published Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Tennessee senators call for investigation of Veterans Affairs scandal

WASHINGTON – Tennessee's Republican U.S. senators are calling for “an immediate investigation into reported mismanagement, incompetence, and corruption within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care centers throughout the country,” according to a news release.

Sen. Bob Corker, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and 23 of their Senate Republican colleagues sent a letter today to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations with their request.

“Specifically, the investigation should focus on how appropriated funds for patient care and record management were spent in light of allegations of concerted efforts to present inaccurate and misleading information about patient wait times in order to ensure VA employees qualified for personal bonuses,” the senators wrote.

“Given even the slightest hint of a possible organized effort to fabricate information critical to the care of our nation’s veterans, an immediate investigation should be conducted to determine if the health care of our veterans is being put at risk. We request your committee join the effort to thoroughly investigate and expose the facts surrounding this situation,” the letter continues.

Last week, Corker and Alexander wrote to VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki calling on the VA to conduct a “thorough, open and transparent” audit following reports of neglect at some of its medical facilities, including allegations that up to 40 patients may have died because of delayed care at the Phoenix VA Health Care System. The senators also asked Shinseki to provide specific information regarding the average time Tennessee veterans are waiting for care at VA facilities.

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