WICHITA, Kan. — The director of the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center in Wichita is speaking out, concerned about a practice just discovered this week at the local hospital - A practice he immediately had stopped involving a non-sanctioned waiting list for scheduling some patients.
For the first time since the VA scandal broke, KAKE News spoke with Francisco Vazquez.
"Something has come to my attention very recently."
Vazquez, medical director at the VA in Wichita only seven months, said he learned Wednesday of a non-sanctioned electronic waiting list at this VA.
"There was a concern brought to my attention that some of the consults for patients waiting to go into the home base primary care were being handled or being managed through an electronic waiting list that was not the VA waiting list," Vazquez said.
According to Vazquez, Home Base Primary Care simply is for patients getting primary care at their home. He said staff determined some of those patient consults were not being tracked through the VA waiting list.
"I immediately directed for that practice to cease," Vazquez said.
Vazquez said he reported the findings up the chain of command. He said a further investigation will be made whether anyone was denied care or if their home care was delayed because of the non-sanctioned list.
Such concerns are heightened because of the report of alleged dual lists at the Phoenix VA Hospital. Whistleblowers there say 40 veterans died waiting to see physicians over a 21-month period.
Vazquez said he doesn't believe the non-sanctioned list discovered here is similar, and said the VA is following up checking to see if those on that waiting list are getting the right level of care.
"What we always strive to provide is timely quality care."
He said the list doesn't fit the VA's mission of serving veterans' health care needs. Since learning of the list on Wednesday, he's since asked that a formal, outside review be made. The Wichita hospital has the highest rating in the VA system, but there's a heightened awareness now of checking and making certain all procedures are proper.
"It's about honoring veterans. It's about taking care of our nation's heroes."
This is a story KAKE News will continue to track.