A major development in our months long probe into the Tucson VA.
Congressman Raul Grijalva has confirmed the VA watchdog is launching an investigation based on our coverage of a severe staffing crisis and whistleblower claims of cover-ups that led to poor care of some veterans.
Grijalva released a statement:
The Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General's office will open an investigation into allegations of rescheduled appointments leading to longer wait times, high provider turn-over, understaffing that jeopardized quality of care, and retaliation towards employees who questioned practices at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System (SAVAHCS) in Tucson. Grijalva is pleased the IG's decision to open an investigation after what he considers to be an unsatisfactory response to a letter he sent on February 8th requesting answers and accountability for the allegations."
In essence, McDonald wrote that the Tucson VA is operating at a sufficient level and is addressing staffing shortages. McDonald then asked Congressman Grijalva for his support for more funding. He never mentioned the claims of retaliation and deceptive practices.
Grijalva's statement continues:
"Allegations of subpar medical care at the VA in Tucson are truly alarming, and I'm glad to see the Inspector General's office is treating this matter with the importance it deserves," Rep. Grijalva said. "Our state knows first-hand what neglect at a VA medical center means for the veterans who rely on it. I am disappointed at the VA's response to my inquiry about the initial reports into this matter, and I hope the IG investigation will bring a higher level of professionalism and respect to the seriousness of this matter. After several meetings with past employees, hearing their concerns and calls for further investigations, I will push for this IG inquiry to be as thorough and transparent as possible. We must ensure SAVAHCS is delivering the care that our veterans deserve, and that is a safe and productive place for the medical staff to continuing doing their good work there."