Veterans Die While Waiting . . .

Honestly, I wish this was fiction. As a nurse– I wanted to call attention to this.

Imagine . . . you have served your country faithfully and just need to see a doctor. The VA system requires patients be seen in a timely manner of 14-30 days. Evidently in Phoenix, there was a system in place to hide the fact that 1,500 veterans were waiting months to see a physician and according to this CNN piece— 40 died while waiting.

There were two lists. One that was shown to auditors to prove that they were meeting this appointment criteria. What was really occurring is that a veteran would make a request and would be electronically placed on a “secret list”. When their appt came up under the 14 day mark, it would be registered, when if fact they were waiting several months to be seen.

With the government assuming more control over healthcare I fear more and more of these stories are going to come to pass.  Doctors are leaving traditional practices and opening up concierge services. My own primary care physician did this. We chose not to pay him out of pocket for “access” on top of our normal insurance rates. We had to find a new physician.

The government is also becoming the largest payer to hospitals through Medicaid, Medicare and now the ACA. When you have one primary customer– that customer will dictate how your hospital runs. Right now, hospitals are cutting back staff, staff incentives and such because they are worried about reimbursement from government agencies. My own hospital has done these things.

What about you? How do you feel about the current state of our healthcare system? What changes have you seen take place that you like or don’t like?

You can check out lengthy pieces on this subject here and here.

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