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Report: Phoenix VA remains plagued by long waits years after scandal

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX — Nearly three years ago, news first broke of a scandal involving excessive wait times and inadequate care at the Phoenix VA hospital.

According to a Wednesday report, more than 1,000 veterans are still waiting more than 30 days to see a doctor.

The Washington Post said the latest round of problems was again unveiled by a whistleblower, which has become a common theme in issues with the VA.

A review by the inspector general for the Department of Veterans Affairs said at least one veteran died last year while awaiting cardiology testing that may have saved his life.

The review found that 1,100 veterans wait longer than a month for care and, in the period reviewed, 215 veterans died waiting to see a specialist. The delays are not believed to have contributed to the deaths.

The review also said veterans waiting to see a psychotherapist wait more than two months on average and some 3,900 appointments were canceled in October 2015, during which 12 people were harmed. It is possible those people would not have been harmed had they been seen in a timely matter.

According to the inspector general’s report, the latest delays were the result of bureaucratic confusion.

“Staff were generally unclear about specific consult management procedures, and services varied in their procedures and consult management responsibilities,” the inspector general’s office wrote.

The person behind the latest round of allegations, chief of specialty care clinics in Phoenix Kuauhtemoc Rodriguez, said the VA has threatened to fire him.