Tags: VA Scandal | veterans | affairs | scandal | probe | reports | inspector

IG Fields Nearly 140 Reports Documenting VA Scandal

By    |   Thursday, 30 Apr 2015 08:28 PM

Dysfunction or mistreatment of ailing veterans was documented in nearly 140 newly released investigative reports by the inspector general at the Veterans Affairs Department, USA Today reports.

And in many cases, the department's own chief watchdog trusted the VA to correct problems on its own rather than make findings public, the newspaper reports.

According to USA Today, the newly released cases ranged from missed diagnoses to surgical errors, including an instance in which one veteran's face was set ablaze during an operation in Lebanon, Pa.

Also revealed was the the misuse of funds and personnel problems, the inspector general found. Other reports involved providers prescribing potentially questionable amounts or combinations of narcotics to veterans in Tampa, Fla., Valdosta, Ga., and Lexington, Ky.

Five months after the inspector general reached similar findings about providers in Tomah, Wis. – but didn't release a public report last year – a 35-year-old Marine Corps veteran died from mixed drug toxicity at the facility.

In that case, Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson said Thursday he's subpoenaed the Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of the Inspector General for information on the medical center, which is at the center of multiple probes.

The VA in March reported that patients at the hospital were more likely than those at other hospitals to receive high doses of painkillers. The report also said there was an atmosphere of fear among staff that affected patient care.

Meanwhile, the newly released reports indicate the inspector general may have lacked a uniform standard for deciding when to issue public findings; some 50 reports dismissed allegations of wrongdoing, but 59 contained substantiated claims, USA Today report.

"The only way you have any hope of fixing a bureaucracy is for public disclosure," Johnson tells USA Today; he co-sponsored legislation with Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin to mandate public release in the future of inspection reports at the VA and across the federal government.

USA Today reports almost all the investigations in the newly released reports were generated by tips from VA employees, veteran patients, their family members or the public.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Dysfunction or mistreatment of ailing veterans was documented in nearly 140 newly released investigative reports by the inspector general at the Veterans Affairs Department, USA Today reports.
veterans, affairs, scandal, probe, reports, inspector, general
352
2015-28-30
Thursday, 30 Apr 2015 08:28 PM
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