WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Monday’s termination of embattled Phoenix VA Healthcare System Director Sharon Helman is “a long-awaited step along the road to restored trust between veterans and their federal health-care system,” American Legion National Commander Michael D. Helm said.
Helman had been on paid administrative leave for nearly 6 months due to the fact that whistleblowers told national media that Arizona veterans had died waiting on secret lists for medical appointments that were never ever scheduled. That revelation last spring was followed by much more compared to twenty extra allegations of falsified records and various other complications in VA leadership, including financial bonuses paid to directors on the basis of the falsified records, at facilities throughout the country.
“due to the fact that it came to light that as lots of as 40 veterans in Phoenix lost their lives while their names languished on secret lists, The American Legion has actually been demanding accountability from those responsible,” Helm said. “This is one long-overdue step in a quest that is far from over. Unfortunately, as we every one of soon discovered after the story broke last April, this problem was not isolated to Phoenix. It was widespread, and we expect to see extra consequences, even criminal charges if they are warranted, for anyone that knowingly misled veterans and denied them access to medical services. The termination of one director does not end this scandal, however it is a step.”
The American Legion called for the resignations of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, Under Secretary for Healthiness Robert Petzel and Under Secretary for Rewards Allison Hickey after the allegations of falsified appointment documentation came to light in May. Petzel and Shinseki the two resigned prior to June 1, however Hickey remains at her post. “We are closely monitoring the backlog of VA Rewards claims also because, enjoy delayed appointments, they are a barrier to care,” Helm said.
The American Legion has actually conducted a collection of Veterans Crisis Command Centers and Town Hall Meetings nationwide due to the fact that June where thousands of veterans and their families received guidance speeding up appointment times, obtaining decisions on long-undecided Rewards claims and recommendations splitting various other barriers to care and service from VA. The very first of those events, June 9-13, was offered in Phoenix where The American Legion gave firsthand guidance to no fewer compared to 590 veterans. In late October, the events were renamed Veterans Rewards Centers, and they are scheduled to keep on in to 2015.
“These events were renamed since we are now making progress, functioning along with VA and veterans in affected areas, since we fully believe that trust can easily be restored,” Helm said. “It is no longer a crisis, by definition. however it is a process, and VA has actually a long method to go. Today’s decision, and the extra consequences we expect to come sooner fairly compared to later, advanced the process.”
SOURCE The American Legion