Local News

Inappropriate scheduling practices alleged at Durham VA Hospital

Posted May 12

— Two Durham VA Medical Center employees were placed on administrative leave for allegedly engaging in inappropriate scheduling practices, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced Monday.

The action comes after a Durham VA employee indicated some workers may have falsified appointment records between 2009 and 2012, the agency said in a statement. An audit team will be at the hospital this week to review the allegations.

Monday's announcement is the latest in an increasing number of scheduling incidents involving Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country. VA workers in Wyoming, Texas and Colorado are being investigated for allegedly manipulating scheduling systems to hide that veterans waited months for appointments.

A Veterans Affairs employee in Wyoming was recently placed on administrative leave after an email was released showing he directed staff on how to fix the appointments system.

VA patients are supposed to see a doctor or any other medical professional within 14 days of their requested date. Any wait longer than two weeks is supposed to be documented.

“VA takes any allegations about patient care or employee misconduct very seriously,” the agency said in a statement. “If the allegations are true, the inappropriate behavior is unacceptable and employees will be held accountable.”

33 Comments

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  • LastSon1981 May 14, 12:25 p.m.

    Vets get this and prisoners get Pizza Parties.

  • JustOneGodLessThanUU May 13, 5:37 p.m.

    I recently crawled (literally) into the ER due to severe back pain. This is a service related... View More

    — Posted by kschneider650

    From the summer I interned at a VAMC in the Bay Area, I admire your optimism (a good NCO could fix it) but I think it is misplaced.
    These people are unionized, federal government civil servants - i.e. the worst of the worst. As long as they don't punch, molest or steal from a patient, they're untouchable.

    IMO, VHA is rotten from the bottom up and the only solution is to shut it down and give the veterans a medical insurance card they can use anywhere they please.

  • kschneider650 May 13, 4:28 p.m.

    I recently crawled (literally) into the ER due to severe back pain. This is a service related disability and have already had 1 major surgery (outside the VA). I was given aspirin and scheduled to attend Pain Management to learn how to deal with my pain. Immediately went to a private Hospital and was on the operating table within hours. My trip yesterday to the VA for other service related disability for hearing loss showed huge lines at almost every department, but come 11:30 am, most shut the doors, went to lunch, returned 45-60 minutes later and were carrying their lunch, so went to their offices and closed the doors for another 30 minutes. A good NCO running these organizations could fix this quick.

  • Grand Union May 13, 3:00 p.m.

    Well if congress was less interested in making the rich richer by cutting taxes then perhaps the... View More

    — Posted by btneast

    LOL thats just Tea Party nonsense and you know it. Every other western county in the world has Gov. paid for healthcare and generally they cost far less and have as good outcomes.
    As for bureaucracy.....just trying to get BCBS to pay what what they should be paying for, causes a lot more hassle than the The NHS ever gave me in the UK.

  • dwr1964 May 13, 2:48 p.m.

    To go just a bit further, I have been dealing with the VA since 2009. Remember that I said I had 3 heart attacks? Even though I have asked many times over, I still have yet to see any kind of heart doctor. No stress tests. No monitors. I do have a BP med, but up till I had to rely on the VA, private docs had me on 2 BP meds along with blood thinners and cholesterol meds. Now it's just the one. Is that all, that my time in the military is worth?

  • bishopmagic186 May 13, 2:17 p.m.

    I think one of the problems with VA is they're getting overwhelmed with people who shouldn't be... View More

    — Posted by JustOneGodLessThanUU

    yeah, that was a clinton era change. and you are spot on.

  • dwr1964 May 13, 2:09 p.m.

    I have never had an appointment within 14 days of anything. Just real quick...I have had 2 fractured skulls, a broken neck, crushed right shoulder and left arm, left leg broken in 2 places and 3 heart attacks, 2 of which I was life flighted. I get maybe 5 doctor visits each year and that includes all of the doctors I need. I have been dealing with the VA for years. I have had to take things to arbitration on 2 occasions. Because of the backlog of veterans in today's USA, combined with the same overworked, understaffed VA hospitals nationwide, 3 surgeries I needed at least 2 years ago, still haven't even been scheduled. They just keep throwing stronger and stronger pain meds at me. Yes, the VA has a lot of problems. Not one of those problems will be fixed, even with this new issue that has come to light. Many more vets, a lot of them worse off than me, are being overlooked, simply because we are a bit older.

  • JustOneGodLessThanUU May 13, 12:57 p.m.

    I think one of the problems with VA is they're getting overwhelmed with people who shouldn't be there.

    The only veterans who should be going to the VA are those with service connected disabilities. I think around 20 years ago the VA expanded the list of eligible veterans and now it includes just about any veteran with an honorable or general discharge who earns below a certain amount. So a lot of guys are not buying health insurance and are basically getting free care from the VA. You can try to spin it anyway you want, but if it's not a service connected injury, then it's free or almost free health care.

    This is not a defined benefit. No where on my or anyone's enlistment contract does it say we'
    re entitled to discounted/free healthcare from the VA. IMO, they expanded the rolls to keep the VA alive when the patient population was declining after the cold war ended. Now add millions of new veterans from 12 years of war and they can't keep up.

  • bishopmagic186 May 13, 12:54 p.m.

    The VA is not government health insurance and therefore can't be used as an example of what... View More

    — Posted by JustOneGodLessThanUU

    except it is bankrupt and will need to either be completely overhauled or removed in the coming years.

  • btneast May 13, 12:44 p.m.

    Well if congress was less interested in making the rich richer by cutting taxes then perhaps the VA could have had the resources to keep waiting lists down

    VA 's problem is not how much money they get, but rather what they do with what they do get. It's like most government agencies.....it has a bloated bureaucracy that is cumbersome and extremely difficult to navigate. They give a whole new meaning to red tape. As a government agency, they don't have to be responsive to the market....you have to take it or leave it. Decisive leadership is not encouraged, in fact, it's suffocated by the status quo that are looking for the free government pension ride.

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