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The Scope of the Problem

9:09 AM, Jun 10, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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Veterans Affairs has problems. This, we all know. Among the questions raised since those problems first began making headlines are: how widespread are they?  Are we talking outliers? A few rogue operators.  Or is the system, itself, dysfunctional.  Today’s partial answer to that question is … kind of looks that way.  Consider this lede paragraph in Arit John’s Government Executive story.

An audit of the Veterans Administration found that more than 57,000 veterans have waited at least 90 days for an appointment. According to the Associated Press, the department audit of 731 hospitals and outpatient clinics also found that 13 percent of schedulers reported that supervisors told them to falsify appointment dates. There are also 64,000 patients who, over the last 10 years, have never had an appointment. 

Meanwhile, as Eric Katz reports in another Government Executive story:

The House passed another bill on Monday to ease the firing of mangers at the Veterans Affairs Department and restrict their bonuses.

The bill was introduced by Representative Dan Benishek of Michigan:

… who has worked as a part-time VA surgeon for 20 years, said his bill would change the “culture of mismanagement and complacency” at the agency. 

And a member of the VA leadership is, as the AP reports:

... acknowledging "an integrity issue here among some of our leaders" as the embattled agency reels from mounting evidence that workers fabricated data on veterans' waits for medical appointments in an effort to mask frequent, long delays.

Government:  The things we do together.

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