Huelskamp Receives Last-Minute, Incomplete Response from the VA
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After hearing through news media reports that 385 veterans were languishing on a secret, unauthorized waiting list at the Robert J. Dole VA facility, Congressman Tim Huelskamp (KS-01) made a surprise, unannounced visit there on June 4, 2014. During his visit Huelskamp discovered the Facility Director, Francisco Vazquez and his assistant were on an out-of-state trip for the week. However, Representative Huelskamp was able to get Director Vazquez on the phone, asked many questions, and demanded a report on the secret waiting lists within 24 hours.
Today, in a last-minute response, Director Vazquez sent a brief one-page letter to the Congressional office. Below is Congressman Huelskamp’s response:
"While I am glad to receive some information from Director Vazquez, the letter is not only woefully incomplete, but inconsistent with another ‘report’ received only a few days on Friday May, 30th. After forcing the Director to respond with my personal visit, we now have more questions than answers regarding the scheduling practices used behind closed doors at the Wichita VA facility. I will be following up with additional questions of the VA in this critical matter –and I fully intend to turn this information over the Office of Inspector General for further investigation."
Below is a list of key unanswered questions:
- On May 30th, Mr. Vazquez assured all of us that only 9 veterans were on a secret waiting list. Today they admitted they knew a secret waiting list with 385 veterans existed two weeks ago. Why did the VA mislead the public, all Kansas Veterans, and the Congress just six days ago?
- How did Mr. Vazquez and his team find out about this particular secret waiting list?
- Why does Mr. Vazquez refuse to provide documentation and assurance that no more Veterans will be ‘discovered’ on secret waiting lists at Wichita?
- How and why is this VA facility rumored to be using a scheduling system that is nearly two decades old?
The letter is below:
June 5, 2014
The Honorable Tim Huelskamp
United States House of Representatives
126 Cannon House Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman Huelskamp:
This is in response to your request during your visit to the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center on June 4, 2014.
The unauthorized list in Wichita involved the Home Based Primary Care Program (HBPC). This program is for Veterans already receiving Primary Care from VA who might benefit from Primary Care delivered in the home. HBPC is a multi-disciplinary team approach which includes nurses, dieticians, social worker, physical therapist and providers. While many organizations provide just visiting nurse services, a program such as HBPC is not typical in the community.
On 5/21/14 it was determined that the Home Based Primary Care Program had a non-sanctioned list of patients. To assess the potential impact on patients a panel was convened by the Quality Management Department to review all patients on this unauthorized list. There were a total of 385 patients on this list for whom Home Based Primary Care Services had been requested. All 385 patients were reviewed. The following information is reported as a result of that review:
- 126 patients from the list are enrolled in Home Based Primary Care and receive primary care from that source.
- 245 patients from the list were identified as receiving primary care services outside of the Home Based Primary Care program.
- 14 patients were identified as not receiving primary care services from any VA source. All 14 are now scheduled to receive VA primary care.
- These three groups comprise the entire 385 patient cohort.
- During the review conducted by the Quality Management department, 20 patients were identified as being at risk of potential adverse impact as a result of delays in entry into the Home Based Primary Care program. These patients were referred to a panel convened by the Interim Chief of Staff, comprised of physicians and the Interim Chief of Staff. It was determined by this review that no patients experienced adverse impact as a result of the delays.
- The fact that no patients were harmed as a result of use of this unauthorized list is the best possible outcome.
FRANCISCO VAZQUEZ, MBA
Medical Center Director