VA Health Care Still Sucks (Huntsville, Alabama, Edition)


Mark Sardella/Foter

The main investigation into the house of horrors that is the Veterans Health Administration continues to focus on scheduling shenanigans and the denial of care to ailing veterans thereby. But those who actually get on a waiting list and then make it to the front have plenty of reason for complaint, too. A Veterans Administration Inspector General's report released last week found that an outpatient facility in Huntsville, Alabama, is the latest disappointment the VA has to offer—with "disappointment" meant as a euphemism for shoddy care delivered with an abusive attitude.

The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) Office of Healthcare Inspections conducted an inspection to assess the merit of allegations concerning the quality of care provided by a primary care provider (PCP) and staff safety at the community based outpatient clinic (CBOC) located in Huntsville, AL. The CBOC is associated with the Birmingham VA Medical Center (facility).

We substantiated the PCP did not consistently document opioid medication management, did not consistently document and respond to patients' abnormal test results, and on one occasion, entered a derogatory comment in the electronic health record (EHR).

That's only the beginning. While the report could not substantiate all of the complaints made about the provider and the facility, it did find the provider performing procedures "which he/she was not privileged to perform," mismanagement of non-VA medical records, and a lack of policies for pain management and mental health emergencies.

Granted, every organization has its failures, but the the Department of Veterans Affairs has a history of sub-standard care. Its failures have been documented by journalists as well as its own Inspector General.

Veterans may be languishing on the VA's waiting list, but making it to the front of the line is no treat.