Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn said in issuing a report on the department’s history of misconduct that the secret waiting list scandal that led to a national focus on the problems plaguing the Veterans Affairs administration is ‘just the tip of the iceberg.’
‘This report shows the problems at the VA are worse than anyone imagined,’ Coburn said in a statement. ‘The scope of the VA’s incompetence – and Congress’ indifferent oversight – is breathtaking and disturbing.’
Senator Coburn conducted a year-long investigation into the VA and found that more than 1,000 veterans died over the last decade as a result of the VA’s incompetence, and taxpayers footed the bill for $845 million in medical malpractice payments.
Veterans listen to opening remarks by members of Congress during a meeting of the Senate-House Veterans Affairs Conference Committee today to discuss a bill that would expand veterans’ access to care.
Veterans were routinely put on secret waiting lists, the whistleblower, Dr. Sam Foote, said, to cover up how long it was actually taking the VA doctors to see them for the first time.
Official documents showed that veterans were being seen within two weeks to a month of requesting an appointment, as required by VA guidelines. In reality, they were waiting months on end.
Many VA schedulers were motivated to lie about wait times in order to receive goal-based bonuses, the audit discovered.
This is how backed up one VA office is on processing veterans claims, Coburns report said
The Office of Special Counsel told Obama in a letter that the VA’s behavior shows a ‘troubling pattern of deficient patient care’ and its Office of Medical Inspector repeatedly ignored the testimony of whistleblowers.
‘This approach has prevented the VA from acknowledging the severity of systemic problems and from taking the necessary steps to provide quality care to veterans,’ U.S. Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner said.
Sen. Tom Coburn’s report noted that a lack of funds isn’t the VA’s problem, it’s waste and abuse of taxpayer resources. In 2011 the VA held a conference at the Orlando World Center Marriott and attendees were treated to lavish spreads of cheeses and breakfast sandwiches yet still received meal reimbursements from the government.
The ensuing problems at that VA has only touched the surface. The degree of abuse and mismanagement of funds is shocking to say the least. This stems from the president’s office all the way down the line; you can’t possibly believe that only a few whistleblowers noticed the abuse.