Review finds no evidence of allegations at Phoenix VA - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Review finds no evidence of allegations at Phoenix VA

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A top Veterans' Administration official in Washington told U.S. Senators Wednesday that a preliminary review turned up no wrongdoing at the Phoenix VA related to recent accusations of a cover-up and serious mismanagement.

The VA Office of Inspector General is investigating the allegations that claim as many as 45 veterans died because of delayed care and secret wait lists were used to hide the fact that patients were waiting months to see doctors.

VA Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Robert Petzel spoke Wednesday morning at the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

"We also sent, from VHA, a team to Phoenix, early, to review the appointment and scheduling processes. And I need to say that to date we have found no evidence of a secret list, and we have found no patients who have died because they have been on a wait list," said Petzel.

Petzel followed up that statement by saying that it's important to allow the IG to finish its investigation before rushing to judgement. But Petzel's earlier declaration about a lack of evidence hit a nerve with Arizona's U.S. Senators.

Sen. Jeff Flake, (R) Arizona,  released this statement:

"It is unfortunate and premature for anyone from the Department of Veterans Affairs to reach a conclusion from a so-called preliminary review that there is no evidence of wrongdoing at the Phoenix VA. Everyone - and especially the Department of Veterans Affairs - should wait for the official inspector general's investigation into this matter to be completed before drawing any conclusions."

And Sen. John McCain's office said in an email:

"Senator McCain will be looking to the independent, objective investigations by the VA Inspector General and the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee to get to the bottom of this serious situation."

Both Senators also wrote a joint letter to the Acting VA Inspector General expressing their serious concerns regarding the allegations of mismanagement and neglect at the Phoenix VA, and requesting a briefing and regular updates on the investigation being conducted by his office.

There has been no indication as to how long the VA OIG investigation will take.

The Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs has committed to hold a hearing on the allegations following the completion of the VA OIG investigation.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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