It has been more than two years since the scandal surrounding the level of medical care the Veterans' Administration was providing to veterans first came to the public's attention. The Phoenix VA Health Care System was among the VA medical facilities across the U.S. to receive particular scrutiny for its massive backlog of patients who could not get timely medical attention.
The Phoenix VA system was "ground zero" for the scandal in 2014, according to Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida. Since then, the VA has been working to change its procedures to make it more efficient and end these sorts of preventable deaths. However, it appears that the Phoenix VA Health Care System is still subjecting patients to unreasonably long wait times, putting their lives in danger.
According to The Arizona Republic, a report by the Office of the Inspector General concludes that at least 215 patients died while on a waiting list for an appointment with a specialist. As of July, there were 38,000 open consults in the Phoenix VA Health Care System. This is actually an increase from August 2015, four months after the Veterans Health Administration provided training to local employees.
The report says that, despite increased staffing within the system, PVAHCS used a chaotic system for scheduling appointments, communicating with patients and relaying lab results. Staff members "inappropriately discontinued" nearly one in four consults, OIG reported, perhaps to skew the wait-time data.
Patients who must wait weeks or months for medical care are likely to suffer unnecessary pain and other symptoms as their condition worsens. This and other forms of medical malpractice are unacceptable. Victims have the right to seek compensation in court, with the assistance of an experienced malpractice attorney.