The Department of Veterans Affairs picked up another notch on their belt of scandals and mishaps earlier this month. USA Today recently reported that the VA has not publicly released the findings of 140 health care investigations going back to 2006.
And so more problems for our veterans continued to fester without proper oversight, leaving those who have served our country out to dry.
It is unknown how many of the investigations uncovered serious or dangerous problems as the reports have not been read or analyzed yet, but all of them concerned VA medical care provided to veterans or complaints of clinical misconduct.
The VA inspector general said they could not provide specifics for the apparent lack of transparency, as the inspector general has not analyzed the reports in full.
Catherine Gromek, the VA inspector general, advised requesting the reports under the Freedom of Information Act. USA Today submitted a request in January for 23 reports. Her office has maintained that officials are "working diligently" to fulfill the request.
The inspector general’s office noted that, in general, reports may not be released if allegations are unsubstantiated and disclosing them could damage someone's reputation, when there is a pending lawsuit or when subjects of investigations are no longer working at the VA.
Officials from the inspector general's office did review 26 reports withheld from the public since January 2014 and found less than half — 46% — involved unsubstantiated allegations. They said in 42% of the cases, inspectors determined VA officials had already addressed their concerns so a public report was unnecessary. One was the subject of a pending lawsuit.
However, these statistics and reasons for lack of transparency do not satisfy the many veterans and their families who continue to suffer through poor care, long waits, and a bevy of other issues at VA medical centers. And they should not satisfy the public either.
Read USA Today’s full report on the issue here:
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