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Thread: Leaked Internal Memo: How VA Screws Veterans to Maintain Performance Grades

  1. #1

    Thumbs down Leaked Internal Memo: How VA Screws Veterans to Maintain Performance Grades

    Leaked Internal Memo Shows How VA Systematically Screws Over Wounded Vets to Maintain Performance Grades.

    A newly surfaced internal memo shows that VA health facilities get good grades by delaying and denying care.

    The April 26 memo from William Schoenhard, Deputy Undersecretary for Health Operations and Management, alerts supervisors overseeing scheduling in the nation's largest health care system that he has learned of unacceptable practices. VA facilities have adopted what he calls "gaming strategies" in order to "improve scores on various access measures" by diminishing patient access to treatment.

    An eight-page attachment identifies 24 "tricks" detected so far, but Schoenhard says there may be more. Using fine-print rules to cancel patients' appointments is one of the more sinister strategies that Schoenhard describes. Here, a patient arrives on time for an appointment only to be told he has no appointment. When the patient shows the employee his/her appointment form, the employee shows the patient the fine print on the form, which says that patients who do not come 10 (sometimes 15) minutes early to check in risk cancellation.

    In another example of the VA gaming the system, employees enter into the computer a later date (often by months) than the doctor has specified for a return visit .Another practice is recording a patient's initial request to be treated in a paper log, not the computer system, then calling them in months or a full year later (law requires they be seen within 30 days) and recording that date as their first request to be seen.

    In the block-scheduling strategy, employees book several patients in the same time slot for the same doctor or provider, leaving patients to wait for hours to to be seen, sometimes for something as simple as a monthly prescription renewal, which, due to frustration or obligation, they sometimes leave without.
    (more)


    Yeah: Delay, Deny and Hope that I die...
    Last edited by quadvet; 07-02-2010 at 07:09 PM.

  2. #2
    This is disgusting. Our veterans deserve so much better than this.
    ...it's worse than we thought. it turns out the people at the white house are not secret muslims, they're nerds.

  3. #3
    Senior Member skippy13's Avatar
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    I've only been cancelled once or twice. Never for an important appointment. I do know others that get appointments cancelled regularly.

    Most medication renewals are handled over the phone or on My HealtheVet. Why should these people need to be seen every month for a script renewal?

    The article is correct when it says that the VA system is beginning to become over run and unable to handle the numbers of new vets of the recent and current wars that are coming into the system.

    The new vets have been educated by their fathers and grandfathers of the vietnam era about the benefits available to them that were not widely known to the older vets that were and still are unknown to many of the older vets. Hell I didn't even know I was qualified for VA services until 35 years had passed. The kids know now and often frequent the Veteran Benefits website even before discharge trying to see what they are entitled to. Some of them are obviously trying to "game the system". It comes across loud and clear in their posts. Why not some "gaming" on both sides? It happens.

    I use my Medicare advantage plan for the things that need attention sooner rather than later. The VA is just too busy and issues are often neglected. It is hard to get an appointment for anything in less than 2-3 months. The rules say that it is supposed to be no more than a month before a patient is seen from the time of the phone call? I don't want to clog the system further when I can use the Medicare docs for urgent care.
    Anything worth doing, is worth doing to excess

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by skippy13 View Post
    I've only been cancelled once or twice. Never for an important appointment. I do know others that get appointments cancelled regularly.

    Most medication renewals are handled over the phone or on My HealtheVet. Why should these people need to be seen every month for a script renewal?

    The article is correct when it says that the VA system is beginning to become over run and unable to handle the numbers of new vets of the recent and current wars that are coming into the system.

    The new vets have been educated by their fathers and grandfathers of the vietnam era about the benefits available to them that were not widely known to the older vets that were and still are unknown to many of the older vets. Hell I didn't even know I was qualified for VA services until 35 years had passed. The kids know now and often frequent the Veteran Benefits website even before discharge trying to see what they are entitled to. Some of them are obviously trying to "game the system". It comes across loud and clear in their posts. Why not some "gaming" on both sides? It happens.

    I use my Medicare advantage plan for the things that need attention sooner rather than later. The VA is just too busy and issues are often neglected. It is hard to get an appointment for anything in less than 2-3 months. The rules say that it is supposed to be no more than a month before a patient is seen from the time of the phone call? I don't want to clog the system further when I can use the Medicare docs for urgent care.
    We recently moved to another state and my wife is having one hell of a time finding a doctor who is accepting new medicare patients. This is some of the flack coming from the new Obama Care health care legislation. I'm sure more suprizes are in store.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by quadvet
    Yeah: Delay, Deny and Hope that I die...
    Exactly.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by quadvet View Post
    Yeah: Delay, Deny and Hope that I die...
    Sickening? Definitely. Surprising? Absolutely not. Insurance companies do this all the time. Delay and deny are tactics used with the inevitability of death to save money.


  7. #7
    Senior Member skippy13's Avatar
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    The VA isn't perfect, but what is? I write a check for 300.00 per month for medicare, and everyone knows how medicare can be.

    I only had to write the check for VA care once.

    They really do their best with what they have. Yeah, there are some bad apples and bureaucrats can screw up even the best of things. There have been some pretty bad mistakes and some are published. But they are the best hope for millions of Veterans. I got a call tonight from one of the nurses who just called to check up on me and see how I was doing and to see if I needed anything. I for one am grateful for the care they provide.
    Anything worth doing, is worth doing to excess

  8. #8
    True, the VA is under staffed & under funded, but it is sometimes the only option for many a vet, so it's too bad issues keep poping up. Aside from slowness on 'initial' problems, I've been treated fairly well - my old PCP was almost as impossible to get into as my VA doc, so there isn't much to be said with that. I just wish the needed care didn't take so long to get when there's a disabling problem, but it's not an 'emergency'. Ugh.
    I, too, am grateful, didn't mean to sound like I wasn't, I'm just frustrated, as many are.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mr_coffee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skippy13 View Post
    The VA isn't perfect, but what is? I write a check for 300.00 per month for medicare, and everyone knows how medicare can be.

    I only had to write the check for VA care once.

    They really do their best with what they have. Yeah, there are some bad apples and bureaucrats can screw up even the best of things. There have been some pretty bad mistakes and some are published. But they are the best hope for millions of Veterans. I got a call tonight from one of the nurses who just called to check up on me and see how I was doing and to see if I needed anything. I for one am grateful for the care they provide.
    Yah medicare told me that and I told them to f off. There is no way I'm paying $300 a month for medicare when they don't give me anything I need. Thank god I have insurance through work
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  10. #10
    It's not so much about "my" experience, as it is about systemic issues that all Veterans need to be aware of, not get caught in, and try to influence for the good of future Veterans.

    Get involved, any way you can.

    It's taken hard work and suffering of Veterans to get where we are now; don't neglect future Veterans at such a crucial time in history.

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