Phoenix, AZ – Today, an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report confirmed that veterans are still dying while they are waiting for care at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital in Phoenix. More than one year after news of the wait list scandal in Phoenix broke, 215 deceased patients still had open specialist consultations on the dates of their death. One of these veterans “never received an appointment for a cardiology exam that could have prompted further definitive testing and interventions that could have forestalled his death.”
Last week the VA appointed a controversial new director with a history of incompetence as its seventh director in three years to oversee the Phoenix VA Medical Center, the hospital known as “ground zero” for VA’s wait-time scandal which emerged in 2014.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Arizona State Director Matt Dobson issued the following statement:
“It’s clear that the VA is failing veterans because of its toxic leadership. Arizona veterans are now on our seventh director in three years in Phoenix – we haven’t had a competent leader here in years. How can veterans expect to see anything but continued wait times and scandal when there is zero accountability for these so-called ‘leaders’? If the VA won’t hold their own employees accountable, Congress must. There’s real accountability reform on the table and Congress must act now in order to prevent any further needless tragedy.”
It’s been well over two years since the Phoenix VA wait list scandal was revealed in April 2014. Since then, despite tens of billions of dollars in additional funding for the VA, wait times for health care have gone up at many VA hospitals and there are still regular reports of tragic misconduct within the agency.
CVA supports the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act, which would make it easier to fire bad employees who aren’t doing their job to ensure veterans receive timely and quality care.