(WKTV) - Congressman Richard Hanna says he has known there have been issues with veterans getting in to see a doctor in a timely manner at VA centers around the country, but he says he never thought there could be a problem as bad as what has been reported this week at the VA Hospital in Phoenix, AZ.
A CNN report released this week alleges the facility in Phoenix has been taking horrific measures to cover up its problems when it comes to getting veterans in to see a doctor in a timely manner.
CNN reports that VA Hospital officials knew about a secret list of patients who were waiting for in some case 6 months to 21 months for an appointment with a doctor, and 40 of those vets died in the meantime.
According to the report, once patients where in a 14 day window of getting an appointment, they were then put on the actual list that is sent to Veteran's Affairs in Washington to make it look like the VA Hospital was reacting to veterans needs much better than it actually was.
Congressman Hanna says he was horrified by the report and believes the officials at the VA Hospital in Phoenix will be held responsible, but he says this is an eye opener and a chance to take a close look at whether this is actually a systemic problem.
Hanna says he is already in communication with the heads of the VA facilities throughout his district, including the VA Outpatient Clinic in Rome and the VA Medical Center in Syracuse, "We're not here to threaten anybody. Let's come clean, and find a way to serve these people who served us."
Hanna says if there is a widespread problem, it needs to be taken care of quickly, "Congress needs to respond and they will. If it's a matter of money, money's tight, but it shouldn't be, for something like this."
News Channel 2 reached out to the Veterans Affairs office for the Central New York Region to find out about timeliness of appointments in our area. Syracuse VA Spokesperson Robert McLean tells us, "Any patient that presents with an urgent condition is seen immediately! Every effort is made to schedule all non-urgent care patients in our Medical Center and Community Based Outpatient Clinics within 14 days. When this is not possible, we monitor and track them and work to schedule them with the appropriate provider as soon as possible. When patients requiring non-urgent care are not able to be seen within 90-days, they are referred to non-VA providers in the community, at the expense of the VA."