TUNE IN, 4p ET: Sen. Coburn Discusses His Report on Additional Deaths of Vets
A new report released Tuesday by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) claims more than a thousand veterans may have died between 2001 and 2011 as the result of misconduct and a "culture of mismanagement" at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"As is typical with any bureaucracy, the excuse for not being able to meet goals is a lack of resources,” Coburn, a physician himself, wrote in the introduction to the report. “But this is not the case at the VA where spending has increased rapidly in recent years."
Hear from Sen. Coburn directly, as he discusses the shocking numbers today at 4p ET on Your World.
Read more on the report from FoxNews.com:
The report cites investigations by the VA inspector general and the Government Accountability Office, as well as media reports.
Coburn's claim that more than 1,000 veterans may have died in the decade since 2001 as the result of hospital mismanagement and neglect is based on a story from the Center for Investigative Reporting this past April. The center found that the VA had paid out more than $200 million to settle wrongful death claims by nearly 1,000 families.
The release of Coburn's report comes one day after Carolyn Lerner, the head of the Office of Special Counsel, sent a letter to President Obama stating that the VA had not properly investigated allegations made by its employees of scheduling manipulation or improper care. The New York Times reported late Monday that the Office of Special Counsel has forwarded 29 cases of VA workers alleging harm to patients for further investigation. Another 60 cases being investigated involve VA employees who allege they faced reprisals for raising concerns about care.
A section of Coburn's report on whistleblower reprisals cites the case of a former employee of the Fort Collins, Colo., VA center who refused to manipulate schedules so appointments would appear to occur within a 14-day period following an initial consultation. In response, Coburn's report alleges, the employee was suspended without pay for two weeks and later transferred to a Wyoming facility with a pay cut.
Lerner's letter also mentioned the Fort Collins site, at which, she wrote, 3,000 veterans were unable to reschedule canceled appoints.
Coburn's report also claims that VA doctors only see a little more than half as many patients as their counterparts in the private sector. According to the report, the average caseload for a physician in private practice is 2,300 patients, while the average caseload for a VA doctor is 1,200.
Coburn's report recommends that Congress pass legislation giving veterans more freedom to see private care providers, require public disclosure of VA hospital ratings given by the department, and increase the number of patients seen by VA doctors.