Gov. Rick Scott wants state authorities to inspect federal hospitals that serve veterans. Scott sent a letter this past Tuesday to the secretary of the state’s main health care agency asking for the inspections. This request was done after numerous media outlets and politicians have inquired about the inordinate amount of deaths in the last several months. In the letter, Scott expressed his concern about the unanswered questions. “Perhaps even more troubling, many questions in this tragedy remain unanswered, Scott wrote. œWhich of these incidents happened at which veterans hospitals in Florida. … How can the federal government increase transparency on the quality of care provided to veterans so taxpayers can ensure these federally funded hospitals are providing excellent care for our nation’s heroes?
The Tampa Tribune had previously reported that five cancer patients died and nine others suffered injury because of delays in diagnosis or treatment through the network that includes Florida, south Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The only thing we do know is that the deaths were the result of delayed endoscopy tests. In most cases, the delays were less than a year but more than 90 days. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) blocked the release of the names of the hospitals where 19 veterans died . Earlier this month, the VA denied a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the Tampa Tribune who had been investigating the deaths. CNN reported in January that 19 veterans died as a result of delayed gastrointestinal cancer screenings, while another 63 were seriously injured. CNN had obtained internal documents from the VA listing the number of œinstitutional disclosures of adverse events”the catch phrase for a mistake that gravely harms or kills a patient. In particular, the deaths were the result of delayed endoscopy tests. In most cases, the delays were less than a year but more than 90 days However, the documents did not list the names of the hospitals and clinics where the deaths took place.
Senator Nelson has also demanded more information from the VA on the deaths. œVeterans across this country have a right to know about their local VA facility’s record of care, Nelson wrote. œThey cannot be adequately served if they do not fully understand their benefits and in some cases, are not fully informed about the care they need.
The VA had their own reason on why they would not release the information. œThe specific information that was requested is preliminary and has not been validated and finalized, a VA spokesman told an inquiring news agency regarding the deaths. œThat information would include possible locations where consult delays may have occurred, as well as actual numbers pertaining to delays. Until the Department has reviewed and validated the preliminary data, VA’s FOIA Office has determined that it is part of the deliberative process. Because of potential variances in the preliminary data, premature release of this information would inaccurately inform the public concerning this matter. VA is committed to providing complete and precise data about this extremely important issue.
If you or a loved one are a dependent or a non-active duty person who has been injured or due to malpractice in a military/VA hospital or on a military base, contact us to evaluate your claim.