Twenty-four members of the Texas Congressional Delegation joined forces to demand the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launch in Inspector General Investigation into allegations that employees at three Central Texas VA facilities manipulated medical appointment data in order to conceal long wait times for veterans seeking patient care. The request for this investigation comes after reports that as many as forty veterans may have died while waiting for patient care in Phoenix, AZ.
The delegation is calling for an investigation into the North Central Federal Clinic in San Antonio, the Austin Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic and the Waco Veterans Affairs Medical Center. “An employee of the VA who has recently worked at all three of these facilities,” the letter begins, “claims that he and others were directed by supervisors to ensure that wait times for veterans were as ‘close to zero days as possible.’ To achieve this, employees falsely logged patients’ desired appointment dates to closely coincide with appointment openings. But in reality, veterans were left waiting for months. This policy of falsifying medical records is dishonest, deceptive, and injurious to veterans.”
Responding to an inquiry from Breitbart Texas, Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-TX) said, “I am outraged about the reports of delays and lies involving the treatment of veterans by the VA. The culture of disregard must change and that change should start at the top, with a new head that will put veterans first. I am particularly alarmed by recent reports that these problems occurred in Texas, as well – where we expect veterans get the services they earned. I can assure you that I will continue pushing for answers and demanding the VA take swift action to address this issue.”
Earlier this month, Congressman Farenthold took to the House Floor to call for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign. In the video below, Farenthold said, “We’ve made promises to our nation’s veterans. And yet, wounded veterans are waiting months, and even years, with some even dying due to backlogs at the VA. I found out yesterday, a veteran in my district died from excessive delays because he was unable to get necessary heart surgery.”
Congressman Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) also responded to Breitbart Texas and said, “Our veterans have served our country with dedication and sacrifice. They deserve the best possible care in return. Whenever VA employees falsify a medical record, it not only hurts that veteran, but it hurts all veterans by preventing honest oversight of the VA medical system.”
The letter from the Congressional Delegation continued, “We understand that your office has staff in San Antonio reviewing these allegations,” the letter continued. “However, we want to make sure that your office is also investigating the potential misconduct that may have affected veterans seeking care in Waco and Austin. Any individuals found to have engaged in misconduct or mismanagement must face serious consequences.”
The delegation was led by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX). The letter (attached below) was addressed to VA Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin and called on him to initiate investigations into all three of the facilities named above. The members urged Inspector General Griffin to “expeditiously and thoroughly investigate the claims regarding misconduct” and to then report those findings back to Congress.
Twenty-two members joined Rep. Neugebauer and Rep. Smith in calling for the IG investigation including: Rep. Joe Barton (TX-06), Rep. Kevin Brady (TX-08), Rep. Michael Burgess (TX-26), Rep. John Carter (TX-31), Rep. Michael Conaway (TX-11), Rep. John Culberson (TX-07), Rep. Blake Farenthold (TX-27), Rep. Bill Flores (TX-17), Rep. Pete Gallego (TX-23), Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Rep. Kay Granger (TX-12), Rep. Ralph Hall (TX-04), Rep. Jeb Hensarling (TX-05), Rep. Sam Johnson (TX-03), Rep. Kenny Marchant (TX-24), Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10), Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22), Rep. Ted Poe (TX-02), Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-32), Rep. Mac Thornberry (TX-13), Rep. Randy Weber (TX-14), and Rep. Roger Williams (TX-25).
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