Obama Team warned about VA wait times 5 years ago

| July 21, 2014

The Washington Times reports that they got their hands on a Freedom Of Information Act report that the Obama transition team received when they took the reins of government five years ago which warned that the Department of Veterans’ Affairs had trouble with wait times for patients. That the data which was being used to pay executive bonuses was easily manipulated.

“VA has been trying — and failing — to replace its outpatient scheduling system since 2000, wasting nearly $130 million in the process,” Rep. Jeff Miller, Florida Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, told The Times when asked about the delays.

“Because VA acquisition officials have proven time and again they are simply too inept to guide the development of a new proprietary appointment-scheduling system in an expedient and cost-effective manner, department leaders need to look at adopting commercial technologies that are being used in the private sector,” Mr. Miller said.

Which is really no surprise. The VA and the Department of Defense can’t figure out a way to transfer medical records between them electronically. How many billions have been wasted on that program? And that’s just transferring data – you know, something that we all do everyday.

The problem at the VA is the culture and the culture won’t change until they start throwing out the incompetent boobs at the lowest levels.

Category: Veterans' Affairs Department

Comments (8)

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  1. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    Substract the VA fraud and the problem may only half as bad … Still bad enough.

    Just imagine (in simple terms) if the VA could immediately access DoD databases when verifying a claimant.

    We could wash out frauds and clear the backlogs.

    Just a simple thought.

    Ta Ta.

    • Hondo says:

      The real pity, MCPO, is that with a bit of coordination and appropriate agreements, that could indeed be the case for the personnel side of the house today.

      I’m reasonably certain that all services now maintain OMPFs online. And they’re available remotely. In general, a CAC/equivalent smart-card ID is required. Since about 2000 or so, that’s been the case for records pertaining to retired and discharged personnel as well, provided they retired or were discharged after about then.

      All is needed is read-only access to those records on the basis of a signed SF180 for selected VA employees, the appropriate agreements, and well-thought-out procedures to minimize the chances of abuse. That would handle verifying any vet who got out after about 2000. Signing a SF180 to allow the VA to access your military records should be a mandatory part of the VA’s application process.

      Records at NPRC would still require manual intervention for verification, but putting a small liaison cell from the VA at NPRC and sending them a digitally-signed copy of the SF180 plus getting them training on the “dos and don’ts” of records handling at NPRC would IMO take care of that as well.

      Wouldn’t address the medical records issues (which are much bigger and have more legal restrictions), but it would sure as hell put teeth into the front-end-screening process to weed out fraud.

    • Isnala says:

      While that may help some, I gave the VA hard copies of my entire Mil record and they still said its going to take almost 2 years.

      • Flagwaver says:

        That’s because, unless you are a Master Chief Warrant Officer Captain in a Ranger Recon SEAL Squadron, they put you on the back-burner. The moment you tell them that you were awarded a a purple heart for jumping on a Suicide Bomber to save your platoon as he exploded, and they also threw in a Bronze star (no device) and a UN campaign ribbon, they move you to the front of the line because no real veteran would lie about a story such as that.

  2. AW1 Tim says:

    We have Top Men working on this.

    Top. Men.

  3. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    The VA and the Department of Defense can’t figure out a way to transfer medical records between them electronically.

    Maybe they should apply the “Meaningful Use” criteria to their own departments, if you don’t meet the stage 1 and stage 2 requirements for Electronic Health/Medical Records (EHR/EMR) you don’t receive payments.

    Maybe no bonuses or reduced salaries if the feds can’t meet the criteria they are asking hospitals to meet around the country. If a 6 person IT department at a small hospital in Western Massachusetts can work overtime to meet the compliance dates one would like to think the federal government with its vast resources should be able to come within 3-6 months of the target dates.

  4. Ex-PH2 says:

    How come I cna transfer ‘data’ between my bank and my bills in the blink of an eye? I do not think it has anything to do with software. If it did, I wouldn’t be able to use the instant payment setup for people who don’t have an account with my bank.

    The VA has needed a housecleaning for a long time, but this is ridiculous. And I’m still having difficulty understanding the blockade in getting treatment for people who need it desperately. That has nothing to do with databases or software, and all of you know it. It’s much more sinister than that. (I’ll go get the vinegar spray now.)

    • Flagwaver says:

      Ex, the reason is that you aren’t a bureaucracy. They still require physical signed documents in triplicate just to use the bathroom.