Pauline DeWenter, who works at the Phoenix VA hospital, says that "deceased" notes on the files of some veterans were recently removed in order to cover up the actual number of vets who have died while waiting for health care.
"Because by doing that, that placed [veterans] back on the wait list," DeWenter told CNN (video below).
"I would say [it was done to] hide the fact," added DeWenter. "Because it is marked a death. And that death needs to be reported. So if you change that to, 'entered in error' or, my personal favorite, 'no longer necessary,' that makes the death go away. So the death would never be reported then."
The VA scheduling clerk claimed that her supervisors, whom she did not name, told her to put dozens of veterans who called in for new appointments on the infamous "secret waiting list," which was shoved into a drawer.
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DeWenter said this happened when the VA gave bonuses to supervisors whose VA facilities provided care for vets within 14 days.
By hiding the new requests for appointments that couldn't be filled in a timely manner, DeWenter said this made the Phoenix VA hospital's numbers look better.
Carolyn Lerner of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel wrote a letter to President Obama today that accused VA facilities of extraordinarily long wait times and attempts to cover them up, noted the Associated Press.
Additionally, Lerner mentioned canceled appointments that did not include any follow up by the VA, bacteria-contaminated drinking water, and poor handling of surgical equipment and medical supplies.
Lerner claimed the VA often admits problems, but doesn't change its ways.
"This approach has prevented the VA from acknowledging the severity of systemic problems and from taking the necessary steps to provide quality care to veterans," Lerner wrote in the letter. "As a result, veterans' health and safety has been unnecessarily put at risk."