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Despite Purported Fixes To The VA, Veterans Still Suffer From Poor Care
After spending years trying to meet the demands of the most recent generation of veterans, while tending to those of previous wars, the Department of Veterans Affairs is still missing the mark. In a special report by USA Today, Donovan Slack writes that as the VA struggles to address the complex medical needs of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Vietnam era veterans require more care.
This means that an already beleaguered system is only going to be put under greater strain in years to come.
The department's failures have gained national attention in recent years, from the benefit-claims backlog to the manipulation of patient wait-time records. While there have been changes to the VA at the highest levels, with former secretary Eric Shinseki Stepping down, and the passage of major bills like the Choice Act and the creation of the Choice Card Program, it can be hard to tell if the situation has improved.
For instance, in the last three years, the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center has had five directors, and is awaiting the appointment of a sixth, reports USA Today.
“Measures of patient safety — the rates of in-hospital complications and adverse events following surgeries and procedures — are among the highest of VA facilities across the country, as are mortality rates for patients suffering from pneumonia or congestive heart failure,” writes Slack, adding that the Oklahoma City VA also has the highest turnover rates among registered nurses, and according to the department's own statistics, has one out of five stars for performance.
The problems and challenges facing the department are most keenly felt by the veterans who seek treatment through the VA.
When 65-year-old George Washington Purifoy originally complained of severe pain after radiation therapy damaged the bone under his nose, clinicians at the VA sent him to receive root canals and other procedures, thinking it was a dental problem.
Now Purifoy has no nose or front teeth and he’s still in pain.
To add insult to injury, the passage of the Choice Act should have allowed Purifoy to seek treatment from a private healthcare provider nearby, but instead he has to drive six hours from his home for treatment at a VA facility in Shreveport, Louisiana.
While the VA says it has hired more than 1,500 doctors in the past year to increase patients’ access to care, the agency said there is still no VA surgeon in the state who can treat Purifoy, writes Slack.
“I don’t know if there are others — there probably are, but it just seems like there’s a lot of miscommunication among the departments, a lot of lost time where patients come for appointments and the doctors they’re supposed to see are not there, a lot of people managing things but missing the big picture,” said Dr. Marci Levine, who reviewed Purifoy’s case along with four others at the request of USA Today. “And then the patients are obviously suffering at the end.”
New London — Retired four-star general John Kelly said that as President Donald Trump's chief of staff, he pushed back against the proposal to deploy U.S. troops to the southern border, arguing at the time that active-duty U.S. military personnel typically don't deploy or operate domestically.
"We don't like it," Kelly said in remarks at the Coast Guard Academy on Thursday night. "We see that as someone else's job meaning law enforcement."
These 'kamikaze' drones are believed to be the culprits of the attacks on 2 Saudi oil fields. Here's what we know about them
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Yemen's Houthi rebel group, part of a regional network of militants backed by Iran, claims to be behind the drone strikes on two Saudi oil facilities that have the potential to disrupt global oil supplies.
A report from the United Nations Security Council published in January suggests that Houthi forces have obtained more powerful drone weaponry than what was previously available to them, and that the newer drones have the capability to travel greater distances and inflict more harm.
The U.S. Air Force has selected two companies to make an extreme cold-weather boot for pilots as part of a long-term effort to better protect aviators from frostbite in emergencies.
In August the service awarded a contract worth up to $4.75 million to be split between Propel LLC and the Belleville Boot Company for boots designed keep pilots' feet warm in temperatures as low as -20 Fahrenheit without the bulk of existing extreme cold weather boots, according to Debra McLean, acquisition program manager for Clothing & Textiles Domain at Air Force Life Cycle Management Command's Agile Combat Support/Human Systems Division.
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran rejected accusations by the United States that it was behind attacks on Saudi oil plants that risk disrupting world energy supplies and warned on Sunday that U.S. bases and aircraft carriers in the region were in range of its missiles.
Yemen's Houthi group claimed responsibility for Saturday's attacks that knocked out more than half of Saudi oil output or more than 5% of global supply, but U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the assault was the work of Iran, a Houthi ally.
Nearly a decade after he allegedly murdered an unarmed Afghan civilian during a 2010 deployment, the case of Army Maj. Matthew Golsteyn is finally going to trial.