4 in MN's congressional delegation want Hibbing VA backdating claims investigated


Four members of Minnesota's Congressional delegation are calling for an investigation after six former employees of the VA clinic in Hibbing said they were ordered to falsify appointment records to hide long waits.

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken joined Representatives Tim Walz and Rick Nolan – all Democrats – in asking the inspector general at the Department of Veterans Affairs to look into the matter, the Associated Press reports.

The employees told the Star Tribune in a report published last week they were ordered by the company that operates the clinic, Sterling Medical Associates, to backdate records to show that veterans had waited no more than two weeks for an appointment, instead of the actual waiting times of six to eight weeks.

A spokesman for the Minneapolis VA Health Care System tells WDIO claims about backdating of records were investigated in June and were found to be unsubstantiated.

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In a statement, former employee Bobbi Jo VonAlman told WDIO that when VA officials from Minneapolis came to Hibbing in June they only questioned workers in the presence of Sterling management. But the Minneapolis VA spokesman tells the station that's not the case.

A representative of the VA's Office of Inspector General tells the Star Tribune that office has not conducted any review of scheduling practices at the Hibbing clinic.

The office did recently investigate concerns about the case of a Marine whose appointment at the Minneapolis VA hospital was rescheduled four days after he died.

Investigators concluded last month there was no falsification of records. They said soon before he died, Corporal Jordan Buisman had called an automated system to request a change in his appointment. It was rescheduled four days later by a staff member unaware that Buisman had died, the investigators found.

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