Nobody. Sharon Helman is the Director of the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System where she put in place, or allowed to be put in place, an off-the-books scheduling system for appointments for veterans needing treatment.
She did it so her appointment delays would not show up so she could collect a $9,345 bonus on top of her $167,000 salary.
The actual price for her bonus was 40 dead US military veterans who depended on the Veterans Affairs Health Care System for care. Here was the breaking story on April 24th.
CNN reported Wednesday that at least 40 patients have died at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System because of delays in treatment, and many of them were placed on a secret list to hide the wait times from officials in Washington.
According to internal emails obtained by CNN, top management at the Phoenix hospital, including Helman, was aware of the practice and defended it.
“I am not aware of any secret list, nor did I direct staff to have a secret list,” Helman told a local news channel on Friday.
Helman was finally relieved of her duties on May 1. She has been collecting her paycheck on a regular basis since then and is still on the VA payroll. Hey, give her a break, she only killed 40 veterans who depended on the organization she ran for their health care. If you’d like to know what your life is worth to a federal bureaucrat, the number $232.65.
Yesterday CNN – who has done an outstanding job with this story – followed up with a report on what’s going on in Congress to try to clean up this mess.
There a couple of points we want to highlight here.
First of all, Drew Griffin drive home a very important point about what caused this mess.
“Not enough money wasn’t the problem in the first place, was it?” asked CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“That is what is a little misleading about all this, Anderson,” Griffin agreed. “Money has not been a problem at the VA, in fact the Department of Veterans Affairs has gotten just about every dime it has asked for over the last several years. This was and remains a management problem, and how the money has been mismanaged.
This is important because Democrats who are defending the Obama administration on this issue have frequently howled about the “Tea Party House” that wouldn’t give the VA money. That is obviously a lie. It “was and remains a management problem.”
The second point is that Sharon Helman is still on the VA payroll and Democrats, until this week, have been fighting every move to make it possible to fire her, and people like her, immediately. She killed 40 veterans and has enjoyed a 91 day paid vacation so far. Here at the Curmudgeon, we don’t want Helman fired. We want her prosecuted by the State of Arizona for, at a minimum, criminally negligent homicide for every one of those 40 dead veterans, and we want her to be held responsible in civil court as well, so she can be personally sued by the families of those veterans.
This is what socialized, single-payer health care looks like. Informal death panels filled with people who are sure they’ll never be held accountable. Remember that Democrats, who were pushing for single payer health care in the run-up to ObamaCare, were touting the VA as the model of health care delivery.
Unless ObamaCare is repealed, the scene at the VA Hospital here in Phoenix will be remembered as a warning shot that was ignored, because ObamaCare will turn your local hospital into the Phoenix VA.