Our worst fears about delays in care at a Phoenix veterans medical center have been confirmed.
The inspector general for the Department of Veterans Affairs has found that 1,700 patients there were never even put on "the official waiting list for doctors' appointments and may have never received care," The New York Times reports.
In an interim report, allegations raised by whistleblowers and VA employees were verified: Officials at the Phoenix facility lied to bosses back in Washington to cloak excruciatingly long wait times for veterans. The investigator found that the average wait for an initial primary-care appointment was 115 days, almost five times the length Phoenix officials were copping to.
What's worse, the inspector general believes that sort of manipulation to be "systemic throughout" the Veterans Affairs health care system, whose 150 medical centers serve 8 million veterans annually. Forty-two VA hospitals are under review.
Now Democrats and Republicans are lining up to call for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, but he's vowing to right the wrong.
First up, Shinseki ordered the department to "immediately triage" every single one of the veterans who have been waiting for care in Phoenix to get them taken care of.
In other news...
- Young Guns: A 23-year-old man walked into a classroom at a Philadelphia community college and pulled a gun on fellow students on Wednesday. Luckily, no one was hurt. (via Los Angeles Times)
- Young Guns Too: Police seized several guns and more than 1,000 rounds of ammo from a University of California, Santa Barbara, student after 21-year-old Kevin Tym said he accidentally shot into a neighbor's apartment. Luckily, no one was hurt. (via NBC4 Los Angeles)
- Yet More Young Guns: Legislators in Georgia may have succeeded in sneaking through legislation allowing licensed gun owners to bring guns to schools and colleges in that state starting July 1. If they're lucky, no one will get hurt. (via Georgia Public Broadcasting)
- Sears Tower Cracks: Ever go up on the observation deck at the Sears Tower and stand on that pane of glass that comes between you and the distant streets of Chicago below? That pane of glass cracked. (Oh, and at some point the name changed to the Willis Tower, but we wanted to mention a building you could actually identify.) (via The Chicago Tribune)
- Transformative Moment: Time magazine's cover girl this week is Laverne Cox, the transgender star of Orange Is the New Black, and the article tracks her emergence as a public voice for the trans community. (via Time)
- Guard Was Repeat Offender: A Rikers Island guard who had abandoned her post while a mentally ill inmate baked to death in an overheated cell this past winter apparently had a history of wandering off the job without permission. (via The Associated Press)
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