Author Topic: Veterans Affairs and Death by Bureaucracy  (Read 122 times)

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Offline flowers

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Veterans Affairs and Death by Bureaucracy
« on: May 20, 2014, 11:33:07 AM »

There may finally be a scandal engulfing the Obama administration that even Democrats and their media collaborators can’t obfuscate. What happened at the VA facility in Phoenix, AZ, where employees created two sets of waiting lists to make it seem patients were being treated in a timely manner—and as many as 40 veterans allegedly died while languishing on the secret list—is an anomaly. Six more whistleblowers from around the nation have stepped forward, alleging the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities they worked at also “cooked the books.”

The despicable subterfuge, allegedly occurring in at least seven VA Medical Centers in Arizona, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina and Illinois is as simple as it was heartless. The official waiting list is the one that ostensibly met the VA’s policy, implemented by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki in 2010. It set a 14-day time limit to provide care for a veteran making an initial application for an appointment. Yet by the agency’s own admission, only 41 percent of new VA medical patients were seen within that period in 2013, down from 90 percent in 2012.

Hence, the secret lists, which contained the names of veterans waiting to get on the official list. In Phoenix, as many as 1,400 to 1,600 veterans were forced to wait for months before they could see a doctor. “The scheme was deliberately put in place to avoid the VA’s own internal rules,” said Dr. Sam Foote, a 24-year Phoenix VA physician who blew the whistle on the scam in that facility. He and other sources further noted that VA officials instructed the staff to avoid using the computer system to make appointments. When a veteran requested an appointment, staff were instructed to do a screen capture, print out the info, and dump the computer file “so there’s no record that you were ever here,” Foote explained.

A second VA in Fort Collins, CO also falsified their lists, according to findings by the VA’s Office of Medical Inspector. But there, where as many as 6,300 veterans waited months to be seen, if clerical staff allowed records to reveal veterans waited longer than 14 days for an appointment, they were placed on a “bad boy list” as punishment.

Sadly, none of this is new. During last Thursday’s Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) quoted from a previously undisclosed nine page memo written in 2010. In it, a VA administrator described the various ways healthcare officials “gamed the system” to hide delays in medical treatment. And according to an Army Times, editorial, a December 2012 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed that “four VA medical centers nationwide hid wait times, fudged data and backdated appointments for the purpose of fabricating compliance with department timeliness goals.” The paper further notes in the

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