Spokane VA Audited In Nationwide Survey - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane VA Audited In Nationwide Survey

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The Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane participated in a nationwide audit Tuesday The Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane participated in a nationwide audit Tuesday
SPOKANE, Wash. -

The Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane participated in a nationwide audit Tuesday, ordered by Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki after reports of falsified waitlists and delayed heath care surfaced at the VA in Phoenix.

KHQ learned the survey team that visited Spokane Tuesday was comprised of four people, including representatives from other VA medical centers and also representatives from the central VA office in Washington, D.C. Sources say the team selected 10 employees who schedule patients and asked them a list of 40 pre-scripted questions.

It’s not clear what those questions are, if they’re a standardized list being asked at every VA in the country, or when the results of the nationwide audit may be available. Some employees tell KHQ they are concerned that these pre-determined questions may not uncover potential issues – if they exist – especially if records are not independently examined.

The Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in Coeur D’Alene will not have a separate audit since its parent facility is the main VAMC in Spokane.

KHQ reached out to the Spokane VA for comment on the audit and did not receive a response in time for our on-air deadline. However, late Tuesday we did receive an email from Melody Heppel, the Assistant to Director Linda Reynolds.

As we have previously reported, the former director at the Phoenix VA in question, Sharon Helman, spent two years leading the Spokane VA prior to her time in Phoenix. When asked if there are any concerns the allegations of impropriety and falsified records from Phoenix could have been happening here, Heppel replied:

“No. There are no concerns that the allegations made in Phoenix happened in Spokane, nor have the allegations made about Phoenix been substantiated to date.”

In regards to prior inquiries over concerns from two union presidents representing VA employees, Heppel wrote that union members have not been disciplined for speaking out, and that employees have not been instructed to not discuss wait times, as a press release from the union presidents suggests.

Heppel also clarified that managers are getting bonuses, but describes the financial condition of the VA as good.

“Yes [managers are getting bonuses],” Heppel wrote. “Based on annual performance and special contributions, all Federal employees, not just managers, are eligible and continue to receive bonuses; however, the process involves thorough justification and vetting through HR and multiple layers of management.”

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