CD Provokes Scathing Review from VA Watchdog
Editorial by: John Waltz
Special Assignment Writer
February 9, 2007,
reply to an article from the Larry Scott and VA Watchdog
Group Handing Out Bad Advice”
in which Mr. Larry Scott accuses a ‘small
group’ of veterans of irresponsible behavior harmful to our former military
personnel. He states such behavior should not be tolerated. However, Mr.
Scott does not divulge the name of this group anywhere in his report. You
would think his readers would like all of the information associated with
his story, not just what Mr. Scott wishes to acknowledge.
The ‘group’ Mr. Scott is referring to is
Operation Firing For Effect (OFFE), a subsidiary of Veterans For Veteran
Connection a registered 501-C3 non-profit organization headquartered in
Rochester, NY. This week OFFE released a ‘preview copy’ of a CD they have
produced. OFFE is currently involved in efforts to insure mandatory funding
for veteran’s healthcare and services - which is the primary purpose for the
production of the ‘Veteran’s Medical Alert’ CD.
date, OFFE has secured the support of over 140,000+ labor union members in
the New York area and many more are expected to join OFFE’s efforts to
secure mandatory funding. They may be a small group in the eyes of Mr.
Scott, but OFFE is growing rapidly and is expected to be a major influence
in the national 2008 elections.
In Mr. Scott’s article he takes the liberty of
misquoting and misrepresenting the content of the CD. Nowhere on the OFFE CD
does it say a veteran should not go to a VA hospital for scheduled
treatment. The VA has done some wonderful work over the decades and most VA
employees do a great job.
We, who are the
recipients of the VA health care system consider ourselves very lucky and
are very grateful for the care when it is provided.
However, medical services continue to be
cut which has now led to deadly consequences..
Mr. Scott received an 11 minute preview of the
OFFE CD two days ago. The complete 23 minute version of the CD will be
available to the public next week. OFFE plans to distribute 10,000 free
copies nationwide over the next 60 days. Mr. Scott’s article was very
contradictory and did a injustice to OFFE’s efforts and motives to promote
mandatory funding for the VA., which can be clearly pointed out in one of
his own statements, “The problems at Spokane stemmed from under funding (not
having a 24/7 ER) and poor communication (veterans not understanding
available services).” That is exactly what the OFFE CD points out - due to
under funding services are being severely cut or removed. Is Mr. Scott
shooting the messenger?
his own articles, “Second
Veteran Dies after Being Denied Care at Spokane VA”
lack of “Urgent Care” At Spokane VA Cost a Veteran His Life?”
Scott further substantiates the validity of the OFFE CD. The CD clearly
states that not all VA hospitals have 24 hour emergency services, which is
true. In these two articles Mr. Scott himself warns veterans not to go to a
VA after 4:30 pm. The graphic below appeared in Mr. Scott’s post on
Mr. Scott also states that the OFFE CD is at
the ‘height of irresponsibility’ and should not be tolerated. Not tolerated
by whom? The veterans I have spoken with think that it is the VA that is
being ‘irresponsible’ and OFFE should be commended for their bold approach
to bringing attention to the issues.
A great deal of care was taken as to the
accuracy of the information contained on the OFFE CD. OFFE conducted a
number of interviews with families involved in the Spokane VA story. OFFE
also interviewed Mr. Joe Manley the former director of the Spokane VA
hospital to get both sides of the story. In these interviews it was made
more than clear that due to the lack of services the Spokane VA was now
turning sick veterans away.
Scott claims the best idea for any veteran is to take the responsibility to
know the availableresources at their VA facility. Since emergencies aren’t
planned - how can you plan accordingly, especially, if you have to depend on
a friend or family member? Will they know what to do in an emergency? What
if the VA is the closest hospital? Do we have to send families to education
classes so that they know all the services provided at a particular VA
hospital? Or should they just call 911 for all emergencies? Telling a
veteran and his family to call 911 rather than depending on the VA is not
‘bad advice’, rather ‘lifesaving information’.
importance of mandatory funding is made abundantly clear throughout the OFFE
CD. Mr. Scott did not recognize this fact in his critical review of the OFFE
CD. His statement of; “That is why we keep pushing for mandatory funding.”
Who is ‘we’? Are we not all on the same side as veterans? Without mandatory
funding for services or equipment available, how can we possibly claim that
the VA healthcare system is the best in the country?
It was never the intent of OFFE to cause
static between veteran’s advocacy groups seeking the very same objectives.
OFFE realized from the conception of the CD concept that it would be
controversial and would get an emotional knee-jerk reaction from some
people; however, every word on the CD is supported by documentation and/or
written statements by the families that were turned away from treatment at
the Spokane VAMC. The fact that some individuals can’t handle the truth is
not/will not deter OFFE from distributing their Veteran’s Medical Alert CD
There are primarily two entirely different
opinions on this issue which come from two conflicting points of view. Some
people feel an allegiance to the Department of Veterans Affairs and to
protect the VA from negative comments or actions, while others feel an
allegiance and obligation to ‘the veteran’ first. OFFE is obviously among
The OFFE Preview copy of the CD is attached to
For further information on OFFE please visit:
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