Eshoo & Speier to host town hall at Palo Alto VA

Congresswomen Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier will host a town-hall meeting Monday at the Palo Alto VA Hospital on veterans’ access to care – a touchy topic given recent revelations of VA shortcomings and malfeasance.

Veterans are invited to come and get answers to questions about the VA’s health care appointment process; Palo Alto VA Director Lisa Freeman will be there, too.

President Obama on Monday nominated former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald as his new Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned in May amid revelations of chronic, system-wide failure and veterans dying while on long waiting lists for treatment.

“Amid deeply disturbing revelations about delayed care of veterans throughout the nation and the scandal of information being manipulated, it is critically important to not only review wait times for care but also have veterans ask their own questions and have them addressed,” Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, said in a news release Wednesday. “This town hall meeting will provide a forum for veterans in our region to share their experiences with access to care at the Palo Alto VA, and, moving forward, help to develop even better systems to improve the VA hospital for our veterans.”

Speier, D-San Mateo, said in the same release that the “scandalous issue” of VA employees in other states manipulating appointment lists to conceal long waiting times “has damaged the credibility of the VA health care system.”

“It doesn’t appear that this despicable behavior exists in Northern and Central California,” she said. “But I want veterans who use VA hospitals and clinics in our area to have a chance to comment on the quality of the access to care they receive. I thank the VA Director for not only providing my staff with their insights on the challenges they face in caring for over 130,000 veterans, but also in agreeing to host a town hall meeting at the hospital.”

The meeting will be from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Monday, July 7 in the auditorium of VA Palo Alto’s Building 101, at 3801 Miranda Ave. in Palo Alto.

The VA Palo Alto Health Care System consists of three inpatient facilities in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Livermore, plus seven outpatient clinics in San Jose, Fremont, Capitola, Monterey, Stockton, Modesto, and Sonora.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    That’ll make everything all better, I’m sure!

  • Metatron von Bardeleben

    We need an EZ VA Form and Coverage Award Process – I am sure that the
    IRS does this. 1. Is claimed condition covered and has it been awarded
    to others for same condition? yes – go to #2

    2. Is there any
    evidence, diagnosis, comment, or other appropriate presumptive
    information concerning the condition in the claimants military records,
    military medical records or substantive evidence in later records to
    support the claim? yes – go to #3

    3. Can the VA prove that the
    condition pre-existed or was not caused or aggravated by Service? No –
    Award and Award the following Amounts based on the claimants condition
    and employability.


  • Metatron von Bardeleben

    Backlogs – VA – It is not the cavalcade of new applications that the VA.
    points to – it is the 1. NOD appeal to the BVA hearing – created by VA.
    policy of denying claims without cause 2. BVA decision takes 3 years or.
    more it then creates the 3. Remand to RO Backlog and the mostly endless.
    appeals/remand cycle 4. If the Vet is finally denied by the BVA then the.
    Vet restarts the claim or goes to the Court – the backlog here just.
    waiting for it to get to court is at least 4 years – then once the.
    decision is rendered again a long wait – often it is sent back to #3.
    and the process starts again.

  • Metatron von Bardeleben

    For example – Also at the Appeals Level – Last year the V.A.’s Board of Appeals found.

    errors in three-quarters of the cases it heard. – California Reporter.
    The Backlogs are contrived for de facto denial. A 75% error rate tells
    me that the errors are most likely intentional for this is the beginning
    means of a final and permanent de facto denial.

  • Metatron von Bardeleben

    The VA knows that a denial at the first level is mostly permanent
    without cause – it practices as an insurance company and denies any
    case, including covered cases, that it believes to be fraudulent – most
    cases that is. Once this happens there is almost no chance of obtaining
    benefits and for all practical purposes is a permanent de facto denial –
    even for those cases in error. There are only 65 or so BVA judges to
    handle appeals and about 50% of these appeals are sent into an endless
    remand cycle with the RO wherein the RO has been found to make errors in
    75% of the cases so that the cycle is literally endless with no due
    process. Furthermore, it intentionally creates these backlogs – 1. quick
    denial of even covered claims forcing appeals with NOD – then one must
    wait for hearing with the BVA judge, then one must wait for the judge
    to review again – 3 years or more later, and then remand again because
    the VA RO has intentionally not fully complied with its response to the
    BVA again, again after several years of waiting time on behalf of the
    veteran and thus and so on. Why a 2 – step BVA process to begin with
    with only 65 judges? No other court like system does this. why can’t the
    judge make a decision within 30 days of the initial hearing? Why? – to
    create the backlog which serves both as a de facto denial and also to
    perpetuate the work of the VA employees through the endless and
    unaccountable circulation of paper at will and according to its own
    decision to ever get to a file – it may be decades.