Minnesota’s treatment of vets — above average

Minnesota is also above average in treatment of vets. Steve Karnowski’s AP story on the VA Hospital scandal says: “Waiting times at the two Veterans Affairs medical centers in Minnesota are considerably lower than the worst trouble spots in the VA system, new audit data released Monday show. The average wait time for a patient seeking primary care for the first time is 28 days at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and its outpatient clinics.”

The Faculty v. Chancellor fight at MnSCU is heating up. In the PiPress, Mila Koumpilova writes: “Minnesota’s state university faculty union sent a harsh critique of Chancellor Steven Rosenstone’s performance to the MnSCU governing board as it gears up to evaluate him. The union and Rosenstone have had a tense relationship. Since last fall, they have clashed over a new strategic planning process for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. And they have been caught in contentious contract negotiations for more than a year.”

The latest in the ongoing Plague of Invasive Pests … Jim Anderson in the Strib: “Homely, smelly and destructive, the brown marmorated stink bug is the very definition of the unwelcome guest. But now that the insect has gotten its creepy little toehold in the state, scientists are taking steps to head off one of the newest invasive species to hit Minnesota. Since first being discovered in St. Paul in 2010, the bug … emits a pungent smell often compared to dirty socks.” So, before you gas the basement, be sure the problem really isn’t dirty socks.

We’ve politicized climate change, so why not the state auditor job? Mark Haveman, executive director of the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence, offers a Strib commentary saying: “Over time, and in a truly bipartisan fashion, themes of political advocacy have crept into this watchdog role. However, recent candidate announcements have taken this to a completely new level. It’s jarring to hear candidates for the office overtly pledge to pursue ideological agendas and involvement in a wide variety of policy areas like closing education achievement gaps and civil-rights enforcement, when legislators have not given the state auditor authority in those matters.”

In the Winona Daily News, Tesla Mitchell tells us:The challenge to Winona’s so-called 30 Percent Rule has made its way to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which is expected to provide a final ruling later this year on the nearly decade-old ordinance. The court recently chose to take on the case challenging the ordinance — which limits rental properties to 30 percent of any block — after the ordinance was upheld in Winona’s district court, then by a state appeals court.”

The GleanIn the Minnesota Daily, Nicholas Studenski looks at the Doran company’s moves around Dinkytown and says: “Around the same time Doran Companies put five apartment complexes up for sale, the development firm snagged two Dinkytown sites, adding to its hefty portfolio of University of Minnesota-area properties. Doran Companies, which is now selling all its luxury housing complexes near the University, recently made a $1.76 million deal on property that has faced up-and-down development drama for nearly a year.” Luxury housing for … students. Talk about living in the first world.

Even Bob Collins at MPR is upset about the opaque sweetheart deal the NFL squeezed out of local business leaders: “The host committee, the group of business titans who made the pitch to the NFL, doesn’t want to talk about the deal. It cites the data privacy law in Minnesota, which allows deals to remain secret until the event occurs or five years later. Early in the process, they said the agreement would be public. They just didn’t say in what decade.”

Also at MPR, Brandt Williams wades into some gun stats: “Speaking of guns in Minnesota, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) released the 2013 U.S. trace reports today. According to the report, 2,636 firearms recovered in Minnesota were traced with the help of the ATF.  That’s slightly more than the 2,603 guns traced the previous year. The report shows 33 of the guns traced last year in Minnesota were used in homicides, and 47 in suicides.” The only thing that stops a suicidal person with easy access to a gun is …

The Big Dog spoke. Doug Belden of the PiPress covered Bill Clinton’s Humphrey Institute speech Monday: “These days, we’ve become less racist, sexist and homophobic, Clinton said, but ‘our one remaining bigotry’ is that we don’t want to be around people who disagree with us, and we don’t trust our opponents enough to resolve conflicts. As a result, problems ranging from the cost of college to income inequality to Medicaid expansion go unsolved, he said.” Fine. Fine. But did he apologize for Benghazi? Or the death of Vince Foster? Or Whitewater?

Today in entrepreneurship … . Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib reports: “The Florida owner of a major debt-buying company that’s been sued by the state of Minnesota was arrested and charged with bribing a U.S. Bank official to get inside information on the sale of debt portfolios. Leonard G. Potillo III, who runs Florida-based United Credit Recovery LLC, allegedly paid the bank employee $1 million for details on the sale of overdrawn checking and savings accounts it had charged off, according to a federal indictment unsealed Monday.”

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 06/10/2014 - 06:57 am.

    28 day MN VA wait still much longer than their standard,…

    …which WAS 14 days, now abandoned as not achievable, according to the VA’s internal audit.

    “Meeting a 14-day wait-time performance target for new appointments was simply not attainable given the ongoing challenge of finding sufficient provider slots to accommodate a growing demand for services. Imposing this expectation on the field before ascertaining the resources required and its ensuing broad promulgation represent an organizational leadership failure.”

    http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1184599/vaaccessauditfindingsreport.pdf

    This is fundamentally a resources issue, though the corruption angle highlighted in the news is certainly an attention-grabber.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/10/2014 - 07:40 am.

      “the corruption angle”

      The corruption came about because bonuses were promised for offices meeting or exceeding the standard. Rather than tell management that the standard was unachievable, they simply played along with the charade but had to cook the books to make it appear they were succeeding. And once they were working with a fake schedule, it didn’t matter how long the actual wait became for the veteran seeking services and so the waits got longer.

      • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 06/10/2014 - 09:01 am.

        So the Real Problem

        Was that these public sector leaders were operating in the manner of private sector executives,…

        who, no matter what methods are devised to try to accurately determine and properly reward excellent performance,…

        find ways to game the system in order to maximize the appearance of their own performance in order to gain the benefit of whatever incentives are offered, even while running their companies into bankruptcy.

        Gee, I always thought “conservatives” would be thrilled to see the private sector invading the public sector,…

        and government being “run like a business.”

        I suppose the problem with the VA really is that it belongs to ALL of us, and there’s no CEO who can clean out its cash reserves as he skips off to take over and bankrupt another company,…

        nor is there a hedge fund or private investment fund who can jump in, take over the VA, pay themselves MASSIVE bonuses out of money borrowed in the VA’s name, make it look good on paper for a few weeks,…

        then skip off with $millions (or $billions) while selling it off to unwise investors who ignore it’s newly massive debt load.

        It would seem our “conservative” friends can’t figure out a way to make the VA pad their own pockets, so they have no use for it at all (except, of course, for trying to turn it into a political millstone.

        It would never cross their minds that they, and the rest of the citizens of our nation, actually OWE our vets sufficient tax revenues to pay for the currently-needed number of medical practitioners, clinics and hospitals to allow the VA to actually meet the goals it is being asked to meet.

        Conservatives, for all their worship of heroes and of the past, don’t actually DO long-term responsibility. They have zero sense of responsibility. The simply can’t comprehend that such a thing as long-term responsibility exists.

        Consequently, they regard our vets as if they were employees who are no longer needed,…

        and can simply be laid off and left to their own devices to starve or die for lack of medical care, no matter how many mental and/or physical disabilities their former work demanded of them by those same conservatives, and performed on behalf of all of us, has left them with.

        The corruption so endemic in American business has long since invaded government at every level, in most cases due to the inevitable results of economically dysfunctional “conservative” policies being successfully demanded of government by those who are most able buy influence by paying for political campaigns.

        At its base, such corruption can and should be defined as taking more from the economy you share with your fellow citizens that your activities provide in benefit,…

        coupled with taking the daily labors of your fellow citizens without providing compensation sufficient for them to support their lives, which amounts to nothing short of thievery.

        Indeed, “the love of money is the root of many evils.”

        Thinking that net worth (or the appearance of wealth) equals personal worthiness and that there is no means of attaining that wealth that is not acceptable, coupled with the personality dysfunction that leaves so many of the most wealthy completely incapable of ever feeling satisfied that they have enough and drives them to accumulate more and more and more by whatever means they can devise,…

        currently our nation’s most dangerous and damaging (unrecognized) addiction,…

        is the source of the corrosive corruption is destroying our nation beginning with Wall Street, spreading from there to American business, and gradually swallowing up most of our government.

        What’s happened with the Veterans administration health care system is simply the inevitable result of these “conservative” dysfunctions being brought to bear in the public sector in the same way they’ve been massively corroding the private sector since the days of Ronnie Raygun.

  2. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 06/10/2014 - 10:16 am.

    Super Bowl Big Shots need us

    Last time around, Super Bowl promoters in the Twin Cities relied on a ton of volunteers. Right now, I am tempted to leave town rather than volunteer. If they want to go this alone, treat all the locals like dirt and promote it as an economic package for only the wealthy, they’re going to be blamed if the Super Bowl in Minneapolis is less than super.

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