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Vets at Risk of Being Forgotten, VA Report Suggests

Veterans may be at risk of injury and death due to shady scheduling practices and delays in treatment, investigators say. According to an independent report, the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that at least 1,700 veterans at a VA in Phoenix were at risk of becoming lost in the system due to improper registration.

The report suggests that the average wait time for the first primary care appointment for veterans at the Phoenix location is 115 days, even though administration reports that the average wait time is only 24 days.

Phoenix leadership "significantly understated the time new patients waited for their primary care appointment... which is one of the factors considered for awards and salary increases," the report said.

In addition, the OIG said at least 1,700 veterans were waiting for an appointment but were not on the electronic waiting list.

The OIG said it conducted the investigation after receiving numerous complaints of wrongdoing by management such as inappropriate hiring decisions, sexual harassment, bullying and mismanagement. According to the report, at least 40 vets have died while waiting to be treated by the Phoenix medical center.

While the report focused on the Phoenix location, it brings up a broader issue of inappropriate scheduling across the board. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the largest organization for new veterans, said results from the report reveal the deep-rooted problems of the VA.

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