Tags: VA Scandal | whistleblowers | inspector general | report

VA Whistleblowers: IG Report 'Is a Whitewash'

By    |   Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014 06:33 PM

Two Veterans Affairs whistleblowers Wednesday angrily clashed with an inspector general over a report that found no link between delayed care and patient deaths, calling the report a "whitewash" that aimed to "minimize the scandal and protect perpetrators."

At a hearing of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, Katherine Mitchell, a medical director at the Phoenix VA Health Care System, and retired Phoenix VA doctor Samuel Foote picked apart the Aug. 26 report from the office of VA Inspector General Richard Griffin, Stars and Stripes reported. 

At best, "this report is a whitewash," Foote told the committee. "At its worst, it is a feeble attempt at a cover-up. The report deliberately uses confusing language and math, invents new unrealistic standards of proof ... and makes misleading statements."

"I would like to use this statement to comment on what I view as the foot-dragging, downplaying and frankly, inadequacy of the inspector general’s office,” Foote said, declaring that the report was "designed to minimize the scandal and protect perpetrators," Stars and Stripes reported.

In her written testimony, Mitchell, who had complained last summer the inspector general report was "extremely deceptive," added: "I believe the OIG case review overlooked actual and potential causal relationships between health care delays and veteran deaths."

The report said workers at a Phoenix VA hospital falsified waiting lists while their supervisors looked the other way or even directed it, resulting in chronic delays for ailing vets. The inspector general's office identified 40 patients who died while awaiting appointments in Phoenix, but the report said officials couldn't "conclusively assert" delays in care caused the deaths.

"It’s very difficult to know how someone died," Dr. John Daigh, an assistant inspector general who helped draft the report retorted, Stars and Stripes reported. "I’m not clairvoyant."

Griffin, for his part, defended the probe and denied any VA influence over the outcome.

"We are scrupulous about our independence and take pride in the performance of our mission," he asserted.

Nevertheless, Griffin and the committee chairman, Florida Republican Rep. Jeff Miller, locked horns with Miller, banging his gavel to get Griffin to stop talking.

"You want the truth?" Griffin asked.

"You are out of order," Miller barked.

Foote started sending letters to the VA's Office of Inspector General last year, complaining about systematic problems with delays in care.

And he told investigators up to 40 veterans may have died while awaiting treatment at the Phoenix hospital; he also said staff, at the instruction of administrators, kept a secret list of patients waiting for appointments to hide delays in care.

Griffin later took his claims to the media and Miller, who announced the allegations at an April hearing. The resulting scandal led to the ouster of Shinseki and a new law overhauling the agency and granting veterans easier access to treatment outside the VA.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 
1Like our page
2Share
Newsfront
Two Veterans Affairs whistleblowers Wednesday angrily clashed with an inspector general over a report that found no link between delayed care and patient deaths, calling the report a "whitewash" that aimed to "minimize the scandal and protect perpetrators."
whistleblowers, inspector general, report
476
2014-33-17
Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014 06:33 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved