By The Associated PressVA doctors are concerned about funding because they’ve lost access to a critical piece of the U.S. health care system: the medical staffing crisis that has led to a backlog of more than 100,000 unprocessed and under-filled medical claims.
While the VA is still trying to sort out the fallout from the healthcare cuts, there are signs that a more proactive approach could help stem the surge of claims that has overwhelmed its system and caused delays to care.
VoxHealth, a consulting firm, has said that the VA’s backlog of medical claims is nearly twice as high as it was in 2016.
The VA has said it’s looking to fill the backlog of over 6.5 million unprocessing and underfilled claims by the end of 2020.
Vaccine manufacturers have also been hit hard by the government shutdown and the uncertainty over how much money they will get from the government in the coming months.
But there’s little evidence that the industry is particularly concerned about its funding.
Many doctors who spoke to VoxHealth did not have access to paid staff, which is why some were hesitant to provide information about their workloads, or to provide their medical records, such as lab tests or x-rays.
Doctors said they were reluctant to share their workload with the public because they were worried they’d be fired.
But as VoxHealth said in its report, a “large number of VA medical staffing vacancies are in states that are either experiencing significant budget constraints, or that have seen significant reductions in VA staffing due to the budget sequestration.”
And, doctors said, it’s also hard to know how many of those vacancies are due to staffing issues.
Vaxart, a health technology company, has also been affected by the budget sequester.
Its founder, Joel Klein, said he’s been frustrated by the VA, and said he was looking to open a new office in the Bay Area, but that he was unable to do so because of the funding cuts.
The VA did not respond to requests for comment.
Vikings, a popular and efficient health care provider, has not seen a significant uptick in patient-care requests in recent months, as the U!
campaign has pushed for.
The health care shortage, however, could be especially acute for the small rural hospitals that rely heavily on donations from patients.
Hospitals that have recently seen a shortage of doctors are facing a lot of pressure from donors to hire additional doctors, said Sarah Kostecky, executive director of the Iowa Hospitals Association, which represents the state’s largest hospitals.
She said many rural hospitals have been particularly hard hit by cuts to Medicaid funding, and are also struggling to fill vacancies.
Kosteecky said she has seen many rural hospital managers, doctors and nurses being “very reluctant” to work with people from the suburbs because of safety concerns.
Vossel, the Minnesota-based nonprofit that runs the state-run hospitals, said that while it does have an “acute” shortage of physicians, it does not have a shortage in nursing homes, which account for most of the unprocessied and underfunded claims.
But even that shortage is starting to be affected, as Minnesota’s health care delivery system has become “fragmented,” in the words of Vermont’s Health Care Agency.
That means there’s a large backlog of unprocessable and underreported claims, and a backlog in nursing home care.
The Minnesota state Health Department said it is “in the process of implementing a statewide transition plan” to allow nursing homes to open again.
It’s a transition that will allow them to “provide quality care to our most vulnerable patients, while simultaneously providing a safety net for patients who need assistance with the transition to other care settings.”
The state also announced that it is creating a task force to figure out how to address the “underutilization of nursing home beds in the state,” including by helping to fund additional beds.
Vermont’s Health Department also said it would “conduct a review of the staffing needs in our community-based care systems.”
Vossels spokeswoman Susan Fossell said the nursing homes are a part of the state health care care system, but said that it was not clear what impact the state would have on the issue.