Two days ago President Obama announced his selection of former Proctor and Gamble CEO Bob McDonald — a former Army Airborne Ranger Infantry officer and West Point graduate — to head up the ailing Veterans Administration. Maybe this will work out better, after all, “Rangers Lead the Way” — and that ain’t from behind. McDonald must be given the freedom to fix the issues and not be told to be a figurehead.
Here’s an example of what lies ahead for McDonald. As reported by CBS Boston, a local veteran there finally got a VA doctor’s appointment — two years after he died.
Doug Chase was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2011. In 2012, his wife, Suzanne, tried to move his medical care to the VA hospital in Beford so he wouldn’t have to take the ambulance ride into Boston. The couple waited about four months and never heard anything. Then Doug died in August of 2012.
But two weeks ago, Suzanne got a letter, addressed to Doug, from the VA in Bedford, saying he could now call to make an appointment to see a primary care doctor.
“It was addressed to my husband and I opened it,” said Suzanne Chase. “I was in complete disbelief.”
Will the new VA Secretary be able to make the call and tell the person responsible for this — as Donald Trump would say — “you’re fired?” Not all VA hospitals are guilty but the cancer that has metastasized in the VA system has to be surgically removed and we’re talking about an emergency procedure. This cannot be about the politics of rhetoric. People – veterans such as Doug Chase — are dying, undeservedly so.
At the bottom of the letter addressed to the now-deceased Chase, dated June 12, it reads: “We are committed to providing primary care in a timely manner and would greatly appreciate a prompt response.”
Can any of you imagine reading that statement and what your response it would be?
The sad thing is, it’s not just a political game being played, but also a deceitful one perpetrated by the liberal media to protect “their guy” at the expense of those who were willing to make the last full measure of devotion to this country.
What is even more appalling about Doug Chase’s case is that there was no way the VA did not know he had died — other than blatant incompetence. Per the CBS report, “the VA had to know her husband was dead because she applied for funeral benefits two years ago and was denied.” And the reason for the denial? Hold onto your seats: because her husband was never treated at a VA hospital.
The investigative team at CBS Boston tried to contact the VA Hospital and got this response:
“We regret any distress our actions caused to the Veteran’s widow and family.
“At the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, our most important mission is to provide the high quality health care and benefits Veterans have earned and deserve – where and when they need it.
“Thank you for bringing this regrettable issue to our attention. We apologize for our error and any difficulties this has caused you. We will examine our process, do what we can to fix it, and institute measures to prevent this from happening again.
“We are reviewing this Veteran’s case; however, we require a Release of Information to allow us to comment on the specifics of his case.
“As part of the corrective actions taken to address scheduling issues, VA launched the Accelerating Access to Care Initiative, a nationwide program to ensure timely access to care. VA has identified Veterans across the system experiencing waits that do not meet Veterans’ expectations for timeliness. VA has been contacting and scheduling Veterans who are waiting for care. We regret causing any pain in this effort.
“The Acting Director called the Veteran’s widow to apologize. We were able to leave a voicemail with the Director’s phone number. The Acting Director will call the Veteran’s widow again tomorrow. We want to be sure that she is, as well as other Veterans and their family members are, treated with dignity and respect.”
How many of these letters have been sent out in the past ten years? Let me be clear, one is too many.