WASHINGTON – Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst received a response from Veterans Affairs Department Secretary David Shulkin regarding an inquiry seeking information on reported unauthorized waiting lists outside the VA patient tracking system for some mental health appointments at the VA facility in Omaha.

In his response to Grassley and Ernst, Shulkin said that an internal audit found that 87 veterans encountered delays from employees improperly managing the Electronic Waiting List in spring 2017. Shulkin also said that “one employee who was involved retired and one resigned,” and that an “investigation is ongoing into the culpability of additional subordinate employees.” The investigation is scheduled to be completed by the end of the month. In addition, Shulkin noted that the VA is taking additional steps to prevent a similar situation from happening again.

Grassley and Ernst made the following comment.

“We’re glad our concerns appear to be taken seriously, and we appreciate the responsiveness of Secretary Shulkin. While the VA indicated that it has taken corrective action, more should be done department-wide to ensure employees are properly trained to prevent situations like this from happening again. We look forward to reviewing the results of the investigation once it concludes.”

Grassley and Ernst have long worked to improve veterans’ services, particularly those involving mental health and suicide prevention.