ARIZONA NEWS

Report: Whistleblower claims Phoenix VA still lacking doctors

Dec 28, 2015, 12:13 PM

PHOENIX — A whistleblower claimed the Veterans Administration hospital in Phoenix is reportedly still short of doctors, despite the facility making changes in the wake of a national scandal.

A report from CBS News said veterans are still waiting a long time for their appointments, something whistleblower Dr. Sam Foote — who exposed the original scandal — said is caused by a lack of staff.

“A Band-Aid has been put on this, and therefore everything’s okay? Everything’s not okay,” said Dr. Foote. “They still don’t have enough physicians and providers to provide medical care.”

Back in October, a report from the Inspector General said the Phoenix VA’s urology department was drastically understaffed. It also said the shortage likely affected thousands of patients.

One woman who spoke with CBS News, Debbie Allen, said her husband Mel was forced to wait months for a referral to an outside hospital because the Phoenix VA did not have a urologist on staff who could remove his cancerous prostate and bladder.

Allen said her husband’s cancer spread while they waited for the referral to go through. She believes the long wait contributed to his March 2014 death.

In a statement to the news agency, the facility said it had reduced its urology wait list by hiring more staff and referring patients to other care providers.

In August, the Phoenix VA said its average wait time for appointments had decreased from 145 days to 116 days.

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Report: Whistleblower claims Phoenix VA still lacking doctors