FOX13 Investigates: Local vets angry about secret list

Tonight, we're hearing from a veteran who was placed on a waitlist for care and the father of a veteran placed on the same list.

Last month we told you about this secret waitlist giving to FOX13 by a whistleblower in the Memphis VA Medical Center.

Some of these vets have been waiting more than 400 days for health care appointments.

FOX13’s investigation got the attention of a key lawmaker on Capitol Hill.

We obtained an email from the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs in Washington DC.

It states they are now investigating the Memphis VA about a number of complaints, as well as the wait-time allegations reported by FOX13.

Since our first story aired, we have received several calls from veterans telling us about the lack of service at the Memphis VA Medical Center.

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Our investigation led to two people who were affected by that secret list and had no idea they had been kicked off.

Leroy Miller suffered a broken back. "My nurse told me I would have to wait 28 days with a broken back and I waited 28 days and that kind of pain, no pain medication whatsoever. It was absolute misery."

To disinterested doctors, who supposed to be caring for Clifford Allen’s son. “The three times that we've been there we've walked out shaking our heads. It's more like he's seeing us only to get his quota for the day.”

These two men told FOX13 about the serious issues they've experienced at the Memphis VA Medical Center.

Leroy Miller is a Vietnam Veteran.  Clifford Allen's son is an Air Force vet.

We discovered both vets were on an electronic wait list the Memphis VA didn't want them to see.

FOX13 showed it to them.

Mr. Miller asked to see a doctor over 396 days ago and has not been contacted by the doctor. Mr. Allen’s son has been waiting for 258 days and has not seen a doctor.

"To see 258 days is shocking because we just felt like eventually we would get into the system in the right thing would be done,” said Allen.

We also showed the men the email we obtained by a supervisor telling employees to discontinue, or kick these vets off the wait list.

"I just find it typical," said Miller.

Allen said, “If they would at least have some type of outreach you know and contact these veterans who are on this extended waiting list, I would feel a little bit better about it. But this is just, it's hard to justify.”

We asked Mr. Allen if he had received any scheduling calls from the VA in the past 258 days and his response was simple.

"The only call we received was from you," said Allen.

One day before our original story aired, we obtained an internal document from the Interim Medical Center Director stating the person in charge of the department with the secret electronic wait list had been re-assigned.

We also reached out to the Memphis VA about the secret wait list. A spokesperson told us via an email the reason for the wait list was because "services have been reduced" at the Medical Center.

They also mentioned "The Veteran's Choice Program" as a possible solution for community affiliates to provide care to veterans that the VA can't.

But by law, that program is supposed to go into effect if a patient has waited over 30 days to see a doctor. Mr. Miller has waited 396 days. Mr. Allen's son has waited 258 days. Both men agree that changes need to be made.

"Yes. Somehow. Changes need to be made so that you can get to the appropriate level of care." Said Allen.

FOX13 also asked the Memphis VA why no one ever contacted the vets about the lack of services and why the vets were never put into the Choice Program.

They told FOX13 the Vets weren't put into the Choice Program because they claim there was not a comparable community program to put the Vets into when the list was created.

As far as notifying the veterans of the lack of services, the VA claims the vets were being seen in an established VA Mental Health Outpatient Program.

The veterans we talked to tell us that is not true.