Veterans Affairs Clinics scrutinized in nationwide reviewUPDATED 7:47 PM HST May 28, 2014Video Transcript
It's a huge undertaking -- to fix what some call "hopelessly broken." Right now -- more than 170 Veterans Affairs clinics across the country are undergoing a thorough REVIEW. And 26 -- are facing a FULL INVESTIGATION. In a story you'll only see on KITV-- our very own Lara Yamada sat down with the man HERE -- charged with MENDING the system. 1 116 NOVAK 4037-44 We had 2 days notice and team of 5 VA professionals came in... Less than two months on the job -- Dr. Keith Novak watched and listened... When for three days last week, that team, grilled HIS team -- on everything from scheduling to staffing. NOVAK 4125-30 ...to be sure they were doing it correctly and that there was no "gaming" of the system. NOVAK 4922-29 They validated that things were being done here the way it should be and that we weren't hiding anything here. Not that he says, there weren't glaring improvements to be made. Including shifting administrative duties OFF neighbor island staff. And OFF doctors -- to shifting their time -- back to patients. NOVAK 3952-55 What we need to focus on is building our base. Recruitment and Retention -- a major problem. Novak says, just this month, they lost 2 full-time doctors -- replaced by temporary fill-ins. He says the VA is working with The University of Hawaii, to grow local. NOVAK 3955-06 Our local population to go into the medical field, and become physicians and nurses and stay here to care for their family. SAFOTU 10012 They're still coming every day! The VA Pacific now services some 24,000 vets from Molokai to the Marshall Islands. Growing 5 percent every year -- with sign- in kiosks helping to cut back on long lines. SAFOTU 5746- 53 How the patient comes in, how they're treated, making sure that they have an appointment and to reschedule. But the VA says some 13 percent of "no shows" are crimping its improved system. With outdated information frustrating staff too. NOVAK 4815-18 We can't take them out of the system here, if they don't let us know. Then there's available parking -- or lack of it. The VA will begin adding more levels to the parking lot at Tripler --120 spots by 2017 -- and possibly leasing nearby lots. SAFOTU 10034-40 We're trying. And we're hoping that we can take care of our veterans. One more step... to push the VA... into a better light. Lara Yamada KITV4 News. The VA says each veteran is now assigned a "Patient Aligned Care Team" -- comprised of a doctor, nurse, tech, and other staff. There are expanded office hours on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. A year and a half ago, the VA opened its satellite clinic on Fort Weaver Road. And the DESIGN for a 80-THOUSAND square foot facility -- somewhere in the Ewa Plain --called "The Aloha Project" -- is DUE NEXT YEAR.