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Organizations link VA problems to staff shortages

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Acting Vete­rans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gib­son said last week that the quality of care at the Charlie Nor­­­wood VA Medical Center is in jeopardy because of a shortage of physicians and nurses, and national health groups say they know why the Au­gusta hospital is struggling to fill more than 100 vacant positions.

With the scandal over care at the VA, cries by national health organizations have intensified for the department to broaden its physician certification guidelines and grant nurse practitioners full-practice authority throughout the system.

Among those leading the charge is the American Board of Physician Specialties, a 54-year-old organization that has fought the federal government for two decades to have its certification process accepted by the VA for hiring physicians.

The organization argues that if it was allowed to join the Ameri­can Board of Me­dical Specialties and the Amer­ican Osteopathic Asso­cia­tion as VA certifying bodies, more physicians would seek employment in the federal system.

“The (VA) administration is very backwards,” said Mo­nique Tapie, a spokeswoman for the American Board of Phy­si­cian Specialties. “They have created this monopoly within the Department of Vete­rans Affairs … and quite honestly it’s discrimination because a lot of our physicians are veterans.”

Last year, before veteran deaths began surfacing because of delays in care, the ABPS reported that the nation’s VA health system had more than 1,400 unfilled physician positions, which paralleled an overall shortage nationwide.

Though government job sites show physician employment has improved, decreasing to 970 unfilled positions, the care has gotten worse, with long delays and secret wait lists leading to the deaths of more than 60 veterans, including three cancer patients in Augusta who could not get timely endoscopies.

The Augusta VA continues to rebuild. It saw the voluntary resignations of two chiefs of staff: Dr. Michael Spencer earlier this year and Dr. Luke Stapleton in 2013.

Executives at the Augusta VA said the hospital has 178 open positions, including jobs for 151 full-time nurses in the fields of endoscopy, surgery, dialysis, critical care, interventional radiology, accreditation, education and mental health.

The list includes 27 physicians in the specialties of internist, neurology, primary care and orthopedic surgery. Also listed are permanent replacements for chiefs of staff, surgery and pharmacy.

Director Bob Hamilton said the hospital hopes to hire a new chief of staff next month. Spokesman Pete Sco­vill said it can be difficult to fill vacancies because of competition from the private sector and that all job applicants must complete a thorough credentialing process for employment.

“We set our standards very high, matching the quality of care we want to achieve with the candidate that’s most qualified to help us accomplish our goals,” he said.

Experts say filling the positions is only half the battle.

Besides urging Congress to increase the number of nurses in VA facilities, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners has called on the agency to follow policy recommendations from organizations such as the Institute of Medicine and allow the VA’s 5,000 nurses to practice to the full extent of their education and clinical expertise.

“This will have an immediate and positive impact on the quality and timeliness of care that our veterans receive,” Dr. Ken Miller, the association’s president, said in a news release.

Tapie said the answer to better health care for veterans is the VA joining the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the GI Bill in accepting ABPS board-certified physicians.

“The VA will say it is not in a position to approve certifying bodies, but in its handbook it states that its physicians are certified through either the American Board of Medical Specialties or the American Osteopathic Association,” Tapie said.

Gina Jackson, a member of the VA’s Public Affairs Office in Washington, said board certification is not a requirement for employment of VA physicians; however, she added that by policy, individual facilities verify all board certifications reported by current and prospective employees.

With only 40 percent of emergency medicine physicians nationwide being board certified, Tapie said that could help Augusta.

“When you look in areas such as Augusta, it is really hard to get someone who has done their residency in emergency medicine,” she said. “This could make it easier to find physicians who can help.”

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Junket103
452
Points
Junket103 07/13/14 - 12:44 am
0
0
Start Over

The VA is an antiquated healthcare model that is highly inefficient. The tax payers and Veterans needing care would be far better off if Congress would set-up a Medicare or Tricare type model. This would give veterans more choices and cost far less in the long run. The program could offer special incentives for healthcare providers at all levels to accept Veterans. This would avoid some of the shortcomings of the Tricare program. More government run healthcare is not the answer.

JimS
160
Points
JimS 07/13/14 - 06:06 am
0
0
No Sacrifice by Those Served
Unpublished

“We are dealing with veterans, not procedures—with their problems, not ours.” —General Omar Bradley, First Administrator of the Veterans Administration

Ahhh yes, it's just so easy to, Peoples Representatives, Rubber Stamp, wealth enhancing through investments, War Costs that are all borrowed, no offsets mentioned, on our credit with interest payments and in these recent two kept off the Countries books till Executive Administrations changed!! Then use same, Political Poser Patriotic Theater, for the decades of 'scandals' created by ignoring the Veterans of who served in and the issues from and doing patch work on which create more 'scandals' to use, including making sure the agency stays years behind the technology advances causing extremely costly problems that are then obstructed in fixing!

Meanwhile, DeJa- Vu all over again, the Veterans Bill sits in the House going no where!! They got the Gen. "Mission Accomplished" , their, problem solved!!!

'Congress Scrambling to Lower Cost of Bill to Fix Veterans' Health Care'

“Why in 2009 were we still using paper?” VA Assistant Secretary Tommy Sowers “When we came in, there was no plan to change that; we’ve been operating on a six month wait for over a decade.” 27 March 2013

Poser Patriots, the 99% Served, especially conservative ideology, like it that way, been so for decades and wars from continuing the stand for them flag waving patriotic free wars, Afghanistan and Iraq still not paid for, and ignoring the results from. Decades of under funding, while ignoring many issues, the peoples responsibility the VA. Still grossly under funded, two tax cuts with these wars, in just recent history as Shinseki, with help from the entire Executive Branch, sought to bring it into the 21st century and as the people served promised from beginning, budget still mostly borrowed!!

Sen. Bernie Sanders told Conservatives: “If you can’t afford to take care of your veterans, than don’t go war. These people are bearing the brunt of what war is about, We have a moral obligation to support them.” February, 26th, 2014

USN All Shore '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country '70-'71 - Independent**

JimS
160
Points
JimS 07/13/14 - 06:07 am
0
0
Decades Long Under Funded, Played as Political Pawns
Unpublished

And Who Says Politics Doesn't Play From Within the Agencies to the Branches
Especially to the Legislative to keep the costs, or create costly 'scandals', way down in the VA

Prior too this present Executive and Veterans administrations:

October 23, 2008 - And now VA investigators are trying to figure out if this one-time survey points to the likelihood that documents have been improperly destroyed for months or even years.

"Whatever this problem is, it didn't just start in the last two weeks," said Dave Autry, a spokesman for Disabled American Veterans. "It'd be unreasonable to assume that. Who knows what's been destroyed."

The documents, which didn't have duplicates at the VA, would have been critical in deciding veteran pension and disability claims. As a result, many veterans are asking whether their delayed or denied claims were affected by lost paperwork. read more>>>

Oct 16, 2008 - VA claims found in piles to be shredded

October 24, 2008 - House panel will target VA shredding

February 11, 2009 - Veterans' Claims Found in Shredder Bins

ProPublica and The Seattle Times Nov. 9, 2012 - Lost to History: Missing War Records Complicate Benefit Claims by Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans
"DeLara's case is part of a much larger problem that has plagued the U.S. military since the 1990 Gulf War: a failure to create and maintain the types of field records that have documented American conflicts since the Revolutionary War."

Army Says War Records Gap Is Real, Launches Recovery Effort

The War On Military Records

12/10/2013 - The era of big data has arrived on the battlefield and we need to find new ways to deal with it.
USN All Shore '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country '70-'71 - Independent**

bclicious
718
Points
bclicious 07/13/14 - 06:28 am
0
0
What exactly?

What exactly do you think Medicare and Tricare is? They are not private companies. But yes; I do think expanding existing programs, and putting veterans in those programs would be a good step in the right direction.

Little Old Lady
5907
Points
Little Old Lady 07/13/14 - 08:45 am
1
0
VA

The VA is a typical government run program. This is what Obamacare will be like.

Bizkit
31244
Points
Bizkit 07/13/14 - 10:09 am
0
0
See this what a government

See this what a government run health care system is like. A Free market hospital like this would have long folded. Big government can not handle health care for our armed services so how would or could they handle the whole country- a nightmare. We see just the influence of govt by the ACA has been capriciously implemented and unmeasurable according to the CBO. Tthe SCOTUS and Obama have allowed opt outs for so many the original scheme is gone.

Bizkit
31244
Points
Bizkit 07/13/14 - 11:50 am
0
0
I wonder why Obama would ask

I wonder why Obama would ask Congress for 3 .7 billion to help illegal immigrants, but still refuses to do anything to help dying veterans in the VA system. Just shows what is important to him- foreigners over American. He'd rather talk about global warming than jobs or the economy- which he just lies and says every thing is hunky dory. He laughs off all the scandals although many have now produced evidence that criminal acts have occurred.

corgimom
32161
Points
corgimom 07/13/14 - 03:51 pm
0
0
Why would doctors and

Why would doctors and hospitals want to accept VA patients, when the reimbursement rate is so low?

corgimom
32161
Points
corgimom 07/13/14 - 03:53 pm
0
0
March 12, 2014 "VA Secretary

March 12, 2014

"VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is slated to testify before the panels on Thursday, when he will likely discuss President Obama’s 2015 budget request, which asks Congress to increase VA funding from $63.4 billion to $65.3 billion, including more spending on medical care, assistance for homeless and at-risk veterans and an initiative to help tackle the department’s longstanding backlog of disability claims."

So Bizkit, why do you think that Obama hasn't asked Congress for more funding?

Bizkit
31244
Points
Bizkit 07/13/14 - 05:13 pm
0
0
Great post corgi so it isn't

Great post corgi so it isn't funding but gross mismanagement that is the cause.

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