The retired doctor who blew the whistle on an alleged cover-up and misconduct at the Phoenix VA reportedly met with investigators Thursday from the Office of Inspector General.
Dr. Sam Foote told CBS 5 News he had additional documents and information to provide investigators who are looking into allegations that delays in patient care resulted in the deaths of veterans.
"We have the names of 23 people who died while waiting for care of approximately 45 potential victims," said Foote, who retired from the VA after more than two decades.
Foote accuses top VA administrators of orchestrating a plan to deliberately hide the fact that patients were waiting months, some up to 21 months, to see a doctor.
"They've been cooking the books. And they have been deliberately supplying Washington and Division with false numbers," said Foote.
Foote said he provided Congress and the OIG with emails and other documents that he believes prove his accusations. Foote claims patients needing appointments were placed on secret waiting lists and were only moved on the official wait list when appointments opened up two weeks out. That gave the inaccurate appearance that patients contacting the VA were being seen within 14 days of asking for an appointment.
"We knew what was going on. We knew they were faking the numbers, but we didn't appreciate early on what the actual consequences were. It was when we learned that the patients were actually dying on these two lists. That was the breaking point," said Foote.
On Thursday, CBS 5 News approached VA Director and CEO Sharon Helman at the opening of a new VA clinic. When asked about the allegations, Helman said the inspector general is looking into the allegations and her focus was on the new clinic.
But last week, Helman and her Chief of Staff Dr. Darren Deering both denied knowing anything about secret lists or the manipulation of patient wait times.
Foote accused Helman and Deering of blatantly lying, saying they unequivocally knew what was going on and he had the documents to prove it.
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