A system-wide investigation of Veterans Affairs has been underway since Sunday due to allegations of fake appointments, unofficial logs kept on the sly and appointments made without telling their patients. It is estimated up to 40 veterans have died in Phoenix awaiting care.
Former Utah Director of Veterans Affairs, Terry Schow, spoke with UPR last week and addressed the issue.
“The general consensus is once you’re in the VA, the care is quite good," he said. "The challenge becomes the delays. That’s the heart of this issue that is going on in Phoenix.”
Critics said the root cause is not enough medical personnel to meet a surging demand for VA health care.
Schow said the VA is one of the largest health care systems in the world with at least 300,000 employees.
“It’s important to understand that one of the challenges that you have that it is a monstrously large entrenched bureaucracy," he said. "It is virtually impossible for the secretary to go to every scheduling clerk throughout this system.”
Phony records are not a new phenomenon. VA officials and members of Congress have known about them for years.
Officials from the Utah’s VA Hospital say Utah’s 10 clinics were investigated and are in good standing, though official reports have not yet been released.
Schow said he feels very fortunate to participate in Utah’s VA system.
“I work very closely at the VA medical center,” he said. “In fact, I actually get my care at the Salt Lake VA.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.