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VA Whistleblower Speaks

Sam Foote, an internist who was a Veterans Administration outpatient director for 19 years, is the one who blew the whistle.  His recommendations about how to proceed, he says, are not likely to be taken up by a politicized Washington in an election year.

I would much prefer to have Debra A. Draper, the director of the Health Care Government Accountability Office, conduct an anonymous electronic survey of primary care providers, nurses and clerks at every V.A. hospital and clinic across the nation to find out what they think the real new and returning patient waiting times are. Then her team should give the hospital administrators a one-week amnesty period to report their own version of the waiting times. If the numbers match, then you have reliable data. If they don’t, then send the inspector general out to audit them. If the hospital administrators have fudged their data, fire them and prosecute them to the maximum extent under the law.

A full accounting is necessary in the narrow sense to punish those who engaged in improper or illegal conduct. In a larger sense, the accounting is needed because the V.A. must determine the magnitude of its problem in order to design a solution…

Where it breaks down badly, especially out West and in other sparsely populated parts of the country, is in the provision of urgent and emergency care where the distance to any suitable hospital, let alone a V.A. hospital, can be great. We should think about giving veterans in these situations something like a Vetacare card, which could be used for urgent or emergency care, or both, and subsequent hospitalization if needed. This would allow for more immediate treatment, and the V.A. could be billed directly…

Any scandal that befalls the V.A. necessarily lands on the party that is in the White House. As this is an election year, we can expect that there will be significant pushback to delay and limit the discovery of negative information — which is why I expect my suggestions to be vehemently opposed by the White House and the V.A.’s upper management.

About Alan

Alan Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.

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  • Dwendt44

    He’s likely correct about much of this. The VA problems goes back years, so it’s as much Bush’s fault as well as anyone’s. The problem is the huge influx of Iraq and Afghanistan vets. It overwhelms some facilities.
    Then too, the VA is supposed to be treating service connected conditions and so forth, not every nick and scratch. I wonder how many of those that died had health insurance or other facilities they could have been treated at and how many would have died anyway with terminal diseases or conditions.