The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) were in San Diego Thursday demanding accountability from President Obama on allegations of mismanagement and a cover-up at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In front of the War Memorial Building at Balboa Park, the veterans turned up the heat on the VA after allegations that 40 veterans died in Phoenix waiting for medical care and accusations of cover-ups at medical centers nationwide.
“The question we have is, what's next? Are there other VA facilities that are having this problem where people are allegedly cooking the books?” asked IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff. He wants accountability at the highest level in the administration.
David Curry, a member of the San Diego Chapter, said the alleged problems at the VA were in large part uncovered by his fellow Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, “because others wouldn't come forward.” With 22 veterans committing suicide a day, the system needs to be accountable for care.
Rieckhoff said the VA San Diego Healthcare system is one of the best, but one veteran told NBC 7 the wait is still too long, one and a half months.
The San Diego VA Health System said in a statement:
"We have mechanisms in place to ensure all new patients are seen within 90 days of the day they enroll or sooner with most being seen within 14 days of enrollment. Urgent care is available 24/7, and we expedite follow-up care from the emergency department for any patient who needs it. If they (employees) become aware of unethical scheduling activity in their area, they are compelled to inform their manager."
This is a step in the right direction for retired Marine Aaron Mankin, who was injured in by an IED while overseas. Still, he says what is happening nationwide is unacceptable.
“It's evil that we would have to fight and be in combat and come home and have to continue to fight and struggle just to receive these services,” Mankin said.