Video posted by Washington Free Beacon Courtesy of CNN
According to CNN, the Phoenix Veterans Affairs hospital kept a secret waiting list; as many as 40 U.S. veterans have died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix VA Hospital. People familiar with the way Phoenix V.A. Hospital operates believe that there may be more than 40 deaths. However, upper management have devised the plan to create two lists, one is the real list, and the other is the decoy list, also coined as the secret waiting list.
When a patient is added to the secret waiting list, then dies waiting for an appointment, they then are removed from that list, ensuring that know one will ever know that the patient was ever there, hence the name “secret waiting list.” The decoy list was created to give the impression of the V.A’s efficiency by alluding to the fact that veterans are being seen and treated within a timely two-week cycle; when in reality it may be several months to over a year before veterans are actually seen and treated.
CNN correspondent, Anderson Cooper, interviewed a retired VA Physician, who stated that the managements plan was to destroy the evidence of there ever being a waiting list, all for the sake of looking good by showing an improved wait time for patients to be seen and treated. However, they were too late with that plan before being exposed.
The V.A. Hospital is the largest healthcare facility in the country and Serves 8.7 million veterans. According to the Veteran Affairs, “they operate the nation’s largest integrated health care system with more than 1,700 hospitals, clinics, community living centers, domiciliary, readjustment counseling centers, and other facilities.”
According the International Business Times, there is evidence of bonuses awarded to executives at troubled VA hospitals and lengthy ongoing disability claims backlog. This has happened on numerous occasions, more recently in Roanoke Virginia. The House Committee on Veterans Affairs even created a website highlighting the V.A’s short comings, here is a copy of a letter sent from the House Committee on Veterans Affairs to President Obama and Secretary Shinseski, April 2013, regarding the claims of the V.A’s slow response time . Granted, the VA does have numerous veterans that need servicing, however it is inexcusable to allow anyone to die, more specifically a veteran that has entrusted their lives into the hands of the VA. Why should any veteran die simply to have the hospital and management look good at getting veterans in and out in a timely fashion, and to receive a bonus on top of it for doing so?
Here is a clip of one Atlanta’s homeless veterans, Jay Williamson, as he complains about what he had to endure due to the V.A’s slow response about his living situation. Because of the V.A’s slow response, Williamson lost his home and is now living in the Atlanta Mission, a homeless shelter. Williamson, previously interviewed, complains of waiting for over two years to receive help. “What I can’t understand, is they have all of that government money, I can’t understand why they’re not doing anything; we have needs also” says Williamson.
With the recent uncovering of the secret waiting list, how much more is the public unaware? What other questions needs addressing concerning the V.A? The public needs to know what else is happening behind closed doors that negatively affect the veterans. What can communities do to help the VA better serve the veterans who fought for and served this country, and what can be done to help improve the VA’s response time? These questions must be addressed.