There is a health care epidemic at the Veterans’ affair
By Roger Caldwell
In America, there is a healthcare epidemic, and no one should be surprised when doctors and hospital administrators cook the books to cover up treatment delays. Healthcare in one of the wealthiest countries on the face of this earth is not a primary focus or concern. The general condition of healthcare is poor, but in the veteran affairs department, the condition is reprehensible and broken.
There are tens of thousands of veterans returning from two wars with a multiplicity of injuries, and there are not enough hospitals and clinics to meet the demand. As the situation deteriorates around the country, no one has an answer or solution to the problems. The Senate and the House can hold investigations for months, but nothing will change until they allocate billions of dollars to the health care epidemic in America.
Many of the problems that the Veterans Affair Secretary Eric Shineski is faced with are the same problems in the general population. A report from the VA’s Office of the Medical Inspector said a department clinic in Fort Collins, Colo. falsified appointment re-cords to give the impression that staff doctors saw patients within the agency’s goal of 14 days.
This information would prove that the entire hospital or clinic staff broke the law, and all the workers knew it was standard operating procedure to falsify the records. President Obama remains confident in Shineski’s ability to lead the VA, but everyone knows the system is broken.
The workers know they are overworked on every level, and the cost of treating patients increases every month.
The VA administration was aware that it was impossible to give good service to their patients so they falsified and covered up records. This wrongdoing is widespread and done across the entire country, and it is standard operating procedure. Most VA administrators are shocked when a clinic or hospital is following the rules.
At a Phoenix VA hospital, they developed an elaborate scheme to keep delays out of its electronic database, and are linked to dozens of patients who died waiting for care. In a Pittsburgh VA hospital there was an outbreak of deadly Legionnaires disease, and at an Atlanta VA clinic several patients died, because of mismanagement. There has always been a joke with veterans for years, “If you want to get sick or almost die, go to a VA clinic or hospital.”
As this VA healthcare/epidemic controversy is exposed, the president must develop a proactive plan to solve problems and bring credibility back to the system. President Obama and Shineski were already aware that there was a backlog in the VA system of 125 days of longstanding disability claims. They had set a goal of eliminating that inventory by 2015, but the problems in the system have escalated with the recent VA healthcare scandal.
Shinseki and the president have ordered the department inspector general to launch an investigation into the allegations, and face-to-face audits of scheduling practices at all VA health clinics. Many of these problems have been documented by “The American Legion” in an infographic explaining where and when the problems occurred.
The Senate is also holding hearings with Shinseki, but they also held hearings in 2005, 2007, and 2012. Last week Dr. Robert Petzel, the second in charge at the VA department was forced to resign, so they are using him as a scapegoat. But firing one person in the system will not solve the problems with healthcare.
Everyone can dance around the problem, but there is a healthcare problem in America. The VA problem is a mirror of what is happening in the general population. The same epidemic that is being exposed in the VA is also happening in the general population.