I am a vet from the Vietnam Era.
I am seen for healthcare at the VA HealthCare System in Chicago.
A week ago, I was scheduled at a critical surgery clinic. This clinic in itself is filled to the max on the one 'half day' that they meet per week.
What I arrived to last week at this clinic was a space, with seating for at best 20 patients, already filled to the maximum, with patients spilling out into the hallway.
After checking in which took nearly 30 minutes, I questioned what was going on but did not get an answer from the staff, who it seems, don't want to create rumblings about what is happening.
When I saw veterans on crutches and canes, or in wheel chairs, who could not even get into the space to check in, who had to wait for their names to be called by nurses and doctors out in the hallway, forced to stand, I kinda lost it and walked in to the Directors to voice my complaint as to what they were putting Veterans and staff through.
Within 30 minutes maintenance started arriving with more chairs, but that is simply not enough for what is happening here.
Someone in the system decided, and I quote, "that it was in the best interests of the patients" to add not one but two other clinics to the time frame and day and limited space of the already overwhelmed general surgery clinic.
You do the math. A space for 20. Overbooking the space with 3 clinics and 3 sets of doctors with TRIPLE the number of patients.
NO ONE WINS. The Staff loses. The PATIENTS REALLY LOSE. The quality of care is rushed and diminished.
I did receive a call from the patient advocate about my official query yesterday, and he is trying to find out, for me, who is responsible for creating this callous, inconsiderate and overwhelmingly tragic situation and decided, it is ok to put veteran patients and staff through this.
In addition, correspondence being mailed out to veterans, much like the colonoscopy results I received in the mail in an UNSEALED envelope, have the patients full name, address and FULL SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER printed on them. Needless to say, this is a security breech of the highest Identity Theft Order and must be stopped immediately.
I do not believe behaviour like this would happen in the 'real world' of health care and hospital systems. But here, at the V.A. it seems that anything goes, no matter how much it negatively affects patients and staff.
What options to we have to correct this situation ASAP?
Are you a registered voter? If you are you should take this straight to a nearby office of your Congressional Representative. Your Congressperson has the resources to look into this for you.
I advise going to a nearby office in person. Remain calm, professional, courteous and businesslike. Rants get us no where, a professional approach can move mountains.
Give facts, names, times, places and so on. Don't exaggerate. Be polite.
If you'll do this you have an opportunity to help many other veterans.