The investigation into the alleged “secret waiting list” at a Phoenix VA hospital has been widened to include other VA facilities. Federal prosecutors are now involved and will soon decide whether to file charges. The LA Times reports:
[Department of Veterans Affairs’ acting Inspector General Richard J. Griffin] said his office was reviewing far more than the 40 possible deaths first widely reported as being associated with the Phoenix facility.The latest disclosures renewed calls for embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki to resign. His hesitation to take decisive action until the agency’s investigation is complete has infuriated senators and veterans’ service organizations.Shinseki testified Thursday before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee that the allegations made him “mad as hell.” But he asked lawmakers for patience until the inspector general finishes the investigation, which is expected to run until August. Shinseki said he placed three officials from the Phoenix facility on administrative leave on the recommendation of the inspector general.
The Phoenix hospital allegedly kept some patients on a “secret” waiting list, to disguise how long the waits actually were. Griffin has testified that, at first look, the evidence hasn’t shown that long waits caused the deaths at that facility.As we noted last week, the VA is often lauded as a model of socialized medicine. But when a health care system is run by a government agency, too large and immovable for the public to hold easily accountable, corruption is hard to avoid. We’ll soon see just how high a price American veterans paid because of that.