Vet group: Private care decision a 'no-brainer'
By Mario Trujillo - 05/25/14 09:37 AM EDT
An Iraq and Afghanistan veterans group on Sunday said the administration's decision to allow more veterans to get care through private facilities should have been taken years ago.
"It is a no-brainer," Derek Bennett, the chief of staff for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said on "Fox News Sunday."
"There have been plenty of studies of IG reports of GAO reports dating back to 2008 alleging gaming of the system," he added.
The department is facing criticism of long wait times for veterans. Some facilities are accused of falsifying reports to make it appear veterans received care faster than they did.
The department's inspector general is investigating at least 26 facilities around the country after reports last month suggested nearly 40 veterans died while on a secret wait list at a Phoenix VA clinic.
Bennett's group, which represents 270,000 veterans, said "day by day they are losing confidence" in Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. A number of lawmakers and veterans group have already called for his resignation.
Bennett said officials must "stop studying and take more action," adding that Washington's bureaucracy makes it is much easier to talk than take action.
"And I think there is a little bit of cynicism in the hopes ... that the public attention on this is going to go away soon," he said.
On the program, Margaret Moxness, a former psychiatrist at a West Virginia VA facility, said administrators ignored her warnings of delayed care at her facility.
"I was not seeing any secret waiting lists but my vets were waiting in a way that made them more risky, more likely to be suicidal," she said.