Monday, May 23, 2016

The VA Secretary Likens Wait Times At The VA To Waiting In Line For Cinderella's Castle

"If the government can't even treat its veterans properly, how can it handle healthcare for everyone." NY Post Editorial

As I've made clear in the past, my experience with VA providers has been good. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the wait times or even getting appointments in a timely fashion.  Just this week, I had an appointment at 1:30 p.m. and didn't leave the facility until 4 p.m. And that was a good day. There have been several occasions when I didn't even see my provider until 3-5 hours after my appointment time. Also, during those times, there are at least 30 vets or more in the same waiting room. The systemic problems don't end with just wait times. At the particular VA clinic I need to attend every 2-3 months, they rarely answer the phone. On many occasions, the phone rang and rang for over 30 minutes with no one answering.  You bring this issue up to them, yet no one does a damn thing about it.

So it came as no surprise to me (and I'm sure other veterans) at the comments made by the VA Secretary  Robert McDonald today: "When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what's important? What's important is, what's your satisfaction with the experience?"

Yo Sparky!  We're not talking about some make-believe carnival rides. In addition, Disney doesn't usually neglect the needs of its customers as the VA has done all too often.  It was just last year when the Lincoln Center for Policy Research reported that "36,000 combat vets" were stuck on hold because the appointment process was broken. They also reported that over 100 VA facilities were implicated in manipulating waiting lists. To add insult to injury, few VA employees were held accountable. In fact, some were even given bonuses.

It's way beyond time for someone to do something about these continued systemic issues. But we already know that. Too many veterans have even died trying to navigate this inefficient and inadequate system of health care.  What say you Mr. Obama?