Accessibility links

USA

Report Finds 'Deficiencies' Remain at Veterans' Hospitals

  • VOA News

FILE - A new veterans hospital in Aurora, Colo. Health care operations at the Department of Veterans Affairs still show "profound deficiencies" and "require urgent reform," according to a report to be released Wednesday by a congressional commission charged with fixing the troubled agency.

FILE - A new veterans hospital in Aurora, Colo. Health care operations at the Department of Veterans Affairs still show "profound deficiencies" and "require urgent reform," according to a report to be released Wednesday by a congressional commission charged with fixing the troubled agency.

Health care operations at the Department of Veterans Affairs still show "profound deficiencies" and "require urgent reform," according to a report to be released Wednesday by a congressional commission charged with fixing the troubled agency.

Congress created the Commission on Care in 2014 as part of a $16 billion reform law meant to overhaul the VA, after an audit revealed that some veterans of military service had to wait as long as 90 days to see a doctor. Some veterans were reported to have died while waiting for an appointment.

The commission's report says the VA delivers high-quality care, but the care is inconsistent among the health care centers for veterans. Problems with access to care also remain, it says.

"America's veterans deserve a better organized, high-performing health care system," the commission wrote.

President Barack Obama in a statement released late Tuesday said he would review the report closely.

"We will continue to work with veterans, Congress and our partners in the veteran advocacy community to further our ongoing transformation of the veterans' health care system," Obama said. "Our veterans deserve nothing less for their sacrifices and their service."

VA Secretary Bob McDonald said many of the panel's recommendations are in line with ongoing efforts to transform the VA into what McDonald calls a "veteran-centric organization."

FILE - Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert 'Bob' McDonald speaks in Washington.

FILE - Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert 'Bob' McDonald speaks in Washington.

Three members of the 15-member board declined to endorse the 292-page report, The Arizona Republic reported. Two of those members issued a statement saying the findings and recommendations fall "far short of what is needed" to fix the VA health care system, the newspaper said.

The congressional commission cites a variety of issues still plaguing the VA system, including inadequate staffing, inefficient use of staff and antiquated facilities.

The scandal was first revealed in an audit of VA health care facilities in 2014. At the time, it was reported that 100,000 veterans had experienced delays of more than 90 days while waiting for appointments at veterans' medical centers. A number of VA officials were accused of altering paperwork to cover up the long waiting periods and other problems.

In fallout from the scandal, four senior VA executives were fired in October 2014.

The 2014 law - the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act - aimed to make it easier and faster for former U.S. service members to get medical treatment.

It also provided funds for veterans to see private doctors if they were unable to be examined at a VA hospital, allowed for the hiring of more VA doctors and nurses and made it easier to fire incompetent bureaucrats.

The Veterans Health Administration treats nearly 9 million veterans at 1,700 facilities around the country.

XS
SM
MD
LG