One local veteran says he has experienced, firsthand, the extraordinary wait times at VA hospitals that are now under investigation across the country. That investigation includes 26 sites, including Hines near Maywood.
The man didn’t want WGN News to use his identity for fear of retribution by the VA, but he said it’s not uncommon at all to wait months to see a doctor.
He says he’s never had speedy care at Hines.
He contacted WGN after following the wait list developments both nationally and locally. Last week a whistler blower told WGN News about a secret waiting lists at Hines. She said it was a way to make it appear as if the hospital met its federal mandate that all veterans receive treatment within two weeks of their request.
President Barack Obama promised accountability, but he made clear Wednesday he won’t fire Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki — yet — over excessive and sometimes deadly waiting times faced by veterans seeking government health care.
The controversy has mushroomed since CNN first reported the problem last November in a detailed investigation examining several VA hospitals.
After meeting with Shinseki at the White House, Obama held a hastily arranged news conference in which he said he needed more time to review what was going on.
“If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it, period,” the President said in his first public comments in weeks on the issue.
However, he made clear his main target for now was anyone who actually carried out improper practices at VA, rather than the retired Army general at the top.
“Anybody found to have manipulated or falsified records at VA facilities has to be held accountable,” Obama said.
The local vet he thinks this investigation is just beginning.