VA Watchdog Stops Short Of Tying Deaths To Delayed Care

In a report released Tuesday, the VA's Office of Inspector General criticized a Phoenix VA hospital for "troubling lapses in follow-up, coordination, quality and continuity of care." Investigators said that numerous veterans died after receiving substandard care, but they could not substantiate allegations that delays had caused at least 40 deaths.

Los Angeles Times: VA Inquiry Stops Short Of Linking Deaths To Delays In Care In Phoenix
On the same day President Obama pledged to regain veterans’ trust, Department of Veterans Affairs investigators reported that they had been unable to prove that delays in medical care caused any deaths at the VA medical center in Phoenix, epicenter of a national scandal over mismanagement in the veterans healthcare system. In a report released Tuesday, however, the VA’s Office of Inspector General criticized the Phoenix VA for “troubling lapses in follow-up, coordination, quality and continuity of care” (Carcamo and Hennessey, 8/26).

The Washington Post: VA Watchdog Confirms Patients Died After Receiving Poor Care
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ watchdog confirmed Tuesday that numerous veterans died after receiving poor care in a VA hospital in Phoenix, Ariz., but stopped short of substantiating widely reported allegations that at least 40 veterans died while awaiting care. The VA inspector general’s office said in a report that it reviewed the records of 3,409 veterans and found 45 cases where patients experienced “unacceptable and troubling lapses” in care. Of those, 28 experienced long delays in care, and six died, the report said. Seventeen other patients experienced care that “deviated from the expected standard independent of delays,” and 14 of them died, the IG found (Lamonthe, 8/26).

The Associated Press: IG: Shoddy Care By VA Didn’t Cause Phoenix Deaths
Investigators uncovered large-scale improprieties in the way VA hospitals and clinics across the nation have been scheduling veterans for appointments, according to a report released Tuesday by the VA’s Office of Inspector General. The report said workers falsified waitlists while their supervisors looked the other way or even directed it, resulting in chronic delays for veterans seeking care (8/26).

Politico: VA Report: Deaths Not Linked To Wait Times
The final report aligns with previous investigations from the watchdog office, which helped launch a scandal that cost former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki his post. The inspector general said in May it found evidence that employees, including senior level managers, manipulated wait times to hide the delays faced by veterans seeking medical treatment (French, 8/26).

NPR: VA Deputy Secretary On Wait Times: 'We Owe The American People An Apology'
Melissa Block talks with Sloan Gibson, the deputy secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department, about the results of a recent probe into wait times at VA facilities (8/26).

CNN: Scathing Report Slams Veterans' Care But Says No Definite Link To Deaths
A lengthy report on wait times at VA health care facilities in Phoenix found that 28 veterans had "clinically significant delays" in care, and six of them died, but investigators couldn't conclusively link their deaths to the delays. The scathing report, released Tuesday by the Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of Inspector General, said the delays were because of scheduling issues. There were also 17 patients -- 14 of whom died -- in the review who received poor care but not as a result of access or scheduling issues (Fantz, Griffin, Black and Bronstein, 8/26).

NBC News: VA: No Proof Delayed Medical Care Caused Deaths In Phoenix
Investigators found no conclusive proof that delays in medical care caused patient deaths at the Phoenix VA Health Care System, even though some patients died while waiting for appointments and delays “adversely affected” the quality of care, according to a report released Tuesday by the VA’s inspector general. Dr. Sam Foote, a whistleblower at the Phoenix VA, had charged in February that up to 40 patients may have died waiting for appointments (Gardella, 8/26).

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