Audits Ordered For Oklahoma, U.S. Veteran's Hospitals

Tuesday, May 13th 2014, 6:16 pm
By: News On 6

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs ordered audits for Veteran's Hospitals and clinics after allegations dozens of veterans died while waiting for care. One Sapulpa woman is glad to see the VA under the microscope.

The government investigation stems from a case in Phoenix where the VA hospital is accused of having a secret waiting list. Gina Chisum doesn't know anything about a secret list, but she does know that it took more than three weeks for the VA clinic here in Tulsa to call her husband after he broke his leg.

"It is a long time, yeah. They just made him wait and wait," said Gina Chisum, Sapulpa resident.

Chisum's husband broke two bones in his lower leg and dislocated his ankle last month. A private hospital gave him a brace but, as an Army veteran, he went to the VA hospital in Muskogee before being directed to the VA clinic in Tulsa and told to expect a call within a day.

Chisum says the next day came and went without a call, so she contacted the clinic herself and was told her husband was on a list and would have to wait.

"It really irks me," she said. "It's disgusting what they do to our men. They go over there, and our women too, they put their lives on the line and they serve for this country and they come back to healthcare that's not even as good as Medicaid."

Three VA employees in Phoenix are on administrative leave after allegations that a secret waiting list prevented dozens of veterans from getting medical care. As a result, the Veteran Health Administration has been ordered to conduct an audit of all VA hospitals and clinics, including those in Oklahoma.

The director of the hospital in Muskogee released a statement saying, "We take pride in providing veterans with the best care anywhere and will continue to ensure this process is improved to better meet the needs of our Veterans."

Chisum's husband finally got a call three weeks after breaking his leg, but he had already been treated by a private doctor. She says the audit is overdue and hopes it means changes for the way veterans are treated.

"I think it's a good thing," said Gina Chisum of Sapulpa. "I think they need to check every state, every facility they have; they need to go ahead and go check them all."

Several groups have called for the resignation of Eric Shinseki, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in light of the allegations, but the White House says the president still has confidence in Shinseki.