VA scandal: Phoenix facility took years to address ER problems

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must improve internal accountability for wrongdoing, the Office of Special Counsel said in a letter to President Barack Obama. The latest findings address the emergency department at the Phoenix VA, the center of a nationwide scandal that uncovered secret waitlists to hide delays of care. The VA has admitted that none of the nurses in the Phoenix emergency department had appropriate training in medical triage, leading to more than 100 incidences of dangerous care delays. Whistleblower Katherine Mitchell, M.D., alerted her superiors to these concerns in 2009 but they were not addressed until five years later. Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner said the eventual action was a step in the right direction but described the lack of disciplinary measures as troubling. Letter (.pdf)