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What is going on at the nation's VA hospitals?

Many people in Atlanta may be following the controversy that is unfolding around our nation's Department of Veterans Affairs. In recent months, it has been reported that veterans are dying as the result of delayed treatment and ridiculous waiting lists at VA hospitals. Many whistleblowers have come forward to report that veterans are suffering while they wait to receive appointments and care; they also allege that VA hospital officials are engaged in cover-ups to hide the scandal.

Sources affiliated with one VA hospital reported that 40 or more veterans died while waiting for care there. The sources said that the victims were on a secret waiting list, which was part of an effort by VA managers who sought to hide the fact that around 1,500 veterans were waiting months to see doctors. The VA's official policy is to provide patients with care in a reasonable time frame--generally up to 30 days.

This particular hospital reportedly falsified records to make it appear as if veterans never had to wait more than 14 days for appointments.

In one case, a Navy veteran sought care at a VA emergency room in September. He was urinating blood and ER doctors had classified his case as "urgent." But, the hospital told him that he would have to make an appointment to see a primary care physician rather than be treated in the ER. The man, however, was never able to get an appointment in primary care. His daughter-in-law kept trying to get him an appointment up until November, when he died of bladder cancer.

As a result of numerous reports of this nature, the VA Inspector General's Office is now investigating this hospital.

Many are calling for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to resign.

Veterans deserve far better than what is alleged in this VA scandal. It is important that veterans are able to obtain competent medical treatment in a timely manner. Additionally, many should receive disability benefits to pay for treatment. Unfortunately, veterans often run into red tape in both of these areas. Veterans who are having trouble receiving the disability benefits or the care they deserve should consider seeking legal guidance.

Source: CNN, "VA wait-list scandal grows, Senate and veterans will finally hear from Shinseki," Nelli Black, Scott Bronstein and Drew Griffin, May 23, 2014

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