VA Training Guide Labels Disgruntled Vets as 'Oscar the Grouch'

Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014 04:43 PM

By John Blosser

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Even as new Veterans Administration secretary Robert McDonald urges VA employees to "rebuild trust" with veterans in the midst of treatment delays and coverup scandals in the agency, the VA is referring to dissatisfied veterans as "Oscar the Grouch."

The Philadelphia Inquirer obtained copies of an 18-page internal training guide containing a slide show called, "What to Say to Oscar the Grouch — Dealing with Veterans During Town Hall Claims Clinics," which shows pictures of the perpetually grumpy Sesame Street character who lives in a garbage can, with a sign saying, "Cranky" hanging from the can's rim. 

The presentation also includes a photo of Oscar saying, "100 % GROUCHY, DEAL WITH IT."

The VA currently is under investigation over whistleblowers' revelations that systematic falsifying of dates was undertaken to give the impression that veterans were receiving appointments and services much more quickly than they were actually being provided. The Town Hall meetings are an attempt to mollify angry veterans and provide services.

McDonald told the Inquirer, "It is critical that we continue to listen and learn directly from those who use our system." 

"This is no time or place to make light of the current crisis that the VA is in," Joe Davis, national spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, told the Inquirer."There are some people at the VA who forgot who their ultimate boss is, and that's the veteran."

VA spokesperson Marisa Prugsawan told the Inquirer, "The training provided was not intended to equate veterans with this character. It was intended to remind our employees to conduct themselves as courteously and professionally as possible when dealing with veterans and their concerns."

However, Davis said that the reference "slams the door" on the VA's attempts to build trust with veterans.

Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., has accused the VA of embracing a "culture of cover-ups."

The Inquirer reports Meehan says he was told there was no date falsifying by Philadelphia VA director Daniel Hendee, but a VA audit found that 31 percent of schedulers reported they had been instructed to not enter appointment dates veterans requested.

The "Oscar the Grouch" training anticipates that veterans may become angry, and advises employees to take a break to cope with stress when things become heated.

The Inquirer also obtained a copy of an email to staff at the VA office, instructing them to "not respond directly to any media inquiries."

"For a long time, there was a stereotype of Vietnam veterans, that they’re mentally unstable and violent, bitter, angry and resentful," Christian DeJohn, a VA employee and former Army veteran who served in Bosnia, told the Inquirer. "I feel like this is perpetuating some of the worst stereotypes of veterans."

Related Stories:
 

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Evangelicals With Gay Children Challenging Church

Thursday, 27 Nov 2014 16:00 PM

Rob and Linda Robertson did what they believed was expected of them as good Christians.When their 12-year-old son Ryan s . . .

Frank Yablans, Former Paramount President, Dies at 79

Thursday, 27 Nov 2014 16:00 PM

Frank Yablans, the president of Paramount Pictures during the fertile early '70s era of films such as "The Godfather" an . . .

Central Florida Family Rescued From State Forest

Thursday, 27 Nov 2014 15:58 PM

A central Florida father and four kids are thankful they didn't have to spend a cold night in a state forest after getti . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved