Investigation Finds No Proof VA Wait Times Led to Veteran Deaths

An investigation into malfeasance at a Phoenix, Arizona Veterans Affairs clinic found no proof that any deaths resulted from wait time abuses, according to the Associated Press, contradicting initial reports that up to forty veterans died due to delayed treatment.

The Inspector General’s report has not yet been released, but was shared with the VA, which has been under substantial scrutiny since the revelations of widespread abuses in the spring. The report does not appear to have denied the abuses, but “was unable to conclusively assert that the absence of timely quality care caused the death of these veterans,” the VA said in a written statement.

A VA spokesperson was quick to point out that this did not let the agency off the hook.

“They looked to see if there was any causal relationship associated with the delay in care and the death of these veterans and they were unable to find one. But from my perspective, that don’t make it OK,” said Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson. “Veterans were waiting too long for care and there were things being done, there were scheduling improprieties happening at Phoenix and frankly at other locations as well. Those are unacceptable.”

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned earlier this year following revelations that multiple VA hospitals were hiding extraordinarily long wait times for health care.

[h/t Associated Press]

[Image via C.M. Wiggins/]

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