Whistleblower opens up about manipulated numbers at the Shrevepo - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Whistleblower opens up about manipulated numbers at the Shreveport V.A. Hospital

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SHREVEPORT, La - Part 1 found here.

“I don't trust any numbers that come out of the V.A. Just for the simple reason I've seen the manipulation of so many numbers and so many measures,” says Shea Wilkes, a current employee, and licensed clinical social worker, at Overton Brooks V.A. Medical Center.

There have been a lot of numbers coming out of the V.A. in recent weeks. One of the most talked about measures recently—the V.A's goal to see new patients in 14 days—has been dropped and bonuses halted for the year. But Wilkes says wait time manipulation was going on long before that fourteen day goal was put in place.

“You gotta realize, I want to look good, my chief wants to look good, who's doing their appraisal,” he says, “the chief of staff or the director, so figure out a way to make this happen."

 This is how Wilkes says they made it happen. First, the scheduler would ask the patient when they'd like to come in. “You say as soon as possible...They put today's date in there and look for an appointment. Well let's say that next appointment is 30 days out. Well you're not going to make that measure. Right? 14 days. So what do you do? You back out of the system, you go back in the system, well this time I don't ask you when do you want to be seen and you don't say as soon as possible. I just put the date in 14 days or one day, or the day of the appointment...They're doing something they're taught to do. Somebody trained them to do that."

And even with national attention focused on the wait time scandal, Wilkes says as recently as three weeks ago, he witnessed schedulers continuing this practice, and not even realizing it was wrong.

Manipulating this measure has been documented nationally for some time, as seen in this Government Accountability Report from 2012. although the local hospital assured us wait times were short. Wilkes says hiding the truth means higher ups don't know they need more providers or more money to send patients outside the V.A. for care. “The folks above us don't know, if our numbers are good, they don't know we need more help. They won't get the money to get more help."

Wilkes did share these concerns within the V.A., and filed formal complaints with the Inspector General. He hopes that outside investigators will get to Overton Brooks as quickly as possible.

 “Anytime the V.A. investigates the V.A, I have no confidence anything is going to happen."
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