Phoenix VA Hospital Waiting List Improprieties Documented in Government Report
A Report released by the Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) has substantiated many of the alleged improprieties in the handling of veterans needing emergency care alleged in a recent lawsuit brought by a former employee. In its Report dated May 28, 2014, the OIG reported findings from its ongoing review of the Phoenix Health Care System (“HCS”) as related to improper maintenance of a national Emergency Wait List (“EWL”), resulting in delayed, and in some cases, non-existent emergency medical care provided to veterans. The current whistleblower lawsuit alleges that VA hospital administrators failed to properly maintain the EWL in a scheme to artificially reduce reported wait times to increase compensation bonuses tied to reduced wait times.
The OIG has undertaken activities to investigate the extent of this problem including:
- • Obtaining and reviewing VA and non-VA medical records of patients whose death occurred while on a waiting list, or was alleged to be related to a delay in care;
- • Review of more than a half-million e-mail messages and documents, and analysis of more than ten “computers and/or devices” including over 140,000 network files.
Based on its investigation, the OIG Report included the following recommendations to the VA Secretary to better ensure accurate record-keeping and, ultimately, improve emergency medical care provided to veterans:
- • That the VA Secretary take immediate action to review and provide appropriate health care to 1,700 veterans identified through the OIG investigation to being excluded from any existing waiting list;
- • That the VA Secretary review all existing waiting lists at the Phoenix Health Care System to identify veterans possibly at the greatest risk due to delay of health care services, and provide the appropriate level of medical care; and
- • That the VA Secretary initiate a nationwide review of veterans on wait lists to ensure that veterans are seen within an appropriate time, in light os the severity of their medical conditions.
To view the complete OIG Report online, please click here.
Audet & Partners, LLP is continuing to investigate claims by veterans and their families that they failed to receive medical services in a timely fashion, leading to serious personal injuries, illnesses and/or death. If you believe that you or a loved one was denied timely medical care by a VA hospital, you are urged to contact us for a free, confidential case evaluation either by calling (800) 965-1461, or by completing and submitting our online inquiry form on the right side of this page.