AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

VA documents: Only three lost jobs due to scandal

New internal VA documents show at most three people lost their jobs due to the VA wait times scandal last year, according to a story in today's New York Times.

The documents show only eight of the VA's 280,000 employees were reprimanded from the scandal. This, despite claims earlier this year by VA Secretary Robert McDonald that the department had fired 60 people linked to the wait time scandal, the Times said.

The Times story is based on documents that had been turned over to the House Committee on Veteran's Affairs. The committee's chairman Jeff Miller has been holding hearings the past year about a myriad of problems and dysfunctions at the VA. Miller said he would push for new legislation to speed up the agency's ability to fire employees.

Here's the VA's response in The Times story:

In a statement released Wednesday night, the department did not dispute the numbers released by the committee, but said that more than 100 other employees were facing disciplinary action.

“V.A. is committed to holding employees accountable for misconduct,” the statement said.

The VA's operations in Atlanta has had problems with providing accurate information. The AJC last year reported on misstatements and untruths put out by senior VA officials regarding the backlog of health applications overseen by the national Health Eligibility Center in Atlanta. For years, the agency tried to downplay and hide the extent of the problem from veterans.

Here's a link to our coverage. And our original story related to the backlog list that included more than 40,000 veterans who had died while on the list.

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About the Author

Brad Schrade is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter on the AJC’s investigative team.