OIG investigation finds Houston VA facilities faked patient appointment data

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An anonymous complaint spurred an investigation that found employees of Houston-area Department of Veterans Affairs facilities doctored scheduling data to understate patient wait times, according to The Houston Chronicle.

The investigation concluded that two former scheduling supervisors and the current director of two outpatient clinics in the Houston area manipulated patient appointment changes to make it appear that patients canceled their appointments, even when the changes came from the VA. The doctored data resulted in significantly understated wait times.

A representative of a local VA medical center and clinics told the Chronicle that none of the manipulation was intentional, and any incorrect wait times reported were simply honest errors. She also said the increased wait times did not cause any patient harm, and the majority of patients were seen within 30 to 40 days, although the investigators concluded in some cases the manipulated times covered up for months of delays in receiving care.

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