VA Head Ignores McCain’s Request To Meet, McCain Calls For Investigation

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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GOP Sen. John McCain says when he tried to set up a meeting with Deborah Amdur, the new director of the Phoenix VA medical center, she decided to ignore him.

McCain wasn’t about to let this issue die. McCain now wants the Department of Justice to launch a full-scale investigation into the Phoenix facility and has asked more whistleblowers to come forward and tell their stories.

In an interview with local news station KTVK, McCain said he asked Amdur to make an appearance at a town hall meeting. Although she originally accepted his offer, she soon reneged.

For McCain, her refusal to show up and listen to what veterans had to say is first indicative of poor leadership and second is particularly damning, given the disastrous performance of the medical center.

“I was very disappointed because people need to hear from a person that is in charge of an institution that clearly has been the subject of enormous controversy,” McCain said in his interview. “I’m very disappointed and I find it unacceptable and especially given the swirl of controversy, not only about the entire VA, but it started here with the non-existent waiting lists.”

Report after report continues to roll out, hitting the medical center hard and showing that despite the excuses of hospital leadership, sub-standard care, whistleblower retaliation and general hostility to the idea of reform are still very much alive in Phoenix.

A recent leaked report showed that hospital leadership tried its best to evade allegations of suicidal veterans leaving the facility without care. But what has perhaps angered McCain the most is an internal petition started by VA employees to restore the position of Chief of Staff Dr. Darren Deering.

Employees say they were threatened with consequences if they did not sign the petition, which is of questionable legality.

But even with a DOJ investigation, McCain is not optimistic that reform will come.

“I’m not optimistic because they’re a very powerful organization,” he said, referring to the Department of Veterans Affairs. “We will stay on this and do everything we can to make those people responsible.”

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