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WBEN NewsRadio 930>Audio & Video on Demand>>David Bellavia & Patrick Welch- Bergdahl Release Mishandled

David Bellavia & Patrick Welch- Bergdahl Release Mishandled

Jun 2, 2014|

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

The two in studio guest now decorated Iraq War veteran David bella -- is in studio along with Patrick Welsh veterans advocate and former county veteran services chief. We're glad you could both command. Petra start with you where do we go from here on the scandal. Well then it's gonna be difficult my opinion to find a person who I think is gonna be qualified. To serve in the next year and a half or so before the next election. The problem in my view with the VA. Is senior executive service in the people were alone they have been lying. To use it to. And secretary not only shinseki the previous secretaries. And they are the major issue here their employees they cannot before you'd. I would hope that one of the things congress does is give the new secretary the ability to far. Because there's too many of whom who. I've met general -- psyche I think he's a good man I think he was over his head in health care administration. He told us one time that the average tenure of VA sector's three and a half pierce. So any pure crap that's been in the VA system for years just looks at another talking head -- And saying well all -- this one just like about last at all elders and the campfire. David ability you went away and you wanted. Chime in on bureaucrats. You know I it would have been great if I could disagree with anything that. -- -- -- You know -- Is that I think the problem that we have here you have uniform system. So you have to ask the question of why is -- that buffalo is able to her to achieve you know high regards and high of markings in the and you go over. On this audit of 216 sites. And you know you're seeing a failure of leadership but we have to renounce this is criminal activity. What these individuals did in Phoenix wasn't just. There than not just dishonorable they broke the law and they received incentives from the very VA took the they were given. Basically bonus money. For being port Stewart so it's it's a fraud waste and abuse problem. But you've got a really at this point you've got to drain the swamp and that's one of the problems that that the next secretary -- gonna have to do with just go through. And literally take out a lot of these G asks. You know twelve and ups that are running these things and and doing it dishonest because as long as there there is probable still exist absolutely. So. Are you are you trying to say that. The next person to -- Tuesday. There's going to be. Who. Well I've seen five names bandied around her six from -- California -- you heard of any of these people probably yes yeah. And I'll and I'll give my opinion on who should be the director of the VA. Personal it should be a former enlisted person. He 4536. Who has been a patient. In the VA health care system who after their service to our country. Went on and got an education and has served in health care administration. In different capacities. Of the biggest problem in my view that you see win the point four star generals and admirals. Is they have never been -- of -- As a patient. They walk through ward on a tour. And they said no everything looks good in the race. And I spent two years and hospitals while it put me back together I'll tell -- a lot of stories about what the VA it was like and I'm sure David Scott's story also. Attack them a plum position at their appointees people to -- they really need the background he really need to be in the hospitals to see it. Well I mean one of the things that we have to you know acknowledges that the VA. It's sort of thought we broke a lot of promises to the Vietnam generation particular. The way we treated them when they came home. The wave that we you know. How many stories you hear of Vietnam veterans coming home and the rest may be ripped up in front of them because they were veterans. This generation. You know as a World War II generation. As we all get older the Vietnam generation is the one that. You know how we make a promise to a young man or woman who wants to join the military when we can't even keep our promises. To those who served four years ago. It's to me it this is a test of our resolve. And if we can't find -- more money. To just make you know 22. The VA is being asked to do things its -- never meant for it to do. But you can't look away from the fact that there are functioning BA's in this country and there are. Hospitals that are doing clinicians and and the work that they are doing is. Is the lord's work so why is it that it works in places like Iowa Nebraska Texas and and Connecticut but it doesn't work in Arizona and Florida. Yeah it has to be leadership and that leadership has to be -- Are we -- in studio this morning. With decorated Iraq War veteran David Olivia and Patrick Welsh veteran advocate and former county veteran services chief. After going ask you first and Dave maybe you can weigh in after pat answers how long do you think it might be before we can flush out. All of the people in charge of VA facilities who don't really belong there I'm talking about. Much as people abortion of the people that VA facilities. In cities across America who might be responsible in some way. Four sub standard care -- me were kidding ourselves our way that this only happened in Phoenix. Absolutely. Personally have to look here's a 300000. Person organization. And to be able to go through and start to weed that out is going to be a very very time consuming and lengthy process. I think you know there are some that can be weeded out very quickly. One example when we will bring in the golden age games to buffalo. Last year you know we spent seven years working to bring that here and all of a sudden one person in the SES said that they were canceling it. My understanding of the story was -- general shinseki asked that person to resign couldn't farm. Because he was a member CS so. It's gonna take a long period of time. They have to resign. Other always the other parties while we SES people are not in the union. They have a very strong association. That is almost union -- is going to be fighting. Every step along the way as congress tries to give the new secretary the ability to fire those people aren't doing their jobs. Why give you have to empower this new VA secretary I think they. The one thing that that we have and our favors congressional oversight and the lack the what you seen is the lack of congressional oversight for very long time. But if you get that you know there'd -- a committee -- and and really start to put people make them accountable bring these people from Phoenix let them swearing in. Make an example of them. But you know it's amazing when you have a system in the military when you -- people. And say you know how good is he and -- we are officer valuation report. And you know that this under disguise tutelage under this guy's tenure this is what happened. What when your forging those numbers it's impossible. To determine. You know what job or what performance that the hospitals doing so anyone associated with that. Regardless of their association regardless of their they're ranked. And in the civilian side needs to go. And and that needs to be. If you have to give godlike power to this next VA secretary that's what you have to do. Because we're talking about. You know and not think about this. There have been close to a billion dollars paid in medical malpractice in the VA and it's so it's not ironic that that a majority of these hospitals. That are are failing the administrative side. Are also screwing up. On the clinicians side so we're paying hundreds of millions of Dayton Ohio. Just had a 300 million dollar malpractice year. You know at their VA so I mean there's a lot of problems in these areas to have administrative problems. You know we're talking before about the fact that these VA workers there for you know lying forging numbers. To get bonuses why they -- bonuses. -- and the structure of the VA system to reward administrators for performance standards. The VA has got very very rigorous standards and their performance evaluations you know David is as well as I said in an. In meetings sometimes listening to the performance standards. VA medical center directors have a meeting every single morning at 815. To go through their performance numbers. So this concept though constantly being worried about performing. Tied to your bonuses. Is what is led to a lot of the scheduling issues and and were well aware of you know this fourteen day contact commitment. What a lot of the BA's are doing is no schedule hours are calling the veteran saying hey I'm calling from the VA. We'll get back to you soon. To set up an appointment for it. So they're meeting the contact requirement but they're not meeting this scheduling requirement. Within fourteen days so when they report their daily numbers and we contacted -- about. There was no outcome to it but they contacted the. Officials affection is gonna have to start with the Obama administration but it almost sounds like it couldn't it has to continue into the next administration. Who knows how long after that. Yeah I mean how long would you and that the system is huge but fixing it. You know is gonna take some time I mean it it's not and we understand that we've we've just put. Millions more you know every time these wars drag out it's just you know the issues that you're having directly when you come home from combat. It it you know as we get older you depend on the VA more. So so it's just gonna get worse if we continue the -- the line that we're we're doing today it's just gonna get worse okay our guest in studio David -- via a decorated Iraq War veteran. There's a frequent guest on our show and Patrick Welch. A local veterans up again and former chief of veterans services for -- accountability with -- through the clock. Right before we let you go -- Patrick let's start back in and it VA scandal where we go from here and and you're your own experience. With the VA hospital. Well I came back from Vietnam in 1966. The first week I was in the VA after admin in the naval hospital for years I was in a -- cast which is from armpits down. Your whole body can't move. And -- they were poking and prodding me with needles. And I turned to one of the nurses and I said hey take it easy. The nurse looked me in the guy and said Welch you better understand something that this VA. It's mind over matter. We don't mind and you don't matter. And that was my introduction to VA health care in 1966. Now that said. In 2014. I get all of my health care. That the VA hospital in Buffalo, New York. And my care and the care that my fellow veterans that I know has been exemplary. And a hospital there are some issues. There's going to be issues in any organization but for the most part. I sent out a survey when I was in California and I've got lots of replies. From fellow Vietnam veterans who have also their care has been very very good at this hospital. So we're fortunate in this community there are problems with -- you're gonna hear complaints. But for my money this facility in buffalo still one of the best in the country. Good -- here and we thank you both for coming in us when we've learned a lot from both of you thank you very much thank you. That's a decorated Iraq War veteran David Olivia and Patrick Welch this morning veterans advocates. And the former county veteran services chief if you missed any of our interview with them you'll find it on WBBM dot com.

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