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More VA Reform: Trump Ends ‘Official Time’

More VA Reform: Trump Ends ‘Official Time’

Taxpayers will no longer fund the times when VA employees work for their unions.

President Donald Trump made a promise on the campaign trail that he would reform our beleaguered Department of Veterans Affairs.

The latest reform puts an and to official time within the department, which means that medical employees at the VA will not receive taxpayer money while doing work for the unions. From the VA news release:

“It’s common sense,” VA Acting Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration Jacquelyn Hayes-Byrd said. “Allowing health care workers to do taxpayer-funded union work instead of serving Veterans impacts patient care negatively. President Trump has made it clear – VA employees should always put Veterans first. And when we hire medical professionals to take care of Veterans, that’s what they should do at all times. No excuses, no exceptions.”

As an example of the negative effect taxpayer-funded union time has on Veteran care, one VA registered nurse who was elected as a local union official receives 100 percent taxpayer funded union time. Although she no longer provides patient care, she continues to receive a nurse’s salary, which at VA averages more than $90,000 per year.

Department-wide in fiscal year 2016, VA employees spent more than a million hours doing taxpayer-funded union work at a total cost of more than $49 million.

In other words, if you are a medical professional, that’s exactly what you will do when employed at the VA.

J. David Cox, Sr., the president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), described this move as “a grave disservice to our nation’s veterans” because “[S]ilencing (these employees’) voices endangers our veterans.”

Actually, Mr. Cox, I think that having medical professionals not perform their medical duty is a grave disservice to our veterans considering the fact that long wait times, lower staff numbers have led to veterans not receiving proper care.

One manager told the Government Accountability Office that “it can be especially challenging to find other staff to fill in for employees who are responsible for serving patients yet spend most of their work time on official times.”

The Washington Free Beacon reported that taxpayers spent $49 million on union activities in 2016. Is it only me, but wouldn’t that money be better used to strengthen and update VA hospitals and supplies? Remember this blog from March where I detailed the serious and deadly conditions at a DC hospital?

Cox tried to slam the VA by using the 35,000 health care jobs open. Maybe the VA could fill it if it didn’t waste money on people using so much official time.

But it simply comes down to this: You receive a paycheck for doing the work you were hired to do.


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J. David Cox, Sr., the president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), described this move as “a grave disservice to our nation’s veterans” because “[S]ilencing (these employees’) voices endangers our veterans.”

How? To paraphrase Al Shanker, when veterans start paying union dues, that’s when Cox will start representing the interests of veterans. One might as well claim the supermarket workers’ union represents the interests of shoppers.

Patrick Bateman | November 13, 2018 at 10:43 am

Second sentence: “The latest reform puts an and to official time…”


The blizzard of leftist propaganda sometimes clouds our progress, but The Donald is just awesome.

With rats like ryan and sessions gone, we just might start making our own blizzard.

McSally, you idiot: the left read your rino book!

“…which means that medical employees at the VA will not receive taxpayer money while doing work for the unions.”

Oh noes. How will Leftists ever advance their agenda if they can’t legally steal other peoples money to fund that effort??

Moreover, why was this ever a thing, and can’t the next potus simply reverse this policy change?

Still and again, abolish the VA completely, and issue every veteran a medical voucher card that’s good at every participating, accredited hospital and doctor in the USA.

You know, medicare for all veterans. The Left will demand it. Of course they will…

    I probably agree, except many combat-injured vets have problems that civilian doctors aren’t familiar.

      2nd Ammendment Mother in reply to Close The Fed. | November 13, 2018 at 11:47 am

      I disagree…. the medical professionals who have pioneered the work in treating combat vets are in huge demand in the private sector and would not only be readily available to veterans, but by working in the private sector they would be in a better position to innovate treatments at a much faster pace than the highly regulated government structures.

      And…. the huge benefits of getting those professionals out of the limited number of VA facilities allows vets to live close to their families and access treatment. I know vets who live thousands of miles from their hometown in order to access medical treatment and others who must plan extensive trips to make appointments…. both of which are counter productive.

      The free market would take care of that.

About time. This is what I want instead of dog and pony wreathe laying ceremonies. Actual help for veterans. Everyone cares about the fallen and the vets until it comes time to provide funding for them. Maybe after we take care of all the homeless vets, get the VA taking care of vets like civilian hospitals do, then maybe we can focus on the D&P shows.

since i don’t feel like getting banned today, i won’t go into detail about my opinion and experiences with the VA here in Lost Angels, #Failifornia.

let’s just say that, as someone who has been a *real* healthcare professional since 1992, my overall rating of the GLA VA system is “substandard” and “not in compliance” with generally accepted professional standards and those of the Joint Commission.

i’ve been subjected to their tender mercies since 2016, and, without my training and experience in the field, plus my well known humility and reticence, i shudder to think what these quacks would have done to me by now.

in fact, on the rare occasions i *do* find someone who knows their j*b and does it professionally, helping patients, rather than the usual litany of excuses as to nhy something *can’t* be done, my parting question is, inevitably, “You know what you’re doing, so what the hell are you doing w*rking at the VA?”

the answer is usually a rueful smile…

case in point: due to decades of w*rking with them on a near daily basis, i am deathly allergic to one of the most commonly used classes of antibiotics.

on my very first contact with the VA, i explained my history (anaphylaxis x 3) and asked that it be noted in my chart.

it was, kind of.

the information was coded as “unverified/possibly erroneous)

of course, this meant that, were someone to order one of those drugs for me, they would see the entry and say “oh, okay… we can give him that, because it’s not a real allergy”

i had to fight for months, through various levels of “caregivers”, finally going all the way to the top of the local food chain, to get it fixed, after being told, time and again, that i shouldn’t worry about it, since “nothing would happen”

and they wonder why my BP is high there, and no where else.

F the VA, sideways, with a flaming pineapple.

    redc1c4 in reply to redc1c4. | November 13, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    oh yeah: i’m on my 5th primary care provider as of a week or so ago, the previous four all having been found wanting, for reasons such as, but not limited to, dishonesty (lying to me about a medication’s effects), unethical behavior and all around arrogance, and the last two for a complete lack of interest in my specific needs for care, albeit one fully retired before it became necessary to request her replacement.

    That’s two MDs and 2 NPs, with Doc #3 now batting. he’s the PCP for a good friend of ours, who is an irascible SOB himself, so we shall see.

    2nd Ammendment Mother in reply to redc1c4. | November 13, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    “the information was coded as “unverified/possibly erroneous)”

    Friend of ours recently had to make the 5 hour drive to the nearest VA for a combat injury related procedure. She made a point of calling ahead and speaking to the department to remind them about a very specific allergy that needed to be accounted for ahead of time to have the appropriate alternate drug ordered and on hand when she arrived. When she arrived, she asked specifically if they had received the alternate drug to use for the procedure and was told “her request had been denied as frivolous (or a similar word)” in spite of the documentation in her folder that it was a vital necessity.

    Being the nice person she is, she thanked them for their time and made her way to the office to re-schedule where she was told she couldn’t reschedule since it was her decision not to undergo the procedure. Which of course ended up escalated because she demanded to have the denial in writing since her reason for postponing was “not wanting to die from known previous, near fatal interaction with drug X”…..

    Through friends of friends, a local specialist “who always keeps the alternative on hand since it’s very common for patients to need it” offered to do the procedure the next morning free of charge and had her back at work that afternoon and at her sons swim meet that evening.

I noticed the union messaging box in the lobby during a recent visit to one of the local abattoirs: it was “all resistance, all the time”

TGEOTUS would be well served to revoke the Executive Order Kennedy signed, which allowed the unionization of the federal w*rkforce in the first place.

civil service rules should be enough for those slugs: if they want a union, they can go get a j*b in the real world.

buckeyeminuteman | November 13, 2018 at 1:42 pm

There are still numerous federal agencies and departments where you can perform union duties in a paid status. That all needs to end, across the entire federal government!

re: “J. David Cox, Sr., the president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), described this move as “a grave disservice to our nation’s veterans” because “[S]ilencing (these employees’) voices endangers our veterans.”

That’s right, he’s speaking the truth. There are known serial killers working at the VA, and nobody want’s to make them angry. A content serial killer makes for a happy hospital, an angry serial killer means only another dead vet…

NOW is the time for the Government to stop being the Unions paymaster. Stop auto deductions to Govt. unions, put the responsibility on the shoulders of the people receiving the benefits of a Union.

Lets note sight of the big picture: VA union money – like all gov union money – gets laundered to the democrat party.

How in the world is the VA still not fixed? Who (besides the employees) thinks that this is an acceptable way to run a hospital system? I am not a veteran, but I care about how we treat the people who put their lives on the line to protect me.
IMHO, the president, the very minute after being sworn in, should have lined up the administration of the VA, starting with the head guy, and ask each of them the same question: “What is your plan to reform the VA?” If he didn’t like the answer, “You’re fired. Next?”
…and so on down the line, until he found someone who had a plan to change and the bollocks to do it.