(Washington, D.C.) – Representative Charlie Dent (PA-15), Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies, convened a hearing to receive testimony from members of the Veterans Administration Office of Inspector General (OIG) this morning. The OIG provides oversight over all VA programs and operations including the delivery of health care services and operations, benefits administration, financial management, and information technology and security.
In his opening statement Dent observed to Mr. Richard J. Griffin, Deputy Inspector General for the Department of Veterans Affairs, “This is probably one of the most active periods in recent memory for your office, Mr. Griffin, with your audits of whistleblower allegations in the wait list scandal and the reports that you are required to make to Congress by the Choice Act.”
Dent questioned Griffin regarding the Phoenix VA Hospital wait list scandal. Griffin stated that they were still uncovering information about veterans who were unable to schedule visits with specialists in a reasonable amount of time. Chairman Dent asked Griffin if schedule rigging and wait lists were endemic throughout the VA Health Care system.
Griffin answered regarding manipulating wait times “It was certainly widespread throughout the system.”
Dent used part of his final questioning round to ask Griffin specifically about the ongoing Inspector General probe of the Philadelphia VA Regional Office. Issues the OIG investigated included misplaced mail, unprocessed claims, problems at the Veterans Service Center, the Insurance Center and the call center.
“Frankly it was a problem that just kept growing,” said Griffin. “Every time we went back there, more issues were put on our plate.”
Griffin noted that new leadership had been installed at the Philadelphia office.
After the hearing, Chairman Dent stated: “The independent investigatory work of the VA Office of Inspector General and the oversight responsibilities of the MilCon/VA subcommittee are more important now than ever before. Today’s hearing was a sobering reminder of the scope of the challenges facing the VA and the veterans it serves.”
NOTE: Dr. John D. Daigh, Jr., Assistant Inspector General for Healthcare Inspection also provided testimony to the subcommittee. The entire hearing can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/MPmvHZ-M4Y8?t=4s.
CONTACT: Shawn Millan (610) 770-3490