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US stock market daily report (May 29, 2014, Thursday)

May 30, 2014, Friday, 06:11 GMT | 01:11 EST | 09:41 IST | 12:11 SGT
Contributed by Millennium Traders

The brave men and women who serve our country and protect the freedom of all Americans, should not face any delay in receiving medical attention from Veterans Administration hospitals or clinics. For staff members and executives at VA clinics or hospitals to falsify information about the scheduled care of our nations Veterans - in order to protect their performance appraisals, bonus awards and salary increases for VA executives - is incomprehensible.

The Department of Veterans Affairs' internal watchdog is probing manipulation of appointment data at 42 VA medical centers, for allegations of secret waiting lists. DVA confirmed that "inappropriate scheduling practices are systemic" throughout the Veterans Health Administration. In Phoenix, the VA medical facilities were found significantly understating months-long waiting times for healthcare appointments for veterans.

Of 226 U.S. Veterans, the U.S. Inspector General's Office reported that these same Vets waited on average -115 days - for their first primary care appointment at Phoenix-area clinics - much longer than the 26-day average - fraudulently reported by the Phoenix VA and the department's 14-day goal. The Inspector General said more information was needed to determine whether appointment delays resulted in delayed diagnosis, treatment or even death for the waiting Veterans. Per reports from VA doctors in Phoenix, some 40 Veterans died while waiting for care.

Richard J. Griffin, Inspector General confirmed the systemic and widespread scheduling abuse by the VA, in efforts to cover up long wait times for healthcare for U.S. Veterans. In a 35-page report, Griffin noted inappropriate scheduling practices throughout some 1,700 VA health facilities nationwide, including 150 hospitals and more than 800 clinics. Griffin said that U.S. Department of Justice Department officials are already involved in the investigation where there is evidence of a criminal or civil violation.

Findings prompted both parties of the isle to call for immediate resignation of U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. Shinseki, a retired four-star Army general, has been at the helm of the VA since early 2009. Since 2005, the IG said it has filed 18 reports on VA patient scheduling deficiencies. Of the 1,700 Veterans waiting for a primary care appointments, zero appeared on the VA's electronic waiting list.

In a statement, Shinseki, called the findings of the investigation "reprehensible" and directed the Phoenix facility to "immediately triage" the veterans to get them care. Reportedly, Shinseki is conducting his own review of scheduling practices at VA health care facilities nationwide and is expected to deliver preliminary results from the review to President Barrack Obama this week.

Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona told a news conference in Phoenix, "If Secretary Shinseki does not step down voluntarily, then I call on the president of the United States to relieve him of his duties." McCain added, “I believe that this issue has reached a level that requires the Justice Department involvement. These allegations are not just administrative problems. These are criminal problems.”

During a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing late Wednesday, three VA officials were asked to testify on the alleged existence and destruction of a secret wait list identified by whistleblowers in Phoenix.

Dr. Samuel Foote, former clinic director for the VA in Phoenix, was first to bring the allegations to light. Foote told reporters, “I knew about all of this all along. The only thing I can say is you can’t celebrate the fact that vets were being denied care.” Foote added, “Everybody has been gaming the system for a long time. Phoenix just took it to another level. … The magnitude of the problem nationwide is just so huge, so it’s hard for most people to get a grasp on it.”