No, the VA has not fired 60 people for manipulating wait-time data

The Washington Post, by, Michelle Ye Hee Lee: “Nine hundred people have been fired since I became secretary. We’ve got 60 people that we fired who have manipulated wait times.”

– Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald, NBC “Meet the Press” interview, Feb. 15, 2015

These figures from McDonald’s first Sunday TV show interview seemed to be a bombshell revelation in the aftermath of the wait-time manipulation scandal at Veterans Affairs medical facilities.

Yet McDonald is incorrect in saying that 60 employees who manipulated wait times were fired.

Disciplinary actions for 75 employees have been proposed since June 3, 2014, according to the VA’s most recent weekly briefing to the House and Senate committees on veterans affairs. These actions were related to patient scheduling, record manipulation, appointment delays and/or patient deaths. The proposed actions included removals, admonishment (a written letter of censure), reprimand (a stronger letter of censure), suspension of less than two weeks and probationary termination. Admonishment or reprimand letters can be removed from employees’ personnel files after two or three years. (Definitions for disciplinary actions are here.)

Of the 75 employees, only eight employees have actually been removed, as of Feb. 13, 2015. Twenty-three cases were pending. Five employees resigned before a decision was made on their case. Others were demoted, were on probationary termination, had some other disciplinary action, or had no action taken at all.  Read article here: