Internal reports at Veterans Affairs show the number of veterans waiting for medical care is three times higher than publicly published data, according to a top-ranking official within the department, OpsLens has reported.
The official, Jereme Whiteman, claims the longer wait list is secret and is being hidden from the public to save Veteran Affairs from embarrassment.
Top Democrats on the House and Senate veterans' affairs committees are demanding the Trump administration address these charges, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Whiteman said he came across the list last September, but has been retaliated against by officials within his chain of command and the agency has taken steps to conceal the wait list from the public.
A VA spokesman denies Whiteman's allegations, saying there are two separate figures: The clinical number is public and shows the number of veterans waiting for medical care, while "The administrative component of the EWL has nothing to do with waits for medical treatment and tracks routine actions, such as facility and provider transfer requests," The Washington Post reported.
Democrats are not satisfied with that explanation and have demanded from the VA by the end of this week a more thorough explanation for the existence of two sets of reports.
Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., chairman of the House Oversight and Reform subcommittee on government operations, said "Congress must get to the bottom of these claims by verifying the accuracy of these internal VA documents and ensuring transparency and accountability for our nation’s veterans and the American people.”
Whiteman's allegations come five years after a national uproar over phony wait lists hit the VA, a scandal that pushed then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki from office and led to a series of agency reforms.
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