42 VA Hospitals Now Under Criminal Investigation, Up From 26

A preliminary report by the Inspector General revealed that its criminal investigation of the country’s beleaguered Veteran Affairs health system has expanded from 26 facilities to 42.

The report, which you can read here, was in reference to allegations at the VA at Phoenix, specifying that it “substantiated that significant delays in access to care negatively impacted the quality of care at this medical facility.”

But it also signals that the national investigation has expanded. Namely:

“To date, we have ongoing or scheduled work at 42 VA medical facilities and have identified instances of manipulation of VA data that distort the legitimacy of reported waiting times. When sufficient credible evidence is identified supporting a potential violation of criminal and/or civil law, we have contacted and are coordinating our efforts with the Department of Justice. “

It’s not clear whether the VA North Texas system is part of the probe, although it’s possible that it is. In an interview last week, Director Jeff Milligan said investigators from the VA’s Office of Inspector General visited the local branch “on two or three occasions over the last week.”

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has called for the IG to investigate whistleblower claims that employees were told to destroy appointment records. Milligan says auditors from the VA specifically analyzed system-wide scheduling records and told him they found no evidence that supported those allegations. In an email, VA spokesman Froylan Garza said the IG has not returned to North Texas since those visits nor has the Department of Justice contacted the facility.

“As of today, we have not found evidence that employees are intentionally manipulating wait times.  If any employee is found to have intentionally manipulated wait times, this will result in swift disciplinary action and referral for possible criminal investigation,” Garza wrote.

The IG’s office has not named the specific systems under investigation, fearful that it would affect its outcome. However, the preliminary report does cite 18 past IG reports that found bloated wait times at locations across the country. One of those is VA North Texas, from 2012.

VA officials say they’ve corrected the complaints cited in the report.

40 comments on “42 VA Hospitals Now Under Criminal Investigation, Up From 26

  1. Have repeatedly awaited requests for appts for difficulty with diagnosed health problems but no replies or lengthy response times at VA North Clinic Raleigh TN and VA Memphis

    Reply
  2. My husband was going to get treatment a the INDY VA for cancer went in march 31 2014 for a treach in this time his intestine rolled had surgery witchl left him with short bowel this set him a week then they did another byosipy found out it was 2 kinds witch sounds bad but they said it was a good thing and in the next 30 days he would be moved to our home town to gain weight and get stronger.will he lost weight got weaker then back to INDY we went .that was MAY 9 this year stayed 10 days where they then said there is nothing we can do .I just don’t understand how on April 24 they have a plan then on May 19 they said go we will set up hospits for you the claim he didn’t want treatment.I know he does and how can they medicate him to the point he lost a week then ask him about treatment

    Reply
  3. Im a vet receiving exceptional VA healthcare. Pundants are quick to blame, private healthcare is NO better, & more expensive..

    Oh 20+ years working in hospital administration…

    Reply
    • I have actually got better care thru private sector than the va I work at. proof being got hurt on the job working in er and they didn’t even run any tests and charged me $150 my part even though I was on duty! They did not fix the problem so I went private sector , and they are helping me. another incident, was working on my 40th bday and got high bp. the nurses sent me to er and they run a bunch of tests, confirmed 10 times I had very high bp, they let e go home at the time of the end of my shift and I still had high bp. Went to outside dr via blue cross & blue shield I pay for at the va I work at, he gave me a bp pill.

      Reply
    • There’s either A) nothing wrong with your health and you just go to the VA for yearly checkups, or B) you’re 1:1000,000 that the VA gave the healthcare they advertise to… Or you work for VA Public Relations. Either way, even if I was receiving unbelievably great care from the VA, with what’s been going on I’d be too ashamed to say how great it was for fear that it would make the VA look good. There are many more of us whose health has been made worse due to irresponsible VA practices.

      Reply
      • I have used the VA system for 20 years and have nothing but praise. No one makes you go to the VA. You can go to any doctor you want. Just go to a private doctor unless you expect the government to take care of you, which in that case grow up and get a job!!!

        Reply
        • Mike, you are kidding, right? Grow up and get a job, really? Surely you aren’t trying to tell a year combat decorated veteran to grow up and get a job! I took care of my duty to my country and government and pay my taxes. My time and service and tax dollars entitle me and all other veterans quality medical care. If the VA doctors are not able to read and perform mandated VA directives regarding quality care, then they are the ones who need to grow up and find other jobs! Shame on you!

          Reply
  4. My mother retired as a Nurse Manager from the VA 16 years ago in Tuscaloosa, AL.
    She & I had many conversations regarding her disgust of how “her guys” were treated. She mentioned many times the level of accountability the majority of RN’s, LPN’s & assistance were required.
    This isn’t a recent development.

    Reply
  5. I have received excellent health care from V.A. medical centers in Togus Maine and Tampa Florida not all V.A. medical centers are bad.

    Reply
    • David, it’s not about the care. I’ve received good health care also, but it took months to get some of the care. After being diagnosed with several endocrine issues by a private hospital, I took my medical files, reports, etc to the VA and requested a consult with an endocrinologist. They actually asked me, “Why do you want to see an endocrinologist?” It took me 5 months to convince them to give me the appointment. Then after another year, they finally discovered I had hypopituitarism. That’s just too slow. Now we know why!

      Reply
  6. Sadly, the same upper level chicanery is a part of the Veteran’s Administration Claim system. Deny, deny, deny. Appeal and then denial of claim. Get a lawyer and delay, delay. Lawyer threatens a suit and voila!, you get a letter from the VA saying they see some merits in your claim. Sadly, 5 years after filing, they’re forced to acknowledge an injury that resulted in years of suffering from multiple health issues resulting from a traumatic brain injury.

    Reply
    • L Brown you are absolutely right about how the VA works in their rating system. I have gone up to their offices & watched employees laugh or complain about the veterans requesting services. The VA rating system is a joke…it has to do with how they code certain issues. The veteran representative that does the ratings will also change the diagnosis claiming it has to be according to what is written in the doctor’s notes & these same people think they know how to diagnosis a veteran’s medical issues. The Inspector General needs to investigate how VA employees determine ratings for veterans……some veterans receive higher ratings than others for the same issues & the question should be why is that? Do certain region offices make different rating decisions for the same issues or what? The VA employees are what gives this agency a bad name, not the VA itself.

      Reply
  7. I am a vet and work at the va and know the corruption that goes on in the management/upper man positions! they need to clean house in upper management and get some vets in these jobs! I am as well as others are vets funded by the gov and state for skills and schooling that management being non vets waste ur tax dollars by not placing vets appropriately! I have seen a lot and know that the healthcare my va could offer and does offer due to management bonuses which they still get, they call them differ now but basically it is still a bonus, and leave us vets as patient and worker for no regard!

    Reply
  8. I have worked @ the va for 10 years, and all I have seen is how much money upper management can get waste to their advantage by poor choices, and cooking the books instead of putting your tax dollars to work for you! What a Waste!

    Reply
    • I retired 2 years ago from the VA Northern California Health Care System in Martinez, CA. I worked there for 35 years, 20 years in Neurology Service. The Chief of my service rarely worked and received full-time pay plus benefits. Some think VA physicians are not paid well–they are. Plus, they do not pay malpractice insurance, receive 5 weeks paid vacation, sick leave and a good retirement. The Chief of Neurology’s wife is the Site Manager of this medical center and new of his work schedule. He saw patients only one half day a week in Martinez, CA, and two 1/2 days a week in Oakland, CA. Most of his 40 new-patient slots had to be overbooked in order for new patients to be seen within 30 days. There were often three patients seen in one 40-minute slot. This happened all the time in order to avoid the Wait Time limit.

      Reply
  9. Someone needs to look at East Orange New Jersey and Lyons New Jersey V.A I waited for 3months for an appointment, finally they quit sending cancellation notices for my appointments. I guess I was one of the ones that fell through the cracks

    Reply
  10. I’m very upset with VA system. I have so many words to say. My dad was at the VA hospital in mpls in which is supposed to one best va hospital in the country. Don’t let that fool yeah though. Overall the patient care from nurses was great I will say. Far as the doctors caring for the patients was very upsetting. They do wait way to long before major health happen that so important to get on right away. Way too many residency doctors and teams of doctors that treat these vets as guinnea pigs. Especially the older vets. Not right. I unfortunately lost my dad back in October 2013 because of careless mistakes from the doctors with delayed patient care. My dad was proud vet and loved his country and trusted the VA. I spent 10 half weeks at the VA with my dad and was a roller coaster ride that my dad didn’t deserve or our family. It’s been very difficult year for myself and my family. I know it was my dads time, but the VA hopital doctors didn’t have to make it is time too. Now I don’t have dad and I’m so lost without him. Miss my dad so much and love him greatly. He was my father, my best friend and my fishing buddy.

    Reply
  11. I am really surprised at the difference in not only treatment but quality of care from VA to VA. I recently moved from Chicago to Minneapolis where I have had a completely different diagnosis regarding my back pain issue. Here they are putting the surgery option ahead of my request for pain management. I also am being told they will do a different type of surgery than the neurosurgery dept at Milwaukee recommended. I was told by the physicians assistant the the Dr would come in to meet me and he never showed up. No physical therapy or pool therapy (that was successful in the past). I am on several waiting lists and if I had not repeatedly come to the emergency room for treatment, I would have been waiting 2 to 3 months to be assigned a primary care physician. Now with all this news of poor treatment and deaths at the VA…I am skeptical about having any surgery there at all.

    Reply
  12. If you want to know what government run healthcare (Medicare for all/single payer/Obamacare) just look to the VA. Disgrace!

    Reply
  13. The problems with VA healthcare are reflective of systemic problems within the VA. I am a VA patient and have not had any of the unfortunate experiences that my brothers and sisters in arms have experienced. However, I get much the same run around when following up on a disability claim or modification of a claim. I get the same pat answer about this backlog and how it takes 6-12 months to adjudicate a new claim and it takes up to 14 months to modify and blah blah blah. I’ve gone so far as to ask the ‘s’ole on the other end if this would be acceptable if this were HER money. Her response – “Our union sets limits on how many cases we can handle in a day. If I review your file today, then it’s been handled even if I don’t close the claim. Then it has to wait until it comes back up in the queue.”

    Reply
  14. I’m writing on my Son’s behalf.who is Rated 100%. Not only long delays, but how about long awaited appointments being denied/cancelled by a Nurse or Doctor while in a VA Hospital as they didn’t want to get off their fat ass to take him Up/Down on the elevator to “Follow Up” appointments, i.e., Neurology? My Son is diagnosed with TBI/PTSD/BIPOLAR/SPONDYLOSIS and the latest…MRSA!!! Doesn’t say much for attention given to check for Microbial contamination I challenge the A’hole Mizrach (Director? I think not) to show me one, just ONE other Veteran who has been CUFFED/KNOCKED DOWN/MACED/BRUTILY BEATEN/OVERLY SEDATED SO often as my Son has. Brutal “Beat Downs” were bad PRIOR to my serving A’hole Mizrach on 02/07 with “Notice of Claim” for what he allowed his Staff do to me and I’m NOT a Vet! The week following, the “Beat Downs” sharply escalated and I’m NOT talking 1-2 A’hole Cops, but 8!!! “Alleged Incidents”…Oh but yes, what exactly are they? Police Reports-though they were/are BOGUS-took forever to obtain and as for the Security Tapes? OOPS!!! “Someone must have inadvertently erased them”.For those who would like to contact someone who is fighting for us, reach out to Congressman Jeff Miller who opened the “Pandora Box” against the VA.

    Reply
  15. My husband and I have been fighting poor care and the rating board —–VA for over 20 years. MY husband is a decorated Vietnam VT. They hate me at the VA because I not only advocate for my husband but all vets. Why are they going this to our men and women that fought for country? I Have my own theory on this. We need to clean house and start all over. I am not talking about the nurses and techs but most of the doctors, upper management and rating board officers need to step down or truly think about what they are doing to these vets and their families . I don’t understand how they can live with themselves. Don’t they understand we are all gifts in our own special way. These men and women should be treated like a hero because that’s what they are! WE, as family members , must come together and advocate for our loved ones if they cannot do this on their own. God’s special blessing to all that served and continue to serve. They did not leave their country down .

    Band

    Reply
  16. My brother, 72, died in February, 2014, about 15 days after he was determined by a small town private hospital to be beyond the care they could give at that site. Sometime in January, 2014, he said an xray at VA in Richmond, VA.,had shown a spot on his lung. He waited three (3) weeks for VA in Richmond, VA, to schedule a CAT scan. No appointment for CAT scan ever came. I took him to his non-VA primary care about February 7, 2014, and at the direction of the doctor, took him directly to the local hospital. The next week he was transferred to hospital in Richmond, to be under care of VA. There doctors determined he had cancer in his spine, lung(s), and brain. My question: how could this person have visited VA in Richmond numerous times over preceding years and NOT been diagnosed with cancer that was so widespread and causing such intense pain throughout his body? Often, his 70-mile trip to VA was rewarded with a long day of waiting only to be told, “We’ll have to get back with you for an appointment.”
    DOES VA IN RICHMOND NEED TO BE CHECKED OUT? IS THAT FACILITY ON THE LIST TO BE INVESTIGATED?

    Reply
  17. Men were DRAFTED into the Viet Nam war and they fought a war that wasn’t to be won. My best friend has agent orange that has created many health problems and they still jerk him around, waiting for him to die.
    PLEASE…anyone who fought in that war complain to your representative in your area. File a criminal complaint with the FBI. This is so wrong how the men and women have been neglected.

    Reply
  18. I couldnt believe how much time the vetrens have to wait for treatment,even when no patients are in the waiting rooms,you wait half a night for medical treatment,or to be seen by a doctor,my brother was also a Viet Nam vet

    Reply
  19. I am a Veteran going to the Ann Arbor VA for almost 10 years and I still have NOT got the medical care I NEED. I was diagnosed with Occipital Neuralgia in 2005 or 2005 and I need to have surgery to stop the SEVERE CHRONIC PAIN in my neck and head. I have, well a lot of problems with my neck. The Occipital Neuralgia also produce Cervicogenic Vertigo. The Neurologist I last seen still insists that I have BPPV even though TWO (2) ENG’s, one done at the Detroit VA and one in Ann Arbor both show I do NOT have BPPV. That neurologist also insists that I have Migraines even though I have been diagnosed with the Occipital Neuralgia and been on several medications for the pain including Vicodin and Morphine. I have had physical therapy for it and it did NOT help and the last time MADE IT WORSE. I have had nerve blocks and they have NOT helped. But the VA is REFUSING to get me the surgery I need to resolve that problem.

    I also have SEVERE Sleep Apnea and have been tested twice. I still can not use the CPAP or the BiPAP, I have severe apnea events using it and wake completely up and have to rip off the mask to be able to breath. Yet the Ann Arbor VA is denying me the surgery I need for the sleep apnea. The last doctor Dr. Goldstein I seen in the sleep clinic said I was not a good candidate for surgery since I smoke. So their solution IS to just let me DIE as they have done to many, many, many other Veterans. She ALSO FALSIFIED my medical records and I have the records and a recording of that appointment I had with her. I have been recording all of them at the VA for YEARS since they like to LIE about what transpired at appointment. They have even LIED to Congressman Dingell’s VA Rep.

    To put it this was the VA IS MURDERING Veterans by purposely Misdiagnosing them, denying them the care they need and other things.

    The VA and ALL of its employees, Doctor, Nurses, Radiologist, etc. are ALL a MENACE to ALL of the Veterans and society at large.

    A friend of mine died a couple of years ago. He had gone to the AA VA for about 5 years and complained about a problem. The doctor brushed it off as acid reflux, from his drinking, etc. but NEVER did any test to determine if it was anything else. Well NOT until he ended up in the hospital and by luck he had a doctor from the U of M check in on him and he told that doctor what had been going on. That doctor had some test run and he found out that he had cancer and it was at stage 4 already. He died about a year later. If one really does some checking they will find out that is VERY common. 5 years and they did NOTHING.

    They ALL LIE at the VA including the Director. They falsify the medical records, purposely misdiagnose problems, why do surgery when you can say they have a problem were they only need meds or physical therapy a couple of times.

    All of the VA should be shutdown and all of the employees doing the things I described should be put I jail for a LONG, LONG time.

    I have been in contact with Congressman Dingell’s office and have NOT had ANY help from him. It appears that he is helping cover UP for the things the VA is and has done.

    That is about the short version of it. I have just so many things I have found and have recording to back up what I say.

    Reply
    • Amen they lie and hope you go away and die and many have done just that on and off the premise. If you need more than an aspirin or band aid run fast if you want to live. Don’t let them touch u crawl if you have too to another hospital! I did and that is why I am still alive today. The V A in Memphis diagnosed me with a strained muscle on my side. 2 hrs later I was in surgery at another hospital having the real problem taken out a ruptured grapefuirt size cyst spurting blood that would have become toxic after a few more days.
      No one there knows their job but they can eat chips and ignore you if you need information. Any information is mostly wrong just to make you go away!

      Reply
  20. As a retired CGNP and Primary Care Coordinator from the VA System, I am not appalled, but infuriated that these conditions are not only continuing, but are escalating. Reported to my supervisors on a continual basis that keeping wars going without proper care to come home to is NEGLIGENCE of the highest order. Under Kaiser and Garthwaite, I repeatedly expressed the data and facts that were developing during the initial PCProgram build up.
    It was in the best interest of Veterans from pre and post Viet Nam to the Iran/Iraq and the Afganistan wars to have appropriate care IN PLACE before the thousands of injured (physical and mental) came/come home with a system that kept the issues under the rug. Though I am not a Veteran myself, my 10+ yrs surveying the needs of our troops was my primary focus. I am ashamed of this debacle that stretches across the country. How I wish I could speak to someone WHO REALLY CARES & has the ability to jump the political hoops that our men & women face daily in the VA System.

    Reply
  21. I received #1 healthcare at the Albuquerque, NM Va. The I moved to Tennessee, and this place is the worse that the care you get in the military. Nashville VA is so messed up. They much rather stand around BSing that take care of vets.

    Reply
    • Hi Helen,

      Not sure what you’re referring to here. There are no pending comments in the admin box. Are you seeing a message somewhere?

      Reply
  22. The number of MD’s who work 4-5 years at the VA to pay their medical school/loans off and then leave the VA with very little advance notice is amazing. Many nurses at the VA do very little compared to private practice, and; they feel they are entitled. The Civil Service employees at the VA are union members of the AFGE. They feel entitled to do as they please. It is very sad as a nurse can have state license complaints and still work for the VA.

    Reply
  23. What really gets me is our government knows how many people they are going to need health care for . It is not hard to estimate and come up with a number that will be needing healthcare . I am saying this with the assumption that the VA Heath care system is overwhelmed . that appears to be the problem ? Or is it….is it mismanagement or too many patients . Maybe the VA needs to be split into several regions with a director for each region. They think they are overloaded now…if every veteran signed up , they for sure couldn’t handle the numbers. I went almost 30 years ofter 4 years of active duty in the Marines before signing up . I signed up mainly them to try and get an active duty knee injury taken care of. After complaining for ten years on deaf ears , my employer finally footed the bill for a total knee replacement which I had my first surgery on in the early 70s while on active duty . Talk about frustrating and all the years of knee pain.

    Reply
  24. I have had what turned into a telephone appointment just before walking out the door to go see the doctor in 2014. The nurse said if I was feeling okay I to didn’t need to come in.I have not seen a primary care doctor since 2013 and the next appointment is March 2015. I guess I’ll just talk on the phone to the nurse again and if I sound alright they will called the telephone conversation an appointment! I guess that’s the new way of cooking the books to look like a live person showed up in the Memphis V A ! Its just a sad joke. I removed a sebaceous cyst on my neck from instructions found on youtube.I also trim corns and callouses from my diabete feet at home. I will be blacklisted for complaining!!!

    Reply

Leave a reply

required

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>