Phoenix Veterans Weigh In On VA Medical Center Crisis

April 28, 2014

(Photo by Carrie Jung - KJZZ)
Richard Lucero, Commander of American Legion Post 41

It’s been almost three weeks since a Congressional report emerged accusing the Phoenix VA of keeping secret patient records and suggesting that about three dozen veterans there may have died while awaiting care.

The allegations even got the attention of President Barack Obama on Monday as he addressed the issue while traveling in the Philippines. He says the VA’s inspector general will be investigating.

Richard Lucero is the commander of the American Legion’s post 41 in downtown Phoenix. He says while the allegations of delays don’t surprise him, he’s been pleased with the effort to investigate.

"Now that it’s out in the open I see that there will be more attention given to the situation that the veterans are having," he said. "So I see some sort of progress there."  

At VFW post 9400 in central Phoenix, Desert Storm veteran Chuck, who was uncomfortable sharing his last name, says his experience with the Phoenix VA medical center has been mostly positive. But he adds that he looks forward hearing about the VA inspector general’s report.

"The allegations about the 40 deaths they don’t know about, I want more proof," said Chuck. "Because if they’re waiting for over a year for an appointment like their claiming, why not just go to the emergency room?"

Phoenix VA officials were not available for comment, but in a statement they said they take the allegations of misconduct seriously and promised swift action if the inspector general validates the claims.