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VA hospital system probe leads to changes

Upon entering a hospital for treatment, you are entitled to have your medical needs given appropriate consideration and attention. We have previously written on this blog about the responsibility that doctors and other medical professionals have in providing an acceptable level of care for their patients. When these individuals fail to meet that standard, they could be found culpable for medical negligence.

But what if a problem goes beyond the individual caregivers and extends throughout the entire system of a health care entity? It is possible that the manner in which a medical organization is run can have a profound effect on the kind of care that its patients receive.

An example of systemic problems leading to care issues is exemplified by events that transpired at the Phoenix Veteran’s Administration Hospital. Earlier this year, whistleblowers revealed a number of troubling matters inherent in the VA’s bureaucracy. Information gleaned from the whistleblowers inspired the VA Office of Inspector General to look further into the situation.

Subsequent probes conducted at other such medical facilities proved eye-opening. The delaying of medical treatment for some veterans was of particular concern. The delayed assistance was due to staff members manipulating appointment times. A desire on behalf of some of the staff members to obtain performance-based bonuses is cited as a reason for the manipulation.

There have been hearings in the Senate and House to address these matters. Interviews with VA executives resulted in condemnation of the department’s bureaucracy. Additionally, the VA has been contacting veterans whose treatment had previously been put on hold.

The system has seen an expansion of both clinics and staff members. Still, in spite of all that has happened, one former Arizona congressional staffer laments that the culture of the VA has not appreciably changed.

An acceptable level of care at a health care facility includes timely treatment. If you are ever harmed due to a delay in care, you may consider contacting an Arizona malpractice attorney. An investigation of the policies and procedures employed by that facility may reveal that you have reason to take legal action.

Source: The Arizona Republic, “Much change in wake of VA scandal; more needed,” Dennis Wagner, Nov. 8, 2014

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