News 12 at 6 o'clock / July 17, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It is a list of death dates. Another reminder of the ultimate sacrifice veterans including, three at Augusta's VA hospital paid, all due to a lack of proper medical care. The Veterans Administration released the specific dates following requests from lawmakers. "This would never happen in the private sector. You'd never stand for it. You'd fail as a business if you did this," said Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson.
One week after Gibson visited Charlie Norwood VA, he spent this week on Capitol Hill demanding day-to-day accountability from VA leaders. It is all an effort to prevent another scenario like the 4,000 patient backlog in GI screenings that News 12 first reported last year. "We're boring into data around access to care. What's the status? What are we doing? How many contacts? How many appointments? What are the wait times?
Questions about accountability that chair of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs raised during his visit to Augusta's VA earlier this year. "That's one thing the VA is not very good at, and that's holding people accountable. They will move people around. They won't fire people. They won't discipline people," said Jeff Miller.
Last September lawmakers sent a letter to former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, asking him about what if any disciplinary actions or reprimands were made against Rebecca Wiley, the director at the time of those three deaths in Augusta. Four days after that letter was written, Wiley voluntarily retired. "I'm not holding back now, and I'm not holding back in the future," said Gibson.
The Augusta VA is still under the microscope as it awaits a follow-up review to an audit conducted earlier this year. We will continue to investigate that.