WASHINGTON, D.C. – A former psychiatrist at the Huntington Veterans Affairs Medical Center says the bureaucracy within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs kept her from treating her patients properly.
“I know there’s a lot of doctors who experienced this kind of frustration in the VA system,” said Dr. Margaret Moxness on Monday’s “Fox & Friends,” a show that airs on Fox News.
Moxness said she worked at the Huntington facility for less than two years — from 2008 through 2010. During that time, she said she was often frustrated when she would prescribe powerful medications to veterans dealing with diseases like post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I write the order, ‘Return to clinic ten days, two weeks tops.’ And then I check and look for my patient and he’s getting booked three weeks, four weeks. It got to be months to see these guys on a second visit which means they’re partially treated,” Moxness said. Such partial treatment, she said, is worse than no treatment at all.
During her time in Huntington, Moxness said at least two patients committed suicide while waiting for follow-up visits.
She said she complained to her superiors to no avail. “They really stopped talking to me so I was functionally silenced, but they just kept booking them (the veterans),” she said.
“I was in a very tight-knit community. There was lots of extracurricular supports — family, faith, vet centers. So, we had help but, no thanks to the VA. I’m sorry — these men were eventually going to need more than a visit every ten months.”
The claims from Dr. Moxness are adding to the chorus of complaints about the VA from across the country. The VA has been embroiled in controversy since allegations surfaced that inaccurate records were being kept about wait times for veterans seeking treatment at a VA clinic in Phoeniz, Az. As many as 40 veterans may have died waiting for care there.
Last week, Eric Shinseki, secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, testified about the matter on Capitol Hill and said he was “mad as hell.”