Much has been in the news about the Veterans Administration’s (VA) neglect in healthcare and other Veterans Administration scandals with our nation’s veterans and based on a new report, substandard VA care may have killed more than 1,000 veterans.
Robert Alvarez of the Uniformed Services Justice & Advocacy Group (USJAG) reported that when the national slate of scandals first broke at the Phoenix VA Medical Center in 2014 many veterans, family members and advocates came out of the gate loaded for bear and many policy-makers swore that they would usher in much-needed reforms, or else.
However, as Alvarez stated, not much has changed, the scandals have continued, and the debacle that is the Veteran’s Administration is seemingly all about many things, but not systemic accountability.
As was reported, the Director of the Phoenix VA Hospital plead guilty to negligence and wait-time list manipulation and during her tenor as Director, over 30 veterans died and all she was given was two years’ probation and then news broke that she may get her job back.
Then Alvarez reported that a former Ohio VA Administrator, William Montague, received a 57 month prison sentence in June also. He was convicted on multiple counts of corruption. The New York Daily News featured a story, which noted that malpractice settlements have tripled since 2011.
“Meanwhile, a bevy of Congressmen wailed to the heavens about expenditures for the new facility in Aurora, Colorado. Now 1.1 billion over budget the facility is still not finished,“ said Alvarez.
“Ah yes, we would be remiss if we failed to mention yet another Senate hearing on all the veterans who died while in the care of the great staff at the faility in Tomah, WI. Of course there were, as there are every month, a number of combat veterans whose cases the VA mishandled and they subsequently committed suicide like Drew Winkler, “Alvarez said.
The report issued by the office of Sen. Tom Coburn, shows a history of fraudulent scheduling practices, budget mismanagement, insufficient oversight and lack of accountability that have led to the current controversy plaguing the VA.
The VA has admitted that 23 patients have died because of delayed care in recent years, but the report, titled “Friendly Fire: Death, Delay, and Dismay at the VA,” shows many more patient deaths have been linked to systemic issues affecting VA hospitals and clinics throughout the U.S.
Colburn, who advocates veteran access to private hospitals, told CNN, “Poor management is costing the department billions of dollars more and compromising veterans’ access to medical care. Over the past decade, more than 1,000 veterans may have died because of VA malfeasance.”
Meanwhile, a veteran, Russell Erwin, is dying from cancer due to substandard VA care, posted a Video message, and wanted everyone to see his video, titled, “The VA Killed Me” before he dies.
As he posted his video, Erwin said, “I just got a call from a lady at VA. Someone sent the video to a senator and that senator (she would not give me the Senator’s name) contacted the VA and told them to find a way for me to receive after treatment where ever I want. This is a big deal. However, while this does help me obtain the treatment I need it still doesn’t change the fact that had they done things the way they should have I would not be dying.”
“My desire and wish is to force changes in the VA to allow ALL veterans to get the care they need. If they can now allow me to get treatment wherever I want, then they can allow ALL veterans to get treatment wherever they want. Please don’t stop now. This is a fight you can win.”
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