It’s been nearly two years since the Department of Veterans Affairs came under fire for the amount of time veterans had to wait to see a doctor. The agency scrambled to find a fix, including allowing vets the option of seeing a private doctor via a program they call Veterans Choice.
But the fix isn’t working, so some VA clinics are coming up with other ideas to reduce wait times. In the city of Clarksville, Tenn., the VA clinic decided it simply couldn’t take any new patients.
For The VA’s Broken Health System, The Fix Needs A Fix
The facility is so overcrowded that unused wheelchairs are being stored in the hall, and nurses are stationed in what used to be a corridor. There’s even a computer set up in what used to be a bathroom.
“This is actually a converted toilet,” says Robert Lim, who works for the Tennessee Valley VA health care system, which serves tens of thousands of veterans in Tennessee and parts of Kentucky. “We’re literally like sardine cans in here. You can’t go around any place without bumping into somebody.”
Lim oversees primary care clinics like the one in Clarksville. He’s not one to sugar coat the situation. Yes, he says, this is pretty bad.
“If you go into Clarksville, you will actually wonder: ‘How in the world did they get things done?'” Lim says.
One problem is (continue reading)