Friday, May 30, 2014

What's behind the VA's problems?

The Veterans Administration managers are rewarded for short wait times for patients.  What the Inspector General discovered is that VA managers manipulated the system by recording  shorter wait dates using a variety of schemes.  This allowed them to earn bonuses tied to short wait times, without actually having to deliver short wait times.

Here is a video describing how the managers manipulated the system.

BOTTOM LINE:  if you use a performance evaluation metric, like wait times, make sure that managers cannot manipulate it.

HT:  Walter & Jack


  1. Why should the Veterans Administration be rewarded for shorter wait times for patients? I believe the administration should be rewarded by doing their jobs not anything more. Scandal, controversy and veterans care in the United States have gone hand-in-hand for virtually as long as there's been a republic. In 2001, despite a 1995 goal to reduce waiting times for primary care and specialty appointments to less than 30 days, the GAO finds that veterans still often wait more than two months for appointments. In 2003, a commission appointed by President George W. Bush reports that as of January 2003, some 236,000 veterans had been waiting six months or more for initial or follow-up visits, "a clear indication," the commission said, "of lack of sufficient capacity or, at a minimum, a lack of adequate resources to provide the required care.”

    As of January 2014, CNN reports that at least 19 veterans died at VA hospitals in 2010 and 2011 because of delays in diagnosis and treatment. On April 23, 2014 at least 40 veterans died while waiting for appointments to see a doctor at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, CNN reports. The patients were on a secret list designed to hide lengthy delays from VA officials in Washington, according to a recently retired VA doctor and several high-level sources (Pearson).

    The formula for the VA administration to get better at wait times is to add more space to their facility and hire more providers (Horne). These military men and women volunteered and fought for our country. The least the VA hospitals could do is make sure these men and women’s medical care are taken care of. These military men and women didn’t say to our government “let’s wait” to fight for our country so why should they have to wait to be seen by a doctor for medical care?

    Work Cited:

    Horne, C. (2015) Hampron VAMC director says plan will improve wait times. Retrieved from:

    Pearson, M. (2014) The VA’s troubled history. Retrieved from:

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