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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 28, 2014 / 28 Iyar, 5774

Public Unions Share the Blame For VA Deaths

By Betsy McCaughey




JewishWorldReview.com | Encouraging vets on Medicare to use civilian care instead of Veterans Affairs' could cut the patient backlog at the VA by as much as half, solving a national crisis.

Almost half of vets are older than 65, and nearly all vets using the VA have Medicare coverage. Often, they'd be better off getting their bypass surgeries and cancer operations at civilian hospitals that do higher volumes of these age-related procedures and have better survival rates, instead of sticking with the VA. But the VA fails to tell them. The culprit is the American Federation of Government Employees, the union that dominates the VA. For AFGE, the VA is a jobs program. The union wants more patients, bigger VA budgets, and more staff, never mind what ailing vets need.

Nine months ago, the VA rolled out a $9.3 billion program to refer vets needing specialists to civilian medical centers, if the wait at their VA is too long or if they live too far away. AFGE is fighting the program, even accusing VA executives of deliberately causing the backlog. "Create a Crisis and then out-source the work. They will dismantle the VA Healthcare System a brick at a time," charges the union's newsletter.

AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. insists the only remedy is more VA staff. "Chronic understaffing," is the problem, he says. It's hard to fathom how Cox can make that claim. VA hospitals have no clue how many staff they need. A 2012 audit by the VA's own inspector general found that hospitals lacked any method for calculating staffing needs, in part because of resistance to measuring worker productivity.

The union opposes outsourcing. Worse, vets are being discouraged from accessing civilian care, even when they are desperate and have insurance to pay for it. The VA's health care budget is based on how many vets enroll and how much care they use. For the unions, the bigger that budget the better. Even if it means letting vets with Medicare, who could get timely civilian treatment for their cancer or heart disease, die in line instead.



RAND Corporation researchers cite data showing vets often have a better chance of surviving high-risk heart and cancer surgeries at civilian hospitals that perform them frequently (the exception is the Houston VA). Long waits at VAs increase the risk of needless death. Boston VA researchers found patients aged 70-74 who wait more than 31 days for treatment face a 9 percent increased risk of stroke.

African-Americans and low-income seniors are most likely to stick with the VA. One reason is that out-of-pocket costs are lower there than with Medicare. But that can be rectified easily, a change that RAND researchers recommend. Vets could be issued a special Medicare card that eliminates the Part B premium and reduces Part B copays and deductibles to the small fees the VA charges ($15 for a primary care visit, $9 for 30 days of medications, $50 for specialist visits).

One million vets who seek care at the VA are covered by Medicare Advantage, the private plans the federal government purchases for seniors. Astoundingly, the VA spends 10 percent of its medical care budget treating seniors who have Medicare Advantage, even though the federal government also pays over $3 billion a year to Medicare Advantage insurers to cover the same people. Paying for the same care twice: what a waste.

As long as AFGE dominates the VA, the inefficiencies and corruption won't be fixed. The union's contract is filled with mind-numbing rules to prevent workers from being given a new task, changing shifts or being disciplined for shoddy work. The place is run for workers, not patients. Shockingly, many VA facilities don't give vets a reminder call a day or two before their appointments, a practice standard in civilian medical offices. The result is that no-show rates are as high as 45 percent, tragic when vets are waiting for an opening.

All the more reason to help waiting vets get civilian care. But be prepared for a battle with the VA's self-serving unions and their ally, the Democratic Party.

Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and the author of "Beating Obamacare." She reads the law so you don't have to.


Betsy McCaughey Archives


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