by: Marius Payton Updated:
Waiting over a year just to see a doctor. FOX13 Investigates, obtained a secret wait list from a whistleblower who works at the Memphis VA hospital.
This list shows ridiculous wait times for dozens of vets to get the care they need and some may never get it at all. Some of these veterans are suffering from mental health issues and need help.
Of the 47 people on the list, the longest wait is 403 days, the shortest 206. We've all heard the phrase "Support Our Troops". Well, a whistleblower who wishes to remain anonymous tells FOX13 there are hundreds of veterans in need of support and the VA hospital here in Memphis is treating them more like villains instead of the heroes that they truly are.
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"It saddens me." Says this whistleblower who is a staff member at the Memphis V-A Hospital. We are protecting their identity because they're not allowed to speak publically. The veteran tells FOX13 the hospital lacked the proper staffing to help these veterans. And that's not all...
"We were told not to add any more people to the electronic wait list.” When we asked what happens to the people who are on the existing list, the whistleblower responded emotionally. “They were still on the consultation list and then the consultations were discontinued.”
FOX13 obtained this internal email telling the staff, "Once a veteran is placed on the EWL, or electronic wait list, the consult should be discontinued."
FOX13 showed the email to the whistleblower and asked if this was the email telling employees to kick the veterans off of the list. “This is it. This is it. This is the email. I thought, are they crazy?"
We showed the documents to Randy Wade, a Navy veteran and former Congressional Aide who's now an advocate for veterans. "I have to say this. What in the hell is going on at the Memphis VA hospital? This is unfair. You're going to strike this man who served their country? You’re going to wipe them out as if they don't exist? Wade said, angrily.
Fox13 learned all 47 veterans on the list wanted to be seen by the Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center. Most were suffering from mental health issues and were seeking help. Those we talked to say, it's a huge disservice, for those who served.
"And not only them, you're doing society a disservice because then you have people who are having mental issues that now maybe committing crimes. Homeless. Not reaching out to resources that can help them." Said the Whistleblower.
Wade was short and straight to the point. “This is criminal. This is criminal."
Both of these veterans feel the veterans on this list deserve more. So their fight continues.
"We will continue to contact the Veterans Affairs office in Washington D.C. to get something done. Said Wade.
Our Whistleblower added. "If I don't speak out and if someone were to have died or does die while on that list, whose hands will the blood be on?
Back in 2014 the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act was passed. That law states that after a 30 day wait, a veteran can receive care from eligible non-VA entities and the VA would foot the bill. That hasn't happened either.
We reached out to the Memphis VA Hospital as well as high level officials within the US Department of Veteran Affairs about an interview surrounding these allegations.
We have yet to hear back.
© 2017 Cox Media Group.
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