A new report by the Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General has concluded that more than 100 veterans died while waiting for care at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (facility) hospital from October 2014 through August 2015.
The deaths happened months after the broader VA scandal had already exploded in the national media. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki had already resigned over the scandal in May 2014.
The report notes:
For the period October 1, 2014 through August 9, 2015, we identified 225 deceased patients who had 371 open or pending consults at the time of their deaths or had discontinued consults after their deaths.
Of the 225 patients, we found 117 patients with 158 consults experienced delays in obtaining requested consults. We substantiated that 43 percent (158/371) of consults were not timely because providers and scheduling staff did not consistently follow consult policy or procedures.
We determined that had the facility implemented consistent and timely review of open and pending consults, facility consult data would have reflected a more accurate number of delayed consults that had potential clinical impact.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that veterans’ groups see the report as evidence of continued neglect under the Obama administration after the scandal — and pointed to the need for urgent congressional action:
Concerned Veterans for America, a D.C.-based nonprofit, cited the OIG findings as evidence that problems persist at the Department of Veterans Affairs despite a series of legislative reforms implemented after the 2014 wait time scandal in Phoenix, Ariz.
“VA negligence can be a matter of life or death,” CVA policy director Dan Caldwell said in a statement Thursday. “While the VA wait scandal received the most attention a few years ago, the reality is that Congress hasn’t done anything to change the toxic culture at the VA and we can’t be sure that veterans still aren’t dying waiting for care.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has introduced a bill to make it easier to fire VA employees, the Free Beacon adds, but it has yet to reach a vote.
As of January, HotAir notes (citing NPR), “wait times [at VA hospitals] on average had decreased, but were still unacceptably long and several individual hospitals were showing virtually no progress at all.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.