Veterans

'Significant Delays in Access to Care' Confirmed by VA Inspector General

|

Veterans
Mark Sardella/Foter

Not that it's a shocker at this late date, but the inspector general at the Department of Veterans Affairs says there are, in fact, wait-list shenanigans at the Veterans Health Administration facility in Phoenix, Arizona. Why would officials do such a thing? To boost their job reviews so they get put at the front of the line for raises. No surprise, this is not an isolated problem at one facility.

Here's a money quote from the interim report, released today:

Our reviews at a growing number  of VA medical facilities have thus far provided insight into the current extent of these inappropriate scheduling issues throughout the VA health care system and have confirmed that inappropriate scheduling practices are systemic throughout VHA. One  challenge in these reviews is to determine whether these practices exist currently or were used in the past and subsequently corrected by VA managers. 

To date, our work has substantiated serious conditions at the Phoenix HCS. We identified about 1,400 veterans who did not have a primary care a ppointment but were appropriately included on the Phoenix HCS' EWLs [electronic wait lists]. However, we identified an additional 1,700 veterans who were waiting for a primary care appointment but were not on the EWL. Until that happens, the reported wait time for these veterans has not started. Most importantly, these veterans were and continue to be at risk of being forgotten or lost in Phoenix HCS's convoluted scheduling process. As a result, these veterans may never obtain a requested or required clinical appointment.  A direct consequence of not appropriately placing veterans on EWLs is that the Phoenix HCS leadership significantly understated the time new patients waited for their primary care appointment in their FY 2013 performance appraisal accomplishments, which is one of the factors considered for awards and salary increases.

If I'm reading that correctly, more patients were improperly excised from the wait list than were included, which represents something a tad larger than an institutional hiccup.

President Obama, according to White House press secretary Jay Carney, finds the report "extremely troubling."

As I've written before, the VA's woes aren't peculiar to itself—government-run, single-payer health systems tend to run into long, often lethal, and frequently concealed delays. And that's before you even get to the poor quality of care offered to the lucky patients who make it to the front of the line.

NEXT: Nothing Changes: In Bill de Blasio's New York, Cops Still Making Petty Marijuana Arrests

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. ROMNEY WOULD’VE BEEN WORSE! KOCHSTOPUS!! BUSHITLERCHRISTFAG!!!!!!

    1. Yeah, like the VHA problems just popped up. Pin Walter Reed Hospital’s 2007 failure on Obama too. Bush closed that shithole down rather than fix it (not that I blame him for it).

      You Peanuts are getting tiresome and predictable.

      1. They’ve been fixed since BOOOOOOSSSHH?

      2. I’m fully prepared to believe that Bush single-handedly wrecked the VA health system. What I don’t understand is how the current administration (font of compassion and competence that it is) allowed the system to get even worse until Obama chanced upon a newspaper article.

        1. Bush didn’t wreck the VHA. It has been a crumbling artifact for decades.

          Yesterday I suggested that we eliminate the VHA and give them Obamacare vouchers for private healthcare instead.

          That idea is burgeoning among the wingnut apparatchik.

          1. Making more people, the people that you screwed over, dependent on OCare to use your previous failure to try to take hostages in support of your current failure is idiocy.

            Weigel is as Weigel does.

          2. Paul Krugman in 2011 wrote of the VA’s “huge success story”:

            Multiple surveys have found the VHA providing better care than most Americans receive, even as the agency has held cost increases well below those facing Medicare and private insurers?the VHA is an integrated system, which provides health care as well as paying for it. So it’s free from the perverse incentives created when doctors and hospitals profit from expensive tests and procedures, whether or not those procedures actually make medical sense.

            Similarly, Nicholas Kristof of the Times wrote in 2009:

            Take the hospital system run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the largest integrated health system in the United States. It is fully government run, much more “socialized medicine” than is Canadian health care with its private doctors and hospitals. And the system for veterans is by all accounts one of the best-performing and most cost-effectiveelements in the American medical establishment.

            1. Just last year, Uwe Reinhardt of Princeton wrote in the pages of the Times:

              Remarkably, Americans of all political stripes have long reserved for our veterans the purest form of socialized medicine, the vast health system operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (generally known as the V.A. health system). If socialized medicine is as bad as so many on this side of the Atlantic claim, why have both political parties ruling this land deemed socialized medicine the best health system for military veterans? Or do they just not care about them?

              1. So? I am no Krugman fan. I have never linked him before but you guys do.

                I write my own material.

                1. But you support those who support socialized medicine.

                2. I write my own material.

                  Poorly……

      3. Suck it, Weigel

        Obama, 2007: Time to End ‘Deplorable Conditions at Some VA Hospitals’
        Then-senator Barack Obama, November 12, 2007:

        After seven years of an Administration that has stretched our military to the breaking point, ignored deplorable conditions at some VA hospitals, and neglected the planning and preparation necessary to care for our returning heroes, America’s veterans deserve a President who will fight for them not just when it’s easy or convenient, but every hour of every day for the next four years.

        1. Which administration stretched our military to the breaking point? The one that started two wars or the one that has started none?

          1. The VA isn’t stretched. See today’s earlier Reason article about Afghanistan not ending. Weigel is as Weigel does.

            VA Spending Per Patient Exploded Amid Deadly Delays
            …The VA’s budget has been exploding, even as the number of veterans steadily declines. From 2000 to 2013, outlays nearly tripled, while the population of veterans declined by 4.3 million.

            Medical care spending ? which consumes about 40% of the VA’s budget ? has climbed 193% over those years, while the number of patients served by the VA each year went up just 68%, according to data from the VA.

            From 2008 to 2012 alone, per-patient spending at the VA climbed 27%. To put that in perspective, per capita health spending nationwide rose just 13% during those years….

            1. DON’T CONFUSE IT WITH FACTS!!!

              8% of the VA’s problems are BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH – the other 8% are CHRISTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGPEANUTZZZZZ!!11!

          2. “Which administration stretched our military to the breaking point? “

            FDR.

  2. Government-run healthcare error-prone, suffers delays, limited care. Film at 11.

  3. I see I’ve drawn out a shriek.

    Sorry. CHRISTFAGSBUSHITLERPEANUTZZ!!

    1. Hey, don’t fucking “peanut” me.

      1. Suck it, Weigel

        Obama, 2007: Time to End ‘Deplorable Conditions at Some VA Hospitals’
        Then-senator Barack Obama, November 12, 2007:

        After seven years of an Administration that has stretched our military to the breaking point, ignored deplorable conditions at some VA hospitals, and neglected the planning and preparation necessary to care for our returning heroes, America’s veterans deserve a President who will fight for them not just when it’s easy or convenient, but every hour of every day for the next four years.

        1. Uh, he was busy giving healthcare to the rest of America. I’d hardly call that ‘neglect’.

          The problem with you libertards is you don’t appreciate how much damage Bush II did. Bush II did so much christfag damage, that it actually retroactively reached back through time and fucked up Carter’s presidency. Even Kennedy is tainted by Bush II, and I ain’t talking about that Vixen host of the Interdependents.

          1. Bush II killed Kennedy by firing a rifle from his jet then making it back to his base in TX before anyone noticed, because JFK was going to get us out of ‘Nam.

          2. huh huh – you said “taint” – huh huh, huh huh…

  4. “Giant light in sky” confirmed by National Weather Service.

    1. *waves hand in the air*

      Oooh! Ooh! The answer is Global Warming!

  5. I like how Charlie Brownturd gives orders. Internet Tuff Gai in addition to shrieking idiot. My, what an unbecoming combination…

  6. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!

  7. That idea is burgeoning among the wingnut apparatchik.

    Sentence structure – how does it BUSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHKOCHJESUSLOVER!

  8. This is what we perhaps have to look forward to someday.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.