In yet MORE corruption uncovered in the beleaguered U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a new government watchdog group has reported policy violations at a VA facility in Denver, Colorado. The Denver site is said to have been keeping improper wait lists to track the level of mental health care that veterans received.

The information was revealed by whistleblower and former VA employee Brian Smother and confirmed by the investigators with the VA Office of Inspector General that staff of the Denver facility kept unauthorized lists rather than utilizing the department’s official waitlist system.


These unauthorized lists made it extremely difficult if not impossible to know if veterans who needed referrals for group therapy or other mental health care were receiving timely and much-needed assistance. The internal investigation was also highly critical of the record keeping involved in PTSD cases at the VA facility located in Colorado Springs.

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Department stated goals are to get patients an initial consult within a week and treatment within 30 days. Patients at this facility often went well beyond that window in wait times.  In one particular case of note, a veteran sought help and then committed suicide 13 days after contacting the clinic. The clinic was supposed to have seen him within one week’s time. Once again the VA has left our veterans hanging out to dry and that is simply unacceptable by any definition.

The investigation revealed that these unofficial lists did not identify the veteran or even the requested date of care, nor could they determine just how many veterans were waiting in need of services and assistance, or even how long they had been waiting, not even with the assistance of staff within those facilities and familiar with the system.


Senator Cory Gardener (CO-R) said in a statement regarding these horrific findings –

“My worst fears have been realized in this Inspector General’s report that Chairman Johnson and I demanded. It highlights even more VA mismanagement and lack of accountability in Colorado. This cannot happen again, and it’s time for the VA to finally wake up and ensure our men and women are getting the best care possible. I will continue to work with Chairman Johnson to ensure the accountability that somehow the VA refuses to accept.”

Smothers previously worked at the VA in Denver as a peer support specialist on the PTSD Clinical Support Team.  He reported this disgusting inaction and utter failure of our veterans to Gardner as well as to Senator Ron Johnson (WI-R) about the abysmal failure of the facilities in Denver as well as nearby Golden to assist veterans with mental health services. He detailed lengthy wait lists from 2012 until September 2016.  Smothers was forced to resign his post with the VA shortly before going public with what he knew about this disgusting failure of our military men and women citing retaliation from VA officials in Colorado as a result of his attempts to rectify this situation.

Senator Johnson said in a statement of Smother’s actions –

 “Putting veterans on secret wait lists is not acceptable. The VA should implement changes to provide the highest quality care for our veterans and hold wrongdoers accountable. I thank Brian Smothers, the whistleblower who bravely came forward to shed a light on these unacceptable practices at the VA so they can be prevented in the future.”

Smothers cited the inaccuracy of the report claiming it did not make clear that the VA staff knew full good and well what they were doing, stating –

“We renamed the files ‘interest lists’ so people wouldn’t know we were breaking the rules” on how to maintain wait lists.”

Naturally, the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System denies any such knowledge, claiming it agrees with much of the findings in the report, however, the wait lists were in no way “secret,” claiming that the process was immediately discontinued once the staff became aware of the policy violations.

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