(CBS) — U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk said Friday he has evidence the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs falsified wait times for patients at VA hospitals, and he said the matter demands criminal investigation.
Kirk joined retired U.S. Army Pvt. Michael Swan, who said he waited 284 days for an appointment, while VA records showed he waited only five days, and cancelled the rest himself.
“The VA fraudulently put in ‘appointment cancelled by patient,’” Kirk said. “Michael did you cancel those appointments?” Kirk said.
Swan said no.
“Never. Never cancelled any appointments,” he said.
Swan also said, when symptoms continued after he had a colonoscopy and VA doctors told him everything was normal, he still had a lot of bleeding, “so I went to a private doctor, and they found in excess of 130 polyps.”
Kirk said he’s forwarding Swan’s incident reports to the Justice Department for criminal investigation.
Hines VA Hospital disputed information presented at Friday’s news conference.
“The number of days between the time Mr. Swan’s appointments were scheduled and the time the appointments occurred varied from 0 days to 53 days. Variances in the number of days may be attributed to numerous factors, such as the provider’s recommended follow-up date, the patient’s desire to be seen at a later date, cancellations, and in some circumstances errors in scheduling,” a statement from the hospital said.
Hines officials invited Swan to come in so that the information could be reviewed by both parties.