Veterans Administration hospitals across the country are being investigated for keeping, concealing, and destroying evidence of secret waiting lists that were designed to give the appearance that the VA facilities had addressed their chronic efficiency issues.
“I was so frustrated, I just walked out and I never went back. I never wanted their services,” Vietnam veteran Jim Lee said of the time he was ignored by hospital staff during a routine doctor’s appointment at the VA hospital in Pittsburgh.
President Obama finally answered questions about the VA scandal today and called for an investigation into the matter. At today’s press conference Obama announced another fact-finding mission and said that he is bringing in White House deputy chief of staff, Rob Nabors, to oversee a broader review.
That announcement seemed “disconnected” from reality, says CNN Correspondent Drew Griffin. “I was a little confused by the President’s remarks today. At the same time he was saying that he’s known about this problem for years and years and years and it goes back decades far past into other people’s presidencies, and yet we’re five years into his presidency and the problem seems to be certainly not better and perhaps even worse,” Griffin said.
Vietnam Veteran Jim Lee echoed Griffin. “It’s not just under President Obama,” Lee said. “It was under President Bush. So this has been going on a long time no one seems to care, and I think our troops who serve this country well deserve better treatment.”
Lee lost his hearing in Vietnam and said he’d rather drive two hours to Clarksburg, West Virginia’s VA hospital, than wait or be ignored in Pittsburgh. “The VA is accomplishing what the enemy never could; they’re killing our troops, and I think it disgraceful,” he said.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General’s Office says 26 facilities, spanning sixteen states are now being investigated over allegations of manipulated waiting times and other issues.
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