Veterans Affairs Watchdog: Health-Care Scheduling Delays Not Fatal (The Wall Street Journal)
The Department of Veterans Affairs' independent watchdog said no patient deaths at the Phoenix VA Health Care System were directly caused by long wait times, in a final report that nevertheless detailed widespread scheduling problems there.
The Office of the Inspector General for the department released the report Tuesday, following months of turmoil at the agency, multiple investigations and a number of resignations, including by Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. Much of the attention on the agency was triggered by claims that patients died because of long wait times that department employees didn't properly track.
"While the case reviews in this report document poor quality of care, we are unable to conclusively assert that the absence of timely quality care caused the death of these veterans," the inspector-general report said. The document, however, noted that 28 patients had "clinically significant" delays in care due to scheduling problems or poor access to care.