The Veterans Administration scandal that started in Phoenix has now spread to a VA hospital in Texas after a whistleblower alleged extensive fraud by senior officials of the facility, and compared it to an “organized crime syndicate.”
Emails and memos obtained by The Daily Beast show that high-level VA hospital employees had conspired to cook the books for years to cover up the lengthy delays for veterans waiting for medical care. Why was this done when it lowered the quality of health care that many veterans received… and cost at least dozens of veterans their lives?
Just follow the money.
If the wait times that endangered the lives of veterans had been revealed, it would have jeopardized the executives’ bonus pay at the hospital, according to the report. The documents indicate that the “widespread wrongdoing” went uncorrected and unpunished for years, even after false wait times for care were repeatedly reported to local and national VA officials.
The whistleblower, who works in the Texas VA, told the Daily Beast: “For lack of a better term, you’ve got an organized crime syndicate. People up on top are suddenly afraid they may actually be prosecuted, and they’re pressuring the little guys down below to cover it all up. I see it in the executives’ eyes. They are worried.”
The VA scandal started in Phoenix last month when it was revealed that 40 patients had died while their names were on falsified lists. These lists showed they were waiting to see a doctor for a much shorter amount of time than they actually were.
This has led to more than two dozen VA hospitals – including those in Albuquerque, Chicago and Wyoming – to be investigated for manipulated wait lists. The ensuing outrage led to calls from both Republicans and Democrats for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign, or be fired by President Obama.
Shinseki resigned on Friday, May 30, but will the VA actually improve now?
Like any government bureaucracy, the corruption and incompetency within the VA are widespread and deep. This problem won’t be solved in the next few weeks or months – maybe even years.
What do you think should be done to give veterans the care they deserve in the short-term? Share your solutions in the comments section below.