In the wake of the Phoenix VA Medical Center scandal, more secret Veterans Affairs (VA) waiting lists have been revealed, totaling eight facilities. The seventh list comes from the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, FL. This facility’s secret list was just a piece of paper kept in the open for approximately 200 veterans who needed appointment callbacks. As a result of this, three mental health administrations at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center have been placed on administrative leave.
The eighth secret list comes from Albuquerque, New Mexico. This news comes from a whistleblower who claims the facility is already destroying records to cover their tracks. This whistleblower is claiming there is an eight-month waiting list for patients to receive medical care.
Since 2001 more than 100 deaths have been attributed to treatment delays. A database of paid claims by the VA since 2001 includes 167 names with the words “delay in treatment” used in the description. The VA paid out a total of $36.4 million to settle those claims.
Delays in VA treatment are not something new. This has been a problem that has been around for decades. The problem prompted a 14-day waitlist metric in 2009. This 14-day waitlist was supposed to correct the problem of treatment delays. Instead, VA facilities have seemed to come up with “secret lists” as a way to avoid the 14-day standard.
The first sign of fraud in treatment was learned more than a year ago. So why has it taken so long for the VA to correct the problem? Maybe it is time for a full overhaul of the VA? The VA treats 6.5 million patients, that’s approximately 236,000 veterans seen each day at 150 medical centers. One thing is for sure, these veterans deserve better treatment than to be placed on secret lists while waiting for medical treatments.