The Veterans Administration has been under harsh scrutiny after reports exposed that the Phoenix facility had been altering its scheduling books and that at least 40 veterans had died while awaiting care. Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, said though the scandal began in his home state, it has since become a national crisis. "Altogether, similar reports of lengthy waiting lists and other issues have surfaced in at least 10 states," according to the Washington Times.
What's worse is that the Obama administration had been briefed on the weaknesses of the VA and did nothing to address them.
On Sunday, the Washington Times reported that officials had briefed Obama's transition team on the need to decrease excessive wait times through the development of a new system. According to that report, development on the new system had been in progress since 2002.
The Washington Times wrote, "The briefing materials, obtained by the Washington Times through the Freedom of Information Act, make clear that the problems existed well before Mr. Obama took office, dating back at least to the Bush administration. But the materials raise questions about what actions the department took since 2009 to remedy the problems."
It is typical for briefing reports to be prepared when a power change is set to take place, allowing new administrations to have detailed insights into the operations of various agencies. The VA briefing report indicates that officials have been well aware of the problems plaguing the agency for a long time but had been unable to correct them. "Although VHA has recognized the need to improve scheduling practices and the accuracy of wait times data, no meaningful action has been taken to achieve this goal today," officials wrote.
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