WASHINGTON – It is a day to remember those who died serving. But across the nation, there is uproar over the alleged cover-up at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“It is dishonorable. It is disgraceful. And I will not tolerate it, period,” said President Barack Obama last week during a press conference.
Employees of more than two dozen veterans hospitals across the country are accused of “cooking the books” by manipulating records to hide long delays in treating injured veterans.
Pennsylvania Congressman Glenn Thompson (R-PA) said it hits close to home.
”As a member of Congress, but as a former hospital administrator, a healthcare professional and as an army dad, it’s unacceptable what is happening,” Thompson said.
The VA has already acknowledged that more than 20 veterans have died because of an excessive wait time. Now, the VA Inspector General is launching an independent investigation into the alleged misconduct.
For veterans in need of treatment, timing is crucial.
“We owe them the very best,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). “They should be the first in line to get the best mental health and other healthcare services and treatment, instead it appears at the VA they’re often the last in line to get what is sometimes, unfortunately been mediocre treatment.”
Michigan Democrat Dan Kildee, who lost a cousin to war in Afghanistan, said that long wait times at VA medical centers happen unfortunately all too often.
“Obviously we need to hold the admin accountable for correcting these mistakes,” Kildee said. “It is true that these problems have existed for a long time. But with so many returning Iraq and Afghan veterans, we can’t just allow the current system to continue.”
With politicians and administrators battling for clarity on Capitol Hill, on this day, we simply remember.
“Memorial Day is a time to talk about and think about, reflect on those vets who gave that ultimate sacrifice, but also a time to think about how lucky we are to have these people, our friends, our neighbors, our family members willing to put their lives on the line for us,” Portman said.