Dan Gilmore / February 26, 2016

VA IG Stalling on Wait Time Scandal

It’s time to replace the Inspector General at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

It’s time to replace the inspector general at the Department of Veterans Affairs. It’s been two years and the office has not released its full investigation into the 2014 wait-time scandal in which veterans were placed on secret waiting lists — and some of them died waiting. After it came out that the Phoenix VA had manipulated its scheduling, the VA’s Office of Inspector General launched an investigation into 73 other VA locations. With months left in the Obama administration, it seems like the IG is running out the clock, delaying the release of the report to Congress in order to protect the agency from punishment.

Rep. John Carney told USA Today, “I’m outraged that we still haven’t received the inspector general’s report. The investigation began almost two years ago and we can’t address the problems when we don’t know the full picture.” In total, the paper found that the VA IG delayed the release of 140 investigations — even investigations that would have resulted in saving the lives of veterans in the VA’s care. Over at the National Archives and Records Administration, the inspector general’s job is to make the institution more efficient, to root out and report waste, fraud and abuse. To do this, the IG at the archives works with the head of the agency and Congress. The IG at the VA seems only bent on protecting the institution and working against Congress.

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