The VA is a disaster. Waiting times have been horrifying and vets have died because of them. And they did it not just because of incompetence, but to save money.
Patients in a Southeast Texas Department of Veterans Affairs medical system faced denials or long delays in getting routine colonoscopies and other medical tests because of bureaucratic cost-cutting, a former top administrator told the Washington Examiner in an exclusive interview.
Dr. Richard Krugman, former associate chief of staff at the Veterans Affairs health care system based in Harlingen, Texas, said his boss implemented a policy in 2010 that colonoscopies would only be approved if the patient tested positive in three successive screenings for bloody stools.
“By the time that you do the colonoscopies on these patients, you went from a stage 1 to a stage 4 [colorectal cancer], which is basically inoperable,” said Krugman.
“That was done because of dollars and cents. For the VA, they have to be bleeding out of their rectum before they would authorize a colonoscopy. That was the standard of care,” he said.
But the VA did have money for the things that matter. Office furniture.
The VA has spent a total of $489 million to upgrade conference rooms, buy draperies, and purchase new office furniture during the past four-and-a-half years.
To make the office makeovers complete, draperies, roller shades, and cornice boxes were also purchased. The VA spent $10.7 million in the past five fiscal years on curtains and draperies.
There was no money for colonoscopies, but there was $10 million for curtains.