J.B. Stone wrote:WestViking wrote:
IMO, you might try getting Congress to appoint a veterans' Ombudsman who has the power to investigate complaints, issue summonses to appear, the authority to require disclosure and who reports directly to Congress on his or her findings. That could get the veteran's issues as well as their medical recommendations directly to the people who control the $$$.
The VA administration need to be reminded that its function is to provide services to veterans, not to manage the budget.
There ARE several avenues open to Veterans, although most have no clue how to use them:U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs
OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
The Office of Inspector General is an independent organization with the goal of minimizing fraud, waste, and abuse in the Department of Veterans Affairs' programs, activities and functions. The Office of Healthcare Inspections (54) was created to monitor the health care provided to the veterans.
To carry out its inspections responsibilities, the Office of Healthcare Inspections is legally authorized to gain access to all records, reports, audits, reviews, documents, papers, recommendations, or other pertinent materials.
The Office of Healthcare Inspections (OHI) is dedicated to ensuring that eligible veterans, and qualified family members, receive high quality medical care and support. The OHI supports the Secretary's vision of "Putting Veterans First", and aspires to provide the highest possible level of innovative and forward-looking clinical consultative support to Office of Inspector General operating elements. OHI will work in a cooperative spirit to provide meaningful oversight and consultation to improve and strengthen VHA health care programs that are essential to the well-being of our veteran patients.
In performing its assigned functions, OHI inspects individual health care issues, performs quality program assistance reviews of medical center operations, evaluates Nationwide health care programs, and provides clinical consultations that are designed to strengthen Veteran's Health Administration's (VHA's) health care, and other missions, in order to help VHA to enhance patient care programs and to prevent and deter fraud, waste, and abuse. The OHI's oversight efforts emphasize National mandates for creating a more efficient, less costly government. Inherent in every OHI effort will be the principles of continuous quality improvement, focus on helping the Department to strengthen day-to-day operations, and emphasis on caring customer service and continually-improved patient outcomes.
The OHI will facilitate the IG's ability to keep the Secretary and the Congress fully and currently informed about problems relating to VA programs and the need for corrective action. In doing so, the OHI staff will strive to lead and be innovators in the performance of their duties, being consistently fair, honest, and objective, and fulfilling their responsibilities with integrity.
http://www.va.gov/oig/organization/insp ... efault.asp
Then, there's ....GAO.GOV
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is known as "the investigative arm of Congress" and "the congressional watchdog." GAO supports the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and helps improve the performance and accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people.
Topic Collection: Military and Veterans Health Care and Disability Benefits
This page lists the most recent reports and testimonies related to military and veterans' health care and disability benefits issued since March 2003.
http://www.gao.gov/docsearch/featured/h ... efits.html
AND, thanks to your great suggestions, I found out about THIS....!!!House bill creates VA ombudsman's office
By Andy Leonatti CongressDaily June 9, 2008
WASHINGTON - Citing the confusion veterans face when trying to arrange benefits, the House Veterans' Affairs Health Subcommittee passed a bill Thursday creating an ombudsman office within the Veterans Affairs Department (VA).
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H., was adopted by unanimous voice vote, along with the adoption by voice vote of a substitute amendment from Veterans' Affairs Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael Michaud, D-Maine.
The bill instructs the VA secretary to create an office of the ombudsman, and designate the head of the office.
The office would act as a one-stop shop for information on benefits administered by the VA, including medical, housing and education. When testifying in support of his bill before the Health Subcommittee on June 14, 2007, Hodes said the VA has separate hotlines for different benefits, and the process can be confusing to veterans returning from overseas.
Michaud's substitute amendment expanded the duties of the new office. Under the amendment, the VA secretary will designate an ombudsman director in each of the department's three administrations, health, benefits and cemeteries. The ombudsman director in each administration will report to the head ombudsman.
The amendment also defines the official duties of the office of the ombudsman as providing patient advocacy and problem resolution, provide assistance in understanding benefits, provide information on claims submissions and field complaints from veterans.
The VA secretary will also designate six regional ombudsmen throughout the United States for both the health and benefits administrations.
However, the VA does not support the bill. VA Undersecretary for Health Michael Kussman testified at the Health Subcommittee hearing on the bill that it would create an unnecessary level of bureaucracy within the VA. Kussman added the VA already has officers such as patient advocates and benefit counselors, and many state level veterans departments also have counselors.
And, finally....anyone who does NOT employ an authorized VA Service Organization to assist with their Disability Claim or Health Care requests is a FOOL...!!!Directory of Veterans Service Organizations
Welcome to the online Directory of Veterans Service Organizations. This is published as an informational service by the Office of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. This up-to-date, database driven website allows you to View VSO information in a variety of ways. You may also Search through the VSO database to find information that suits your needs.
Inclusion of an organization in the directory does not constitute approval or endorsement by VA or the United States Government of the organization or its activities. Some VSOs are "chartered", which means they are federally chartered and/or recognized or approved by the VA Secretary for purposes of preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims under laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Inclusion of non-chartered organizations does not constitute or reflect VA recognition of said organization and its representatives for purposes of representation of VA claimants.
* Organizations Chartered by Congress and/or Recognized by VA for Claim Representation
African Amer.Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Assoc.
Air Force Sergeants Association
American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor
American Ex-Prisoners of War
American GI Forum of the United States
American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.
American Red Cross
American War Mothers
Armed Forces Services Corporation
Army and Navy Union, USA, Inc.
Blinded Veterans Association
Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc.
Catholic War Veterans, USA, Inc.
Congressional Medal of Honor Society of the United States of America
Disabled American Veterans
Fleet Reserve Association
Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.
Italian American War Veterans of the USA
Jewish War Veterans of the USA
Korean War Veterans Association of the USA, Inc.
Legion of Valor of the USA, Inc.
Marine Corps League
Military Chaplains Association of the United States of America
Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A., Inc.
Military Order of the World Wars
National Amputation Foundation, Inc.
National Association for Black Veterans, Inc.
National Association of County Veterans Service Officers, Inc.
National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA)
National Veterans Legal Services Program
Navy Club of the United States of America
Navy Mutual Aid Association
Non Commissioned Officers Association
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Inc.
Polish Legion of American Veterans, USA
Swords to Plowshares: Veterans Rights Organization
The Retired Enlisted Association
United Spinal Association
US Submarine Veterans of World War II
Veterans Assistance Foundation, Inc.
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc./Vets. Coalition
Veterans of World War I of the USA, Inc.
Vietnam Veterans of America
Women`s Army Corps Veterans Association
Some avenues and/or organizations may be more effective/helpful in each case, but the Veteran is doing himself a GREAT disservice by eschewing these options.
I would have NEVER gotten my VA Disability Claim due to PRoject SHAD through without the Vietnam Veterans of America's help and encouragement...!!!
Thank you for your reply and suggestions.
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