In light of the growing controversy surrounding secret wait lists and veterans not receiving timely medical care, Florida Governor Rick Scott is taking legal action. On April 1 he requested that the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) inspect VA hospitals. But VA facilities turned away inspectors several times. Now the governor plans to sue the federal government for blocking their efforts.
It’s believed that delays in getting a medical appointment has resulted in 40 deaths at a Phoenix VA facility, according to media reports. The hospital kept secret lists of patients with long waits off of their official records. But this appears to be a problem affecting other hospitals as well. Between 2009 and 2011, five veterans lost their lives to cancer because of delays in receiving an endoscopy or colonoscopy. One of those deaths occurred at the VA hospital in Riviera Beach reports the Tampa Tribune.
The VA has been conducting its own investigations of 26 facilities. It has not released the names of those hospitals, so it’s unclear if the Riviera Beach facility is one of them.
Meanwhile, veterans are able to (on the government’s dime) seek medical care at non-VA facilities if waiting too long for an appointment. Unfortunately, waiting is an issue that affects vets in other ways. Many have been waiting months for a decision on a disability claim. Although the spotlight is currently on the delays in getting a medical appointment, the problem with backlogged disability claims hasn’t gone away.
Some vets have lost confidence in the VA system. This may even prevent them from seeking benefits they’re entitled to receive. But there are ways to reduce unnecessary delays, such as filing paperwork correctly and submitting the proper evidence. An attorney can help with this, or with appealing a denied claim. If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Veterans Help Group at 855-855-8992 or via our online contact form.