In response to the Interim Report of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of The Inspector General (OIG) on May 28, 2014, Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) National President Bill Lawson released the following statement:
Paralyzed Veterans of America is deeply troubled by the findings included in the Interim Report of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General released on May 28, 2014. Clearly, egregious behavior was permitted to fester in the Phoenix VA Health Care System. Now is the time for action to address these problems! We believe that real steps must be taken immediately to hold all parties responsible for the actions that led to veterans waiting far too long to receive care and potentially led to the deaths of some veterans while waiting for care.
It is wholly unacceptable that any VA employee would be allowed to manipulate VA rules and regulations placing the health care, and lives, of veterans at great risk. Any employee who has been identified as participating in the gaming schemes outlined by the OIG report should be immediately terminated. Additionally, where any criminal activity is believed to have occurred, appropriate legal steps must be taken to hold those individuals accountable.
The first priority of the Department of Veterans Affairs is the provision of timely, quality health care to veterans. With this in mind, we call for a fully independent investigation of the entire VA Health Care System to determine the depths to which these types of activities have been permitted around the country. For more than 30 years, Paralyzed Veterans has conducted independent site visits around the country and we reported similar access problems to the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Unfortunately, those issues that we identified were ignored. The leadership across the VHA—clinicians who have been tasked to ensure care is provided to veterans across the entire VA system—must be held accountable for these access problems.
Paralyzed Veterans of America insists that Congress and the Administration must commit to taking all steps necessary to strengthen the VA Health Care System so that it truly meets the needs of our nation’s veterans.
Paralyzed Veterans of America Testifies at Hearing on State of VA Health Care