KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

House Veterans Affairs Chair Accuses VA Of Misleading Panel On Deaths

Rep. Jeff Miller says the Department of Veterans Affairs may have manipulated on a fact sheet given to Congress the number of veterans who died as a result of waiting for care.

CNN: VA Misled On Number Of Deaths Tied To Care Delays, Congressman Charges
The chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee is accusing the VA of "what appears to be an attempt to mislead Congress and the public" by manipulating the number of veterans who died as a result of delays in care. In a letter to the VA secretary, Chairman Jeff Miller says the VA gave questionable information on a fact sheet distributed during a briefing to his committee in April and has consistently repeated that information in congressional testimony and to journalists. The VA's "fact sheet" from April 7 confirms 76 patients were harmed as a result of delays in gastrointestinal care and "of these 76 patients, 23 have passed away," citing a "national review ...of all consults since 1999." But more recent documents from the VA sent to Miller, a Florida Republican, show those deaths actually came from a much shorter period, from 2010 to 2012, which may indicate there could be more deaths because of delays than the VA has reported (Black and Devine, 8/5).

The Associated Press: VA Deputy Chief: More Employees Face Punishment
More Veterans Administration employees will be disciplined as the department sorts out a scandal over long waits for health care and falsified data, Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson said Tuesday. The VA announced last week that it planned to fire two supervisors and discipline four other employees in Colorado and Wyoming accused of falsifying health-care data (Elliott, 8/5).

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Atlanta VA Errs In Benefits For Disabled Vets
The Atlanta VA repeatedly makes errors in calculating benefits for disabled veterans, resulting in overpayments to some and underpayments to others, according to an audit released Tuesday (Schneider and Schrade, 8/5).

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