You may be aware of some recent news regarding a VA Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. If you are not aware of what is happening, we will cover that later on. Though we are based in West Virginia, we actually have a lot of clients in Arizona. Our thoughts are with all of the Veterans who are affected by this story, and those who are now concerned about receiving quality healthcare. While our firm mainly corresponds with VA Regional Offices, we do have to request medical records from VA Medical Facilities, including the one in Phoenix Arizona. We want to shed as much light on this as possible for our Veterans in Arizona, and will try to keep you up to date as these moves forward.
So, what’s going on? Last week the folks over at CNN reported that the Phoenix VA Medical Center had a “Secret Wait List” for those seeking treatment. On this list Veterans would have to wait for months to receive treatment, and at least 40 Veterans who were on this list died while awaiting treatment. CNN also reports as many as 1600 Veterans were actually on the list. Why a secret list you ask? According to Dr. Sam Foote, a former VA doctor, "The scheme was deliberately put in place to avoid the VA's own internal rules." He went on to tell CNN that the VA requires its hospitals to provide care to patients in a timely manner, typically within 14 to 30 days. According to Foote, the Phoenix VA was involved in shredding evidence to hide the long list of veterans waiting for appointments and care.
How did CNN find out about the list? According to the article, CNN obtained emails from individuals in the facility, including management, who were aware of the list, and who were even defending the practice.
What happens now? Well, there will be a lot of investigations going on to find out the validity of the accusations. President Obama was quoted on Monday as saying that he takes these allegations “very seriously.” Further, he stated: “I believe that if somebody has served our nation then they have to get the benefits and services that they have earned, and my budgets have consistently reflected that,” Obama said. “That’s why we've resourced the Veterans Affairs office more in terms of increases than any other department or agency in my government.”
Politics aside, this is a very serious issue for the VA. I work with Veterans every day, and I know their view of the VA as a whole is not great anyway. Regardless of what happens, the VA may very well lose the trust of more Veterans.
What is the VA saying? Well, they are addressing the issue the best they can. The following is excerpt from their press release: “The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) cares deeply for every Veteran we are privileged to serve, and we are committed to delivering the highest quality care. We take any allegations about patient care or employee misconduct very seriously, which is why the Department invited the independent VA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to complete a comprehensive review at the Phoenix VA Health Care System as quickly as possible. VA also sent a team of clinical experts to Phoenix to review appointment scheduling procedures at that facility and the existence of any delays in care.” You can read the full release here.
What should you do? No matter what, you need to continue to seek treatment. Regardless if you attempting to get service connected, or if you are just in need of medical care, seeking treatment is beneficial. Keep up to date with this story by following reputable news sources. CNN will obviously be covering this story a lot as they are the ones who broke the news, but the Washington Post, Associated Press, and other traditional news outlets will have up to date information. If you go to the Phoenix VA for treatment, continue to go there. The VA has sent a team to review scheduling, and as their press release states above, they are reviewing the scheduling process.
If you would like to know more about what we can do to help you get service connected for a VA Disability Claim, give us a call for a free consultation: 1-877-526-3457. If you'd rather I call you, fill out this form now.