May 30, 2014 10:31 pm -

An investigation by Mother Jones reveals that the current problems at the Veterans Administration date back to at least 1995.

The underlying issues date back even further. In 1995, as part of a broader overhaul, the VA began pressing clinics to cut wait times for new patient appointments to 30 days. But there was no system for tracking which facilities were meeting this target until 2002, when the VA introduced electronic waiting lists to keep tabs on patients who couldn’t be seen within a month. Managers who slashed wait times were given bonuses and other perks. This created an incentive to game the system, especially after veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars began flooding into VA clinics and straining their already stretched resources.

The efforts to mask delays burst into public view last month, when CNN reported that at least 40 patients—many of whom never made it onto electronic waiting lists—had died while awaiting care from the VA system in Phoenix…

Since then, the VA has faced a volley of scathing allegations about the use of “secret” paper waiting lists to hide lengthy treatment lags. These accusations echo the findings of a 2005 VA inspector general’s report that documented a raft of violations—including the widespread use of paper lists in place of the electronic ones to hide the glut of veterans awaiting appointments. The report urged the Veterans Health Administration “to ensure the electronic waiting list is complete and accurate” and proposed steps to remedy the problem.

Two years later, another inspector general audit found that the VA had failed to act on these recommendations and that schedulers were still using paper lists and other tactics to mask the backlogs. The report recommended that the VA “establish procedures to routinely test the accuracy of reported waiting times and the completeness of electronic waiting lists, and take corrective action when testing shows questionable differences.” At the time, the VA agreed to convene a work group to tackle the issue. A VA spokeswoman declined to comment on whether it had actually done so.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

No responses to Documents Reveal VA Wait List Issues Were First Known In 2002

  1. John Tarter May 31st, 2014 at 5:46 am

    But it was Obama who went on and on saying he would fix everything and we know now he didn’t.

    • Budda May 31st, 2014 at 7:19 am

      Can you please cite a source where he says he will fix “everything”.

      • William May 31st, 2014 at 10:22 am

        Can you please cite a source where he says he will fix “everything”.
        Asking RWNJ’s to qualify their statements is like turning on the lights to roaches.

        • John Tarter May 31st, 2014 at 12:00 pm

          You tube, 2007 speech to the VFW. He said he would have ZERO TOLERANCE to all that has happened on HIS watch. It will be tough for you to watch with all his lies, but stick with it and maybe you will finally wake up to reality.

        • John Tarter May 31st, 2014 at 12:01 pm

          Can’t wait for your response!

          • William May 31st, 2014 at 12:47 pm

            Yeah that’s nice, but where is the part where he said he would “Fix everything”.

          • John Tarter June 1st, 2014 at 7:19 am

            Oh come on. The implication was that if you just elect Obama all the problems with the VA will go away. Nice try.

    • Shades May 31st, 2014 at 7:51 am

      And it was the republicans who kept voting down money that would assist veterans.

    • William May 31st, 2014 at 10:19 am

      “But it was Obama who went on and on saying he would fix everything”
      Despite a very good search engine, I cannot seem to find the sound bite where our President said he would “fix everything”. Now I know you wouldn’t stoop to right wing media tactics of simply lying because they have no respect for honesty or their audience, so I’ll wait here for you to post a link.
      Thanks in advance.

      • John Tarter May 31st, 2014 at 11:57 am

        Go to You Tube and listen to his speech to the VFW in 2007. (around the 20 minute mark)

        • William May 31st, 2014 at 12:50 pm

          Hey Tater. Do you even know how to post a link?

          Here you find it, and post it.

          cuz I REALLY want to hear the part where he said he would fix everything.

          • VALERIE MARTIN May 31st, 2014 at 2:00 pm

            I didn’t listen to the speech,
            I just looked @ the date, 2007.
            If I’m not mistaken, there was
            another Party in office @ that
            time. Why didn’t THEY fix it?
            I guess they were too busy
            trying to get outa town after
            what they did to Our Country!
            No wonder they never wanna
            talk about Bush. If I were them,
            I wouldn’t either……………….

    • William May 31st, 2014 at 10:23 am

      Hey Tater, pay attention.

    • lindsncal May 31st, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      As usual, republicans play a big part of a problem then try to blame Obama for it.
      For you to say that Obama promised to fix EVERYTHING and then when something wrong is found out (in this case in 1995 under Bush), you magically blame Obama (like you’re told to do) for the problem is simply ridiculous.

      • John Tarter June 1st, 2014 at 7:29 am

        Come on. Obama said he would bring us a “new way”, that he would take care of everything, that he would make everything just hunky dory. Time to face the facts and admit that nothing has really improved under his “leadership”

        • lindsncal June 1st, 2014 at 4:38 pm

          He said that when republicans were more sane.
          Since then all republicans have done is block even a vote on anything he’s tried to do.
          And to say he’s done nothing comes only from r w blogs and talk shows.
          For one, the deficit is less than half of what it was when he took office…but you wouldn’t know about things like that.

    • DesertSun59 May 31st, 2014 at 9:17 pm

      Amusing retort. Only Congress can authorize the funding for the VA. I highly recommend taking a civics class before you attempt to ‘school’ us about ur skewed view of how this nation’s gov’t works.

  2. William May 31st, 2014 at 10:16 am

    The Republican who filibustered against VA funding are suddenly outraged with VA shortcomings.