WASHINGTON—The former Army general who has been heading the Veterans Administration since the beginning of the Obama presidency tells a Senate committee that in his view, systematic cooking of the VA’s books to make patient wait times appear far shorter than they actually are is rare.
In his first congressional appearance since CNN Investigations Correspondent Drew Griffin first began reporting on the problem, Eric Shinseki says there’s evidence it’s happened “in a couple of cases” but told senators these were isolated incidents. A former VA doctor tells CNN that in his view, false stacking of those waiting lists has led to perhaps as many 40 deaths.
Drew’s reporting for AC360° continues tonight and a Democratic member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee says it’s high time the FBI began its own investigation.
When you see a hospital bill for close to half a million dollars right there in front of you, it makes you realize the extraordinary cost of getting sick in America, especially if you are underinsured or, of course, have no insurance at all.
It’s not headline news that health care is wildly expensive but taking a detailed look at what many hospitals actually charge for even the smallest items is truly eye-opening.
Our segment tonight on AC360 is the first of a planned two part series we produced in conjunction with a special edition of Time Magazine, called “Bitter Pill.” Correspondent Drew Griffin and I worked with Time Contributor Steven Brill to track down patients like Bob Weinkauf from this Dallas suburb whose bill from two hospitals while recovering from a horrific lung disease was $474,000.
THOREAU, New Mexico—A struggling charity in this tiny town amidst the spectacular red rock country of northwestern New Mexico has found itself owing one of the biggest direct mail companies in the world more than $5 million as a result of a failed fund-raising campaign.
The company is Quadriga Art, which just today received an official letter from the Senate Finance Committee in Washington, D.C., seeking detailed financial information about its finances, especially as they relate to another charity that we’ve investigated, the Disabled Veterans National Foundation.
Quadriga Art ultimately forgave a debt of $5.3 million but only after CNN began its investigation. Quadriga says it tried its best but the campaign was a failure.
And we’ve also examined another Quadriga client called Help the Children, based in Los Angeles. Its mission, it says, is to feed 130,000 families a month. But its CEO, Roger Presgrove, told CNN it too was upside-down to Quadriga Art for about $285,000 at one point.
After trying for months to take a first-hand look at the source of those donations sent around the nation by the Disabled National Veterans Foundation, we were finally allowed exclusive access to a small company based in South Carolina whose owner says he is proud of what he does.
The company is called Charity Services International and on the day we visited, we saw a lot of bottled water ready for shipment. We also saw candy—boxes and boxes of M&M’s and Three Musketeers. And we saw carton after carton of hand sanitizer and suntan lotion. We also saw hundreds of “Rambo” T-shirts.
Editor's note: Watch Gary Tuchman's 2011 report and read about the recent update in the Demiraj's fight to stay in the U.S.
The Department of Homeland Security has granted asylum to an Albanian immigrant, his wife and teenage son after a years-long deportation battle.
According to a letter from the Department of Homeland Security, Edmond and Rudina Demiraj and their teenage son, Rediol, were all granted asylum "for an indefinite period." The letter also said that asylum status for each person may be terminated if the family "no longer has a well founded fear of persecution because of a fundamental change in circumstances."
CNN first reported on the Demiraj case last fall. The Department of Justice was then threatening to deport the family to Albania even after Edmond Demiraj promised to testify in a human trafficking case.
Editor’s Note: CNN’s Gary Tuchman explores the latest developments in the saga of polygamist Warren Jeffs, the jailed leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Part 2 of a special report on Wednesday’s “AC 360” and for CNN Presents, airing Sunday, July 31, at 8 p.m. ET.
El Dorado, Texas (CNN) – Fundamentalist Mormon leader Warren Jeffs has been held in a tiny jail in this west Texas town for roughly three years. According to his jailers, he has spent his time doing one thing above all else: talking on the phone..
Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran told CNN that in one month, Jeffs has spent roughly $3,000 on phone cards.
And while Jeffs was recently held in another Texas jail roughly 50 miles away, he spent close to $10,000 in phone cards in three months.
Reagan County Sheriff James Garner, who oversees that jail, told CNN that no inmate there has ever spent that much money on phone cards.
Authorities say Jeffs has received money from loyal followers and that he uses much of it to buy phone time to deliver lengthy sermons to acolytes in Texas, Utah and Arizona.
Some Jeffs experts say the calls are proof that he’s running his church from behind bars.
And officially, Jeffs still leads the breakaway sect called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), which firmly believes in polygamy.
Leaders of the mainstream Mormon church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have repeatedly disavowed Jeffs and say his group of roughly 10,000 followers in no way represents their religion.
The official LDS church banned polygamy more than a century ago.
Jury selection for Jeff’s sexual assault trial began in Texas on Monday. He is charged with two counts of sexual assault on a child and one count of bigamy.
Jeffs has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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