89ºF

Investigation: More veterans died waiting for VA care

OIG found VA employees ignored scheduling procedures

photo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Another concerning investigation into a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital reveals veterans died while waiting for care. And today, the nationwide advocacy group, Concerned Veterans for America, says it's in the hands of lawmakers to help save the lives of those who have served our country.  

The report released Thursday on the VA hospital in Los Angeles, California, confirmed that just two years ago, 225 patients died with open or pending consults at the time of their deaths, and that 117 of those patients were experiencing delays in getting care.

The report showed that 43 percent of consults weren’t timely because VA employees at the facility weren’t following proper procedure.

“VA negligence can be a matter of life or death," said CVA Policy Director Dan Caldwell. "While the VA wait scandal received the most attention a few years ago, the reality is that Congress hasn’t done anything to change the toxic culture at the VA and we can’t be sure that veterans still aren’t dying waiting for care. We urge California Senators to step forward in support of strong accountability measures like the VA Accountability First Act, which would make it easier to fire the bad employees who put veterans’ lives at risk.”

It was back in 2014, the VA wait-time scandal went public. Reports emerged that patients at the Phoenix VA and VA facilities across the country were potentially dying waiting for care as VA employees manipulated wait lists.

CVA has been pushing for the passing of the VA Accountability First Act, which would make it easier to fire bad VA employees and also give protection to whistleblowers. The bill has passed the U.S. House with support from both Republicans and Democrats.  

The bill was introduced on the U.S. Senate side by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). CVA tells News4Jax to help pass the bill on the Senate side, CVA activists have made hundreds of thousands of phone calls and digital contacts to Senators across the country, including a web ad specifically targeting Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). You can see that ad here.

While there is no set date for the full Senate vote on the VA Accountability Act, we're told movement is expected soon.