Commander: Much more action needed to fix VA issues

American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger issued the following statement in response to President Obama's press conference on the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal.

"The American Legion applauds President Obama for committing himself to hold leadership at the Department of Veterans Affairs more accountable for their actions. If this system-wide failure is to be corrected, it is paramount for our commander-in-chief to be personally involved. The president needs to ensure that every veteran who relies on the VA can do so secure in the knowledge that he or she will receive the best and most timely care humanly possible.

“The question is this: if the administration has known about these issues for at least four years, why is it just now taking action?

“Moreover, the president’s decision to keep Secretary Shinseki at his post is an unfortunate one. The VA has been aware for some time that inappropriate scheduling procedures are widespread among its medical facilities. Yet Secretary Shinseki has taken no initiative in correcting the problem. Veterans continue to die waiting for their health care, senior VA executives continue to get their bonuses, and only after all of this is the secretary now pledging to fix what’s wrong.

“So now America’s veterans are told, in effect, wait a while longer and things will get better. Meanwhile, care is delayed or denied and veterans and their families suffer. Words are nice, and even somewhat comforting, but when will the VA’s house be cleansed of those who are soiling it and dishonoring the system?”


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  1. The problem lies with the Civil Service Commission and similar gov/union associations. Every agency in the federal,state,city and local governments have them. Although the salaries and benefits are good, it's not enough. Most managers crave POWER. In Las Vegas the hospital leadership team is self-serving. They protect all the managers. In VA Volunteer services an employee who was verbally abused is about to be terminated. While his abuser still works. An article appeared in the Las Vegas Review Journal this past Sunday by military columnist Keith Rogers. It's a great piece of work. My husband Ed and I are coordinators of the DAV Transportation Network in Bullhead City, AZ. We are down to two drivers because Vavs refused to do it's job of processing our candidates. Our drivers spend twelve hour days transporting our veterans to Las Vegas.It is difficult to do for both our clients and drivers. On another note, Dellinger wanted General Shinseki to be removed from the first town hall in Phoenix. He does not have any of the Honor the General does. Please share that civil service needs the overhaul, not the removal of the General.
  2. Duel linger has disgraced his postion as National Commander. Keep your political views out of our organization. When the national leaders lied the American people into a war with Iraq, either you were silent or helped advocate for the war. As a Veteran I am sick of vets like you who need to be in the limelight for your ego gratification.
  3. Good riddance to the National Commander. He is not qualified to carry the briefcase of Shinseki. As usual the the Legion, and the VFW, talk a great game about existing to serve the veterans. When in fact they spend most of their time getting drunk at their tax exempt posts which are usually open to the public and should lose their tax exempt status. Want to help a Veteran give to the Wounded Warriors.Dennis Schehl,USAF,58-62
  4. I am opposed to the National Commander's stance relative to the current Secretary of Veterans Affairs. His position places our organization in an untenable political situation. The removal of a distinguished veteran will likely result in a new secretary who has no military ties.
  5. I really like his red hat, where can I get one? Oh, as usual a day late and a dollar short.
  6. After retiring from private practice, I assumed the position of locum tenens within the VA Hospital System, trying to help compensate for its lack of physicians. I would work for periods of four to five months until another physician arrived. My wife accompanied me, spending her time volunteering on the wards. It was both a rewarding and an eye opening experience as we criss-crossed the country from one VA Hospital to another. Everywhere we found people highly committed to caring for our Veterans, and everywhere we found as well the results of unfulfilled promises, not by the nurses who comforted our Veterans, nor by the dedicated physicians who diagnosed and treated them, but by the administrators who could care less about properly staffing these institutions. The Michael E.DeBakey VAH in Houston, Texas, is considered the best of the VA hospitals. I did several multi-month stints here assisting in the treatment of patients afflicted with cancer, a specialty in which I am certified. We treated about 60 patients a day, many of whom required chemotherapy. Because there were rarely more than four techs to draw blood, however, these ill, often cancer ridden patients, had to arrive by 5 AM in order for their pre-treatment blood work to be drawn and analyzed by a few overworked technicians. If the Veteran was not there by that early hour, the necessary blood work could not be completed, given the paucity of lab techs to perform the phlebotomies and to run the tests. In this case the Veterans were sent home without having received their chemotherapy. To make matters worse, there were no lab techs at all in the oncology area. Not only did the Veterans have to arrive at this ridiculously early hour, they had to have their blood tests drawn at the central lab that was also responsible for examining drawing and examining blood for every other disease being treated in every other clinic of the hospital. This was a staggering problem that no one in authority cared to address. God only knows how many cancer victim Veterans would have been saved had they been treated a block away at the MD Anderson Cancer Center.
  7. I too find NC Dellenger way out of line. He fails to recognize that this SEC. of VA has done more for all veterans than any other in history. He could have easily and honorably resigned at the end of the Presidents first term but he didn't because he says that the job that he had started in expanidng the serivces of the VA and cleaning the mess he inherited had not been done yet. He doesn't need the job nor the prestige of being a cabinet member. He has both those in spades from his past postings. He has tried very hard and is still trying to improve the VA by making a transparent seam between the DoD medical flies and the VA medical files so that no veteran gets left behind. He has automated 80% of the VA files to insure paper files don't get lost in the shuffle and to provide vets transportability between one VA hospital, clinic etc. He continues to fight for funds for the VA which my own Senator, Jeff Sessions, called way too expensive and voted against. It takes time to turn a big ship at sea and the VA was definitely at sea and on the wrong course for a very long time. This is no time to change the helmsman no matter what Dellenger says. Dellenger has offered no solutions to the problem other than firing Shinseki. I wonder who he has in mind for a replacement--one of the Koch brothers? This smells very political to me.
  8. Along this line, our Department forced our Post to get rid of our VSO officer. No sense since we cannot follow up on claims. I went with DAV for representation. Our Commander tried to talk to NC Dellenger at a visit and had to settle for writing a letter. No response yet concerning our not being allowed to have a VSO.
  9. Obama doesn't care a darn bit about Veterans, he has never liked the Military. If he replaces the current Sec. we will just get another Obama buddy in there and nothing will be accomplished. Obama's favorite excuse is " I was not aware of that." He has to be the most un-informed President we ever had. I think the Legion commander is right on, and more power to him.
  10. So who got fired by the neocons for stating that more troops were needed for the Iraq invasion? It was Shinseki. Now he is the target of Senator Burr for removal. Who will the replacement be? Since when has President Obama not respected the military and veterans. Have an Honorable Memorial Day
  11. You mean beside when he first took office, and his administration proposed that any veteran (including those who are service-connected) with private insurance be required to use that insurance instead of the VA? Which meant that they would have to pay higher premiums. Which in essence would have meant that a combat wounded veteran who lost an arm would essentially be paying for that privilege. Thank God that everyone from the American Legion to John Stewart came out against Obama on that one. Beginning the first months of his presidency Obama showed us what he thought of the American veteran.
  12. that is an old rule that predated O'Bama, the great Irish president. I got caught by that one when I had an emergency operation in 2007. lying TPer
  13. I support the National Commander but I don't believe replacing Secretary Shinseki will have any effect toward solving the problems; in fact it may be counter productive since a replacement may not be as capable and committed. More $$$$ are an obviously part of the solution; and getting these bucks to do the job is a matter of getting congress to give this matter a higher priority. Simply eliminating the stuff where money is wasted and redirecting it may provide more than what is needed.
  14. Meet the NC for the first time monday. we'll see. but at least he is shaking the tree. it was a shame that he had to go the homless shelter to shake the hand of a homless Vet. the vary shelter were the Blackhills Health care Systems has given over a million and a half Dollers to them for vetrens care. all that that while the beds in the Donicilery here are empty for lack of staffing. money is not the problem missmanagment of it is. give upper managment more they will hand out more bonuses and we still won't get any services
  15. Of course the problem is funding. There are a number of problems. One, I think it is simply a national disgrace that any veteran is homeless. There should not be a single vet living on the street. Two, there is a ridiculous backlog of claims. Three, there is a poor VA health care system, which has a variety of problems of which the recent cooking of appointment books is just the last identified. To me, these are the big three, but certainly not a complete list of the problems that do exist in the VA. What Mr. Shinseki should have done, and what his replacement should do, is pick one of the big ones, tell Congress how much money he needs to fix it, and when he gets the money, FIX IT. Then, move on to the next problem, and FIX IT. If Congress does not provide the needed money to fix the chosen big problem, then use the money to fix one of the smaller problems. Repeat as necessary.
  16. Coyboyup: I have been saying the same thing for awhile now. My Denver, CO ALSO the same, do nothing sit on his ass. I am waiting two years for a benefits review. All the paperwork correct, several VA mandated medical tests, psych evals. Doctors recommendation, all complete. A year ago VA giving me 10% (non comp.)for tinnitus. Still waiting for the rest of the decision. ALSO says ' sin loi, toi rat tiet' Vietnamese sarcastic way of saying sorry about that. The AL is big business, their job is to perpetuate the need for the AL. Were there no issues, of which the AL should have known about years ago: they tell us they send teams all over the country to review VA installations, then the AL would be an organization whose need would be in question. We the veteran are cannon fodder, no longer useful. Delay,delay, we will die , they don't pay. End of story!! Not bitter, just saying. Of course I could be wrong.
  17. Perhaps you should read to preamble of the Constitution of our beloved organization, which we recite at every meeting, paying attention to the last and most important clause, To consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness. It's all about bringing our buddies home, yes, there have been problems, that means one thing, we are doing something, if we did nothing at all there would be no problems, but there would be no devotion to our comrades either. I have known Dan Dellinger for a number of years, we have had numerous conversations outside, or in convention halls, and to be honest, he is just about as common as dirt, he has a similar reputation to me, never met a veteran that is not a friend, and not afraid to walk up and get into a long winded conversation. I find that refreshing, and to our benefit as a organization. Too often we need to buy hats on a larger size, I'm glad that hasn't happened recently. You can always tell you are in good shape when a National Commander, or Past National Commander recognizes your face, some perhaps your name. For a year those guys are buried neck deep in Legionnaires they have never met, but tend to have a pretty good memory, it's all about sanctifying comradeship.
  18. The National Commander is out of line by jumping the gun and running his mouth. Maybe he should resign. A total CF to Veterans.
  19. No, he is not out of line, he just doesn't find it acceptable. He is not a very politically correct individual, got the bag by the door, 18 hours anywhere in the world, ready to TCOB. Your comments are offensive.
  21. How about Quality of Healthcare? And knowledge (technical) of the "uniform" specifications to prevent lethal mistakes? How about Healthcare tailored to "uniform" requirements and gender neutral approach? At AL 38, as a veteran I was called by the wives "men's CIA" and "lesbian". I am married to a Legionnaire, Mike Dean, US Naval Academy grad, 38 too. So, let's start from our legions to improve on all of the above. "Killer bee"
  22. Why is it I’m not hearing anything about the route cause for the backlogs … money for proper staffing of personnel medical staff the handle the increased number of veterans needing help? How are the problems ever going to be solved if the focus of outrage is of the administrators rather than the cause that motivated their actions?
  23. MGS Aguilar, Its mostly because The American Legion HQ runs most or all of the Veterans Ratings Regional Offices and are trained as well to "Save Money" My A.L.S.O.'s stated to me in Tucson Az, that he has nothing to do with Ratings in Phoenix. Yet 8 months later he's asking me if he can take my personal file to Phoenix as a training file. I was very upset that this Silver Star Veteran had been dishonorable claiming to be helping. He said 99% of Phoenix Regional Ratings Officers are or belong to American Legion, and then when he did not like my response, he told me I should go look for another P.O.A. (Power of Attorney). I'm an OIF Veteran who can no longer work. I have to have a caregiver 24/7. And this is what we get upon returning. I feel the American Legion should be investigated as well in cases like mine and more than likely other Veterans as well. I we can't get help from those who claim to be helping, then we as American Veterans need to start helping each other without org. claiming their there for the Veterans then telling us to go somewhere else and get help. What a cheap ass washout excuse. I will continue to keep writing American Legion HQ. So far to date I have written 3 letters in the past 4 months and not one response from American legion HQ...NOT ONE ! ! ! Sent the same letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs in DC too......Guess What? NO RESPONSE !!! Question is.....Who's Who?
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