CNN reports that 40 veterans died while on a “secret” appointment list. Retired Dr. Sam Foote tells CNN that the VA hospital in Phoenix keeps two lists: an official list that reflects timely scheduling of appointments, and a secret list that reveals waiting times of up to a year or more. Foote explains that evidence of untimely appointment scheduling was shredded in order to make it appear that the agency’s 14-day scheduling protocol was being observed.
The scheme was deliberately put in place to avoid the VA’s own internal rules. They developed the secret waiting list.
VA regulations require patients to receive treatment within 14 to 30 days of the initial request. Phoenix VA Director Sharon Helman responds:
It is disheartening to hear allegations about Veterans care being compromised and we are open to any collaborative discussion that assists in our goal to continually improve patient care.