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Report Blames 'Corrosive Culture' For Problems In VA System

A White House investigation into the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country found that "there are significant and chronic systematic failures" that need to be addressed.

NPR's Scott Horsley tells our Newscast unit that the report was delivered to President Obama on Friday. Scott filed this report:

"White House adviser Rob Nabors has spent the last few weeks digging into problems with the VA's health system. While Nabors found the vast majority of VA employees are dedicated and hard-working, he also identified what he called a 'corrosive culture,' with poor management, distrust and a history of retaliation against workers who try to sound the alarm.

"The computer software used to schedule appointments is cumbersome and outdated, Nabors says. But he says a bigger problem is there aren't enough doctors, nurses or physical space to schedule appointments in, contributing to long wait times.

"The Administration has begun hiring additional staff. But Nabors warns significant further action will be needed."

According to a summary of the report, the bottom line is that the VA system "needs to be restructured and reformed."

Obama met with Nabors as well as Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson on Friday. According to a White House statement, the administration has begun taking "aggressive steps to immediately improve access to care and address systemic issues"

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.