A new Tampa Bay Times article by journalist Bill Levesque, “VA rule changes eliminated thousands of veterans from waiting lists“, provides insight into the VA’s Electronic Waiting List (EWL) and its relationship to the current VA healthcare scandal.
The EWL was aimed at identifying veterans who had been waiting greater than 30 days for care. Today, the EWL includes only those waiting longer than 90 days, three times as long as the original scope of the EWL.
Veterans for Common Sense Board Member Anthony Hardie is quoted in the article:
Some critics say the changes were a deliberate ploy by VA leaders to make this much-watched measure of hospital performance look better than it actually was.
“This looks to me like just one more of the VA’s gaming strategies that have been identified in the last year,” said Anthony Hardie, a Bradenton resident who is on the board of directors of Veterans for Common Sense, a nonprofit advocacy group. “It looks like VA leaders simply gave up on trying to fix the problem.”
According to Levesque’s reporting:
VA leaders have long known some hospitals used “workarounds” to make their books look better. “Workarounds,” a 2010 memo by VA leadership noted, “may mask the symptoms of poor access and, although they may aid in meeting performance measures, they do not serve our veterans.”