There are documents that disprove Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald's statements Sunday that 60 people have been fired for manipulating waiting times for care through the agency's services, The Washington Free Beacon reports
, making his first Sunday morning talk show appearance since taking over the helm from former Secretary Eric Shinseki last summer, told NBC's "Meet the Press"
that a total of 900 people have been fired since he took over the spot, including the 60 who manipulated wait times.
However, the Free Beacon reports it has obtained Department of Defense documents showing that, as of Feb. 5, only 11 employees tied to wait times have been fired, not 60.
The documents were shared by a Republican staff member and were sent to the House and Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs for official use to provide "the Department's weekly report on adverse employment actions initiated since June 3, 2014, on any basis related to patient scheduling, record manipulations, appointment delays, and/or patient deaths."
The paperwork lists the employees' names, any disciplinary action, and their position titles, as well as if action was taken.
The report, from June 3, 2014 through Feb. 5, 2015, shows a total of 74 personnel actions
related to records or scheduling manipulation were initiated, including five actions on VA executives.
Eventually, 11 employees, including three executives, were removed, according to the documents.
There were other cases where employees were listed as either resigning or being demoted, admonished, or reprimanded, and in some cases, there was no disciplinary action taken. In 15 cases, actions were still listed as pending.
Meanwhile, in Phoenix, where the irregularities with the VA records first became public and led to the national scandal, the VA's probe has been disrupted after a federal key investigator was found to have a conflict of interest, reported The Arizona Republic
Because of the issue, the VA has suspended its Administrative Investigation Board that was convened to review allegations in the Phoenix system.
The inquiry has not been terminated, however, VA spokeswoman Jennifer Jacobsen told the Republic, while declining to make further comment.
In early January, the VA Office of Accountability Review convened a panel to investigate the Phoenix VA executives, appointing three outside investigators to review Lance Robinson, the Phoenix medical center's associate director; Brad Curry, chief of health administration service; and Dr. Darren Deering, chief of staff, the Republic reports.
Last May, the VA said Robinson and Curry were put on leave and put on notice that they would be removed. Deering is not under suspension.
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