VA Death By Waiting - Secret Lists

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Epidemic, Pandemic, What the New Illegal Immigrants are Bringing to YOU

Every day you read or hear of the hoards of children and adults rushing the U.S. Mexico Border as they push into the United States from El Salvador, Guatemala, and other South American countries as well as Mexico. The unbridled immigration of these illegals is a shame, a threat to our national security, overwhelming our Border Patrol and damaging the sovereignty of our borders. These people, children not withstanding are illegal and need to be repatriated to their country of origin immediately, NOT processed and then dispersed among the unsuspecting American people, while awaiting immigration court hearings.

FACT: 90% of people ordered to show up for hearings never show! They just melt into the immigrant society and are never apprehended. The US ends up supporting them on your tax dollar when they become ill, or through the welfare system that runs rampant with farad fraud.

So, forget about all the above. Forget the illegality of the illegals and the costs to the taxpayers and the dishonesty of the Obama regime. Forget about all that is being foisted upon the American people by our lying government in Washington. But keep this in mind:

MANY OF THESE CHILDREN ARE DISEASED AND INFECTED WITH DISEASES WE HAD WIPED OUT IN THIS COUNTRY! 
Tuberculosis, Scabies, H1N1 (swine) Flu, Chagas Disease, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, 
plus Hepatitis and STD's 
and maybe Smallpox and Polio!!!

Add to that, that the type tuberculosis found is the drug resistant strain that is difficult to treat. And these children and adults (remember they classify anyone under 18) have been released into the general US population without adequate health checks or vaccinations. And without adequate testing to determine who might develop TB from contacts during their travels or in close quarters at holding areas. 

Remember, the health standards where these people are coming from are far substandard to ours. Vaccination programs in some areas are non-existent. Disease runs rampant. So we are receiving people who are ill or exposed to illness that we are not prepared for and are spreading it into the community. No matter what lies the government mouthpieces tell you. 

Did the government De-louse these kids, many of who had head lice so bad you could see the lice crawling from feet away, per reports? Did they De-louse the planes and buses? What will happen to the next passenger on the public transportation system when they were dropped off at bus stations in towns. Imagine riding the bus to work or school and how you will feel coming home with head lice. Or when your children come home with it. A nice cross country trip on Greyhound anyone? Once again, no thinking about Americans, just illegals and how to move them into the US quickly so they can never be found again.

Did you think these kids and adults brought their vaccination records with them? Did you think that the US was going to be able to adequately give them health checks and vaccinate them before moving them on to God knows where? Dis you think the government was going to hold these illegals for a minimum time to ascertain none had contracted TB from someone else on their journey before turning them loose on your community? And your family or children? Anecdotal evidence says no way in hell did the government do the right thing and that evidence is piling up higher every day. 

What we have is a ticking time bomb. One that will start exploding in many small clusters of disease that could easily start to overwhelm our health system. If you imagine thousands of patients coming to hospitals with complaints of diseases that we had not seen in many years and the numbers keep multiplying and get more serious, the epidemic begins. Then, those who will not go out for fear of being caught will allow the disease not only to fester, but spread to others and soon the entire family will have it and then spread it to others. A cycle will be born that will make the horror movies look like a child wrote them. Only this time, it will be likely a child started them, a pandemic like we have never experienced.

If you think I am overreacting, go ahead and research the topic. Look at what some eminent epidemiologists have to say about this mess. And then pray because there isn't a lot more you can do until Obama and the other idiots figure out how to revere this mess they started. Sad truth is that they can't.  

Never expect the government to keep you safe. You are on your own! The powers that be ONLY look out for themselves!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

More Postal Disservice

Okay, where does it really end? Frankly, I am now convinced that the U. S. Postal Service does not give a rats ass about their clients in any way shape or form.

If you have read my past posts on this miserable mail service we have, you know the type of disservice we get. It actually has been getting worse. Let me tell you how:

1. I wrote a complaint to the U. S. Postmaster Generals Office of the Inspector General. After several weeks I received an e-mail telling me that it's not their job to follow up on mail handling problems. They are only interested in fraud, abuse, waste, etc. Waste? And what is this about ensuring efficiency and integrity? Good God,this must have been written by the same politico that wrote stuff for the Fast and Furious program and the IRS and NSA abuse programs. Amazing that they turn a blind eye to this and then wonder why they are going bankrupt. What the hell do they think these employees are doing when they don't handle the mail properly? But no, they can't bother dealing with small shippers or clients so screw us. Here's the gist of their response:

"The primary responsibility of the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General is to prevent, detect, and report fraud, waste, and misconduct; and to conduct independent audits and investigations of Postal Service programs and operations to ensure their efficiency and integrity.

The issues raised in your correspondence do not fall within the jurisdiction of this office. These matters do appear to be within the jurisdiction of the office listed below. Therefore, we are forwarding your complaint to them for their review and direct response to you.
For further information, please contact:

United States Postal Service
Consumer & Industry Contact Office

2. The above refer us to the local USPS Consumer Affairs office in our area who sends us a wonderful...form letter telling us to use the web site or 1-800 number. Yes, the one with terminal hold or the one that doesn't get you any useful information. Oh and the web site that will get you an e-mail from your local post office with some bull crap saying they are doing all they can to deliver for you.

3. I call the Consumer Affairs office and they try and bullshit you so it appears they actually are doing something and tell you to call the local post office, which doesn't have a phone number. Finally, after 20 minutes or so, the idiot at the consumer affairs office promises to escalate the case "upstairs" to an Area Manager who will call me within two working days. It's now been over a week and no contact. So much for case escalation. Must be to the circular file. Incidentally, the "hard working" Consumer Affairs Office for the San Diego District is only open from 9AM to 3PM 5 days a week. That's just 30 hours those poor people must work their fingers to the bone. Poor postal workers hard at work for the consumers. Right. You have to move off your ass to move the mail or move the dead wood, neither of which seems to be a likelihood. Will I ever hear from the Area Manager? I really doubt it. Chatter has it that he doesn't want to be bothered with complaints, wants consumers to call the worthless 1-800 line or use the USPS web site too. More customer disservice. And they wonder why they lose money?

4. Mail does not get scanned when it's outgoing. We have packages that leave Carlsbad 92011 and never get scanned until they reach an East Coast destination. Lately, we have had mail for other people placed in our mail box and packages for other people placed in a hold box and the key left in our mail box. We hand delivered the box to the right person. A high value parcel was left 4 blocks away at another address in front of a gate for at least a day before a neighbor noticed it and asked the resident if she knew it was there. The elderly person never opens that gate, and luckily the sprinklers did not come on or the contents would have been ruined. Is the freaking mail person dyslexic or what?

5. The local post office takes no accountability for their screw-ups. The supervisors say they will talk to the carriers or will fix the issues but the issues simply continue. And when packages are not scanned at the post office after being sorted there, how is that the carriers fault? It's an epidemic of slovenly labor that is perpetuated by a postal labor system that allows dead wood employees to remain on the job for years long after their efficiency should have been rated incompetent. Just go to the post office on a busy day and watch a clerk suddenly close his or her window and walk away because it's their break time, no matter how long the line is, thus prolonging your wait time. It happens all the time. Because that's how the system works. Snails pace, unlikely to be fired or disciplined and screw the customers. That's unless you are one of the few route carriers that actually work their butts off and deliver the mail and provide great customer service. We know one or two and they are few and far between.

6. Carrier Pickup is a hit and miss proposition. When the carrier doesn't get the pickup order from the post office, of course they do not know to pick up your waiting packages. So later in the day you have to call the post office and ask why your priority mail was not picked up. This is a case where one blames the other. The post office makes it seem like the carrier is the idiot who forgot to pick up your package when in reality, the supervisor or whoever handles the pickup notices at the post office never gives the carrier the pickup notice, so how would the carrier know to pick up the package? We have actually had the carrier come the next day with the notice to show us she never received the notice until a day late. WE are considering changing to FedEx and UPS if this continues. Just not worth the hassle as you never know if your packages will be picked up or not. And you have to laugh at their $20 pickup charge outside your normal pickup hours. They don't guarantee they will pickup at any special time for that $20...maybe not at all. Read the fine print and then DO NOT USE IT!

7.  Wait...you just needed the Spiderman boxes? How about delivering the freaking mail, eejits and forget the stupid boxes. You aren't Super Heroes by a long shot. Your performance is more like Super Zeros.....00000000000..absolutely nothing to brag about at all.

I'll be laughing with every package that I ship by FedEx because it's another ten or twenty bucks that the USPS won't get in their coffers. Multiply me by thousands and then tens of thousands, they will soon be bankrupt. And I'll be telling my Congressman and Senator just exactly why not to support these eejits in the future.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lots More on the Phoenix VA Debacle...and it's Spreading!

 From the:Logo

Chairman Miller Statement Regarding Allegations of Veteran Deaths, Secret Waiting List at PVAHCS

Apr 24, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Following media reports that 40 veterans seeking care at the Phoenix VA Health Care System died while awaiting treatment and may have been placed on a secret waiting list, Chairman Miller released the following statement:
“These are extremely disturbing allegations, which is why weeks ago I called for a complete and thorough inspector general investigation into delays in VA care – in Phoenix and department wide – and shared with the IG all of the evidence our committee has acquired as part of our own investigation. If proven true, these charges will only add to the growing pattern of preventable veteran deaths and patient safety incidents at VA medical centers across the country that are united by one common theme: VA’s extreme reluctance to hold its employees and executives accountable. In fact, if you look at recent VA preventable deaths linked to mismanagement – in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Columbia, S.C., Augusta, Ga., and Memphis, Tenn. – department executives who presided over mismanagement are more likely to have received a bonus or glowing performance review than any sort of punishment. It's well past time for VA leaders at all levels to heed the alarms many in the veterans community have been sounding for more than a year. That means holding employees accountable - instead of rewarding them - for mismanagement that harms veterans and being honest with Congress and the public about the department's problems. This is the only way VA can regain the trust of the veterans it is charged with serving and bring some much-needed closure to the families of those who have died.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
 Chairman Miller Preservation Request to Sec. Shinseki

 VA Litigation Hold (Preservation Order)

Chairman Miller Responds to Calls for VA Leadership Changes

May 5, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Following the American Legion’s calls for VA leadership changes, Chairman Miller released the following statement:
“Make no mistake. There is a crisis of confidence with VA’s top leadership, and the American Legion’s calls for the resignations of the department’s top leaders should be sending shock waves through the White House. I have the utmost respect for Commander Dellinger’s opinion, and while I am going to wait until VA’s inspector general releases its report on the situation in Phoenix before deciding to call for any personnel changes, this much is clear: for nearly a year, we have been pleading with top department leaders and President Obama to take immediate steps to stop the growing pattern of preventable veteran deaths and hold accountable any and all VA employees who have allowed patients to slip through the cracks. In response, we’ve received disturbing silence from the White House and one excuse after another from VA. Right now, President Obama and Sec. Shinseki are faced with a stark choice: take immediate action to help us end the culture of complacency that is engulfing the Veterans Health Administration and compromising patient safety, or explain to the American people and America’s veterans why we should tolerate the status quo.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

Chairman Miller Writes Sec. Shinseki About Delayed Action to Preserve Phoenix VAHCS Evidence, Shredded Waiting List

May 1, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, Chairman Miller wrote to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki regarding the department’s delayed actions to preserve possible evidence related to allegations that veterans seeking care at the Phoenix VA Health Care System may have died while awaiting treatment and may have been placed on a secret waiting list. Chairman Miller’s letter also addressed VA’s admitted shredding of a waiting list department officials have said may be the “secret” list cited by Phoenix VA Health Care System whistleblowers.

View the letter here.

Chairman Miller Calls on Shinseki to Restore Faith in Phoenix Investigation

May 2, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C.— After media reports that officials at the Phoenix VA Health Care System may have been intentionally destroying possible evidence related to the federal investigation of the Phoenix VA Health Care System as recently as April 27, the department’s delayed actions to preserve possible evidence, and VA’s admitted destruction of a waiting list department officials have speculated may be the “secret” list cited by Phoenix VA Health Care System whistleblowers, Chairman Miller released the following statement:
“As if the allegations of patient deaths and a secret waiting list at the Phoenix VA Health Care System weren’t bad enough, now we’re hearing reports of possible attempts to cover up this despicable situation. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki did the right thing by placing three Phoenix VAHCS administrators on leave. But by no means does that common-sense step, which should have already been done weeks ago, take VA out of the hot seat. In order to restore Americans’ faith in the integrity of the federal investigation in Phoenix, Sec. Shinseki needs to answer some very direct questions in short order. Why did it take VA a full eight days to order the preservation of possible evidence related to the investigation? What are VA leaders doing to ensure evidence is not destroyed in Phoenix? Why is VA Under Secretary for Health Robert Petzel claiming there is ‘no evidence’ to support the allegations in Phoenix even though he is not involved with the investigation? What is the factual basis for Petzel’s claim? Now is not the time for carefully crafted press releases. Sec. Shinseki needs to answer these questions publicly, and he needs to answer them now.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs


HVAC Webpage To Track How VA Stonewalls the Press

Mar 24, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, Chairman Jeff Miller launched VA Honesty Project, a new web component of Veterans.House.Gov designed to highlight the Department of Veterans Affairs’ lack of transparency with the press, and by extension the public. View the page here.
Because the Department of Veterans Affairs is a taxpayer funded organization, it has a responsibility to fully explain itself to the press and the public. Unfortunately, in many cases, VA is failing in this responsibility, as department officials – including 54 full-time public affairs employees – routinely ignore media inquiries.
VA Honesty Project documents nearly 70 recent instances in which VA has failed to respond to reporters’ requests for information or refused to answer specific questions. The department’s apparent disregard for the press has become an object of reporters’ scorn, leading some to openly accuse VA of “thumbing their nose at us” and others to write entire articles focusing on VA’s stonewalling tactics. VA Honesty Project will be continually updated with new examples of VA refusing to respond to the press as they arise.
Following the launch of VA Honesty Project, Chairman Miller issued the following statement.
“With 54 full-time public affairs employees, VA’s media avoidance strategy can’t be anything other than intentional. What’s worse, the tactic leaves the impression that department leaders think the same taxpayers who fund the department don’t deserve an explanation of VA’s conduct. VA Honesty Project is dedicated to showing America’s veterans, American taxpayers and department leaders how VA’s media avoidance strategy is doing the public an extreme disservice while damaging VA’s reputation in the process. By keeping a running record of VA’s attempts to stonewall the press, we hope to convince the department to put a renewed focus on being responsive and transparent with the media so America’s veterans and taxpayers can get the answers they deserve.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

Note: This is probably the longest post I have made. If you want to see how the VA stonewalls the public, the veterans and even the government that is alleged to regulate them, go to the first link in the last article and it will make you sick. Absolutely no accountability.  It's also here : View the page here 
If this doesn't make you wonder about how an agency has run amok with no accountability to the public, the veterans it serves or the government body that oversees it, it's simply unthinkable. As a disabled vet, I could tell you stories but I won't, preferring to say much of my dealings with the VA have been exemplary, while others have bordered on what I consider criminally negligent in inception of timely treatment. The vets get excuses on why a severe issue is not handled and in the interim, they get worse and die. Then the VA has to do nothing, one less patient to see. Granted they are overloaded with patients, some as a result of their grandiose offer to provide 5 years of free medical treatment to the vets from the War on Terrorism. None of the other wartime vets received that, we either had to have a disability and some waited years to gain medical status, or had to pay for VA treatment based on income. I can understand any vet from any conflict with a disability receiving free treatment. But to globally offer free treatment for 5 years with no disability requirements was simply to immediately overload the system and place the older vets on the back burner to accommodate the new influx of cases. Does that lengthen the appointment process? Sure it does. I used to see a specialty doc every three months. Now I'm lucky to see one every 9 months to a year. He might tell me "I'll see you back here in 3 months, but somehow it gets kicked out of the system and I have to call or e-mail and ask for an appointment which may be months down the road, then be cancelled and longer yet. And I'm one of those like a bulldog who keeps on their ass until I get action. I pity the vets without the skills or will to keep fighting the system or an advocate who will. And NOT the patient advocates at the VA hospitals. From my experience, they are seat warmers and useless. 
Finally, I have to agree with Mr. Miller...the VA promotes to the highest level; of incompetence. I have seen that happen at least once this past year. I called and asked for a supervisor, being sure he would have been fired by now as he appeared to be so incompetent. Nope. He was promoted to manager and they are looking for a new supervisor; yet his department still cannot get things right. Amazingly, although the VA promulgates forms on line for the veterans to use, the VAMC's then state the forms are no good and they use their own forms to make it more difficult on the vets to use the system. What ever works for the employees and screws the vets must be the name of the game. And those in Washington are not aware as they are sleeping at the switch! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Phoenix VA - Death by the Numbers...


(CNN) -- At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list.

The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.
 
For six months, CNN has been reporting on extended delays in health care appointments suffered by veterans across the country and who died while waiting for appointments and care. But the new revelations about the Phoenix VA are perhaps the most disturbing and striking to come to light thus far.
 
Internal e-mails obtained by CNN show that top management at the VA hospital in Arizona knew about the practice and even defended it.
 
Dr. Sam Foote just retired after spending 24 years with the VA system in Phoenix. The veteran doctor told CNN in an exclusive interview that the Phoenix VA works off two lists for patient appointments:
There's an "official" list that's shared with officials in Washington and shows the VA has been providing timely appointments, which Foote calls a sham list. And then there's the real list that's hidden from outsiders, where wait times can last more than a year.

Veterans dying waiting for healthcare

Are we fulfilling our promise to veterans?
 
Deliberate scheme, shredded evidence
"The scheme was deliberately put in place to avoid the VA's own internal rules," said Foote in Phoenix. "They developed the secret waiting list," said Foote, a respected local physician.
 
The VA requires its hospitals to provide care to patients in a timely manner, typically within 14 to 30 days, Foote said.
 
According to Foote, the elaborate scheme in Phoenix involved shredding evidence to hide the long list of veterans waiting for appointments and care. Officials at the VA, Foote says, instructed their staff to not actually make doctor's appointments for veterans within the computer system.
 
Instead, Foote says, when a veteran comes in seeking an appointment, "they enter information into the computer and do a screen capture hard copy printout. They then do not save what was put into the computer so there's no record that you were ever here," he said.
 
According to Foote, the information was gathered on the secret electronic list and then the information that would show when veterans first began waiting for an appointment was actually destroyed.
 
"That hard copy, if you will, that has the patient demographic information is then taken and placed onto a secret electronic waiting list, and then the data that is on that paper is shredded," Foote said.
 
"So the only record that you have ever been there requesting care was on that secret list," he said. "And they wouldn't take you off that secret list until you had an appointment time that was less than 14 days so it would give the appearance that they were improving greatly the waiting times, when in fact they were not."
 
I feel very sorry for the people who work at the Phoenix VA. They all wish they could leave 'cause they know what they're doing is wrong.

Dr. Sam Foote
Foote estimates right now the number of veterans waiting on the "secret list" to see a primary care physician is somewhere between 1,400 and 1,600.
 
Doctor: It's a 'frustrated' staff
"I feel very sorry for the people who work at the Phoenix VA," said Foote. "They're all frustrated. They're all upset. They all wish they could leave 'cause they know what they're doing is wrong.
"But they have families, they have mortgages and if they speak out or say anything to anybody about it, they will be fired and they know that."
 
Several other high-level VA staff confirmed Foote's description to CNN and confirmed this is exactly how the secret list works in Phoenix.
 
Foote says the Phoenix wait times reported back to Washington were entirely fictitious. "So then when they did that, they would report to Washington, 'Oh yeah. We're makin' our appointments within -- within 10 days, within the 14-day frame,' when in reality it had been six, nine, in some cases 21 months," he said.
 
Thomas Breen was so proud of his time in the Navy that he wanted to be treated only at a VA facility, his family says.
Thomas Breen was so proud of his time in the Navy that he wanted to be treated only at a VA facility, his family says.
 
In the case of 71-year-old Navy veteran Thomas Breen, the wait on the secret list ended much sooner.
 
"We had noticed that he started to have bleeding in his urine," said Teddy Barnes-Breen, his son. "So I was like, 'Listen, we gotta get you to the doctor.' "
 
Teddy says his Brooklyn-raised father was so proud of his military service that he would go nowhere but the VA for treatment. On September 28, 2013, with blood in his urine and a history of cancer, Teddy and his wife, Sally, rushed his father to the Phoenix VA emergency room, where he was examined and sent home to wait.
"They wrote on his chart that it was urgent," said Sally, her father-in-law's main caretaker. The family has obtained the chart from the VA that clearly states the "urgency" as "one week" for Breen to see a primary care doctor or at least a urologist, for the concerns about the blood in the urine.
 
"And they sent him home," says Teddy, incredulously.
 
Sally and Teddy say Thomas Breen was given an appointment with a rheumatologist to look at his prosthetic leg but was given no appointment for the main reason he went in.
 
The Breens wait ... and wait ... and wait ...
 
No one called from the VA with a primary care appointment. Sally says she and her father-in-law called "numerous times" in an effort to try to get an urgent appointment for him. She says the response they got was less than helpful.
"Well, you know, we have other patients that are critical as well," Sally says she was told. "It's a seven-month waiting list. And you're gonna have to have patience."
 
Sally says she kept calling, day after day, from late September to October. She kept up the calls through November. But then she no longer had reason to call.
 
Thomas Breen died on November 30. The death certificate shows that he died from Stage 4 bladder cancer. Months after the initial visit, Sally says she finally did get a call.
 
"They called me December 6. He's dead already."
Sally says the VA official told her, "We finally have that appointment. We have a primary for him.' I said, 'Really, you're a little too late, sweetheart.' "
 
At the end is when he suffered. He screamed. He cried.

Sally Brenn on the death of her father-in-law
 
Sally says her father-in-law realized toward the end he was not getting the care he needed.
"At the end is when he suffered. He screamed. He cried. And that's somethin' I'd never seen him do before, was cry. Never. Never. He cried in the kitchen right here. 'Don't let me die.' "
 
Teddy added his father said: "Why is this happening to me? Why won't anybody help me?"
Teddy added: "They didn't do the right thing." Sally said: "No. They neglected Pop."
 
First hidden -- and then removed
Foote says Breen is a perfect example of a veteran who needed an urgent appointment with a primary doctor and who was instead put on the secret waiting list -- where he remained hidden.
 
Foote adds that when veterans waiting on the secret list die, they are simply removed.
"They could just remove you from that list, and there's no record that you ever came to the VA and presented for care. ... It's pretty sad."
 
Foote said that the number of dead veterans who died waiting for care is at least 40.
"That's correct. The number's actually higher. ... I would say that 40, there's more than that that I know of, but 40's probably a good number."
 
CNN has obtained e-mails from July 2013 showing that top management, including Phoenix VA Director Sharon Helman, was well-aware about the actual wait times, knew about the electronic off-the-books list and even defended its use to her staff.
I think it's unfair to call any of this a success when Veterans are waiting 6 weeks on an electronic waiting list
From 2013 Phoenix VA e-mail obtained by CNN
 
In one internal Phoenix VA e-mail dated July 3, 2013, one staffer raised concerns about the secret electronic list and raised alarms that Phoenix VA officials were praising its use.
"I have to say, I think it's unfair to call any of this a success when Veterans are waiting 6 weeks on an electronic waiting list before they're called to schedule their first PCP (primary care physician) appointment," the e-mail states. "Sure, when their appointment is created, it can be 14 days out, but we're making them wait 6-20 weeks to create that appointment."
The e-mail adds pointedly: "That is unethical and a disservice to our Veterans."
 
Last year and earlier this year, Foote also sent letters to officials at the VA Office of the Inspector General with details about the secret electronic waiting list and about the large number of veterans who died waiting for care, many hidden on the secret list. Foote and several other sources inside the Phoenix VA confirmed to CNN that IG inspectors have interviewed them about the allegations.
 
VA: 'It is disheartening to hear allegations'
CNN has made numerous requests to Helman and her staff for an interview about the secret list, the e-mails showing she was aware of it and the allegations of the 40 veterans who died waiting on the list, to no avail.
 
But CNN was sent a statement from VA officials in Texas, quoting Helman.
"It is disheartening to hear allegations about Veterans care being compromised," the statement from Helman reads, "and we are open to any collaborative discussion that assists in our goal to continually improve patient care."
Just before deadline Wednesday, the VA sent an additional comment to CNN.
It stated, in part: "We have conducted robust internal reviews since these allegations surfaced and welcome the results from the Office of Inspector General's review. We take these allegations seriously."
 
The VA statement to CNN added: "To ensure new Veterans waiting for appointments are managed appropriately, we maintain an Electronic Wait List (EWL) in accordance with the national VHA Scheduling Directive. The ability of new and established patients to get more timely care has showed significant improvement in the last two years which is attributable to increased budget, staffing, efficiency and infrastructure."
Foote says Helman's response in the first statement is stunning, explaining the entire secret list and the reason for its existence was planned and created by top management at the Phoenix VA, specifically to avoid detection of the long wait times by veterans there.
"This was a plan that involved the Pentad, which includes the director, the associate director, the assistant director, the chief of nursing, along with the medical chief of staff -- in collaboration with the chief of H.A.S."
 
Washington is paying attention
The Phoenix VA's "off the books" waiting list has now gotten the attention of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee in Washington, whose chairman has been investigating delays in care at veterans hospitals across the country.
 
According to Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, what was happening in Phoenix is even worse than veterans dying while waiting for care.
Even as CNN was working to report this story, the Florida Republican demanded the VA preserve all records in anticipation of a congressional investigation.
In a hearing on April 9, Miller learned even the undersecretary of health for the VA wasn't being told the truth about the secret list:
"It appears as though there could be as many as 40 veterans whose deaths could be related to delays in care. Were you made aware of these unofficial lists in any part of your look back?" asked Miller.
"Mr. Chairman, I was not," replied Dr. Thomas Lynch, assistant deputy undersecretary, Veterans Health Administration.
Congress has now ordered all records in Phoenix, secret or not, be preserved.
That would include the record of a 71-year-old Navy veteran named Thomas Breen.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

PayPal - You May Be Surprised How Your Money Can Be Trapped!

If you place an order with a merchant who accepts PayPal outside of eBay, and the merchant does not immediately accept your payment, the payment can hang in "limbo" for up to 30 days while the merchant decides whether to accept your payment or not. I was totally unaware merchants had the ability to accept, place payments on hold or reject payments at will. Another screwing for the consumer I suppose!

As ridiculous as this sounds, take the case of a consumer who orders an in stock jacket from an on-line store who operates a chain of  multiple stores. He pays with his PayPal balance (cash in his PayPal account) and notes the amount on PayPal is shown as an "Authorization" rather than a payment and "Pending". Using the "Live Chat" feature on the web site after a few days, he finds out that although the item is purported to be in stock, the store that does the selling can't find the item as it's supposedly at one of their other stores and they apparently are not sure which one. (incidentally, calling their toll free number is useless since they do not answer and do not return calls either)

PayPal now states the standard operating practice for some merchants is to not accept the PayPal amount until the item is actually found and shipped, no matter how long that takes, up to 30 days. And during that time, no matter how much you need your order, you can't cancel or get your money back, because the merchant has you by the ass until they decide to release the money or ship the item. Which could take several weeks after the 30 days if they drag it to the end. And all this time, PayPal has taken the money out of your account so you can't use it and is holding it for that merchant who isn't doing you a bit of good either.

Imagine a $500 or $1000 order or a Christmas or Birthday present being handled like this? Or an item that will be out of season before you get it. (I think this could happen to me...it will be 90 here this week!)

The caveat is DO NOT PAY MERCHANTS WITH PAYPAL unless you are using eBay where you have buyer protection and there is a stipulated shipping time on the sale. If you must use PayPal, only use your credit card for payment so you can refute the charge. DO NOT USE YOUR PAYPAL BALANCE!  In fact, just bypass PayPal completely and go right to the merchant with the credit card. In that way if they don't ship in a timely fashion, you can refute the charge immediately with your credit card company. The PayPal buyer protection is useless in this sort of case if you use your PayPal balance and can't refute the charge on your credit card.

UPDATE: The merchant found the item and was so nice as to ship it second day air at no extra charge due to the extended wait time. They had been in inventory so the phones were not being monitored properly and the merchandise was not easily found. That had to check all 40 plus store locations and it ended up being at the last store (isn't that the usual luck?) and then it took three days to get it shipped out. Facts are had I not sent e-mails and called and left messages, I feel this might still remain unresolved.

The caveat still holds. Use PayPal with your credit card unless you are using your balance on eBay.It's your money...you decide who gets to hold it, not PayPal!

The Postal Service - A New Ripoff

Recently, the US Postal Service devised a new way to screw the public. For years they have picked up Priority Mail and other higher priced packages at your door at no extra charges. Now, they have added a new "service level" where you can request the packages be picked up at a different time than the normal carrier pickup time, which they state is between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM. The charge for this new "service" is $20 and while you can request a specific time, the Postal Service gives themselves a two hour time window to accomplish this.

BUT...and this is directly from the USPS agreement you click on when you accept the terms of that service:

"Payment - No Refund or Guarantee
You acknowledge and agree that You must pay for the service with a valid credit card or debit card at the time of submitting Your application for the Service. This Service is intended to be time specific, but not guaranteed. Users are only eligible for a refund if the carrier fails to show up during the specified day for a pickup . While the Postal Service agrees to make commercially reasonable efforts to pickup Your item within the two-hour window, the success of meeting the window is not guaranteed.
YOU UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT THE ITEM WILL BE PICKED UP WITHIN THE SELECTED TWO-HOUR WINDOW. YOU MAY APPLY FOR A REFUND IN THE EVENT THAT A PICKUP DOES NOT OCCUR ON THE SPECIFIED DAY FOR PICKUP.

SO...the Postal Service basically makes no guarantee that you will pay $20 and the carrier will pick up your packages anytime during your requested time at all. So why the hell even have a service like this when their current record is so damned poor anyway? You never know when they will pick up your packages. One day it's 11:30 and the next day it's 2:00. Some days you have to call the local post office to have the carrier come back and get the parcels they didn't pick up at all!

And, the people at the post office like to blame the carrier but in truth, the blame is just as likely to rest with the inside post office personnel as with the carrier. When you initiate a Carrier Pickup request, it generates a computer request for the local post office. If that is not given to the carrier, they have absolutely no idea you have packages to pick up. So each can point fingers at the other but we know, depending on the carrier, where the blame usually rests.

Another example of your quasi-governmental agency in action.

Don't fall for clicking the $20 box. It's a scam to get your money on a pretense that we would not put up with from a scammers e-mail! Better buy Lottery Tickets than bet your packages will be picked up on time!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Pet Food Direct ... Or Directionless?

Saturday, April 19, 2014


OMG. My saga with the eejits at Pet Food Direct started on April 5 when I originally placed an internet order for about a hundred dollars in pet food and supplies. I had ordered from them before so I believed this would be a no brainer. Order and in about 5 days your order is at your door. Not to happen.

When I received my e-mailed invoice, I noted I was charged sales tax, although this is a Pennsylvania company and I had not been charged tax before. So I sent them an e-mail on April 10 asking why they charged tax in my state, if they had a physical presence here, and since I had not received a shipping notice, when was my order being shipped? Also who no free shipping even though they offer it and I had attempted to enter the code.
On April 11, I received this e-mail:
 We just recently moved our warehouse operations from Sparks, NV to Chino, CA so now the residents of CA will need to pay sales tax. Because of unanticipated issues with moving our product and receiving new orders from vendors in our new location some customers orders needed to be sent from PA so you still would get your items. Once we have our operations settled in we hope that these issues will be resolved. Please keep in mind that we offer the FreeShipping promotion (code: springfree) on all orders over $49.00. (the first 60lbs will ship free) just enter the code in the promotion box prior to checkout.

I responded the same day, April 11:
When I placed an order it refused free shipping so I attempted to cancel the order when it had not been shipped many days after ordering. I was told it may not be able to be stopped even though it had not been shipped. That's not good customer service! I can't wait for pet food when needed nor for slow high priced shipping. I am used to free, fast shipping and tried your company last time and had good service, this time not so much, eh?
Pet Food Direct Responded on April 13:

Our website will only allow the use of one promotion per order. (Nothing states this on their site that I could find...they bait you with a discount code to reorder and state Free Shipping at the top of the page) Your free shipping promo was rejected because the promo code Reorder17 was used. For this order the promotions were very close but in the future you may want to compare which promo code will give you the better savings. I am refunding the shipping cost on this order as well as issuing a $25.00 gift card due to the delays in shipping this order. I have sent an email to our warehouse requesting that they ship this order as soon as possible. Please bear with us as we hope to have our operations in the new facility running in our normal fashion soon.
My response on April 13:

The problem I have is that you charged my credit card immediately on April 5 for the full amount, yet you still have not shipped and here it is April 13.at 9PM PDST, almost April 14? And just when do you expect that shipment will actually be here? Your issues with shipping, moving and all the other problems are yours and not to be foisted upon me. I had to go out and purchase $100 in pet food and litter because you didn't act professionally and even notify me of a delay in shipping. I had to ask where my order was and why you were charging tax when you weren't even here or you would have just let the delay go on without a word. How damned unprofessional.
Just refund the order and we'll call it quits. I can also refute the charges with XXXX tomorrow (Monday) if needed. I have animals to feed and they can't wait on your companys non-performance. Your "one hour" cancellation time is useless when you don't ship for 9 days.
Unless you have shipped overnight, I'll be contacting XXXX tomorrow and you can argue with them. I believe they will agree your cancellation time is idiotic when you fail to ship.
 
Thanks for your "grand" gesture but hungry animals don't eat promises
 
From Pet Food Direct on April 15:
 
I really am sorry that our company did not provide the service you deserve. I understand your frustration as I am dealing with many angry customers on the West Coast. Please understand that I had sent the email to our warehouse, as I have done with many, to make sure this order gets shipped. If I do not get a response from them I assume that the order went out and there were no issues. They did not inform me that it would be delayed in shipping or with any reason why it wasn't shipped, so I do not find out these problems until you contact the Customer Service Center. Our company is aware of the problems and they are working on resolving them. I have noticed that this order has been canceled and refunded per your request but I would prefer to try to resolve this and keep you as a customer.
Now that I know you still have not received your order I will be reshipping out the order from the PA warehouse with NDA delivery at no charge. I really am sorry and I am hopeful that our warehouse issues on the west coast get resolved soon.

From Pet Food Direct on April 15:
 
I kept my eye on this order to ensure that it would get to you and I have provided the UPS tracking number. Your order should be there tomorrow. WTF??
Tracking# 1ZW764360310876375 (Not shipped that day per his e-mail as UPS had no info)

I received an e-mail shipping notice on April 16 that the order was shipped by UPS Ground and would be here on April 21. I called their main office and for the third time cancelled the order. They finally recalled the order and it appears it is now on the way back to them, Thank God and UPS that this saga is now done. Their “Gift Card” via e-mail went in the shredder. I would never do business with these people again.
 
Two phone calls to this company met with rather miserable customer service agents who seemed irritated that I was calling in and questioning where my order was and when it would be shipped. The e-mail CS agent was nice and did his best against the odds of not being able to get anything done in a warehouse he doesn’t control. Strangely enough, they finally shipped it on 4/16 and didn’t even have the courtesy to send it express or overnight so it would get here quickly, using UPS ground. They don’t give a damn about their customers it appears.
 
My animals deserve to eat, and using a company that foists their problems on their customers and never even notifies them of shipping delays and problems really sucks in my opinion. What do you think?
I’d suggest you try WAG.com for your pet foods. They always ship free and have 2 day delivery. Mea culpa, why did I stray from my regular supplier!