VA Healthcare Scandal's Impact in San Diego

The Veterans Affairs healthcare scandal is impacting medical centers across the country, including here in San Diego, where many military vets seek medical treatment on a daily basis.

Locally, the VA Medical Center has been under scrutiny - along with more than two dozen centers around the country – over many allegations regarding the way things run at the facilities, including long wait times and substandard care.

The death of as many as 40 patients allegedly waiting for care at a Phoenix VA hospital has sparked outrage.

San Diego VA director Jeff Gering said the veteran's health administration audited scheduling at the facility earlier this week.

“The review was very positive they found that the scheduling clerks scheduled with integrity,” Gering told NBC 7.

Gering said there were issues with timely access in two areas: physical therapy and podiatry.

But in other areas the waits were shorter.

“No one is waiting up to 90 days,” he said

As for the White House Deputy Chief of Staff being assigned to assist in the investigation, Gering said he is focused on what is happening in San Diego.

And when it comes to secret lists and long waits, like the problems at the Phoenix VA, Gering said, ”We have no evidence that those types of lists exist here.”

David Curry is a veteran and former intern at the San Diego VA.

He told NBC 7 he see's things much differently, a cultural problem. Curry says workers don't report problems for fear of retribution.

“It's better to tell people what they want to hear than what they need to hear in the VA because that's the path to promotion and bonuses,” said Curry.

Curry, who also received treatment at the San Diego VA for injuries sustained in Iraq, said there are a significant number of veterans who opt out of the system because it simply takes too long to be seen.

“Because of the frustration of trying to enroll in the VA Healthcare system they never do and they are never tracked,” Curry added.

But Gering says outdated technology is the biggest issue and it needs to be replaced badly. And he said there is plenty of money in the budget to make that happen.

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