VA hospitals

Associated Press

Federal authorities are stepping up investigations at Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers due to a sharp increase in opioid theft, missing prescriptions or unauthorized drug use by VA employees since 2009, according to government data obtained by The Associated Press.

The Veterans Administration got $2.5 billion to add more doctors, nurses and other staff. An NPR investigation finds that total staff didn't rise much more than it might have without that money. We examine reasons why it's hard to bring new medical personnel into the VA, including a cumbersome hiring process.

Before they get to work on reforming the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Congress and the White House might want to take a closer look at the last time they tried it — a $16 billion fix called the Veterans Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, designed to get veterans medical care more quickly.

It's been nearly two years since the Department of Veterans Affairs came under fire for the amount of time veterans had to wait to see a doctor. The agency scrambled to find a fix, including allowing vets the option of seeing a private doctor via a program they call Veterans Choice.

VA Watchdog Releases Report On Florida Facilities

Mar 2, 2016
VA.gov

Reports documenting scheduling problems and wait-time manipulation at the Department of Veterans Affairs are being made public, as the agency’s internal watchdog bows to pressure from members of Congress and others to improve transparency.

The VA’s Office of Inspector General released 11 reports Monday outlining problems at VA hospitals and clinics in Florida. The reports are the first of 77 investigations to be made public over the next few months.

Mel Evans / Associated Press

Paralyzed Army veteran Gene Laureano cried when he first walked again with robotic legs at a New York clinic as part of research sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs. But when the study ended, so did his ability to walk.

U.S. Department of Defense

The Department of Veterans Affairs faces a serious numbers problem — multiple in fact.

It can't count how many veterans died while waiting to sign up for health care. It says some VA hospitals may have to close if the agency can't get $2.5 billion. And a year after scandal rocked the department, congressional Republicans want to know why the number of employees fired is so low.

AHCA Ends VA Hospital Access Lawsuit

May 14, 2015
Wikimedia Commons

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration on Wednesday dismissed a nearly year-old lawsuit aimed at giving state inspectors access to federal Veterans Affairs medical centers and documents.

AHCA and two individual plaintiffs filed a notice in federal court in Tampa that they were dismissing the case, and U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell formally approved the dismissal. The federal government fought the lawsuit, arguing last year that the U.S. Constitution's "Supremacy Clause," bars states from regulating federal activities without consent.

VA.gov

Florida veterans were forced to wait at least 30 days for nearly 93,000 medical appointments at VA medical facilities from September through February, and half of those delays were found at just seven sites in north Florida and the Panhandle, according to government data reviewed by The Associated Press.

The data shows the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is far from reaching its goal of reducing long waits for care at some hospitals and clinics in its massive health system.

Department of Veterans Affairs

A Jacksonville VA Outpatient Center canceled nearly 60,000 appointments from January 1, 2014 through March 1, 2015, according to a review of federal data obtained by the Florida Times-Union through a Freedom of Information Act request. The Jacksonville clinic is among the worst VA clinics in the country for wait times, the Times-Union reports.

Orlando VA Hospital Overruns Scrutinized

Dec 2, 2014
Orlando VA Medical Center

When the Orlando VA Medical Center in Lake Nona is finally completed in January, it will not only be later than expected, it will be more expensive – nearly $49 million more by one count.

A federal agency will decide who has to pay for the cost overrun for the hospital and clinic: taxpayers, or the contractor hired to build it.

Computer malfunctions and inadequate staffing are just some of the reasons the VA says it’s been unable to provide evidence in the contract dispute over the $277 million dollar hospital and clinic.

Office of Special Counsel

The head of the Office of Special Counsel in Washington sent President Barack Obama a scathing letter about the VA's failure to take responsibility for the patients who may have been harmed by hospitals' system of keeping double books for appointments.

Scott Sues VA Over Inspections

May 29, 2014

Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday he plans to sue the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in an attempt to force the agency to allow the state to inspect its Florida hospitals.

Department of Veterans Affairs

The national VA hospital scandal that started with complaints from a retired Phoenix doctor is inspiring Florida veterans to come forward with their stories of delayed medical care.

Dr. Samuel Foote, who retired after 25 years at the VA in Phoenix, started sending letters to the VA Office of Inspector General in December, complaining about systematic problems with delays in care, the Associated Press reports.

Scott's VA Attack Personal, Political

May 2, 2014

 

Gov. Rick Scott convinced Congress to hold a field hearing to delve further into care being provided at Florida’s VA hospitals.

All this came after state regulators spent most of April conducting unannounced visits to Florida’s VA hospitals, and were denied access to their federal records.

Two surveyors from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration were denied access to records and escorted out of the VA  Medical Center in Riviera Beach on Thursday when they tried to inspect it,  the Palm Beach Post reported.

Melissa Lyttle / Tampa Bay Times

Most VA hospitals treat military sexual trauma victims alongside patients with psychological problems. But it’s different at Bay Pines Healthcare System in St. Petersburg, which has a residential program reserved for veterans of sexual assault -- including men.