New Details of Delays at Phoenix VA

The Phoenix veterans’ hospital does not have accurate data on nearly a quarter of patients in need of urological care, according to a new report by the inspector general.

“In approximately 23 percent of the total cases reviewed, we frequently found approved authorizations for care, notations that authorizations were sent to contracted providers, and often scheduled dates and times of appointments with [non-Veterans Affairs] urologists.”

“However, in these instances, we found no scanned documents verifying that patients were seen for evaluations and, if seen, what the evaluations might have revealed,” the report says. “This finding suggests that [the hospital] has no accurate data on the clinical status of the patients who were referred for urologic care outside of the facility.”

While the review is “ongoing,” these preliminary findings suggest that delays “could potentially be putting patients at risk for being lost to follow-up,” and create “a backlog of unnecessary secondary authorizations, further delaying care.”

Part of the issue with urological care is staffing, according to the report. The Phoenix facility is reportedly “understaffed,” making it difficult “to keep up with many of the administrative tasks required to process authorizations.”