VA Employees Destroyed Veterans’ Medical Records To Cancel Backlogged Exam Requests (Audio)

Department Of Veterans Affairs Employees Destroyed Veterans’ Medical Records To Cancel Backlogged Exam Requests – Daily Caller

Employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) destroyed veterans’ medical files in a systematic attempt to eliminate backlogged veteran medical exam requests, a former VA employee told The Daily Caller.

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Audio of an internal VA meeting obtained by TheDC confirms that VA officials in Los Angeles intentionally canceled backlogged patient exam requests.

“The committee was called System Redesign and the purpose of the meeting was to figure out ways to correct the department’s efficiency. And one of the issues at the time was the backlog,” Oliver Mitchell, a Marine veteran and former patient services assistant in the VA Greater Los Angeles Medical Center, told TheDC.

“We just didn’t have the resources to conduct all of those exams. Basically we would get about 3,000 requests a month for [medical] exams, but in a 30-day period we only had the resources to do about 800. That rolls over to the next month and creates a backlog,” Mitchell said. ”It’s a numbers thing. The waiting list counts against the hospitals efficiency. The longer the veteran waits for an exam that counts against the hospital as far as productivity is concerned.”

By 2008, some patients were “waiting six to nine months for an exam” and VA “didn’t know how to address the issue,” Mitchell said.

VA Greater Los Angeles Radiology department chief Dr. Suzie El-Saden initiated an “ongoing discussion in the department” to cancel exam requests and destroy veterans’ medical files so that no record of the exam requests would exist, thus reducing the backlog, Mitchell said.

Audio from a November 2008 meeting obtained by TheDC depicts VA Greater Los Angeles officials plotting to cancel backlogged exam requests.

“I’m still canceling orders from 2001,” said a male official in the meeting.

“Anything over a year old should be canceled,” replied a female official.

“Canceled or scheduled?” asked the male official.

“Canceled… Your backlog should start at April ’07,” the female official replied, later adding, ”a lot of those patients either had their studies somewhere else, had their surgery… died, don’t live in the state… It’s ridiculous.”

Listen:

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El-Saden, according to Mitchell, was “the person who said destroy the records.” And her plan was actually carried out during the Obama administration’s management of VA.

“That actually happened,” Mitchell said. “We had that discussion in November 2008 and then in March 2009 they started to delete the exams. Once you cancel or delete an order it automatically cancels out that record” so that no record of the exam requests remained.

Mitchell tried to blow the whistle on the scheme and ended up being transferred out of his department and eventually losing his job.

“I actually filed a complaint with the VA [Inspector General] IG and the office of special counsel. The IG requested if I had any documentation. They wanted names. I gave them [about] a thousand names,” Mitchell said. ”The list I turned into the IG went all the way back to 1997.”

“I filed the initial complaint with the IG… The IG instead of doing their own investigation just gave it to the facility and made them aware of my complaint.”

Mitchell eventually wrote to Congress about the issue in January 2011. Two months later, in March 2011, he was fired.

Mitchell received an April 30, 2013 letter from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel stating that OIG found in November 2009 that “all imaging services across the country were instructed to mass purge all outstanding imaging orders for studies older than six months, where the procedure was no longer needed” and that “patient imaging requests found to still be valid were scheduled… Approval was granted for this process by the MEC [Medical Executive Committee], and in collaboration with the Service Chiefs and/or Careline Directors within the health-care system.”

But Mitchell said that in Los Angeles, exam requests that were found to still be needed were “definitely” destroyed.

“The IG’s report said this was a nationwide issue, but I know when we were having our meeting we weren’t talking nationwide – we were talking about our department,” Mitchell said.

“It is the general policy of OSC not to transmit an allegation of wrongdoing to the head of the agency involved, where the agency’s OIG or its delegate, is currently investigating or has investigated, the same allegations. Consequently, this office will take no further action concerning this allegation,” according to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel letter.

“That was an excuse” and part of a “cover-up,” Mitchell said.

“I’ve actually filed a lawsuit against them” for wrongful termination and another complaint, Mitchell said. “I filed it in district court in August of last year. It was accepted in September. The court dismissed it and wants me to amend the complaint with additional facts. I’m turning that in this week.”

VA did not return repeated requests for comment. The VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System did not return a request for comment and for an interview with Dr. El-Saden.

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Survey: Obamacare Forcing 44% Of U.S. Firms To Consider Cutting Employees’ Health Care

Duke University: 44% Of U.S. Firms Consider Cutting Health Care To Current Workers – Washington Examiner

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Adding to a devastating CBO report of how Obamacare could damage the economy, a Duke University survey of top companies found that 44 percent are considering reducing health benefits to current employees due to Obamacare, confirming the fears of millions of American workers.

In its December survey of chief financial officers around the country, Duke also found that nearly half are “reluctant to hire full-time employers because of the Affordable Care Act.”

And 40 percent are considering shifting to part-time workers and others will hire fewer workers of fire some to avoid the costs of the program.

What’s more, they said in the study, “One in five firms indicates they are likely to hire fewer employees, and another one in 10 may lay off current employees in response to the law.”

Without the law, the CFOs told Duke that they would hire more full-time workers.

The survey adds to the Congressional Budget Office’s study in raising new questions about the economic impact of Obamacare. Both give Republicans ammunition to continue their efforts to repeal the program that has upset how millions of Americans get health insurance. The survey was initially released in December and re-released Wednesday to provide context to the CBO report.

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business Professor Campbell R. Harvey said that the school’s survey shows that the economic hit the CBO warned of will be worse.

“Our survey shows that the situation is much more serious because employers tell us that they will choose not to hire and may lay people off,” he said. “I doubt the advocates of this legislation anticipated the negative impact on employment. The impact on the real economy is astonishing. Nearly one-third of firms may either terminate employees or hire fewer people in the future as a direct result of ACA.”

His colleague John Graham said in a statement promoting the survey, “An unintended consequence of the Affordable Care Act will be a reduction in full-time employment growth in the United States. Companies plan to increase full-time employment by 1.4 percent in 2014, a rate of growth which is down from last quarter and unlikely to put a dent in the unemployment rate, assuming that the labor force participation rate remains constant. CFOs indicate that full-time employment growth would be stronger in the absence of the ACA.”

See the full survey here.

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*VIDEO* Psycho Bitch From Hell Attacks McDonald’s Employees Because They Don’t Sell McNuggets In The Morning


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IRS Employees Ordered To Send Tea Party Cases To IRS’s Only Obama Political Appointee

IRS Employees Ordered To Send Tea Party Cases To IRS’s Only Obama Political Appointee – CNS

IRS employees were ordered by their superiors – including Lois Lerner who pleaded the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination rather than testify in Congress – to send certain Tea Party tax-exemption applications to the office of the IRS’s Chief Counsel, which was headed by William Wilkins, who at that time was the only Obama political appointee at the IRS, according to a letter released today by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

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“As a part of this ongoing investigation, the Committees have learned that the IRS Chief Counsel’s office in Washington, D.C. has been closely involved in some of the applications,” reads a letter released today by the House committees on Oversight and Government and Ways and Means. “Its involvement and demands for information about political activity during the 2010 election cycle appear to have caused systematic delays in the processing of Tea Party applications.”

It further states, “[B]ased on his decades of experience, [career IRS official Carter Hull] determined he had enough facts to make recommendations whether to approve or deny the applications… However, Mr. Hull’s recommendations were not carried out. Instead, according to Michael Seto, the head of Mr. Hull’s unit in Washington, Lois Lerner instructed that the Tea Party applications go through a multi-layer review that included her senior advisor and the Chief Counsel’s office.”

Wilkins, the IRS chief counsel, had been appointed by President Obama to his position in 2009, and was one of only two politically appointed officials at the IRS. The other employee was IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, a Bush appointee. Shulman was commissioner from March 2008 to November 2012. He was followed Steve Miller, who was appointed acting commissioner by Obama and served until May 2013. The current acting commissioner is Daniel Werfel, appointed by Obama in May.

The nine-page letter was sent to IRS Principal Deputy Commissioner Daniel Werfel and was signed by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrel Issa (R-Calif.), Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Way and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La.).

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IRS official Lois Lerner is sworn in on Capitol Hill on May 22, 2013, before a House Oversight Committee hearing, where she pleaded the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The letter is based upon interviews by the Committees of several long-term IRS employees, including Carter Hull, a tax-law specialist and 501c(4) expert with 48 years of experience at the IRS, according to the letter. From his interview, “the Committees were informed that Tea Party applications under his review were, in an unusual turn of events, referred to the Chief Counsel’s office for further review at the direction of Lois Lerner, the head of the Exempt Organizations division. The IRS Chief Counsel is one of two politically appointed officials in the agency.”

Hull is scheduled to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Thursday, July 18, along with several other IRS employees cited in today’s letter.

Back in April 2010, according to the letter, Hull was instructed by his superiors to analyze several Tea Party tax-exemption applications as “test” cases to determine the best way for the IRS, as Hull explained, to “approach these organizations, and how [the IRS] should handle them.”

Hull sent development letters to the Tea Party groups requesting additional information, gathered and analyzed the data, and then concluded he had enough facts to make a decision on whether the groups had engaged in a permissible amount of political activity.

“However, Mr. Hull’s recommendations were not carried,” states the letter. Instead, as the head of Hull’s unit in Washington, D.C., Michael Seto, related, Lois Lerner “sent me an email saying that when these cases need to go through multi-tire review and they will eventually have to go [through her staff] and the chief counsel’s office.”

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……………IRS Chief Counsel William Wilkens. (Photo: IRS)

Hull also told the committees that Lerner’s senior adviser instructed him in the winter of 2010-2011 that the IRS Chief Counsel’s office would have to review the applications. Hull stated this was the first time in his career he had been told to send applications to Lerner’s senior adviser. As the committee reported:

Q: “Have you ever sent a case to [the senior adviser to Ms. Lerner] before?”

Hull: “Not to my knowledge.”

Q: “This is the only case you remember?”

Hull: “Uh-huh.”

Q: “Correct?”

Hull: “This is the only case I remember sending directly to [ the senior adviser to Ms. Lerner].”

Q: “Did [the senior adviser to Ms. Lerner] indicate to you whether she agreed with your recommendations?”

Hull: “She did not say whether she agreed or not. She said it should go through the Chief Counsel.”

Q: “The IRS Chief Counsel?”

Hull: “The IRS Chief Counsel.”

The letter from the Committees to Werfel goes on to state that after a “substantial delay,” the Chief Counsel’s office finally met with Hull, with Lerner’s senior adviser, and with other Washington officials “to discuss these test case applications.”

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………….Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel (AP Photo)

“During the intervening months, these applications lingered,” states the letter. Three years after Hull had been instructed to review the Tea Party applications, he told the Committees that he did not know whether those applications were still open or closed.

Hull’s superviser, Ronald Shoemaker, also was interviewed by the Committees. He stated that from that August 2011 meeting, the Chief Counsel’s office was still seeking more information about the Tea Party applicants’ political activities, specifically activities “leading up to the 2010 election.”

In that election, the Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives and a Republican, John Boehner of Ohio, became the new Speaker.

As Shoemaker recounted to the Committees’ staff, the Chief Counsel’s office “indicated that they wanted more development of possible political activity or political intervention right before the election period; that that had not occurred and that that’s what was missing… [R]ight before the election period. In other words, immediately before.”

The letter to Werfel says, “the lengthy and unusual review of the test applications in Washington created a bottleneck and caused the delay of other Tea Party applications in Cincinnati. Indeed, multiple IRS employees in Cincinnati have told the Committee they were waiting on guidance from Washington on how to move the applications forward.”

Cindy Thomas, head of the IRS Cincinnati office, repeatedly asked officials in Washington, D.C. for guidance on the applications but did not receive definitive responses.

As the Committees’ interview reports:

Q: “So the cases that [Cincinnati employee] was working from October 2010 through September 2011 were still in kind of a holding pattern awaiting guidance from Washington? Is that right?”

Thomas: “That’s correct.”

Q: “And were there additional applications that were coming at this time?”

Thomas: “To my knowledge, yes.”

Q: “And those were also in a holding pattern?”

Thomas: “that’s correct.”

Q: “Pending guidance from Washington?”

Thomas: “That’s correct.”

In conclusion, the letter from the Committees to the IRS’s Werfel requests further documents and communications between or among employees of the IRS’s Chief Counsel’s office, the Treasury Department’s General Counsel’s office, and the Executive Office of the President between Feb. 1, 2010 and the present concerning all tax-exempt applications.

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Corruption Update: IRS Paying More Than 200 Employees To Work For Public Labor Union

IRS Paying Over 200 Employees To Work Full-Time For Labor Union – National Review

The Internal Revenue Service pays over 200 full-time employees not to conduct audits or process tax returns but to work for a federal employees’ union, according to documents released by the agency in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the advocacy group Americans for Limited Government. Forty-three of those employees are earning six-figure salaries, the documents show.

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Oddly, the employees working for the National Treasury Employees Union have titles that suggest they perform work in behalf of the American taxpayer, among them “Tax Examining Technician,” “Internal Revenue Agent,” and “Tax Specialist.”

Known as “official time,” the practice is perfectly legal as a result of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. It continues even as the IRS faces financial woes – due to the sequester, the agency has been forced to close its doors on five days and has also requested more money for its operating budget from Congress.

This is not sitting right with two Republican senators, who sent a letter to the IRS’s acting administrator, Danny Werfel, requesting more information on the practice, including how employee performance is evaluated.

“While the IRS continues to request more funding to further close the more than 14.5 percent tax gap, especially under the current budget crunch and sequestration, it makes little sense to use taxpayer resources to pay for union work,” Tom Coburn and Phil Gingrey wrote Werfel, whom President Obama appointed to head the agency in mid May after disclosures that it had targeted tea-party groups. “This kind of practice takes place only in the government – in the private sector, union work and staff are paid for by union dues,” the senators said.

Gingrey is also trying to put an end to “official time” altogether by repealing the portion of the 1978 law that allows it, but his bill, introduced in January, remains in committee. The IRS had no immediate comment on Monday afternoon.

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Are Federal Employees Now Involved In A Massive Insider Trading Scandal?

Are Federal Employees Now Involved In A Massive Insider Trading Scandal? – The Blaze

Federal employees were given advance notice of an April 1 Medicare decision worth billions of dollars to private insurers. And in the weeks before the decision was officially announced, shares in those firms spiked, the Washington Post reports.

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Naturally, the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission suspect Wall Street investors and fed workers engaged in insider trading.

The April 1 decision was about increasing funding to Medicare Advantage by $8 billion

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said last week that his office “reviewed the e-mail records of employees at the Department of Health and Human Services and found that 436 of them had early access to the Medicare decision as much as two weeks before it was made public,” the report notes.

“The number of federal employees with advance knowledge is surely higher; the figures Grassley’s staff compiled did not include people at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget who also saw the information,” the report adds.

“The e-mail records of those employees have not been made available to Grassley.”

The sensitive – and valuable – information was so widely circulated among federal employees that it will no doubt make it difficult to pinpoint the source of the leak (if there was indeed a leak). Also, the fact that so many employees had access to this valuable information calls into question the government’s practice of handling of information coveted by Wall Street insiders.

“This should sound an alarm,” said the Iowa senator. “It should result in better controls to avoid unfair access to information that the average investor could never tap.”

Sen. Grassley said he he plans to introduce legislation that would require “political-intelligence consultants to disclose their activities, as lobbyists are required to do,” the report notes.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials do not question Grassley’s headcount of fed employees who were made privy to the April 1 announcement, but they stress that Medicare policy is complex and would require review.

“CMS takes the security and integrity of sensitive information very seriously,” spokesman Brian Cook said in a statement. “Our agency regularly handles sensitive information regarding payment rates, coverage decisions, and other technical policy decisions that need to be safeguarded until public release.”

Click here to read the full report.

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88 IRS Employees Involved In Scandal

Nearly 90 IRS Employees Involved In Scandal – Fox Nation

The Internal Revenue Service has told House GOP investigators they have identified 88 IRS employees who may have documents relevant to the congressional investigation into targeting of conservative groups, according to a congressional source familiar with the investigation.

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The IRS asked these employees to preserve all the “responsive documents” on their computers, and it has been in the process of collecting it all to comply with congressional requests for information. The IRS missed its May 21st deadline to turn over documents to the House Ways and Means Committee.

The same source said the IRS argues it missed its deadline because of the scope of documents it is collecting.

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Blogger Retaliates Against Paper That Published Gun Owner Addresses By Creating Interactive Map Of Its Employees

Blogger Retaliates Against Paper That Published Gun Owner Addresses By Creating Interactive Map Of Its Employees – The Blaze

In retaliation against the New York newspaper – the Journal News – that published the addresses of those pistol permit holders in two of the state’s counties, a blogger has created a map pinpointing the addresses of the newspaper’s employees.

Mimicking the title of the Journal News’ original article, Robert Cox with “Talk of the Sound” headlined his post: Map: Where are the Journal News employees in your neighborhood?

He wrote:

The map indicates the addresses of all Journal News Employees in the New York Tri-State area. Each dot represents an individual Journal News employee – a reporter, editor or staffer. The data does not include freelancers – reporters or photographers – which can be hired without being an employee. Being included in this map does not mean the individual at a specific location is a responsible reporter or editor, just that they are a reporter or editor.

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To create the map, Talk of the Sound submitted Google searches for the names and addresses of all Journal News employees in the New York Tri-State area. By state law, the information is public record.

Cox went onto explain that putting together the map has been a crowd-sourced effort between other bloggers and readers. He wrote the map will be updated as more information continues to become available.

He also noted that since the publication has downsized in recent years, some of the names of employees might not be current. So far, dozens of names and addresses have been collected and published.

See the full-size map here.

Another blogger has been curating the names and addresses of News Journal employees as well (via Beta Beat). Christopher Fountain, a Greenwich, Conn., real estate agent on his blog For What It’s Worth, generally composes posts about real estate and home improvement, has been voicing his thoughts on the News Journal’s publishing of gun owner addresses and also recently linked Cox’s interactive map of employee addresses.

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Employees At Taxpayer-Funded Chevy Volt Battery Factory Spend Days Playing Cards, Watching Movies

Employees At Taxpayer-Funded Chevy Volt Battery Factory Spend Days Playing Cards, Watching Movies – Weasel Zippers

The Voltron boondoggle continues.

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) – Workers at LG Chem, a $300 million lithium-ion battery plant heavily funded by taxpayers, tell Target 8 that they have so little work to do that they spend hours playing cards and board games, reading magazines or watching movies.

They say it’s been going on for months.

“There would be up to 40 of us that would just sit in there during the day,” said former LG Chem employee Nicole Merryman, who said she quit in May.

“We were given assignments to go outside and clean; if we weren’t cleaning outside, we were cleaning inside. If there was nothing for us to do, we would study in the cafeteria, or we would sit and play cards, sit and read magazines,” said Merryman. “It’s really sad that all these people are sitting there and doing nothing, and it’s basically on taxpayer money.”

Two current employees told Target 8 that the game-playing continues because, as much as they want to work, they still have nothing to do.

“There’s a whole bunch of people, a whole bunch,” filling their time with card games and board games,” one of those current employees said.

That employee says some workers are doing odd jobs around the building, including cleaning and maintenance, while others hang out in the cafeteria playing video games, Texas hold-’em and Monopoly or doing Sudoku or crossword puzzles – all on company time. The employee said some watch movies.

“There’s no work, no work at all. Zero work,” another current employee said. “It is what it is. What do you do when there’s no work?”

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