(Washington, D.C.) There are many press reports of allegations that up to 40 patients at the Phoenix VA Health Care System (PVAHCS) may have died because of delays in their medical care. Most disturbing are the allegations that PVAHCS officials maintained a "list" of patients waiting for appointments to cover up and hide treatment delays by the PVAHCS. We have also heard rumors alleging that local VA official were destroying such evidence in an attempt to cover-up this scandal.
"Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) takes this matter very seriously" said VVA National President John Rowan. "Therefore, VVA has requested a criminal investigation be immediately undertaken by the United States Attorney for the district of Arizona for possible charges of wilful neglect, potential obstruction of justice, and any other related charges that substantiate reckless endangerment."
VVA has issued a similar request to the Attorney General of Arizona. Rowan further stated, "those proven responsible for such behavior that may have led to irreparable harm to veterans and/or to possible veterans' deaths should be held criminally liable." This list would include, but not be limited to, the Director of VISN 20, PVAHCS Director Sharon Helman, PVAHCS Associate Director Lance Robinson, and the unnamed third PVAHCS employee placed on administrative leave by VA Central Office.
"We seek justice for each and every one of our veterans who allegedly suffered wilful neglect by PVAHCS officials and staff, concluded Rowan. "There is no excuse for this conduct, which may prove to be criminal. Those responsible for this latest VA scandal must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."