There’s one area in which the government has an obligation to provide medical care, and that’s for members of the military. It only makes sense. The government sends these young people off to overseas wars based on dubious premises, deliberately putting them in harm’s way. The least the government can do is to take care of them.
With all the talk from politicians and the general public with how they “support the troops,” you’d think we’d treat those veterans as well as we claim to respect them.
But not surprisingly, that’s one area where the government would rather not have to provide any kind of care. The government would rather those troops die in combat or from suicide so that they don’t have any obligation to take care of them. I think this is why they say if we want to know what Obamacare will look like in a few years, just look at the VA now.
CNN did a little digging into allegations that a VA center in Phoenix, Arizona had secret waitlists where veterans would wait sometimes for over a year before being treated. For that reason, many veterans died waiting for care.
VA staffers would wait for months and months to finally book an appointment for some of these vets who had been placed on this secret list, and only then would that veteran officially show up in their system. Even though some of these vets would have waited in reality for many months, it would appear that these vets would have waited only a couple weeks.
CNN interviewed Sam Foote, a doctor who has since retired, but who was a VA doctor at that Phoenix facility for 24 years.
There’s an “official” list that’s shared with officials in Washington and shows the VA has been providing timely appointments, which Foote calls a sham list. And then there’s the real list that’s hidden from outsiders, where wait times can last more than a year.
“The scheme was deliberately put in place to avoid the VA’s own internal rules,” said Foote in Phoenix. “They developed the secret waiting list,” said Foote, a respected local physician.
The VA requires its hospitals to provide care to patients in a timely manner, typically within 14 to 30 days, Foote said.
According to Foote, the elaborate scheme in Phoenix involved shredding evidence to hide the long list of veterans waiting for appointments and care. Officials at the VA, Foote says, instructed their staff to not actually make doctor’s appointments for veterans within the computer system.
Instead, Foote says, when a veteran comes in seeking an appointment, “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 that you were ever here,” he said.
According to Foote, the information was gathered on the secret electronic list and then the information that would show when veterans first began waiting for an appointment was actually destroyed.
“That hard copy, if you will, that has the patient demographic information is then taken and placed onto a secret electronic waiting list, and then the data that is on that paper is shredded,” Foote said.
“So the only record that you have ever been there requesting care was on that secret list,” he said. “And they wouldn’t take you off that secret list until you had an appointment time that was less than 14 days so it would give the appearance that they were improving greatly the waiting times, when in fact they were not.”
Foote estimates right now the number of veterans waiting on the “secret list” to see a primary care physician is somewhere between 1,400 and 1,600.
These accusations have made their way to Washington where several Congressmen have called for an official investigation by the Department of Justice. The Weekly Standard reported:
“Well, obviously these reports if they’re true are unacceptable, and the allegations are being taken very seriously by the administration. But I don’t have any announcements at this time with regard to anything that the Justice Department is doing,” Holder told reporters at a press conference.
“This is something on our radar screen at this point, but there is an investigation being done by the [VA] inspector general, and we’ll see what happens as a result of that inquiry and other information that comes to light in some form or fashion,” Holder added.
According to CNN, at least 40 veterans died while waiting for treatment at one VA hospital in Phoenix. Members of Congress have said in recent weeks that the inspector general investigation is inadequate and have called on the DOJ to launch its own investigation.
“Because these cases involve individuals working in their capacity as federal employees, and these incidents have occurred at federal facilities throughout the nation, I urge you to work with the state Attorneys General in Arizona and across the country to investigate these preventable deaths thoroughly, determine appropriate criminal charges, and prosecute the offenders accordingly,” Rep. Tom Rooney, a Republican of Florida, wrote in a letter to Holder on May 1.
But because a black person hadn’t been mistreated by a white (or other non-black) person (i.e. a “hate crime”), Eric Holder’s not all that interested.