “rubber rooming” them: A nice double-wide trailer in the back parking lot with fans and DRMO furniture, and rotary phones. And a 300 baud modem for internet access. And a nice sign that said, “Office of the Special Assistants.”

Then perhaps, I could get someone into position who actually gives a damn.

 

GEN Shinseki was already somewhat rather unpopular with the rank and file before he was appointed.  Hanging on so as to not give the current administration bad press isn’t helping matters.

But we take two lessons from this latest debacle. First, any “free” medical system will always share these issues and abuses. One of the greatest frustrations dealing with the VA is always the massive amounts of paperwork. Indeed, my anecdotal experience has been that many veterans are satisfied with the actual clinical care they receive. The issue has been getting through the hoops to receive that care. But that paperwork is a result of the requirement to ensure that only entitled, eligible veterans are receiving treatment, and especially prioritize those with no other option for treatment.  A major frustration for many veterans is the disconnect between their service branch and the VA over what consists of a disability, and reconciling the two, especially as many veterans disabilities don’t appear until well after the veteran has separated from the service. A major overhaul of that system is long overdue.

Secondly, this latest scandal, coupled with other scandals of federal civil service employees, such as Lois Lerner, and the recent revelations of an EPA employee who spent hours upon hours a day looking at porn at work show the critical need to overhaul the federal civil service.

The current protections federal employees have result from the elimination of the spoils system. While we aren’t quite ready to call for its return (which would only further see the weaponization of the bureaucracy against conservative citizenry), clearly the inability to summarily fire employees who engage in flagrant misconduct is a deep flaw in the federal employment system.

No, the VA is not disarming Veterans for having PTSD

Folks have been flooding my inbox with links to this post from Red Flag News about how Obama’s VA is disarming veterans. I was highly skeptical, and reached out to Jonn at This Ain’t Hell to see if he’d heard anything.

As I suspected, it’s a small, self promoting site trying to gin up traffic (and presumably, donations).

Sometimes, Veterans are declared incompetent, and receive such a letter. But that’s usually a very extreme case.  Examples might be a veteran in a persistent vegetative state, or similar levels of Traumatic Brain Injury, or one who has a long history of homelessness. Your average veteran, even with severe PTSD, won’t be susceptible to being declared incompetent.

Jonn and TSO provide some clarity.

If a guy is to the point where he’s having problems with his finances, the VA (usually under a request from the family) will put a vet in for Guardianship. Again, this is *usually* but not always a request from the family. It wouldn’t be everyone with PTSD, not everyone even at 100%. But what it does is allows VA to pay the family, who in turn has to pay the guys/gals bills. Different things kick in then to ensure the money is appropriately spent. That also is fraught with trouble.

Now, at that time the vet can ask for a hearing, provide evidence, and do all the other happy Due Process stuff.

The change here is that this didn’t automatically send the names to NICS. And in my opinion is probably unconstitutional. The NICS statutes say that the person has to be a threat to himself or others. But the Guardianship thing in VA regs doesn’t say that, only that they are incompetent with regards to handling their money. For years we’ve kept the VA from reporting those names because of the differences. Seemingly they have changed that now. There is a bill to correct that.

The government can declare you incompetent. But they can’t do it without due process.  That’s not to say we shouldn’t keep an eye on the VA or other attempts by the administration to curtail our constitutional rights.

But if you are a veteran, do NOT let this scaremongering keep you from applying for and using the services via the Veterans Administration that you’ve earned.  If you need help with PTSD, or any other assistance the VA provides, by all means, go get it.