Austin VA caught up in waiting list scandal - | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Austin VA caught up in waiting list scandal

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Texas Senator John Cornyn is calling for congressional hearings into allegations that waiting lists are being manipulated at VA clinics.

The new outpatient facility here in Austin may be part of that review. A former staff member is quoted in the Austin American Statesman accusing supervisors of making those who schedule appointments for veterans to conceal the long waits. Accusations of falsifying scheduling data so managers can get bonus pay also target VA facilities in San Antonio, Phoenix and in Colorado. Legislation to prohibit bonuses for VA administrators is currently moving through Congress.

Senator Cornyn (R) Texas, Wednesday morning, from the Senate Floor, called for the Secretary for Veterans Affairs to resign.

"Scandals like these confirm the VA lacks the safeguards against official abuses and it also lacks accountability,” said Senator Cornyn.

The Austin VA Outpatient Clinic is part of the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System. Before the Austin allegations were made public, CTVHCS Director Sallie Houser-Hanfelder, said the use of hidden lists were not acceptable. According to a statement sent to FOX7, Houser-Hanfelder has ordered a review of scheduling practices. Staff members who make appointments are required to go through refresher training.

Veterans like former U.S. Marine Gus Pena have been complaining about the long waits to get medical treatment at the VA. The new accusations, while not surprising, are disappointing, according to Pena.

"It makes me very angry that our government is not taking care of us veterans when we gave our lives, volunteered for the defense of our country and other country's freedom. It makes me very angry as a veteran."

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