VETERANS CORNER: For the most part, veterans in a happy place

by Gary Kennedy

For the most part most of we veterans are in a happy place, our pension rate is up and we had a decent cost of living increase this past year. Irrespective of one’s political persuasion, we have had a great past couple of years under this particular president. Veterans along with other service to mankind organizations such as police, fire and rescue organizations, etc., have been recognized and treated with great respect. “Thank you for your service” is heard frequently. This kind of attention should make one very comfortable and pleased.

Recruitment for the military is up and the other service organizations are having no problem with recruitment. It almost seems that the disgraceful political array of issues have brought many people more aware by causing the thought process to kick in. Although some we see lately, people will never change because their world only operates on conflict instead of common sense realism; it is what it is.

This has been a very fast summer. It seems we have actually skipped spring. Everything in my garden is late. I am in hopes for a long warm fall. This year is very rapidly coming to an end.

Getting back to the VA and the veterans, I need to address some of the positives and negatives. Each year the veterans administration is allocated an amount of money which is initially requested by each unit. It takes a lot of variables brought to mind to bring about a proposed budget for this sort of fleeting business.

So many things can happen that require copious amounts of money; millions even billions. I never realized how intense this function could get until this year. Being someone who works with veterans and is involved with staff, there isn’t much that escapes my attention. I have heard so many things such as, “but I broke my teeth because of a service connected disability. I should be covered for that.” (Gray area) Sometimes I agree. Another example is, “thank God for the VA,” I would never have been able to pay this medical bill. This particular bill was quickly approaching a half million dollars. Given just a couple examples and realizing that the VA services thousands of patients, how can you possibly come up with a budget?

The other expenses are much more fixed expenses, electric, gas, fuel, water and repair to that which already exists. Last but not least are all the aspects of growth. New vehicles, buildings and associated expenses. I haven’t even mentioned the ever increasing salaries and benefits. After all the miscellaneous expenses are thrown into this pot, what is remaining and what do we need to do with it. Well, I will tell you my feelings on this end of it and that is making the entire situation, start with what we know is needed.

My research has led to many conversations and, of course, all goes back to management. Who is running the show and do they know what they are doing or are they just a ladder appointment. A good question is, do you know the person that preceded you? You would be surprised where that will lead you.

I don’t want to sound like this is a cynical situation but motivation can be so important regarding these situations.” Murphy’s Law” is alive and well in the VA system. Just look around and ascertain what you would do in situations you will discover. Examples: A doctor is hired and stays for less than one month, why? You are sent to a specialty department and the equipment needed to effectively operate that department is all broken, so the patient is outsourced and we pay the dysfunctional doctors in these department as well as the out sourced practitioners. This doesn’t make much sense, does it? (Expensive). Sensitive surgery is performed only to find it can’t be completed because of lack of equipment on the surgical tray; a veteran’s money is given control to a third party due to the veterans inability to handle his/her own affairs without total due process and/or understanding.” These are just a few things that I have noticed. I should also add overbooking is common and patients are allowed inadequate amounts of time in many cases. Don’t take me wrong, some outsourcing is necessary because of complexity or distance.

The VA needs so much in all aspects of its existence yet we are praising the government for all they do, VA is over extended with not enough doctors, nurses, specialists, and equipment. Now we are being shipped out to places that have almost as long a wait as we experience at Togus. It’s time we bring in the thousands of professionals who would love to come here, from other countries, especially doctors, nurses, physical therapists and dentists. They are happy with less and we could sure use them. We have 500 acres that the administration just plays with. We know this works as we have brought these folks into our military and they have made fine soldiers. We just offer them citizenship for several years of faithful service. It’s a great opportunity for them and a wonderful solution for us. I hope I didn’t ruin your day. There is a always a light at the end of the tunnel. I wish I was the smart guy who thought that up. There is always a solution and a better way. Have a great week and God be with you and yours.


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