Article Revised: March 28, 2019
Problems at the VA
The Veteran’s Administration healthcare system has been in the news for decades. The system is routinely condemned, at best as inferior and, at worse, even nefarious. There has been one account after another of operations performed on the wrong organ or limb, the reuse of disposable medical supplies like needles, and even the amputation of wrong limbs. Even worse, the VA has been guilty of employing “medical professionals” that weren’t even trained in medicine. In more than one incident “doctors” working for the VA were found to be working under fraudulent certifications. Then, of course, there is the problem of trying to see a doctor in the first place. The waiting list for even the simplest of procedures or needs is often months long.
What is Lean Six Sigma?
Fortunately, intervention in the VA’s problems is now underway. Just last year, Veterans Secretary Robert A. McDonald, proposed that Lean Six Sigma, an innovative program that commonly used to define the extent of problems, measure that extent and its impact, analyze the issues, and suggest improvements to get them in hand, go into effect. Ironically, McDonald’s proposal is essentially the same that was previously proposed by then Erie County Executive Chris Collins way back in 2007. Unfortunately, the country has waited almost a decade for a promising move to combat the many atrocities that have been reported in the VA.
So, ‘Lean Six Sigma’ comes to the VA and Collins cheers. The rest of us are left wondering, however, just how Lean Six Sigma will help the VA and if, in fact, it will help this most disgraceful offer of health care to those that have served the US, to those that have lost much doing so. Reassuringly, Lean Sigma Six has been used in the business world for over a decade. Furthermore, the program is now being picked up by the Army’s Global Combat Support System as well as numerous other entities both in the business world, in the government, and in the military.