So, Sen. Dean Heller has joined the chorus of calls for ousting VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, saying:
“The Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General’s report provides a very disturbing view of what has been confirmed as a systemic problem at the VA. Poor management must not be allowed to stand in the way of providing quality care for veterans in Nevada and across the country. I have great respect for Secretary Shinseki’s service to our nation and the sacrifices he has made, but the problems within the Department for which he is responsible cannot be ignored. It is time for a leadership change at the VA at the highest level.”
Replacing the captain of a sinking rust bucket still leaves you with a sinking rust bucket.
That OIG report does appear to show “systemic” problems with the VA. “Allegations at the Phoenix HCS health care system) include gross mismanagement of VA resources and criminal misconduct by VA senior hospital leadership, creating systemic patient safety issues and possible wrongful deaths,” concludes the executive summary.
“To date, we have ongoing or scheduled work at 42 VA medical facilities and have identified instances of manipulation of VA data that distort the legitimacy of reported waiting times,” the report also says. That’s up from the previously reported 26.
The VA is pure socialized medicine. No happen who you put in charge it will fail eventually, as it has done so over and over again between brief periods of improvement after one crisis or another.
Back in the 1980s the crisis was heart surgery. While investigating cardiac surgery deaths, it was found that there were “errors in operative technique” in 38 percent of cases.
In 2007, The Washington Post reported on shoddy treatment and conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital. Though it is military and not VA, it too is socialized medicine on display. One story reported:
“While the hospital is a place of scrubbed-down order and daily miracles, with medical advances saving more soldiers than ever, the outpatients in the Other Walter Reed encounter a messy bureaucratic battlefield nearly as chaotic as the real battlefields they faced overseas.
“On the worst days, soldiers say they feel like they are living a chapter of ‘Catch-22.’ The wounded manage other wounded. Soldiers dealing with psychological disorders of their own have been put in charge of others at risk of suicide.”
In 1945 the head of the VA hospital system resigned after a series of news reports about shoddy treatment.
In 1986 the OIG found 93 VA physicians had sanctions against their medical licenses, including suspensions and revocations.
Today the problem in the Phoenix VA hospital is that 1,700 veterans were waiting for their first primary care appointment but were not on the electronic waiting list. The bureaucrats were cooking the books in order make themselves eligible for “awards and salary increases.”
The inspector reports:
“To review the new patient wait times for primary care in FY 2013, we reviewed a statistical sample of 226 Phoenix HCS (health care system) appointments. VA national data, which was reported by Phoenix HCS, showed these 226 veterans waited on average 24 days for their first primary care appointment and only 43 percent waited more than 14 days. However, our review showed these 226 veterans waited on average 115 days for their first primary care appointment with approximately 84 percent waiting more than 14 days. At this time, we believe that most of the waiting time discrepancies occurred because of delays between the veteran’s requested appointment date and the date the appointment was created. However, we found that in at least 25 percent of the 226 appointments reviewed, evidence, in veterans’ medical records, indicates that these veterans received some level of care in the Phoenix HCS, such as treatment in the emergency room, walk in clinics, or mental health clinics.”
It is time to dismantle the VA health care system and just give veterans vouchers to use wherever they wish.