Thursday, May 29, 2014

VA Employees Cooked the Vet Waiting Time Lists

Old Scandal Then
(Now Obama and Shinseki)
Nice jobs, Vets: Now get back out of sight 
(Until needed again)
VA Secy Eric Shinseki
(Another casualty)


This update is very timely on this subject and quite personal from my view, too - from MSNBC.  It is an excellent, quite excellent article. It differs in more points of of view and apparently more accurate details of this story: the VA scheduling mess and now Secy Shinseki stepping down ... 

I always wonder about these so-called "huge scandals" why don't we wait until all the facts come out before hanging someone out to dry?  Oh, I know, pols believe they must strike when the political iron is so hot that everyone will trust their view to move quickly and at half-ass speed if necessary to gain the most political points (I just made that up, but think it’s very true):

Subject of the linked article: The truth behind Shinseki’s resignation from here.

Politically, yes he had to step down, but logically, rationally, ethically, and honestly: No I still do not think so.

However, nowadays, fear politics rules the day over rational behavior and logical thinking. That makes for a serious breach of public trust and lack of confidence in government, but sadly that's the GOP whole game plan and final goal: 

MAKE PEOPLE HATE GOVERNMENT SO MUCH AND CONVINCE THEM THAT THEY MUST ACCEPT ANYTHING THE GOP SAYS OR OFFERS AS THE ALTERNATIVE.

But then in my view, that would not be America at all – at least not the kind I would care to live in – what about you???

Original Post Starts from Here:  Setting the scene from the OIG (Office of the Inspector General): Audits of outpatient scheduling and patient waiting times completed since 2005 have identified noncompliance with policies and procedures for scheduling, inaccurate reporting of patient waiting times, and errors in EWLs (electronic waiting lists).

Although VHA has recognized the need to improve scheduling practices and the accuracy of waiting times data, no meaningful action has been taken to achieve this goal to date. Nine recommendations in prior OIG audit reports issued in 2005 and 2007 that were agreed to by VHA remain unimplemented, as confirmed by our most recent follow-up work in this area in 2008.

The May 2008 OIG report on Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 3 waiting times determined scheduling procedures were not followed, which affected the reliability of reported waiting times and caused inaccuracies in EWLs. OIG recommended that the Under Secretary for Health establish procedures to routinely test the accuracy of reported waiting times and completeness of EWLs, as well as take corrective action when testing shows questionable differences between the desired dates of care shown in medical records and those documented in VHA's scheduling system.

This report and prior reports indicate that the problems and causes associated with scheduling, waiting times, and waiting lists are systemic throughout VHA. Moreover, VHA has not ensured compliance with its policy that patients' preferences for desired appointment dates are documented and that veterans receive appointments within the required time frames. Scheduling roughly 40 million appointments annually, VHA needs to properly document desired appointment dates and ensure patient waiting times are accurate. 
This is not only a data integrity issue in which VA reports unreliable performance data; it affects quality of care by delaying-and potentially denying-deserving Veterans timely care.

So … let's get straight one more time on this VA mess and yes, it is a huge one and I have said so for years. 

A few facts:

The Obama Administration knew about the brewing wait list scandal at VA health care facilities since the 2008 when their transition team started its work. But there is more than enough blame to go around.

When it comes to the blame game (DC’s favorite pastime), the scandal dates back to 2005 according to a document created by the Bush Administration for the transition team. The document states the falsifying of wait times was detected by VA OIG in 2005 (linked above with an extract).

No matter how anyone tries to spin this, the current scheduling crisis is undeniable and neither political party has fixed it despite more than enough time to do so. To compare apples to apples, Bush had 3.5 years to sort it out. Obama had 5.5 years to sort it out. 

Some should lose their jobs; others may be prosecuted. This is 100% inexcusable.

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