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A Times Editorial

Editorial: Scott's showboating

Errors in Florida's lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are evidence of a court filing concerned more with generating headlines than nailing down facts. Gov. Rick Scott should not be using veterans, already at the center of a nationwide scandal over inadequate patient care, as pawns in his re-election effort. It is up to the federal government, not a headline-grabbing governor, to fix the VA.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration filed suit against the VA in June, alleging poor treatment of veterans and demanding to inspect VA hospitals. The agency used the experiences of Largo Army veteran Roland "Dale" Dickerson and another veteran to illustrate its case. The suit claimed Dickerson had a 69 percent coronary blockage and was turned down for tests that might have detected his heart troubles sooner.

But the Tampa Bay Times' William R. Levesque found Dickerson's medical records show a normal ejection fraction of 69 percent — not a 69 percent coronary blockage. The measurement tells how much blood his left ventricle pumped with each heartbeat. The suit also made erroneous claims about where he was treated and who would pay the bill.

The crux of the lawsuit rings true. The VA's doctors appear to have failed Dickerson and other Florida veterans. But in failing to do even basic research, the state agency undermined its credibility and rendered its intentions suspect. It's the federal government's job, not the state's, to fix the system. The governor should stop the showboating.

Editorial: Scott's showboating 07/11/14 [Last modified: Friday, July 11, 2014 4:58pm]
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