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VA Audit Finds ‘Leadership Failure’

At least 57,000 veterans nationwide have experienced wait times of 90 days or more for their first medical appointments, according to an audit of 731 VA hospitals and clinics released Monday by the Department of Veterans Affairs. An alarming 13 percent of VA employees interviewed said they were told to falsify records so wait times would appear shorter.

The report says the system-wide goal of a 14-day appointment wait time is no longer possible because of the high health care demand from veterans. It called the 2011 decision to create that goal and base bonus pay on meeting it "an organizational leadership failure."

In addition to ending that target wait time, the audit included a list of 15 other actions the VA plans to take to address the problems, including publishing wait time data twice a month, halting new hires at the Veterans Health Administration and holding employees more accountable for falsifying data.

By: Avery Kleinman
Beth Daley Impact Fellow, POGO

Avery Kleinman Avery Kleinman is the Beth Daley Impact Fellow for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: Government Accountability

Related Content: Veterans Affairs

Authors: Avery Kleinman

Submitted by Veteran Medical malpractice at: June 29, 2014
Leadership Failure my butt it's being a criminal just for money
Submitted by Veteran medical malpractice at: June 29, 2014
Each individual VA gets their own funding, I have watched the VA fail with a mental health program many times they will close it down and rename it under a new name but keep the same employees with On the Job Training with Veterans health Issues how sad is this! What will happen to all who broke the law so they can get a bonus this happened to me I am sure of that!
Submitted by B Trade at: June 18, 2014
Leadership failure is partly influenced by the method of tracking accountability. The 14 day rule was likely invented to pressure hospitals, and there are a lot of them, to get Vets in fast. Many many other such systems are in place. In fact the entire care system is infected with performance mandates. Those tied to bonuses create a self focused action. What is not talked about is the pressure that comes with these mandates…..it is INTENSE!!!! Failure is not an option. Beyond these systems is also the new world reality, which is that all this is tracked by computers. Humans inter the data, no one is around to see if it is entered in falsely. Someone gets a bonus, no one knows, no one ever looks at the VA anyways….so who cares. No what we see as a solution is to create more funding for more staff to more quickly provide care. Hmmm,,,,did we just see that happen with the Financial Institutions getting bailed out after they threw us all under the bus and the market crashed. Look at where we are in a year. I promise you will see the same system in place, some staff will be terminated and it will all be forgotten. By then we will have more young men and women headed to war.
Submitted by Hot Springs VA Retired Employee at: June 16, 2014
Mr Mann you are so right about the Pharh D changing the Physicians script. If they decide to change the prescription they will. True story as a veteran I was given an appointment at a specialist in a city 150 miles away. I drove there got a prescription and returned with a prescription which I turned into the pharmacy at the VA. After waiting for 3 weeks with out receiving the medication I asked the Pharmacy Director about it. She told me they (the pharmacists without consulting the ordering provider) decided the meds were to expensive. When I threatened to sue them for practicing medicine without a license I got the medication. They then contacted my supervisor because I threaten them with a Lawsuit.
Submitted by john at: June 14, 2014
i have been waiting 6 months for an appointment at the v.a. clinic in the Philippines and I was informed by the manila regional office I will never get an appointment even though I am enrolled in the v.a. health system. why are policies at a u.s. veterans facility different in the Philippines?
Submitted by Hugh Mann at: June 13, 2014
I notice that VA employees know that veterans are used to the term, "Hurry-up and wait", so accordingly, VA exploited this "wait tolerance" to its fullest, by knowingly finding rules so as to "not treat, nor assist" veterans. Medical staff ie MD's, DO's and other doctors are routinely edited or denied written prescriptions by the power hungry "PHARMACY". Pharm have all the power at the VA, ask any VA physician if Pharmacy has messed with their prescriptions.

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