WASHINGTON — U.S. senators Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), released the following statements on Thursday following a Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General report finding secret wait lists at a number of Colorado VA facilities. Johnson and Gardner requested the inspector general investigation in September 2016.
“Putting veterans on secret wait lists is not acceptable. The VA should implement changes to provide the highest quality care for our veterans and hold wrongdoers accountable. I thank Brian Smothers, the whistleblower who bravely came forward to shed a light on these unacceptable practices at the VA so they can be prevented in the future,” Johnson said.
“My worst fears have been realized in this Inspector General’s report that Chairman Johnson and I demanded,” Gardner said. “It highlights even more VA mismanagement and lack of accountability in Colorado. This cannot happen again, and it’s time for the VA to finally wake up and ensure our men and women are getting the best care possible. I will continue to work with Chairman Johnson to ensure the accountability that somehow the VA refuses to accept,” said Gardner.
The VA IG report that senators Johnson and Gardner requested can be found here.
In September 2016 senators Johnson and Gardner requested that the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Michael Missal open an inquiry into possible wait lists that may have contributed to a veteran’s suicide while waiting for post-traumatic stress disorder treatment at a Colorado Springs Veterans Affairs facility. A whistleblower alleged that the facility might have falsified the veteran’s medical records following his death. The senators’ September 2016 letter to Missal is available here.