A doctor at the Veterans Administration facility in Phoenix recently blew the whistle, claiming that as many as 40 veterans had died while waiting for care. The doctor alleged that these veterans were kept waiting on “secret lists” which failed to disclose true wait times within the official VA scheduling system.
The allegations outraged the nation. Congress immediately held hearings on the issue, commissioning audits and reports, which showed the problems within the VA to be widespread. Eventually, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned amidst bipartisan calls for accountability.
Problems with the VA healthcare system have been on-going for years. But things will only become more challenging as thousands of soldiers return from Iraq and Afghanistan and enter into the system. Many of these soldiers will need mental health treatment for PTSD, as suicide has become a pervasive problem among all veterans and particularly among this group.
In Atlanta, veterans experience the third longest wait time in the country. In addition to long wait times, the care our veterans receive within the system has also come under fire. Four veterans at the Atlanta VA Medical Center died in recent years due to negligence and mismanagement.
WSB radio and television, as well as the AJC will continue to investigate this disgrace at the VA and work towards getting our veterans the healthcare treatment they were promised and that they deserve.
Document: VA Audit report
Veterans Health Administration- Interim Report
Audit that led to Shinseki's resignation paints scandal in starkest terms
Documents show long list of problems at Atlanta VA Medical Center (May 2013)
VA’s malpractice tab: $845M in 10 years (November 2013)
Ch. 2 investigation finds hundreds of VA patient deaths linked to malpractice (May 2014)
Local vet worried about wait times at VA center (June 2014)
Let Congress Know You Want Veteran's Benefits Upheld