Traverse City Record-Eagle

Life

June 7, 2014

VA head says 18 vets left off wait list have died

TERRY TANG, Associated Press

MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press

PHOENIX — In a new revelation in the growing Veterans Affairs’ scandal, the organization’s acting head says that an additional 18 veterans whose names were kept off an official electronic VA appointment list have died.

Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson said he would ask the inspector general to see if there is any indication those deaths were related to long wait times. If so, they would reach out to those veterans’ families.

“I will come personally and apologize to the survivors,” Gibson said Thursday.

Gibson’s remarks during a visit to Phoenix were the latest related to the scandal over long patient waits for care and falsified records covering up the delays at VA hospitals and clinics nationwide.

Gibson’s announcement came as senior senators reached agreement on the framework for a bipartisan bill making it easier for veterans to get health care outside VA hospitals and clinics.

The 18 veterans who died were among 1,700 veterans identified in a report last week by the VA’s inspector general as being “at risk of being lost or forgotten.” The investigation also found broad and deep-seated problems with delays in patient care and manipulation of waiting lists throughout the sprawling VA health care system, which provides medical care to about 9 million veterans and family members.

Gibson said he does not know whether the 18 new deaths were related to wait times but said they were in addition to the 17 reported last month.

Richard Griffin, the VA’s acting inspector general, told a Senate committee three weeks ago that his investigators had found 17 deaths among veterans awaiting appointments in Phoenix. Griffin said in his report last week the dead veterans’ medical records and death certificates as well as autopsy reports would have to be examined before he could say whether any of them were caused by delays in getting appointments.

Text Only

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot