VA Official: We Found "No Evidence" of a Secret Waiting List at Phoenix VA Hospital

Categories: News
U.S. Senate
Robert Petzel, Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Health told a U.S. Senate committee this morning that the department's own review of allegations surrounding the Phoenix VA system has revealed "no evidence" of a secret waiting list.

A retired VA doctor from Phoenix has claimed that there is a secret waiting list to hide wait times, and that 40 veterans have died while on this secret waiting list.

See also:
-Three Arizona Congressman Call for Removal of Phoenix VA Leadership
-Obama on Phoenix VA Claims: "We Take the Allegations Very Seriously"

Dr. Robert Petzel, who oversees the Veterans Health Administration, told the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs today that "a team" from his administration has found no evidence to support those claims so far.

"To date, we found no evidence of a secret list," Petzel said. "We have found no patients who have died because they have been on a wait list."

While this "team" came to Phoenix to investigate these claims, it's not the same investigation that's being carried out by the VA's inspector general. There has been no public update on what the inspector general has discovered, and there's going to be a full hearing before the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs once that inspector general's report is released.

The committee hearing today was on the topic of overmedication, but committee chairman Senator Bernie Sanders had Petzel make some brief comments on the situation in Phoenix before they focused on the medication issue.

"We think it's very important that the inspector general to be allowed to finish their investigation before we rush to judgment," Petzel said. "If the allegations are true, they're absolutely unacceptable. If the inspector general does in fact confirm and substantiate these claims, we're going to take swift and very appropriate action."

(Click here to see the video of the committee hearing.)

Petzel said they're also going to take a similar look at VA health care systems nationwide, to see if they can find evidence of a secret waiting list anywhere.

Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.

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ExpertShot topcommenter

I've been to the VA - it's a horrible experience for most vets.  You have to get there at the buttcrack of dawn and then you wait three to four hours to get registered, then you are told to come back for a "Clinic".  When you come back for the "Clinic" you just repeat the same thing again - wait 2-3 hours for treatment.  For the elderly vets who have arthritis it is an excruiatingly painful experience - I don't have arthritis but it was still painful to sit there in a chair for hours waiting for treatment. 

What I really don't like is waiting for some doucebag administrator to finish their gabfest with their co-worker before they decide to do some actual work.  There is entirely too much grabass going on there for my liking!

danzigsdaddy topcommenter

"no evidence" doesnt mean a crime wasnt committed, it means you didnt look hard enough. a cop can pull you over for no reason and find evidence of wrong doing, yet in this case............nobody can find a thing?            

i call bullshit.

40 vets one town.

eric.nelson745 topcommenter

As yet unexplained is just exactly what the "secret waiting list" was meant to accomplish. I will reiterate what I said yesterday. Whenever there is any delay in providing appropriate treatment to one of our veterans, his/her case should be automatically referred to a civilian provider. That should be regardless of the cost of such treatment.

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