Monday, April 30, 2012

Supporting the Troops. Yeah. Right.

Here's what that tired phrase looks like after a decade of war.
Nicholas Tolentino, a former mental health administrative officer at the VA Medical Center in Manchester, N.H., told the committee that managers at the facility pressed the staff to develop ways to see as many veterans as possible while providing the most minimal mental-health services possible. “The plan that was ultimately developed gamed the system so that the facility met performance requirements but utterly failed our veterans,” said Tolentino, a former Navy corpsman who went to work at the Manchester facility in 2009. One manager directed the staff to focus only on the immediate reason for an appointment and not to ask the veteran about any other problems because “we don’t want to know or we’ll have to treat it,” according to Tolentino.


[Performance] data was often based on available appointments, rather than the patient’s clinical needs, according to the inspector general’s office. If the patient was given an appointment two months later because of a lack of openings, the veteran would still be recorded as having been seen within two weeks of the desired date.


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