President Obama promised to fix the Veterans Administration (VA) problems. “We need to make sure folks get the care they need without long waiting lists and long drives,” he said in early 2008 stump speeches.
In 2014, the VA scandal grows worse daily: USA Today reported more than 100,000 veterans are waiting to see doctors. In Florida, 8,500 veterans have been waiting more than 3 months for appointments. In Phoenix, 58 veterans died on secret waiting lists. A new audit found 64 percent of VA facilities falsified wait times, and 13 percent of schedulers were actually trained to engage in fraud. The longest waits are for mental health services. Veterans’ suicides, though reported to be falsely low, are at 22 per day or an outrageous 8,030 every year.
The evidence is damning: A single-payer, top-down, government-controlled monopoly does NOT work to meet the needs of patients timely, efficiently, or compassionately. The VA shows what Obamacare portends for all.
What can be done now to help veterans? Based on my experience working in VA hospitals early in my career, here are my top 10 prescriptions to fix egregious failures. These common-sense ideas are already working in the private sector.
- End the VA monopoly. Cut the backlog of veterans waiting for appointments by immediately issuing VA-paid vouchers for private medical care for all veterans waiting more than 3 weeks for a VA doctor’s appointment. Give control back to the Veterans as to which doctor they see, and allow them to use VA benefits to do so.
- Give every veteran a copy of every medical report and office visit note at the time of appointment. Reports show medical records data entry is backlogged for months, endangering patients. Empower patients with control of their medical information.
- Stop rewarding failure with more money! It makes no sense to reward fraud and corrupt practices as at the Phoenix VA by awarding that facility more than $20 million dollars for a new “community” facility. Clean up the mess before doling out more taxpayer money.
- End “death by bureaucrat.” Stop fattening the cow of bureaucracy. Provide funds for medical services instead. The VA budget has increased 106 percent from 2003-2013, but VA facilities only saw 30 percent more patients. There is far more spent on administrators and managers. Much less is spent hiring doctors, nurses, and providing actual medical care.
Source: Christian Post | ELIZABETH VLIET