tv Panel Discussion on Gun Control CSPAN May 28, 2014 9:03pm-9:55pm EDT
who is -- what is the name of the general counsel of recommended that we don't have the items year we don't have? >> our general counsel is working with the committee on -- >> we will gun is the name of the gentleman who said that this is a matter of privilege? >> our general counsel is welcome. >> we do not and the deputy secretary. >> have you had any communication about your testimony here today? >> i met with them briefly this afternoon so that i understood exactly what our word for word was? work city of any recommendation?
>> only to explain where we were going and no record going to five. >> in the documentation? >> her deputy secretary. >> the communication about your testimony here today. >> the documentation communication. >> no. >> your immediate supervisor. >> mr. mark home. >> okay. in a conversation about your testimony? >> what was the nature of that conversation? >> to prod clear, accurate, and honest responses to your question. >> it is troubling to me. when we don't know the name of the people that actually do the
destruction is and isn't there would be the first thing. >> congressman, michael is to understand the process. i knew that the inspector general was there to assess intent and identified there was responsibility or accountability >> with the names of people how does that occur? don't you-the person why you destroyed the seventh? >> i did not speak to in the -- >> did anyone on your staff? >> i don't know what the staff of spoken directly with the schedulers which was the name of the staff member? >> i was there with mr. mike davies. >> anyone who may have actually done this. >> i don't know, congressman.
researchers don't understand how you can conduct an investigation and not actually tart to anyone on know the name of anybody. >> the end. i was there to understand the process. >> identifying the person who actually did the destruction of the documents? >> i did not. >> it would seem to me that would be the first thing you would ask. maybe i'm just simple-minded. there's a question. >> your contention to me, within the realm of the viejo. i'm suggesting to you that there is possibility if there is motivation within the case of that encourages people to shorten waiting lists so that they get bonuses. do you understand my concern?
>> i understand your concern per toward that be something you might be concerned about? they might be pressured to do things that would allow other supervisors to get bonuses? >> that is it is carson the apogee is having. my goal is to understand the process of the weekend -- >> you can't understand parses a few don't understand you did it and and motivation. i yield back my time. >> are recognized. >> thank you very much. thank you to our witnesses for appearing here today this late in the evening. i share the horror of the allegations coming from video facilities around the country, the long patient wait time and more importantly the alleged misreporting of the patient returns and what has been referred to in the report as
to find a solution. i believe very probably incorrect is and we have a solution. we set our system of to give us incorrect information, and we need to assure that does not happen again. >> in terms of my question about the secretary's role, was he involved in this? >> the secretary has been aware, and i can assure you has been asking questions and directing activities to ensure that we move to a quick resolution of this problem. >> and i want to go back to one of the documents and the report
did said the veterans affairs memorandum is one of the attachments appendix c, and there was a gaming strategy that concerns me as a way to combat missed opportunity reads. careful appointments for patients not checked in prior to your scheduled appointment time. some of the stories we have heard about our veterans who think they have an appointment, they go to the appointment, and they are told they don't have an appointment even if they have a card. it seems to me that this is becoming an issue that hits exacerbated and then people are not being seen in a timely way in terms of the continuity of care. have you have reports from physicians of their frustration trying to treat our veterans in
a timely, compassionate, and high-quality way? >> i have not have individual complaints from physicians. i have been a va position before it took this position. i valued my encounters of veterans. i hope that i have provided good care. i share your concerns about any mechanism that games are system. not only because it hurts a veteran of because it does not give us the information we need to make your system better. >> thank you very much. i yield back by two seconds. >> you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first question is for ms. mooney i believe he articulated the assertion of attorney-client privilege. reference that numerous times. identified for the committee to the client is your asking for that privilege.
>> i would just for that to the office of general counsel. >> has not been identified? >> attorney-client privilege -- >> would there have to be inclined. to is the client? who is refusing to provide information to this committee in the american public about this issue? >> i know that the office of general counsel is working with the committee staff. >> are you do not know? >> i am not with the office of general counsel. >> the gentleman will yield. all we know is that it is one of the people who has, in fact, been subpoenaed. we have not been given a name yet, but it is one of the people >> thank you, mr. chairman. my understanding of the privilege, we get the privilege
of knowing who the client is. this should have been noted. i would like to return to doctor lynch and returning to your trip to phoenix. not surprised by the allied g report. >> no, i'm not. >> what actions have you taken in the weeks since that report? >> i'm not sure -- while, maybe it is five weeks. we have had two teams in phoenix since my visit. one working with the scheduling team and the other working with the clinics to improve their care delivery process. >> have they identified the 1700 individuals? >> we did not identify the 1700. >> you describe obviously the electronic waiting list which is not secret. you have reference to numerous
times about the intermediate list. how many names were on that and to the list? >> i don't know because i suspect there were multiple less suspicious were canceled. the list of the patients that were council were printed out of patients were rescheduled. >> and these were all destroyed. >> to my knowledge. >> no idea how many names were on the interim wedding list? >> there were not available. >> did you see the list? >> i did not. >> how did you know it existed? >> i have seen an example of what the list looks like. >> how did you know what existed did you visit with the director of the phoenix clinic? >> and did not. we visited with folks. >> hill made the decision to take away her bonus? >> am sorry? >> was a turbine is removed go rescinded? >> that was within the last week
it was rescinded. >> did not visit that all of the director of the clinic when you went to do your investigation? >> there are multiple, next. >> yes or no? >> actually i did. >> what was the conversation? >> we talked to him about his process of trying to improve the availability -- >> to discuss the destruction? >> no, i did not. >> did you know about it? >> i did. >> you chose not to bring it out. why? >> it did not appear to be in his area of ridgemont ability. his area was the climate which happens to be the waiting list -- >> to other items i would like to address. in addition to the intern was there are three others. thank goodness we have those.
the near tracking report, the screen shot paper printouts, the schedule, sold. that is how we identified 17 of the veterans who were denied care. i would say secretly we were lucky that we found us. to those type of less exists throughout the system? >> i know no. >> you are the expert in the process and don't know if there is an near tracking system? >> it is available to every medical center. >> every medical center could have a new list with potentially another secret waiting list? >> the new list is not secret. >> how did you not know about the list? sop of -- 1100 veterans on this list to were denied care. some might not be alive today because you waited 35 days. >> you are recognized.
>> thank you. i would like to begin my remarks by sharing the frustration expressed so far by the committee members and members of the panel but also making clear that my frustration at least as not extend to the providers. i think about the providers, many of home doctors commoners practitioners, nurses, psychologists : therapists, counselors could be working in the private sector for more money, the department of defense, could with them that -- system working at other facilities other than alpine so for more money. they're working to serve veterans in our communities, but i have the honor representing them because they want to help. in many cases they themselves are veterans. i think that message is too often lost an hour justified criticism of the management of va leaders with an the locals.
when i hold town hall meetings and the whole one of vermont them by all the veterans specific town hall every quarter , most of the concerns raised are not wait times. and it flew in the face of the information and the data national levels and were close to the targets set by the va. so what we decided to do is actually higher somewhere to go and do what many people suggested would just talk to the veterans and not just listen to them a town hall meetings but conduct a scientific survey. resurveyed 692 veterans with a narrow margin of plus or minus 38% and found the variance from what the el paso the age a was reported for primary mental health care jobs was hardly
different from what our veterans are reporting. in december 2013 va reported a 70 percent of new up as of va patients saw mental-health provider in 14 days. our survey showed that 36 and a half% of our respondents could not even get an appointment and complete job down. faugh on average it was canceled once. 42 percent of our respondents completely put off cutting mental health care because of the day with a guilty in obtaining an appointment. i don't need to draw the connection, but i will. when we delay care we are often denying care at a time when we are seeing on average 22 veterans taking their own lives every day. this is a life-and-death issue. as much as i would like to get to the bottom of what happened
and know who destroyed which records into made what decisions, i think this is a problem that is much larger than just phoenix or el paso. we see similar problems. so the chairman have asked, look into the specific issues. al paso will provide you all of the data we collected. would like you to look into allegations that we heard confirmed by the allies your report that appointments are set for veterans to request appointment, but the veteran is never informed of the appointment has been said and so when the veteran does not sure for the apartment that did not know about it is no one the form of it shows up on the veterans record that it declined to comment or failed to show and does not harm the va record in terms of performance on wait times. we have heard that anecdotally oftentimes. we are seeing it. i hope you will look into that as part of your system what audits.
lastly -- >> congressman, we are. and i would be happy to me would personally lead the information that you have a you have obtained from the veterans. i would value looking at that. >> and i think that's why phoenix residents throughout this country beyond the tragedy of apparently 40 veterans losing their lives because of gross negligence of them of facility. it seems to confirm what so many of us are hearing. the appreciate your tenacity in pursuing the facts and reporting goes to this committee. leslie on the 29th of april congressman pete canejo and myself sent a letter to the secretary asking specifically about the el paso va and rather similar practices were conducted in the very simple question about whether a secure way list was maintained. we are still not received a response. when can we expect one?
>> the results of the nationwide data will be forthcoming and results will be shared with the congress. we look forward to answering your response and all the members responses but individual facilities at that time. >> your recognized for above minutes. >> the office of inspector general indicated it received allegations of retaliation against whistle-blowers. what is va doing to make sure it does not engage in separate personnel practices? >> i'm sorry. not quite sure i understand the question. i did not see the allegations regarding retaliation. i believe the ig will probably give us a complete report. >> was the name of the doctor from the phoenix hospital the
was a whistle blower? >> dr. foot. >> oh, doctor foot. how was your meeting with doctor foot? >> the did not meet with doctor foot. >> did you ask for a meeting? >> i did not. >> why did you ask for a meeting here is someone that the laws of the center of the storm to understand what the process was. did you did not request a meeting. >> i at the time was concerned that it might interfere with the ig investigation. >> you know, i think that your concern was it might interfere with the truth. i have to tell you, how far this problem goes because the fingerprints of you all that are at this panel today all over this problem. i can tell you, you are not being forthright in testimony. and i think the model for the veterans of ministration -- and there are a lot of give young men and women of all ages the work for the veterans administration. the rank and file, and some of
them are the whistle-blowers. without them we would have no idea what is going on. because the leaders of the va simply is not there. the tragedy is the impression that you give all three of you today, you are here to serve your cells and not the men and women that have made extraordinary sacrifices defending this country. i have to tell you, nothing will change in the veterans of ministration until we have new leaders and not just from the very top, but all of you have to find something else to do because you are not here to do your job. i yield back. >> thank you. you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. so many of my colleagues have
alluded to during their testimony the issue of trust being fundamental. especially true. the va and congress working in concert together. i think of being on this committee there has been a consciousness that maybe as some have alluded to, the nature of any bureaucracy. the interchange was really interested. talking about the audit that was being done, and he asked the assistant deputy undersecretary for wrote in chemical operations if we would get that list. there was a pause in the consciousness. i know your hearts are in the right place, the bureaucracy is holding you back. i cannot imagine a scenario o world or you would let someone in bureaucracy not get information. why you would not have just gone out on elements of that will get
, and if they don't like it to bed. and that mentality gets as to where we are today. so we're all trying to do is solve this problem. and everyone gets that. the problem is, no competent leader is going to formulate course of action with all pertinent data. i was under the night even impression that are constitutionally mandated a research responsibility, what we ask for a narrow subpoena i would hope it would not have had to be a subpoena. i was of the impression this is what this would look like. from the state to this date, printout did, and that of the might be a bunch of interns taking stacks of intel's, some of which might have set happy birthday. those would be here and when this committee would decide who was an important. now all i already know the answer.
the answer is going to be you should ask the general counsel. is there a team of lawyers putting things in steichen saying this is going to go? is there somebody putting something in executive privilege ? is there an executive privilege stacked? >> i don't know the answer. i have met with this committee. >> i, for one, value the relationship with congress. >> we have known each other for quite some time. i you under the impression this relationship has been strained for while? >> congressman, that is not our intent. our intent is to be open,
transparent, collaborative, and work closely with you. >> have you heard from anyone on this panel that they felt it might have been strained? >> yes. and many of you talk to us about issues they you faced, and we work to give you information as quickly as we can. on the subpoena we work and understand the constraints. we work for two and a half weeks. the office of general counsel, to provide the committee with the response. >> is that an unrealistic scenario? i truly did expect the you were just going to send a pile of stuff. was that a naive assumption? is that i even terms of subpoenas? >> congressman, and of of this was not run out of the office of general counsel. i would defer to them. i was not part of the process,
and i don't think anyone on the panel -- >> mail was on this committee have proven ourselves of what we want to do. but i cannot help but feel something has not been given to me. that may be totally false, but the impression was there. i would have loved to see him jump up and say over my dead body. >> i have no doubt that this committee will get the report. i just did not have responsibility for. i have no doubt that -- >> the person who is responsible is not here. >> on -- cards work is the job of the congressional liaison? who do we start to? for you there for us to ask these questions or should we just skip over you? >> yes, to one congressman. in a subpoena that is a legal matter. you work with the members of a committee and their staff.
>> every day. >> thank you very much. you're recognized for five minutes. >> i thank you very much. as a veteran and a physician and have serious concerns like the rest of this committee. but why were so many patients canceled? >> there were canceled in an effort to reschedule them more timely, first of all to have them scene center. rescheduled center. >> sure they're all new patients or were some of them follow-ups? >> historical the in phoenix as i understand it the administration prior to this home and had used a model where they had not implored the weightless the simple is scheduled patients whenever there was an apartment. it could be six months over
seven months on. with the new chain there was a desire to identify upon onslaught which they did. they then went out and identified these patients who had been scheduled three, four, five months in advance, canceled those appointments and brought them into an is law. >> to doctors weigh in on immediacy of some rescheduling? they need to get in here right away. i know my private practice. for any reason we are rescheduling it is rare that we are moving the mob. we would do that, but also we would discuss on a patient my patient basis, this patient is to be seen right away. they cannot wait. does that ever happened? >> i cannot tell you whether the doctors were involved in the rescheduling process that occurred in phoenix. >> we don't know if doctors in general are able to weigh in on
the risk associated with the patient waiting longer for the procedure? served we're talking about people waiting for colonoscopy is. there were not cancelled to be moved up. there were delayed. there were delayed. doctors get to weigh in and say this mission is to be in here right now? >> it happens in private practice. >> i believe it does happen. physicians can review council and identified -- >> can or do? i would hope that they can. you know, in private practice of brooklyn it is not want to let a lot of patients said on awareness. it will get the men to be seen. that is a different model than exists currently. so the drive to get patients come from the problems that have
arisen recently or is that something that has been embraced with energy? in the of a question, are those receiving bonuses penalized? do you know that? >> cars mike, i do not believe they are penalized. i believe that we have been putting in place the tools that have allowed greater use of fee basis care what we cannot provide the service. >> part of performances access of productivity as well as resolve of taking care of patients. i just have one other thing to say when it comes to the office of general counsel. you're turning everything over and have nothing you're concerned about the we should find out about the should be upset that they have not turned this information over to us. you should be screaming and yelling. instead of setting time and time again of. i turned everything over and here it is.
do you have any comments on that ? don't you feel you are being let down curing people are asking where the information as. they're not helping your name tonight. >> i have turned over the information. i have not turned a reaffirmation. they have gone in pulled money now files. >> doesn't that bother you that they have not submitted it to us? >> sir, i have not reviewed the mail files. >> so it does not bother you apparently? >> we are committed to being collaborative unresponsive. >> are veterans responded to the nation's needs immediately. it dropped everything and it immediately. would hope you do the same. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you very much. per committee rules will continue with mr. kirk, colonel united states marine corps
retired. you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in no, the same issues, very, very disturbing. it is ironic. for what -- it turned in memorial day / the veterans day because this was the number one issue when you talk to the military and the veterans. they want to know what is going on. and somebody mentioned earlier omar bradley. i was a young second lieutenant in vietnam that met all more broadly because we got shot out pretty bad. and why unit, and i came back and talk to him. he wanted to talk about the m-16 i told him, it's a piece of crap
does not fire to five you know, all things of that time, and that was 1967. most of the people were not even born then. but he was 87 years old and taking notes and then suddenly after that there were all kinds of investigations, changes to the system to change it so that no one else would die because of a weapons. and that weapon is still being used today in the u.s. military, along is or will we ever had. and i think one of general bradley were here now, last five-star general we had, kind of ironic next week normandy invasion, the sixth of jim. i just don't feel that there is a chain of command or a sense of urgency. i am not going go over all the things that have been covered, but my feeling is, who is going to go down and and correct these
things? and i know you had a busy weekend, but people are dying. work through the weekend. it's a 24 hour day, you know, there has to be a sense of urgency. and coming away from this with the feeling that the lawyers run everything. there has to be certain decisions made right away to change some of these policies, whether certain people have to be fired, whether they don't get bonuses. there are a lot of great people out there, but most of them are military, and they're probably frustrated. what a and giving up to is i think right now -- we are going to talk about this. this committee will make a report, but the was going dennis q., a chain of command to lose
coolant to do this. i've just come away from this hearing tonight. i get the feeling that no one is in their va right now in a position to do anything ifs if certain people, if i did something wrong and people die would be fired, probably court-martial that is the nature of the business. we owe that to the veterans. we of that to all the people were working so hard. we have to straighten out this problem now. we can have subpoenas and everything else. have not heard that it really like to see the present go down and meet with the veterans. if it were possible to go down there right now and october to investigate and take statements.
we have all done that before. and so i am very frustrated. >> i can't do anything. a feeling of frustration. if i am smarter. okay. you have to do this, this, this to win this. right now i think you need the discipline to go down a. certain people have to be relieved we cannot accept excuses of the facts that cockpit effect of the lawyers for which.
i yield back. >> thank you for your service to this country. close the 700 attorneys you're recognized for five minutes. >> i don't think there is word of a language second as a cry about frustrated i am. in a set here for 18 months of listened to the same kind of answers we have heard tonight. we have 20 some people questioned. i know now to a half hours later what you don't know. travel to arizona.
did not meet with anybody that was directly involved. a fire was in your shoes i would describe this as a fire alarm fire. you're rushing to the scene and breathing usually because the house is on fire and no one will survive. and message here and listen to the three of you. the question of leverage and i with, what do you know? will we know is that people died so i guess the question i want to ask would be on behalf of the families that program will not in this room tonight the we have heard from some of them, i heard from barry coach here three weeks ago he could not get a simple colonoscopy. people buy it. arrears' sitting here asking all the same questions.
but if you have an opportunity, i will give you an opportunity. you're all sitting here. this is carried live. what do you want to say to the families of these people lost veterans? what do you want to say on behalf of the va? here's your opportunity. >> congresswoman, on behalf of myself, first of all, i took it personally in a time that a veteran has been harmed because of something the va is done wrong. >> does the buck stopped with you in these deaths? do you accept the buck or the responsibility for what has happened? argue responsible? >> congressman -- >> yes or no? >> i don't know whether it does, but i consider myself responsible. >> does the buck stopped with you? can you let me in the eye and say i accept this response ability? >> congresswoman, and the daughter of an atomic veteran -- >> yes or no? >> i am as possible for ensuring
that our focus at this point of land i am sorry that we did not make this perfectly clear to you, our focus remains on caring for veterans. >> this is my time that i have and it's limited. i sat here for 18 months as a freshman and get very few answers to any question never posed to you or anyone else. i'm still waiting. mr. huff, do you share this results ability? >> congresswoman -- >> yes or no? >> a civil servant and also a veteran. i'm not a supervisor. i'm a staff level federal employee and do the best job i have. >> thus the responsibility lie with the secretary? he still believed in his of a distended to a five alarm fire? were in the world as the years since it? i can sense the urgency of this
committee. democrats and republicans. our nation has totally lost its trust. it is our responsibility to center and continue to maintain oversight. we can't find out where the buck stops. i have asked for the secretary's resignation when the american legion report cannot. you have heard several different people asking the question. does the buck stopped with you? do you accept this responsibility? are you ready to accept this response ability? look in the eyes of the american people and veterans and say what i know what you don't know. what do you know that you can tell the american people that they can learn into a half hours >> congresswoman, also this remains and caring for these veterans. >> may i finish? >> no, but as i have five minutes. if that had been the case how could dr. lynch go to arizona
and not talk to anybody involved that have anything directly to do with this. as a report that has fact and you will send have turned the facts to the general counsel. we learned what you don't know. my question is what do you know. >> we know that the facts of that report are utterly reprehensible. that is what we know. >> are you responsible? >> what are you going to do? are you going to stay in your position? >> i will stay and fight for veterans and this congress.
working together for the good of our veterans is what the public expects. that is what -- >> the public got an 40 veterans died. this is what the public got. >> we understand that and you the report. >> the original ways time has expired. >> the chairmen and ranking member, members of this committee, thank you for the courtesy and what you are doing for the american people. the is probably not one of those that could not count our relatives oracles of world war ii. there's not a place that we can go and league cannot touch of
veterans and veterans' not touch of social your. as well it is not a place for wreaking your rear not grateful of they have served and are well and serve. this is overwhelming and a thank you for allowing it is it your. i am from texas, and there are veterans facilities including those in my area of 32,000 veterans. divorce themselves will but i just want to have these words. this to read this paragraph schedule's going, find an open appointment and ask if that would be in acceptable.
my question is where is the focus now, this report saying that this is systemic i heard you say their is a nation one of . well or have been in nationwide on it and many of those of some letters i guess i should ask the question first, i sent the letter about the viejo hospital in houston, texas. those in will members of congress individually, for under 35, of the 35 letters be a will to get our responses to of the crisis and of neighborhood. house and can we get the response? >> hopefully as soon adzes available.
>> we will look in the brief the congress works and personnel matters and want to know about our immediate crisis and are never heard house income we get the response tonight. >> it will be forthcoming very sen. the results of the out of our being compiled now. we look forward to having amount . >> the individual hostile report separate the request for in the general on that. >> were looking to the release the audit. >> that disturbs me. we will were and i this church for hearing individual outcries about time. i want to agree with many members who say we have very fine providers and like it are system and should paid tribute to them. i know in particular when i
travel around have individuals and elderly veteran for service. when you go and get information directly from these hospitals have completely different numbers. i guess my concern is what numbers are we to believe in and what a crisis we have with it being a nationwide system. is there no way it taken have what we would call taskforce is or special ops in the veterans to a target into places besides just having an audit to be able to go into hospitals and fix problems quickly? >> congresswoman, we have right now at the same time that the gown is going on facilities identifying patients on the way most, identifying those facilities that are challenged in terms of chronic deficiency,
looking at ways of providing care to veterans in a timely fashion using non va care and will be helping those facilities that need assistance in providing more efficient care process these simultaneously with the audit. >> let me just finish on this note. can we please get the stated outcry from the of the veterans affairs department standing at planners possibility speaking not to us as members of congress and then secondarily standing up and say we are pained by what is happening and veterans of the united states of america can we
hear that? >> congresswoman, we will not rest and have not rested. we will not rest until we provide veterans of care. >> we have been working to identify and understand the problem across our entire system and to initiate solutions so that we can eliminate wait times and get veterans care when they needed as soon as possible. >> at thank the chairman for his courtesy. >> thank you. you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and appreciate the understanding my line of questioning, feel free to point me to the record. i know it's good in light. i believe that the department and this congress ultimately can identify long-term institutional reforms. think we can get to that. there is our long-term
institutional reforms. my concern is what is happening immediately. you mentioned is that by friday everybody will be contacted. in your words if needed to be referred out. my understanding, and the question as -- please correct me ever wrong in the first place and come second sycamore or give you my question. my understanding is that is the current policy. if it is determined of attorneys to go out the sons to from outside the system that can occur now. >> of the veteran requests care real war for him when we speak with them. >> in practice. i will tell you i sat with my own of blog minister in my district and understand and practice that the hurdles that are required when that veteran requests to go on side of the system is actually not an easy task. >> there will not be heard rules we are committed to getting veterans on the way most
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