Today as I listened to President Obama speak about seeking to head off growing furor over veterans’ health care I felt a sense of relief for those Veterans who have been suffering through all sorts of medical care situations for years and they may “now” get the attention they’re entitled to get at a VA hospital. There’s been past allegations without seeing any great improvements.
In a follow up after the speech I read an Associated Press report stating that President Barack Obama declared today (Wednesday) that allegations of misconduct at VA hospitals are “dishonorable” and will not be tolerated by his administration.
“I will not stand for it…not as commander in chief but also not as an American,” Obama said following an Oval Office meeting with embattled Va Secretary Eric Shinseki.
In my opinion this is great but there’s going to have to be quick action teams established to follow-up on every VA hospital in the United States on a regular basis or the same situation will occur. It’s my opinion these follow-ups should have been carried out years ago to insure that our Veterans were receiving the proper medical treatments and the proper care.
There’s “no” excuse for the sufferings Veterans have had to endure…it’s appalling and it’s disgusting. Whoever heard of a person having to wait in a hospital to see a doctor? Why are there not enough doctors to assist every VA hospital and its patients? Death doesn’t wait for an appointment!
In my opinion complaints from Veterans have existed for years and the situations have never improved and it never will unless there are “strict and precise” team inspectors viewing patients medical data and asking questions of the staff as to “why” the things the patient is compulsory in getting is not being accomplished and “why” they haven’t seen a doctor in such a long period.
These inspector teams should follow-up on patient’s files regarding doctor visits, forms of treatments receiving, medications, therapies and information passed to their families, etc. Each patient’s information should be reviewed periodically to ensure they’re getting what they need.
A Veterans hospital should be one of the best operated hospitals in the world and “no” patient should be on a list to see a doctor, it should be an automatic part of the patients stay whether in the hospital or as an outpatient. Why should a Veteran hospital differ from any other hospital in the world; after all they should be the very “best?”
In order to make situations improve the Veteran’s families need to be instructed to stand up and speak out when a loved one is not receiving proper care. Families should be encouraged to become a part of a family member’s voice for help. If they cannot see a doctor for months get on the phone and make complaints to the Head of the VA, it’s my belief people must rattle chains to get heard and that’s just what families need to start doing.
President Barack Obama’s administration is now under pressure from Capitol Hill to address troubling allegations of treatment delays and preventable deaths at VA hospitals. A total of 26 facilities are being investigated nationwide, this is up from 10 just last week, including 40 Veterans allegedly died in a Phoenix hospital while they were waiting for treatment where the staff there kept a secret list of patients waiting for appointments to hide delays in care, according to the VA Inspector General’s office on Tuesday.
A retired Army four-star general, Shinseki, is facing calls for his resignation from some lawmakers. Obama spoke warmly of Shinseki today and said the secretary had poured his heart and soul into his job, but he said there would be accountability if the allegations of misconduct are proven to be true.
“We’re going to fix whatever is wrong and so long as I have the privilege of serving as commander in chief, I’m going to keep on fighting to deliver the care and the benefits and the opportunities that you and your families deserve, now and for decades to come,” Obama said.
The president spoke hours before the House was scheduled to vote on a bill that would grant the VA secretary more authority to fire or demote senior executives. The White House has said it shares the goals of the House measure…to ensure accountability at the VA…but has concerns about some of the details.
Obama’s statement marked his first public comments on the matter in more than two weeks. He dispatched his deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors last week to the VA to oversee a review of department policies, with a preliminary report due next week and a full report scheduled to be sent to the White House in June.
It’s my opinion people who are angry about these alleged misconduct allegations are aware of the systemic problems plaguing the Veterans’ health care system and they probably have heard alleged mistreatment complaints from Veteran’s families too and they’re fed up with these allegations and they want to see actions and corrections taken immediately.
The report indicated that the current director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System, Sharon Helman, has already been placed on leave indefinitely while the VA’s inspector general investigates the claims that have been raised by several former VA employees. There have not been any patient deaths linked thus far in the Phoenix VA, according to on-going investigators.
I applaud those former VA employees who stood up and spoke out about the alleged allegations. If more employees would take a stand when they see a wrong, it would reduce a lot of the mistakes that are being made at VA hospitals. That’s why I believe encouraging families to get involved with a family member patient would be beneficial to Veterans.
It’s my opinion being the eyes, ears and mouth for a Veteran who is in a VA hospital and they’re “not” getting the appropriate medical and health care should be a mandatory duty of every American citizen.
Barbara Kasey Smith is the writer of this article based on a CBS News Report and an Associated Press Release.
(1) CBS News Report
(2) Associated Press Release