VA employee letter reveals shocking allegations

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A exterior view of the VA medical center in Phoenix (Source: KPHO/KTVK) A exterior view of the VA medical center in Phoenix (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

It's a shocking statement from a man who not only works on the inside, but he was also one of the whistleblowers who got the feds to take a closer look at the Phoenix VA Hospital.

"The Phoenix VA, there's blood on all of our hands at this point," said Brandon Coleman.

This might just be the most disturbing as Coleman has nothing to do with a letter that was addressed to reporter Ashleigh Barry and signed by other concerned employees of the VA health care system. 

[Click here to view special section of VA Hospital troubles]

The letter provides veteran names, the dates they committed suicide, the manner of death, and most importantly, how they claim the suicides could have been prevented. The letter cites disturbing details about veteran suicides and the lack of care they received at the Phoenix VA. This is a small sample of the amount of veterans, the dozens and dozens that commit suicide in the Phoenix area every year," said Coleman after reading the letter. 

Army Ranger Antouine Castaneda, Airman Andrew Hawley, Marine Sergeant Raul January and Navy veteran Thomas Murphy are four men named in the letter. The letter states that those men took their own lives in 2015. According to the letter, the VA failed to help all of them. In fact, Murphy killed himself in the regional office parking lot to help raise awareness. "There's no stronger statement that a veteran could make to a failed health care system and total disregard for his needs," said Coleman. 

The letter calls for outside agencies to investigate the "full scope of the atrocities committed daily" at the Phoenix VA. The letter contains information only insiders would know and know how to cover it up. "The general public doesn't know what's really going on," said Coleman. This letter was written by staff at the management level who for fear of losing their jobs, asked to remain anonymous. They say they couldn't just sit back and watch, especially when lives are literally on the line. "There's so much corruption that runs all the way to the top, it's like a cancer that needs to be cut out," Coleman said. 

Here is a statement from Senator John McCain's office:

"Senator McCain shares the serious concerns of employees and patients at the Phoenix VA who continue to report evidence of gross mismanagement and poor care of our veterans, and has repeatedly called on VA Secretary McDonald to fully investigate these failures. Despite enacting major VA reform legislation more than a year ago, the Obama Administration has refused to fire corrupt executives, crack-down on whistle-blower retaliation, and effectively implement the Choice Card program so that no veteran is denied the timely, quality care they deserve. Furthermore, despite the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act being signed into law, the Obama Administration still fails to use all of the tools at its disposal to improve mental health services for our most vulnerable veterans.
 
The fact is, while the VA’s budget has increased significantly every single year since 2001, and VA hospitals have hired more doctors, nurses, and mental health specialists even as the actual number of veterans seeking care through the VA has decreased, the VA health care system still struggles to provide veterans with quality care. Despite these obvious failures, President Obama and Secretary McDonald continue to drag their feet on implementing critical reforms that Congress authorized and veterans demand. Arizona veterans have no stronger advocate than Senator McCain, and he won’t stop fighting until the Obama Administration finally follows through on its promise to deliver veterans the best quality care they have earned.
 
Senator McCain’s office has full-time staff members dedicated to helping veterans get the care they need. If you as a veteran are encountering problems receiving care, or if you know a veteran who is having similar difficulty, please contact Senator McCain's office at 602-952-2410 or here. In addition, if you have information concerning mismanagement, or waste, fraud, and abuse within our VA system, please contact Senator McCain’s office at 602-952-2410 or here.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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