Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Democrat New York Daily News: VA scandal demands more than lame excuses from the President


Not mad enough

Re-posted by Nicholas Stix

Obama lets down vets
VA scandal demands more than lame excuses from the President
New York Daily News
Thursday, May 22, 2014, 4:10 A.M.

Talking for the first time about the scandalous secret wait lists that have kept veterans from receiving the medical care they’ve been promised, President Obama came up way short.
“I will not stand for it — not as commander-in-chief but also not as an American,” he declared at a hastily arranged event Wednesday.

But stand for it he has for months, despite documented reports that Veterans Administration hospital officials falsified records to show that they were speedily taking care of vets even as wait times for appointments shot up and some desperate patients died.

Finally called to account by Congress, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki proclaimed last week that he is “mad as hell.” The White House then one-upped Shinseki by declaring that the President was “madder than hell.”

With shades of the Obamacare website fiasco, the picture is one of a chief executive who’s far less adept at executing than in attempting to get by with political posturing.

Even now, Obama and Shinseki hide behind “ifs,” saying they won’t know whether the many damning reports of delayed appointments amount to more than isolated examples of wrongdoing until the completion of an inspector general’s investigation. This, despite detailed press reports this year about double books in Colorado, Missouri, Texas and Arizona — where as many as 40 veterans died while waiting for appointments they did not receive.

In testimony before the Senate last week, Shinseki called the cases “isolated incidents.”

Addressing the scandal on Wednesday, after veterans’ groups scoffed at administration efforts to show action by firing an official who had already scheduled retirement, Obama said:

“I don’t know how systemic this is,” and he stressed that the inspector general had already “indicated that he did not see a link between the wait and them actually dying.”

Which doesn’t sound “madder than hell.”

Perhaps Obama might read a CNN dispatch from Arizona about 71-year-old Navy veteran Thomas Breen, who had a history of cancer and was rushed to a VA emergency room last September with blood in his urine.

The hospital sent Breen home to see a urologist or primary-care doctor within a week, but the VA took three months to give him an appointment in December. By then, he had died from stage 4 bladder cancer.

The delay in Breen’s case was no isolated incident. The VA in Phoenix kept a secret set of books to make it appear that veterans were receiving appointments within 14 days when, in fact, they had a seven-month waiting list. The local director received a performance bonus of nearly $9,000 in April, the VA admitted Wednesday.

The inspector general’s probe has spread from 10 to 26 VA hospitals, covering much of the country. One internal memo shows that as far back as 2010, a deputy undersecretary of the VA was aware of “inappropriate scheduling practices” and “gaming strategies” to hide wait times for medical care.

Playing for time and saying it’s too soon to judge until the IG report is complete, as Shinseki and Obama have done, is offensive, especially to America’s veterans.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Anyone who would put the US Army into French berets made in China is got to be incompetent as Shinseki is along with the CinC.