Report: Wait times at Phoenix VA may have contributed to veteran's death
By News Staff
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -
Nearly three years after other whistleblowers first exposed the deadly wait times scandal at the Phoenix Medical Center, the facility is still suffering from serious delays that have harmful or deadly consequences, a new report found.
The report said that in one case, a veteran who died of cardiovascular disease did not receive a cardiology exam his VA physician ordered. The VA report found that if he had received the exam in a reasonable time, "further testing and interventions could have prevented his death."
In another incident, a veteran “waited in excess of 300 days for vascular care,” the report said.
According to findings, which come from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the whistleblower is Kuauhtemoc Rodriguez, chief of specialty care clinics at the Phoenix VA.
Thousands of appointments were canceled in one week in October 2015, with dozens not rescheduled and "12 patients may have experienced harm that could have been prevented without the delay in care", Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez also said the Phoenix VA has 1,100 patients that wait longer than 30 days for appointments on average.
The Phoenix system was at the center of a national scandal in 2014 when Veterans Affairs internal investigations identified 35 veterans who died while awaiting care. Veterans on secret waiting lists reportedly faced scheduling delays of up to a year.
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