Target: Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Goal: Prevent veterans from dying or suffering injuries while waiting for appointments by reducing wait times at veterans hospitals
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is under fire following recent reports of veterans dying or sustaining serious injuries while waiting to see their doctors at veterans hospitals. Although officials are hoping that public outrage will die down with the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, the Under Secretary for Health, the departure of one executive is not enough to fix the VA’s larger systemic issues of negligence or its mistreatment of those who have served their country.
Although VA policy dictates that veterans should not wait more than 14 to 30 days for an appointment, many veterans across the country are allegedly waiting months to see doctors, delaying diagnosis and treatment. The most serious allegations of misconduct came from a VA hospital in Arizona where, according to reports by CNN and other news outlets, would-be patients were placed on a secret waiting list. Other investigations point to hospitals covering up the lengthy waiting times by creating fraudulent documents.
A statement issued by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America expressed their feelings about the early retirement of Petzel: “We don’t need the VA to find a scapegoat; we need an actual plan to restore a culture of accountability throughout the VA.”
It’s time for the Department of Veterans Affairs to do right by the men and women who have sacrificed their time and health overseas. Demand that the Department of Veterans Affairs take real steps towards reducing wait times for veterans seeking care, putting its practice in line with its policies.
Dear Secretary Shinseki,
United States veterans have suffered death or serious injury as a result of the negligence of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The recent resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel is not enough to appease veterans, their families or the American public. You must put your policies into action by reducing wait times at veterans hospitals and restoring integrity to the VA.
Current VA policy requires that veterans seeking care wait between 14 and 30 days to see a doctor. Recent investigations in Arizona and across the country reveal that not only is this standard neglected–to the detriment of our veterans’ health and wellbeing–but that the VA is actively covering up its misconduct by falsifying documents and reports.
It is your responsibility to serve those who have served their country. Do not allow this culture of dishonesty and misconduct to pervade one of America’s most important institutions. Take measurable steps now to reduce veterans’ wait times in Arizona and across the country.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Beverly & Pack via Flickr