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Letter: Broken promises to veterans shame for U.S.


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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Charles Doup

Columbus

The lead story in the New York media April 29 is all about a man who owns a professional basketball team and remarks he made that were recorded in secret and were in bad taste. Most, if not all, of the reporting on this subject is again speculation and opinion reported as fact.

 

The following is not speculation and not opinion. Forty American veterans died while waiting to be cared for in a Phoenix VA hospital. This is fact.

The director, Sharon Helman, was responsible for developing a plan that placed veterans on a secret waiting list. This list contained over 1,600 names. Names were not moved from this list until an appointment could be made for the veteran to be seen in 10 to 14 days. This procedure was set up so that employees of the veterans hospital could earn bonuses for caring for our veterans in a timely manner.

“They would take it upstairs, put you on the patient waiting list and shred it, so if you died off that list, they just crossed your name off the list, and it was like you were never there.” This was reported by Dr. Samuel Foote, who worked for the VA hospital for 24 years and spent the last year compiling this data.

Helman earned a $9,345 bonus in 2013, on top of her annual salary of $169,900. She had previously been employed at the VA hospital in Spokane, Washington, and had been accused of misreporting veteran suicides at the facility. Twenty-two veterans committed suicide, but Helman reported nine suicides and 34 attempted. She was transferred to the VA hospital in Hines, Illinois, before being sent to the Phoenix position. This is fact.

Do remarks made by a foolish old man really rise above broken promises made to men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms? The choices made regarding this priority should shame all Americans. The shame is greatest on Congress and the president.

Every New York news media without exception led with the basketball story. The credibility of these organizations should be questioned by every viewer and listener. Shame.

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