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Official: Augusta VA not involved in recent investigation

Thursday, May 22, 2014 4:30 PM
Last updated 7:29 PM
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The Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center is not one of 26 Department of Veterans Affairs facilities the federal agency’s inspector general is investigating in connection with recent complaints about falsified records and treatment delays, the hospital’s spokesman said Thursday.

Pete Scovill confirmed in an e-mail that the Augusta medical center is not connected to a investigation commissioned last month after reports surfaced of a secret waiting list at the agency’s Phoenix hospital that led to 40 veteran deaths.

Last week, Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin told a Senate committee at least 10 new allegations of manipulated waiting times and other problems have been identified within the VA. On Tuesday, his office reported that more than two dozen facilities, including some in Georgia, are under investigation in connection with the case.

The possible inclusion of Georgia facilities led two Georgia Democratic congressmen – Reps. John Barrow and David Scott – to become the first members of President Obama’s party Wednesday to call for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki.

Barrow said Wednesday he still supports his resignation request, describing inadequate care in the VA as a “festering problem” and a “massive bureaucratic failure.” The Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center has been involved in an ongoing investigation by the House Committee on Veterans Affairs since 2013 for three veteran deaths in 2012 caused by excessive delays in its gastrointestinal program.

“My responsibility is to make sure veterans everywhere are cared for the way they should be,” Barrow said. “The fact that these missteps have occurred in districts all around the country is worse than if it happened in our district alone.”

Scott called for Shinseki’s resignation during debate on the VA Management Accountability Act, a bill the House passed 390-33 Wednesday evening to give the VA secretary greater authority to fire or demote senior executives.

All of Augusta’s area congressmen – Reps. Barrow, Paul Broun, R-Ga., and Joe Wilson, R-S.C. – voted in favor of the bill.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, applauded the support, saying it’s an “important first step toward ending the culture of complacency that is jeopardizing patient safety within the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system.”

He asked for the support of the Senate, which has yet to set a date to vote on the act.

“While the vast majority of the department’s more than 300,000 employees and executives are dedicated and hard-working, VA’s well-documented reluctance to ensure its leaders are held accountable for negligence and mismanagement is tarnishing the reputation of the organization and may actually be encouraging more veteran suffering instead of preventing it,” Miller said in a statement. “With all the problems VA hospitals and regional offices have recently had and new issues continually arising, we need to give the VA Secretary the authority he needs to fix things.”

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rmwhitley 05/22/14 - 06:57 pm
An obama-

democratic administration will lie, cheat, steal and blame the right for their criminal activities. The last "decent democrat" was Harry S. Truman and he sucked.

thauch12 05/22/14 - 07:55 pm

Great to hear this! But I'm sure the ones who were looking to make a quick buck off the alleged problems at the Augusta VA (including the "victim" families, their lawyers who were already counting their millions in settlements, and the sensationalists at the Chronicle) are all crying at this development...

Combat Doc
Combat Doc 05/23/14 - 12:11 am
I was worried

I thought that the CNVAMC was allowing me the ability of canceling appointments and prohibiting rescheduling of appointments until "the schedule" was released for use was delay in care or at least a delay in access. I am so relieved that making the Veteran (me) guess when rescheduling an appointment would possible, "just call back in a week", does not rise to the level of a systemic failure.

VA DOC 05/23/14 - 05:56 am
Gastroenterology backlog

It is good to know the Augusta VA Medical Center is not being investigated for manipulating wait times-that may explain why the gastroenterology backlog reached 5000 patients-they did not manipulate the list-they just let it grow......

Junket103 05/23/14 - 07:02 am
Already Investigated

The local VA was already thoroughly investigated several months ago. In fact it was Augusta that helped kick off the media firestorm.

This problem will not go away. The demand far exceeds the ability of the VA to competently provide care in a timely manner. What the VA needs to do is follow the law and start enforcing the priority levels of care that Congress passed into law several years ago. Those with the highest level of care come first. Those with lower eligibility need to be denied access to clinics that can not provide timely care. That way those veterans with higher eligibility have timely access.

In the long term the VA needs to go the way of the post office. As an agency it is outmoded and so bloated that billions are wasted serving the bureaucracy and not the veterans in need. What veterans need is the choice to take their healthcare to the provider of their choice. Give all veterans a premium health insurance plan with low or no copays. Don't low ball the plan so that medical providers won't take it. Do the reverse and offer medical providers incentives to take veterans and their dependents. A much smaller and streamlined VA will be able to provide oversight and management of the benefits programs administered by VA.

jimmymac 05/23/14 - 01:49 pm

I've been saying all along that they should abolish the VA and just give the vets a stipend to pay for private insurance. The vets deserve the best care available and they're not getting it now. As you said the VA is a bloated agency that spends too much money on staff and not enough is spent on caring for the vets. It should infuriate every American on the details of the current scandal. Too think that many top administrators were receiving bonuses while vets were dying is beyond the pale.

JimS 05/23/14 - 02:49 pm
Sacrifice - Accountability

Sacrifice - Accountability

President Obama: “Every single day, there are people working in the VA who do outstanding work and put everything they’ve got into making sure that our Veterans get the care, benefits, and services that they need.”

Who are under constant attack by, especially conservative lawmakers, the Representatives of the people who hired them, and those people like that, in hearings, in the press and the press, high paid taking heads love them tax cuts that came with these wars, continues the attacks, in the conservative veterans ranks and established, reactive never proactive, veterans organizations, conservative leaderships, as well, instead of doing their jobs, it's easier. Long time under funded as wars are cheered on with flags waving patriotism. Long ignored issues, way way too many and now being addressed finally under this present VA, by Veterans especially after returning from our wars, because it costs Sacrifice from the great majority served so their reps don't demand that Sacrifice, they like it that way. Free wars, these two present ones have yet to be paid for, and condemnation of Veterans, slackers and free loaders and more, when they seek the help promised by the Country. Decades long under funded agency, people served responsibility, that causes costly problems, in more ways then just from the treasury, thousands die while waiting for the promises, with the dedicated, no politics or self enrichment from most, brought to their dedication to the tasks they perform and are easy targets as well for those seeking to privatize government for corporate profits from the treasury and added fee's joining the numerous problems and greed found in that private sector!

USN All Shore '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country '70-'71 - Independent**

JimS 05/23/14 - 02:50 pm
Country Shurking It's Promises

""Conservatives outraged over treatment of veterans filibustered better health care for vets in February 2014""
Conservatives Continue Attacks on Individual Military Veterans', while waving 'their' flags of 'patriotism(?)': 'Fox's Allen West Attacks Decorated Vet Rep. Tammy Duckworth'

STOP BLAMING EVERYONE ELSE, LOOK IN THE MIRROR: The VA is the peoples Responsibility, through their elected representatives!! We don't serve the corporate America, so the conservative want to privatize, for corporate profit especially when you look at the private health care and problems in, is absolutely a no go, we serve the Country and it's Constitution!!

Congress does the 'will of the people', and the people like 'free wars' and 'free results' from,tens of thousands have died as those served ignore the issues of, sooooo patriotic, unless it's sooooo patriotic to slam, conservative ideology, the VA their responsibility, use Military and us Veterans for their 'patriotic' meme's, like they care!!!

""Conservatives Medicaid refusal leaves over 250,000 veterans uninsured""

"Lets not treat these Vets like Vietnam Vets"

That's what the whole country served said about us Vietnam Veterans and the now OEF and OIF Veterans right from the beginning!!

Then they quickly cheered on abandoning the missions and those sent to accomplish after 9/11! They started slapping on magnetic 'support the troops' symbols all over which quickly just plain disappeared! Then the talk was about everyone, elected officials especially, should be wearing lapel flag pins, I don't even pay attention whether they do or don't knowing they're not 'supporting' anyone who Actually Sacrifices, and that includes public servants of all stripes! They loves waving them 'patriotic' flags and think they're more 'patriotic' then many others! Then they want Parades and complain because we have yet had a Ticker Tape NYC parade, even though the abandoned 9/11 missions is still ongoing but finally winding down! They loves passing around the cute video's of returning soldiers surprising their kids and families! And on and on and on!

But None Of That Is Sacrificing as in Paying For Wars and Especially the Decades To Follow Results From!!!

DeJa-Vu all over again!!!!

USN All Shore '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country '70-'71 - Independent**

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