Saturday, December 20, 2014

IG Report: The VA Misled Congress and Media

The Department of Veterans Affairs misled Congress and members of the media about how many veterans died or suffered serious harm as a result of extreme treatment delays, according to a new report by the department's top watchdog.
The VA shared a fact sheet in April with Congress and the press that said 23 veterans died and a total of 76 suffered serious harm throughout the nation while waiting months or years for health care since 1999. But the report released Monday by the VA's Office of Inspector General highlights multiple errors with these findings and a lack of evidence for statements the VA released about them.
Amongst the misleading facts highlighted in the report, the VA overstated the timeframe of its review by eight years, since the VA said it examined unresolved requests for health care since 1999, but in reality only examined requests dating back to 2007.
Moreover, the inspector general says there may have been "overstatements or understatements" about the number of deaths or illnesses resulting from delays at specific VA hospitals and that the fact sheet contained a number of other errors.
These errors also included an incident reported to have occurred at one VA facility when it actually happened at another, and the number of "institutional disclosures" -- where the VA admitted delays caused severe harm -- as being overstated at one facility.
The report raises questions about how many veterans may have had their appointments erased by VA staff before they received treatment.
The VA reported that between September 2012 and April 2014, the number of appointments delayed more than 90 days dropped from 2 million to less than 300,000, but the inspector general found that the VA did not document how staff members were closing these appointments and did not ensure veterans received the care they were waiting for.
As a result, the inspector general could not determine what happened to 1.7 million appointments.
Read the rest of the story HERE and view a related video below:

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