The inability of veterans to get doctors’ appointments at the VA might be criminal, according to U.S. Sen. Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.). Kirk is concerned about Army veteran Michael Swan of Orland Park, whose VA appointments were listed as “cancelled by patient.” Swan says it isn’t so.
“I never cancelled any appointments. There’s virtually no way for me to do it anyway. Even if I called the VA, you don’t talk to an individual doctor or that department, you only get the operator,” he said.
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Swan has been waiting for an appointment with a neurologist at the Hines VA Hospital in Maywood to get medication related to a stroke he suffered; he says he has been waiting over a year and cannot get an appointment. He has also been unable to see an endocrinologist despite waiting over a year.
Kirk believes there’s fraud involved. “I will be referring Michael’s details to the U.S. attorney for possible inclusion in the ongoing Department of Justice investigation of the VA,” he said.
Kirk says VA managers were awarded bonuses for keeping wait times at nor near zero, and he says they maneuvered like this – cancelling appointments that would show that the real wait times are longer – in order to claim the bonuses.