WASHINGTON — Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), received a response from Michael Missal, Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs, stating that the Office of Inspector General was investigating the issues brought to his attention by the senators.
In September, Sens. Johnson and Gardner wrote a letter to Inspector General Missal requesting that he open an inquiry into possible “wait lists” that may have contributed to a veteran’s suicide while waiting for PTSD treatment at a Colorado Springs VA facility. A whistleblower has alleged the facility might have falsified the veteran’s medical records following his death.
“I appreciate the VA inspector general’s response to our request to conduct a review of these serious allegations of the use of secret wait lists to manage veteran care,” said Johnson. “As we’ve seen at VA facilities in Wisconsin, it is vital that allegations of wrongdoing at VA facilities be investigated promptly and thoroughly. Our veterans, the finest among us, deserve the best quality care. I look forward to reviewing the IG report when it is complete.”
“I welcome the Inspector General’s review of potential unauthorized wait lists and falsification of documents at VA facilities in Colorado,” said Gardner. “These allegations are serious and therefore must be met with a thorough, comprehensive investigation. I remain committed to fighting for transparency and accountability from the VA, and I look forward to reviewing the Inspector General’s findings.”
The letter can be found here and below.
The Honorable Ron Johnson
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Johnson:
This is in response to your cosigned September 19, 2016 letter requesting that the Office of Inspector General (OIG) review the alleged use of unofficial wait lists to manage health care for veterans at the Eastern Colorado Health Care System in Denver, Colorado as well as its Golden and Colorado Springs, Colorado Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC). Additionally, you requested we review the alleged falsification of documents related to the suicide of a veteran waiting for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at the Colorado Springs CBOC.
The circumstances regarding the alleged document falsification as well as the alleged use of unofficial wait lists are now under review by OIG staff. Upon completion of our review, we will make every effort to share whatever information we can in accordance with applicable law.
We provided a similar response to Senator Gardner under separate cover. Thank you for your interest in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Michael J. Missal