The VA scheduling scandal has moved from the political arena into the criminal arena.
The FBI has opened a criminal investigation into whether hospital administrators knowingly lied about wait times for veterans in order to receive performance bonuses. The FBI’s field office in Phoenix, the location of the VA hospital where the scheduling scandal began, will lead the investigation, The Washington Post reported.
FBI Director James Comey informed Congress of the investigation during a House hearing, and told lawmakers that the FBI would be working directly with the VA’s Inspector General.
This comes on the heels of the release of the results of an internal VA audit that found more than 100,000 veterans were subjected to wait 90 days or longer for appointments to see doctors at its hospitals and clinics. The audit also found that there were myriad efforts to hide the delays so that administrators and employees could meet targets to receive performance bonuses from the agency.
The VA has seen the resignations of its former secretary, Eric Shineki, and its under secretary for health, Dr. Robert Petzel, in the wake of the scandal.