PHOENIX — On Wednesday, the nation’s head of veteran health services told lawmakers a preliminary review found no evidence to support recent allegations of corruption and unnecessary deaths at the agency’s hospital in Phoenix.
However, Sen. Jeff Flake said the VA’s review may not be accurate or unbiased.
“That statement is unfortunate and very premature,” he told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Rob & Karie on Wednesday. “The Inspector General is conducting an investigation right now. They have not issued a preliminary report.”
Flake added the review was conducted internally by the VA, meaning the agency would have had to reveal its own shortcomings, should there be any.
“To imply that they’re given an all clear is just wrong,” he said.
While Congress is not prejudging the VA before receiving the pending independent Inspector General investigation, Flake said “heads will roll” if the allegations of severe delays in care are true.
“These problems seem to by systemic,” he said. “We’ve got problems in Florida and Georgia…These wait times are big problems and we just don’t have the resources and even when they are given the resources, we see these problems.”
Flake said Congress has done what has been needed to keep the VA well-supplied.
“We’ve certainly worked hard to make that they were adequately resourced to deal with the population that shows up,” he said, adding Phoenix VA Health Care System Director Sharon Helman informed him her agency had enough resources.
The Inspector General’s investigation will speak with whistleblowers, doctors and patients at the VA. The agency has also been ordered to not move or destroy possible evidence. Flake said he will be confident in the independent study’s findings.
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