Saturday, December 17, 2016

VAMC Northport voted best in Country......NOT!

Saturday, December 17, 2016
VAMC Northport has a 90% satisfaction rating!
And, a 5.5 day wait time for appointments!!
In a perverse sort of way, it’s heartening to see that this type of arrogance and disrespect happen across the Country at all our VA Facilities. For a while, I thought it was unique to the VA Medical Center in Northport, NY. What is happening at the VAMC, Northport, is far worse than the isolated accounts that appear in my email every day.
I am taking the liberty of “marking” this article up so that I can reference certain aspects of it. I admit to reading this, and all other similar accounts, with a jaundice eye. Time after time, our wonderful Department of Veterans Affairs makes a statement in one paragraph, only to contradict itself in the next paragraph. I have come to realize that the VA really does think we are all idiots, and will drink their Kool- aide whenever served.
Health Care at St. Louis VA
This May 28, 2014, file photo shows the St. Louis VA Medical Center in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jim Salter)
Associated Press | Dec 15, 2016 | by Jim Salter
¶1   St. Louis Veterans Administration health care officials insufficiently investigated the death of a mental health patient who killed himself, according to a report from the VA Office of Inspector General.
¶2   The OIG launched an investigation in 2014 after concerns were raised by Dr. Jose Mathews, the St. Louis VA's former chief of psychiatry. Mathews alleged in a federal whistleblower complaint that veterans often waited a month or more for mental health treatment because psychiatrists and other staff members were so lax in their work.
¶3   The investigation report released Tuesday found that new patients wait about 17 days for appointments -- only about three days above the national average for all VA centers. Investigators also denied Mathews' claims that staff psychiatrists were unproductive; in fact, the report said the St. Louis       psychiatrists ranked high in productivity.
¶4   VA St. Louis spokeswoman Marcena Gunter said Wednesday that several recommendations suggested by the report have been implemented, and others are in the works. She said the St. Louis facility is now in the top 20 percent of all VA medical centers in providing access to mental health services.
¶5   Perhaps the most alarming finding concerned the VA's response to the suicide of a 69-year-old schizophrenic.
¶6   The report said the veteran had tried to kill himself at least once before when, in 2014, he told VA medical staff he heard voices urging him to shoot himself.The man even asked for information about a suicide prevention hotline.
¶7   Nearly three months after the initial visit, unable to reach the veteran by phone, VA officials sent a letter advising him that medical tests showed his kidney function was deteriorating and a prostate test result was "abnormal," especially alarming since the man had prostate cancer.
¶8   The man fatally shot himself two weeks after receiving the letter.
Soon after the death, a leadership team review member at the VA requested an internal management review, calling the case "a pretty serious miss."
¶9   But the OIG report said that among other errors, a formal review of the psychiatrist or nurse was not requested until OIG investigators were on site nearly four months later. Corrective action didn't occur until eight months after the man's death, the report said.
¶10 The report also found "no evidence of any administrative follow-up" of another death, a mental health patient in his mid-20s who died in a car wreck three days after hospitalization amid suicide concerns. The death was ruled accidental but the report said suicide could not be ruled out. The investigation also found that the VA failed to provide timely treatment for a woman who complained of being sexually assaulted in the military, and for a patient       suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
¶11 The St. Louis VA has had other problems in recent years. In 2010, faulty sterilization in the dental clinic could have exposed 1,812 veterans to hepatitis and HIV. Testing eventually found no link to either disease in any of the patients.
¶12 In 2011, operating rooms at the medical center were shut down after rust stains were found on surgical equipment. Surgeries resumed months    later after the faulty equipment was cleaned or replaced. The VA opened a new $7 million sterile processing lab in May 2012.
So, paragraphs #3 & #4 claim that there is “no problem, here”! Really??
Take a close look at paragraphs #9 - #11. Do you see any slight little contradiction; perhaps a 180 degree flip-flop on the “no problem” statement?
The Hen House has been guarded by the Fox for way too long. It’s time for the Fox to go. It’s time to have a “top-to-bottom” outside, independent audit of this Department. If we have to throw the baby out with the bath water; so be it!
There is a way to re-construct, re-structure this Government Agency. Almost all the necessary parts exist in the current configuration; no need to reinvent the wheel. We do not need any more “blue-ribbon” panels; no more investigative outings by Congress. We have been throwing good money after bad, and it’s high time to just “QUIT IT OUT”!
Come up with a plan. Send everybody home for a month. Institute the plan. Call everyone back to work. Tell everyone exactly what his or her job function is. Tell everyone exactly how they are expected to behave towards the Nations’ Veterans. And, get the show on the road.

To all you “nay-sayers”, who throw up their arms and say this can’t possibly be done, I say “SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!” Get out of our way, because, if you don’t want to be part of the solution, you are doomed to be part of the problem. And, we don’t need any more problems.


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