The Disturbing Results of the VA Medical Facilities Audit
In the past couple of weeks we continuously hear about the Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Facilities Audit. The audit was conducted in two phases between May 12 and June 3. In all, it examined 731 facilities — including VA medical centers and large community-based outpatient clinics — and interviewed 3,772 staff members.
The audit’s results were clear. Across the board, clinics and medical centers have overly complicated scheduling processes that create confusion among supervisors and scheduling clerks. Additional findings showed that, in some cases, the staff was pressured to use inappropriate practices to disguise long wait times, such as entering a different date than what the veteran requested in the appointment scheduling system.
The newest report that came out on June 12th states that over 55,000 veterans have been waiting over 90 days for an initial appointment and 64,000 Veterans appeared to have “fallen through the cracks,” never getting an appointment at all! Other identified obstacles were limited clerical staff, inadequate scheduler training and inflexibility in the administration’s scheduling software.
Based on the results of the audit, the VA stated that it is going to establish follow-up procedures and review its system. On May 23, it introduced an expanded Accelerating Access to Care Initiative, which identified approximately 100,000 veterans who have experienced long wait times. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned over the treatment delays and waiting list problems at VA facilities nationwide.
If you are a veteran having difficulties accessing VA benefits or medical care, an experienced attorney can help you take action. Speak with a skilled veterans’ benefits lawyer right away.