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VA Scandal Hits NM Hospital, Records Being Destroyed

From the Daily Beast:

Exclusive: VA Scandal Hits New Hospital

Veterans with serious heart conditions, gangrene, and even brain tumors waited months for care at the Albuquerque VA hospital, a whistleblowing doctor tells The Daily Beast.

By Jacob Siegel | May 18, 2014

Add Albuquerque, New Mexico to the growing list of VA hospitals accused of keeping secret waiting lists to hide delays for veterans seeking medical care. And it may already be too late to get to the truth and find out what harm, if any, was done to veterans there—VA officials are already destroying records to cover their tracks, a whistleblower inside the hospital tells The Daily Beast… The evidence for this new secret list may be hard to track down, however.

“The ‘secret wait list’ for patient appointments is being either moved or was destroyed after what happened in Phoenix,” according to a doctor who works at the Albuquerque VA and spoke exclusively with The Daily Beast. “Right now,” the doctor said, “there is an eight-month waiting list for patients to get ultrasounds of their hearts. Some patients have died before they got their studies. It is unknown why they died, some for cardiac reasons some for other reasons.”

But why is anyone surprised at any of this? The VA is exactly what you would expect would happen when you get the same people who run the Post Office to run a hospital system.

There’s no proof yet that veterans died while waiting for treatment, like what allegedly happened in Phoenix. But the doctor says it’s quite possible that some veterans would still be alive if they hadn’t been pushed through a record-keeping trap door that buried their requests for medical care.

On March 19, 2014, for example, a patient with a deteriorating heart condition requested to see a doctor. The patient was finally seen only days ago, on May 16, when they were admitted to the hospital for decompensated heart failure. “A near miss” as the VA doctor familiar with the case described it. “He could have died before being seen.”

The Albuquerque VA did not respond to requests for comment but Ozzie Garza, Director of the VA Regional Office of Public Affairs, provided this statement to The Daily Beast: “We are not familiar with the allegations but will call immediately for an external review as we take all allegations seriously.” 

“When everyone found out the IG was doing the audit, the word I heard was ‘make sure nothing is left out in the open,’” the VA doctor said. “And that ranged from make sure there’s no food out to make sure there’s no information out in the open.” The doctor is not involved in the scheduling process and was unsure of how exactly VA officials would purge the secret wait lists but has heard it discussed amongst colleagues.

As VA officials reacted nervously to news of an impending audit, the doctor described hearing officials involved in scheduling patient appointments say, “the database had been removed or renamed.” To cover their tracks the doctor said they decided, “instead of calling it a wait it would be called something like a precedence list.” …

Which sounds just like the way the Obama administration has covered up every other scandal.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, May 19th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “VA Scandal Hits NM Hospital, Records Being Destroyed”

  1. Enthalpy

    If found guilty of destroying records, they should go to prison and lose their pensions. Period.

  2. I’d like to put Harry Reid on a waiting list for the psychicatric care he clearly needs. In the meantime, he should be dressed in one of those loooooong sleeved dinner jackets with all the pretty buckles, and they should make him wait in a cozy little padded cell… i mean a cozy little padded waiting room.


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