Report: Little Rock VA manipulated veteran's wait times
A government report reveals the Little Rock VA manipulated veteran's appointment dates, resulting in the appearance of significantly lower wait times for veteran' clinical appointments.
A whistleblower contacted federal officials providing emails showing he was instructed by supervisors to "zero out" the wait times for veteran's appointments.
A veteran Channel 7 News interviewed two years ago when the news first broke of scandal at the Phoenix, Arizona VA said the report doesn't surprise him.
Two years ago Korean War veteran Joe Holland said he experienced long wait times at the Little Rock VA for a hip injury.
He says he waited three months to see a specialist and then another two months for the rehab he needed.
"I would call and ask could they speed it up any and they'd say no. Can't do it. And there's just no way to deal with it. I just simply couldn't get any help for it. I even went back to the emergency room one day, it got so bad," Holland said.
Holland's waiting came around the same time it surfaced veterans died at the VA in Phoenix, Arizona waiting for care, while employees there manipulated data to appear veterans weren't waiting.
At the time VA officials in Little Rock told us what was happening in Phoenix wasn't happening here, despite veterans like Holland claiming otherwise.
"Our initial response was the best we knew was accurate," said Dr. Tina McClain, acting chief of staff at the Little Rock VA.
Leadership at the VA say the date manipulation was a lack of training, not an attempt to improve results.
"I regret any veteran has had to experience frustration receiving care here. I'm sorry for that and I regret that we had staff who were misinforming other staff and subsequently not scheduling appropriately," McClain said.
The whistleblower wrote, "When the Phoenix VA scandal broke on the news, I knew what we had been doing all these years was terribly wrong."
Holland says what he's known all along is finally out there.
"It's a fact. It's the truth and the truth needs to be dealt with. They need to come to grips with what's going on out there," Holland said.
The two supervisors instructing employees to change wait times have been moved to other departments according to McClain.
Click Here for a link to the whistle blower's letter.