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Saturday, December 26, 2015

The More Things Change At The V.A., The More They Stay The Same

by JASmius

It's eighteen months and a Cabinet-level sword-falling-on and overhyped "reform" legislation and tens of billions of additional dollars later, and absolutely, positively nothing has changed at the Veterans Administration, most especially where the scandal first began:

More than a year after we first learned of problems at the Phoenix VA Hospital — they still have not been fixed. A new government report describes long waits for veterans seeking treatment.

Whistleblowers charge the hospital is missing something essential: enough doctors. …

Whistleblower Dr. Sam Foote maintains that at least forty veterans died in Phoenix since April 2013. He said more than two years later, the problems still aren’t fixed.

The report did not blame the wait times for the deaths, but it did call for changes in how the Phoenix VA schedules appointments.

“A band-aid has been put on this, and therefore everything’s okay? Everything’s not okay,” said Dr. Foote. “They still don’t have enough physicians and providers to provide medical care.”

A band-aid, indeed.  That's all anybody can reasonably expect of a corrupt, government-run single-payer system whose actual performance in service of actual patients is completely unrelated to the securing of its revenue streams, which in turn incentivizes ass-covering in lieu of accountability.

Here's a case in point that has particular relevance via-a-vie my father:

OHI launched this separate review when it became clear that the Urology clinic experienced extreme staffing shortages that potentially impacted thousands of patients. As the review continued and more complex cases were revealed, we also recognized the need for a more intense specialty level evaluation.

We determined that PVAHCS leaders did not have a plan to provide urological services during significant unexpected provider shortages in the Urology Service. In addition, PVAHCS leaders did not promptly respond to the staffing crisis, which contributed to many patients being “lost to follow-up” and staff frustration due to lack of direction....

And again, what incentive did "PVAHCS leaders have to promptly respond to the staffing crisis?  Or prevent it from arising in the first place?  Why give a frog's fat leg about how you do your job if you're going to get paid and benefited regardless, and the only potential threat to either is it getting out how piss-poor a job you're doing?

We also concluded that PVAHCS Urology Service and NVCC staff did not provide care or ensure that timely urological services were provided to patients needing care. We identified ten patients who experienced significant delays, which may have affected their clinical outcome in some instances. Such delays placed patients at unnecessary risk for adverse outcomes. In addition, we found that the quality of non-urological care in two cases was not acceptable, which placed these patients at unnecessary risk for harm. [emphasis added]

Adverse outcomes such as bacterial meningitis caused by a urinary retention problem.  Which is precisely what happened to dear old dad this past summer.  He, unbeknownst to anybody but himself, had been having more and more difficulty peeing, and finally couldn't do it anymore.  It seems (and I only recently learned this) that the urge to urinate is caused by the bladder squeezing against its fetid contents, thus transmitting through its nerving endings to one's brain that it's time to "drain the lizard" as it were.  In old age, one's bladder can become worn out to the point that it can't effectively squeeze anymore.  That is what happened to my father.  And when you can't pee, the urine has to go somewhere.  Since his bladder didn't burst, I'm assuming the urine was reabsorbed into his system, causing the infection that became the spinal meningitis that hospitalized him for six weeks and could have killed him.

Had he said something to me, I'd have made sure he got in to see a urologist ASAP.  How long that would have taken in Wenatchee is a matter of conjecture; I do know that it took approximately six weeks for him to get an urologist appointment here in the south Puget Sound area.  And we weren't going through the V.A.  Which is a very good thing, because if we had tried to get this problem addressed before he passed out and fell and was on the floor of his retirement apartment for over a day before somebody found him and gone through the V.A. to do so, I might have wound up burying dear old dad instead of moving him over here a short ten-minute drive away.  Which is why, though he is a veteran (Airman First Class, 1953-57), we didn't go through the f'ing V.A.

This is the single-payer nightmare that the Dems are still obsessed with inflicting on We the People, by any means necessary.  And now you can see why the Obama Regime was in such a haste to do whatever it took to get this scandal out of the headlines and make it look like it had been "fixed".

But it can't be "fixed" because the problem isn't this metric or that metric; those are only symptoms.  The problem is the V.A.'s single-payer model itself.  Government-run healthcare, just like government-run anything, is greedy, corrupt, and does not work.  The only way to "fix" the VA is to privatize it and restore healthy incentives to how it performs what is supposed to be its mission: providing quality, timely medical care to America's veterans.

Which will transpire around the same time that Shia Labeouf wins an Oscar.

And he can pee.

Exit question: Should Veterans Affairs Commissar Bob McDonald be put on "sword-fall" watch or does it even matter at this point?

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