Advocates Complain Of Continued Poor-Quality VA Care
While waiting times have dropped in many facilities, some vets and their advocates contend quicker visits are masking deeper problems of understaffing, inexperienced doctors and poor care quality. The Seattle Times tells the story of one man who lost his leg after multiple surgeries over several years.
The Seattle Times:
Vet Loses Faith In VA After Surgeries, Amputation
When Tim Kuncl shattered his shinbone after falling from his Puyallup home’s rooftop while hanging Christmas lights in 2011, he trusted that his local Veterans Affairs hospital would return him to health. But more than three years and three surgeries later, the 45-year-old Coast Guard veteran’s confidence in VA health care has also been smashed. Many veterans agree with local VA officials’ assessment that waiting times for appointments at Puget Sound facilities have dropped. Still, some vets and their advocates contend quicker visits are masking deeper problems of understaffing, inexperienced doctors and poor care quality. (Kamb, 3/9)
Meanwhile, the VA releases an opiate management tool and the skyrocketing price of an antidote to heroin overdoses raises concerns.
The Associated Press:
VA To Release Opiate Safety Management Tool Ahead Of Investigation Results At Tomah Hospital
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced a new computer tool Monday aimed at helping doctors better monitor their patients' use of prescription drugs, as the agency continues investigating claims of narcotic overprescribing and retaliatory behavior at the VA hospital in Tomah. The program, called the opioid therapy risk report, provides information about appropriate dosages for patients experiencing pain symptoms. (Ferguson, 3/9)
The Associated Press:
Heroin Overdose Antidote's Rising Price Prompts Worries
Price hikes are curtailing access to a popular form of an antidote to heroin overdoses, with costs doubling in the past year and the manufacturer's stock price rising by 70 percent since it went public. Advocates fear the higher cost of naloxone, often sold in the U.S. under the brand name Narcan, will ultimately lead to the deaths of addicts who could have been saved if they'd had access to the drug. (Matheson and Welsh-Huggins, 3/9)