Investigative journalist James O’Keefe released another undercover video Wednesday, showing a doctor at the Department of Veterans Affairs admitting the VA has a “culture of unaccountability.”
Over a year has elapsed since the scandal over manipulated wait times at Phoenix broke. According to the testimony of numerous officials and employees, the VA still has difficulty meeting the basic needs of veterans. A video released Tuesday by Iraq war veteran Chris Dorsey supports the claim. Two clinics in Georgia denied him care for PTSD. He figured no one would believe that staff so abruptly turned him away, so he filmed the incident.
In the new video released by Project Veritas, employees noted the VA can hardly keep up with the demand, leading to long appointment delays. How long are the delays? According to Steve Schliesman, a VA information officer, “the process is so clogged with people…you get years and years of veterans in front of you.”
Recent data indicates that the number of veterans waiting a month or longer for appointments has jumped by 50 percent in a year’s time, and still, the VA is saying it has a revenue shortfall of around $2.7 billion dollars. Until it gets a new influx of funding, the VA is putting into place serious cost-cutting measures, like rationing drug treatments and instituting hiring freezes. (RELATED: Could It Get Any Worse? VA Wait Times Up 50 Percent From Last Year)
The VA added 23,000 employees over the last three years. Fewer than 2,000 of those employees were doctors.
“I think whenever something goes wrong, instead of doing something about it, everyone turns the other way, you know,” Dr. Kristoffel Dumon, a general surgeon for the VA in Philadelphia, told Project Veritas journalists, adding that there’s “a culture of unaccountability, you know at every level.”
But when employees don’t turn the other way and decide to blow the whistle, officials often retaliate. The same appears to hold true even when officials report illegal practices. Jan R. Frye, deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics, told Congress that after revealing billions in illegal purchasing of non-VA health care, Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson tried to intimidate him into silence. (RELATED: VA Whistleblower Reports Intimidation After Revealing Billions In Illegal Healthcare Spending)
In a previous undercover video, O’Keefe found that the problem of overprescribing opioids is a widespread practice in the VA. Instead of taking veterans’ medical concerns seriously, many doctors prefer to heavily medicate their patients. (RELATED: Hidden Camera Shows Officials Admitting That The VA Is Creating Drug Addicts [VIDEO])
“It has been over a year since the truth about the VA’s abysmal and unacceptable practices were thrust to the forefront of American politics, and yet there has been no discernible change in this bureaucratic nightmare,” James O’Keefe, President of Project Veritas, said in a statement. “Our nation’s veterans deserve so much more and this continued mistreatment of our nation’s heroes is a troubling trend that shows no signs of any, let alone imminent, improvement.”
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