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GAO Report Finds VA Leases Also Way Behind Schedule

Written By : William Teach
June 9, 2014

Big Government at work

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(Roll Call) The Department of Veterans Affairs is already in plenty of hot water over its patient backlog, and a Government Accountability Office report released this week on a similar brand of mismanagement elsewhere in the department isn’t going to help turn down the temperature.

The GAO report on department management of leasing for outpatient clinics was overshadowed by the department’s other woes, but found some significant problems. Of the 41 projects the GAO examined, 39 were behind schedule — one of them by more than 13 years.

Because construction of VA-owned properties is expensive, the department has increasingly leased out medical facilities to provide treatment, to the tune of $5.5 billion as of the fall of 2013.

Most of the scheduling delays came at the front end, before the department ever entered into a lease agreement, and on average the delays are 3.3 years. The problems included late or changing requirements, trouble finding suitable facilities and ever-changing internal procedures.

Unsurprisingly, there were also lots of cost over-runs, as well. Big Government at its finest. BTW, part of the problem in getting the facilities built in a timely manner goes to “environmental” regulations. There comes a point where those regulations go well beyond reasonable and to absurd. Private citizens/companies deal with this all the time.

Meanwhile

(LA Times) As the acting secretary of Veterans Affairs tries to assure congressmen that he is moving to address the VA healthcare scandal, his department is preparing to release more results of a nationwide audit of scheduling practices that have been denounced as misleading and harmful to veterans.

The results are expected to be released Monday, as a House committee puts VA officials through another round of grilling over findings that VA employees falsified records to conceal long waits for medical appointments.

It looks like acting secretary Sloan Gibson is very serious about reforming the VA. Have you ever noticed that Government only takes internal problems seriously when things have blown up in their face? When it becomes a scandal?

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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