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Saturday, June 4, 2011

NO CHANGE AT DAYTON VA--CORRUPTION CONTINUES

DARRELL HAMPTON    
June 4, 2011

Eric Shinseki, Secretary Veterans Affairs

Washington D.C.

Dear Mr. Secretary:

When the Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) and Incentive Therapy (IT) programs were created Congress had three goals in mind.

1. They were creating a means for Veterans to be compensated after a history of VA hospitals using Veterans to do jobs without paying them.

2. To make a way so Veterans could augment their incomes without having the income being deducted from their Social Security Disability or their Non-Service Connected Disability payments as taxable income. Non taxable and Non reportable income was a # 1 priority to the US Congress.

3. It was made explicit in Title 38 legislation that these positions would be held for an “indefinite” period of time and that receiving SSI or NSD "SHALL NOT" be used to disqualify or bar a Veteran from participating in these program.

Three years ago Bill O’Brien, the then Chief of Mental Health Care Line (MHCL) initiated a time limit to these programs. Veterans who had been working in the IT programs making $1.50 per hour for over 10 years were summarily dismissed. This resulted in the substance abuse relapse of tens of Veterans. No longer having a job commitment or “somewhere to go” some Veterans were seen walking the streets intoxicated again after having been clean for over ten years. Dr. O’Brien also time limited CWT positions which paid $7.00 per hour to eight hour days and one year a maximum. When I complained about this he retaliated by shortening the time to six months. After writing Guy Richardson several letters requesting these wages be increased for over two years and Mr. Richardson replying with all sorts of obfuscations as to why he could not increase these fees he finally relented and increased IT to $2.10 per hour and CWT to $7.70 per hour. Though he wrote me that this change was effective January 1, 2010 he did not began paying the higher rate until he was alerted that you were coming to celebrate the opening of the New Homeless building. Mr. Richardson rushed to make these payments retroactive, ahead of your visit, in an effort to deceive you into believing he had been paying this higher rate all along. Now, these positions have been shortened further to four hour days/for six months. This staff has have continually looked for ways to lessen Veterans benefits by claiming there was no money in the budget while at the same time rewarding each other with ample bonus’ annually. A extra side benefit is that they do not have much work to do. I wonder who “exactly” that benefits?

If Congress initially developed these programs as a way for Veterans to increase their income by explicitly making the income non-reportable and non-taxable then it is diametrically opposed to the wishes of Congress for the Dayton VA to minimize or make these programs ineffective. They do not have that authority nor, under our laws, do they have these rights. It’s against the law!

Dayton VA saw over 34,000 Veterans in 2010, if only FIVE PERCENT 5% of these Veterans, which is an extremely low figure, are on SSI or Non-Service Connected Disability that would be 1700 Veterans who are eligible for IT and/or CWT programs. The Dayton VA currently has twelve, that’s right 12 CWT positions for Veterans to make extra income. The last I heard IT positions were being assigned for three (3) week maximums. The staff within the Veterans Industry Department (VI) constantly works overtime to create new policies which all result in the same outcome: Eliminating Veterans from participating in these programs. The latest scam now is “it is mandatory that the Veteran complete a Job Club class” which is stretched out forever with the promise that the Veterans will receive a job after completion. Their hope is that the Veteran will miss a class or two which eliminates the Veteran from qualifying for a job. Then they can say “You don’t really want a job, you’re a con man”. They methodically set up failure then fault the Veteran for failing. They are always disingenuous, always deceitful and always searching for ways to justify denying the Veteran these benefits. Denial of benefits by deception is no less an offense of plain denial! The last treatment team I attended the entire team feigned shock that I was unable to secure employment outside of the center. They acted oblivious to the recession and the current unemployment rates the United States is experiencing. They “couldn’t understand” and “I must not be trying to find a job because I‘m a con man”. In their minds everybody is a con man or con woman, except them of course. The fact that 15 million Americans are unemployed is insignificant and they project that it is only Honorably Discharged Veterans who are having difficulties finding work. This spurious logic lacks any meaning that would give purpose to life. It is initially eye-catching rationality on it’s face but a closer look reveals it is specious, unreasoned and absurd!

When I bring these violations to the attention of those in positions of authority at the center, instead of correcting these violations, they get angry at me that I have deciphered their calculated strategy. In return. I get ridiculed, ostracized and labeled a troublemaker. It doesn’t make any difference “how” I bring this to their attention. Over the years I have been gentle, soft-spoken and humble and I got metaphorically slapped in the face with serial disrespect. Now I am firm and resolute and I get retaliations and retribution by the denial of full time employment.

Who authorized these people to override what Congress has enacted and violate our laws? Where do they get authority to arbitrarily change these rules? They “make up stuff” that results in denying Veteran benefits without rhyme or reason based upon a whim of nothing more than their imaginations. Nobody obeys Title 38 legislation. Some have been employed here for over 30 years and have never heard of Title 38 legislation. Not only don’t they know what Title 38 is, they pompously tell me they don’t need to know what Title 38 is or says because “I am in charge“!

REALLY? What’s next? Seeing Russia from their front porches, maybe?

They hire and promote each other with complete disregard to our Federal laws and EEO regulations. How can they follow the rules when they don’t even know them and if they don’t even know what the rules are, how and why are they in positions of authority to distribute OUR benefits? Their logic makes me lightheaded and is an insult to a sagacious operation, Sir!

This is an express contravention of why Congress created the VA and these therapeutic programs!

My only desire is that Veterans be given what belongs to Veterans. Sir, this must be stopped!

My Very Best Regards,

Darrell Hampton

Monday, May 30, 2011

SERIAL DISRESPECT AND CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATIONS AT THE DAYTON VA MEDICAL CENTER

DARRELL HAMPTON    
May 31, 2011


Eric Shinseki, Secretary Veterans Affairs

Washington D.C.

Dear Mr. Secretary:

In 2004, the Director of the Dayton VA, Dr. Stephen Cohen, when I introduced myself to him, after I had filed multiple charges against Carolyn Solomon, an employee in the Mental Health Care Line (MHCL) ran from me into the Medical Center while hollering over his shoulder “I’ve got a meeting to attend and I am late”. Then VSN 10 assigned Linda Smith as the acting Director. She told me, to my face, “Mr. Hampton, I have only one problem with your dissatisfaction: “If you have so many complaints about how you have been treated here, why do you even come her for treatment? If I were you, I would never set foot on this property again as long as I lived”……She, Linda Smith, was later promoted to the Director of the Cincinnati VA. Then Guy B. Richardson was appointed and he told me “I will never rectify your concerns”. After I was selected as the most qualified applicant for a position on the center and forwarded to him for a second interview, he violated protocol and gave the positions to a young attractive black female (I’m black too) and told me “Mr. Hampton, you look a lot different from the last time I saw you…The last time I saw you, you were all suited up” and he burst out laughing in my face. He was making fun of the fact that during the interview for the job I had on a suit and I was now dressed in less formal wear. After the Dental clinic expose, all hell broke out and the Dayton VA was headlining every national news station in America Guy Richardson was removed. His replacement was a man by the name of William Montague. I requested a meeting with him. During this meeting he told me, three times, The reason you will never get a job on this center, even though you are an Honorably Discharged Veteran is because, “You kicked dirt on the umpire” meaning I was being penalized and punished for reporting the Dental Clinic to Your office, the US Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and the local media. These are all exact quotes!

I don’t know where or who taught these people the definition of “Public Servant” but whoever it was has lead them astray. The American people pay these people good money to manage these Medical Centers for “Their” Veterans. They have allowed their positions to go to their heads and morphed into the position of a Czar or someone who has no accountability to anyone. They act as if the federal Government has placed these properties in their personal name and they “own” them. They are headstrong, arrogant, unworthy and ungrateful of the positions they hold. Maybe a remedial class on the definition of “Public Servant” would help them but I seriously doubt it. They are too far gone for redemption!

I might add, it appears the VSN 10 Chief, Jack Hetrick, approves of and supports their blatant patient abuse of America’s Honorably Discharged Veterans. He has yet to do anything other than cover up and minimize their behavior while attempting to find reasons “why” they have acted in the way that they have! No matter how many “substantiated” charges I bring against his staff, from executive employees caught having sex on the Medical Center to proven charges of HYPAA violations to documented cases of blatant lying under oath, I am yet to hear even an apology or any word from his desk.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

DAYTON VA VIOLATES CONSTITUTION-DENYING BENEFITS

DARRELL HAMPTON

May 30, 2011

Eric Shinseki, Secretary Veterans Affairs

Washington D.C.

Dear Mr. Secretary:

Over the past months I have written you concerning my perception of VA executives violating and mistreating America’s Honorably Discharged Veterans at the Dayton VA Medical Center. The allegations of discrimination in hiring, the lack of will to help Veterans secure employment through the Veteran’s Industry Department and the horrible service within the Mental Health Care Line continue and they can no longer wait for process to take it’s time. We are desperate. With Veterans depressed from poverty and seeing no way to a recovery from psychological injury, some self imposed and some from service to country, I am no longer willing to exercise patience. While there has been miniscule movement towards repairing these ills I do not see enough progress to begin to equal the offenses I have eye-witnessed. A Vocational Rehabilitation Department unwilling to put forth the smallest effort has broken the back of our imperturbability and I report that I see no qualitative redemption in sight, Sir.

After my latest meeting with the Acting Director, Bill Montague, where he informed me that I would never be employed here as a result of my contacting your office as well as multiple other stations of power, I do not foresee a way forward without a change in strategy. While I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, late but sure, his sports metaphors have now been clearly understood. He told me “you kicked dirt on the umpire” meaning I am being penalized and thrown out of the game. With “the game” being gainful employment or the ability to contribute or be of service on the center and helping Veterans recover. I find his call illegal retaliation and retribution and I absolutely intend to respond as if a crime has been committed against my person.

While “the process” has been enduring, Veterans are suffering and some have even died waiting while I promised them we would achieve victory. I gave my word and for some, I have failed.

Throughout my experiences, even when Veterans have volunteered to stand with me I have insisted that they not become involved or risk their security, seeking to shield them from the retaliation and retribution I knew would surely follow such action. I no longer hold that opinion.

Therefore I am proposing the following:

During the Month of June 2011, I will began to utilize my experienced and exceptional organizing sales skills to group Veterans into a formidable protest against this Center. I will organize this protest outside of the Dayton VA where I will forward my concerns to the Main Stream Media in hopes of gaining the necessary public support to right these wrongs. If I fail I am prepared to take this show on the road. After a sustained protest here I will began to move this peaceful assembly to Washington DC, outside of Congress, where I have long standing contacts, a history for veracity and have also garnered a semblance of reputation and support for my concerns.

This can be avoided with sincere communication and an immediate change of direction within the Veterans Industry Department and a righting of my being wrongly denied a position on the center. After a thorough review of the management philosophy of Bill Montague and the documented manner in which he “privatized” the Vocational Rehabilitation Department in Cleveland via turning it over to Volunteers of America (VOA), we stand to lose far too much. In fact, even here at the Dayton VA, VOA has not accomplished very much. Other than when you came to cut the ribbon on the Homeless facility I have witnessed no progress. I do not believe President Obama’s intention was to over-medicate and warehouse America’s Honorably Discharged Veterans. Personally, I think the President’s vision had a bit more rehabilitative and sustainable restoration with a future towards a substantial renewal as his goal. That is certainly not happening here.

The current Service Chief of the Mental Health Care Line, Dr. Victor Knapp, received a letter from me on February 8, 2010 that he has yet to respond to or even acknowledge was ever written to him. My best guess is he that he arrogantly feels that though the American people pay him to provide a service, his duties do not include seeing Veterans as significant enough to answer their letters and his responsibilities do not mandate a response to Veteran’s concerns. Sadly, I do not see the will nor even the hint of a way forward on these troubling issues. While they invest time analyzing me, concluding that I am intellectually insecure needing to be reassured that I have a brain, I am moving forward with the mission at hand. I have not the will nor time for self-serving obfuscation on these important issues or their foolishness in attempting to divert attention away from the truth that their policies portend suffering. Even a vaguely prescient person can see the end of their plans. While they are obsessed that I will receive some puerile vicarious catharsis from watching them finally do their jobs it is ultimately the look on the face of a Veteran who has a job that is my goal, which is priceless for me. Our local numbers of unemployed Veterans are escalating, our mental health is deteriorating, our depression is dominating and we need jobs! Work creates pride, a reason to continue living and has been scientifically proven to exponentially lower the current rates of Veteran suicides. My sole interest is that Veterans redeem their lives and I will not allow the myself luxury of indulging their vainglorious hypothetical of my motives. In spite of their speculations I am a serious man and saving the lives of Veterans is my sole concern. Like you, I am all in and I fully intend to serve America and complete this mission sir.

In my humble opinion the Dayton VA, by refusing to honor these rehabilitative services, is violating Veterans’ constitutional rights by denying these guaranteed benefits which are our property by virtue of our having Honorably served. The Fifth Amendment of our Constitution is a guarantee of freedom from unjustified governmental deprivation of this property. Unless you agree with this plan to deny and/or privatize Veterans benefits, no meaningful vocational services or with Guy Richardson and Bill Montague committing acts of retaliation and retribution against Veterans, I anticipate hearing from you, Sir. If not, I do understand and I will continue to respect, and honor your love for this country and your self sacrificing service to this nation. I will also continue my plan for the month of June ‘suit up” and embark on a determined long summer.

My Very Best regards.

Darrell Hampton

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

CURRENTLY EMPLOYED AT THE DAYTON VA MEDICAL CENTER

At the Dayton VA Medical Center we currently have as employees: Two executives who were caught engaged in a sex act on VA grounds, during work hours: One executive who was arrested, charged and convicted for soliciting paid sex acts from an undercover Dayton police officer: One employee who stinks so bad he has been transferred to 2nd shift to keep him away from the patients during the day: Another employed who has been arrested on multiple occasions for soliciting prostitution: One employee who is listed on the State of Ohio Sex Offenders web site as a child molester: Several employees who knew and watched, for 18 years, as a dentist practiced dentistry while exposing Veterans to potential blood born pathogens: a former Director, still receiving his paycheck from the Dayton VA who was described by the Secretary of VA affairs as “a failure of leadership”!

Yet, Darrell Hampton, an Honorably Discharged Veteran cannot get a job at the VA because he had the nerve to notify the appropriate authorities on these matters.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

UNAMERICAN ACTIVITY AT DAYTON VA MEDICAL CENTER

DARRELL HAMPTON

Eric Shinseki, Secretary Veterans Affairs                                     May 21, 2011

Washington D.C.

Dear Mr. Secretary:

Sir, I don’t believe you realize exactly what is going on here and I feel, as a Veteran to another Veteran I should tell you

THE UN-AMERICAN TREATMENT OF VETS AT THE DAYTON VA CENTER

As an Honorably Discharged Veteran I never cease to be amazed at the rank arrogance of those who are in positions of authority within the VA. The literal contemptuous manner in which they proudly deny a Veteran’s request is breathtaking. One employee told me there was no way I could avoid having to pay $300.00 to have a single tooth pulled. When I asked who made the final decision he replied “I DO”. When I informed him that I thought the President of the United States was still in charge of this government, he replied “Well, go write him then”! It’s as if they have been in position so long, sharing power, passing it back and forth between each other that the mission, Veteran Care, has been relegated to a complete “nuisance”. Oh, they know all the right words to say to the media “We will continue to provide the best medical care for our Veterans” but they don’t mean a damn word of it! As soon as the cameras are turned off and the reporter has vacated the premises, it is back to the normal treatment. Yet, the media eats this up hook line and sinker. It is truly “Something” to witness. Trying to explain the real pain caused by their callous decisions to them is a total waste of time: They cannot relate and have no earthly idea “what the hell you are talking about”. It is difficult to get a person to understand your position when their paycheck is contingent on them remaining confused.

As of today, I have met with three Medical Center Directors: Linda Smith, who was acting Director back in 2004, who told me “Mr. Hampton I have one question about your complaints. If you find being here so uncomfortable, why do you even come here? If I were you I would never step foot on this property again as long as I live”. That is a direct quote, I have added nothing. Her pompous arrogance was suffocating and seizure producing, I almost fainted from pure trauma and emotional shock.

Guy Richardson, who I’ve met with on numerous occasions was worse. Not only did he tell me he was not ever going to do anything to correct how I had been treated, he compared my personality to that of a rabid wild dog and told me that if I were a “friendlier mongrel“ just maybe people would “pat me on the head” and I’d have more success on the VA center. Incredible arrogant disrespect and logic!

Now, the new acting Director, Bill Montague has told me “You kicked dirt on the umpire”, meaning I am being penalized and thrown out of the game, never to be given a job in the VA system.

If it is not, in fact, retaliation and retribution, I argue, then they all have demonstrated rank incompetence!

Two common denominators of all of these Directors is that NOT ONE of them has ever served this nation in uniform and all of them live better off Veterans Benefits than any Veteran I have ever met. At times, being in their presence is like a punishing sentence to a “eternal hell of arrogance”. Their haughty, supercilious personalities are difficult to detail. You could literally tell them “Well sir, my wife and children were just murdered this morning” and their response would be “What does that have to do with me”! No matter what request I have made for services plainly laid out in Title 38 legislation that controls the VA system their response is unanimous “It’s not in the budget”. Yet, they continue to reward each other with huge salary increases and massive bonuses annually. Even after documented inferior performances they readily give each other the most glowing job reviews imaginable. How else could Dr. Masaros write that “Dr. Pemberton was a valued member of our team” unless Dr. Masaros was simply protecting a member of “our team”. How else could Guy Richardson receive such a generous bonus “After” the dental Clinic had been shut down for infectious control violations and the Human Resources Department had basically been accused of being a “baby mafia” in the way they were selecting who would get a job at this tax payer financed facility? They pick and choose each other’s friends, their friend’s children, cousins, uncles and aunts for jobs over and above more qualified applicants. Veteran’s status and points means nothing to them! In fact, in December 2010 at least 4 employees, including the Chief and asst. Chief were herded off VA grounds all at the exact same time. Of course, the story was that they “all” decided to leave at the same time. Coincidence? I don’t think so, it’s more like “organized crime and corruption”! Mr. Montague insists that all of the current problems, with the Dental Clinic, were the result of the actions of “ONE MAN” and that we should move on. I disagree. The dental Clinic debacle was the results of a mindset that allowed this one man to practice in this manner and no one in the “Club” would stop him. It is a mindset at this center that says “he’s only hurting Veterans and as long as it doesn’t affect any members of the “club” I don’t care. The “failure of leadership” you described to the US Senate did not exist in a vacuum, neither did it start with the Dental Clinic. It has existed for years and it permeates this entire medical center. They all cover for each other and they all know about it.

Who is deciding who should receive all of this money and get all these jobs while Veterans are denied services and even a fair shot at being employed at their own facility? I’ll tell you: another trusted member of the “Team”! These people actually believe that Americans provide tax dollars for no other reason than for them to sit in their offices and split these dollars up amongst themselves. They have been “dividing” these dollars up for such a long time they think it’s normal operating procedure. Veterans have become a necessary inconvenience on their road to financial independence and they have to put up with us for a minute while they cart off wheelbarrows full of money every year and advocate for lower taxes so they can keep even more of their ill-gotten gains. Amazingly, they see nothing immoral in their behavior.

Were I not an eyewitness this behavior I would not believe it myself.

It is past time for this method of operation to be stopped!

Sincerely Yours,

Darrell Hampton



 





Friday, May 13, 2011

ANOTHER POST ABOUT NEW DAYTON VA DIRECTOR

The problem I have with the way VA executives conduct themselves is that they have lost sight of their mission. Instead of seeing the Veterans as the customer the American people are paying them to provide a service for they are so busy pocketing up every single dollar they can get their hands on Veterans have become a lower priority. It’s as if we are a necessary tolerance interrupting their way to wealth. AND…that’s exactly how I feel!

It is Un-American to conclude that if a Veteran has brought substantiated charges (Not empty mentally challenged accusations) He is adjudicated as having “kicked dirt on the umpire” and therefore barred from any chance of employment with this Federal Agency. That is NOT how this country was founded nor is it how it is expected to be run. The very least we can expect, as Americans, is that those trusted with authority do not violate our laws nor will they engage in blatant “Retaliation and Retribution” against another citizen.

The new Acting Director of the Dayton VA, Bill Montague, has been employed with the VA, making close to $200,00.00 a year for quite a long time. His wife, Vicky Montague, has been employed by the VA also, technically for VSN 10 but assigned to Bill’s medical center, also making close to $200.000.00 per year for quite a few years.

Even after being rewarded with such a fabulous lifestyle he had the unmitigated gall to tell me, an Honorably Discharged Veteran, that my having the guts to challenge wrongdoing has cost me employment with this agency. I find that conclusion wholly unacceptable!

NEW DAYTON VA ACTING DIRECTOR

I met with the Acting Director of the Dayton VA, Bill Montague on May 2, 2011 where we discussed a plethora of subjects. My main concern was my inability to secure a full-time position with the Dayton VA. It has been my contention that I was being blackballed because I have forwarded charges of Patient Abuse as well as violations of HIPAA and discrimination in hiring. All of my charges have been substantiated with the exception of the hiring discrimination which has not concluded the investigation. According to multiple legal experts, this too, should end in a affirmation of my charges. In fact the documented history of the Human Resources Department here would make Bernie Madoff proud.

Mr. Montague seemed like a reasonably pleasant person in addressing my concerns with one exception: He told me that I had “kicked dirt on the Umpire”. Now, as a person who has never watched a football, baseball or basketball game in my life this statement went over my head. People who use sports metaphors assume everybody watches sports and understand what they are talking about but they are often mistaken. I had no earthly idea what he meant by this term. Because of my ignorance I simply went on to plead my case and explain my reasoning as to why I felt I had as much right, as an American and a Veteran to be employed here as anybody else. He repeated this statement at least three times during our meeting, the final time was as he shook my hand ending this meeting.

Since that meeting I have embarked on a mission to find the exact meaning of this term because it bothered me that he used it repeatedly. First, I spoke with people in the Cleveland area who have known Mr. Montague for years. They informed me that he often uses sports metaphors to express his points. These people have also known me for years and thought it was hilarious because they also know how literally ignorant I am of sports. I then asked several other people, especially my brothers, who are sports fanatics, in my opinion, for their definition of what exactly he was communicating to me. The consensus was that he was telling me that I was being penalized and thrown out of the game. The game being employment at the Dayton VA Medical Center.

Now, I am offended and extremely angry! The fact that he kept a very pleasant smile on his face while telling me I was being kicked out of the game has only intensified my feelings of being flagrantly affronted.

As one who believes deeply in the laws of our country and the rights enjoyed from being an American citizen as well as a recipient of Veterans benefits, paid for by the American people, I don’t think it was appropriate for him to make that decision. In fact, my reading of Title 38 legislation, with the American people paying for this facility to provide services for me, that makes me the “UMPIRE” and he has “kicked dirt on me“! I also think he has confused his position as the Medical Center Director of a tax payer funded facility with the position of Russian Czar ruling over a piece of land.

He is reminding me an awful lot of his predecessor, Guy B. Richardson whose actions VA Secretary Shinseki described as a “failure of leadership“.

For him to make such a decision is inappropriate and to have the gall to verbalize it is blatant “retaliation and retribution” which borders on criminal conduct.


When sophisticated high ranking government people begin to adopt the methods of criminals, I have no choice but to treat them as such. When this type of action is directed at me I respond in kind. I consider the use of tough tactics in these circumstances as not being heavy-handed; on the contrary, it is being even-handed.

On another note, Guy Richardson is at the Dayton VA regularly. For a person who was supposedly “Removed” for failing to lead, I certainly cannot tell it from his presence.

I wish I could say we were just about finished, but sadly we are not.

 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

VETERANS SPEAKING FOR VETERANS

An interesting story in the Washington Post this morning.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/at-va-a-blogger-criticizes-from-the-inside/2011/04/20/AF96tAdG_story_1.html

As the Veteran who was behind the notification to the US Senate concerning the dental clinic malfeasance at the Dayton Ohio VA I can attest to the hard job it is to “accurately” portray what is going on. Because of the hundreds of dedicated and really good employees I have wrestled with making sure that I not disparage their hard work while condemning the guilty and protecting myself from becoming a malcontent. It’s certainly a tightrope to walk. I think we need more independent voices and I also believe more Veterans should be employed within the VA’s structure. Unfortunately, as long as the “powers that be” insist on blackballing, from employment, anyone who disagrees with them I don’t see that possibility anytime in the near future. Personally, I have approximately 12 rejection letters from the Dayton VA on applications for employment. They all say “Qualified but not Accepted”. For me to think this is NOT personal is an insult.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

MORE FROM DAYTON DAILY NEWS II

Trouble at VA went beyond 1 dentist

A VA investigation shows the dental office was poorly managed and understaffed.


By Ben Sutherly, Staff Writer
Updated 11:39 PM Saturday, March 26, 2011
DAYTON — Problems at the Dayton VA Medical Center’s dental clinic went far beyond Dr. Dwight Pemberton, the dentist whose poor infection control practices may have exposed 535 patients to such diseases as hepatitis and HIV from January 1992 to 
July 2010.
In sworn testimony given during a Veterans Affairs investigation, workers describe a poorly run, understaffed clinic, where supervisors tolerated inappropriate activities and cut corners, and workers were paralyzed by fear.
According to a post-investigation report, another of the clinic’s eight dentists allegedly broke teeth during extractions and performed unnecessary procedures. Working with that dentist, whose name hasn’t been obtained by the Dayton Daily News, “was just like watching a child be abused,” one worker told investigators.
Clinic dentists even took credit for being primary providers of dental work done by unlicensed students, who were permitted to practice without the required level of supervision, according to the report.
A former patient of Pemberton’s said he received substandard care at the clinic during a visit five years ago. Thomas Woodson of Harrison Twp. told the Dayton Daily News Pemberton enthusiastically introduced him to his fellow dentists after Woodson told him he is a descendant of Thomas Jefferson and slave Sally Hemings. While Pemberton took keen interest in Woodson’s roots, Woodson went home with ill-fitting dentures that he soon quit wearing.
VA Secretary Eric Shinseki acknowledged a “failure of leadership” in Dayton during a federal budget hearing earlier this month, during which he was asked why VA Medical Center Director Guy Richardson had received an $11,874 bonus at the end of federal fiscal 2010.
“I’m not going to try to describe why a bonus was sensible,” Shinseki said. “This went on for an extended period of time when it wasn’t brought to the attention of leadership, and I again fault that to a failure in leadership.”
Soon after, Richardson was reassigned to a VA regional headquarters job in Cincinnati, described by VA officials as a “lateral move” without a change in pay. Richardson received $167,328 in fiscal 2010.
The VA initially said nine veterans had tested newly positive in preliminary tests for hepatitis B or hepatitis C antibody, but on Friday cut that number to five.
Members of Congress have been unimpressed by the VA’s response to the scandal so far.
“These practices are so shocking and outrageous that you would expect the VA to have a very strong and open response to this,” U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, said Thursday. Instead, he said, the agency “clearly appears to be in cover-up mode.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, called the response “slow” but said transparency is improving.
The VA has defended its response, pointing to a recent New England Journal of Medicine article that singles out the VA’s disclosure policy for adverse events to patients. The policy, according to the article, “endorses transparency.”
VA officials didn’t defend Pemberton’s actions, but noted not all of the complaints about the second dentist were deemed valid. Dr. Bill Germann, the Dayton VA’s acting chief of staff, said that dentist will likely begin practicing again at the Dayton VA.
Germann also said there was appropriate oversight of fourth-year dental students, and dentists appropriately documented work done by those students.
“Based on my knowledge, the comments in the (investigative) report were not totally appropriate,” Germann said.
The dental clinic scandal in Dayton calls into question how accountable people are held throughout VA, said Ronald Hamowy, a fellow with the Cato Institute and the Independent Institute, both libertarian groups. Hamowy authored “Failure to Provide,” a March 2010 report on the VA.
Hamowy prefers the government stop providing medical care directly to veterans and instead contract for that care to be provided in civilian medical facilities under a Medicare-type program.
Though Medicare itself has been abused by clinicians, “there’s less opportunity for waste and corruption,” Hamowy said.
But Brown said the dental clinic scandal reflects long-standing issues specific to the Dayton VA that merit a hospital-wide organizational review, not systemic issues across VA nationwide.
“It’s a very good health care delivery system,” Brown said of the VA. “It’s a cultural issue in that VA (in Dayton). It doesn’t extend beyond that VA, but it’s been endemic there for some time.”
Underperformers at understaffed clinic
Dental clinic workers told investigators the clinic was woefully understaffed. The director of the facility’s residency program said the ratio of dental assistants to dentists was too low to support four resident slots and put patients at risk.
“We were critically short dental assistants, not only to run a residency, but to run a dental service,” he told investigators.
One assistant was hired in response to his concerns, but the staffing levels remained unacceptably low, the director said.
The shortage of dental assistants also may have had implications for infection control. Prior to 1992, investigators said Pemberton regularly had at his side a dental assistant, who would prod him to follow hygiene protocols. But in 1992, Pemberton began working alone, and the VA report concluded “it was when he worked alone that (he) presented a clear danger to patients since he would often fail to adhere to established infection control protocols.”
Supervisors for years had been told about Pemberton’s failure to change gloves and sterilize dental instruments, but he was not disciplined and continued to receive raises up until dental clinic workers alerted an outside team of VA inspectors to the infection control issues in July.
“I’ve seen him literally walk from his room with this patient’s denture in one hand, go across to another room, open this patient’s mouth with this denture of the opposite patient in his hand,” one dental assistant testified. “I’ve seen him use the same instruments, the same handpiece, the same burs all day long on every patient. I’ve seen him go out of the clinic and push the button on the elevators with dirty gloves on. I’ve seen him open lab doors with dirty gloves on; I’ve seen him go in the lunchroom and use the microwave with dirty gloves on.”
Over the years, Pemberton had been counseled about infection control practices. At times, he showed improvement, but eventually lapsed back into old habits, witnesses said.
A former dental clinic supervisor blamed intervention by the NAACP for foiling his efforts in the early 1990s to remove Pemberton, who is black.
A subsequent dental service chief often changed Pemberton’s instruments so Pemberton wouldn’t continue to use dirty instruments on patient after patient, according to the report.
One dental clinic worker said she saw supervisors clean Pemberton’s room at times “because they (knew) what (was) going on, and to cover their — I mean since things have been brought up to them — to cover their own butt.”
Pemberton, 81, of Centerville “repudiated” the claims against him, according to the report. He retired Feb. 11, and thus is no longer subject to possible disciplinary action by the VA. He declined comment for this article.
The Dayton Daily News confirmed Pemberton’s name independently, but was unable to do so for other dental clinic employees whose names were also edited from the investigative report.
While some claimed the clinic was chronically understaffed, other testimony suggested some workers weren’t pulling their weight.
The dental service chief, for example, admitted under oath that he saw patients only two days a week, despite the dental clinic’s shortage of dentists.
Pemberton, who was paid $165,878 annually before retiring Feb. 11, obsessed over genealogy. He spent “countless hours conducting genealogy research on work computers” when he should have been working on patients, the report claimed. In the report, a VA investigator said patients complained about Pemberton asking questions about their family background and doing genealogy research.
One former dental assistant even told VA investigators she suspected Pemberton scheduled follow-up appointments with patients based on his genealogy interests rather than on medical necessity.
“Sometimes he would want me to get a patient back in even though I didn’t feel like there was enough time to do the patient,” the dental assistant told VA investigators.
“And the reason you believe he wanted that was because of the genealogy?”
“It’s possible,” she said.
Another coworker testified Pemberton spent a great deal of his clinical time doing genealogical research and was not productive.
“Was that (lack of productivity) a good thing?” an investigator asked.
“Yes,” the coworker replied. “Very good thing.”
VA hospitals subject to enough oversight?
VA hospitals like Dayton’s are subject to both independent and internal oversight.
The Veterans Health Administration monitors the hospitals to identify patient care or systems-related issues. For example, Dayton VA dental clinic employees alerted a VA official to Pemberton’s infection control issues during a System-wide Ongoing Assessment and Review Strategy (SOARS) review at the hospital in late July.
The VA’s facilities also are independently monitored by The Joint Commission, an independent nonprofit that accredits and certifies more than 18,000 U.S. health care organizations and programs.
In November, a Joint Commission team conducted an unannounced, triennial review of the Dayton hospital. During that review, one surveyor reviewed infection control practices and other aspects of the dental clinic. No adverse findings were reported, the VA said.
The Dayton Daily News on March 16 requested recent Joint Commission inspection reports at the Dayton VA from the VA and the Joint Commission. The Joint Commission declined, and the VA has not yet responded.
The Dayton clinic is not the VA’s only troubled dental clinic. At a VA medical center in St. Louis, improper cleaning and sterilization of reusable dental equipment posed an infection risk to patients between February 2009 and March 2010. The VA notified 1,812 patients, four of whom tested positive for hepatitis C or hepatitis B, a VA spokesman said.
In a prepared statement, the VA said its medical centers have been “increasingly vigilant” in monitoring and investigating any infection control issues. When VA’s central office learns of actual or potential adverse events, a clinical review board is formed to see if evidence indicates any patient risk and if disclosure of those adverse events to patients and their families “is in the best interest of their health and well-being,” the statement reads.
After Dayton’s dental clinic scandal became public, VA added a dental component to its SOARS review.
“If I go down, everybody’s 
going down”
The VA report faulted the clinic’s dental service chief not only for failing to take action against Pemberton, but for his “wholly insufficient” professional practice evaluations of staff members. Staff members told investigators the dental service chief stuck his head in the door of operatories where dentists were working on patients, but couldn’t actually see how dentists were doing their work. Only the top of the patient’s head was visible from the doorway.
The dental service chief had been hired at the clinic as a dentist to be groomed for the chief role. But one unidentified witness told investigators that he/she wouldn’t have endorsed the dental service chief for the job, though he/she wasn’t asked.
“He was always — for want of a better term — lurking, standing around doorways, and at corners and whatnot, attempting to overhear conversations,” the witness said. “And he didn’t do much dentistry; he didn’t have very good rapport with the dental residents. Didn’t have very good rapport with anyone, for that matter, in the dental service, except for a couple of the staff dentists. But he was just not, in my mind, a leader that would be able to move the dental service forward in any particular constructive way.”
Following revelations of Pemberton’s poor infection control practices, the dental clinic closed Aug. 19 for staff training and a thorough cleaning.
At the same time, a VA administrative investigation board began calling witnesses to provide sworn testimony about the dental clinic’s problems. Two people testified that they felt intimidated by the dental service chief.
“I heard they made you come in at 6:45 in the morning,” the dental chief told one witness while she was lunching outside the VA hospital one day with another witness.
“No, they didn’t make us,” she replied. “We volunteered.”
“Well, I’m still the dental chief and I will be back,” the other witness recalled the dental chief saying. “And if I go down, everybody’s going down.”
Turner said he’ll continue to push for a congressional investigation in the wake of the scandal.
“As a member of the House armed services committee, I have never dealt with a federal agency that has been so secretive as the VA,” Turner said. “I think they know that there’s more to the story than they’re telling us, and that there’s a lot wrong here.”
But Jack Hetrick, director of the VA network that includes Ohio’s VA medical centers, said he believes the VA is serious about becoming perceived as a high-quality and responsible institution in the public eye, and that officials are taking steps to “make certain our beliefs are reaffirmed by actual practice.”
“I feel confident in reassuring your readers that everything that’s going on at the Dayton VA Medical Center right now is being done with veterans in mind,” Hetrick said.

TIMELIME---BY DDN

Unfolding of the Dayton VA scandal


Late July 2010: Two dental clinic employees notify VA officials of infection control lapses at the Dayton VA’s dental clinic during a SOARS (System-Wide Ongoing Assessment and Review Strategy) visit. Four dental clinic employees are reassigned outside the clinic, including dentist Dwight M. Pemberton.

Aug. 19-Sept. 10: Dental clinic is closed for a thorough review, cleaning and employee training.

Nov. 17: Dayton VA notifies the public of the infection control lapses. The disclosure comes shortly after veteran and activist Darrell Hampton contacts elected officials about the dental clinic’s problems.

Nov. 22: The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General said it will review the clinic’s infection control lapses. That review is ongoing.

Feb. 8: Dayton VA begins contacting 535 patients about free screening for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. All veterans are contacted by mid-March.

Feb. 11: The dentist whose infection control practices prompted the investigation, Dwight M. Pemberton, retires at age 81.

Feb. 16: Elected officials representing Dayton — Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio; and Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville — request a review of oversight practices at the Dayton VA.

March 11: Dayton VA Medical Center Director Guy Richardson is reassigned to a regional headquarters job. William Montague named acting director.

March 14: The Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association receives additional documents that will be reviewed by clinicians outside the VA system.

March 25: U.S. Reps. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, and Russ Carnahan, D-Mo., request the House Veterans Affairs Committee hold hearings on the medical safety practices at VA medical facilities nationwide.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

THIS IS EXACTLY WHY I DID NOT CONTACT TURNER'S OFFICE!


I am the Veteran who first reported these violations in Dayton to the Senate and the Media. I did not report them to Turner because I knew he would just demagogue it for his next election. He has proven me true. I’m his constituent and he knows I reported it but he has yet to contact me because I didn‘t vote for him. I receive treatment at the Dayton VA and like everywhere else, INCLUDING CONGRESS, there are “some” jerks who work there but for the most part there are many, many dedicated great employees. I don’t appreciate it when politicians paint anything with such broad brushes as if there are NO GOOD things being done.

 

Rep. Turner calls for hearings on VA safety practices

Updated 5:54 PM Friday, March 25, 2011
DAYTON — U.S. Reps. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, and Russ Carnahan, D-Mo., on Friday requested the House Veterans Affairs Committee hold hearings on the medical safety practices at VA medical facilities nationwide.
Turner and Carnahan asked the committee’s chairman, Jeff Miller, R-Fla., to convene hearings following “two high-profile investigations in the last year” in St. Louis and Dayton, which they claim highlight shortcomings in oversight of broad VA policy as well as regional practices and protocols.
According to the letter:
In May 2010, the VA Inspector General released a report substantiating allegations that endoscopic equipment was not being cleaned properly at the John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis. The VA announced 1,812 veterans had potentially been exposed to HIV or hepatitis due to improper cleaning of dental equipment at that facility. In February 2011, surgical suites at that medical center were closed due to improperly cleaned surgical equipment. A field hearing found an employee who complained of the violations to supervisors was ignored.
Problems also have been reported at the Dayton VA Medical Center’s dental clinic, where a dentist failed to follow basic infection control practices, exposing at least 535 former patients to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.
“The sum of these disturbing revelations brings into question medical and administrative practices in VA facilities, particularly the oversight mechanisms used to police faculty adherence to infectious disease policy,” the letter reads. “We believe the severity of these infractions and the length of time they persisted demonstrates a national systemic problem that warrants the committee’s full attention.”

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/dayton-news/rep-turner-calls-for-hearings-on-va-safety-practices-1118130.html?printArticle=y

Saturday, March 19, 2011

DAYTON VA DENTAL SERVICE CHIEF CLAIMS HE COULD DO NOTHING!

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/dayton-news/va-dentist-kept-job-after-naacp-pressure-supervisor-says-1111982.html

As an African American I have never been more ashamed that a black organization would have defended such a malicious crime in my 57 years on this earth. I sincerely hope people do not think this represents African Americans in this country. Dr. Pemberton and Guy Richardson are criminals in my opinion, period, and it makes no difference, to me, how much melanin is in their skin.

This “White Supervisor’s” claim that “The race card was played and that lead him to a “different direction from White higher ups” is not a sufficient excuse to place Honorably Discharged Veterans lives in danger. He had a moral and professional responsibility to stand his ground. Hippocratic oaths demand it and no excuse is acceptable to me for this malfeasance. Blaming it on the NAACP or anybody else will not do! His responsibility, when he took the job, was to provide a safe environment. He cashed the checks and he bought houses and provided for his family with the money. Using the excuse that the “race card was played” to justify his derelict of duty is not good enough for me.

He was wrong, plain and simple and I don’t give a damn WHAT card was played he had a professional obligation to put a halt to Pemberton‘s actions and he should have stood up to the Chief of Staff or any damn body else to protect us from this behavior!

The truth is that he “choose” to go along to get along” and that is the real sad truth of the matter! He didn’t give a damn about the lives of Veterans and he acquiesced in the abuse of patients! He choose his career and money over his duties and our safety!

Why is it the hardest thing for a man to say is: “I was wrong!”

Saturday, March 12, 2011

RICHARDSON REMOVED FROM LEADERSHIP OF DAYTON VA

New VA hospital director an award-winning administrator

By Tom Beyerlein
, Staff Writer
Updated 11:00 PM Friday, March 11, 2011
DAYTON — Department of Veterans Affairs officials on Friday said they coaxed an award-winning hospital administer out of retirement to help the Dayton VA Medical Center recover from the scandal surrounding a dentist’s unsanitary practices that may have led to hepatitis infections of nine dental clinic patients.

William Montague, who headed six VA hospitals including the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center in Cleveland, becomes the Dayton VA’s acting director Monday, replacing Director Guy Richardson, who was reassigned to a job at regional headquarters in Cincinnati.

“As most of you know, these major issues (facing the VA) have involved questions about our hospital dental care and the infection control practices of a provider,” VA regional Director Jack Hetrick said in a Friday message to the Dayton staff. He said “we are well on the way to fully addressing this matter.”
He continued, “While Mr. Montague is here, Mr. Richardson will be detailed to the (Veterans Integrated Services Network) to assist with VISN-wide initiatives.”

VA spokesman Todd Sledge said he had no information as to whether Richardson could return to the Dayton VA post. Richardson could not be reached for comment. Sledge said “there’s no overarching reason to believe” that Richardson isn’t capable of running a hospital. In fact, he said, “Mr. Richardson’s record stands for his great performance in Dayton.

Richardson’s salary grew 12 percent between fiscal 2008 and 2010 to $167,328, according to the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions. He also received an $11,874 bonus last fiscal year.
The Dayton VA has been beset with controversy and tragedy during Richardson’s tenure. National surveys in recent years found the Dayton hospital ranked low in patient and employee satisfaction among VA hospitals. Last April, Iraq War veteran Jesse Huff, clad in full combat attire, shot himself to death on the VA steps after being treated there hours earlier.

U.S. Rep. Steve Austria said he “expressed disappointment” with the Dayton VA’s leadership in a meeting Wednesday with VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. “I am confident that the action Secretary Shineski has taken is the right step forward to help prevent incidents like this from occurring in the future.”
“By reorganizing the Dayton VA, we’re one step closer to the superior care that Ohio’s veterans deserve,” said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, who, along with U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and U.S. Reps. Mike Turner and Austria, pushed Shineski for better oversight of the local hospital.

The dental clinic was temporarily closed last summer amid revelations that dentist Dwight M. Pemberton failed to change latex gloves and sterilize instruments properly between 1992 and June 2010. Subsequent health screenings turned up the nine suspected hepatitis infections.
An Oct. 4 investigative report shows Pemberton’s co-workers alerted VA officials about his unsafe practices for several years, but supervisors allowed him to continue treating patients. Pemberton, who has declined to comment, got a raise last year. He retired in February.

The VA announced that Montague agreed to come out of retirement for the Dayton job. Montague was federal employee of the year in 2000 and won two presidential meritorious rank awards. Under his direction, the Stokes hospital increased the number of veterans it treated by 225 percent, the VA said.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/dayton-news/new-va-hospital-director-an-award-winning-administrator-1105069.html

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

CONGRESSMAN MIKE TURNER--TO DAYTON DAILY NEWS TODAY!

Turner requests top-level visit to VA dental clinic

Staff Report
Updated 1:17 PM Wednesday, March 9, 2011
DAYTON — U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, issued a letter Wednesday reiterating his office’s invitation for Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to visit the Dayton VA Medical Center.
The invitation comes in the wake of news that nine patients seen at the medical center’s dental clinic may have contracted hepatitis B or hepatitis C from a dentist who did not follow basic infection control practices. The dentist, Dwight M. Pemberton, 81, of Centerville, performed invasive dental procedures on patients, but failed to change latex gloves and sterilize dental instruments properly between patients, according to VA investigation documents.
“Visiting the Dayton VA Medical Center Dental Clinic will go a long way to reassure the community that the VA is committed to providing the highest quality of care and will do everything within its power to resolve this issue,” Turner wrote in the March 9 letter. “Delivering this message in person will help restore the community’s faith in the VA health system and its leadership.”
Turner’s letter also indicated his office’s requests — both for a release of reports on the VA’s investigation, and for a series of regional and national-level investigations to protect against events like those in the Dayton VA dental clinic — had so far gone unanswered.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/dayton-news/turner-requests-top-level-visit-to-va-dental-clinic-1102340.html

I just realized that I failed to notify Congressman Turner's office back in November 2010 concerning this when I notified other authorities. It is not right, neither is it fair to hold him accountable for information that I failed to forward to his office. I have personally apologized to this Member of Congress, today. Perfection is not my strong suit and it's showing again.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 8, 2011

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/dayton-news/despite-probe-va-chief-received-bonuses--1101030.html

Despite probe, VA chief received bonuses

The local VA dental clinic has been under investigation since
last summer.

By Ben Sutherly, Staff Writer
11:05 PM Monday, March 7, 2011
Dayton VA Medical Center Director Guy Richardson received an $11,874 bonus last year even though the center’s dental clinic came under investigation for allowing unsafe sanitary practices by one dentist over 18 years.

Richardson received the bonus even though the dental clinic was closed for several weeks last summer, and the VA determined it needed to offer free screenings to 535 patients who had received invasive dental procedures from Dwight M. Pemberton. The Centerville resident failed to change latex gloves and sterilize dental instruments properly between patients between 1992 and July 2010, according to VA officials.

Nine dental clinic patients so far have tested positive in preliminary screenings for hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

Last Wednesday, during a federal budget hearing, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, questioned the $11,874 bonus that Richardson received at the end of federal fiscal 2010, as well as the $64,403 in bonuses he had received since 2006, given the problems at the Dayton VA.

“I can’t justify the performance of what happened at Dayton,” VA Secretary Eric Shinseki told Murray. “I think there is a failure in leadership, and therefore I’m not going to try to describe why a bonus was sensible. ... This went on for an extended period of time when it wasn’t brought to the attention of leadership, and I again fault that to a failure in leadership.”

Last week, Richardson said, “I’m charged as the leader of the facility to make sure we provide high quality, safe veteran care. I will continue to be committed to achieving that mission as long as I’m in this position.”

“I am not sure whether or not Guy Richardson will survive” as director, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner said Monday.

March 8, 2011

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/dayton-news/va-case-irks-turner-legislators-request-independent-study-1100860.html

VA case irks Turner;
 legislators request 
independent study

By Ben Sutherly, Staff Writer
Updated 12:50 AM Tuesday, March 8, 2011
DAYTON — U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, at a press conference Monday “reiterated his outrage” over infection control lapses that may have led to nine patients potentially contracting hepatitis B and hepatitis C at the Dayton VA Medical Center’s dental clinic.

Turner demanded VA officials respond by Friday to his Feb. 16 request for investigative documents pertaining to the problems.

A VA official couldn’t say Monday how long the VA legally has to respond to the records request.
The problems at the dental clinic prompted its temporary shutdown from Aug. 19 to Sept. 10.
VA officials first went public about infection control lapses at the dental clinic Nov. 17, about four months after at least one employee raised concerns in July.

Turner on Monday criticized VA officials for taking so long to go public about the investigation.
Turner and U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman want officials with the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association to independently review the VA investigation and suggest ways to improve medical care at the clinic.

Dayton VA Medical Center Director Guy Richardson told GDAHA officials the VA would cooperate with the independent review and associated recommendations, said Mary Boosalis, chair of GDAHA’s board of trustees.

The VA initiated administrative action steps against three VA employees, but the dentist in question, Dwight M. Pemberton, 81, retired Feb. 11 and therefore is no longer facing discipline. Discipline of the remaining two employees is pending.

When asked Monday if Richardson should keep his job, Turner said, “I am not sure whether or not Guy Richardson will survive” as director.

Bill Schoenhard, deputy undersecretary for Health for Operations and Management, said in a statement Monday that the VA is committed to keeping the process transparent.

“Let there be no doubt that we share the concerns of Ohio’s members of Congress and others regarding the importance of the safety of our nation’s veterans,” Schoenhard said.
“That is why Dayton VAMC has notified patients, out of an abundance of caution and concern for the trust veterans place in the health care they earned,” he said.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

“A FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP”---Secretary Shinseki

“A FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP” That’s how Secretary Shinseki described Guy Richardson’s leadership of the Dayton Veterans Medical Center. Don’t take my word for it: Click on this link from the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee March 3rd hearings, go to the 89th minute and see and hear for yourself!

http://veterans.senate.gov/hearings.cfm?action=release.display&release_id=5ee43015-815c-4f30-a682-7fa0115ebb63

Thursday, March 3, 2011

DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARTICLE

I have been writing for years that the executives at the Dayton VA think the American people fund this Center with their tax dollars just for them to split amongst themselves. Each and every time a Veteran asks for additional services the most common answer given is “It’s not in the budget”. Yet, these people lavish extra thousands of dollars on each other as if the budget has no bottom. Well, I guess not…At least not for them.


http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/opinion/entries/2011/03/03/editorial_when_will_dayton_va.html?cxtype=feedbothttp

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/dayton-news/va-dentist-who-put-patients-health-at-risk-got-raise-in-10-1096772.html

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

MORE FROM DAYTON DAILY NEWS

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/dayton-news/nine-dayton-va-dental-patients-test-positive-for-hepatitis-1094957.html

Nine Dayton VA dental patients test positive for hepatitis

By Ben Sutherly, Staff Writer
Updated 12:10 AM Wednesday, March 2, 2011
DAYTON — At least nine patients who received dental care at the Dayton VA Medical Center have tested positive in preliminary tests for Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, VA officials said Tuesday.
Since Feb. 8 the Dayton VA has contacted 527 of 535 veterans seen by a dentist who failed to change latex gloves and sterilize dental instruments properly between patients. Of 375 patients tested so far, there have been seven Hepatitis C cases, two Hepatitis B cases and no cases of HIV, Director Guy Richardson said.
None of the patients had been previously diagnosed, and further testing will be needed to confirm those infections, said Dr. Andrea Buck, the VA’s national director of medicine. Epidemiological testing will be used to determine if any confirmed cases resulted from exposure at the Dayton VA dental clinic, but Buck said, “We may never know the answer to that question.”
None of the nine preliminary positives have been confirmed, a process that takes a week or so, said Dr. Andrea Buck, the VA’s national director of medicine. Epidemiological testing will be used to determine if any confirmed cases resulted from exposure at the Dayton VA dental clinic, but Buck admitted, “We may never know the answer to that question.” Those tests will take months, she added.
Administrative actions were initiated against three employees, including the dentist, Dwight M. Pemberton, who may have infected patients from 1992 to July 2010. But Pemberton, 81, retired Feb. 11. As a result, he no longer faces administrative action, Richardson said. “I’m not aware of any legal requirement preventing someone from retiring” during an active investigation, he said.
U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, called news of possible infections “outrageous” in a statement. “I intend to continue to follow this process as it unfolds and have taken steps to meet with (VA) Secretary (Eric) Shinseki on this matter. Our veterans deserve better, and I will demand that the Secretary see that through.”
Richardson on Tuesday apologized to veterans.
Richardson said the VA will respond aggressively in providing free screenings as well as care to those who may have been exposed to blood-borne pathogens while receiving care from a VA dentist between 1992 and July 2010.
Asked what responsibility he bears for the lack of oversight of the dental clinic, Richardson said, “I’m charged as the leader of the facility to make sure we provide high quality, safe veteran care. ... I will continue to be committed to achieving that mission as long as I’m in this position.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, earlier this month stopped short of calling for Richardson to step down, saying he first wanted to know the full extent of what happened. More details are expected to be disclosed in a yet-to-be-released VA Office of Inspector General report.
“When something this serious happens, people who are responsible have to be held responsible,” Brown said. “It’s the responsibility of the dentist, but it’s the responsibility of the system that this happened.”
Buck said the Dayton VA’s response has shown leadership: “What we have seen in this response is a commitment to transparency.”
The VA is taking steps nationwide to ensure problems in Dayton aren’t repeated elsewhere, Buck said. For example, one of the VA’s own inspection controls — Systemwide Ongoing Assessment and Review Strategy — added a dental component.

Buck noted the Ohio State Dental Board declined Pemberton’s request to have his license retired. Such a step is typically not taken by the dental board unless an active investigation of that dentist is under way.
Dayton VA’s testing of veterans is estimated to cost $18,000 to $25,000.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

MORE HISTORY OF PATIENT ABUSE AT DAYTON VA

DARRELL HAMPTON    March 10, 2010


The Honorable Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Washington D C

Dear Mr. Secretary:

As a result of my October 7, 2009 letter to your office the Dayton VA Medical Center Director, Mr. Guy B. Richardson, met with me to discuss my concerns about the services I have failed to receive as well as my inability to obtain full-time employment at the Medical Center.
I met with Mr. Richardson (my 4th meeting) on February 4, 2010 where we discussed how we could find resolution to my ongoing concerns. During our meeting he mentioned that I had been asking for positions for over four years and implied he couldn‘t understand why I had not moved on by now. As with my previous experience, most VA employee’s questions are normally aimed at why the Veteran still needs the services while obfuscating the fact that services have not yet been provided…… the actual agenda for the meeting. The facts that these services have not been delivered over this identical length of time is never broached and is treated as immaterial. It’s a common strategy for some executives, in controlling the conversation, make the complainant feel that he is guilty for his very own predicament. In this instance he was projecting that I was not really trying to help myself since no progress had been made since our last meeting. This takes the onus off the agency for failing to provide services and places the blame on my own lack of ingenuity to find ways to repair my dilemma. Now, it is my fault. Clever strategy, but specious.

I will assume that the eleven months I took Interferon shots (chemo therapy) and the one year of medically normal recuperation can be eliminated from his measure of how long I have been requesting these benefits. I was very sick. A more interesting question would be: what does it say about his administration that I have been applying for the same rehabilitative CWT position for real time- two years and I’m yet to receive an uninterrupted assignment? He was very polite and cogent. Mr. Richardson is actually a very intelligent nice guy in my opinion but we part ways on these major issues. He laid out a detailed comprehensive plan to repair my concerns. Then, before the meeting ended he issued a weighty proviso: “I’m not committing.”. By this caveat he effectively deleted every word he had spoken during the entire 30 minutes. I departed, convinced that no change would come. True to my assessment, four weeks have passed since this meeting and nothing has changed because “he wasn’t committing”. It was another superficial meeting about the last inconsequential meeting, lacking tangible results. We’re playing bureaucratic games here. This meeting could best be entitled, Chapter 4, “calm down the ex-drug addict Veteran and get him to stop writing letters”. Well, it didn’t work and I am not placated.

One thing I do find very puzzling, while I do not insinuate that I possess knowledge on how to run a Medical Center, I have managed a sales force on over one-hundred people before, so I do know a bit about managing. If I were the head of any organization I cannot imagine allowing infinitesimal problems like these to gain such traction under my watch. These problems should never have made it across the street, much less to your office in Washington DC. I would have ordered , three years ago, that this Veteran be given his benefits, without vacillation and this matter be removed from my desk forthwith. But….. that’s me. Why Mr. Richardson permits this plethora of cancerous complaints to metastasize is beyond me. After all, we are not talking about anything major here. It’s not as if I’ve demanded a cubicle inside his office. Instead of putting out this small fire he has allowed his staff to continually douse it with jet fuel and fan it into a World Trade Center raging inferno. This problem has morphed into a fierce intellectual fencing contest (on their part) where the Veteran (me) is forced to starve while they feign ignorance to my denial of benefits. It is obvious that the strategy is to smack me down and deny enough times until all the fight has been drained out of me and I relapse into a past life of drug abuse or simply go away or die. They are mistaken on at least two counts. I don’t know when I’m going to die but I am not going away and I am not relapsing. I should not be forced to meeting after meeting to explain “why” I want that which I’ve already earned! There is no box labeled “NO” in policy that VA employees get to check at their discretion. Neither is liking the Veteran or the Veteran shutting up in the face of patient abuse a prerequisite to receive Veterans benefits. I don’t violate VHA policy but they certainly do, all the time. Their choices are very simple, plainly laid out by legislative precedent and mandate. They do not get to exercise personal rejections on these matters.

Sir, for pellucidity, it is imperative that you know how we got here. Why am I so controversial and how I became a target of VA employees at the Dayton Medical Center? When I came here on 09/10/ 2003 they were calling WWII African American Veterans “niggers” to their faces. They were not calling them the N-word, either. They were calling them Mississippi circa 1865 cotton picking, slave reminiscent “yes suh” Massa black niggers” and I heard them! These old warriors, with their heads bowed, were terrified of them and suffered in silence. As an African American Veteran I was quite repulsed by the horror I was forced to witness and experience on a daily basis. I made a conscious decision that America should not have a federally financed “racial terror center” for African American Veterans. I decided to end this atrocity. As a result I was labeled a rabble-rouser and targeted for certain annihilation. Some employees decided to battle over my positions, saying I didn’t know my place, “whatever that means”, while others defended my position. The effort to defend patient abuse, while providing services for Veterans engendered a cognitive dissonance amongst the staff resulting in a bifurcated skirmish within the Dayton VA. For no other reason than the fact that I refused to concede and insisted policy be followed, I am now denied a CWT position, branded pernicious, maligned and totally verboten a full time position by those in decision making capacity. How is that fair? The only constant in this behavior is “ Darrell Hampton gets nothing but physical medical care, a handshake and a smile from us“. Absolutely no services from Voc Industries are for me. They have taken the discretionary authority, vicariously awarded to them to make decisions and manipulated it to deny benefits, create deprivation and fully intend to produce misery and pain. Webster’s defines actions with these results as torture. Torture is against the law in this country. For two years I have labored under this seemingly insurmountable burden and I am psychologically washed out, suffering crippling depression and I am desperately in need of my Veterans benefits while they are elated ( pay back) by their repudiation of me through the denial of these same benefits.

Here’s the thing: suppose we posit, provisionally, that I’m suffering delusions and certain VA staff aren’t the main villains in this story. But, when you consider their spiraling career endings, it makes nonsense of all the main arguments supporting their positions. While they exhaust themselves, each one convincing the other, that I am somehow suffering some psychological break, needing my intelligence validated, for some very strange reason, they keep getting found guilty of serious VHA policy violations. The overall strangeness of their mental diagnosis of me aside, let’s look at the substantive data and walk this through Sir. Here are the facts:


At one time, the local VA Police found that my confidential medical files
had been illegally accessed by over 15 employees who did not have a “need to know“ my personal medical business. One employee daringly sent my private, confidential medical information to his MSN email account to share with his peers, who had already lost their jobs. I have been erroneously charged with a sexual assault only to be exonerated after the “victim” testified she had no idea what they were talking about and words they supposedly (under oath) quoted her saying, she had never spoken. Then, a staff member charged me with “contract for hire killing“ after she called me a nigger to my face, only to have the VA attorney conclude she was lying, which ended her 28 year career. I’ve been called an “arrogant nigger” so many times I thought it was my extra special “secret” Christian name and my parents had neglected to tell me. Then, in an Hippocratic oath violating, sordid attempt to silence me, Dr. Florence Coleman literally proffered me powerful Psych meds. I gently reminded her that I was here to stop taking mind altering chemicals not to start again and politely passed on her offer to become incoherent and drivel saliva all over myself in public. Then, while deathly ill I was forced to four (4) treatment teams in one month to secure a vote to evict me from the Center. After failing three (3) times (I was very sick) they had a fourth meeting, where more staff came, to overcome the votes of the impartial members and secure the eviction. When the vote remained tied ( I repeat, I was very sick), then the MHCL Director overruled the tie. Then, they kicked me out of the Medical Center with three (3) days notice and made me homeless while I was emaciated, horribly underweight, bald, anemic, very weak and deathly vulnerable. There has been four or five employees, found guilty, who have forfeited their careers on the Cross of violating my rights, abusing me or trying to deny benefits to me. You guys call it “forced retirements“? I’ve learned, that when dealing with liars, expecting conscientiousness is not part of the equation. These are facts. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but no one is entitled to their own facts! You see, paranoia isn’t synonymous with people not being out to get you.


 Mr. Richardson prefers to approach my concerns as isolated incidents, without connecting these incredible dots. That’s unrealistic. They must be dealt with wholly, including the history on how all of this began. I didn’t simply appear, start requesting benefits and they denied me. Patient abuse and significant psychological damage happened to me along the way. If you Google my name you will find an entire history of these events online. I have appeared at three Board of Investigations, painfully choking through emotional testimony. Each time guilty verdicts were reached. He knows what they did to me, half the Center knows! These things were not done in a corner nor in the dark. How they maltreated Darrell Hampton is common folklore around here. The entire experience was mentally devastating and physiologically eviscerating. I quietly suffered a complete mental and physical breakdown where I would regularly awake trembling with cold sweats in the middle of the night! This all has taken a great toll and I still can’t re-tell these experiences without hyperventilating. Having to tolerate these wrongs and respond appropriately while taking weekly Interferon shots and 40 Ribavirin pills a week was thoroughly enervating for my equilibrium. American Citizens from all over this country have called me or sent emails to offer sympathy for how I was treated by the VA, but the Director acts as if it was no big deal. It was a huge deal!

Honestly, I have not recovered well and I continue to awake 3-4 nights a week, in the middle of the night in a full blown rage of excruciating psychological suffering. Where we are now is quite simple: These employees were very unsavory and had irrevocably spoiled past their ethical expiration dates long before my arrival. Some of them had over 30 years of service and now their peers are paying me back. They can’t do that! Some of their peers were actually “on” the Boards but the evidence of patient abuse, violations of HYPPA and lying under oath was so prodigious they had no choice but to render a finding of Guilty! They’re blaming me because their buddies got busted! I didn’t commit the offenses, their buddies did! This is a prima fascia case of retaliation and retribution. And they know it! They currently justify their denials under the disingenuous premise that they are now “scared“ of me. They’re not afraid to acquiesce in abuse nor too anxious to appear at three Boards and gallantly tell malicious lies under oath nor to brazenly, mendaciously write statements to the VA Police. Nor to corner me (while I was very ill) and subject me to fulminating demands that I drop the charges against their friends. They howled to wake the dead and blocked out the sun. They were not successful. Now, all of a sudden, they are afraid to be anywhere near me…… .Really? I find this rationale deficient and I reject this hypothesis. They are not afraid. Instead, they are livid that I stood up to them. I am kind, polite and a gentleman, I simply don’t countenance the beating up on sick and weak vulnerable Veterans. I suggest anyone who veto’s my opinions should first, get sick and be mistreated, opposed to superciliously pontificating and I will debate their painful ”experienced” attitudes. For that matter, I don’t particularly care for child abusers or sexual predators either.

I don’t know if some of these people have been doing this so long that they have lost the ability to distinguish candid sincerity or not. Some seem hopelessly unable to stop adjudicating America’s Veterans as no more than tax-dollar exploiting lazy Hoboes. They may just be simply burnt out.
In spite of the mental health injuries I have endured at their hands, I would do it again! I realize that decisions have consequences but enough is enough. They have lied about CWT positions for two years. I have approximately 10 letters of denial from HR for positions I’m qualified to fill, citing benign generic reasons. For all intent and purposes, they have effectively issued a Constitutionally shredding, furtive “Bill of Attainder” against me to deny opportunities on this Center. This type of conspicuous retaliation and manifest retribution is specifically prohibited by Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution, and they know it! They can not collude to privately try, convict and deny me benefits. This statue represents a recognition that federal officials may not strip citizens of well settled constitutional protections against mistreatment simply because they don’t like them. They can’t pretend to be obtuse while “fortuitously” penalizing my First Amendment free speech rights. Like it or not, we have rules in this country. This type of behavior is the antithesis to what the United States of America represents. Creating outrageously illegal strategies like these, then feigning ignorance and innocence while simultaneously advancing these depredating tactical maneuvers should not be sanctioned at an American Government Taxpayer funded facility that is emblazoned with banners of “Veterans First”.

Mr. Secretary: With all of the respect that a Four Star General has earned, I say to you: It is revolting enough that I am consistently made to feel like a rape victim who is repeatedly molested because I reported the sadistic rapist to the proper authorities. Like you, I wore my uniform and I served our country. I carried our blood stained banner! I have never been in combat but I have spent many cold, wet, pitched black sleepless nights bravely guarding my country with an M-16 slung over my shoulder, peeping at dark shadows, while they were warm and cozy in their beds and I refuse to be blacklisted by the very same people I have risked my life to protect! Because I’m not obsequious and denounce patient abuse I get treated as if I am Osama bin Laden or Khalid Sheikh Muhammad!? With all due respect, Sir, I am not a foreign terrorist. I am an American Citizen, I was an Army soldier and I am an Honorably Discharged Veteran !

They are entrenched in their positions and they will not stop unless they are ordered to do so. I honestly believe some of these people, suffering delusions of grandeur, think authority has been conveyed to them by title deed and they answer to no one. How else could Frank Value, the Asst. Service Chief of EMS, have the unmitigated audacity to utter the words; “Darrell Hampton will never get a job here if I have anything to do with it“! I heard him say it, Sir. Immediately after he was promoted in Dec 08 I was “laid off” from my CWT assignment due to “lack of funds”. This was the first time in the Dayton VA’s 140 year history that a Veteran has been laid off from a CWT position for “lack of funds“. Other Veterans were hired in my same position. He can’t do that! Apparently, when Mr. Value isn’t too busy getting convicted for publicly disgracing the VA via soliciting paid sex acts from local undercover Dayton police officers, he must envision that he is the Asst. Service Chief of a Swastika marked, Adolf Hitler Brown Shirted “Fuhrer’s Party“. That’s Un-American!

I’m finished jumping through hoops. It’s over! I will not be denied one tittle of my rights.
The statue of limitations on their specious opinions and unscrupulous Machiavellian games has expired. I’m writing because it is my hope that you will get into the weeds on these matters.
Contrary to popular opinion many, many VA employees thank me for the positions I’ve taken and want to shake my hand or pat my shoulder for surviving these horrible experiences. I am not alone in my opinions about the people who abuse their authority here. We certainly can’t all be crazy.
I must admit Sir, the physical medicine here is excellent. I don’t think I have ever been dissatisfied with the physical medicine until the MHCL interferes with medicine or Surgery. Dr. Florence Coleman often demands that patients, with a drug history, not be given pain meds after surgery. Evidently, she thinks that if a recovering addict has pain from surgery relieved, a relapse is imminent. This is an incredible discretionary enabled authority but……. they make the rules.

Well, there you have it Sir. The hour is late and the time is now. Please end this madness.
 
My Very Best Regards,
 
Darrell Hampton
 
 
DARRELL HAMPTON

The Honorable Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Washington D. C.


Dear Mr. Secretary:                                       August 11, 2010



I want to thank you for any input you made as a result of my last letter to your office. Since then I have been to two (2) interviews for positions at the Dayton VA. The first one I mistakenly thought was a full-time posting and had to decline the interview. The latest was on Wednesday August 4, 2010. After submitting applications for over four (4) years it was nice to finally be considered.

The reason for this letter is that the last position I applied and was interviewed for was the MyhealtheVet Communications Specialist. This position, per the KSA’s required a background in Sales, Advertising and Marketing. My work history includes all three, several years in advertising and over 25 years in the Insurance Industry, the last 10 years as a General Agent running my own Agency. Plus, I have actively used the “MyhealtheVet” site for service for at least three (3) months for Vet services. In short, this position is tailor-made for a person with my background.

My interview was great. During the interviewing process those doing the screening continually gave rave reviews. I cannot imagine that they gave the Director, Mr. Richardson, anything less. My competition for the position was a current VA employee, who is a young female Patient Advocate and another Veteran. Since the initial interview Mr. Richardson has called the other Veteran and the young female in for a second interview but he is yet to contact me. He interviewed the VA employee and gave her the job on Friday and shipped her off to training already! This was nothing less than another deliberate decision to block me from employment and to choose, before even interviewing, who he had decided to give this position to. He can’t do that! Worse yet, he told the other Veteran that a decision would be made within the next two weeks when he knew he had already determined who would get the job! Now, not only have I been cheated out of a job I’m eminently qualified to hold, he has the other Veteran sitting in the Residential Program praying and hoping for a position he already knew he had no intention of rewarding him. What kind of person operates in this manner? Mr. Richardson appears to think he is “entitled” to award positions to whomever he wants while denying opportunity to Vets or the “most qualified candidate“ for the position. As he so boldly told me, when I demanded the benefits I was entitled to “Nobody is entitled to anything, Mr. Hampton”. Well that same rules applies to him: He is not ”entitled” to makes decisions of this sort! This is breathtaking, to say the least! Guy B. Richardson is attempting to make it appear he has conducted a fair, thorough evaluation while advancing his diabolical goal of “putting me in my place” via denying me a position at the Dayton VA. I told you, previously, that these people think they answer to no one. I thought they at least respected your office. I was mistaken. His deceptive appearance of fairness will not suffice in this matter. It is time for him to move on to his next duty assignment!

Mr. Richardson has lined up strategy to justify NOT hiring me and being able to say “I hired the most qualified person who was not Darrell Hampton“. That is a lie! This move would extend the past stratagem of Constitutional violations, per Article 1, Section 9, forbidding Bill of Attainders against American citizens, which is the factual history of his office. I do not believe that your office is uninitiated in sophisticated thought and is ignorant of this bureaucratic scheme.
First, the Veteran who is being considered is “homeless” and I have been living independently for the past four (4) years. Secondly, I have more successful experience in sales, advertising, marketing and “communicating” than the young female employee has existed on this earth! Thirdly, I would respectfully remind you the position is titled “Communications Specialist” and I would put my “proven” communication skills up against any persons currently applying for this position nationwide, let alone at the Dayton VA. This is an atrocious unfair decision!

I don’t remember when I have witnessed another Veteran, currently located within the VA’s homeless Domiciliary being seriously considered for anything more than a janitorial position much less a GS-11 position. Mr. Richardson, like his other VA employees, appears to have a history of considering America’s Veterans not worth more than cleaning toilets or mopping floors at the VA Centers so this specious GS-11 move is definitely out of the norm for him. Even for a Veteran with my history of professional business acumen he prefers that I walk around the Center, with a heat index of over 100 degrees, picking up cigarette butts and going home with soaking wet underwear than to provide a way forward to redeem my life and restoration as a productive member of society.

What does it profit a Veteran to expend energy and time learning the VA policies and benefits if staff only become angry when you request them? I am simply trying to obtain my rights and my benefits while they seem obsessed with making sure I don’t think I’m smarter than they are. This is puerile!

For example: Mr. Secretary, had you been the Director of the Dayton VA during the 2005-2006 year and a patient wrote you at least once every two weeks (like I did Guy Richardson) that I was being tortured by your staff while taking weekly Interferon shots and 40 Ribavirin pills; would you have done NOTHING?! Mr. Richardson watched me weekly as I walked into the Medical Tower, he saw my emaciated condition, he waved and he smiled but he adamantly refused to exercise his executive authority to put a stop to my suffering at the hands of his staff. It was only “after” I began to bring formal charges and he was placed in an untenable position of having to respond that he ordered Boards and they were found guilty by a jury of their peers. Is that what you would have done, Sir?

Is that considered blatant “Dereliction of Duty” or “Conduct Unbecoming of a Federal Employee“?
I am requesting your office intervene here because I believe he has violated my Constitutional rights, VHA policy and discriminated against me, searching for a ways to deny me employment. The fact that we are both African Americans is irrelevant, it is what it is! Like the employees before him who have previously been found guilty of violating my rights he is personalizing my experience here and has joined the side of those employees who are determined to deny me opportunity on this Center. Each and every one of his responses have been spurious and I have lost confidence in any words that proceed from his mouth. He’s a nice guy, I just don’t believe anything he says anymore. When he speaks, even his own staff disregards any veracity. I have lost count of the number of VA employees who have asked me to type letters for them against Mr. Richardson. Each time I have declined because that is simply not something I want to become involved with and I realize there are two sides to every story. It is time for Mr. Richardson to move on to his next duty station. Military equivalent of a One-Star General or not he needs to be removed from service here and sent home!
Mr. Secretary I have questions for you: Sir, do you agree with the way I have been treated by “Your” Veterans Health Administration? Are you going to write my life off and deny me the opportunity to redeem my life and provide for my family? Do you also believe that ‘once an addict, always an addict“ and recovery is a delusion? Do you co-sign the actions of these employees?

If you do, then I need to know your answer now so that I can go another direction and seek remedies elsewhere. I need to know your answer, Sir. I’m writing you Sir and I need an answer from you, not from Mr. Guy B. Richardson, Sir. He has already arrogantly told me, to my face, he is not going to do “anything” to change his direction towards me! His determination to deny employment and treat me like some derelict mental patient is a direct attack on me and my family’s survival. His recent moves confirm his words. What are you going to do Sir?
My Very Best regards,
Darrell Hampton


DARRELL HAMPTON 

 
The Honorable Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Washington D. C.
Dear Sir,                                                                                             August 16,2010


After I received the “Qualified, forwarded for consideration but another person was selected” letter from the Dayton VA I wrote you my perception as to what exactly I perceived Guy B. Richardson had done. That was my opinion and I assume, like any intelligent person, you would assess it as no more than “my opinion” until additional details are revealed.

Let me relate to you what has transpired since my last missive to you.

On Friday, August 13, 2010, at approximately 2:00 pm I was at the Dayton VA doing my CWT job, picking up cigarette butts outside and around the Medical Center. It was at least a 105 degree- heat indexed day. After doing my job and feeling completely overwhelmed by the temperature and the blazing sun, dripping with perspiration, I walked into the Medical Center for a badly needed cool air respite and drink of cold water.

As I entered the building I saw the Director, Guy Richardson walking towards the entrance, heading towards his office. I intentionally stopped, not wanting to interact with him (remember I have just been overlooked, in my opinion, for a position I feel I was the most qualified person to receive) and I always protect my emotions, sooooo I stopped dead in my tracks. I also desperately needed to gather myself; I was sweating profusely and in dire need of a cool drink of water. Mr. Richardson, not seeing me at first, rounded the corner toward his office.

Upon doing so he caught eyesight of me in his peripheral vision. He made a deliberate “U” turn and walked towards me until he reached six (6) inches from my face and he said “Mr., Hampton, you look a lot different today. The last time I saw you, you were all “suited up”! Then, he burst out laughing and walked away to his office. He was making fun of the contrast of how I looked (suited up) when I appeared for the interview and antagonizing me with the fact that he had intentionally denied me the job and I was still outside burning up, picking up cigarette butts. How despicable!
I was immediately offended as I felt this was his way of slapping me in the face with the fact he had cunningly denied me a position I should have received and I had no recourse and I was literally dumbstruck that a “Center Director‘ would conduct himself in this manner! I mean, I knew he didn’t particularly care for me but this was the most blatant derision I have ever encountered.


Sir, I operate from a position that I do not know everything, neither do I consider myself the sharpest knife in the drawer. Fifty-seven (57) years on this earth has taught me there are many sharp knives in the drawer. That said, before I ascertain my position on any particular matter I run my experiences past about ten (10) people who have intelligence, formal education and the life experience I consider worthy of ethical and valuable non-cynical descriptions of what I perceive to be clearly inappropriate behaviors. Some are current high-ranking VA employees. After all that I have been through it is not unrealistic to expect me to develop a cynical attitude so I caution myself “before” I ascertain my experiences. What follows is an honest, non embellished, non-exaggerated moment by moment description of what has happened.

I reversed my direction and left the Medical Tower. Not willing to believe what had just transpired I embarked on a mission to see what the perception of “uninterested parties” might be on this experience. I called or physically spoke to about 8-10 people to hear what their opinion might be about my recent experience. The majority consensus was “he is taunting you and attempting to create an inappropriate response from you in order to degrade your creditability “. Others said he was “rubbing your face” in the fact he has hurt you by denying you a job and that there is NOTHING you could do about it. Incredulous! I don’t remember ever being so humiliated and demeaned in my entire life. I felt more pride as a homeless heroin addict, eight (8) years ago, than I did in the midst of this experience and I fear that without your immediate intervention, this will not end well.

What does it profit a Veteran to work so hard to redeem his life if employees, Mr. Richardson specifically, continue to treat the Veteran as if he just stopped using illegal drugs last night? He has ZERO respect for the men and women who have hazarded their lives for this country and he insists on judging them as if their only self worth is determined by their last failure, never leaving room for redemption on any level. His dedication does not appear to be towards this country nor to the men and women who have served. Instead his arrogance and superiority has become his dominating character and that person is the recipient of his allegiance. Mr. Guy B. Richardson is the exact type of person who was atypical of why I refused to come to the VA for treatment eight (8) years ago. Edith Darden, the homeless Vets Social Worker, would sit next to me in the homeless shelter and plead with me to allow her to help me. I would tell her “no, those people treat Vets like dogs”. After she finally convinced me to come I was assaulted by the MHCL but I received excellent physical medicine so it was six in one hand and half dozen in the other. The rest is history as I’ve written in my March 10, 2010 letter.
I have previously stated that I thought Mr. Richardson was a nice guy, I now disabuse myself of any and all previous statements. What kind of Director of VA Medical Center treats Honorably Discharged Veterans in this way? As I mentioned before, he has cheated me out of a position and he currently has another Honorably Discharged Veteran in the Domiciliary praying for his decision on a job he has already awarded to one of his favorite Black female employees. As an African American I personally resent Mr. Richardson placing me in this adversarial position but I refuse to give him a pass simply because we share the same melanin. That is not the test, Sir! The test is “whether his actions were intentionally purposed to harm me”. I have concluded they were! His arrogance was breathtaking and I exaggerate NOT! My description does not include one sentence of hyperbole! This is an accurate factual account of the events as they transpired


I’ve added or left out Nothing!

Sir, I have enormous respect for your service to our country and I remember how you stood up
during the hearings on the run up to war with Iraq, on the cost and what it would take to win. I know the price you paid for telling the truth. I’ve had a microcosmic experience here of what it feels like to be the only person in the room willing to speak truth to power. I would never disrespect your office nor waste your time with minuscule issues or dishonest allegations. I’m telling you the truth!
Guy B. Richardson is out of control and has allowed his arrogant propensity for nefarious conduct to dominate his entire behavior. This is incredible and had I not been the intended victim of his actions, I would not believe this happened. Seventy-two hours has passed and I remain incredulously in shock.

But, I was there and I saw it and I heard it.

Will you PLEASE address this situation? I have to see this man every single week day which provides hourly opportunities for him to insult and abuse me. I am a CWT Patient!
When the offender is the “Director” I have no choice but to bring these matters to your office.
It is past time to reassign Mr. Richardson, retire Mr. Richardson or do whatever it is that your office does when the leading executive looses complete control.

Need I remind you, Sir, I am a United States Citizen, an Honorably Discharged Veteran and a VA Patient. Nothing less than, Psychologically speaking, this Director is emotionally and mentally assaulting me and is guilty of “Patient Abuse” per your own VHA policies!

What would have happened if I were a lesser man who had less control of my emotions? This incident could have resulted in an act of violence or worse. Not only have I earned better than this, according to Article 1 Section 9 of our Constitution, Title 38 and VHA policy, I should NEVER be denied benefits, denied employment, forced to be traumatized, insulted, humiliated nor provoked into an inappropriate response in this manner. According to VHA policy, it is “my perception” that is the controlling feeling here and I perceive this as “hostile harassment“ requiring urgent intervention! How much more mortification, deep shame and dishonor am I expected to tolerate? I am running on fumes, Sir! I am only a man. At least now I know “why” Mr. Richardson allowed his staff to torture me for four years. I don’t think he likes me very much, which was on pellucid display August 13, 2010 at about 2:00 pm! Well, let’s be brutally honest: He demands obsequious sycophantic behavior, which is ultimately why he choose the black female for the GS-11position and I adamantly refuse to oblige or accommodate him so he makes sure I am denied a job or appropriate treatment in return!

My reputation for veracity and an eidetic “documentation” of personal events proceed me.
In closing, my family is very upset. I have begged them not to get involved here but they have told me they will no longer sit on the sidelines and watch this transparent spectacle of abuse to continue. I am positive, if not already, you will hear from members of my family very soon.
I am requesting your immediate EMERGENCY interposition in this matter, SIR!

My Very Best Regards,

Darrell Hampton