News / USA

Audit Shows 100,000 US Veterans Face Long Waits for Healthcare

The Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 9, 2014.
The Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 9, 2014.
Reuters
More than 100,000 veterans are experiencing waits of more than 90 days for appointments at medical centers run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, according to an internal audit released by the troubled agency on Monday.
 
The survey revealed that a scandal over cover-ups of long wait times at VA clinics, during which some veterans are alleged to have died, was broader and deeper than initially thought, prompting a new round of recriminations from lawmakers and veterans groups.
 
The agency said staff at 76 percent of facilities surveyed reported that they were instructed to misrepresent appointment data at least once.
 
The VA said it found that in mid-May, 57,436 veterans were waiting for appointments that could not be scheduled within 90 days, while about 43,000 had appointments more than 90 days in the future.
 
Over the past 10 years, 63,869 new enrollees in the VA healthcare system had requested appointments that were never scheduled, VA said.
 
The agency said it was working to contact all of those people to try to expedite their care. With more than 1,700 clinics, hospitals and other facilities serving 8.9 million veterans, the VA operates the largest U.S. healthcare system.
 
Lawmakers from both parties expressed outrage at the findings, which deepen the political problems the controversy presents to President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats as they try to keep control of the U.S. Senate in November elections.
 
“The results of the VA's report are appalling and disturbing,” said Senator Kay Hagan, a Democrat who is in a tight re-election contest in North Carolina, a state that is home to many military retirees.
 
Republican House Speaker John Boehner called the findings “a national disgrace” and said the House of Representatives would pass a measure this week to allow veterans to seek private care at VA expense if they were forced to wait more than 30 days for an appointment.
 
Emergency Measures
 
The VA said it was abandoning a two-week scheduling goal for appointments after finding it was “not attainable,” and it suspended bonus awards for the 2014 fiscal year ending Sept. 30.
 
The agency also said it would take emergency steps to rush medical care to veterans, including hiring temporary staff, keeping clinics open later, sending more patients to private care providers and bringing in mobile medical units to some locations. It will freeze hiring at headquarters offices.
 
Last week, VA acting Secretary Sloan Gibson said that at least 18 Arizona veterans had died while waiting for appointments.
 
An official with the Government Accountability Office, a  watchdog agency, said on Monday that a GAO review had identified one veteran who died earlier this year before obtaining needed care.
 
The patient needed endovascular surgery to repair two aneurysms that were diagnosed in September 2013, GAO's  healthcare director, Debra Draper, said in testimony to the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
 
The surgery was set for November, then canceled due to VA staffing issues, she said. The VA then referred the patient to a local hospital, but there was another delay when the patient's information was lost by the “non-VA provider,” Draper said.
 
The patient died of cardiac disease and hypertension the day before the surgery was to take place on Feb. 14, she said.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Could Be in Use by January

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid