Exposed: How the VA Red-Flags ‘Disruptive’ Vets

By Michelle Malkin

Veteran Red Flag
Exposed: How the VA Red-Flags ‘Disruptive' Vets
Michelle Malkin
Michelle Malkin

Los Angeles, CA – -( Imagine how much better off America's veterans would be if the federal government spent more time delivering actual care and less time compiling tyrannical lists.

The death-inducing secret waiting lists for patients are just the tip of the iceberg.

Did you know, for example, that the VA keeps a database on “disgruntled” and “disruptive” vets that results in arbitrarily restricted care?

Disabled Air Force veteran and veterans advocate/attorney Benjamin Krause has been raising questions about the system for months and warning his peers. Under the VA policy on “patient record flags” (PRFs), federal bureaucrats can classify vets as “threats” based on assessments of their “difficult,” “annoying” and “non-compliant” behavior.

The VA manual says the flags “are used to alert Veterans Health Administration medical staff and employees of patients whose behavior and characteristics may pose a threat either to their safety, the safety of other patients, or compromise the delivery of quality health care.”

That last phrase is priceless. Untold numbers of vets are dead, and legions more have languished because of the VA's failure to deliver “quality health care.” The Office of Special Counsel just confirmed to President Obama this week that vets across the country were exposed to contaminated drinking water, dirty surgical tools, untrained doctors and neglectful nurses — and that whistleblowers were retaliated against or ignored.

Yet, the VA's soulless paper-pushers seem more preoccupied with flagging and punishing “disruptive” vets who have dared to complain about their disgraceful treatment and abuse.

Get this: Among examples of patients' behavior referred to the VA's “Disruptive Behavior Committees” (yes, that's what they're called): venting “frustration about VA services and/or wait times, threatening lawsuits or to have people fired, and frequent unwarranted visits to the emergency department or telephone calls to facility staff.”

As Krause explains, the Disruptive Behavior Committees are secret panels “that decide whether or not to flag veterans without providing due process first. The veteran then has his or her right of access to care restricted without prior notice.”

Veterans need look no further than the IRS witch hunts for reason to fear abuse of this monitoring system. The definition of “disruptive” is completely arbitrary. That's not just my opinion. The VA inspector general concluded last spring that the bureaucracy “does not have a comprehensive definition of what constitutes disruptive behavior.”

Krause writes: “While I am sure some veterans need some form of a flag, I am also aware of numerous veterans who were unfairly targeted for a variety of unreasonable reasons.” Krause told me this week that “the bean-counters” may have flagged at least one veteran for being “too expensive.” And “trouble-makers” who are educated and know their rights are especially vulnerable. It's absolutely chilling.

“This discussion of patient record flags has me fired up,” Krause explained, “because of the clear unconstitutional nature of the program. It reminds me of the old Communist techniques used to keep Soviet citizens in check, since I am aware of more than a few veterans who are flagged merely because of their threat to sue VA.”

As one disabled veteran, Lawrence Kelley, told me after he learned of a flag on his record after he became vocal about his veterans rights advocacy: “Once you complain, you are on their hit list forever.” VA officials refused to treat him and physically evicted him from a facility. He's now challenging the flag.

This is an “intimidation tactic,” pure and simple, Krause warns. And Obama's Department of Homeland Security Federal Protective Service is now providing muscle to deter sick vets from protesting in front of VA hospitals.

More of your tax-subsidized thugocracy at work.

About: Michelle Malkin
Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” & “Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild”. Her e-mail address is [email protected]

  • 10 thoughts on “Exposed: How the VA Red-Flags ‘Disruptive’ Vets

    1. I have been retired with a diability and with the VA system for 25 years. I have never had a problem getting care in a timely manner. There are problems with scheduling procedures in some cases but that is acceptable. You have the same problems with many civilian medical care too. I know that the VA is not perfect and does need revamping in its operation and some VA hospitals are run better than others. I have been satisfied with the service that I have received.

    2. The VA and administration is using this to disarm vets. They know that vets are the front line of any kind of defense of our gun rights as a country. Take the guns from vets and the rest will be easy.

    3. They most likely “red flagged” me too!
      For refusing to come back in every 3 months just so they can justify their jobs. If I am not sick, why should I come back in taking up time that other vets can use?

      They may also have flagged me for refusing unneeded X rays and other risky test.

      BTW: A few more were let go as reported by ABC news this morning.

    4. nicks87 doesn’t get the VA system at all. a veteran doesn’t have to go off screaming insults and such to get on this list. nor are we just bashing the system. look at the history of scandals sent to Congress over the years. this crap just finally came to a head.

      mild-mannered complaints can get one this list. you see how VA is advesarial to the whistleblowers? and many patient advocates are more advocating for VA after you walk out their office. we vets have known something like this list existed, just didn’t know the name or how to convince anyone. just the way you go treated you could tell something was up.

      no one listened about VA complaints over the years anyways. so trying to wrap your head around that invisible list was difficult, but it sure explains the “cold shoulder” and serious health rationing along with psych visits, after your name goes on it.

      i’ve left a paper trail with Congress over the years. it eventually helped and now seeing validation on the news. its a double-edged sword for many of us. but glad the other side of the VA is showing its ugly head to the public. ask the AO vets, the bluewater vets, the gulf syndrom vets, etc etc etc, and their families. not all is so loveydovey under the VA unbrella

    5. Considering that it has been admitted and proven that the VA has used us as test subjects for decades? I say that they can “red flag” my middle finger. I will go elsewhere.

    6. I think some of the problems are because of the work load in some areas. I live in a small state and I have never had any problems getting appointments or being seen at the VA. likewise I have never waited more than 15 minutes before being seen on an appointment. Based on my states VA centers I would have to rate the VA very highly on the level of treatment and care received. However, I once went with someone to a VA center in PA, (around 1994). We waited 4 hours in an over crowded hallway. Only to be told by the doctor sticking his head out into the hallway, that he would not be able to see the person that day because he was running way behind. I agree with ol’ Vet in that a person should go see the patent advocate if they are having problems with the level of care. That’s what they are there for. It does no good to get all upset and rant and rave.

    7. John, My 24 years, of dealing with the VA has led me to similar conclusions. Thank you for your comments.

    8. The VA has a representative for the patient that is having difficulty. Patient Advocates are the folks that help you when you have a problem. Before scream insults and disrupting the area you have problems with, walk down and file a complaint with the Patient Advocates. They can do a lot for you, without you having to confront a bunch of nitwits and uncaring people that piss you off on purpose. I probably have a red flag on my records too, but I was careful to stay calm and expain the sitation to some very good Patient Advocates. They are on YOUR side, and will do what they can for you. You can file complaints through them about lack of care, et cetra. It’s always a struggle to contend with the VA it seems, but I finally have a fine primary doctor and get along with him very well…a good man it seems, and the other services are seemingly improving, albeit slowly sometimes. I’ve been going to the VA for 30 years and have some bad situations that came up, but I also didn’t make a scene, simply walked down to the Patient Advocate’s Office and talked to them. Always tell the entire truth because they back you up when you need them. Not all are perfect, but the ones I have had try as well as they can for you. Be patient and if necessary get hold of your congresscritter and let him stir some feelings around the ol’ clinic.

    9. nicks, I disagree with your assessment. Bureaucratically, the VA is completely opaque and run by career bureaucrats, more interested in their careers than helping anyone.. Have you ever had any care from the VA? Has anyone you know? The people who are complaining are not NeoCons, they are veterans and victims of the system. Now the politicians are noticing because vets vote.

    10. Difficult, annoying, non-compliant and not true just like this article. These neo-cons need to stop the VA bashing because it’s making them look stupid.

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