Arlington, VA – On Friday, Phoenix VA Director Deborah Amdur announced her retirement after just nine months. In December, she had declared her top priority was to “regain the trust of veterans.”
Since the 2014 scandal broke, no Phoenix VA hospital boss has stayed in position for more than thirteen months. Most of Phoenix’s VA leadership today are on temporary assignment.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Vice President of Policy and Communications Dan Caldwell issued the following statement:
“Over two years ago, whistleblowers revealed secret wait lists were causing delayed and inadequate care for thousands at the Phoenix VA. Four VA bosses later, and Arizona veterans are left with a revolving door of VA bureaucrats who come in, mess up, and leave when they feel like it. It’s hard to ‘regain the trust’ of veterans when you show yourself the door nine months into the job.
“Despite a $650 million operating budget, conditions have still not improved at the Phoenix VA because of unaccountable patchwork leadership. American veterans deserve better than 90-day rental leaders. They deserve reforms like the Caring for Our Heroes in the 21st Century Act, which would empower veterans with choice over their health care and incentivize better operations at VAs nationwide.”
This past July, new reports emerged revealing that conditions at the Phoenix VA had not improved since the 2014 wait list scandal. The OIG found that from March 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015, the Phoenix VA had failed to meet national performance metrics in categories such as percentage of patients who left without being seen due to wait times. One veteran was forced to wait almost seven hours before seeing a doctor in the emergency room. Furthermore, cleanliness inspections revealed dirty bathrooms and debris in medical supply rooms.
CVA has helped shed light on the problems at the Phoenix VA dating back to when the story broke. In April of 2014, CVA organized a rally with Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) which drew over 150 veterans and military families to hold the VA accountable.