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va scandal

VA watchdog: Maybe VA hospital wait times did contribute to veterans' deaths

In late August, the Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general released a report on the long wait times at the VA hospital in Phoenix, saying it couldn't "conclusively assert" that the lengthy, "clinically significant" waits caused the deaths of six or more veterans, as whistle-blowers alleged. At a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on Wednesday, officials from the VA watchdog office acknowledged that the wait times may have contributed to those deaths.

VA Inspector General Richard J. Griffin stood by the report, though he said at one point that the long waits "could have" contributed to some veterans' deaths. An assistant inspector general, Dr. John Daigh, went a little further. When Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) asked him if he would be "willing to say that wait lists contributed to deaths of veterans," Daight responded: "No problem with that. The issue is cause."