More details and accusations come to light months after news broke about delays in care within the Veterans Affair health system.
One 76-year-old Navy veteran had to have his nose removed after a cancerous spot spread, CNN reported. Edward Laird waited two and a half years to get a biopsy for a spot on his nose at the Phoenix VA facility, which was the first facility investigated after the scandal broke. A physician confirmed he sent Laird to the VA's dermatology clinic to get his nose looked at, but the biopsy was repeatedly delayed, according to the article.
VA workers also continue to report delays in care and data manipulation. Two employees at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center claim they were ordered to falsify patient appointment dates and medical records to hide delays in care, KARE 11 reported. The employees also said they were told to write in records that patients declined follow-up treatments, when in fact, the VA never contacted those patients. The two workers were abruptly fired when they tried to bring attention to the problems, the employees told KARE 11.
In Chicago, a group of frustrated veterans packed an auditorium and shared their stories about sub-par car at Hines VA Hospital this week, while Hines employees took names and notes, promising to investigate and address all complaints, CBS Chicago reported.
But while there were proven delays in care, a report in which the VA debunked the claim that 40 veterans died as a result of those delays, calls into question whether VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, who resigned in May after the scandal fall out, stepped down too soon. "… it's fair now to question if Secretary Shinseki fell on his sword too quickly, or even unnecessarily," according to an opinion piece in News-Press. "The public, as well as our wounded warriors, deserved these critical facts before the faulty claims of avoidable deaths became breaking news."
Meanwhile, the VA hasn't used its new found power to fire senior leaders who perform poorly, the Montgomery Advisor reported. At most managers have been put on paid leave while investigaters look into care delays and recommend disciplinary actions, but so far there are no final decisions, leaving some lawmakers frustrated. "We have seen no evidence that the corrupt bureaucrats who created the VA scandal will be purged from the department's payroll anytime soon," committee chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, (R-Fla.), said recently. "Until that happens, VA will never be fixed."