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Three years ago, stories broke that employees at the Phoenix VA Hospital were manipulating wait times and keeping secret wait lists for patient care. This began a series of investigations into negligence and mismanagement across VA medical facilities impacting veterans and their families. Today, problems still linger as our U.S. veterans continue to suffer waiting for care. Problems at the VA cannot be overstated, and largely haven’t been solved. Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) continues to take action so that substantial reform is signed into law. These are just a few moments in time of the VA’s scandalous past.

January 30, 2014

January 30, 2014

CNN reports patient, Barry Coates is diagnosed with cancer after waiting a year for a colonoscopy from a VA medical center

April 9, 2014

April 9, 2014

Barry Coates testifies before Congress that delayed care lead to his cancer diagnosis

April 10, 2014

April 10, 2014

Arizona Republic is the first to report VA whistleblower allegations of “gross mismanagement” and secret appointment lists manipulating wait time data

April 16, 2014

April 16, 2014

CVA  holds a national press conference in Phoenix with Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), calling for answers and solutions to the scandal

May 1, 2014

May 1, 2014

Phoenix VA Director, Sharon Helman, and two others are put on administrative leave for misconduct at VA while the Office if Inspector General (OIG) investigates

May 12, 2014

May 12, 2014

Phoenix gets its first new interim director, Steve Young

July 9, 2014

July 9, 2014

Phoenix gets another interim director, Glenn Costie

August 7, 2014

August 7, 2014

The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 is signed into law creating the Choice Program in an attempt to allow veterans to choose where they seek their health care and drive down wait times

August 26, 2014

August 26, 2014

Completed VA inspector general report calls actions in Phoenix “unacceptable and troubling lapses in follow-up, coordination, quality and continuity of care,” and that the appointment system “adversely affected the quality of primary and specialty care”

September 2014

September 2014

CVA launches a bipartisan Fixing Veterans Health Care Taskforce to evaluate challenges and solutions

 

November 4, 2014

November 4, 2014

Phoenix gets another interim director, Glen Grippen

 

November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014

Phoenix VA Director Sharon Helman is fired by the VA, 7 months after scandal breaks in her facility

 

January 8, 2015

January 8, 2015

Reveal News reports that the VA in Tomah, WI, where one veteran died of a drug overdose is referred to as “Candy Land” for over-prescribing painkillers. The hospital’s chief of staff, psychiatrist Dr. David Houlihan, is referred to as the “Candy Man”

January 12, 2015

January 12, 2015

Brandon Coleman, an addiction therapist in Phoenix, goes to the media with allegation that suicidal veterans are allowed to leave treatment undeterred. Three weeks later the facility retaliates against Coleman, placing him on administrative leave

February 2015

February 2015

CVA unveils a serious proposal for VA hospital reform dedicated to the principle of putting veterans first over the VA bureaucracy

September 2, 2015

September 2, 2015

Inspectors determine they are unsure how many vets died in Phoenix because ‘the agency’s record-keeping is so muddled‘”

November 11, 2015

November 11, 2015

USA Today reports that the VA awarded more than $142 million in bonuses to executives and employees in 2014 while scandal was unfolding

November 19, 2015

November 19, 2015

A judge rules that the VA cannot rescind former Phoenix VA hospital Director, Sharon Helman’s bonus despite her being fired for misconduct

December 2015

December 2015

Phoenix gets another director, Deborah Amdur

 

January 27, 2016

January 27, 2016

Barry Coates, the face of the VA wait time scandal, dies of cancer

 

February 22, 2016

February 22, 2016

The Merit Systems Protection Board undermines the judgement of the VA and rules two directors are to be reinstated after gaming the VA hiring system by taking jobs with less responsibility while retaining the same pay rate, and collecting bonuses for relocating

April 7, 2016

April 7, 2016

USA Today and Arizona Republic report that supervisors instructed schedulers to falsify wait times in at least seven states and improper scheduling was discovered in 40 medical facilities in 19 states and Puerto Rico

April 2016

April 2016

CVA holds a two-year anniversary press conference of the VA wait list scandal. Despite tens of billions of dollars in additional funding for the VA, wait times for health care have gone up at many VA hospitals

May 2016

May 2016

VA Secretary Bob McDonald compares wait lists at the VA to wait times at Disney World, claiming the end result is what is important, not the amount of time spent waiting

May 2016

May 2016

Brandon Coleman settles with VA and returns to work after more than a year on leave in retaliation for whistleblowing

 

June 9, 2016

June 9, 2016

VA begins informing 25,000 vets that they may have been examined by unqualified staff for traumatic brain injuries, and thus could be missing out on benefits

 

July 5, 2016

July 5, 2016

The VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act is introduced and passed in the House, but won’t move forward in the Senate

July 26, 2016

July 26, 2016

Reports confirm that over 10 years the VA spent $20 million on art for facilities

 

August 26, 2016

August 26, 2016

Phoenix gets another interim director, Barbara Fallen

September 29, 2016

September 29, 2016

Phoenix gets another director, RimaAnn Nelson, who comes to Phoenix with a troubled past

October 28, 2016

October 28, 2016

Reports confirm that VA provided $177 million in bonuses in 2015 – millions more than 2014 when scandal broke

November 9, 2016

November 9, 2016

Another VA facility in Arizona is found to have been manipulating wait time data and “zeroing out” wait times to create the appearance of compliance

January 18, 2017

January 18, 2017

The Tomah, WI VA Hospital’s Chief of Staff, Dr. David “Candy Man” Houlihan, finally agrees to surrender his medical license

March 2, 2017

March 2, 2017

Nearly three years after Phoenix, wait time manipulation continues, this time throughout North Carolina and Virginia

March 16, 2017

March 16, 2017

The VA Accountability First Act of 2017 passed the House with bipartisan support, and now awaits its fate in the Senate

March 23, 2017

March 23, 2017

Employees involved in a “Forum of Hate” – a listserv utilized for racist, degrading and inappropriate comments about coworkers – have not been fired a year after being discovered

April 12, 2017

April 12, 2017

OIG releases a report that veterans visiting the DC VA are in “imminent danger” due to quality of care concerns. The director of that VA is later retained as an employee

April 14, 2017

April 14, 2017

OIG releases a scathing interim report stating the Washington, DC VA is putting patients at “unnecessary risk”

April 28, 2017

April 28, 2017

Cincinnati VA deputy chief of staff is suspended well over a year after it’s discovered she illegally prescribed painkillers to her boss’s wife

May 4, 2017

May 4, 2017

OIG report finds that more than 100 veterans died while waiting for care at the Los Angeles VA

May 9, 2017

May 9, 2017

The US Court of Appeals rules that the expedited removal and appeals authority granted to VA is not constitutional, proving a need for better accountability legislation

May 11, 2017

May 11, 2017

A bipartisan group of Senators introduces the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act

May 17, 2017

May 17, 2017

A whistleblower at the Hines VA Medical Center in Chicago alleges this center has consistently served raw and expired food to its patients

May 24, 2017

May 24, 2017

Senator Sherrod Brown attempts to water down the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act

May 24, 2017

May 24, 2017

OIG confirms that the Hines VA kitchen is infested with cockroaches and has been for some time. Those cockroaches made their way into veterans’ food

May 31, 2017

May 31, 2017

The Associated Press reports that despite a “zero tolerance” policy from the VA, opioid diversion at VA facilities continues to be a significant problem

June 5, 2017

June 5, 2017

A missing veteran was found dead in the DC VA facility parking garage days after his sister contacted the VA, informing them that he was missing

June 6, 2017

June 6, 2017

Senate passes the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act by voice vote

June 13, 2017

June 13, 2017

The Department of Justice decides there will be no prosecution for VA officials accused of lying to Congress about the Aurora construction oversight and budget overruns

June 14, 2017

June 14, 2017

House passes the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act 368-55

June 23, 2017

June 23, 2017

President Trump signs the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act into law

July 7, 2017

July 7, 2017

Secretary Shulkin announces that the VA will now publish information on adverse employee actions and restrict settlement actions to create a more transparent accountability process

July 7, 2017

July 7, 2017

Secretary Shulkin announces the VA will publicly post adverse employee actions on its website in a move towards greater transparency and accountability in the department

July 15, 2017

July 15, 2017

The Boston Globe releases an in-depth report on waste, unsanitary conditions and poor quality of care at the Manchester VA facility in New Hampshire

August 10, 2017

August 10, 2017

Washington Post reports that the Merit Systems Protection Board has blocked the firing of Brian Hawkins from the DC VA Medical Center

August 16, 2017

August 16, 2017

More than 500 patients of the Buffalo Veterans Affairs Medical Center are notified they may be at risk of infection due to improperly cleaned medical equipment

August 29, 2017

August 29, 2017

The Government Accountability Office releases a report on VA’s mail management system finding its accounting is unreliable and poorly managed

September 7, 2017

September 7, 2017

The VA’s Office of Inspector General confirms reports from last year that a dentist at the Tomah VA was using his own, improperly sterilized equipment on patients, possibly exposing nearly 600 veterans to infection

September 7, 2017

September 7, 2017

USA Today outs the Memphis VA for “botched” surgeries and mismanaged medical treatment. This facility is ranked amongst the lowest in the nation

September 12, 2017

September 12, 2017

VA Inspector General Michael Missal sends a letter to the VA Secretary on audits of the Veterans Choice Program payment process finding millions in overpayments have been made

September 17, 2017

September 17, 2017

Washington Examiner reports the VA is only filling about half of their available appointment times, despite veterans still waiting weeks for appointments

September 20, 2017

September 20, 2017

Brian Hawkins is fired again by the VA under new authority granted by the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act