Two VA Inspector General reports involving complaints about Minnesota facilities were part of a large number of investigative results recently made public by the VA.
The state cases involved St. Cloud and Rochester. In one case, a 2011 complaint about the St. Cloud’s PTSD program was administratively closed. In the second, a 2013 report found that a complaint about safety and management issues at a Rochester community clinic were unfounded and any issues had been correctly addressed.
In both cases, the VA facilities were largely cleared of any wrongdoing, and that would normally be seen as a good thing.
But both reports weren’t released until USA Today reported that the VA’s Office of Inspector General had not made public the findings of as many as 140 health care probes since 2006.
The VA told the paper the public reports were not released when a potential lawsuit was pending, when complaints were unfounded or when inspection officials decided that VA officials had taken care of, or would take care of, the problems.
Roughly 50 reports dismissed allegations of wrongdoing, but 59 contained substantiated claims, the paper reported.
The two Minnesota cases illustrate how the Inspector General’s office often operates.
In the St. Cloud case, the office got a complaint from an employee saying she had been discouraged from providing counseling for veterans with PTSD and military sexual trauma because they might be used for service-connected compensation claims. Investigators had trouble interviewing the complainant because she had filed an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint over her recent termination. Investigators reviewed medical records independently and found no evidence to support the claim.
In the Rochester case, a worker alleged large caseloads forced workers to cut corners and put patient care in jeopardy. But the investigation found no wrongdoing. It did make recommendations for handling patients with organ transplants.