11.29.17

Gardner, Bennet Demand Accountability at VA for Unofficial Wait Lists

Request Quarterly Reports on Progress

Washington, D.C. – Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) today sent a letter to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin regarding the VA Inspector General report that found unofficial wait lists at a number of Colorado VA facilities.

 

The Senators wrote, in part, “This practice of using unofficial wait lists is extremely concerning, and sows distrust amongst our veterans in the very system that exists to help them. Unofficial wait lists result in a lack of transparency and deny veterans the timely care that they deserve, ultimately putting our veterans at great risk.”

 

Full text of the letter is below:

 

Dear Secretary Shulkin,

 

We write to urge you to ensure accountability following a November 16, 2017 report that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted, which substantiates the claim that the Eastern Colorado Health Care System (ECHCS) used unofficial wait lists for veteran health care. This report highlights serious mismanagement, and we urge you to review its findings and implement the OIG’s recommendations to ensure veterans in Colorado have a health system they deserve and to prevent future mismanagement from occurring.

 

This practice of using unofficial wait lists is extremely concerning, and sows distrust amongst our veterans in the very system that exists to help them. Unofficial wait lists result in a lack of transparency and deny veterans the timely care that they deserve, ultimately putting our veterans at great risk. Unfortunately, the exact number of cases affected by this mismanagement is unknown due to the lack of documentation, but according to the OIG report, the VA placed at least 3,775 on the unofficial wait lists. This is unacceptable. It is critical that the VA holds bad actors overseeing these unofficial wait lists accountable. Moving forward, the VA must also take steps to ensure that it upholds its policy prohibiting the use of unofficial wait lists.

 

Please provide a timely response on your plan of action to hold those overseeing this wrongdoing accountable. Additionally, we request that you provide us with quarterly reports on ECHCS’ progress ensuring that the VA is taking corrective action to address these and other wait times issues across the area.

 

Thank you for your time, and we look forward to your response.

 

Sincerely,

 

###

 

Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Budget Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy and Subcommittee on Energy

 

354 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20515

 

(202) 224-5941