Veterans

The Latest on VA Delay Scandal: 18 Vets Died in Phoenix Awaiting Visits; Feds Probe Retaliation Against Dozens of Whistleblowers

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The scandal we had before the Bowe Bergdahl thing blew up isn't over, folks. You may recall there was that little issue with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals cooking their schedule books to make it appear as though they had a better record serving their veteran patients than they actually did. Secretary Eric Shinseki may have resigned, but there's still plenty to discuss.

Here are a couple of the latest developments about the VA hospital scandal:

VA Confirms 18 Died While on Wait Lists in Phoenix

Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson said that at least 100,000 veterans have been kept off waiting lists nationwide. In Phoenix, where details of the scandal first were exposed, 18 veterans died while waiting to see a doctor. From USA Today:

During a news conference Thursday at the Carl T. Hayden Medical Center in Phoenix, where the VA medical scandal erupted, Gibson also disclosed that at least 18 Arizona veterans died while awaiting doctor appointments, though it remains unclear whether the delayed care is to blame for those fatalities.

Gibson said he had details on 14 of the deaths and it appeared most had contacted the VA for "end of life care."

"None of that excuses us," said Gibson. "These lists were not being worked — inexcusable."

Gibson said if any of the 18 deaths is found to have been tied to delays or bogus wait-time stats that the agency will disclose that and discipline the responsible employees.

More details from an internal audit will be released Monday about how many patients had been placed on "secret lists" rather than being provided medical care.

Feds Probe Retaliation Against Whistleblowers

The problems with medical care at VA hospitals aren't new. Complaints about poor treatment have been popping up forever. And not all VA employees have been complacent or passive about the agency's shoddy care. Federal investigators are now probing dozens of allegations that VA management retaliated against those who tried to blow the whistle on the agency's incompetence. From The Washington Post:

Federal investigators are examining claims that the Department of Veterans Affairs retaliated against 37 whistleblowers, including workers who tried to report actions relating to the agency's recent scheduling scandal.

The complaints include allegations that managers demoted, suspended and lowered the performance ratings of employees who tried to expose inappropriate record-keeping practices at VA hospitals, according to the Office of Special Counsel, a federal investigative and prosecutorial agency that protects federal employees from reprisals.

Claims of retaliation against whistleblowers have arisen at 28 VA locations in 18 states and Puerto Rico, OSC said.

"The frequency with which VA employees are filing these complaints is one of the highest levels in the federal government," said OSC spokesman Nick Schwellenbach.

That's a lot of whistles

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  1. Yep the Gubmint loves themselfs some whistleblowers!

    1. Ya funny how these particular patriots are gonna go from the shit to sugar column. Btw nice to see this scandal hasn’t escaped the national attention span

  2. Socialized medicine, is there nothing it can’t do?

    1. Provide efficient, satisfactory, and worthwhile health care?

    2. Reduce health care costs?

  3. Transparency!

  4. I’m listening to Soldiers in Afghanistan worried about returning home to VA care because it will be worse than what they are getting here. In Afghanistan.

    1. Unfortunately for our veterans it more than likely won’t get better. You know the administration will put some lipstick on the pig and spin it as new and improved. There it’s fixed .

      1. See, now you’ve got me imagining a pig, all done up with lipstick, rouge, eyeliner, the works.

        There’s a giant Obama standing behind the pig, and he’s got his whang in it’s ass, spinning the pig around and screaming “Look! New and improved!”

  5. The cause of the problem is an underfunded VA, especially in parts of the USA experiencing rapid population growth, such as Phoenix AZ. I blame this underfunding on Congress. More beds, more doctors = Shorter truthful waiting lists.

    The only western nation with socialised medicine where I know of no anecdotes about waiting lists for “free” care, is France. In no way am I claiming that France does not have waiting lists. I do know that a major reason why Taxes / GDP for France is nearly the highest in the world, is the high cost of socialised medicine in France.

    Managers are always retaliating against suspected whistleblowers, unless they resign before blowing the whistle! No statute can protect whistleblowers from poor performance ratings, and zero promotions. Performance bonuses and promotions are quite easy to get in the civil service. This fact hangs a Sword of Damocles over the head of every civil servant: your blabbing will cost you money. I speak as a whistleblower who has not been promoted during my 20 years on my current job.

    1. Bullshit it’s a funding problem. That’s like Obama, et. Al. saying that the US doesn’t have a spending problem, we have a revenue problem. “If only we’d let the government steal ALL our money to treat a small segment of the population, everything would be fine!”

      The problem with the VA system is inherent in it’s culture, being part of the government at all, having no incentive for performance, having every incentive for slow/poor performance, and the politicizing of the agency.

      You could throw all the money at the VA you want, it will not fix the problems there.

      Curious – given your statement about your job, why on EARTH are you still there?

  6. The cause of the problem is an underfunded VA, especially in parts of the USA experiencing rapid population growth, such as Phoenix AZ. I blame this underfunding on Congress. More beds, more doctors = Shorter truthful waiting lists.

    Please refer to this helpful graphic and reconsider this talking point.

  7. “The scandal we had before the Bowe Bergdahl thing blew up isn’t over, folks.”

    I’d accuse them of choosing the time to take attention away from this scandal, but since there has been scandal after scandal all year, I doubt it – they would have shot this wad long ago.

    1. It’s hilarious to think this administration would be clever enough to try and divert attention from the VA scandal by initiating the Bergdahl release.

      These cats are a drifting, rudderless ship of fools.

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