Senator John McCain lashed out today against Veterans Affairs’ selection of shill Skye McDougall who will head VISN 18 and oversee Phoenix VA. McDougall hit headlines earlier this year when she made false claims to Congress under oath about the wait list.
Before Congress and under oath, Ms. McDougall gave false testimony claiming wait list times were reduced when the opposite was true. Her testimony came while she was leading Greater Los Angeles VA Medical Center out of its wait list woes.
McDougall erroneously claimed the average wait for appointments was 4 days when:
- It was 36 days overall, and
- 3 months for consultation appointments
- 48 days for initial appointments
So, how did McDougall misspeak when she claimed it was 4 days?
Senator John McCain spoke out against the appointment given the close proximity to ground zero of the Phoenix VA wait list scandal.
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN LETTER
Dear Secretary McDonald,
I was surprised to learn through media reports today that Skye McDougall, the acting director of the Desert Pacific Healthcare Network in California, has been named director of the Southwest Health Care Network. In her new capacity, Ms. McDougall will oversee the Phoenix VA and other hospitals across Arizona and be responsible for ensuring that veterans across the Southwest receive the medical care they need. However, based on reports that Ms. McDougall purposely misled Congress regarding wait times for veterans in Southern California, I am extremely concerned by this appointment I believe that this selection does nothing to regain veterans’ confidence that the VA has been reformed in the aftermath of the tragic scandal during which veterans died waiting for care while senior VA executives collected monetary bonuses.
As the Phoenix VA Health Care System was ground zero for that scandal, the veterans in my state deserve better than to have a director who misled Congress about patient wait times or understated the severity of the VA ‘s failures. Further, while Ms. McDougall appears to have extensive experience in research and as part of the VA bureaucracy, our veterans deserve to have a leader who understands patient care and knows how to improve it.
Given that the VA is still working to earn back the trust of veterans it betrayed from last year’s scandal and its own employees who have lost faith in the integrity of their senior leaders, I urge you to reconsider this selection.
Thank you for your timely response to this letter.