VA health care monster has grown out of control

About 40 years ago I was director of the Department of Urology at the VA Hospital in Washington, D.C. It was a new structure with thousands of employees. Very few of the patients had service-connected disabilities or illnesses. The care was provided by residents in training from local university hospitals under supervision from myself and other rotating academic urologists and was mostly good.

The waste was phenomenal. Cases set for 7:30 a.m. in the Operating Room rarely started before 8:30 or 9. Only two operations could be done per operating room per day, while the standard was four to six in regular hospitals. At 2:30 or 3 p.m. everybody was getting ready to go home.

When I was preparing to come to New London to go into private practice, I wrote a detailed letter to the VA recommending that veterans with non-service connected disabilities be sent to community hospitals, where they would get excellent care at a fraction of the cost, a sort of veterans' Medicare.

Needless to say, it was ignored. The government's answer to the current VA crisis I am sure will involve hiring thousands more employees and spending billions more dollars. I am afraid we have created a monster, with no way to stop it.

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