The Department of Veterans Affairs has fired just "four low-level employees" for their roles in the VA scandal involving appointment records that were falsified in order to create the appearance that veterans were receiving timely care, according to House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla.
"[A]ccording to VA's own data, the department has successfully fired just four low-level employees for wait-time manipulation," Miller said Friday. "Right now it's incumbent on VA leaders to explain why that's the case given the IG's findings of widespread wait-time manipulation and other serious problems."
"Until those who caused the wait-time scandal are purged from the VA payroll, the department will never be fixed," he added.
Miller learned the total number of fired employees from a series of reports issued Friday by the VA Office of the Inspector General, which has conducted more than 70 criminal investigations pertaining to the wait-list scandal and referred the cases to a separate VA office. Miller's office has been keeping track of VA firings since 2014, but has argued repeatedly that the VA isn't shedding problem employees quickly enough.
The inspector general issued its reports one day after USA Today reported that VA officials instructed staffers in seven states to manipulate the wait lists, and that "VA whistle-blowers say schedulers still are manipulating wait times" two years after the scandal first made headlines.
"It has always been our intention to release information regarding the findings of these investigations at a time when doing so would not impede any planned prosecutive or administrative action," the VA inspector general posting said.
Miller, who has been investigating the scandal since 2014, maintained that the "dysfunction" in the VA has spread to the inspector general's office.
"The fact that the IG only released these documents after public pressure from the media as well as Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate is proof that it still has much more to learn when it comes to providing the oversight VA needs and the transparency taxpayers deserve," he said.