Feds look into claim of unof­fi­cial Veterans Af­fairs wait lists

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH -

Gov­ern­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tors said they are look­ing into al­le­ga­tions that Depart­ment of Veterans Af­fairs em­ploy­ees in Colorado kept unof­fi­cial lists of veterans wait­ing for health care that could con­ceal how long it takes to get an ap­point­ment, pos­si­bly broad­en­ing a na­tion­wide scan­dal.

The VA’s in­ter­nal watch­dog an­nounced an au­dit in a let­ter Wed­nes­day’s to Repub­li­can Sens. Ron Johnson of Wis­con­sin and Cory Gard­ner of Colorado. The As­so­ci­ated Press ob­tained a copy of the let­ter.

Johnson and Gard­ner asked for the in­quiry af­ter a whistle­blower told them the lists were al­legedly used at the Den­ver VA Med­i­cal Cen­ter and VA health clin­ics in Colorado Springs and the Den­ver sub­urb of Golden.

The in­quiry by the VA’s in­spec­tor gen­eral also will look into the whistle­blower’s al­le­ga­tions that records at the Colorado Springs clinic were fal­si­fied af­ter a vet­eran took his own life while await­ing treat­ment for post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der. Unof­fi­cial or se­cret lists have been used at VA fa­cil­i­ties across the coun­try to hide lengthy de­lays in care for veterans. Forty veterans died while wait­ing for ap­point­ments at a Phoenix VA hos­pi­tal. The scan­dal led Congress to fund the Veterans Choice pro­gram, which al­lows veterans to seek pri­vate care at gov­ern­ment ex­pense if they have waited 30 days or longer. It also led to the ouster of VA Sec­re­tary Eric Shin­seki. —AP

AURORA, COLORADO: In this April 24, 2015 file photo, Sen. Cory Gard­ner, R-Colo., speaks to mem­bers of the me­dia fol­low­ing a US Se­nate del­e­ga­tion tour of the over-bud­get Veterans Ad­min­is­tra­tion hos­pi­tal con­struc­tion site. —AP

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