The Veterans Health Administration is responsible for the healthcare of 8.76 million veterans and their families every year, representing “America’s largest health care system.” The VA’s crucial role in the life and wellbeing of some of our most honored citizens makes the recent waiting list scandal exponentially more appalling to medical malpractice attorneys as well as the public at large.
The VA crisis emerged in April, when a retired clinic director came forward with allegations that the Phoenix VA had falsified their electronic waiting list. Their “secret waiting list” concealed the number of veterans waiting for care, as well as their exorbitant wait times.
Since word of the cover-up has come out, investigators have identified at least 18 veterans that died while waiting for medical care. It is currently unclear whether these individuals’ deaths directly resulted from the delay in care. However, autopsy reports, death certificates, and medical records should provide more conclusive evidence.
As the investigation continues, the VA has responded by opening up several mobile medical units throughout Phoenix to give more veterans access to the care they need. In addition, the Senate Veterans Affairs committee is working on a bill that would help veterans by expanding their network of healthcare facilities and providers, eliminating ineffective executives and administrators while increasing facilities and hiring across the country.
Hopefully, these measures will begin to turn around a seriously flawed system whose mismanagement and dishonesty have harmed countless American heroes. However, as more information emerges, we will likely learn that many more veterans have died or suffered needlessly due to the practices of VA facilities across the country.
Each state creates its own medical malpractice laws, but the National Institutes of Health defines medical malpractice as “any act or omission by a physician during treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community and causes injury to the patient.” The VA, like any other medical provider, has an obligation to provide its patients with timely and effective healthcare and to abide by the law while doing so.
When healthcare organizations break their trust with those who depend on them for their care, they must be held accountable. Washington D.C. medical malpractice attorneys Regan Zambri & Long work with individuals who have suffered harm at the hands of their medical providers. For a free consultation to explore your legal options, contact us at (202)463-3030.