Few would argue that veterans deserve anything less than the best and most affordable healthcare that the United States can provide. Unfortunately, however, the Veterans Affairs department has come under fire in the past for failing to provide the healthcare that veterans deserve.
Now, a top-ranking Veterans Affairs official, Jereme P. Whiteman, is blowing the whistle on an alleged secret waiting list. Over the years, the VA has repeatedly denied that it uses any sort of waiting list. However, Whiteman claims that such a secret wait list does indeed exist.
Whiteman claims that internal reports show that the number of veterans waiting for health care is far higher than publicly published numbers. The VA’s public electronic wait list showed 14,971 veterans waiting for care from May 1st, 2018 to May 1st 2019.
However, internal records suggest that the number could be as high as 44,478. Under the Obama administration, the VA had come under intense fire for covering up long waiting times. If the allegations are true, it suggests that the VA’s leadership hasn’t cleaned up its act.
Whiteman claims that he discovered the secret wait list back in September. He also claims that the VA has taken steps to conceal the list from the public. VA press secretary Curt Cashour, however, fired back, stating that the accusations are false. Cashour claims that the smaller, publicly available number refers to those who are waiting for medical treatment, while the larger, private number is an administrative component. This number, Cashour alleges, has nothing to do with medical treatment wait times.
Whiteman has pushed back against the official explanation. A former Marine, Whiteman quickly rose through the ranks of the VA department, securing the top General Schedule rank GS-15. After failing to get a satisfactory resolution through official channels, he went public with the accusations while still employed by the VA. He now claims that he faces retaliation for his whistleblowing.