HOUSTON, Texas–A Veterans Administration whistleblower claims that the VA hospital system in Texas is an “organized crime syndicate.” Now, it appears that VA administrators in Texas may be attempting to cover up policies that have allegedly created fake waiting lists to ensure that the administrators receive bonuses.
Breitbart Texas previously reported that members of the Texas Congressional Delegation signed a letter to the VA Inspector General’s Office demanding an investigation. This week, the Daily Beast reported about the newly found whistleblower working within the VA hospital system in Texas who has revealed emails and documents that implicate an award-winning VA hospital in Texas in widespread wrongdoing that appears to be “systemic fraud.”
Congressman Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, spoke to Breitbart Texas in an exclusive interview and said, “Americans have died overseas fighting for United States interests and now we’ve got Americans, warriors, dying in America while they’re waiting in line to get Veterans Administration health care.”
“This is awful,” Poe exclaimed. “The more we learn, the worse it gets, and now it spreads to twenty-seven different facilities in the United States. The whistleblower in one of the facilities calls this a ‘criminal syndicate,’ and I think he lays out the argument pretty well.”
“It comes across as a criminal syndicate because you have the higher-ups,” Poe continued, “juggling the books and allegedly forcing people below them to juggle the books for the wait times. In the Veterans Administration, apparently, if the wait times for veterans to see a doctor is low, bureaucrats get bonuses. The shorter the wait time, the higher the bonus.”
The Daily Beast report confirms this, explaining:
There’s enormous pressure to report favorable wait times for VA patients, the Texas whistleblower explained, even if those wait times are completely false.
“If [VA] directors report low numbers, they’re the outlier. They won’t stay a director very long and they certainly won’t get promoted. No one is getting rewarded for honesty. They pretty much have to lie, if they don’t they won’t go anywhere,” the whistleblower added. Weighted more heavily than other performance measures, the wait time numbers alone “count for 50% of the executive career field bonus, which is a pretty powerful motivator.”
“So they cook the books!” They do so “just like the mafia would do,” Poe expounded. “Juggle the books to make the wait times that are very long seem very short, have secret records. It’s widespread, and, as the whistleblower said, it comes across as a criminal syndicate.”
According to The Daily Beast, official investigations within the VA may actually be hiding the problems they are sent there to expose. Dr. Joseph Spann, who recently retired from the Texas VA system, said that Dr. Gordon Vincent (who worked at the VA Medical Center in Temple, Texas, near Fort Hood) did not just break VA policy by manipulating veterans’ records himself; he ordered VA employees across central Texas to engage in the same fraudulent practice. However, the VA allegedly investigated this and cleared Vincent and the Texas VA. The Daily Beast produced documents showing Dr. Vincent doing precisely what Spann accused him of.
“It’s all about the money,” Poe said. “Getting more money – taxpayer money going to bureaucrats who don’t treat one veteran for their health at all.”
Following is the entire interview with Congressman Poe:
Congressman Poe concluded the interview by stating:
It’s a very sad commentary on bureaucracy and government because not only have people died, but these are America’s warriors. They’re our war fighters. They went overseas, volunteered. Some of them sacrificed and didn’t come home. And the ones that came home were treated this way? Oh, this is a shameful way to treat these good Americans.
Bob Price is a staff writer and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.