Corker, Alexander Call For Immediate Senate Investigation Of Veterans Affairs Scandal

Friday, May 23, 2014

Senator Bob Corker, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Lamar Alexander, ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and 23 of their Senate Republican colleagues sent a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations today requesting “an immediate investigation into reported mismanagement, incompetence, and corruption within the Department of Veterans Affairs health care centers throughout the country.

“Specifically, the investigation should focus on how appropriated funds for patient care and record management were spent in light of allegations of concerted efforts to present inaccurate and misleading information about patient wait times in order to ensure VA employees qualified for personal bonuses,” wrote the senators.

“Given even the slightest hint of a possible organized effort to fabricate information critical to the care of our nation’s veterans, an immediate investigation should be conducted to determine if the health care of our veterans is being put at risk. We request your committee join the effort to thoroughly investigate and expose the facts surrounding this situation.”

Last week, Corker and Alexander wrote to VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki calling on the VA to conduct a “thorough, open and transparent” audit following reports of neglect at some of its medical facilities, including allegations that up to 40 patients may have died because of delayed care at the Phoenix VA Health Care System. The senators also asked Shinseki to provide specific information regarding the average time Tennessee veterans are waiting for care at VA facilities.

Full text of the letter is included below:

Dear Chairman and Ranking Member:

We are writing to request an immediate investigation into reported mismanagement, incompetence, and corruption within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care centers throughout the country.  Specifically, the investigation should focus on how appropriated funds for patient care and record management were spent in light of allegations of concerted efforts to present inaccurate and misleading information about patient wait times in order to ensure VA employees qualified for personal bonuses.

Recent reports have alleged VA employees created “secret” waiting lists, shredded official documents and engaged in other nefarious activities in order to cover-up backlogs of veterans’ claims.  Media reports have suggested that these “secret lists” were maintained in some cases to garner better data for year-end performance bonuses.  If true, these despicable acts are at the very least improper expenditures of government funds, and at worst may have contributed to the deterioration in health or even death of some of our brave veterans. This potential appalling behavior towards our veterans, mismanagement of government funds, and breach of public trust certainly warrants your committee’s full attention.

Given even the slightest hint of a possible organized effort to fabricate information critical to the care of our nation’s veterans, an immediate investigation should be conducted to determine if the health care of our veterans is being put at risk. We request your committee join the effort to thoroughly investigate and expose the facts surrounding this situation.

The federal government’s commitment to honor our nation’s veterans and provide them with proper care should never be called into question. Any allegations of such a heinous conspiracy as to engage in personal profiteering at the expense our veterans’ wellbeing by the very public servants entrusted to care for our veterans must be taken seriously and not ignored.

Thank you for your serious consideration of this matter and we look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

 


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report - And Mug Shots

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BAKER, JUSTIN CHARLES     9044 WACONDA SHORE DRIVE CHATTANOOGA, 37416     26     Hamilton County          VIOLATION OF PROBATION (POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA)     VIOLATION OF PROBATION (EVADING ARREST) BETTIS, CHRISTOPHER ... (click for more)

Man With 9 Prior Burglary Felonies Gets 24 Years, 2 Months In Federal Prison After Gun Conviction

Victor Stitt, 32, of Manchester, was sentenced to serve 290 months in prison after his prior nine felonies qualified him as an armed career criminal.   He appeared before Judge Sandy. Mattice, who presided over his trial in April.           During the trial, the jury was told that Coffee County Sheriff’s deputies responded ... (click for more)

Dirt Decision At Camp Jordan May Come Back To Haunt East Ridge Councilmen

Wow. I thought the arrival of Bass Pro Shop would help bring East Ridge back to a position of prominence in the Chattanooga area, but the Council proved otherwise last night.  To the council - There is a reason that the developers want that dirt: It's valuable . You currently own it and the developer wants it. Bass Pro has already agreed to set up shop. They were going ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Goodbye To My Scooter

The month of August turned out to be unkind, with my dog, my favorite aunt and my magnificent mother all dying within three weeks’ time. As I finally begin to push out the three newest dents in my soul, my habit has been to write something akin to a goodbye note to those I have loved. I’m not ready for Aunt Martha and Mother yet – not by a stretch -- but I remembered Scooter with ... (click for more)

Baylor Ends Big Week With Win Over GPS

The Baylor volleyball team probably doesn't get many days off during the week in midseason, but they earned a day off on Tuesday following a long and successful stretch in the last eight days. The Lady Red Raiders, won 10 of 11 matches in the last eight days, including a big win over arch-rival GPS on the road Monday night.  As a result, coach Sarah Lail urged her girls ... (click for more)

UTC's Hudson Named Special Teams Player Of The Week

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior Tommy Hudson is the Southern Conference Special Teams Player of the Week, the league office announced today.  Hudson scored twice in the Mocs 42-6 win at Austin Peay on Saturday .  Hudson returned three punts for 65 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown in the third quarter.  That added to his 33-yard receiving ... (click for more)