We all know about the bad IG inspection @ Asheville VA in Febuary.I have been writing on vet's issues for almost two years now. Now we have it straight from the VA's IG. What I have said is true!Underfunding is crippling the VA. Waiting lists are harming veterans.And, many of the restrictions placed on access to healthcare are ILLEGAL!
When do we Veterans Get Fair Shake? This is WHAT ALL US SERVICE OFFICERS & VETERANS ADVOCATES are susposed to FIGHT to keep from happening! Or at least that is what I was taught! Somewhere, Somebody has dropped the ball!
The complete IG report is here... http://www.va.gov/oig/54/reports/VAOIG-05-03028-145.pdf
This is MUST reading for all veterans!So Angilico,Jump right in on this!
Washington, D.C. - A report released this week on the access to care in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) shows that long-term care services are severely underfunded and that the waiting time for care is excessive for many veterans, especially in Hawaii.
Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) requested the review by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General (IG). The review was predicated on reports that clinics were illegally restricting entry to clinics and access to certain health services. VHA has an effective process to ensure that all eligible veterans had adequate access to care. The review found the following:
- Clinics were in fact withholding non-institutional long-term care services, such as home care, to certain veterans
- The Administration has not fully funded its projected workload for non-institutional care
- VA facilities need to improve timeliness of care (facilities were not meeting their 30-day goal)
- VA does not measure waiting time to obtain specialty procedures
The IG review is based on visits to five medical facilities and two Veterans Integrated Service Networks. They were located in Hawaii, Alaska, New York Harbor, Tampa, and Portland.
In its review, the IG found that veterans in Hawaii who needed specialty procedures waited the longest. Specifically, Hawaii's veterans waited on average 63 days for cardiology services and 135 days for gastroenterology care.
"I am particularly concerned that of the facilities reviewed by the IG, Hawaii's veterans were forced to wait the longest for cardiology and gastroenterology procedures," said Senator Akaka. "However, I am confident that the leadership at the Hawaii VA will be able to improve things."
Since Senator's Akaka's visit in June 2005 to various Hawaii VA centers, improvements have been made to providing certain services to veterans. During congressional field hearings in the State of Hawaii in January, Senator Akaka expressed concern over VA's lack of funding for proper health care for veterans and restrictions on which Maui veterans could get needed long-term care services. VA officials told Senator Akaka they would lift those restrictions and all of Maui veterans are now getting home care and other long-term care seniors.
Overall, the IG review supports Senator Akaka's commitment to addressing the lack of funding in VA.
"The IG has once again shown us that underfunding VA means that veterans do not get the care they deserve be those long-term care services or critical cardiac procedures. Indeed, investigators found that budget shortfalls led to illegal restrictions on care."
The Review of Access to Care in the Veterans Health Administration is available on-line at http://www.va.gov/oig .
Senator Akaka is the Ranking Member on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.
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