Click to see preamble.


NOVEMBER 20, 2016



  "A Brand New View from the Oval Office"

Hour 1


No Santa at the VA this year #CryMeARiver

Hour 2

Today we have two great guests with us to take a look at the first couple of weeks after the 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump. We are starting to see some of the president-elect's choices for various cabinet positions. The current employees in the executive branch are having a somewhat visceral reaction to the impending changes. For those of us who have labored under the over-reach of the Obama administration this is a welcome and much anticipated brand new view from the oval office. We'll probably have a little fun at Hillary's expense today too ;-)

Hour 1  Dr. Lyle Rapacki

APPEARANCES:  OCT 30, 2016  NOV 20, 2016

Doctor Lyle Rapacki is a Private-Sector Intelligence, Behavioral Analysis and Threat Assessment Specialist. Since June of 2010, Dr. Rapacki has provided selected members of the Arizona Legislature Intelligence Briefings on Border Security and threats to Arizona sovereignty. Lyle also receives, analyzes and disseminates critical intelligence from and to law enforcement, intelligence, and governmental communities. He is the author of dozens of White Papers, bulletins and briefings, many of which have received distribution to and by local, state, and federal law enforcement, intelligence and public safety agencies nationally. Lyle is the owner of Sentinel Intelligence Services, LLC which carries out these functions, as well as provides consultations to elected officials in and out of Arizona and clients in industry.

Lyle earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Master’s Degree in Counseling from Northern Arizona University, and his Doctorate from Clayton College of Natural Medicine specializing in the treatment of psychological disorders. He also holds a Post-doctorate Diplomate in Forensic Counseling and another in Behavioral Psychotherapy. Dr. Rapacki taught in the Criminal Justice Department at Wayland Baptist University, Phoenix campus, and at Grand Canyon University where he also held the position of Director for the Public Safety Administration, Homeland Security and Crisis Management programs. He is a member of the FBI InfraGard Program for Arizona, Vice President of the Association for Intelligence Officers AZ Chapter; the Association for Threat Assessment Professionals, and the International Association Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts. He is a Charter Member of Oath Keepers, and Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association.

Dr. Rapacki is most privileged to provide intelligence as a Watchmen to the Christian community nationally, and to write a regular commentary for The Olive Branch Report, an online Christian publication. His commentary is then carried by about 25 additional publications..



SUBJECT OF BRIEFING: Obama Birth Certificate


Five years and quite possibly over five million words later, the findings of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department – Cold Case Posse investigation into the Obama Birth Certificate will be brought forward and made public. Many, many obstacles have deliberately been put in place to hinder the investigation, character assassinate anyone close to the issue much less the actual investigation, and discredit the findings. The findings are now ready for release. The facts and findings of the investigation into the Obama Birth Certificate will prove compelling and conclusive. Mentioned below is a recent interview by the lead investigator. You will learn both background explanations as to why things are and have been the way they are, and you will find some nuggets in preparation to the formal press conference. Go to the site mentioned below: .

The formal press conference announcing the findings of the investigation is scheduled for December the 15th, 2016.

Date: November 11, 2016 at 8:20:37 AM MST

PNN Radio Interviews Cold Case Posse Lead Investigator Mike Zullo



Hour 2    
No Santa at the VA this year #CryMeARiver
  with  Kristen Ruell WE THE PEOPLE RADIO
APPEARANCES:   MAY 3, 2015   MAY 10, 2015   AUG 9, 2015  FEB 14, 2016   NOV 20, 2016


My name is Kristen Ruell. I am an authorization quality review specialist at the Philadelphia Regional Office. My primary job duty includes performing quality reviews on the accuracy of benefit payments paid out from the VA to its beneficiaries. This August will mark my 9th year of employment with the Philadelphia Regional Office at the United States Department of Veteran Affairs. The agency has potential to be the greatest place to work in the entire country. The feeling of being able to give back to the American citizens that served our country is truly satisfying.

Kristen is now part of the MyVA task force
Try the new MyVA infrormation hotline: (844) MyVA311


From: V21MAC All Staff SA
Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2016 7:48 PM
To: V21MAC All Staff
Subject: Moratorium on Awards Processing until further notice

All VANCHCS Staff,

We regret to inform you that there is a VA wide moratorium on processing all awards until further notice as indicated in the message from VA Central Office below. This means we will not be giving out performance awards prior to Christmas as we have in the past. We hope to hear soon that the moratorium is lifted. However, based on the information provided, we expect a reduced amount of award money will be available. We will keep you informed when we receive updated information.



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Ladies and Gentlemen:

Recently enacted legislation has the potential to significantly reduce the VA’s award budget from previous years. This Congressional action requires further review and analysis, as well as establishing a methodology to equitably distribute award monies. Once the methodology is determined, the Office of Management (OM) will compute the awards budgets for each Administration and Staff Office, based upon the limitations imposed by Congress. Therefore, I am immediately imposing a moratorium on processing all awards until further notice. We are addressing the urgency of this matter as expeditiously as possible, via email, acknowledging that VA Handbook 5013, Part I, Paragraph 8, requires supervisors to communicate performance appraisals ratings for those employees who have a fiscal year rating cycle, and HR offices to code the ratings into HR Smart as soon as possible, and no later than 90 calendar days after the end of the rating cycle,

Awards include, but are not limited to:


                     Individual cash awards (such as superior performance awards and individual special contribution awards);

                     SES performance awards;

                     Group cash awards (such as group special contribution awards);

                     Suggestion awards;

                     Organizational awards;

                     Gain-sharing/productivity awards;

                     Quality Step Increases (QSIs);

                     Special Advancements for Achievement (SAA) (certain Title 38 and Hybrid Title 38);

                     Special Advancements for Performance (SAP) (certain Title 38 and Hybrid Title 38);

                     Exemplary Job Performance and Exemplary Job Achievement (RNs and CRNAs only);

                     Cash awards of up to $2,000, in accordance with 38 U.S.C. §7452(b), for RNs and CRNAs for obtaining specialty certification;

                     Referral awards



Employee Relations & Performance Management Service

Office of Human Resources Management

VA Central Office

Great message from the MyVA director:


I hope everyone had a wonderful Veterans Day last week. Thank you to all those who have served, are continuing to serve, and for all your support of Veterans.

I would like to share the latest MyVA Transformation Update which we released publically last week. Additionally, I’ve attached a 2 page infographic page, 1 one page overview of VA’s 2016 accomplishments…and here is a link to a 15 minute video ( which we’ll soon be chopping into shorter segments that are easier to consume.

A few quick highlights: 

  • We are re-earning Veterans trust by improving the Veteran Experience. A year ago, only 47% of Veterans told us they trust the VA to fulfill our country’s commitment to Veterans; that number is now 60%. Still way too low, but we are very encouraged by the movement and we understand that trust is built over time. Veterans are telling us that we are more effectively delivering on our care and services (from 65% to 75%), we are becoming more “user friendly” (from 46% to 66%) and we are increasingly showing empathy and making Veterans feel valued (from 54% to 68%). We want all these numbers over 90%
  • Access to healthcare, and quality of healthcare, is improving.
  • At ~116 (of 166) Medical Centers, we are now have the processes/systems in place to provide same-day services for those Veterans that need it, in primary care. At ~113 Medical Centers, we have the processes/systems in place to provide same-day services for mental health. 86 facilities are able to provide same-day services for both primary care and mental health. We continue to drive towards our goal of all 166 Medical Centers are providing same-day services in both by the end of this December.
  • At ~115 Medical Centers, Veterans are now able to schedule optometry and/or audiology appointments directly, without first going through primary care. This means that Veterans can more easily/quickly get their eyeglasses or hearing aids.
  • By September 2016, the average wait time for a completed appointment was down to less than 5 days for primary care, less than 7 days for specialty care, and less than 3 days for mental health care. However given the size of the VA, there is variability; and we are working to reduce that unfavorable variability at our lower performing sites.
  • In FY 2016, VA completed nearly 58 million appointments – 1.2 million more than in FY 2015 and 3.2 million more than FY 2014. More of them are provided by a network of more than 350,000 community providers – a 45% increase in the number of providers since last year.
  • While we are improving access, quality is also improving – in the past year 82% have improved significantly in quality metrics (SAIL).
  • VA is answering the phone.
  • As crazy as it sounds, in January 2016 59% of phone calls to our VBA national call center were being blocked because of call volume and long wait times to get served. This is now less than 1% and average speed to answer is down to less than 3.5 minutes (our goal is less than 30 seconds).
  • On Monday we will be rolling out a single phone number, 1-844-MyVA311(698-2311); in case a Veteran does not which of our 975 1-800 numbers to call. The MyVA311 line will direct you to the right person (we are modeling our phone experience to that of which many Veterans are familiar at USAA).
  • Not long ago, when Veterans called a Medical Center they would receive a message that if in crisis to “hang up and call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1”. That is no longer the case; Veterans now can be automatically transferred by pressing 7. We are doubling our capacity to handle crisis calls and have opened up a second hub for the VCL in Atlanta.
  • is transforming the on-line experience. See for yourself ( In collaboration with the US Digital Service team (a bunch of ridiculously smart Silcon Valley-type choosing to take a hiatus from the commercial world to help Veterans/government) by March we will have overhauled this experience and collapsed our 500+ Veteran-facing sites into 1 amazingly slick experience. We have increased online healthcare application submissions from 62/day to 500/day (traditionally 10% of our applications were online, it will now be so easy that 50% will be online); and have rolled out new online education app that launched this week that will make it easier and faster for Veterans and service members to apply for programs such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill®. Coming soon will be a single login, a much slicker prescription refill function, secure messaging with your doctor, and much improved online claims status function. Also, in January Veterans will be able to schedule primary-care appointments through an app on their phones, tablets, or computers.
  • Veteran homelessness has been reduced 17% in the past year and 47% since 2010. In Los Angeles, Veterans homelessness was reduced by over 30% last year, in a year that overall homelessness increased. Of course we still have much work to do here.
  • Processing of disability claims is faster and more accurate. The average wait time to complete a claim has dropped by 65%, to 123 days. We completed nearly 1.3 million claims in FY 2016, and reduced pending claims by almost 90.
  • We are improving the employee experience, although we still have a long way to go! We improved on 66 of 71 dimensions in this year’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. However these scores are still way too low. A great employee experience is key to providing a first-class Veteran experience. One of the main pain point has been speed to hire qualified candidates; we prioritized Medical Center Directors and have cut the speed to hire time from 252 to 133 days (47% reduction).
  • We are innovating and sharing best practices across the enterprise. Our scale and scope are incredible advantages. The VA Innovator’s Network and the Diffusion of Excellence initiatives are going strong and being expanded in 2017.
  • MyVA Communities. We now have 95 MyVA Communities across the country (
While we are very excited about the progress, there is still much left to be done. Transformations of this magnitude take time (several years) and require everyone rowing in the same direction. Veteran Service Organizations and VA will be working with our Congressional partners on both sides of the aisle to pass key legislation over the coming weeks (hopefully!). And we look forward to working with the incoming administration (beginning this coming week) to ensure there is no momentum loss from one administration to another (as it says on the back cover of the MyVA Transformation Update: “Administrations change. Our collective commitment to Veterans shouldn’t.”).

Thank for your continued support.


Scott Blackburn

Department of Veterans Affairs

Cell (202) 430-9139

Link to November 2016 MyVA Transformation Update:

And an infographic here: