The VA Inspector General’s office released their interim report on the Phoenix VA system, and as expected its not pretty. For example they found that the average wait for a Vet to get a first appointment with a doctor is about four months (115 days vs. the 24 days the office was reporting).
More than 3,000 American heroes were found waiting for an appointment with a primary care physician in the Phoenix system, and 1,700 couldn’t be included because they weren’t entered into the electronic waiting list.
The Veterans Affairs inspector general has found that “inappropriate scheduling practices are systemic” throughout the Veterans Health Administration, with a particularly acute problem in Phoenix, and those 1,700 vets left off the list “continue to be at risk of being forgotten or lost in Phoenix Health Care Center’s convoluted scheduling process.”
The senior administrators of the Phoenix system were found to be significantly lying about the wait times. Probably because it is a main component of how these executives performances are evaluated for raises and bonuses.
The Inspector General promised additional recommendations when a final report was issued, however issued 4 recommendations to be implemented ASAP as a stopgap.
- We recommend the VA Secretary take immediate action to review and provide appropriate health care to the 1,700 veterans we identified as not being on any existing wait list.
- We recommend the VA Secretary review all existing wait lists at the Phoenix Health Care System to identify veterans who may be at greatest risk because of a delay in the delivery of health care (for example, those veterans who would be new patients to a specialty clinic) and provide the appropriate medical care.
- We recommend the VA Secretary initiate a nationwide review of veterans on wait lists to ensure that veterans are seen in an appropriate time, given their clinical condition.
- We recommend the VA Secretary direct the Health Eligibility Center to run a nationwide New Enrollee Appointment Request report by facility of all newly enrolled veterans and direct facility leadership to ensure all veterans have received appropriate care or are shown on the facility’s electronic waiting list.
We will provide VA with the list of the 1,700 veterans we identified as not being on any wait list so that VA can mitigate any further access delays to health care services, and deliver higher quality of health care.
The full report is embedded below: