“VA’s statistics regarding the number of veterans harmed by department delays in care are almost certainly wildly inaccurate,” said Rep. Jeff Miller about a new VA OIG report. “[W]e may never know the actual number of veterans affected by gaps in the VA system that existed for years.”
On Monday, toothless agency watchdog VA OIG released an internal report that said the department misled or provided incorrect information earlier this year related to the wait list. The initial VA OIG report erroneously claimed the department evaluated records back to 1999 and found only 23 veterans died and 76 were seriously harmed.
The agency watchdog provided erroneous information on the scope of its wait list audit. It initially said it reviewed records related to unresolved health care appointment requests dating back to 1999. Instead, VA only evaluated requests dating back to 2007.
VA recently boasted about its success in resolving open appointments delayed by 90 days or longer. The agency claimed it reduced these appointments from 2 million to 300,000. In reality, VA is in the dark as to how VA employees magically reduced the number so quickly. The agency failed to track the changes and was unable to explain the reduction. This of course did not stop VA from grabbing headlines at the expense of veterans harmed.
VA did provide an apology for the misleading and incorrect statements. The agency said, “VA inadvertently caused confusion in its communication on this complex set of reviews that were ongoing at the time. For that, we apologize. There was no intent to mislead anyone with respect to the scope or findings of these reviews.”
Keep in mind, this is after VA OIG misled Congress and America by wordsmithing its final wait list scandal report to help the agency avoid harsh critique over the size and impact of the wait list – they then lied about it when caught. Those involved in the wait list and those helping cover up its scope are a totally shameful bunch.
Do we believe them or is this conspiracy against rights of veterans too obvious to ignore? Let’s hope those VA officials who are honest truly rise through the ranks to shine a light on the evil doers.