VA healthcare facilities and their executives are now being held responsible for the death of more than 1,000 veterans who were waiting for care or did not receive the proper health care. In a report issued by the office of Senator Tom Coburn, accusations of malpractice and lack of proper health care has led to over 1,000 deaths of veterans waiting for appropriate care.
The report has brought public scrutiny to the Department of Veteran Affairs as it sums up numerous accusations such as fraudulent scheduling practices, budget mismanagement, insufficient oversight, and lack of accountability.
In the report, Senator Coburn states “Poor management is costing the department billions of dollars more and compromising veterans’ access to medical care.” For example, the VA allocated about $20 billion since the beginning of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan to non-health-related projects such as hospital executive office makeovers, unused software licenses, and the development of call centers that received an average of less than three calls per day. It is also said that the VA had to spend an extra $1.5 billion on four construction projects in the cities of New Orleans, Las Vegas, Orlando and Denver due to scheduling and excessive expenditures.
In addition to money being spent of non-health-related projects, there has been an estimated $845 million in malpractice costs, including $36.4 million used to settle claims involving delayed health care.
Veterans have had to wait months for appointments at VA hospitals. Getting an appointment, however, does not mean the veteran received the appropriate health care. Often patients did not receive timely evaluations, as it has been reported one patient had to wait 8 years for a psychiatric evaluation.
The Department of Veterans Affair healthcare system has only been scrutinized for a few months, leaving many to question what we could find next and how deep the scandal goes.