Ex-VA Doctor: Prosecute Administrators for Patient Delays

Monday, 19 May 2014 12:51 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Administrators with the Department of Veterans Affairs responsible for delays in wait times for veterans seeking healthcare need to be prosecuted in order to effect changes in the way the agency treats patients, said Dr. Margaret Moxness, a psychiatrist and former VA employee.

Moxness, who worked at a VA facility in Charleston, West Virginia, said that administrators responsible for scheduling were too far removed from patients. She explained that if administrators merely "enforce their regulations, they feel they've done their job."

"They don't have that fear of what's going to happen to the patients, if they're so remote in these big bureaucracies," Moxness told "Fox & Friends" on Monday. "If they would finger these people who have committed crimes and prosecute them and incarcerate them, I think you're going to get a lot more information out of the ones who are now nervous about what's going to happen to them."

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In the past, Moxness said administrators were "not nervous about what's happening to the patients."

From her experience, she said very serious problems and even suicides can occur when a patient is prescribed drugs for mental issues but then follow-up visits are delayed, sometimes for several months.

"You're actually setting up for problems if you don't monitor them early in treatment," she said. "Their bodies get well before their emotions get well. So, now you've got desperate, angry, depressed veterans who are activated."

During the two years she worked for the VA, Moxness said delays at the facility resulted in two suicides. A 2012 VA study estimated that as many as 22 veterans a day commit suicide nationwide.

Moxness said administrators "are not adaptable, and they're not nimble to meet these changing needs quickly enough to really help" patients. She said "nothing happened" when she complained to administrators about delays.

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