PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Phoenix was the center of the VA hospital controversy, and now there is more bad news for the VA and veterans across the country.
A scathing new report from the inspector general details stunning mismanagement within the system.
It was a former VA doctor that blew the whistle on the scandal, and now the results from the IG's report confirm many of his claims, that veterans died while waiting for care.
The report found more than 300,000 veterans across the country died while their applications for care got lost, deleted, or simply sat unprocessed in the system.
In its assessment, the VA Inspector General found that more than 300,000 dead veterans were still listed on VA computers actively seeking care, part of an 860,000 claim backlog. The IG went on to say that VA workers appeared to have deleted 10,000 benefits applications without processing them and that 13% had been waiting for treatment for more than five years.
In one case, the IG cited a veteran who had been placed in a pending status for 14 years.
Dan Caldwell with the Concerned Veterans of America says "The report also states that the VA is still delivering health care and other benefits, in the same way, they were a year and a half ago, and they haven't made any real fundamental reforms to fix those problems."
Dr. Sam Foote, a former VA doctor, was the first whistleblower to come forward last year with allegations of systemic mismanagement at the VA. His claims launched the VA inspector general investigation and led to the firing of several managers.
Other whistleblowers came forward; many say the IG's recent findings are vindication for the risk they took to expose the VA's problems.
"It's the first time I've seen where they've actually applauded a whistleblower for coming forward. Usually it's backhanded... we're not out of the woods yet, but maybe the tides are changing, people are tired of it, and it's time for a change," said Brandon Coleman.
Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon released a statement expressing his disgust over the new report. In part it read, "This is an abysmal example of mismanagement and bureaucratic failure that has impacted the men and women who sacrificed so much on behalf of our nation. I strongly urge VA Secretary Bob McDonald to take aggressive steps that will hold accountable those responsible for this fundamental lack of leadership and management."
In an official response to the report, the VA Undersecretary for Health agreed with the recommendations for solutions that were listed in the report and said he would hurry to try to fix the problems.