Report: VA Waitlist Manipulation RAMPANT In Louisiana And Illinois — DC Waitlist manipulation is rampant in Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities across Louisiana and Illinois, according to a devastating new set of reports released by the VA inspector general Thursday. Although the IG discovered flagrant violation of appointment practices, management insisted to investigators they never told staff to manipulate wait times, and employees denied ever receiving explicit instructions to fiddle with appointment dates. The reports’ consistent findings render statements from management and employees suspect. One possible explanation for the inconsistency is that employees may be reticent to blow the whistle, given the department’s history with whistleblowers. A second is that the practice has been so normalized and viewed as standard fare in training that some employees didn’t even consider the procedure to be manipulation. Investigators found that in the New Orleans/Baton Rouge VA health care system in Louisiana, a staff member recalled that during his training all the way back in 2008, management told him to treat the patient’s desired appointment date as the next date available in the scheduling software, known as the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA). Since employees were trained from the beginning with this procedure, continued reminder from management was unnecessary.
New Va Hotline Chief Has A History Of Dropped Calls From Veterans — USA TODAY A former Air Force officer chosen to fix the VA’s problem-plagued suicide hotline has been running other agency phone banks that have a poor record of service, dropping as many as one in five calls from veterans, according to internal data provided to USA TODAY. The deputy secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Sloan Gibson, defended the choice of Matthew Eitutus overseeing the crisis hotline, telling USA TODAY Friday that Eitutus has shown considerable initiative for one of the agency’s biggest challenges — just answering the phone. The crisis hotline (800-273-8255), created in 2007 to deal with rising numbers of veterans threatening suicide, was acclaimed in an Oscar-winning documentary last year, but last month was revealed in an inspector general report to have allowed calls to go to voicemail.
VA Ignored ‘Important’ TBI Exam Policy — DV The TBI exam policy investigation into wrongdoing at VA facilities nationwide is expanding as the public learns more about how VA ignored “important” rules. Last year, KARE 11 News, an NBC affiliate, started an investigation into data from my law firm (Krause Law, PLLC) indicating VA was ignoring policies marked “IMPORTANT!” One important policy mandated the use of highly specialized doctors when conducting an initial traumatic brain injury examination, otherwise known as TBI exams. The specialists mandated are neurologist, neurosurgeon, psychiatrist, and physiatrist. AJ Lagoe of KARE 11 News has been driving that investigation in the press and recently confirmed a nationwide audit of TBI exams conducted by unqualified clinicians outside Minneapolis. His most recent investigation confirmed that unqualified clinicians at Amarillo, Texas examined at least 70 veterans seeking benefits for TBI. The head of Compensation & Pension at the Amarillo VA, Dr. Roy Marokus, came forward with more information including insider emails of an internal audit VA had conducted. Those emails showed just how confused VA was about their own policy and how to correct the malfeasance.