OIG: Delaware VA hospital, clinics manipulate data to hide scheduling, access disaster

A federal report found scheduling errors, excessive wait times and false reporting schemes at VA Medical Center in Wilmington, Del., jeopardized patients' health, according to Delaware Online.

In 2014 the Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General launched a series of investigations into VA facilities in response to claims of excessive wait times for veterans seeking medical treatment.

The VA OIG has conducted more than 70 investigations into VA hospitals and clinics across the country, which are expected to be released within the next few months, reports USA Today.

The Inspector General's office withheld publishing the investigation's findings until this week, claiming the report could disrupt potential disciplinary actions, according to Delaware Online.

In the report released Tuesday, the VA OIG interviewed 35 employees from VA Medical Center and its affiliated outpatient clinics who were involved in patient scheduling.

Below are four findings from the OIG's investigation in Delaware.

1. Employees reported some clinics misrepresented patients' desired appointment times to make the clinic appear to have zero-day wait times.

2. Staff members "negotiated" with patients to choose different appointment times than the time slots they requested.

3. A lack of physician staff members at a clinic in Dover caused the patient wait list to extend beyond 3,000 names. 

4. Employees at the Dover outpatient clinic and VA hospital in Wilmington maintained paper scheduling lists with appointment times and patient requests not that were not tracked on the VA's electronic scheduling system. This would skew electronic data to look different than the clinic's actual scheduling situation.

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