Montel Williams is perhaps best known for being a talk show host, but he’s also a retired Navy lieutenant – and he’s furious about the VA scandal.
Yesterday, he appeared on Your World With Neil Cavuto, where he slammed the country for having the “audacity” to turn its back on those who have served.
Yesterday, Richard J. Griffin, the interim inspector general, released a report on the VA scandal. His findings are appalling:
1,700 veterans who were waiting for a primary care appointment but were not on the [electronic waiting list]. Until that happens, the reported wait time for these veterans has not started. Most importantly, these veterans were and continue to be at risk of being forgotten or lost in Phoenix HCS’s convoluted scheduling process. As a result, these veterans may never obtain a requested or required clinical appointment.
That investigation found that the average wait time for an appointment at the Phoenix VA hospital was 115 days.
But the problem isn’t isolated to Phoenix: the report also revealed that “inappropriate scheduling practices are systemic throughout” the nationwide VA health care system – a system that provides medical care to about 6.5 million veterans every year.
The scandal continues to grow.
From the AP:
Griffin said his office has increased the number of VA health care facilities it is investigating to 42 nationwide, up from 26 known to be under investigation as of last week. He said investigators’ next steps include determining whether names of veterans awaiting care were purposely omitted from electronic waiting lists and at whose direction and whether any deaths were related to delays in care. He said investigators at some of the other 42 facilities “have identified instances of manipulation of VA data that distort the legitimacy of reported waiting times.” Justice Department officials have already been brought into cases where there is evidence of a criminal or civil violation, Griffin said.
The problems at the Phoenix hospital aren’t limited to the appointment scheduling debacle:
In a related matter, Griffin said investigators have received numerous allegations of mismanagement, inappropriate hiring decisions, sexual harassment and bullying behavior by mid- and senior-level managers at the Phoenix hospital. Investigators were assessing the validity of the complaints and their effect, if any, on patients’ access to care, he said.
He vowed to improve the entire VA healthcare system:
This scandal is becoming exposed for what it is: a national disgrace. Michael Snyder outlined the ongoing and widespread mistreatment of veterans by the system and pointed out that it has been going on for years. There’s no way Obama didn’t know about it. Like all the other scandals plaguing his reign, it just isn’t important to him.
Williams is livid, as he expressed to Cavuto:
“I am angry, my friend. I’m angry because, you know, we made a promise. When I stood with my hand up proudly, I said, ‘I do solemnly swear and affirm to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic and I will bear true faith –.’ I went through my oath.” I told the world I’m willing to put my life on the line and die for you. Now, our guys went over. They left body parts. Some of them never made it back. Some of them are here now and their souls are still there. And we have the audacity to turn our back on them right this second?”
If you aren’t outraged like Williams, you haven’t been paying attention.