Now, patients, veterans groups and doctors say delays in receiving care are still common, and they accuse department officials of failing to provide opportunities to see private doctors. Critics, including Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill, say far too few senior managers have been held accountable for mismanagement at the hospital in Phoenix and at others around the country.
“Very little has changed,” Dr. Sam Foote, an internist who was one of the first whistle-blowers to reveal problems with wait times at the Phoenix hospital, said in an interview on Thursday.
The continued problems at the hospitals underscore the grim reality that overhauling a federal department with almost 300,000 employees scattered across the country is a difficult and tedious process. That truth will almost certainly ensure that Mr. Obama fails to make good on his 2008 campaign promise to fix the “broken bureaucracy of the V.A.” before he leaves office.
Revelations about widespread problems at the hospitals started in Phoenix with the reports that 40 veterans had died while they were stuck on waiting lists to see doctors. The department’s inspector general later said that at least 1,700 veterans in Phoenix were “at risk of being forgotten or lost” in the hospital’s convoluted scheduling process.
Read about this in the New York Times in an article written by Michael Shears and Dave Philipps on March 13, 2015.
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