MADISON, Wis. - An investigation is expanding to every veterans hospital nationwide after allegations that 40 veterans on a secret waiting list died before being treated at the Phoenix VA Hospital.
The claims are being made by a former Phoenix VA Hospital employee who said the officials manipulated the waiting list in Phoenix to make it appear that wait times for treatments were shorter, which qualified them for bonuses.
Veterans who were allegedly put on a waiting list would disappear from the VA Hospital records books if they died before being treated, but administrators of the VA hospital in Phoenix strongly deny the allegations.
Federal investigators are now auditing every VA facility nationwide, and similar waiting-list allegations having cropped up in other states.
The VA hospital in Madison is consistently rated among the best, but a Dane County veterans service officer believes the investigation is needed.
"It is tragic that some veterans died waiting for an appointment," Dane County Veterans Service Office Thomas Hay said. "I was really surprised. I knew that our VA hospital in Madison was one of the best in the country, but when reading about the Phoenix VA Hospital they also were applauded for a lot of good things over the years."
Hay is also a veteran and said he has had good experiences with the hospital in Madison.
Later this week VA Secretary Eric Shinseki will appear before a Senate hearing looking into the allegations. An internal probe by the VA found no evidence to substantiate the claims about the Phoenix VA.
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