Epic Medical Appointment

Epic Fail? Scheduling System Sticks Out Like a Sore Thumb

We’ve been following new developments in the EHR project closely, and this one’s a doozy. The outfit they picked for scheduling appointments, Epic, isn’t the $10 billion contract winner, Cerner. They have a separate contract, weighing in at $624 million. But why?

VA healthcare providers in the Midwest are optimistic about improvement in wait times they’ve seen so far with Epic. Same-day appointments have also gone up. Yet the difference between the main contract and the scheduling system is still a strange one.

Delegation of tasks is important. There are times when it makes sense. But are these tasks really that different? It’s more than a little awkward that Cerner is being trusted with organizing the entire new database… and can’t be trusted to put in a calendar app along with the rest? Is that a real concern?

Hang onto your hats, ladies and gents. Maybe it actually is.

The Department of Defense themselves called the recent transition to Cerner “neither operationally effective nor operationally suitable” for every VA location.


Now, it’s one thing to call a policy initiative unsuitable for every location. “Suitable” is a word that deals with a location’s preferences, what they would like best for the particular needs and outcomes at their facility.

But if you can’t even call it “effective” for those places… that means it wouldn’t even work well if it WERE deemed “suitable.” Did our VA honestly hand the reins to a company that can’t handle this project? Well, who am I kidding, it’s the VA. Of course they did.

We can give this new subcommittee all the oversight power we want, but that won’t change this fundamental disconnect that seems to be happening.

But why should it vary by location? The project is set up to introduce a new database for storing and sharing veteran health records with the people who need them the most. That system is not going to change by location. Its universality is the main selling point.

The only thing that changes that much by location… is the people using the system.

That might honestly be out of Cerner’s hands, and Epic’s hands too, even if they turn out to be competent. We all know people who carry a ten-year-old flip phone, don’t know the shortcut command keys for Word, ask you to “print out this website,” still have a Rolodex in their office… these are real people who have jobs. Important jobs. Supervisory jobs.

They might even be people running certain VA hospitals. Pushing back on the changes.

Heck, anyone who tuned into Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional hearing now knows that half of Congress has no idea what social media is, unless maybe their aides and interns are around. Let’s be honest, “half” is generous.

As usual, reporting on the VA is a mess, and the reasoning behind the people they’ve hired and the stuff they’ve said is up for interpretation. Sound off in the comments below!

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  1. I just left a long insight into some of my VA problems. Next time I will ask the community of vets to be careful as the VA has managed to blind me twice in my left eye. It is a long story also. Meach

  2. Had home care with a group headed by nurse practitioner & working fairly well. I am a priority ‘one’ vet. Moved & different area did not have the program, so wanting to stay with same CBOC (clinic) in Longview, Tx. tho I was closer to Tyler, Tx. clinic I had to request a change of my primary care doctor. Got the change & first visit I( told new P. C. Doc of ongoing problems & needs. He did not want to listen & told me to make an appointment for 6 months away. I did & after 6 months I typed up a 3 page list of medical needs & appointments. He asked if I thought he had time to read all of this & I responded as my Primary Care Doctor you are supposed to know of everything in those pages & respond accordingly & I wanted these pages in my medical records. He threw them on his desk & told me to make another appointment in 6 months. From past doctors I was being treated for blood clots in both legs (DVT) & on blood thinner for years. Have had PE (Pulmonary Embolisms) twice as well. Part of treatment was to keep my feet up in air & with back problems & nerve damage I could not stand up straight, so I have been living in recliner chair 24/7 for past 18 months, needing doctor’s help to let my feet down. After the next six months I saw the Doc again & he said he saw an entry from over a year ago that I was supposed have a cat scan to check the blood clots so he was going to order one. I told him to forget it as i just had one in an outside E.R. & I have new blood clots. Then I got involved with Vet'[s Choice. Getting started was another fiasco & I could triple the size of this post telling all about that run around. But finally I got to where it is starting to work. My primary care doc was notified of need to renew my Codeine prescription by me & the pharmacy. It took him 4 weeks even with another notice from me & I ran out of codeine that I have been using for 67 years without abuse & I had to become a criminal & buy some of of the street & I became ticked off. Later I called for a new problem & surprised to get my primary care doctor on phone & he started yelling at me about the Codeine & I yelled back to forget it I have a new problem. He shut up I asked him if a vet has to come down there with a baseball bat to get care out of you people. He hung up & then I got a phone call from the VA Police relative to threatening the doctor about coming down & taking an ax to him. Told the Police that is absolute B.___ S>____ & told him what impolitely I said. He laughed & said he was a vet also & he knew what is going on ! So I got another new Primary Care Doc. I need transportation for doctor appointments, this first appointment my son was with me & as we went to the office where we were to see the new doctor the VA sent a VA Policeman to follow us & he waited outside the room. The doctor asked if my son was the police officer & son replied retired from injury. It shows how far they went to check me out. At least I got their attention finally. I told the doctor after a small discussion that he was not going to do a thing for me so we might as well leave & I got up with my son & my walker & left as the doctor made some statement about my attitude & we left. Sorry for the length. I could write about 15 or 20 more similar complaints, but they are all known within our community. Thanks for reading !

  3. I can’t handle the VA much longer, I’ve cried, begged and did everything told. These places need to be torn down and send them all to join Doctors Without Borders for 10 year intervals. I just can’t take anymore, passed my limit. If thought impossible to see so many people that could care less and ruin lives for fun? I’d be happy to give you my appointments.

  4. C’mon guys – they’re just sharing the wealth. It’s a brotherhood.

    Hey – speaking of bromance, anybody catch the Trump/Putin love fest yesterday. Very touching. Hey – speaking of touching, I have heard from many, many people that Vlad came out on top.

    Remember the good old days when Hannity and Limbaugh railed against liberals fearing some grand conspiracy of communism? Trump is a smart guy. When mess around with the long game?

    I think I’ll make some borscht and pirozhkis tonight.

    1. We are soo much more advanced than the Russians could ever hope to be, they’ll be having tubesteak & white gray sauce.

  5. And here I get a call last night at 8:00 pm from someone in the VA telling me I have to get someone to put in yet another consult for the Choice program that was just approved six months ago for a year. This will be three consults for a year of Choice appointments that I haven’t even gotten six months used up yet. First Choice expired, Second Choice expired, Third the VA Community Care is taking over for Choice now (What could go wrong, right?) even though they must have the info about it, or is it just to make a Vet jump through multiple hoops over a two month period again? Having to do this many times before too, it’s going to be, “You have to contact so and so, we can’t put in a consult-(repeat five different times back and forth)” or “Well, we can squeeze you in in less than 30 days” trying to get another consult like they requested. It’s like a hot potato, nobody wants to have anything to do with it. I have to go to Pat. Adv. to get anybody to do anything to get it rolling. It’s such a nerve racking experience- every single time…

  6. cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿ says:


    1. Imagine a country in which the taxpayer dollar was always put to the most efficient use.

  7. “https://federalnewsradio.com/federal-newscast/2018/07/va-urged-to-stem-vet-suicides-by-streamlinin-the-hiring-of-more-mental-health-workers/”

    Yep, drive those vets nuts and make them suffer in pain then send them off to see some mental health quacks and forced head dope for all the ills and issues. Great move American Legion and others while you neglect a ton of other issues and ignore many of us to pacify the powers that be and sheep.

    1. Did i write this or has this happened to you too? Sadly it has happened to most if not all of us! Hang in there be noisy don’t give up.

  8. Say what? So with their major complaints of being short staffed, chronic MD shortages, PCPs having to see thousands (been years back but given the number around 1700 and up) of patients per month, etc. How are things going to change or be fixed by ten minute office calls running (ran me) us through like cattle, and by incompetent uncaring staff? MDs claiming to not having the time to even read through our damn health records or files and needs? Get real. Oh but they need more foreigners to enter the country to practice medicine and rip us off per VA way or civvy fraudulent activities for money and good to send home.

    So just what IS “suitable” or “effective?” More junk from the DoD and others to line the pockets of the contractor buddies and connected trash? They sure know how to take care of foreigners and the likes of Israel to Mexico or Canada.

    As for Congress critters and high tech or social media. Hard for me to believe they are that ignorant of those. They may not be experts but have them around too while I bet they can use social media like they do locally while claiming not to know anything about the censoring, but later admitting to it and saying to “prove it.” They are all actors, liars, phony, and not to be taken at face value or what they speak or claim. They all have government phones, computers, private cell phones, GPS trackers for security, etc. don’t they? Have some of those “smart homes” decked out with high tech stuff and security. They don’t need to learn how to type with certain software or using their own topless hookers, goofy staff, little boys, or web savvy muses.

    Locally they are building two new CBOCs as posted before. In populated areas and again far from rural areas where they all claim needs to be more health care and clinics provided. Oh no, the freaks at the top want more telemed crap. While in more rural areas high tech systems fail and connections are worthless and won’t function. They want country folks to travel or have to get hotel rooms for a night or day to get seen. Or the 40 mile rule being a total joke or no specialist around close enough to use.

    Of course he supports another corrupt Hoosier for Trumpster’s high offices.

    Did Todd or his office give a real damn about me and the corruption, attacks, censoring, fake media, corrupt VA and covering up, no x-rays, six hour or more long waits for pain meds in a local civvy clinic? Nope. I guess it’s all ethical so pass the buck, hire an attorney.

    “Indiana Leading in Global Innovation

    I met with 40 students from the Middle East and North Africa as part of the Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business Global Leadership and Innovation program on Tuesday. It was great to discuss both domestic policy and international relations with these young leaders. ”

    He is just another globalist and don’t give a damn about our nation, borders, health care, VA corruption, the censoring/attacks, or vets. They all just spew lip service and lies. They all have to bow to the United Nations NWO agendas and lying sustainable development crap including pain meds/evil opioids and health care. According to him and others we need more foreigners and fill the VA and med centers with them even if they can’t comprehend English or manners of speech. And who don’t give a damn about our country, rights, or real health care. Bed side manners are long gone anyway. But who cares as long as the elite to Congress have their own special health care and anything for them available? Sheep aren’t bleeting much about that stuff either let alone not caring about veteran’s issues.

    Does he care about vets or people in chronic pain? Nope. Odd since pain pills are not to be found for the serfs and ‘certain’ vets, just for the elite and connected. But we supposedly still have major issues with pain scripts? Hogwash. None of them contacted give a damn about those of us dealing with major pain issues to having to sit in some office for pain meds for six hours and play their stupid games for treatment. Will any of them discuss issues with us in reality? Nope. They just have their secretaries write us off and pass the buck.

    “Thank you for the continued privilege to serve you in the U.S. Senate. My mission is to fight on behalf of Hoosiers and the interests that are unique to our state. I look forward to working with you, and sharing our progress, in the days ahead.

    In Service,”
    From the cough cough, honorable Sen Todd Young.

    (Total horse shit and facade, typical politician/actors.)

    By the way they all know who I am out here and everyone contacted has been told to read Ben’s blog here since all claim to believe I am the only one in the nation or state with issues over the VA, corruption, censoring, etc.

    1. WOW you know the VA as well as I do. Sadly I agree with you 100% because i have over 20 years with the VA and you speak truth not opinion. But you are not alone “we go by many names but we are legend” if we have to be the VAs demons then so be it. They chose it not us. I am as noisy as I can be walking that line not to get the big red flag on my chart that I am amazed is not there yet. We are fighting together just on different fronts. The thing that helps me is I am an RN with an MSN-PH. Yes that is public health but really it is medical nursing law. They just do not have the degree yet just for law in all but 3 states. So I have lawyers in my back pocket I work with them every day and am not afraid to have one with me. You can sue anyone in the VA for malpractice and they do not like that because it freezes all their assets and they can not finance anything while the suit is pending. This is only one of many negative affects a pending suit has on them. I guarantee you if you take your lawyer with you to your next appointment your good ol doc will spend more than 10 minutes with you. I never go to any appointment alone and I advise us all to do that. Always have a third party witness and tell them they are they to witness and record. The doc asked my lawyer to leave the room because he had to do a prostate exam and I told him no. He said he had to and I said not according to the law after a heated debate and the threat of rescheduling me he did the exam with my lawyer right behind him. We laugh so hard about it. The exam was quite gentle but we all know they are experts at putting their heads up their asses so it should be. Keep it up hang in there and you are not alone at all. This is sad. I told my daughter via text yesterday, she is 23, that i was at the doctor getting my eyes checked and thank God it was not a VA doctor. This was her response. “VA doctors are so much better though. Your eyes could be checked and fixed within the next 7 years”. I just got that text. Hang in there we all have to.

      1. My update. While spending my feel good time up trying to find an attorney or find someone with some powers to get involved. No way. Another legal aid company out of the big city again told me to go back to the VA, talk to PAs, and gave me a number for a VSO rep I was told could and would help. The rep said I have already gone way above his head in dealing with my issues and he, they, can’t do anything more. Again he questioned why legal would refer him to me and not handle what they should be dealing with on a more legal basis. Even though he can’t understand how the corrupt in my area can get by with so much. Like attorneys telling us vets our disability and payments are NOT exempt from bankruptcies… when they are. Going from Chap 7 to Chap 13 makes them an extra couple thousand dollars for each case. Nice huh? And there are those here that do nothing but bankruptcies and are wealthy from it all.

        They also don’t understand how, or why, a civvy hospital can carry on with some of the same gas-lighting, attacks, and withholding my health records there from me. Oh and plus all the daily harassing phone calls which also must be protected and allowed by union and health care staff and ‘professionals.”

        None of them can’t get it in their heads when I have to keep repeating ‘there is no way I will return to VA care, none.’ But then constantly told to do so like what I am saying just buzzes by there heads and issues totally ignored or distracted from.

        Nothing to be done about local dental and oral surgeon refusing to X-ray the broken jaw the VA gave me either. Again no-one seems to want to get involved in all this corrupt mess from different angles or sectors of the community and all those “professionals” who are supported and deeply protected…. state wide and federally. The networks of corruption and supporting all the corrupt trash out there is unbelievable. Reality being stranger than fiction. When I am put on hold for ten minutes I know when someone gets back on the line the answer is no, excuses given, the buck passes along, and their disconcern is clear. I think that time is spent making phone calls to checking some kind of black ball list or ‘terrorist’ list to be attacked and ignored more. That too is very obvious with everything I have had to deal with in a short period of time.

        Wish I had a good trustworthy lawyer in my pocket but there is none to be found in this state or town. The freaking corruption, cover-ups, evils, greed, runs to deep and too high to mess with. No one wants to see any proof of it all either like from the bankruptcies, X-rays, to the phone calls, etc. Living here is like that ball bearing in a pin-ball machine with each damned bumper being more covering up, negatives, censoring, lacks of information, leads, and corruption.. and greed.

        So the threats from the VA staff about not being able to find health care if I left them is right on and true. This is how my state and town rolls. The ‘networks’ will go all out to protect their own and ruin lives perhaps over just one person let alone a “VA team,” along with a list of other ‘professionals.’ So all I can do is bitch and do my own little protests. Is why I post out here to show people what is happening and how some have to live in good ol’ America today.

      2. cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿ says:

        TTTTTTTTTTTTTT, You did it, you just came up with the perfect analysis of the VA vs the Veteran!!!!

        The VA=Pinball Machine

        Most Excellent, drops mic!!!

  9. Someone’s piping-in very loud Benny Hill theme music at the VA…thank goodness it’s not bare-breasted engorged purple teams running about to that theme music but they *do* all have their thumbs up their asses.

    (RAND concurs: “Ain’t Got Time For That”!)

    1. I mean there aint nothing wrong with looking at bare breasted chicks, tits are tits right? Hell if Topless Tuesday was a thing I might have to rethink my stance on long waits…

      1. You must not have that many hungry, hungry hippos at your particular VA or if you’re into that…it’s all good… 😀

      2. LMAO most of, not all, but most are first and foremost guys and unless they remove our penises we will stay that way. Quite a few of my fellow female soldiers in the Army Nurses Corps like breasts too and they were the best nurses I have ever worked with in my now long career. Topless tuesday? Schedule me for a tuesday please and yes I know it will 9 months from now. Don’t get me wrong i am not sexualizing nor objectifying women i am just a man with a penis and i do not apologize for that. For you VA trolls out there, LMAO if the VA could have trolls that worked, I will not let you remove my penis. I would love the VA to start a campaign to remove all our manhood because then we would unite and change would happen fast!!!

  10. “these are real people who have jobs. Important jobs. Supervisor jobs.” HE, HE, HE!!!

    “neither operationally effective nor operationally suitable,” for every VA location. DOD says.

  11. 07/17/2018

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    “Did our VA honestly hand the reins to a company that can’t handle this project? Well, who am I kidding, it’s the VA. Of course they did.”

    This is another act of stalling and delaying their duties to complete the mission [care for our veterans]. Sabotage in a time of War [7 and counting]

    What do you think my old McDonnell Douglas Financial guy is up too? He was working there with President Robert Hood in Long Beach when Rep. Barbara Box was asking Robert in plain English “Are you selling out the Country?”–1992 Onsite Congressional Hearing

    Hint [1998 Cox Report]


    Don Karg

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