According to media reports , “Veterans Affairs officials warned the Obama-Biden transition team in the weeks after the 2008 presidential election that the department shouldn’t trust the wait times that its facilities were reporting. ‘This is not only a data integrity issue in which [Veterans Health Administration] reports unreliable performance data; it affects quality of care by delaying — and potentially denying — deserving veterans timely care.'”
In Arizona, according to a “whistleblower” source, another VA hospital has been “accused of keeping secret waiting lists to hide delays for veterans seeking medical care.”
The anonymous doctor from the Albuquerque VA hospital said: “The ‘secret wait list’ for patient appointments is being either moved or was destroyed after what happened in Phoenix. Right now, there is an eight-month waiting list for patients to get ultrasounds of their hearts. Some patients have died before they got their studies. It is unknown why they died, some for cardiac reasons, some for other reasons.”
There is no evidence to back-up this whistleblower’s claims; however the doctor said: “It’s quite possible that some veterans would still be alive if they hadn’t been pushed through a record-keeping trap door that buried their requests for medical care.”
Last month was revealed that the Phoenix VA Medical Center (PVAMC) was committing “of gross mismanagement and neglect” of veteran patients.
This came on the heels of Congressman Jeff Miller, chair of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs (HCVA) revealing that because of delays in care, an estimated 40 veterans died needlessly.
The investigation also shows that the Phoenix VA Healthcare System (PVAHS) kept dual records of patients to obscure their waiting times – as much as nearly 60 days to go without medical care.
Sam Foote, former doctor for the PVAHS revealed that the “secret waiting list was used by senior management to conceal the fact that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor.”
Foote said that this “sham” list was a “scheme [to] deliberately . . . avoid the VA’s own internal rules.”
According to Foote, the “official” list showed a waiting time of 14 to 30 days; however to cover their tracks, “the developed the secret waiting list.”
When a veteran wanted to make an appointment, Foote said: “They enter information into the computer and do a screen-capture, hard-copy printout. They then do not save what was put into the computer — so there’s no record.”
Foote explained : “That hard copy is then placed into a secret electronic waiting list, Foote said, with the paper data being shredded. He also revealed that patients wouldn’t be taken off the secret list until their appointment time was within 14 days or less —giving the appearance that the VA was improving waiting times. I feel very sorry for the people who work at the Phoenix VA. They all wish they could leave ’cause they know what they’re doing is wrong.”
Media reports show that in July of 2013, Sharon Helman, director at the PVAHS, knew about this secret waiting list that was electronic and “off-the-books”.
Helman is also accused of knowing that veterans were being forced to wait 6 – 20 weeks for their initial appointment with a primary care physician.
The PVAHS released a statement : “It is disheartening to hear allegations about Veterans care being compromised. We have conducted robust internal reviews since these allegations surfaced and welcome the results from the Office of Inspector General’s review. We take these allegations seriously.”
Helman reportedly has received $9,000 in bonuses while veterans were dying at her facility.Facebook and Twitter, and follow our friends at RepublicanLegion.com.
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