Where would America be today if it weren’t for all of the men and women who served in the armed forces protecting our nation from attack? As a nation, don’t we owe them our very existence?
One of the ways a grateful nation shows its gratitude to our veterans is by providing medical assistance through the Veterans Administration hospitals. My older brother is a Vietnam veteran who is dependent upon the healthcare he receives from the VA hospital in his area. At 66 years of age, he is starting to experience some heart problems and may be facing surgery. Since he was laid off from a job a few years back, he lost his home to foreclosure and has no place to turn to for his medical care other than to the VA hospital.
I’m just glad that he no longer lives in the Phoenix area as he may have ended up on their ‘secret waiting list’ and die waiting to be seen by a doctor.
Dr. Sam Foote recently retired after serving the Phoenix Veterans Hospital for 24 years. Now that he is not under VA control and scrutiny, Foote has gone public about their secret waiting list for appointments. He says that the VA hospital has two lists, one official and one they keep secret. The official list is the one they routinely send to Washington DC which shows that everyone is getting proper treatment on a timely basis.
The other list is the one they operate by at the hospital. According to Foote, from 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans on the secret list were forced to wait months, even up to a year, before they were able to see a doctor. The long wait may have contributed to the deaths of at least 40 veterans who died while waiting to be seen.
Staff at the hospital was instructed to not enter and save appointment contacts for many of the veterans. The staff was told to do a screen capture of doctor’s appointment and print out a copy. Once the copy was printed, the staff member deleted the electronic record, leaving no trace of the appointment in the system. They created their secret list that was never shared with the DC headquarters. All of the information that showed when a veteran first requested an appointment was destroyed. When they would learn of a veteran’s death while waiting to be seen by a doctor, the hard copies of their records were shredded in a deliberate cover up.
From reading the reports, it sounds like this practice has been going on for years, during both Democratic and Republican administrations.
When Washington officials saw the glowing reports from the Phoenix VA Hospital, it led to the director of the Phoenix division receiving $9,345 in bonuses. Sounds like the IRS bonuses given to employees who fail to pay their taxes or were disciplined for some other reason.
If what Dr. Foote says is true, and I don’t doubt that it is, then the officials at the Phoenix VA Hospital that are responsible for the secret waiting list and destruction of records should be arrested and charged for a number of crimes. One of the crimes they should face is complacency in the deaths of the 40 or more veterans that died while waiting to be seen by doctors in their hospital.
If Washington doesn’t take action to clean up the Veteran Hospital in Phoenix, and other cities, then perhaps the millions of veterans need to take up their arms and demand that something be done.