“It’s ashamed it’s deadly it’s out of control it needs to change.”
Vets calling the Hines VA Hospital for help are often placed on secret wait lists, while administrators make it seem like the hospital is meeting goals tied to big bonuses according to Germaine Carno,“They think waiting two, three, four months is normal.”
She is a whistleblower.
Carno is also president of the union that represents doctors, psychiatrists and physical therapists.
In 2011, all VA hospitals were issued a mandate that veterans must receive treatment within two weeks of their request.
According to its website, the 471-bed facility near Maywood served more than 50,000 vets last year.
“We have so many veterans and not enough staff to think a veteran can call and get an appointment in two weeks is absurd.”
Carno says pressure to meet deadlines lead to manipulation of the system. She claims veterans were often forced to wait months for care and secret lists were kept detailing that information. However Carno says the official reports were written so it appeared the vets received treatment within the two week period.
“Two things fuel this manipulation, one is the bonuses and the greed– it’s just easier.”
Carno says workers at Hines alerted her after similar allegations were made at the phoenix VA hospital. There a former administrator claims dozens of veterans died while waiting on secret lists.
Sharon Helman, the director in Phoenix is currently on leave during an investigation. Helman served as the director of Hines from 2010 to 2012.
Yesterday, Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs spoke to a senate subcommittee about the allegations. The undersecretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs, who also testified, resigned Friday.
Carno hopes the shakeup at the top will lead to veterans getting the care they need without the long and unnecessary delays.
“It’s the cover-up that’s the problem.”