The Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs will hold a hearing on allegations that as many as 40 veterans died while waiting for care at the Phoenix VA healthcare system.
Both a former VA doctor and a U.S. Congressman have claimed that VA employees either manipulated or otherwise obfuscated the true wait times these veterans were facing.
-McCain, Flake Ask for Senate Investigation of Phoenix VA Hospital
The Arizona Republic first published the explosive allegations, and CNN has since done its own investigation of the apparent crisis.
Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake asked the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee to hold hearings on the issue, and committee chairman, Senator Bernie Sanders, has agreed.
Sanders responded in a letter:
I am pleased to inform you that the VA's Office of Inspector General has a multidisciplinary team already on the ground in Phoenix. I have urged them to move their investigation forward as quickly as possible. I am sure that you will agree with me than an objective inquiry into these allegations is necessary before holding a hearing on this issue. In other words, we have got to know what the facts are. Once the IG collects additional information, we can engage in a more informed deliberation on the allegations in Phoenix. You have requested a hearing on this issue and I will commit to holding a hearing once the IG's inquiry is complete.
It's been no secret, especially in recent months, that veterans have faced significant delays in getting care at VA facilities across the country. McCain has previously made an issue of the waits at Phoenix's VA health care system.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
However, the recent allegations are that not only did 40 vets die while awaiting care in Phoenix, but the main whistleblower, a recently retired VA doctor, alleges that there was a "secret waiting list" to hide from Washington how long the waits truly were.
As Sanders mentioned in his letter, the VA's OIG is already investigating the Phoenix VA. According to CNN's report, sources at the Phoenix VA said they were questioned about the above-mentioned claims.
Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.