In what is perhaps a redux of the famous Z-grams which Rear Admiral Elmo Zumwalt used to issue in the 70s on operational procedures in the Navy, so too is Undersecretary of the VA for Benefits Allison A. Hickey similarly engaged. Her “H-bombs” are going off all over the place at 810 Vermont Ave. NW in DC and a few even land up in Congress.
Unlike Elmo’s legendary missives which were designed to improve Naval operations, Hickey’s appear to be panaceas to all those nasty problems we’ve been suffering with in silence for decades. The latest appears to be a retread of the famous triage system instituted in the eighties to focus on needy Vets with problems that required immediate attention. That system was relegated to the mailroom where astute vA employees were assigned to open all the incoming mail. Its purpose was two fold and weeded out all the letters with anthrax and ricin. The important thing was that a Veteran could invoke the holy words Rule 900, and with supporting evidence, get his claim adjudicated before he didn’t have use for the money in the afterlife. This worked admirably until the claims picture changed with increased wars and their attendant fallout (injured Vets). We were instructed to call this “collateral damage” in the 70s when nape went further than we intended.
Member Squidly Didly sends us this latest masterpiece from the desk of none other than her royal highness of benefits. Its another H-bomb that simply restates the triage program and makes it sound like a brand new invention. I certainly don’t mean to sully Ms. Hickey’s reputation for innovation but if this is the best she and her henchman can come up with as a rejoinder to Rep. Filner’s tirade on inefficiency last month, we as Vets are in for a long winter of discontent. Sixteen ROs? Gee, what about the other 40, Master? In good time. Padewans. All in good time.
Veterans deserve better than for our Protector to simply repackage old programs and present them as new, cutting edge technology in the war on the claims backlog. The majority of us do not drive turnip wagons for a living and have a modicum of intelligence. Most of us can see the ham-handed tactics they are employing in a desperate attempt to hold on to their authority. The worst case scenario is beginning to rear its ugly head. What if outside agencies could be employed (read subcontracted) to successfully diminish the backlog and increase accuracy? Perish the thought. Why, that might mean they would lose their supremacy over all things Veteran. Is that such a bad thing?
Hickey is herself a Veteran. Although she flew a desk for a living in that former life, she should still empathize with Vets. The same applies to Uncle Eric. This shouldn’t be an adversarial relationship with us on the losing end. There is simply no parallel in American history for the shoddy treatment we have been getting since before the Bonus Army was decimated in DC back in 1932.
Always remember ladies and gentlemen-promises were made and gifts were exchanged when you signed up. This has been the case for two centuries since the War of Northern Aggression. You kept your promise and held up your end of the bargain. Unfortunately the government, like an ADD child, seems to forget its end of the agreement or worse-it constantly seeks to renegotiate the contract after signing to provoke a different outcome. That outcome seems to always leave us with less and less every time they renegotiate the compact. I now understand how the Oglalla Sioux felt after their last do-over with DC.
As Squid pointed out, all these purported “cures” simply are instituted at the RO level with no mention of the downstream issue of the logjam at the BVA rapidly developing. Hell, let’s revisit that and call it what it is-a clusterf**k of jurisprudence. I’m not one for expletives but we have used up all the polite adjectives over the years to describe what is going on. What Ms. Hickey and company don’t seem to absorb is that this has gone beyond the pale where simple H-bombs and press releases detailing what is in store for us don’t cut it. If they resolve the problem at the RO without addressing the next backlog phase, all we’ve fought for is a new stumbling block with a different name. Until we resolve the next most basic issue after timeliness (which is accuracy), all the speedupmyclaim.com crap is so much window dressing.
The only thing missing here is a catchy acronym like the “BOZO plan” for this new initiative. Brilliant OrganiZational Obfuscation Plan indeed. Its okay with me if you want to use that one. Somehow, it seems appropriately named under the circumstances.