The Veterans Affairs scandal engulfing the Obama administration has spread into Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, but only ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday found time to cover the latest developments. GMA news reader Amy Robach revealed, "We're learning those secret waiting lists were also kept at ten facilities in these four Midwestern western states with nearly 100 veterans waiting more than three months for treatment." [MP3 audio here.]
Despite the eight hours of air time available to the three network morning shows, CBS and NBC avoided the story. ABC allowed 21 seconds. Obviously, the prisoner swap involving a U.S. soldier and five Taliban terrorists has rightly dominated the news. However, The four-hour-long Today show still found time to devote five minutes and 13 seconds on the subject of "six months to six pack" abs. CBS This Morning offered three minutes and 50 seconds to the phenomenon of "urban farming." Clearly, time was available.
The Associated Press offered more details:
The problems with delayed care and unauthorized wait lists that caused a furor at a Veterans Affairs health care campus in Arizona existed at several facilities in the Midwest, but in much smaller numbers, VA officials said in letters to two U.S. senators.
The Department of Veterans Affairs maintained 10 such "secret waiting lists" of military veterans in need of care at facilities in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, the letters said. They also said at least 96 veterans waited more than 90 days for treatment at seven facilities in those states, including 26 in St. Louis and 19 in Columbia, Missouri.
The letters said that eight of the 10 lists "served to complement authorized lists to more fully support Veteran care and access." But the two other lists, including one at the Wichita facility, "placed Veterans at risk."
The information about conditions in the VA's Heartland Network was sent to U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran of Kansas late last week, as the VA released a summary of 216 site-specific audits detailing widespread falsification of waiting list records and unreported treatment delays at VA facilities nationwide. In that release, the VA did not reveal any information about conditions at individual sites.
Last Thursday, CBS This Morning journalists investigated the latest on the "ugly" VA scandal, but failed to mention Obama's name or examine possible culpability for the President.
A transcript of the June 4 GMA segment is below:
AMY ROBACH: New details in the VA hospital scandal. We're learning those secret waiting lists were also kept at ten facilities in these four Midwestern western states [Graphic appears with Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana on-screen] with nearly 100 veterans waiting more than three months for treatment. It comes as the White House reportedly considers nominating Toby Cosgrove, the head of the prestigious Cleveland Clinic as the next VA secretary.