WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ (VA) announcement that proposed disciplinary actions were warranted for eight Philadelphia VA Regional Office employees and that three other employees who manipulated wait times in order to conceal long backlogs for veteran healthcare claims were also being investigated:
Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ (VA) announcement that proposed disciplinary actions were warranted for eight Philadelphia VA Regional Office employees and that three other employees who manipulated wait times in order to conceal long backlogs for veteran healthcare claims were also being investigated:
“While I am dismayed that it took 2 1/2 months following action by the House for the VA to propose disciplinary action for VA employees who knowingly broke the law and manipulated veteran wait times, I am pleased to see that some justice is finally being served in the Philadelphia VA Regional Office. Unfortunately, there’s still a lack of accountability throughout the VA among more senior officials and more needs to be done to curb the widespread corruption that has been allowed to fester throughout this agency. There is no excuse for the health of our nation’s veterans to be at risk as a result of abhorrent wait times and manipulations by VA bureaucrats.
“Any and all employees anywhere in the country that are found to have committed these fraudulent actions should be immediately fired. It is a disgrace that many of these culprits who blatantly caused harm to our nation’s military heroes still have their jobs. I will continue scrutinized oversight and to call for more investigations into the VA in order to ensure our veterans receive the care they earned. We must remain vigilant until all of this corruption is weeded out from the VA.”
Earlier this year, Congressman Gosar passed an amendment prohibiting the implementation of the Fast Letter 13-10 and as well as the manipulation of wait times in order to conceal long backlogs for veteran healthcare claims. From his April 29, 2015 press release: Current law allows some veterans facing waits of more than 30 days for a doctor appointment to obtain private care. However, VA officials recently sent an internal memo known as Fast Letter 13-10 instructing claims representatives to alter the date of the claim from the date it was filed to the date it was processed. As a result, backlogs appeared to be reduced and veterans were unable to utilize the private care benefit. This manipulation and fraud was widespread at the Phoenix VA until a couple honorable whistleblowers came forth. My amendment will once again prohibit the practice of altering or falsifying veteran wait time data.
In April of 2014, Congressman Gosar passed an amendment through the House of Representatives prohibiting the Department of Veterans Affairs from creating or maintaining any unofficial record-keeping system. This amendment was in response to numerous news reports that assert the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System has been using secondary, unofficial records of veterans’ claims and appointment requests in order to conceal lengthy waiting times. This amendment sought to ensure such record-keeping practices were not allowed to take place in the future. Click HERE to read more.
The VA Congressional Notification, sent July 10, 2015, at 3:47 PM/ET, making this announcement can be found HERE.