While Rep. Greg Stanton (D)’s staff did respond, and this is a good thing, neither senator from Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) or Sen. Mark Kelly (D) cared enough about my concerns to respond. Frankly, this speaks volumes about how little the senators representing Arizona care about their constituents or veterans. Hence when re-election arrives, remember well the treatment and vote for anyone else!
Now, getting back to Rep. Greg Stanton (D). I contacted his office initially in December 2020; by early January 2021, I received a response from the director of constituent services and was told to allow the VA 45-days to respond to my complaint. Remember, this is my seventh attempt at contacting any of the federal elected representatives to no avail. I was 6-months into being discriminated against by the Carl T. Hayden VAMC for my medically approved breathing problems that preclude wearing a mask. I have sent letters to the hospital director, the VISN Director, and Secretary Wilkie to no avail. I have sent emails to the patient advocate and gotten misleading information, at best. My Primary Care Provider (PCP), at the Carl T. Hayden VAMC, refuses to diagnose over the phone or through distant means and has invited me to find another PCP. I have been arrested, injured, and cited three times by VA Police, who have no say in writing policy. The policy they are enforcing is causing me both injuries at their hands and refusal of emergency care illegal under EMTALA. Not to mention the continuous HIPAA violations as they joke about my medications, mental diagnoses, and physical diagnoses.
I explain this by phone at least three times to the director of constituent services for Rep. Greg Stanton (D), who called me multiple times while responding to my numerous requests for assistance since the election occurred in Nov 2020. Not having heard anything from Jan 2021 to 25 April 2021, I sent the following message via email to the director of constituent services:
“Good Morning XXXX,
Has it been sufficient time for the VA to address my concerns and return a response to your office? The governor of AZ has made mask mandates unenforceable since 25 March, and the VA continues to push masks as mandatory and deny me access. This includes refusing to schedule blood work through the community while insisting that I needed blood work to be conducted before I could get a prescription refilled. I went more than 2-weeks without diabetes medication because my primary care provider refused to alert me in early February that a refill of Metformin would need blood work. I did not discover the need for blood work was required to refill until after I had been without Metformin for a week!
Mask discrimination at the VA is real and dangerous to veterans’ health and safety, and I, for one, am sick and tired of the BS the VA keeps serving as excuses to deny service. I am not a behavioral problem, as the Carl T. Hayden VAMC continues to claim. I do stand up for my rights against all enemies, foreign and domestic! I have paid my fines. If the US Marshals at the Federal Courthouse can have situational empowerment to not press the mask issue for those of us with qualifying medical conditions, the same should occur inside the VA with the VA Police.
The mask mandate is a policy issue threatening my health, safety, and well-being, as well as thousands of other veterans with breathing problems. Just what, if anything, has been done since January on this issue?
I realize that the AZ State Governor does not have anything to do with the Federal Policies; I mentioned the governor’s action solely as an indicator that change in the state of AZ has come (finally), where mask mandates are concerned! The VA claims their mask policy is “constantly changing,” but the only changes I have witnessed are moving from draconian to oppressive, then to ruthless and punitive! The mask policy is wrong, has never been printed as a work standard, and has never been published for veterans to abide by. The best a person has is a sign claiming masks are mandatory and a bunch of emotionally charged employees acting like snowflake Nazi Storm Troopers on a 6-day pass from hell!
Today, 28 April 2021, I reached out to the director of constituent services as I had not received any additional information. Sending the following email:
“I blog, I have a pretty good following, here is my latest: https://dnc-consulting.com/2021/04/28/no-more-bs-speaking-of-administration-bureaucrats-in-government/
Please note, I have not mentioned Rep. Stanton (D) by name, yet, as a politician, I am begging to perform his job of scrutinizing the government, but the temptation is real! I have to be able to access the VA Healthcare system ASAP safely! Where is this issue in being resolved? Feel free to explore the other VA Articles I write on my blog. You will find every single one of the letters to the VA, you will find other veterans having similar problems, and you will find I do not hesitate to name names and point fingers.
I am still waiting patiently, but patience does wear thin when information is lacking!
Within 3 hours of this email, I received the following:
Thanks so much for sharing! Apologies for the delayed response. I am following up with the Phoenix VA Medical Center and determine the status of the inquiry.”
Why am I writing this article?
Frankly, I am through! I am done with the foot-dragging administration at the Carl T. Hayden VAMC, and Alyshia Smith, the director who has dodged, balked, and refused to engage. I am through with the VISN 22 Director Michael Fisher being able to remain silent and unresponsive in this farrago. I am sick to death of being ignored by the VA Secretary, Secretary’s Wilkie and McDonough and their respective staff, while many other veterans across this country and I are physically harmed by a mask policy that doesn’t have enough sense to include “except for medically acceptable conditions,” and was never a policy, just some bloody marketing signs. I am beyond insane about having to go to court for being arrested at the VA three times, kicked off property two additional times, and harassed more than 15 times, for being short of breath, denied emergency care, and then had jokes made by the VA Police about my HIPAA controlled data!
The US Marshals have situational authority to assess and bend the mask policy; why does the VA Police not have this ability? Simple, easy, direct policy question that everyone in the VA refuses to address as having received, let alone answer. Why are the elected officials SILENT about this problem that is harming the safety and well-being of their constituents? Why can a congressional inquiry not DEMAND a prompt and timely response from bureaucrats hiding from the public in their offices?
Rep. Greg Stanton (D), why are you not more involved personally in DEMANDING the VA to correct their errors? Do you not realize how many veterans are in your district? Do you think you can abuse us and through us our families and hope to be re-elected? You, sir, are in desperate need of correcting your attitude and behavior before your re-election chances are forever harmed. I promise this article will survive to your utter shame if a prompt and immediate response is not taken!
I have reached the point where I no longer possess anything “cherubic” in my demeanor on this issue! You cost me time, money, and physical health. You cost other veterans in the AZ09 Congressional District the same. I will find more veterans suffering as I have, as the US Marshals reported that they had seen a massive uptick in veterans being arrested and cited for mask policy violations at the Carl T. Hayden VAMC. The VAMC, coincidentally located in your Congressional District, is harming veterans. You cannot appear to care, let alone act in a manner befitting your office as a Congressional Representative! Immediately come out in support and show yourself a true representative worthy of the title of your office, or leave office immediately, there is no third option!
Your need to change; its mandatory!
© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
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