Which national VA Health Care System, whose gone through seven directors, services about 86,000 veterans, and has 3,400 employees, not to mention has been at the center of the whole Veterans Affairs scandal?If you guessed the Phoenix VA, then you were right. If you guess another VA, then you were partially right. Most VA hospitals are in some way involved in a scandal.
Even with all the scandals and missteps that have all-but choked out the Phoenix VA, the federal government is doubling-down and sending them more cash.
Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson said the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center and its satellite clinics in central Arizona got $54 million in extra cash during fiscal 2016 to pay for additional staff and physical improvements amid reform efforts prompted by a scandal that started in Phoenix and enveloped the entire VA. That’s in addition to the overall Phoenix budget of $703 million.
Already in fiscal 2017, Gibson added, the medical center has received an additional $28 million beyond its approved budget.
“What you’re seeing is us trying to address Phoenix as part of an enterprise … to set you up for success… This place is under siege. We’re going to keep on doing the right thing for veterans and taxpayers.” -Sec. Sloan Gibson (The Arizona Republic)Back on April 30, 2014, it was widely reported that 40 veterans died after been put on a waiting list for care at the Phoenix VA.
But just last week a new report was released showing an additional 215 waiting list veterans have died since the initial 2014 scandal broke.
According to a Fox News, “the report also found that one veteran never received an appointment for a cardiology exam “that could have prompted further definitive testing and interventions that could have forestalled his death.”
Arizona’s congressional delegation was visible upset over the findings, as Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake stated that the findings in the report were “reprehensible” and “unacceptable.”
Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (D) who is currently running for the U.S. Senate against Senator John McCain, posted this on her Facebook page:
Today, we have even more reason for outrage over the poor leadership, understaffing and lack of communication and coordination at the Phoenix VA. More than two years after whistleblowers exposed terrible mismanagement and corruption at the Phoenix VA, we are still seeing deeply troubling reports like this one – the IG even found that delayed care may have led to the death of at least one veteran. I’ve always said that delayed care is denied care. Our Arizona veterans deserve strong, serious and transparent leadership to restore their faith in the VA system. Unfortunately, this IG report comes right on the heels of yet another deeply flawed executive being sent to ‘lead’ the Phoenix VA. So here’s my message to the VA’s top leaders: Stop sending your problems to Phoenix, and start fixing ours.