Editor’s Note: CNN Investigations has learned that at least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list. VA spokesman Scott McRoberts e-mailed CNN the following statement on Wednesday afternoon in response:
The Phoenix VA Health Care System is committed to delivering the highest quality care to Veterans. We have conducted robust internal reviews since these allegations surfaced and welcome the results from the Office of Inspector General’s review. We take these allegations seriously.
We acknowledge Phoenix VA Health Care System has had longstanding issues with Veterans accessing care and have taken numerous actions to meet demand, while we continue to serve more Veterans and enhance our services . To ensure new Veterans waiting for appointments are managed appropriately, we maintain an Electronic Wait List (EWL) in accordance with the national VHA Scheduling Directive.
The ability of new and established patients to get more timely care has showed significant improvement in the last two years which is attributable to increased budget, staffing, efficiency and infrastructure. We continue to make improvements to further reduce wait times for Veterans. Veterans who have concerns about their care, should call the Patient Advocate at 602-277-5551, ext. 6171 or 6172.
Phoenix VA Health Care System cares deeply for every Veteran we are privileged to serve. As we continue to improve, we focus our work on Veterans to keep true to VA’s mission.