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Dayton Daily news slanders VA for fun and profit

The latest “news” from the paper that publishes stories about its own meteorologist rescuing a kitten [1] – is that in 13 years, the VA has paid a pittance in settlements and attempts to suggest that the VA is a horribly run institution where veterans die from delayed care.

Of course, the metric that’s missing- the VA doesn’t spend a ton of money with Cox enterprises for advertising like the local private hospitals. When you draw a comparison between just the local yokel hospitals and the entire VA system- it’s comparing watermelons to a tenth of a grain of rice.

The fact that the idiots in Congress have latched onto this story is just further proof that we need IQ tests for our Congress as qualifications to run. That the NYTimes calls this an uproar- is an embarrassment to journalism as well:

The uproar over medical care for military veterans involves one of the nation’s biggest health care systems, a far-flung operation that treats 6.5 million people a year at 151 hospitals and 820 outpatient clinics, with more than 18,000 doctors and an annual budget of more than $57 billion.

The need for care has increased with a surge in the number of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, coming on top of a population of aging veterans who were already straining the capacity of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Improvements in battlefield medicine mean that many service members survive with severe injuries that need treatment after they leave the armed forces….

Q: How big is the Department of Veterans Affairs?

A: The clinics and hospitals serve more than 230,000 veterans a day and deliver care in 85 million appointments a year. The 6.5 million patients treated each year include more than 757,000 whose military service began after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

via History and Context of an Embattled Department of Veterans Affairs – NYTimes.com [2].

The reality is our private hospital system turns away people every single day for lack of insurance. Billions are paid out in malpractice suits in the private sector- and this is ignoring the fact that many veterans have very serious health conditions due to their military service.

While it’s easy to pick on the VA – by those who have never experienced the system, and that there is always room for improvement, this veteran would suggest that this is just smoke and mirrors distracting Americans from the real failures of the “American Health Care System” that fails many more Americans daily than the VA does in a decade.

The fact that General Shinseki runs a system far bigger than all of Premier Health Partners for less than a tenth of what Premier pays its top dogs, totally escapes the public. The fact that Shinseki, is himself a Service Disabled Veteran who has counted on the VA for care gets overlooked.

Considering that we now have the fewest legislators who have served in the military in our nation’s history, most of them need a real lesson in what public service is.

The VA has been on a massive search for veterans to enroll in its programs- with many veterans unaware that they are eligible for care if they served more than 180 days and have a general or honorable discharge. This manufactured hysteria about failed care isn’t helping the mission or improving the system in a meaningful way.

Our veterans deserve better than being used as fodder for selling newspapers. If someone with integrity exists in journalism today- they’d do a true comparison between this government-run health-care system and the joke of our private one. Dollar for dollar, patient for patient, the VA would win hands down.

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MJA

I don’t know enough about the VA system to make any comment on the situation, but I am curious to hear how the DDN slandered the VA for fun and profit as advertised in your headline.

Jamie

But that didn’t really answer MJA’s question.

You’re not the first person I’ve heard in the last couple weeks complain about the DDNs coverage of the VA… but what have they done lately? The last news I heard out of the VA was the poor guy getting shot in the foot by a nutcase… Prior to that, I recall the bad dentist.

I don’t read the DDN as closely as you do (with good reason) but what other stories from the DDN have I missed?

Bismark

Esrati is correct. I am highly aware of major corruption, misdirection of misdeeds & coverups at local hospitals re: adverse events re:patients, faculty w/fake credentials, particularly as they relate to the local medical school. The usual suspects are big time advertisers w/the pathetic daily newspaper. DDn will do nothing to jeopardize the revenue stream coming in from the “region’s leader,” “changing lives” et al. I know of several experiences where persons having solid facts backed by stacks of documents that contacted DDn reporters and the story was killed before it was started. A former DDn investigative reporter, 2- (maybe 3) times Pulitzer prize winner, who wrote ~10-15 yrs ago an expose on the VA & patient mismanagement informed me that investigative reporting was dead in Dayton, specifically, and in Ohio, in general. What is left for getting the truth out there is the internet and being anonymous while doing so.

Jeff G

I believe the Phoenix VA story was actually broken by CNN and has now been brought up on every news outlet, not just Fox News.

I believe the scandal coverage is coming for 2 reasons:
1. It’s Veterans who are getting screwed. Most Americans belief that you don’t screw with Vets. They served our country and deserve the greatest respect and the best care possible.
2. The VA is funded by tax dollars. If people are falsifying records which adversely impact Vets care and collecting tax payer funded bonuses based on those false claims, citizens should be angry. People who screw those who have served and get paid for it should be prosecuted.

As for protecting advertisers, I don’t see it. You can argue about hospitals getting tax breaks and the like, but general perception is that private sector hospitals are private sector hospitals. People don’t consider the link with government perks, thus it’s not “sensational” or “scandalous” news. It doesn’t sell. Reporting the news is important, but selling newspaper is the business. I think the DDN is reporting on what sells.
Integrity in news reporting is a rare thing. Actual investigative reporting is almost non-existent.

lollercats

Leave it to a liberal to defend a failed bureaucracy. The VA is another sad example of government corruption, incompetence, and failure. As someone who claims to be formerly employed by the USFG, I am stunned that you, Esrati, of all people, would be blind to the orgiastic waste of money that takes place in some agencies, as well as the entrenched incompetence and corruption.

This blog makes it hard to take you seriously. Get a grip David. Get in touch with reality. You seem well aware of the incompetence, failure, and corruption of Democrats in your own city, but you have a blind spot when it comes to the federal government. Why?