Grijalva lauds Tucson VA hospital for low wait times
While the Veterans Administration Hospital in Phoenix has been beset by scandal, the VA hospital in Tucson has successfully passed a nationwide audit by the Department of Veteran Affairs.
U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva applauded the report, which showed the Southern Arizona VA Heath Care System has wait times of less than 30 days, calling the hospital's service "exemplary."
Grijalva visited the Tucson hospital on June 5 and praised the Tucson VA on Wednesday, calling on other hospitals to follow the Southern Arizona VA's lead.
The Veterans Health Administration conducted an access audit to review allegations about inappropriately long wait times. In Phoenix, wait times spiraled out of control and 40 veterans may have died while waiting for care.
Tucson was one of four regional hospitals that passed the audit. According to the VHA, 99 percent of Southern Arizona appointments are made within 30 days. New patients waited an average of 33 days for an appointment, while current patients waited a day.
"The Tucson VA is an example of the quality care the VA is capable of providing," said Grijalva in a press release.
"While we work to address the nationwide crisis, we should look at Tucson’s achievements and recognize that rash efforts to privatize the VA could jeopardize a system that is worth saving," said the Democrat.
Last month, the VA's acting inspector general released a harsh report detailing a secret waiting list, hidden to protect the Phoenix hospital's numbers. Investigators may be looking for wrongdoing in at least 69 hospitals, Richard Griffin, the VA's acting inspector general, told lawmakers.
Wednesday the FBI announced that it was working on a criminal probe to review how VA officials in Phoenix may have covered up wait times for veteran care.
GOP Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake welcomed the move.
"To restore veterans' trust and confidence in the VA, individual employees must be held accountable," the pair said in a press release. "The FBI's investigation is a positive signal; but, wherever the evidence shows that crimes have been committed, they must follow through and prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law."