To the Editor:
The nation has been shocked by charges that more than 1,400 veterans lingered and 40 died on a secret waiting list at the Phoenix, Arizona Veterans Administration medical center. This report shocked everyone except veterans themselves. We know what really transpires in our veteran hospitals as we are the individuals who are subjected to the many indignities that are allowed to occur there.
The Phoenix VAMC concocted a list to conceal long waits for care among other indiscretions. It has also been uncovered that VA hospitals across America are manipulating the official electronic waiting list, and the deadly cover-ups have been going on for years. But this horror is going to be the tip of the iceberg. The fraud and abuse that occurs on a daily basis is what will truly shock the public. I worked in the Providence VAMC for three years. I worked in the Human Resources Office.
I saw reports of sexual promiscuity, mismanagement of funds, nepotism in promoting individuals and managers who knew nothing about managing people. Cash awards were given to individuals by using the good old boy system of operating and veterans who applied for certain positions were not even given a chance to prove themselves if they were competing for a position that had already been pre-destined.
The reason no one spoke up was fear. Fear of retaliation from the higher ups who used Attila the Hun as a management model. So this Memorial Day when all the pundits, politicians, administrators and their ilk expound on how they care for and honor veterans ask a veteran what they think of this rhetoric, you will be very surprised by the truth in their reply.