Watchdog: Accountability

Veterans Affairs staff in Alabama clinic not properly trained to schedule appointments, IG finds

By |
Health,Watchdog,Veterans Affairs,Alabama,Health Care,Kelly Cohen,Waste and Fraud,Accountability,Veterans

Alabama is the newest state with Department of Veterans Affairs issues.

The podiatry clinic at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., didn't have properly trained staff for about 18 months, resulting in delays for processing new cases and scheduling appointments, a new agency inspector general's report reveals.

Maxwell's podiatry clinic is part of the Central Alabama Veterans health care system, which serves about 134,000 veterans in central and southwestern Alabama and western Georgia, according to the report.

The clinic "lacked a sufficient number of adequately trained clerks to provide back-up coverage when the primary clerk was on leave," according to the report, which was done at the request of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

While the primary clerk was on various planned and unplanned leave from January 2012 to June 2013, the average length of time it took to schedule a patient's appointment ballooned from three to nine days, exceeding Veterans Health Administration — the VA's health care system — expectations, according to the report.

Though specific patient names were unavailable, the IG was able to determine 46 VHA and 11 Department of Defense patients attempted to get podiatry services during the time the primary clerk was gone.

The IG faults the failure of the clinic to train a back-up clerk with its scheduling system.

The facility addressed the issue in June 2013, when the primary clerk resigned, according to the IG.

This is just one of the many VA scheduling issues as of late.

A whistleblower recently told the Washington Examiner that patients in a Southeast Texas VA medical system faced "denials or long delays in getting routine colonoscopies and other medical tests because of bureaucratic cost-cutting."

View article comments Leave a comment

More from washingtonexaminer.com