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May 30, 2014

Let Us Service Our Servicemen

It is absolutely disgusting how we have treated our veterans via the VA. This seems like a no-brainer and something that is easily resolved.

Questions or comments I have about this situation:

  • Why can't we hire some high school or college aged interns who work 8 hours a day scanning or retyping a case file into the system?
It seems like doing this would very quickly resolve the issues of so much paper not being in the system.
  • I have some smart programming friends and some of what they have had to do is write "rippers" to grab data from one system and map it to a different system. Why can't we hire programmers to do this in order to get one VA system talking to another.
    • Meanwhile, hire a second set of programmers to start building a new system that interconnects everything and that can use the databases the rippers use in order to populate everything.
This seems like it would resolve the issues of interoperability between the various systems very quickly.
  • Why is it the Republicans in particular, but all of Congress in general, isn't making this a cause and fixing the issue? The Republicans are specifically in favor of our military, not cutting the defense budget, and keeping our service personnel in harm's way, yet they keep derailing, blocking, or voting down any attempt to fix the issue. What gives? 
I can't even recognize the Republicans now as the same party I was a member of for a decade. Their values seem to be totally different and their goals change with each new day, it seems. Obama represents the Reagan ideal better than any current Republican, which is why I laugh when they all point to Reagan as the end-all, be-all saint of their party these days. Reagan would be considered a moderate Democrat by today's standards.
  • Why can't we say something like: All servicemen (and family) can go to ANY doctor at ANY time. All they need to do is show their military ID to prove they served, and they get all treatments and appointments for free. The doctor's office then must fill out a form and submit it to get any payment back. Any payments not received back within 365 days of the doctor visit can be legally written off on the doctor's taxes.
This pushes the onus for payment to the doctor's staff, who is already dealing with these issues. It pushes the onus back to the gov't for paying on time. And it makes the gov't accountable to pay by taking money away from the gov't if they don't pay within a reasonable period of time via the tax write offs. It also puts the onus onto the IRS to make sure doctors are being truthful via the IRS's audit system, which already does this sort of thing. And, in the end, the military personnel and their families are out of this loop entirely AND getting seen by doctors.
  • Create a one-strike rule. You get one "oops." If, as someone who works anywhere for the VA, you have a second complaint against you (for example, that you have two lists of appointments, are hiding the truth, messing around with servicemen's records, or anything else) you are fired immediately without any severance or parachute. Period.
Accountability seems to be the biggest thing America is missing right now. Make it a law.

It appears that the current VA secretary has resigned today. Now, let's hire someone who wants to completely revamp this thing AND who can get both Reps and Dems to agree to fund the revamp.

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