Audit Reveals VA Manipulated Data, Intimidated Staff to Hide Delays in Care

The Phoenix VA Health Care Center / AP

The Phoenix VA Health Care Center / AP

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An audit of internal Veterans Affairs (VA) documents revealed manipulation of data and cases of staff intimidation to hide delays in medical care for veterans, USA Today reports.

Auditors found at least one appointment scheduler at 109 VA medical centers who said wait times for veterans had been falsified, according to a USA TODAY analysis of internal VA survey data made public Tuesday. To keep evidence of delayed care out of the VA’s official electronic tracking system, secret lists were maintained at 110 facilities, the analysis shows.

Workers at a VA outpatient clinic in Wilmington, N.C., as well as a VA hospital near Chicago expressed fear of retaliation and disciplinary actions if they did not manipulate data.

The audit by the VA’s Veterans Health Administration was ordered earlier this year by then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. The results were provided to President Obama on May 30, the day Shinseki resigned.