Allen B. West

Here’s what I find disappointing about BOTH presidential candidates…

Friday evening I addressed the First Republican Veterans of Florida banquet in Panama City Beach. If I keep coming back here to speak, I’m gonna have to buy property. It was fantastic to meet and speak with hundreds of veterans and their families. Needless to say, the American veteran community must make a stand and remember that there is no statute of limitations on the oath we once took. And in these times, we need America’s veterans to make a stand.

But who is speaking out for them? Who is taking the lead on fixing our despicably broken Veterans Administration with more than just empty platitudes? Especially after what just happened…

As we reported earlier this week, a 76-year-old veteran committed suicide in the parking lot of the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Long Island, NY. According to sources, the veteran shot and killed himself after being “denied service” related to his mental health at the emergency room. Because the incident occurred on federal property, it’s now being investigated by the FBI.

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But the Washington Beacon reports, it’s tragically no surprise this occurred at this particular medical center.

The medical facility has previously been flagged for shortcomings in its medical conditions, management, and other areas by the VA’s watchdog, according to a Washington Free Beacon review of public reports by the inspector general. The Northport facility is the same VA hospital that had to close five operating rooms when contaminants began falling from air ducts belonging to its HVAC system, the New York Times reported in May.

An independent environmental analysis obtained by the Times concluded that black particles in the operating room were connected to the hospital’s old and crumbling building and were “typically associated with galvanized duct corrosion and metal piping/fittings.”

An assessment of the medical center issued by the VA inspector general one year ago faulted the hospital for not maintaining “safe ventilation, temperature, and humidity levels in inpatient care areas.” Hospital staff also did not designate responsibilities for cleaning some equipment and stored clean and dirty items together in several patient care areas, the inspector general found. Additionally, the facility did not have a policy for identifying individuals who entered the facility, did not document resources and assets for emergency use, and had an incomplete emergency operations plan, the report revealed.”

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are throwing invectives, referring to each other as racists. Barack Obama has been fine tuning his golf game. All the while our nation’s veterans continue to suffer under a failing VA system. Where is the media holding the president responsible and accountable?

We need a major paradigm shift when it comes to the operations of our Veterans Administration. First, we should analyze the number of veterans who occupy mid to upper level leadership positions in the administration and correct that to be no less than 70 percent. We must break up the bloated and irresponsive VA civilian bureaucracy, and these positions must be coded henceforth for veterans. The VA should not be a part of a government union structure — the employees serve the veteran, not a union membership of old white fat cats like Richard Trumpka. We should be transitioning men and women out of uniform into hospital administration — they run military hospitals all over the country now.

It’s time we examine what the real task and purpose is for the VA hospitals across America. These hospitals should focus on providing catastrophic medical care to our veterans. Routine clinical visits and issues for our veterans should be seen at any medical facility in the United States, if an appointment at a VA Outpatient Clinic is not readily available. The veteran should be issued a payment voucher to cover the procedure if not at a VA facility — and no more waiting on a phone line to get permission. Set the parameters and protocols and let the veteran choose.

This is not about funds; the VA has plenty of funding. It’s about the fraud, waste and abuse of those resources. We continue to have VA officials awarding themselves lavish bonuses and huge overpayments for travel and reassignment moves. And we hear nothing from Barack Obama or Bob McDonald.

What amazes me is that the progressive socialist left doesn’t care about our Veterans. They’re not willing to expose the Obama administration and go into attack dog mode, like if it were a Republican president. Since it’s their guy, this is acceptable.

Also, there’s a simple reason why the left won’t go on the offense regarding the VA hospital system and the continuing scandals. This is all about the socialist dream – government-run healthcare — and the VA is their model. They’re not willing to dismantle or seek best practices or improved measures of efficacy and efficiency. For them, everything is just fine with the VA hospital system because any acceptance otherwise would mean an admittance of failure.

Sadly, due to the progressive socialist ideological agenda, more veterans will wait…more will be dismissed…and more will take their lives. I pray for the day when I can take off the 22kill ring. If you don’t know what that represents, well, you’re probably a Hillary Clinton supporter. It is unacceptable that 76-year-old Peter Kaisen took his life in that parking lot, and it is a shame on this nation. And we as the honored veterans of America must demand better and more accountability.

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