Veterans' deaths blamed on VA mismanagement - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Veterans' deaths blamed on VA mismanagement

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ATLANTA -

Charges of mismanagement at the Veterans Administration Medical center in Decatur brought a key lawmaker to town on Monday.

Florida Rep. Jeff Miller, the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, talked to managers at the Atlanta VA Medical Center after a VA audit blamed mismanagement for the deaths of three veterans.

"I think the words that I used were, 'If I find out after I leave here that you have lied and not told me the truth, I will make the very ground that you walk on shake,'" Miller said.

The VA Office of Inspector General report says a lack of effective patient care management and program oversight caused problems with mental health care access for vets.

Georgia Rep. David Scott says it's unacceptable.

"Lack of tracking that have caused three of our veterans to commit suicide. We are determined to do everything we can to cut down on the high rate of suicide among our veterans," Scott said.

The report says vets fell through the cracks because the hospital or its mental health contractors didn't track them adequately.

Army veteran Darrell Watkins says he did not receive proper mental health care at the Atlanta facility.

"I've been going through so much. They put codes in. They change stuff in your records. I mean they make it so hard for you that you can't get the proper care sometimes," Watkins said.

The Atlanta VA Medical Center released the following statement: "We express our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the three veterans who died. Leadership and staff here at the Atlanta VA Medical Center are dedicated to ensuring veterans who come to the VA for help can have confidence in their care and treatment."

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