Outrageous Report: Up to 40 Vets Died While Waiting for Appointments in Arizona
Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake are calling for a Senate investigation and hearings on a shocking new report that claims up to 40 veterans died while awaiting appointments at the Phoenix VA Medical Center.
McCain revealed that numerous veterans told his office that they felt the VA was "waiting" or "hoping" that they would die in order to relieve the overburdened system.
According to a report by CNN, a former VA doctor in the Phoenix system spoke of a secret waiting list used by senior management to conceal the fact that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor.
Last week, Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, said the panel's investigators concluded as many as 40 Arizona veteran deaths could be related to VA delays in providing them medical care.
Some veterans say wait times now average 55 days.
Miller also said panel investigators had evidence that officials at the Phoenix VA Health Care System kept two sets of records to hide lengthy wait times for patients seeking doctor appointments and treatment, the Arizona Republic reported.
Dr. Sam Foote, a former VA doctor in the Phoenix system told CNN that the alleged secret waiting list was used by senior management to conceal the fact that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor.
Phoenix VA Health Care System officials said they've asked for an external review by the Inspector General and will address any problems quickly.
Sharon Helman, director of the Phoenix VA system, told the Arizona Republic on Tuesday she is unaware of any patients who died awaiting care, and that she does not know of any improper manipulation data related to patient access.
Flake told a news conference last week that the Inspector General for the Department of Veterans Affairs also is investigating the complaints about Arizona VA facilities.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.