In A Change, VA Auditor Says Wait Times May Have Played A Role In Deaths
In testimony before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin says that delays in getting treatment at some VA centers may have been a factor in the deaths of some veterans.
CNN: VA Inspector General Admits Wait Times Contributed To Vets' Deaths
In a stunning reversal, the VA's acting inspector general now says that long wait times at VA health care facilities in Phoenix did contribute to a number of veterans' deaths. In a hearing before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Wednesday, Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin was grilled by lawmakers about the findings of his office's August report, which stated that while the investigation into 40 veterans' deaths found "poor quality of care," the office was "unable to conclusively assert that the absence of timely care caused the death of these veterans" (Devine and Bronstein, 9/18).
The Arizona Republic: Auditor Ties VA Waits To Deaths
The Department of Veterans Affairs' internal watchdog testified Wednesday that delayed treatment for thousands of Arizona veterans may have contributed to some deaths, a strikingly different emphasis than in an August report on the Phoenix VA medical center that emphasized that delayed care had not conclusively caused patient fatalities. In a frequently contentious hearing before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, acting Inspector General Richard Griffin defended his Aug. 26 report on the Phoenix VA Health Care System against criticism that the findings amounted to a "whitewash" to downplay the impact of delayed medical care on Arizona patients. "We are scrupulous about our independence and take pride in the performance of our mission," Griffin insisted while being grilled by lawmakers (Wagner, 9/17).
CQ Healthbeat: VA Secretary Vows Action To Instill Accountability
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald told a House panel Wednesday that he was "taking all the actions the law allows me to take" to instill accountability at the department and respond to a final inspector general report on allegations of scheduling manipulation and patients deaths at the facilities in Phoenix. In his first appearance before the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, McDonald said his department had put together proposals that are under review by the Office of Management and Budget, after analyzing the laws governing the VA. He declined to specify those proposals (O’Brien, 9/18).