Problems at the VA Healthcare System

Problems at the VA Health System In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed retired Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki, to the position of secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA), the federal department responsible for providing healthcare and federal benefits to U.S. veterans and dependents. As part of its strategic plan, Secretary Shinseki was tasked with implementing 16 major initiatives to bring the VA into the 21 st century. One of the 16 initiatives was the enhancement of the veteran’s experience with and access to healthcare. In 2013, CNN was among the news outlets reporting that veterans were experiencing delayed care at the Williams Jennings Bryan Dorn Veterans tvledical Center in Columbia, SC. In fact, the delays were so serious that six veterans died while waiting for months to receive necessary diagnostic procedures. The VA launched an investigation into the GI clinic at Dom and found several issues. including low staff census; leadership tumover that resulted in a lack of understanding of roles, responsibilities and system processes; and ineffective program coordination. Allegations of long wait times also emerged from VA facilities in Arizona. Pittsburgh, and the Phoenix VA Health Care System. Delays, however. were not the only shortcomings alleged. In the Phoenix VA Health Care System, for instance, there were claims of manipulated patient wait times, bad scheduling practices, and patient deaths. In 2014, the Office of the Inspector General (01G) launched an investigation into these allegations. Two questions were addressed in this review: 1. Did the facility’s electronic wait list (EWL) purposely omit the names of veterans waiting for care and, if so, at whose direction? 2. Were the deaths of any of these veterans related to delays in care?

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