I don’t understand this whole VA “cooking the books” thing. I’m sorry “books?” We’re not REALLY using paper in this day and age riiight?
“Lee said a spreadsheet detailed which schedulers met the 14-day goal.”
Oh, a spreadsheet. OK. Well, those are impossible to tamper with. I didn’t realize. smacks head
And now I present an actual 100% workable solution that makes “cooking the books” impossible. Ready?
1) When you make an appointment at the VA you get a digitally signed PDF that serves as your appointment receipt. It’s digitally signed by the VA and contains the date you made the appointment, your name, when your appointment is etc.
2) You go to your appointment on the day of the appointment!
3) If you aren’t seen on the date of the appointment, then other non-technological solutions could come into effect. For example, there could be a policy set that said if you can’t be seen on the day of the appointment + 2 weeks, you get an automatic voucher to see a doctor of your choosing. The voucher is, in fact, the PDF document above. You present that PDF document to the doctor and they know that there is no possible way that the document isn’t valid (again, because is is digitally cryptographically signed by the VA).
4) Your PDF also contains a unique identifier. That can be entered into a website created by the VA that shows the EXACT same information as your PDF. You can log into the website and verify the information. If that information differs. The books have been cooked!
5) The PDF is also signed by the GAO at the time of creation. The GAO has admin access to the website and pull down all the wait times. When they pull down the wait times and the PDFs, a system on the GAO side goes through what the records currently say and what the PDFs say. If they don’t match, those records have been changed. Of course the PDF was also stored at the GAO at the time of creation.
The only way to cook the books in this scenario at a large scale is to have members at both the GAO and the VA simultaneously decide to delete and alter data. At the individual level, even this is impossible because the individual patient has the original PDF and can always with 100% certainty prove that his record was changed. To completely prevent the possibility of collusion between the GAO and the VA, the VA could also publish on their website a simple list of unique identifiers, appointment dates and fulfilled dates that ANYONE could download. If any of that data ever changes, well the entire internet would know.
And problem solved.