The Veterans Affairs department on Monday released an internal audit that revealed the scope of the recordkeeping scandal that has plagued the government agency recently.
Over 57,000 patients are still waiting for initial appointments 90 days or more after requesting them, the Associated Press reported. An additional 64,000 veterans who have been in the VA health care system over the past decade have yet to get an appointment.
The AP also reported that the audit revealed “13 percent of VA schedulers reported supervisors telling them to falsify appointment dates to make waiting times appear shorter.” In addition, the disconnect between supervisors and scheduling clerks can be partly attributed to the “complicated appointment process [that] created confusion” among colleagues at the same hospitals or clinics.
Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson said, “No Veteran should ever have to wait to receive the care they have earned through their service and sacrifice. … We must work together to fix the unacceptable, systemic problems in accessing VA healthcare,” according to a press release put out by the VA Thursday.
In the same statement, Gibson said the department “must be an organization built on transparency and accountability.”
Gibson stated that the department's top priority was getting patients off the waiting list, but the original 14-day goal has been abandoned after the audit revealed it was “unattainable given the growing demand among veterans for health care.”