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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    12.18.17 @ 04:35 AM
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    Default Woman faces federal charges after refusing to pay for soda, pouring it on counter

    The U.S. Attorney’s office is making a federal case out of spilled soda.

    The Bush administration’s top attorney in Idaho is bringing charges against a North Idaho woman for refusing to pay for a Diet Coke and then pouring it out on a counter at a cafeteria in the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Boise.

    Natalie Walters, now facing two counts that each carry a maximum sentence of six months in federal prison, thinks the case is a waste of taxpayer money and plans to fight the charges.

    U.S. Attorney Tom Moss’s office wouldn’t comment on the case until after Walters’ arraignment, set for Oct. 8.

    Roger Banks, listed on the court record as the investigating agent with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, did not return the Statesman’s phone call Wednesday.

    Walters, though, told her side of the story:

    The 39-year-old North Idaho resident periodically drives her father, a disabled Vietnam veteran, to Boise’s VA Medical Center for doctor visits.

    She brings her own mug and fills it with soda in the hospital’s cafeteria. The cafeteria does not have a posted price for refills and typically the cashier charges her $1 or $1.50, Walters said.

    But on Aug 20, when Walters filled her mug with Diet Coke, the clerk charged $3.80.

    “I told her that cannot be right and asked to talk to the manager,” Walters said.

    The manager told Walters the price is correct.

    Walters decided she didn’t want to pay that much and offered to return the soda, she said. But the manager told her there was no way to accept the returned soda, so Walters had to pay. Walters refused, and she said she was angry by this point, and she poured the soda onto the counter.

    The manager banned Walters from the cafeteria. Walters left but remained in the hospital for a couple of hours waiting for her father to finish his appointments. No one came to talk to her, so she assumed the soda ordeal was over.

    What happened the next day upsets Walters most.

    “They did not know who I was. But they had the whole thing on videotape,” she said.

    The tapes also showed her with her father in other areas of the hospital.

    The next day, while her father was at a dentist appointment at the VA, an official came in, told him about the incident and asked him to have his daughter contact the hospital.

    “They accessed my father’s medical records to find out his next appointment to try and find me,” she said. “I think that is a (federal health privacy law) violation. Medical records are private,” she said. “They should not have used a veteran’s medical records to find me. ... My dad was upset. He could not believe it.”

    Walters never contacted the VA and that was the last she heard about the incident until a Statesman reporter contacted her Wednesday and informed her of the federal charges and her Oct. 8 arraignment.

    She was shocked.

    “My father is a veteran. It is a federal facility for veterans. This should have been handled differently,” she said. “This is extreme. This is totally extreme. Well, if they have that much time on their hands … go for it.”
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Good Enough
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    01.06.12 @ 02:10 PM
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    Honestly, I would probably have done the same thing she did.... this is so stupid and wasteful....

    again, more top notch gov't spending .... and it will be interesting to see what happens with the health records privacy issue... wonder what HIPPA will do?
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  3. #3
    Future's in the past....
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    11.03.17 @ 01:35 PM
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    Definitely sounds like HIPAA Compliance issue. Can't wait to show this to Mrs VHR, as she catches hell for merely leaving a patient's file out on her desk in her office.
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  4. #4
    Good Enough
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    01.06.12 @ 02:10 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by VanHalenRules View Post
    Definitely sounds like HIPAA Compliance issue. Can't wait to show this to Mrs VHR, as she catches hell for merely leaving a patient's file out on her desk in her office.
    Yep, and EMR's are all the rage and pain in the ass! My husband's office just had yet ANOTHER meeting to change the EMR... $150,000 just to implement it then the next several yrs to learn it and bitch about it and guess what.... no f-ing bonus AGAIN this yr if they decide to do it. I love academic medicine.......................................... ..
    Model Citizen, Zero Discipline


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  5. #5
    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 03:53 PM
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    The sad thing is that after shuffling my uncle through the Ann Arbor VA following his inpatient treatment, I do not find this surprising.

    frankly, I think they took several years off my uncle's life by dealing with the issues regarding his stroke and ignoring the large cancerous lump that was growing on his neck (even tho he pointed it out to them for 6 months) then there was the three month wait for the biopsy...9 months after discovering a lump on his neck he was diagnosed, and I don't think that would have happened if I had not thrown a hissy fit in the clinic..

    I told them that they had screwed around with this particular veteran for too long, but now I was in charge and they WERE going to do that biopsy TODAY as scheduled and not reschedule. Should they not want to do the biopsy , they had better be prepared to call security to have both me and the old man in the wheelchair forcibly removed, but should they do so, I knew people in broadcasting and the whole thing sounded like something they would like to do a three part series on...so while they're notifying security, they should call the public realtions representative too, cause I wouldn't want her to be caught off guard with her hair undone for the cameras

    they did the biopsy

    After the biopsy, the poor surgeon later told me not to leave the hospital that day without a full copy of my uncle's medical records, cause medical records for patients had a tendency to disappear and he thought that this might be a file that disappears...can you believe that shit!

  6. #6
    Good Enough
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daisy Hill View Post
    The sad thing is that after shuffling my uncle through the Ann Arbor VA following his inpatient treatment, I do not find this surprising.

    frankly, I think they took several years off my uncle's life by dealing with the issues regarding his stroke and ignoring the large cancerous lump that was growing on his neck (even tho he pointed it out to them for 6 months) then there was the three month wait for the biopsy...9 months after discovering a lump on his neck he was diagnosed, and I don't think that would have happened if I had not thrown a hissy fit in the clinic..

    I told them that they had screwed around with this particular veteran for too long, but now I was in charge and they WERE going to do that biopsy TODAY as scheduled and not reschedule. Should they not want to do the biopsy , they had better be prepared to call security to have both me and the old man in the wheelchair forcibly removed, but should they do so, I knew people in broadcasting and the whole thing sounded like something they would like to do a three part series on...so while they're notifying security, they should call the public realtions representative too, cause I wouldn't want her to be caught off guard with her hair undone for the cameras

    they did the biopsy

    After the biopsy, the poor surgeon later told me not to leave the hospital that day without a full copy of my uncle's medical records, cause medical records for patients had a tendency to disappear and he thought that this might be a file that disappears...can you believe that shit!
    yes I can sadly....

    We are military and when you move they hand you a full copy of your records to take with ya.... (or they use to, maybe they changed it because we are active duty reserves now.) I always thought that was kind of crazy.

    I have them locked in a safe in the house
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  7. #7
    Good Enough wham bam will rock's Avatar
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    06.26.17 @ 04:51 PM
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    Is this 'smaller government'? I suppose she deserves it for not helping fuel the economy by paying $3.80 for a Diet Coke and a plastic cup. Way to treat an immediate family member of a veteran.
    "Never is just reven spelled backwards." -House

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  8. #8
    Good Enough avhevhmashdlr's Avatar
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    03.10.14 @ 08:22 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by voivod View Post
    The U.S. Attorney’s office is making a federal case out of spilled soda.

    The Bush administration’s top attorney in Idaho is bringing charges against a North Idaho woman for refusing to pay for a Diet Coke and then pouring it out on a counter at a cafeteria in the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Boise.

    Natalie Walters, now facing two counts that each carry a maximum sentence of six months in federal prison, thinks the case is a waste of taxpayer money and plans to fight the charges.

    U.S. Attorney Tom Moss’s office wouldn’t comment on the case until after Walters’ arraignment, set for Oct. 8.

    Roger Banks, listed on the court record as the investigating agent with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, did not return the Statesman’s phone call Wednesday.

    Walters, though, told her side of the story:

    The 39-year-old North Idaho resident periodically drives her father, a disabled Vietnam veteran, to Boise’s VA Medical Center for doctor visits.

    She brings her own mug and fills it with soda in the hospital’s cafeteria. The cafeteria does not have a posted price for refills and typically the cashier charges her $1 or $1.50, Walters said.

    But on Aug 20, when Walters filled her mug with Diet Coke, the clerk charged $3.80.

    “I told her that cannot be right and asked to talk to the manager,” Walters said.

    The manager told Walters the price is correct.

    Walters decided she didn’t want to pay that much and offered to return the soda, she said. But the manager told her there was no way to accept the returned soda, so Walters had to pay. Walters refused, and she said she was angry by this point, and she poured the soda onto the counter.

    The manager banned Walters from the cafeteria. Walters left but remained in the hospital for a couple of hours waiting for her father to finish his appointments. No one came to talk to her, so she assumed the soda ordeal was over.

    What happened the next day upsets Walters most.

    “They did not know who I was. But they had the whole thing on videotape,” she said.

    The tapes also showed her with her father in other areas of the hospital.

    The next day, while her father was at a dentist appointment at the VA, an official came in, told him about the incident and asked him to have his daughter contact the hospital.

    “They accessed my father’s medical records to find out his next appointment to try and find me,” she said. “I think that is a (federal health privacy law) violation. Medical records are private,” she said. “They should not have used a veteran’s medical records to find me. ... My dad was upset. He could not believe it.”

    Walters never contacted the VA and that was the last she heard about the incident until a Statesman reporter contacted her Wednesday and informed her of the federal charges and her Oct. 8 arraignment.

    She was shocked.

    “My father is a veteran. It is a federal facility for veterans. This should have been handled differently,” she said. “This is extreme. This is totally extreme. Well, if they have that much time on their hands … go for it.”
    First: DO NOT pour soda on a counter, in an effort to return it. leave the cup there, get your father, and find another place to go to a veterans med. center.

    Second: who in their right mind goes through someone's records, especially medical records of a veteran, to find the person? i mean seriously, put a pic or the video footage of the said person, on america's most wanted, or something.

    Third: great spending of taxes when we could use them for something useful! i mean seriously, we could do something more for the veterans and their families instead of bringing them to court for something stupid like that.

    Fourth: Post the damn prices for the refills. this would have solved that problem in the long run, and we wouldnt have this issue.

    Fifth and Final: Don't be shocked at this one--> BYOS--> Bring your own soda, put it in your purse, or something.
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  9. #9
    Existentially Uncertain Fontcow's Avatar
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    If the government would put as much attention and effort into caring for our veterans as they are in prosecuting a veteran's family member who didn't pay $3.80 for a soda, we wouldn't have the neglect issues that are so prevalent with the VA. This is sickening.

  10. #10
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 05:57 AM
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    Major waste of taxpayer's dollars.
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

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  11. #11
    Hang 'Em High jetguy5150's Avatar
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    12.15.17 @ 11:56 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by avhevhmashdlr View Post
    First: DO NOT pour soda on a counter, in an effort to return it. leave the cup there, get your father, and find another place to go to a veterans med. center.

    Fourth: Post the damn prices for the refills. this would have solved that problem in the long run, and we wouldnt have this issue.

    Fifth and Final: Don't be shocked at this one--> BYOS--> Bring your own soda, put it in your purse, or something.
    You hit this bang on. Based on what it costs me to buy a friggin' cup of coke at lunch I think this woman was undercharged prior to this event. $1 to refill your own travel mug? I bet it was one of those 7-11 mugs that don't fit into cup holders. Seriously...I've been upset about the price of something at one time or another but this behaviour borders on whacky.

    As for the rest of the story and the law suit etc.... ABSURD!!! What a waste of money. It would be cheaper to have the government pay for her refills.
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