Congressman Lamar Smith

Representing the 21st District of Texas
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Texas Members Call for IG Investigation into VA

May 13, 2014
Press Release

Members of the Texas delegation today called for an Inspector General investigation into allegations that Veterans Affairs officials in Central Texas manipulated medical appointment data in order to conceal long wait times for veterans seeking care.                                       

According to media reports, employees at the North Central Federal Clinic in San Antonio, the Austin Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic and Waco Veterans Affairs Medical Center were instructed by supervisors to ensure that wait times for veterans were as “close to zero days as possible.”  An employee of Veterans Affairs who recently worked at all three clinics claims that staffers falsely logged patients’ desired appointment dates to closely coincide with appointment openings. But in reality, veterans were left waiting for months.    

These new allegations come on the heels of reports that at least 40 veterans in Phoenix died while waiting to receive care.

Led by Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21), members of the Texas delegation wrote Veterans Affairs Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin calling on him to immediately initiate investigations into all three VA facilities. 

“The policy of falsifying medical records is dishonest, deceptive, and injurious to veterans,” wrote the members. “Swift action must be taken to protect the health and well-being of our nation’s veterans.” 

“We understand that your office has staff in San Antonio reviewing these allegations,” the letter continued.  “However, we want to make sure that your office is also investigating the potential misconduct that may have affected veterans seeking care in Waco and Austin. Any individuals found to have engaged in misconduct or mismanagement must face serious consequences.”

The members urged Inspector General Griffin to “expeditiously and thoroughly investigate the claims regarding misconduct” and report back to Congress on his findings. 

Twenty-three members joined Rep. Smith in calling for the IG investigation including:  Rep. Joe Barton (TX-06), Rep. Kevin Brady (TX-08), Rep. Michael Burgess (TX-26), Rep. John Carter (TX-31), Rep. Michael Conaway (TX-11), Rep. John Culberson (TX-07), Rep. Blake Farenthold (TX-27), Rep. Bill Flores (TX-17), Rep. Pete Gallego (TX-23), Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Rep. Kay Granger (TX-12), Rep. Ralph Hall (TX-04), Rep. Jeb Hensarling (TX-05), Rep. Sam Johnson (TX-03), Rep. Kenny Marchant (TX-24), Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10), Rep. Randy Neugebauer (TX-19), Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22), Rep. Ted Poe (TX-02), Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-32), Rep. Mac Thornberry (TX-13), Rep. Randy Weber (TX-14), and Rep. Roger Williams (TX-25).

A full copy of the letter can be found here