'ABSOLUTELY INFURIATING': Audit finds 70% of VA facilities used alternative wait lists

(Washington Times) -- Tens of thousands of veterans are stuck in backlogs awaiting care at VA facilities, the department said Monday in a report that confirms employees regularly cooked the books, often under pressure from supervisors, to try to hide long wait times.

The audit found that 70 percent of Veterans Affairs facilities surveyed placed patients on alternate wait lists, meaning many of those veterans probably weren’t recorded in the official reports back to headquarters and were used to dole out bonuses to VA executives.

In a report that called the problems plaguing the nation’s largest single health care provider “systemic,” auditors also found a scheduling process that is “overly complicated” and “resulted in high potential to create confusion among scheduling clerks and front-line supervisors.”

As a result, more than 57,000 veterans were waiting 90 days or more for an initial appointment. Another 64,000 apparently never got appointments after enrolling.

“This audit is absolutely infuriating and underscores the depth of this scandal,” said Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “Our vets demand action and answers.”

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