Saturday, February 22, 2014

Can’t hear you now! VA leaves vets waiting weeks for hearing aid

By Phillip Swarts and Kellan Howell / The Washington Times

The Veterans Affairs Department is taking weeks to provide or repair hearing aids for its patients, leaving hearing-impaired veterans at risk in the latest failure by the agency charged with caring for America’s war heroes.

The VA has promised to provide hearing aids within five days, but the agency’s Inspector General found that the average wait time was between 17 and 24 days. About 30 percent of veterans are waiting 30 days or more, and of those, 10 percent are waiting to have their hearing aids fixed for two months or more, a report released this week found.
VA officials blamed staffing issues for the delays, but investigators actually visited a facility where large numbers of hearing devices were sitting undistributed in boxes and on cart.
Veterans groups are outraged, saying that the delays pose a serious threat to veterans safety. 

It’s a safety issue, they are put at risk,” said Gerald Manar, Deputy Director of National Veterans Service of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “If they cross the street and don’t hear an approaching car… anything can happen if you’re not hearing well.” 

Other groups have said the waiting periods for new hearing aids and hearing aid repairs is unsatisfactory. 

We do believe that it is unacceptable that veterans are having to wait this long,” said Edward Lilley, a senior field service representative at The American Legion. “The VA needs to meet their own standard.” 

Mr. Lilley added that The American Legion planned to reach out the the VA’s OIG to follow up on the report and obtain more information. 

Investigators said they believe that 30 days – 25 days after the VA’s goal - “allows sufficient time for medical facilities to issue a hearing aid to a veteran who depends on it for their daily activities.”

Inspectors visited the Denver Acquisition and Logistics Center (DALC), which serves as a central processing facility for the VA, and said they observed 19,500 hearing aids backlogged, unopened, sitting on carts and waiting for repairs or replacements.

Part of the reason the agency kept veterans waiting was because staff never recorded when they received the hearing aids or requests for the devices.

Without a timely recording system, staff cannot adequately respond to or track inquiries from veterans and medical facilities concerning the status of a hearing aid pending repair services,” the IG said in a report released Thursday.

DALC said that five of their 21 technician positions for working on the hearing aids were vacant for much of 2012, and that the repair lab hasn’t been fully staffed since February 2011.

Medical facilities’ audiology staff attributed the delays to inadequate staffing to meet an increased workload,” the IG said.

Meanwhile, the workload has been steadily ticking upward, with 358,000 repairs of hearing aids in FY 2011 and 394,000 in FY 2012.

VA needs to fill those positions so veterans can get their hearing aids back in a timely manner,” Mr. Manar said. “They are really handicapped without them. If they can’t hear, it’s a real problem, not just conversationally but in terms of safety.” 

But the IG said that more people wouldn’t help fix the backlog, and that the problems lie elsewhere.

We estimated a fully staffed repair lab would only decrease the average number of days to complete repair services by about 5 days,” investigators said. “This would make the average number of days 15, which is still 10 days more than their 5-day timeliness goal.”

The problem needs to be fixed, the IG said, because the demand for repair and replacement services is only going to increase.

Due to the aging veteran population, VA’s audiology service and repair workloads are expected to continue to increase,” the report said. “Therefore, it is imperative that VA effectively manages its delivery of hearing aid services and repairs.”

Tinnitus – ringing in the ears – and hearing loss were the first and second most common service-related disabilities among veterans, the IG said. During fiscal year 2012, the VA said it ordered roughly $221 million worth of new hearing aid parts for veterans and repaired about $16.5 million worth of parts.

The Veterans Health Administration agreed with all of the inspector generals recommendations and has already taken steps to fix problems and make improvements.

The VHA is already working on a plan to improve productivity standards by fiscal year 2015. In response to the report, the VHA has expanded the improvement plan to include the non-physician discipline of Audiology beginning in fiscal year 2016.

In addition, the DALC is also making improvements to secure more staffing and to track and monitor hearing aids from the date received for repair.

In their response the DALC wrote that it takes seriously the welfare of the Veterans it serves and reported that it has already made improvements to bring repair timeliness within standards and has secured funding for additional employees.  

UPDATE: Congressman Threatens To File Article Of Impeachment Against Barack Hussein Obama.

       You read that right, Congressman Steve Stockman has just stepped forward and indicated that he's ready to file Article of Impeachment against Barack Hussein Obama:

       "I'm considering filing Articles of Impeachment against Barack Obama," and all we can say is... it's about time because we have, indeed, run out of options.

       But the ever-increasing chorus of Congressmen, like Stockman, who are literally inches from impeaching Barack Hussein Obama need just another push... We must keep the momentum going. Congress must hear from you now... and we need to deliver a mountain of faxes to their offices DEMANDING the Impeachment of Barack Hussein Obama.

Use the hyperlink below to send your urgent Blast Faxes to each and every Member of the Republican Leadership of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives.

Send My Faxes

If button above does not work, please use this hyperlink.

But Wait: More Politicians And Organizations Are Finally Jumping On The Impeachment Bandwagon.

       Congressman Stockman, who boldly stated that Barack Obama's "goal is to eliminate our constitutional republic," isn't alone.

       Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA), who is seeking to replace the retiring Senator Saxby Chambliss, is on the list as well. At a recent candidate forum, the moderator posed the following question to the candidates for Chambliss' seat: "Obama has perjured himself on multiple occasions. Would you support impeachment if presented for a vote?"

       Broun and several other candidates raised their hands without hesitation.

       And Liberty Counsel Action has finally joined the fight as well. In an email to members and supporters, the organization's head, Mat Staver wrote: "America has been forced into a constitutional crisis of historic proportions... [Barack Obama's] abuses have brought us to the point that the People can no longer tolerate his subversion of the Constitution or his willful violations of his Oath of Office. Liberty Counsel Action is calling for the United States House of Representatives to draft Articles of Impeachment against President Obama."

       The list goes on. As a matter of fact, an increasing number of elected officials have mentioned the possibility of impeachment in recent days. The good folks at WND even compiled a list: "Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa; Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas; Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas; Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas; Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.; Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich.; Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.; Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah; Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.; Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.; Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla.; and Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla."

       We've been waiting for impeachment to gain this level of traction for far too long, and now that the issue is gaining traction so fast, there is no choice... no option... as to what patriotic Americans must do next. We must push and build on this momentum. The impeachment of Barack Obama may be at hand and it's up to each and every one of us to make it happen.
Obama Is Staging A Bloodless Coup.

       Mr. I-Have-A-Pen-And-I-Have-A-Phone isn't backing down... he's trenching in... more abuses of the Constitution are planned. He's all in and, in the coming days, more Members of Congress will be forced to face the realization that Barack Obama MUST BE IMPEACHED.

       We've said it before and we'll say it again. We're now in the middle of a bloodless coup – the takeover of an entire nation by the hate-America crowd – a cold-blooded gang that despises America's prosperity, our standing in the world, our trust in God and just about everything about America that is just and good.

       When you look at America, you see a monument to the triumph of freedom and prosperity, but when Barack Hussein Obama looks at America... he sees a world in which some people, due to personal initiative and good fortune, will do better than others... and live better than others.

       And Barack Obama sees that as fundamentally unfair. Where you see freedom, liberty and the opportunity for any American to be all that he or she can be, Obama only sees greed and bigotry. He even has a term for it, "income inequality" ... and he has a solution.

       Like so many on the far-left before him, going all the way back to Karl Marx, Barack Obama believes that it's his duty to mandate "equality of outcome" over "equality of opportunity" and Americans must learn to live in chains... servitude to the iron will of government will be required... to make it happen.

       Barack Hussein Obama's worldview makes him one of the greatest threats in American history to your personal liberty and the threat must be removed from office now... before it is too late.

Use the hyperlink below to send your urgent Blast Faxes to each and every Member of the Republican Leadership of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives.

Send My Faxes

If button above does not work, please use this hyperlink.

The Time To Impeach Barack Obama Is Upon Us... It Is Now.

       We'll quote Congressman Steve Stockman again: "Obama defiantly vowed not only to radically expand the reach of government from cradle to grave, but to smash the Constitution’s restrictions on government power while doing it. His goal is to eliminate our constitutional republic."

       What more needs to be said? What more must Barack Obama do before we act?

       How long must we wait to stop this megalomaniac... this American dictator? ... How long should we sit back and watch Barack Hussein Obama continue to rip apart the fabric of this country before we take action?

       We don't have to wait. Starting right now, you can fire a shot that will be heard around the world... and send our self-appointed leaders the clear and unmistakable message that Barack Obama does not have carte blanche to ruin the United States of America.

       And win, lose or draw, it's a message that must be sent.  While we can't speak for everyone, as far as we're concerned, we'd rather fight and fail than simply submit to the tyranny of Barack Hussein Obama.

       Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution reads: "The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

       And all of our problems, from Benghazi-Gate, to Fast and Furious, to IRS abuses of power have just one solution and the time is upon us to invoke that Constitutional solution.

Starving “Palestinians” Update: Hamas tests anti-aircraft missiles against Israel

/ Jihad Watch
While Barack Obama and John Kerry pressure Israel into making still more self-defeating concessions to the “Palestinians,” Hamas pursues violent jihad. Either way, Israel faces jihad. Surely even Obama and Kerry must not believe at this point that their negotiations will bring some kind of lasting peace to the jihadis and Israel. But they probably do believe that the negotiations will bring them votes and donors.

Meanwhile, it’s interesting that the inmates of the “world’s largest concentration camp” are able to get such sophisticated weaponry.

“Hamas Tests Anti-Aircraft Missiles Against Israel,” from IPT News, February 21:
While Israel and the Palestinian Authority engage in peace negotiations, Hamas continues to bolster its military capabilities for the next round of fighting with Israel. Al-Monitor is reporting that Palestinian terrorists had conducted a field test, firing an anti-aircraft missile at an Israeli airplane circling above Gaza’s eastern border last month.
The missile missed its intended target and was briefly reported by pro-Hamas media; however, the incident went unreported by Israeli newspapers. Israel lodged a formal complaint with the United Nations after rockets fired following former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s funeral, but Gaza sources claim that it was an anti-aircraft missile test, Al-Monitor reports. The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, have bragged in the past that their anti-aircraft capabilities have changed the balance of power with Israel. The terrorist organization claims that they have damaged an Israeli helicopter and downed an armed surveillance drone.
Even if these reports are fabricated, it is clear that Hamas is desperately attempting to bolster their military capabilities. In September, the al-Qassam Brigades revealed that their fighters possessed SA-7 anti-aircraft missiles. Israeli military sources were aware of this significant development, blaming the collapse of the Gadhafi regime in Libya for the proliferation of such advanced weapons into Gaza.
The SA-7 missiles were displayed at a military parade along with light machine guns, sniper rifles, rocket propelled grenades and heavy weapons fixed on four-wheel-drive vehicles.
In addition, Al-Monitor reviewed a military document from the “Air Defense Unit” of one of Gaza’s factions, which claims the primary objective of acquiring anti-aircraft weapons is to neutralize the Israeli air force. But the flow of such weapons has been slowed since Egypt destroyed summing tunnels along its border with Gaza.
Earlier this week, the Times of Israel reported that Hamas used an intermediary to tell Jerusalem it “has no interest in furthering its conflict with Israel and seeking restraint on Israel’s part.” For now. All other signs show Hamas remains more committed to preparing for the next confrontation with Israel than it is to improving life for Palestinians in Gaza.