VA Medical System: A Case Study in Bureaucratic Failure
Along the winding drive through the 300-acre compound of Long Island’s only veterans’ medical center, banners line the road stating the presumed values of the institution: integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence.
VA Horror Story
That’s where this story pretty much takes a turn for the worse as they say in medical jargon. The story goes from 82 degrees and sunny to “it was a dark and stormy night.” Then again, don’t all tales concerning the Veterans Administration medical system these days turn into horror stories?
In the last two weeks we learned that the Clinton Campaign overcharged donations to the poorest of contributors. If that isn’t bad enough, we also learned that thousands of Wells Fargo employees created fake accounts using real customer information in order to generate enormous profits.
Now we see the despicable Veterans Administration is guilty of the same kind of fraud. What makes this even more twisted is that the scheme was aimed at our nation’s Veterans.
According to internal emails, and current and former employees familiar with the alleged scheme who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they feared retaliation, nurses were directed to make cold calls to veterans and then code those calls to look as though they had been solicited by the patient, not the practitioner, in order to enhance revenue.
One former hospital employee likened the practice to your private physician calling you out of the blue to check up on you, then billing your insurance company for the call.
Using veterans as “cash cows”
Now just so you know, not every person working in the VA medical system is a despicable piece of human filth. There are many people who do God’s work there and are just as angry at the waste, fraud and abuse that permeates this bureaucracy like graft on Capitol Hill. In this instance kudos to the nurses who exposed this corrupt scheme:
A number of the nurses directed to make those calls appeared concerned about the activities, and a package of their email correspondence was turned over to the House Veterans Affairs’ Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
A copy was obtained independently by The Times. Instead of receiving overtime pay for the hours spent logging calls, which might have raised suspicions, the nurses earned comp time, according to the emails. One nurse wrote that the veterans were being used as “cash cows,” which the hospital administration wanted “to milk for $9 million.”
So in order to cover their inept and catastrophic management, VA administrators decided to engage in a fraudulent billing scheme that directly targeted veteran’s insurance providers. This is the kind of fraud and corruption that not only destroys the quality of care in our health system it also drives up costs for everyone else. It’s all about dollars and cents:
The worth of each veteran in the scheme: $4,285.71.
This case is yet another example of why the federal government should not be in charge of most of what they currently oversee. Healthcare under federal management from Obamacare to the VA is a catastrophic mess and getting worse.
Our system was never meant to have an all- powerful central government controlling every aspect of our lives. Yet that is exactly what we have today. It’s time for our states to re-assert their individual mandates and take back the power that has been stripped away. When Washington has become Moscow, we know the train has gone off the rails.