Guess how the VA solved their backlog problem?

VA-veterans-affairsHey, they just deleted the records of the problem — including the records of vets who were queued up waiting for their appointments to ripen in the sun for seven years and more.

VA Secretary Rick Shinseki: men follow him, but only out of morbid curiosity.

Employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) destroyed veterans’ medical files in a systematic attempt to eliminate backlogged veteran medical exam requests, a former VA employee told The Daily Caller.

Audio of an internal VA meeting obtained by TheDC confirms that VA officials in Los Angeles intentionally canceled backlogged patient exam requests.

The problem was that many patients had been delayed and delayed, some for years. But VA performance metrics tend to make any delay costly to the hospital or clinic that’s backlogged. The VA’s Los Angeles officials weren’t too bothered with delays in the radiology department that were seven years old or longer, but the backlogs threatened fundings and incentives — in other words, it was close to costing these payroll patriots money. 

What do you think they did? If you didn’t immediately think, “Cancel and flush everything a year old or older,” sorry, #youdonthavewhatittakestobeaVAbureaucrat.

“We just didn’t have the resources to conduct all of those exams. Basically we would get about 3,000 requests a month for [medical] exams, but in a 30-day period we only had the resources to do about 800. That rolls over to the next month and creates a backlog,” [former-Marine Oliver] Mitchell said. ”It’s a numbers thing. The waiting list counts against the hospitals efficiency. The longer the veteran waits for an exam that counts against the hospital as far as productivity is concerned.”

So, VA doc Suzie El-Saden just had the records flushed. Hey, if the vets really needed help, they could just resubmit for another 7-year-delay leading to another cancellation. That’ll teach ’em to inconvenience the VA hospital system with actual patients. 

It gets better. Mitchell filed a complaint with the Inspector General. What did the supposedly independent VA IG do? Take the complaint to El-Saden. “Hey, this guy is complaining about you and advocating for the vets. He’s not a team player.”

So Mitchell was binned. And El-Saden? She’s still there, still too busy to see patients.

The Office of Special Counsel investigated and found that the records deletion was not unique to LA. In fact, it was nationwide. Therefore, It is the general policy of OSC not to transmit an allegation of wrongdoing to the head of the agency involved, where the agency’s OIG or its delegate, is currently investigating or has investigated, the same allegations. Consequently, this office will take no further action concerning this allegation.”

Get that? Rick Shinseki’s VA was destroying records nationwide, and OIG had already blown it off in other jurisdictions. So no point looking into it in Los Angeles.

http://dailycaller.com/2014/02/24/va-employees-destroyed-veterans-medical-records-to-cancel-backlogged-exam-requests-audio/?print=1

10 thoughts on “Guess how the VA solved their backlog problem?

  1. LFMayor

    Hmmm, who knew? Easy as “just delete”!
    I wonder how well that scales up to other, larger, bureaucratic type problems?

  2. BHirsh

    I’m speechless.

    Which is probably a good thing. What I’d like to say wouldn’t be acceptable in polite company.

  3. Aesop

    “Basically we would get about 3,000 requests a month for [medical] exams, but in a 30-day period we only had the resources to do about 800. “

    So giving them weekends, that means about 36 a day. At the main VA facility for Los Angeles.
    IIRC, they managed to screen 250 recruits in boot camp in a day. So unless “the resources” consist of 1 doctor, 1 nurse, and 1 tech, this is horsesh*t. I, singlehandedly, see more patients than that in only part of a shift. My ER sees 400 patients a day, 24/7/365/forever.
    I realize my screening isn’t a full physical, but once again, whatever a physical exam consists of, it also doesn’t consist of CPR and taking bullets out either, so these are some monumentally lazy civil service f***ers on the taxpayer’s nickel.

    But in cheerier news, I hear Shinseki is pushing for awarding all veterans a spiffy black beret to commemorate their service. I hear he got a good deal on a stock of surplus headgear somewhere.

        1. Bill K

          If I had a career do-over, that’s one of my top choices. All the drama without being the lawyer’s lightning-rod. I have 10 kids, and not one of ’em wanted to be an MD, after they watched Pop. Engineers, a Marine, electricians, a pharmacist, dentist and PA, yes. MD no. Guess I taught ’em something after all.

  4. Bill K

    VA Secretary Rick Shinseki: men follow him, but only out of morbid curiosity.

    That’s got to be the greatest comment on leadership I’ve ever heard! Sent it to my son, the Marine…

    1. Aesop

      From a delightful and oft-repeated joke about leadership reviews, and/or some of the pithier comments by reporting seniors, IIRC.

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