Jul 29, 2014

'Absurd' VA Blunder: Acton Vet Gets Appointment 2 Years After Death

Douglas Chase, who served in Vietnam, died from a brain tumor before he could get an appointment at the Bedford VA Medical Center.

'Absurd' VA Blunder: Acton Vet Gets Appointment 2 Years After Death
The widow of an Acton veteran said she's furious after the Bedford VA Medical Center made a doctor's appointment for him, nearly two years after his death.

CBS Boston reported Douglas Chase, who served in Vietnam, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2011. His wife, Suzanne, said they tried to make an appointment in Bedford but never received a response. Chase died in August 2012.

Earlier this month, Suzanne told CBS she received a letter from the Bedford VA saying her husband could now call to make an appointment.

"It is absurd," she told CBS. "It made me angry ... it was 22 months too late."

Making matters worse, Suzanne said she was denied funeral benefits because her husband was never treated at the VA.

The incident happened as the VA finds itself at the center of a criminal investigation over delays in medical care for veterans across the country. Last month, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned after an outcry from lawmakers.

Last week, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors released a report that found "a corrosive culture" and inadequate resources contributed to the scandal.

"A corrosive culture has led to personnel problems across the department that are seriously impacting morale, and by extension, the timeliness of care," the Nabors’ report says.

A recent audit found that 23 veterans died while waiting to see a doctor. The audit also found that officials  altered wait list records to make it appear there were no problems. 

CBS reported the VA's letter to the Chases included this line: "We are committed to providing primary care in a timely manner and would greatly appreciate a prompt response."

The VA apologized to Suzanne for the incident, according to CBS.

The VA said it's focused on improving wait times; last month, it launched its  "Accelerating Access to Care Initiative."

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