Commander calls for independent VA study

A long-awaited report from the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General released Tuesday said that 93 VA health-care sites across the country are being investigated by VA and the Department of Justice in connection with falsifying scheduling records to hide delays in veterans' health care and "attempting to obstruct OIG (Office of Inspector General) and other investigative efforts."

“VA’s internal investigation of patient deaths in Phoenix may not have proven conclusively those deaths occurred through negligence, but VA needs to do more than investigate itself on this matter,” American Legion National Commander Daniel Dellinger said. “The American Legion wants a non-VA authority to determine whether negligence was involved in the deaths of those veterans. In fact, we want an independent authority to investigate all the VA facilities where patients died while waiting for medical care.

“Secretary (Robert) McDonald said at our national convention that this is a critical time for VA, and we agree,” Dellinger added. “This is a time when fundamental changes can be made in a system wracked by scandal. I met with the secretary and assured him that The American Legion intends to stand alongside VA to make sure those changes take place.”

The report confirmed what had long been reported by various media outlets, that “wait-time manipulations were prevalent throughout.”

After detailing the deficiencies and obfuscation of VA, the report noted that “the report cannot capture the personal disappointment, frustration and loss of faith of individual veterans and their family members with a health-care system that often could not respond to their mental and physical needs in a timely matter."