Tampa Bay Times: VA Mislead Congress, Public on Veteran Deaths | Veterans for Common Sense

During the ongoing investigation into the growing scandal of VA cooking the books on veterans’ healthcare access, disability claims denials, and medical research coverups, a new trend has emerged:  VA officials at every level lying to Congress, the media, and the public.

Such is the case in a story reported this week by the Tampa Bay Times (“VA Numbers on Treatment Delays were Misleading“, Aug. 1, 2014, William Levesque reporting).

According to the investigative report, the VA, “told Congress and the public in April [in a fact sheet] that the agency reviewed 250 million medical consultations, dating back to 1999, and found 76 veterans seriously harmed by treatment delays for gastrointestinal cancers. Of them, 23 died.”

However, the Tampa Bay Times investigation found that all of these cases were in fact in 2010 and 2011, not dating back to 1999, and data from 1999 to 2009, and 2012 to the present, have not yet been released, and VA officials tried desperately to stonewall the media investigating this matter.

According to the TBT article:

“They tried to misdirect Congress and the American people away from the facts,” said Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Pensacola, the committee’s chairman. “I think they got caught and now they are trying to modify their story. . . . The misdirection was, in fact, designed in Washington.”

….

The VA is embroiled in what might be the worst scandal in its history, with disclosures that hospitals across the nation engaged in rampant “gaming strategies” that hid delays in treating veterans and that some facilities tried to hide patient deaths.

Allegations have also been reported that the VA engaged in widespread whistleblower retaliation.

The Tampa Bay Times, based in St. Petersburg, Fla., is one of Florida’s largest print newspapers.  St. Petersburg is also home to the Bay Pines VA Medical Center and Florida’s VA Regional Office, also located at Bay Pines.  The Bay Pines VAMC had the 13th worst wait times in the entire United States, according to data in a recent VA Inspector General investigative report.

Read the full Tampa Bay Times article here:  http://www.tampabay.com/news/military/veterans/va-stats-on-consultation-delays-dont-reach-as-far-back-as-implied/2191157

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