A top Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) official falsely denied that mismanagement caused veteran deaths during a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing Wednesday.
“At the Atlanta VA Medical Center the Inspector General linked three preventable patient deaths to widespread mismanagement,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp said to Dr. Robert Petzel, chief of the VA’s Veterans Health Administration.
“Well, first of all the IG did not link any deaths to the activity at Atlanta,” Petzel replied. ”There were three mental health deaths but the IG made no comment in their report about the quality of care that was delivered to them or the course of action.”
WATCH (starts at 3:25):
But VA Inspector General reports on the Atlanta deaths obtained by The Daily Caller disproved Petzel’s claim.
“In addition to issues involving a tracking process and coordination of care, this case raises questions regarding patient management on the day prior to the patient’s death,” according to an April 17, 2013 IG report titled, “Patient Care Issues and Contract Mental Health Program Mismanagement Atlanta VA Medical Center.”
“Our review also confirmed that facility managers did not provide adequate staff, training, resources, support, or guidance for effective oversight of the contracted MH program. MHSL managers and staff voiced numerous concerns including challenges in program,” according to the report.
“We substantiated that staff’s failure to ‘watch’ patients may have contributed to the subject patient’s death,” according to a related April 17, 2013 IG report titled, “Mismanagement of Inpatient Mental Health Care Atlanta VA Medical Center.”
The hearing also addressed recent revelations, recorded on audiotape, that VA officials in Los Angeles conspired to cancel and delete backlogged medical exam requests from veterans.