All of you fans of Big Government medicine, single payer health care, institutionalized compassion, and subsidized hugs (you know who you are), listen up: here is another tribute to the goal you desire.
USA Today reports that the VA is falsifying wait time for vets at 40 different facilities (shocker!). “Supervisors instructed employees to falsify patient wait times … In some cases, the system encouraged manipulation even without explicit instruction from supervisors.” Investigators found that some employees kept lists of some waiting veterans outside of the scheduling system, in order to further improve reported wait times.
“The agency said it has retrained thousands of schedulers and is updating software to make it easier for them to book appointments properly.” Just like it did in 2005. And in 2010. And in a massive correctional initiative, the VA thus far has started to discipline 29 employees. Yep, 29.
Why did does this keep happening? “The manipulation masked growing demand as new waves of veterans returned from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and as Vietnam veterans aged and needed more health care.” Which reminded me of another story from a few years ago…
… wherein the British government tried to deal with a conflict between promises and resources. The government mandated that no patient presenting to the hospital wait more than 4 hours to be seen and VOILA! The problem was fixed. Except in 2008, it was reported that ambulances with patients on-board were simply waiting in the parking lot for hours, until such time as the patient could be seen inside within the mandated 4-hour limit. Naturally those wagons in the holding pattern were not therefore available to take fresh emergency calls either. And despite that huge stink, the Brits are still slogging ahead, bragging that 90% of patients are being seen within 4 hours. The president of the College of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Clifford Mann, said part of the problem is that hospitals have no financial incentive to invest in emergency care: “We need sustainable staffing for our emergency departments, which will only happen when we stop penalizing acute trusts (hospitals) for treating acutely ill and injured patients … all acute care loses money and in times of austerity it is difficult for trusts to invest properly in an emergency department which they see as a loss-making part of the business.” Let’s face it, neither emergency patients or vets tend to bring in the dollars/pounds. Do you think the Brits are as broke as we are?
I wrote a decade ago that the purpose of Big Government health systems is not to provide universal care, but to provide the appearance of universal care. I’m a vet, and no I don’t think its funny that vets needing actual care are shuffled off to phantom waiting lists. But I think it’s funny as hell that so many want to expand the systems and promises of the VA, Medicare, and the U.K. national health service, despite decades of evidence.Tweet