Long waiting times for appointments have led to the deaths of at least 40 veterans who were patients at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System.
Many of those veterans were placed on a “secret waiting list” that was part of a scheme designed to hide how long patients actually had to wait for appointments. An estimated 1,400 to 1,600 veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor.
Dr. Sam Foote just retired after spending 24 years with the VA system in Phoenix. The veteran doctor told CNN in an exclusive interview that the Phoenix VA works off two lists for patient appointments:
There’s an “official” list that’s shared with officials in Washington and shows the VA has been providing timely appointments, which Foote calls a sham list. And then there’s the real list that’s hidden from outsiders, where wait times can last more than a year.
“The scheme was deliberately put in place to avoid the VA’s own internal rules,” said Foote in Phoenix. “They developed the secret waiting list,” said Foote, a respected local physician.
Foote said the VA requires its hospitals to provide timely care to patients, usually within 14 – 30 days.
He said evidence was shredded in order to hide the long list of veterans waiting for care…
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