The VA has all hands on deck as they scramble to deal with the fallout from the revelation of veterans dying not knowing that they’re on the secret wait lists.
I once represented a veteran who waited more than 200 days for an appointment with the local VA medical center. He had felt a lump under his arm. By the time the VA squeezed him for an appointment, he had developed full-blown cancer. We argued the delay was malpractice. That veteran obtained compensation, but it took years.
The VA could have admitted that it was overwhelmed and requested more funds. Instead, administrators — whose healthy federal bonuses depended on it — chose to hide the problem.
A good sentence for the people responsible would be to make them wait for an appointment at their own VA medical center.
Veterans have called me and asked whether these revelations will have any impact on their claims. Unfortunately, I think the most likely impact will be negative. The VA will devote resources to putting out this public relations nightmare instead of putting them toward processing claims. The result is a familiar one: A longer wait.