At least 40 U.S. veterans have died waiting for medical appointments at Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system undefined including many placed on a secret waiting list. The list was part of a complex cost-cutting scheme set up by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix aiming to hide the fact that between 1,400 and 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait up to 21 months to see a doctor, according to whistle-blowing retired top VA doctor and high-level sources.
Internal emails reveal managers at Arizona’s VA hospital knew about the practice and even condoned it. Retiring Dr. Sam Foote, who spent 24 years with the VA system, told CNN that the Phoenix VA worked off two patient appointment lists. The "official" list shows the VA was offering timely appointments within 14 to 30 days. Foote called this a “sham list” because there was another secret document where waits where much longer.
"The scheme was deliberately put in place to avoid the VA's own internal rules. They developed the secret waiting list,” he said. According to Foote, the elaborate plans involved shredding evidence to hide the long list, with VA officials instructing staff to not make veterans’ appointments in the computer system.