A new report from NBC News reveals that a Veterans Affairs hospital in Albuquerque, N.M., assigned patients to unavailable doctors and treated patients rudely when they inquired about the problem. One veteran said she stopped going to the VA after she was badly treated following her diagnosis of breast cancer.
“Because I didn’t get a response and they didn’t seem to care, I really wasn’t comfortable going there,” said Retired Air Force lieutenant colonel Renee Sussman. She recounted a telephone conversation with a VA pathologist after a two-month delay in which she was told to “call the president” to take up her problems with the system before being hung up on.
NBC News also found that VA clerks falsified wait times at the hospital by making two lists for patients: one showing a false wait time of “zero” days, while another reflected the actual wait time, which could be months. One current employee, who spoke with the network on the condition of anonymity, said patients would be assigned doctors who were no longer seeing patients or working at the hospital.
According to an inspector general’s report, one clerk described the situation at the Raymond G. Murphy Medical Center in Albuquerque as “a climate of deceit.” The hospital is in the process of ordering an external review of its practices.