The VA is a national embarrassment, not a model to emulate

Sunday, 12 November 2017, 10:37:31 AM. Standards of care at the VA are notoriously low. But some doctors still fail to meet them.
Military veterans aren’t the only victims of the Veterans Health Administration’s chronic negligence. The department is endangering the lives of civilians, too. The VA health system recently fired dozens of workers for serious medical misdeeds — but covered up the reasons for those dismissals. That enabled incompetent doctors and nurses to return to private practice and harm more patients, according to a USA Today investigation. The shameful revelations are nothing new for the VA, which suffers from all the dysfunctions common in single-payer systems — including rationing of care, bureaucratic snafus, and rank incompetence. Standards of care at the VA are notoriously low. But some doctors still fail to meet them. When that happens, the VA generally doesn’t fire them. It quietly lets them off the hook and asks them to find different employers. Consider the case of Thomas Franchini, a former VA podiatrist. Franchini performed two surgeries on a soldier who broke her ankle during basic training. He botched the procedures and incorrectly fused her bones. The soldier experienced such severe chronic pain that she eventually asked doctors to amputate her leg below the knee. This wasn’t Franchini’s only mistake. He botched procedures on nearly 90 other veterans. His errors included inserting the wrong screw into one patient’s bone and severing another’s tendon. The VA did not fire him. Instead, it allowed him to resign and kept the details of his exit under wraps, according...Read more
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