HOUSTON, TX – The numbers are startling. Thousands of United States veterans left waiting. Nearly 70 VA medical centers throughout the country under investigation for possibly falsifying documents about patient wait times. As many as 40 veterans in Phoenix dead while waiting for care. And here in Texas, at least four facilities tagged in a federal audit aimed at snuffing-out appointment backlogs at VA hospitals.
Despite an audit report showing Houston’s VA as one of ten in the region requiring further review, so far the Michael E. Debakey VA center has remained largely unmired in the firestorm that has erupted in the veterans administration.
“Fortunately, with the variety of options that we’ve given our employees to report any concerns, we’ve yet to have any of those concerns raised locally,” Associate Director Christopher Sandles said in an interview with NewsFix.
In May, two whistle blowers came forward alleging clerks at the Debakey center were pressured into changing documentation to show patients were being seen on time when in fact they were not. Whether those accusations are true remains to be seen.
“That hasn’t occurred,” Sandles says, “but if it was, we would look into it appropriately and take the necessary action.”
The good news, if any, for veterans is that Congress voted unanimously to allow those still waiting to skip the VA entirely and make appointments with private doctors, courtesy of Uncle Sam. After all, it seems the least we can do for those who’ve done so much for us.