KGUN 9News


VA Under Fire: Veterans group blasts VA

Posted at 7:18 PM, Apr 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-08 22:18:03-04

This month marks two years since the Phoenix VA scandal broke and Senator John McCain is calling for an investigation into new allegations of scheduling violations at the Phoenix VA.

In his letter to the Office of Inspector General (OIG), McCain said "There is concern that this may have occurred in order for va staff to conceal possible connections between the pending appointment and the veteran's death, or to artificially improve wait-time or scheduling statistics."

Meantime, a veterans group is blasting the VA Secretary for failing to fix the problems. Concerned Veterans for America held a news conference in Phoenix Friday.

Leaders says they're not surprised the Tucson VA is being investigated. The start of the VA scandal began at the Phoenix VA. Two years later, Concerned Veterans for America say the problems have only gotten worse.

VA Accountability: That's now the rally cry of the organization that demanded better health care at VA hospitals.
Despite tens of billions of dollars more in funding, leaders say wait times have gone up at many VA's and more reports of misconduct have surfaced, including at the Tucson V-A.

And organization leaders point the blame at VA secretary Robert McDonald, "And through his actions and words has demonstrated he's not serious about introducing more accountability in the VA system," said Dan Caldwell, vice president for Political and Legislative Action.

The organization is calling on congressional leaders to pass the VA Accountability Act, which makes it easier to fire bad VA employees and protect whistleblowers, like Brandon Coleman,who was fired from his Phoenix VA job in January 2015.

"I told the truth that suicidal veterans were eloping and my personal medical records were being rifled through at will by other employees and because of that the director Glen Grippen held a special meeting and said he wanted to fire me," said Coleman.

"The VA has shown a tendency to retaliate against people that expose wrongdoing at the hospital," said Caldwell.  

Organization leaders say it will continue to highlight the problems at the VA's and keep an eye on the Tucson VA -- now that its on their radar.