America’s military veterans face a host of challenges, including access to medical care at VA hospitals and clinics.
CNN has reported that veterans have died in recent years because of delays in getting routine screenings such as colonoscopies and endoscopies. Without the simple screenings, diagnosis and critical treatment were delayed for these veterans until it was too late.
Recently, CNN reported that at least 40 veterans died while awaiting appointments with the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system. The long waits affected thousands of veterans, including roughly 1,600 sick patients who were placed on a secret waiting list for months.
The secret waiting list was allegedly put in place to hide the fact that many VA patients were unable to obtain medical appointments in a timely way, CNN said. The revelation dealt a damaging blow to the VA’s credibility.
Lawmakers Turn Up Heat on VA Officials
As the scandal heats up and more information comes to light about long wait times for life-saving services, potential medical malpractice and alleged administrative misfeasance, some lawmakers in Washington are calling for a change in VA leadership.
In response to problems providing treatment to soldiers in Kansas, Senator Jerry Moran called for the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.
“Veterans are waiting for action and yet the VA continues to operate in the same old bureaucratic fashion, settling for mediocrity and continued disservice to our nation’s heroes,” Moran said. “Today I am demanding accountability and true transformation within the VA system.”
VA Hospital Problems Have Serious Consequences for Families
Administrative failure on the part of the VA can deal crushing blows to veterans and their families, as evidenced by the death toll among soldiers who were waiting for appointments in Phoenix.
Wrongful death investigations and lawsuits in the wake of allegations against the VA seem inevitable, but only time will tell how deeply the department failed military personnel in need of life-saving medical treatment and other services.
The Department of Veterans Affairs operates more than 1,700 hospitals, clinics, community living centers and other facilities nationwide. It provides benefits to veterans and their families, disability compensation to veterans, and military burials for members of the armed forces.
The agency is responsible for providing care to soldiers with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, damaged limbs, and other medical conditions that seriously interfere with their lives and well-being.