To the Editor:

The problem plaguing Veterans Affairs is out in the open; unable to comply with the mandate for a 15-day window for appointments, several VA medical facilities opted for maintaining two separate lists. One report was submitted monthly, indicating compliance with the appointment criteria and a real one in which vets had to wait an inordinate amount of time (in some cases up to six months).

Forty veterans supposedly died while waiting for an appointment.

I am sure that every one of those records will undergo a detailed scrutiny and we will know the truth.

For the VA hospitals to maintain two separate lists is inexcusable. The fact that it is widespread makes it worse. The question is, why?

Apparently this has been going on since at least 2008. One reason could be shortages in technicians and specialists. That could have a serious impact not only on the type and quality of care but also its frequency and continuity.

Physicians at VA hospitals are salaried, the turnover ratio is very high. Some patients are assigned to as many as three physicians in a 12-month period. On the other hand, there was a report that a civilian cardiologist saw as many patients in one week as a VA cardiology section with a staff of seven or cardiologists. If this is true, someone is not earning their salary.

Sen. (John) McCain suggested that veterans be issued a card authorizing civilian medical care.

I assume that the present VA ID could serve that purpose by adding civilian care, this would allow vets to get medical care anywhere. It would be especially beneficial to those that have to travel 2-4 hours to a VA facility.

The issues in question should be dealt with as soon as possible; after a complete investigation. That being said and looking at the entire scheme of events, demonizing the VA system and firing the secretary is not going to bring an immediate solution to the problem.

Despite the present crisis, the VA has always been there for veterans, service connected or indigent. I am in total agreement with the proposal by members of Congress to give the secretary full authority to fire or demote any of the 450 senior career employees, including hospital directors and executives.

Pedro C. Santiago


(3) comments

Mamma Griz

Golly gee! Forty veterans died? What a shocking development that is! People die all the time-- young, old, middle age. I have never known of anyone who lived forever-- God takes them on His schedule. Unless we see the death certificate we can't say how and why they died. Was it what they say or was it time to go-- God only knows and He won't say.


"Golly gee! Forty veterans died? What a shocking development that is! People die all the time-- young, old, middle age. I have never known of anyone who lived forever"

I know. Right! Besides, none of the forty were your relatives so why should you care!


The report of veterans death due to lack of health care is inexcusable, and should be dealt with severe consequences for those responsible, however, there is another side. I'm a veteran and have been treated at every hospital in the area for one reason or another and the care had been marginal in comparison to the care I received at the Temple VA. I waited in the emergency room for many hours at local hospitals but at the VA I was evaluated, ex-rayed, cat scanned, and completely taken care of in less than an hour. Awesome service! I get personal calls from my Doc, maroon team nurses, pharmacy, and any other issue I have ever had was taken care of in an expidisious manner. I am 80% disable and have multiple problems from head to toe and I also get care from mental health. I know the VA has to fix the issue with veterans dying, however form my personal experience the VA is without question the best health care I have and I appreciate them all.

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