• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 5s

Email reveals deliberate effort by VA hospital to hide long patient waits

By Jennifer Janisch / CBS News 5:37 PM May 9, 2014

A Veterans Affairs employee at the VA Medical Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming, has been placed on administrative leave after CBS News obtained an email showing an employee directing his staff on how to game the appointments system to make it appear as though veterans were being seen within the VA’s 14-day directive.

The email, written by Telehealth Coordinator David Newman, a registered nurse, describes how patients at the Cheyenne VA Medical Center are always listed getting appointments within a 14-day window, no matter when the appointment was first requested, and no matter how long the patient actually waited.The memo admitted, “Yes, this is gaming the system a bit…” because “when we exceed the 14 day measure, the front office gets very upset, which doesn’t help us.”

The employee further instructs staff on how to “get off the bad boys list” by “cancelling the visit (by clinic) and then rescheduling it with a desired date within that 14 day window.”

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki made the following statement in response to an inquiry by CBS News:

“On May 9, upon learning of an email sent by a Cheyenne VA Medical Center employee, I immediately requested the independent VA Office of Inspector General conduct a thorough investigation of the actions outlined in the employee’s email. I have also directed that the employee be removed immediately from patient care responsibilities and placed on administrative leave. VA takes any allegations about patient care or employee misconduct very seriously. If true, the behavior outlined in the email is unacceptable.”

However, CBS News has learned that the VA’s Office of the Medical Inspector had already investigated and substantiated claims of improper scheduling practices at the Cheyenne VAMC, sending a report to the Office of Special Counsel on December 23, 2013. It is unclear why it took five months, and an inquiry by CBS News, for the VA to take action against an employee there and order an Inspector General’s investigation.

Friday’s developments come a day after Shinseki directed his agency to complete a nationwide review of clinics at VA Medical Centers across the country to assess veterans’ access to care.

CBS News’ Wyatt Andrews contributed to this report.

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Seward Highway closed for fatal collision investigation

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 03, 20:59

    The Anchorage Police Department has confirmed at least one fatality in a collision near Mile 91 on the Seward Highway. Alaska State Troopers are investigating the collision that occurred just after 8 p.m. Friday. Photos from the scene showed a damaged motorcycle lying in the roadway, and a body nearby covered with a white sheet. […]

  • News

    Anchorage park strip events planned for Fourth of July

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jul 03, 20:30

    Organizers are promising an exciting Fourth of July Celebration on the Anchorage Park Strip this year. The day kicks off with a $5 pancake breakfast that starts at 8:30 a.m., and benefits the Anchorage Polynesian Association. The parade begins at 11:00 a.m. This year the route will skip midtown and instead wind it’s way around […]

  • News

    Pot businesses continue operating despite cease and desist order

    by Shannon Ballard on Jul 03, 20:13

    There’s been a lot of upset in Alaska’s new cannabis industry recently. Rule makers sent letters out to several marijuana businesses, advising them to close their doors. “We’ve spent a lot of money trying to say that we are legitimate,” Discrete Deliveries owner Rocky Burns told the newly formed Marijuana Control Board (MCB). His business is […]

  • News

    Washington woman who died of measles had been vaccinated

    by Associated Press on Jul 03, 16:42

    A local health official says a woman killed by measles in Washington state had been vaccinated against the disease as a child but succumbed because she had a compromised immune system. The woman’s death in the spring was the first from measles in the U.S. in 12 years. Dr. Jeanette Stehr-Green, the Clallam County health […]

  • News

    Small plane crashes near Wasilla golf course

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 03, 15:51

    A small aircraft crashed near a Wasilla golf course Friday, but no injuries were reported. Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers responded to the scene near the Settlers Bay Golf Course after receiving word of the crash at 1:30 p.m. Pilot Mark Binggeli, 44, told troopers his Piper Super Cub lost power during takeoff […]

  • News

    Coast Guard suspends Alaska search for overboard crew member

    by Associated Press on Jul 03, 14:44

    The Coast Guard has suspended a search for a cruise ship crew member who was reported overboard off Alaska. Alaska State Troopers identified the Norwegian Sun crew member as 27-year-old Jonas Fillipe de Miranda Santiago of Brazil. No hometown was given for de Miranda Santiago, who went missing Thursday. Coast Guard Lt. Colin Boyle says […]

  • News

    U.S. on high alert heading into July 4 weekend

    by on Jul 03, 13:08

    As Americans celebrate the country’s 239th birthday, law enforcement officers remain on high alert following an increased threat of a terror attack. Sources tell CBS News that special Transportation Security Administration (TSA) teams are being assigned to large airline hubs and investigators are watching potential suspects. Moments after a suspected gunshot was reported at the Washington Navy Yard, hundreds […]

  • News

    Motorcyclist dies in early morning Anchorage crash

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 03, 11:28

    A motorcyclist has died after he rear-ended a Subaru Outback, was thrown from his bike and hit by another motorcycle early Friday morning, Anchorage police say. According to a statement from the Anchorage Police Department, a 2010 Subaru Outback was stopped at a red light in the far-right southbound lane of Minnesota Drive near Tudor […]