WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following a letter of response from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regarding a recent report that details unauthorized waiting lists outside of the VA patient tracking system for some mental health appointments that date back to 2006, Iowa’s U.S. Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley this week each met with VA Deputy Secretary Tom Bowman. Following these meetings, the Iowa Senators issued the following joint statement:
“During our meetings, we each stressed that prompt care for our veterans is absolutely critical. As we’ve made clear, it’s important that our veterans and the public know what disciplinary measures are being applied by the VA.
“Deputy Secretary Bowman stated that individuals identified as being culpable for the secret waitlists will be held accountable. In the two cases he referenced, the individuals resigned and the circumstances regarding their departure will be part of their record. The VA has pledged to provide documentation on the disciplinary action taken against each of the culpable employees. The VA has also committed to issuing further guidance to make it absolutely clear that unofficial waitlists are not permissible. We will continue to hold the VA accountable and ensure they follow through on these commitments.”
Additionally, the VA stated that they are working to assess the situation at the Iowa City VA and will be answering the questions in the letter sent by Senators Ernst and Grassley yesterday, following a disturbing report that shed light on hiring practices at VA hospitals.