Miller Statement on Newly Released VA IG Wait-Time Manipulation Reports
Today, Chairman Miller released the following statement regarding newly released Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General reports documenting patient wait-time manipulation at 40 VA facilities in 19 states.
"These reports document dysfunction on the part of both the Department of Veterans Affairs and its inspector general. The fact that the IG only released these documents after public pressure from the media as well as Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate is proof that it still has much more to learn when it comes to providing the oversight VA needs and the transparency taxpayers deserve. Nevertheless, the reports outline a host of serious scheduling issues that masked wait times at VA facilities around the country. And in classic VA fashion, almost no one has been seriously held accountable for any of this wrongdoing. In fact, according to VA’s own data, the department has successfully fired just four low-level employees for wait-time manipulation. Right now it’s incumbent on VA leaders to explain why that’s the case given the IG’s findings of widespread wait-time manipulation and other serious problems. And in the meantime, the Senate needs to get in step with veterans service organizations and taxpayers and get behind commonsense legislation like the House-passed VA Accountability Act, which would make it easier for the department to swiftly discipline corrupt and incompetent employees. Until those who caused the wait-time scandal are purged from the VA payroll, the department will never be fixed. Unfortunately, Senate inaction is currently preventing that from happening.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
The VA Accountability Act (H.R. 1994) passed the House in July of 2015 and is pending in the Senate. It would give the VA secretary the authority to swiftly fire or demote any employee for poor performance or misconduct while protecting whistleblowers and limiting the agency’s ability to place misbehaving employees on paid leave. It would also give VA the ability to recover annuities on pensions of VA senior executives convicted of felonies committed on the job.