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Chairman Miller Statement Regarding Allegations of Veteran Deaths, Secret Waiting List at PVAHCS

Apr 24, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Following media reports that 40 veterans seeking care at the Phoenix VA Health Care System died while awaiting treatment and may have been placed on a secret waiting list, Chairman Miller released the following statement:

“These are extremely disturbing allegations, which is why weeks ago I called for a complete and thorough inspector general investigation into delays in VA care – in Phoenix and department wide – and shared with the IG all of the evidence our committee has acquired as part of our own investigation. If proven true, these charges will only add to the growing pattern of preventable veteran deaths and patient safety incidents at VA medical centers across the country that are united by one common theme: VA’s extreme reluctance to hold its employees and executives accountable. In fact, if you look at recent VA preventable deaths linked to mismanagement – in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Columbia, S.C., Augusta, Ga., and Memphis, Tenn. – department executives who presided over mismanagement are more likely to have received a bonus or glowing performance review than any sort of punishment. It's well past time for VA leaders at all levels to heed the alarms many in the veterans community have been sounding for more than a year. That means holding employees accountable - instead of rewarding them - for mismanagement that harms veterans and being honest with Congress and the public about the department's problems. This is the only way VA can regain the trust of the veterans it is charged with serving and bring some much-needed closure to the families of those who have died.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs