Last month, the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General insisted, after a close look at manipulated and secret waiting lists at the Phoenix Veterans Health Administration facility, "we are unable to conclusively assert that the absence of timely quality care caused the deaths of these veterans." Yesterday, a hearing before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs got a bit heated as lawmakers pushed Inspector General Richard Griffin and Assistant Inspector General John Daigh to concede that confining sick veterans in bureaucratic limbo while they wait for care "contributed" to the untimely deaths of some. Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) says he got the concession, and in Daigh's case he clearly did.
Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.): Did the wait lists contribute to the deaths of veterans?
Daigh: Yes. Yes, no problem with that. The issue is cause, or a direct relationship.
Griffin probably thinks he hedged his way out of a tight corner, though he seems none too happy with his subordinate. Decide for yourself from the exchange embedded below.
Katherine L. Mitchell, M.D. Medical Director, Iraq and Afghanistan Post-Deployment Center, Phoenix VA Health Care System, and retired VA doctor Samuel Foote directly linked the gamed waiting lists to patient deaths in their testimony.