VA Wait Times Still an Issue: Houston Branch Lied About Vets Canceling Appointments
The result of these wait times has a very human face -- North Carolina veteran Wilbur Amos, who has waited over 9 months for surgery due to VA ineptitude. Staff not only delayed his appointments, they also sent him to the wrong facilities! Debilitated by three excruciating hernias, Amos said he's worried he might inadvertently twist his bowels and die from septic shock if he's not treated soon.
Nevertheless, the VA is still requesting more money and hiring more non-medical employees than doctors. The agency added 39,454 new jobs between 2012 and 2015, but only 3,591 of them were doctors. At the same time, the VA spent $454 million on lawyers, $303 million on "painting, gardening and interior decorating," and it received $5 billion from Congress as part of the 2014 reform law specifically to hire doctors, but it won't say how the money was spent.
The CVA spokesman McGregor emphasized that pouring more money into the Department of Veterans Affairs will not help the situation. It is already the second largest federal agency, behind only the Department of Defense, and has a projected budget of over $180 billion for 2017.
"The wait times for veterans continue to grow, the number of staff employed by the VA continues to grow, but the number of veterans continues to decline," McGregor explained. "Throwing more money at a problem doesn't fix it."
McGregor mentioned the forthcoming VA hospital in Aurora, Colorado, which is expected to cost $1.7 billion, about three times its original budget. The officials involved are reportedly either being cut or distancing themselves from the project. "It's just nauseating when you look at how the VA is spending money," McGregor said.
Next Page: So how can we reform the VA?