- A USA Today analysis of more than 70 recently released reports from the VA Office of Inspector General found supervisors at VA medical facilities in at least seven states instructed staff to falsify patient wait times.
- The VA Department has been under fire since it surfaced that as many as 40 veterans may have died while awaiting care at a VA hospital in Phoenix, Arizona.
- "The reports detail for the first time since the Phoenix VA wait-time scandal in 2014 how widespread scheduling manipulation was throughout the VA," USA Today said.
An incriminating Office of Inspector General report in 2014 revealed deep discrepancies in wait-list data: Official VA data showed that a sample of 226 patients from the Phoenix clinic had waited an average of 24 days for primary care appointments, while the real wait time was an average of 115 days. The report focused primarily on the Phoenix clinic, but called inappropriate scheduling practices "systemic" throughout the VA.
As of March 15, more than 480,000 veterans have been waiting over 30 days to see a provider, USA Today noted. According to the analysis, employees at 40 medical facilities in Puerto Rico and 19 states consistently balanced veteran wait times to "zero." In some cases, the manipulation of patient wait times had been happening for decades.
VA whistleblowers state the practice of manipulating veteran wait times is far from a thing of the past, USA Today noted.
National Review noted that wait times on the benefits side weren't any more uplifting. For example, on average the wait time is over 630 days in Boston and 770 days in Baltimore. "Meanwhile, the backlog for appealed claims has skyrocketed to over 255,000 — and most of the veterans on that list have been waiting upwards of three years," the Review noted.