NEW YORK (April 24, 2014) –Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation’s first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, today issued the following statement from Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff after CNN reported that at least 40 veterans died while waiting for an appointment at the Phoenix VA. It’s alleged that many of those vets were placed on a secret waiting list in order to hide how thousands of sick veterans were being forced to wait months to see a doctor.
“It’s been a rough couple of weeks for veterans.
“With the sensationalized coverage of the tragic shooting at Fort Hood and the reprehensible op-ed published in The New York Times attempting to link vets to hate groups, IAVA has been working overtime to ensure our community – the brave men and women who have sacrificed overseas and are now leading at home – is protected from attacks.
Then, last night, CNN reported that at least 40 veterans died while waiting for an appointment at the Phoenix VA. And to add insult to injury, it’s alleged that the VA placed many vets on a secret waiting list that was part of an elaborate scheme to hide that thousands of sick veterans were being forced to wait months to see a doctor. If true, this is shockingly unacceptable.
“IAVA is joining Senator John McCain, one of two combat vets in the Senate, in calling for an immediate and thorough investigation into these allegations.
“IAVA’s mission is simple – to fight for new vets and their families. When irresponsible news media outlets hurt vets – we fight back. And when the government hurts vets – we fight back.
“These recent allegations also underscore the importance of IAVA’s recently-launched Campaign to Combat Suicide. With an estimated 22 veterans dying by suicide every day, we need to ensure that all vets have access to the highest quality health care in the country – and that there will be accountability for those who try and cover up the truth.
“We must stand together as a community. Especially when our community is under attack.”
Note to media: Email email@example.com or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA leadership.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 15th anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 8,000 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.