A contracted mobile CT scanner brought in to support a VA hospital CT construction project sits idle in a parking lot due to a lack of human resources. With a rumored cost to taxpayers of approximately $45,000/month there are no technologists available at the institution to run the scanner and provide veteran access to this important imaging service. Furthermore, the absent human resources has prevented timely access to CT services during second/third shifts, and weekends, affecting the Emergency Department and inpatient veterans who need scans. Many of these after-hours studies are being outsourced to a local private hospital, requiring the added cost of ambulance transportation.
Meanwhile, daytime scans are being performed on an in-house low quality 16 slice hybrid SPECT/CT machine, potentially displacing veterans who need nuclear medicine exams.
As the idle mobile CT unit continues to collect dust in the parking lot one employee quipped, “I hope that thing is gone before the snow flies or it will burn.”
Let’s hope it is another mild winter. More attention needs to be paid to the relationship between VA Human Resources and veteran access. As Human Resources is the link between internal customers (employees) and external customers (veterans and their families), their mission is critical.