A push to meet national performance measures masked potentially deadly delays in cancer and other screenings for veterans seeking care at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Austin Outpatient Clinic, a recently retired VA doctor revealed exclusively to the American-Statesman on Wednesday.
Dr. Joseph L. Spann, who retired in January after 17 years at the Austin clinic, said that the chief of radiology at the VA’s Olin Teague Veterans’ Medical Center in Temple regularly asked physicians to change their requested date for ultrasounds, MRIs and CT scans to hide the existence of long backlogs for tests that are required before life-saving treatment can begin.
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When news broke that Veterans Administration clinics in Arizona were manipulating waiting list data, American-Statesman investigative reporter Jeremy Schwartz dug into operations of VA clinics in Central Texas. He uncovered similar problems here and is continuing to follow the story.