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Poll: 71 Percent of Arizonans Think Criminal Charges Needed If VA Crisis Caused Deaths

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If it can be proven that veterans died due to scheduling practices at the Phoenix VA hospital, then 71 percent of Arizonans think VA employees should be charged with crimes.

The Behavior Research Center's Rocky Mountain Poll surveyed Arizonans on a few aspects of the VA scandal, finding that a majority (55 percent) have an unfavorable view of the the VA system.

See also:
-VA: 35 Phoenix-Area Veterans Have Died While Waiting for Care

The VA has acknowledged that nearly three dozen veterans died while waiting for medical care in the VA system, but they have not confirmed that their deaths were because of a lack of care, or because of the agency's convoluted scheduling system. A VA whistleblower has alleged that is indeed the case, as the investigation into those allegations continues.

The allegations originated out of Phoenix, but led to a nationwide examination of the department's scheduling practices, which essentially allowed administrators to manipulate wait-times for veterans, and collect bonuses along the way. Anonymous surveys of VA employees nationwide found that the practices were widespread.

The poll results on Arizonans' opinions shows that more than 90 percent of the people polled are aware of the ongoing saga, although there's no consensus on who's to blame.

About 30 percent blame Congress, while 23 percent blame local VA employees, 20 percent blame federal VA employees, 16 percent blame the president, and the remaining 11 percent are unsure.

The pollsters also asked people why they think the VA hasn't gotten the job done, and people were split on that, too. About 47 percent said it's because the VA mismanages its resources, while 31 percent said the agency doesn't have the money or manpower it needs, and another 21 percent say it's some combination of both.

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Follow Matthew Hendley at @MatthewHendley.

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