A new report from CNN suggests that at least 40 U.S. veterans died while waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system. The report is another instance of lengthy wait times and inadequate health care on behalf of the VA that has led to unintended or fatal consequences.
According to Business Insider, many of those that died in Phoenix were part of a “secret waiting list,” which was allegedly created so that the facility could hide the long wait times. CNN spoke with Dr. Sam Foote, a retired VA physician who admitted that the VA would shred evidence in order to hide the long list of patients waiting for appointments and care.
“I feel very sorry for the people who work at the Phoenix VA. They’re all frustrated. They’re all upset. They all wish they could leave ‘cause they know what they’re doing is wrong. But they have families, they have mortgages and if they speak out or say anything to anybody about it, they will be fired and they know that,” Foote said.
The Phoenix case has reached the attention of the U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, which may launch an official investigation.
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The VA has also claimed it is looking into the allegations in Phoenix.
“We have conducted robust internal reviews since these allegations surfaced and welcome the results from the Office of Inspector General’s review. We take these allegations seriously,” the VA said in a statement.