Denver, CO — Today, news revealed a new claim of unofficial VA wait lists in Colorado. The VA inspector general will look into a whistleblower’s allegation that employees at a Colorado Springs VA clinic kept unofficial lists of veterans waiting for care which could also hide true wait times. Allegations that records were falsified came after a veteran committed suicide awaiting treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Earlier this month, new Office of Inspector General (OIG) reports confirmed that VA wait lists still very much exist. Veterans are still dying while they are waiting for care at the Phoenix VA Medical Center, the hospital known as “ground zero” for VA’s secret wait list scandal which emerged in 2014. Forty veterans died while waiting for appointments at a Phoenix VA hospital.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Colorado State Director Frank Crocker issued the following statement:
“It’s troubling to me that revelations over secret VA wait times are becoming a dime a dozen in Colorado and across the country. These retroactive investigations, which usually result in a slap on the wrist of VA officials, are clearly not prompting the VA to proactively reform itself. The VA needs to be held accountable for these systemic problems, and the only way to do so is with real accountability reform. This is a life or death situation for many veterans.“
CVA supports The VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016 which would restore accountability at the VA by expediting the removal of problem employees, increasing the power of the VA Secretary to remove problem employees, and preventing bonuses for senior executives for the next five years. The bill also addresses the broken claims process – giving veterans more choices when it comes to appealing VA Regional Office’s initial decisions.
CVA also supports the Caring for our Heroes in the 21st Century Act. The aim of the legislation is to provide more options for veterans who find that, for whatever reason, the VA system does not meet their needs, and to give the veteran health care system more flexibility. The VA is, in many ways, the product of another time—modernization of the VA health care system is what our veterans need and deserve.
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