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IAVA: IG Interim Phoenix VA Report is “Damning and Outrageous” and Reveals Potentially Criminal Behavior

New York, NY (May 28, 2014) – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) today issued the following statement after the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General released an interim report on the Phoenix VA. Among its findings, the IG found that inappropriate scheduling practices are systemic throughout the VA health system; the majority of veterans waiting for primary care were not on an official wait list; 84% of new patients waited longer than the VA standard of 14 days for primary-care appointment; and there are numerous allegations of mismanagement, inappropriate hiring decisions, sexual harassment and bullying behavior by mid- and senior-level managers. The full report can be found here.

The report comes one day before IAVA and other leading VSOs plan to meet with Secretary Shinseki and other top officials from the VA.

IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff issued the following statement:

“The new IG report on the Phoenix VA is damning and outrageous. It also reveals the need for a criminal investigation. Each day we learn how awful things are in Phoenix and across the country. The VA’s problems are broad and deep – and President Obama and his team haven’t demonstrated they can fix it. As one of only two combat veterans, Senator John McCain’s call for Secretary Shinseki’s resignation is particularly impactful.

Rieckhoff added: “Today’s report makes it painfully clear that the VA does not always have our veterans’ backs. Even before this report came out, IAVA members were losing confidence in Secretary Shinseki and President Obama. At Memorial Day events across the nation, our members voiced outrage, anger, and impatience at the growing VA scandal. This new report only increases the belief that the promise to veterans has been broken. We are sharing this report now with our members and seeking their reaction. In the coming days, we will share the voices of our members with the President, VA leaders and those in Congress.”

IAVA’s 2014 Policy Agenda provides a road map for supporting veterans and getting them the care they earned. IAVA is urging passage of the VA Accountability Act, which the House overwhelming approved last week and which the Senate must still pass. This legislation is essential to empowering the leadership of the VA. Tomorrow morning, IAVA will participate in a House press event calling on the Senate to pass the legislation.

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.