Pittsburgh VA sets appointments for veterans on once-secret waiting list
The Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System scheduled appointments for 152 of the 636 veterans who spent months on a once-secret waiting list that was disclosed last week, the VA said Monday.
Agents from the local VA Office of Inspector General interviewed at least one former VA scheduler on Monday to ask whether she had proof that VA Pittsburgh director Terry Gerigk Wolf knew about the list, and whether she knew which other VA employees talked to the Tribune-Review about the secretive practices behind it.
“It's clear that they're very fearful of the knowledge that I have and that they're worried that I'm getting information passed to me from inside the VA to give to outside investigators,” said the former scheduler, Karen Santoro, 47, of the South Side.
Santoro is one of two Trib sources who spoke on Monday with investigators for the House Veterans Affairs Committee about the list and other VA Pittsburgh practices.
Wolf disclosed the list to two local congressmen on Thursday and told them that her superiors told her not to talk about it, the congressmen said on Friday. Secret waiting lists at facilities across the country have plunged the department into a crisis, drawn widespread condemnation from politicians and veterans groups and forced former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign on Friday.
The appointments in Pittsburgh will occur on or before June 14, according to a progress report from VA spokesman Mark Ray. Eight veterans proved unreachable by mail or phone, 22 requested appointments but have not been scheduled, and 250 deferred or declined VA care, according to the report. The VA could not clarify the status of the other 200 or so veterans Monday night.
Some veterans on Pittsburgh's New Enrollee Appointment Request list, which is maintained for those trying to enroll in VA care for the first time, waited longer than a year before the VA contacted them.
Veterans who want to schedule an appointment can call 412-822-3000 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh police say officers in video did not use excessive force
- W.Va. natural gas line explodes near Ohio border
- Charges officially dropped against Leon Ford, who is recovering from surgery
- Storm could drop 4-6 inches of snow on Pittsburgh area
- Project to End Human Trafficking volunteers help Uganda
- Mt. Lebanon High School to sell its planetarium equipment
- Long-term solution for wastewater disposal eludes shale gas industry
- Grandview development plan inches ahead in Mt. Washington
- Lure of tuition aid, gifts draw college students to ‘sugar daddy’ sites
- Man arrested in massive Homestead fire
- Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh nearly doubles goal with $230M pledged in largest fundraiser