Filipino retired employees hint 'secret list' exists in VA's alleged malpractice

By Henni Espinosa and Florenz Legaspi, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

May 21, 2014

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – America’s commander-in-chief is reportedly “mad as hell” and said he “will not stand” for misconduct at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Speaking at the White House this morning, President Barack Obama said, “If these allegations prove to be true it is dishonorable. It is disgraceful. And I will not tolerate it.”

President Obama’s comments came weeks after a Phoenix VA hospital made news because 40 veterans reportedly died while waiting to be treated there. Many of these veterans were reportedly placed on a secret waiting list. Managers supposedly tried to hide the face that up to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see their doctors.

The VA supposedly provides Washington an official electronic list showing its timely appointments. But then, there is reportedly the real list that’s hidden, which shows wait times that could even last more than a year.

“Our veterans deserve to know the facts. Their families deserve to know the facts. Once we know the facts, I assure you, if there is misconduct, it will be punished,” President Obama added.

Balitang America is still trying to determine if there were any Filipino veterans who died or suffered as a result of this alleged malpractice.

But a Filipino veteran, who just recently retired from the VA, hinted that a cover-up may have taken place. Meline Iglesias used to work at the front desk of the Phoenix VA hospital being investigated. She said she had direct access to the scheduling system.

“When patients come up to me when I used to work at the front desk and they need an appointment, I give them the appointment that they need. If I can’t do it on time, I would put them on a waiting list. “If they need urgent care, then I would tell the nurse. The nurses are authorized to put them in urgent care,” she explained.

Meline was wary talking about the secret list that supposedly proves long wait times at the VA, but shared that the list may not even be secret at all.

She said, “If the waiting list itself gets full and if they want to add more patients to it, it’s possible that instead of putting them in the waiting list, they would put it in a paper waiting list which is not really a secret because all the other schedulers would have access to this paper waiting list.”

She said the VA may have created the secret list to cover-up flaws in the official list.

Meline reasoned, “Unfortunately this is what the managers of division levels are looking at. When they get too many patients on this waiting list, we get a bad performance appraisal or some indicators that looks bad for our Phoenix VA.”

Her husband, Raymond, is also a veteran and a retired maintenance employee at the VA. He thinks the VA’s way of treating patients is simply wrong, saying, “I think the system is screwed up. For example, I cannot pick up a prescription unless I go talk to a pharmacist. I can’t schedule appointment unless I e-mail them. How many patients, especially Vietnam vets, know how to get on a computer or even own a computer?”

The Iglesias couple said that the truth is, VA hospitals have limited resources to accommodate the number of veterans who come in and need help.

For his part, President Obama has met with VA secretary Eric Shinseki to look into this matter and to make sure utmost care is provided to veterans who served America.

You may contact Henni Espinosa at henni_espinosa@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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    21 May 2014 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    What do you expect from a Gov’t controlled hospital? VA for military, they carry secret list. Obamacare gov’t controlled care, they have death panels. Americans who are Seniors, retired,could not work and pay taxes anymore, belong to a waiting list or death panel. What you see and hear from VA Hospitals, is what you expect and it is the future of Obamacare…Good job for Democrats for passing the Obamacare, you will reduce the US population………

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