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Official: VA Problems Go Far Beyond Wait Times

Published: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - 9:47am

A top federal investigator has identified what she calls "a troubling pattern of deficient patient care" at Veterans Affairs facilities around the country.

In a letter to President Barack Obama, Carolyn Lerner of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel says the problems at VA facilities went far beyond extremely long wait times for some appointments.

Lerner cited canceled appointments that weren’t followed up on, drinking water contaminated with the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease and improper handling of surgical equipment and supplies.

Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson said he has launched a departmental review due to be completed within 14 days.

Gibson said in a statement he was “deeply disappointed not only in the substantiation of allegations raised by whistleblowers, but also in the failures within VA to take whistleblower complaints seriously.”

Complaints about a lack of access to VA health care prompted a backlash that led to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki's resignation.

The controversy became public because of accusations related to VA's medical center in Phoenix.