White House report on Veterans Affairs system finds 'corrosive culture'

By Daniel S Levine,

A damning new report on the Veterans Affairs system has reached President Barack Obama’s desk and it looks just as bleak as the previous one. This new interim report comes from White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors, who found a “corrosive culture” that permeates through a system that is supposed to help veterans get health care.

Nabors determined that there are systemic failures throughout. According to Bloomberg, the report says that the 14-day scheduling standard for veterans' appointments is “arbitrary, ill-defined and misunderstood,” which could have caused staffers to fudge records.

The report also found that more doctors are needed, as are more health care professionals.

USA Today reports that the report was delivered to Obama by acting VA secretary Sloan Gibson, who replaced Eric Shinseki.

“We know that unacceptable, systemic problems and cultural issues ... prevent veterans from receiving timely care,” Gibson said in a statement. “We can and must solve these problems as we work to earn back the trust of veterans.”

In the report, investigators found that “There is a culture that tends to minimize problems or refuse to acknowledge problems at all.”

The VA scandal exploded over the past few months, as reports of falsified records have been revealed to be common among the nationwide system.

An early report from VA acting inspector general Richard J. Griffin last month found that there were over a thousand veterans at the Phoenix VA hospital alone that were not being seen by physicians and were not on official waitlists. That report did find that records had been falsified to show that veterans were seeing doctors on time, when they were not.

Just last week, the VA released data that showed 70,000 veterans were not receiving care on time. In addition, the data showed that in the past 10 years, 64,000 veterans who wanted VA care did not receive it.

“As the report indicates, there is strong sentiment among many veterans and stakeholders that in general the VA provides high-quality healthcare once you get in the door and that the current system needs to be fixed, not abandoned or weakened,” Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in response to Nabors’ report, notes The LA Times. However, “The VA must do a far better job in understanding what is taking place on the ground, and regional and local offices can no longer hide serious problems when they exist.”

image courtesy of INFphoto.com

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