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Commander disturbed over new VA allegations

Commander disturbed over new VA allegations
Dr. Katherine Mitchell became the second Phoenix VA physician to come forward with allegations of patient-care failures at the Arizona facility.

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American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger reacted with serious concern following Thursday night’s Arizona Republic story that a second Phoenix Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System doctor has stepped forward to corroborate allegations of patient-care failures at the facility.

VA Dr. Katherine Mitchell reported to The Republic that she received a call last Sunday from a VA employee who said records were being destroyed at that very moment at the facility, which is now the subject of VA Inspector General’s investigation into the deaths of as many as 40 veterans whose names were allegedly kept on a secret list and went unreported.

“These shocking allegations, if true, are further proof that something is terribly wrong at the Phoenix VA facility,” Dellinger said. “VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has taken the proper steps in placing the facility’s director, associate director and another employee on administrative leave while this investigation is ongoing. But if it is determined that there was willful negligence on the part of the staff that resulted in the deaths of veterans, any ensuing cover-up or destruction of records that could assist in the investigation, employee terminations and criminal charges must be brought against those responsible.

“I also want to acknowledge those who have stepped forward to bring this situation into the public eye – knowing fully that by speaking up, they could be jeopardizing their careers with VA. If allegations of record destruction are proven, their courage and commitment to our nation’s veterans should be commended.”

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Jack Barton

May 8, 2014 - 10:05pm

The VA needs to be taken out of the health care business. Let them be a health care insuror, like Medicare, for eligible Veterans. That would save a lot of money in infrastructure costs and make access much easier for all veterans. Employees of a government bureaucracy are only intrested in servicing the beast that feeds them; they have no interest in the clients they are supposed to serve.

Thom

May 9, 2014 - 12:38pm

This was tired once before, the nitwits of the DAVm AL and others insited that when prseneted to an ED, or scheduling in office visits that veterans would be taken first. What crap. How would the veteran feel when showing up at a local ED in the general public and be told "you wait behind the policeman" Medical care is based on priority of need. Got an issue, call your congressman, they budget money, VA figures out a way to spend it where best suited.

Vincent Savitz

May 8, 2014 - 6:13pm

You should check out the Phila VA for denying medical corrective actions to people stating they were not "OLD" enough. Particularly for knee replacement.

Gene Lindsay-Viet Nam Combat Vet

May 8, 2014 - 5:03pm

The Phoenix VA situation is truly appalling. I have been very satisfied with the care and treatment I have received at the Durham, NC and Salisbury, NC VA facilities. Everyone at both facilities has been caring and professional. I commend them! There is always the possibility of an employee that is uncaring and rude and these people need to be removed from the VA employment they enjoy. I agree that if upper level management was aware of the falsification and even destruction of records at Phoenix or any other VA facility, they should be fired. That being said, I believe in justice and want those responsible held accountable. Right now the jury is out as to who knew what and when. Let's not jump the gun! Thanks also to the brave "whistle-blowers" for publicizing this egregious mess at Phoenix.

Pat Willson - Vietnam Vet 80%

May 8, 2014 - 3:32pm

Holding accountable and/or firing is fine for the high level VA leaders; but, only if they were aware of the allegations!!! We may be calling for the resignation of the innocent. And where do we stop. The VA system cannot do anything without the approval of congress - do we hold them accountable also? It's no different than firing the chief of police because of one bad cop. Or fire the fire chief because a fireman started fires (Arson). That does not happen. Why blame the innocent. Again - if they knew - they are guilty of murder. If not - get off their backs!!!!!!

Alice Thomsen

May 8, 2014 - 2:40pm

No this is not the only VA that it is happening at. Veterans are being sent for tests to be told that everything is fine and can't find anything wrong. Then to be rushed from their home by ambulance and have to have a 5-way by-pass. Being a nurse for many years I can say that that is nothing but cover-up by the VA. Otherwise another veteran would have died.

cowboyup

May 6, 2014 - 12:59am

Trust me, it's not just the Phoenix VA in Arizona doing this. There are others in Arizona too.

John E Renstom

May 5, 2014 - 10:40pm

Low level VA employees have been carrying the ball for mistakes of upper management for a long time now. It is time they were held to task for it. The gag orders they have place on employees has helped them out to date but enough is enough. if was not for the GS11 and below there would be no VA care at all.

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