Posts Tagged ‘criminal negligence’

Hundreds flee wildfires near Jerusalem

November 25, 2016


© AFP/File | Israeli authorities evacuated 60,000 people from Haifa because of a spate of wildfires

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Hundreds of people were evacuated from an Israeli village near Jerusalem overnight, police said Friday, as firefighters battled wildfires that have forced tens of thousands to flee around the country.

The evacuations in Beit Meir, a cooperative village of religious Jews, came after 60,000 people in Israel’s third-largest city Haifa were moved to safety on Thursday because of a spate of fires.

“All the Beit Meir area has been evacuated — several hundred people, maybe 400,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.

Rosenfeld said that a suspect had been arrested in connection with the blaze, but did not elaborate.

Police have arrested a number of people in connection with the fires across the country.

Some are suspected of criminal negligence leading to accidental fires in tinder-dry woodland and undergrowth, while there are also suspicions that some may have been deliberate and related to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Police on Friday morning reported the outbreak of a new fire near the southern town of Kiryat Gat.

In the north, thousands of residents of the mixed Jewish-Arab coastal city of Haifa spent the night in temporary accommodation.

The Haifa fires were “under control” on Friday morning, Rosenfeld said, but he cautioned that “things can change and develop as we speak.”

Firefighters and rescue services say strong and changeable winds make developments hard to predict.

“At the moment, (Haifa) residents who were evacuated from their homes are not allowed to go back,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.

Entire neighbourhoods of the port city have been evacuated, along with Haifa University and local prisons.

Meteorologists say a long dry summer and so-far rainless autumn have brought about ideal conditions for fires to spread — whether sparked by accident or on purpose.



Veterans at Phoenix VA hospital wait an average of 115 days for an appointment: watchdog

May 28, 2014

Published: Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 2:31 PM
Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, says the shocking statistic confirms that ‘wait times schemes and data manipulation’ are systemic throughout VA. Following the announcement, a number of politicians, including Sen. John McCain, called for the resignation of Veterans Secretary Eric Shinseki.


WASHINGTON — Veterans at the Phoenix veterans hospital waited on average 115 days for their first medical appointment, which is 91 days longer than the hospital reported, the Department of Veteran Affairs’ internal watchdog said Wednesday.

The news brought immediate calls for the resignation of Veterans Secretary Eric Shinseki from Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Miller also said Attorney General Eric Holder should conduct a criminal investigation into the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Richard J. Griffin, the department’s acting inspector general, reported that investigators had “substantiated serious conditions” at the Phoenix VA hospital, including 1,700 veterans awaiting care who were not on an official waiting list.

“We have substantiated that significant delays in access to care negatively impacted the quality of care at this medical facility,” Griffin wrote.

Miller said the report confirmed that “wait time schemes and data manipulation are systemic throughout VA and are putting veterans at risk in Phoenix and across the country.”

Griffin said his office has increased the number of VA health care facilities it is investigating to 42 nationwide.


The report said 84 percent of a statistical sample of 226 veterans at the Phoenix hospital waited more than 14 days for an appointment. VA guidelines say veterans should be seen within 14 days of their desired date for an appointment.

About 25 percent of the 226 received some level of care, such as in the emergency room or walk-in clinics, while awaiting a primary care appointment, the report said.

The report said the inspector general is studying allegations that delays in appointments resulted in patient deaths. It said conclusions on that question won’t be reached until after investigators analyze medical records, death certificates and autopsy results.

It recommended that Shinseki take immediate action to provide care for the 1,700 veterans whose names were not on an official waiting list.

The report said Shinseki should review existing waiting lists at Phoenix to identify veterans at greatest risk because of the appointment delays and provide appropriate care.

A number of politicians have callled for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. Shinseki said he is angry and saddened by allegations of treatment delays and preventable deaths at a Phoenix veterans hospital.


Read more:

McCain Says Shinseki Must Resign or Be Fired — Inspector General’s Report on Medical Treatment of American Veterans Shows Likely Criminal Wrongdoing

May 28, 2014



An initial review of the Veterans Affairs medical facility in Phoenix has found multiple unofficial wait lists of veterans seeking care and 1,700 veterans not on any list but also waiting to be seen, according to an agency watchdog.

The preliminary report submitted to senior VA officials and to Congress by Richard Griffin, the agency’s acting inspector general, is the first independent word since lawmakers and the White House demanded answers this month on the controversy over allegations of delayed care nationwide.

The report also found “numerous allegations” of “daily of mismanagement, inappropriate hiring decisions, sexual harassment, and bullying behavior by mid- and senior-level managers” at the Phoenix facility.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki

But the inspector general’s report does not make any broader conclusions on whether delays in scheduling affected treatment, and the investigation continues.

The VA is under fire over allegations of alarming shortcomings at medical facilities nationwide. The controversy, as CNN first reported, involves of delayed care with potential fatal consequences in possibly dozens of cases.

CNN has reported that in Phoenix, the VA used fraudulent record-keeping — including an alleged secret list — that covered up excessive waiting periods for veterans, some of whom died in the process.

Overall, the number of VA facilities under investigation has expanded to 26, the inspector general’s office said Tuesday.

Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Griffin’s initial findings were terrible and said it was “about time” the Justice Department launched its own investigation.

He also said embattled VA Secretary Eric Shinseki should probably resign, which the Cabinet officer has said he has no plans to do.

“I haven’t said this before, but I think it’s time for General Shinseki to move on,” McCain said.

There have been calls from other members of Congress for him to step down over the scandal, but McCain’s voice on military issues carries enormous weight considering his experience as a combat veteran and a Vietnam prisoner of war.