BOISE -- A scandal has rocked this country's Veterans Affairs, all the way to the highest levels of government. Thursday, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki was on Capitol Hill, testifying about allegations of patient mistreatment at the VA Hospital in Phoenix.
Shinseki said he's saddened by reports of delays in medical care to veterans, resulting in at least 40 deaths at that hospital, and falsified wait times and staff cover-ups at agency hospitals and clinics across the country. I am committed to taking all actions necessary to identify exactly what the issues are, to fix them and to strengthen veteran's trust in VA health care.
Some members of Congress have called for Shinseki's resignation. He has not done that. The VA Inspector General has launched a probe at the VA Hospital in Phoenix.
But was this sort of alleged mismanagement happening at Boise's VA Medical Center? Its Director, David Wood says no, and that their goal is to see vets within 14 days. If we can't see them within 90 days, then they go on to an electronic wait list, and we have very few wait lists here in Boise. For primary care, we don't have a wait list.
To make sure that's true, federal auditors are reviewing practices at every VA hospital around the nation. The auditors arrive in Boise on Friday.
Wood says some Idaho veterans have come to him with concerns, but not about wait times or scheduling in Boise, rather they worry about the system as a whole. But Wood is worried about all this damaging the perception of the Boise VA Medical Center and discouraging vets from getting the care they need.
Are they going to be concerned or have doubts? And, we want them to know that they should not have doubts, that we do provide great care, that we have mechanisms in place to make sure that we don't have some of the issues that have been alleged around the country. And, we'll do everything we can to make sure that we treat them the way that they should be treated, he said.