KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

FBI Announces Criminal Investigation Into VA Problems

Director James Comey says the FBI has opened a probe into allegations that employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs manipulated waiting lists and delayed care for veterans.

The Wall Street Journal: FBI Opens Criminal Probe Of VA's Practices
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened a criminal probe into scheduling practices at the Department of Veterans Affairs, escalating the stakes in a scandal that has already led to the resignation of the agency's leader. Law-enforcement officials had previously acknowledged the Justice Department is reviewing documents provided by the VA inspector general to see if any potential crimes were committed in how the agency managed its appointment schedules. The opening of a criminal probe takes that work a step further and could lead to criminal charges if law enforcement finds evidence of fraud or misuse of government resources (Barrett, 6/11).

The New York Times: FBI Begins Criminal Inquiry In VA Scandal
The F.B.I. has opened a criminal investigation into accusations that Department of Veterans Affairs officials manipulated medical waiting lists and delayed care for thousands of veterans, the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said Wednesday (6/11).

Politico: FBI Opens Criminal Probe On VA Wait Lists
Attorney General Eric Holder had said previously that prosecutors were in regular contact with the Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general’s office, which conducted the initial probe into the allegations that VA employees doctored the waiting lists and kept multiple lists in order to make sure employees qualified for bonuses. However, in earlier comments, Holder did not announce a criminal investigation -- a status which means evidence of illegality has crossed a particular threshold (Gerstein and Kopan, 6/11).

Also, some experts suggest that new technologies may help ease the access problems at the VA.

CBS News: Can Private Business Help Fix The VA?
Can new technologies help to ease the bureaucratic logjam at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs while preventing future scandals such as those uncovered by the recent internal VA audits? Perhaps, say some analysts and business professionals who've been following the revelations of shoddy health care and lengthy wait times for care at the VA. Experts believe updated software systems could go a long way towards making the agency's massive bureaucracy more streamlined, cost-efficient and beneficial to the millions of U.S veterans who rely on it (Kennedy, 6/11).

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