Texas VA medical center accused of falsifying veteran wait times

Another VA scandal for Obama’s record.


From Fox News: A Houston VA hospital altered records to hide lengthy patient waiting lists even as a national scandal regarding treatment of veterans was unfolding, a federal watchdog charged in a scathing report released this week.

Officials at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston and its associated clinics altered records to make it appear that hundreds of appointments canceled by staff were really called off by patients, according to the VA’s Office of Inspector General. The federal audit determined the changes were made to hide unacceptable wait times as VA hospitals around the country were under fire for neglecting patients.

“As a result, VHA’s recorded wait times did not reflect the actual wait experienced by the veterans and the wait time remained unreliable and understated,” the report noted.

The audit was performed after the IG received an anonymous tip saying officials instructed staff to incorrectly record cancellations. Records showed 223 appointments were incorrectly recorded as patient cancellations between July 2014 and June 2015.

The report did not point the finger at the facility’s top leadership. It determined that two previous scheduling supervisors and a current director of two affiliated clinics “instructed staff to incorrectly record cancellations as canceled by the patient.”

Of the 223 cancellations, 94 appointments were put off an average of 81 days. But because the cancellations were improperly attributed to patients, no delays or backlog was evident in the center’s electronic scheduling system, according to the review.

Most damning about the report is that the improper behavior followed a stunning national review that revealed widespread corruption at VA facilities across the nation — from rejected medical claims to delays in treatment and cover-ups by high-level officials. In May 2014, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki resigned from office amid the fallout from the controversy.

“These issues have continued despite the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) having identified similar issues during a May and June 2014 system-wide review of access,” the report stated. “These conditions persisted because of a lack of effective training and oversight.”

Officials at the center took issue with the findings in a statement to FoxNews.com Thursday. “The … report did not substantiate any case of Houston VA Medical Center senior leaders intentionally manipulating scheduling data,” said Maureen Dyman, the center’s communications director.

Supervisors and staff have undergone extensive training in scheduling practices in the last two years, Dyman said. Supervisors now conduct monthly audits of appointments scheduled, and officials at the center regularly meet with schedulers to make sure their practices are properly understood, she added.

David Maulsby, executive director of the Houston-based group, PTSD Foundation of America, told FoxNews.com that his organization maintains strong relationships with a number of people within the Houston-area VA, like social workers. But, Maulsby noted, the latest government audit reflects a system that is “clearly still broken.”


“We have seen on many occasions these types of things happening — appointments getting lost or wait times extended for very important things,” Maulsby said. “Until Congress is willing to give the ability to fire the people who need to be fired, this will perpetually be the problem.”

“The greater problem is that our veterans, who have already borne the cost of war, are now required to bear the cost of not receiving the care they deserve,” he said.


8 responses to “Texas VA medical center accused of falsifying veteran wait times

  1. This statement — ““Until Congress is willing to give the ability to fire the people who need to be fired, this will perpetually be the problem.” — is exactly the problem in all organizations, especially governmental organizations. Those who need fired get to stay and those who should stay get fired. Perfect example of those who rise above the level of the incompetancy while forcing those who could ‘get ‘er done’ are forced to stay down because they threaten the higher ups. Way to many people have cushy gov’t jobs and no longer have to work, and in some cases don’t even have to show up and stay at home to plant flowers (the voice of experience) knowing that they will never ever be let go.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. VA is to veterans as the pound is to dogs…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Texas VA medical center accused of falsifying veteran wait times | Fellowship of the Minds |

  4. No matter what Obama does, nobody holds him accountable — not the media, not Congress. He surpasses being Teflon-coated. He’s the “magic negro”!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The VA isn’t all bad, and for those of you not in it, there are local, modern outpatient clinics in towns surrounding their big hospitals. The clinics don’t treat emergencies, but after being pretty well torn up in a cycling accident I went to the local VA clinic just for some decent bandages and got immediate ER type care and was treated very well once I got to the hospital ER, utterly unlike a typical civilian ER’s horrors. My MRI appt was three months out and surgical consultation two months after that, so I was offered the option to go to approved civilian providers under a new program. I did end up getting the bum’s rush from a time serving VA hack orthopedist, but overall I’m grateful for the VA, whose people in my experience compare favorably with those in top hospitals like Greenwich Hospital in which I’ve seen family go through final illnesses. That’s just my opinion, of course, but this is one bandwagon I’m not jumping on board.


  6. I’m glad you’ve found a VA facility that treats you well.
    I notice a lot of compliments/complaints are typically subjective. It’s interesting that if one person has NO problems with a particular facility,another,under similar circumstances,has nothing BUT trouble. (Or believes they do.) There are a lot of variables that can effect the quality of a visit-the personal wellness of the whole staff,the Dr. on duty,what kind of day he or she is having,the Patient’s attitude,etc. etc. I’ve seen it again and again;I recommend someone who has always treated me well and done excellent work to a friend,and hear back from that friend later that they had nothing good to say about their visit. Could it be that I’m just lucky? Maybe I just bring out the best in the people I deal with. Maybe my friend brings out bad treatment from all the people HE deals with. It’s ironic that nearly all my friends and family have had bad experiences with the very same people I’ve NEVER had a bad experience with. Why does THAT happen?


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