A new report by the Veteran Administration’s Office of Inspector General finds that the VA misled both Congress and the people of the United States about the scandal that saw numerous veterans dying after being put on lists that delayed their medical treatment.
Last April, the VA reported to Congress that it checked records as far back as 1999 and found that 23 veterans died and 76 more suffered serious harm due to indifferent treatment. But this month, the IG’s office says it found that the VA only checked records as far back as 2007, not 1999.
The IG report reveals multiple errors and a lack of evidence for many of the statements the VA made in its reporting since April and said there may have been “overstatements or understatements” in the VA’s claims about the number of deaths or advanced illnesses veterans suffered.
In one case, the earlier VA reports stated that an incident happened at one facility, when it actually happened at another. There were also questions about how many veterans actually had their appointments erased by VA staffers.
The VA has insisted that since 2012, the number of medical appointments that were delayed over 90 days dropped from 2 millions to less than 300,000; however, the IG report found that the VA never detailed how this number was lowered, nor did the VA prove that veterans actually received the proper care.
Responding to the new information, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), chairman of the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, said that it showed that the VA was either intentionally deceitful or grossly incompetent.
“VA’s statistics regarding the number of veterans harmed by department delays in care are almost certainly wildly inaccurate, and we may never know the actual number of veterans affected by gaps in the VA system that existed for years,” Miller said in a statement.
“Accountability for the VA leaders responsible for misleading Congress and the public on this important matter is sorely needed,” he added.
Miller has been outspoken about efforts to fix the VA and fire those responsible for the problems.
“VA will never regain the trust of America’s veterans and American taxpayers until all of the corrupt senior executives who created the biggest scandal in the department’s history are held accountable to the maximum extent under the law,” he said in November.
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