The Government Accountability Office now considers the VA hospitals as a “high-risk” agency that is susceptible to waste, fraud and abuse in an updated report.
“There seems to lack coordination between VA and non-VA hospitals, which are used when the former cannot offer care in a timely manner. This may lead to duplicate operations, which increases costs but may also endanger the patient’s life,” reports Debra Draper, director of the health care team at the GAO in an interview with The Daily Caller.
Her team also noticed lack of proper training for hospital staff.
“Mental health problems are underestimated due to the lack of training to detect such problems,” Draper said. “Also, we noticed problems with instruments sterilization, which can put patients at risk of contracting diseases like AIDS.”
Her report says that the new 15-member commission created under the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act may help VA to develop “long-term solutions that mitigate risks to the timeliness, cost-effectiveness, quality, and safety of the VA health care system.”
It would be welcomed, considering the numerous calls for action from the GAO. “Over the past five years, Congress has enacted about 20 percent of the 67 recommendations we’ve made,” says Draper.
“Some 20 Congressional hearings were held in 2014 regarding VA hospitals, showing that politicians are aware of the problem.”