VA Lied About Wait Times
by John M. Grohol, PSYD
Psych Central, April 25, 2012
Up until Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) claimed that 95 percent of the vets are seen within 14 days after contacting them for mental health issues if not in crisis. We now know that’s a lie.
Federal investigators revealed yesterday that half the veterans who seek out mental health care in the VA system waited about 50 days — not 14 — before receiving a full evaluation. That’s not just a tiny lie. That’s a lie covering up a wait time that is 350 percent greater than the VA’s original claims. A wait time that clearly demonstrates that demand is outstripping supply of qualified mental health professionals.
But wait, it gets better. Because that’s not the only thing the VA has been fudging the numbers about.
First, let’s check out the metrics the VA was previously using to measure patient wait-times:
Under the VA’s protocol, patients seeking mental health care are supposed to get an initial evaluation within 24 hours in case care is urgently needed. Barring an emergency, the department seeks to provide a full evaluation within 14 days. However, the VA measures how long it took to conduct the evaluation, not how long a patient waited to receive an evaluation.
For example, if a patient is referred on Sept. 15 and the evaluation is scheduled and takes place on Oct. 1, then the VA would show that the veteran waited zero days, when in reality the patient had waited 15. Investigators called the VA’s tracking as “having no real value.”
In what twisted world would this way of measuring things be considered logical and providing practical information to administrators?
Read the rest of this story:
Watch video of Sen. Murray’s statement on VA IG report:
Watch video of full Senate VA Committee hearing on VA IG report:
Filed under: Resources Tagged: | Congress, Depression, Inspector General, Investigation, Mental Health, Mental Health Care Appointment, Military Suicide, PTSD, Sen. Patty Murray, Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, Stigma, Stress, Suicide, Suicide prevention, Veterans, Veterans Affairs, Wait Times, War