Wait-Time Manipulation Revealed at Southern Arizona VA
Phoenix, AZ — Yesterday a new OIG report revealed wait-time manipulation at the Southern Arizona VA health care system. The VA Inspector General report confirmed allegations that managers directed staff to “zero out” patient wait times at the Ocotillo Clinic, in violation of the agency’s scheduling directive.
The OIG report substantiated that scheduling staff at the clinic zeroed out patient wait times for 76 percent of over five thousand routine appointments within the clinic from December 2013 through August 2014. This means those appointments incorrectly had the same date for the patient’s desired date to be seen as the scheduled date.
Concerned Veterans for America Arizona State Director Matt Dobson issued the following statement:
“Reports like this help prove just how bad things were at the VA when the wait list scandal broke, but the sad truth is, nothing has gotten better at the VA. Despite tens of billions of dollars in additional funding for the VA, veterans are still dying in Arizona to this day. It’s clearly not a resource problem for the agency – it’s an accountability problem that should have been fixed years ago. CVA is determined to put an end to the corruption now. We look forward to immediately working with members of this new Congress to ensure VA accountability reform is passed to protect our veterans in Arizona and across the U.S.”
Last month, the OIG confirmed that veterans are still dying while they are waiting for care at the Phoenix VA Medical Center, the hospital known as “ground zero” for VA’s secret wait list scandal which emerged in 2014.
CVA supports the Caring for our Heroes in the 21st Century Act. The aim of this draft legislation is to provide more options for veterans who find that, for whatever reason, the VA system does not meet their needs, and to give the veteran health care system more flexibility to account for the demographic shifts in the veteran population.
CVA also supports the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016 which would restore accountability at the VA by expediting the removal of problem employees, increasing the power of the VA Secretary to remove problem employees, and preventing bonuses for senior executives for the next five years. The bill also addresses the broken claims process – giving veterans more choices when it comes to appealing VA Regional Office’s initial decisions.