Grassley: VA Officials embarrassed by long waits - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Grassley: VA Officials embarrassed by long waits

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(KWWL) -

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is pushing Iowa's Veterans Hospitals to shorten hospital wait times for patients.

This comes after a whistleblower informed him veterans were waiting longer than 90 days for care in some cases.

Senator Grassley says he believes the VA was potentially trying to cover up those long wait times. 

Grassley has been going back and forth with VA Officials since the beginning of the year.

 "We had to go back 5 or 6 times and they said, 'Oh, we didn't really understand what information you wanted,'" said Grassley in his weekly conference call with Iowa reporters.

The first numbers indicated no veterans were waiting longer than 90 days.

But, when Grassley went back and pushed for more details, the next set of numbers showed a large number of veterans waiting more than the 90 days to get their medical help.

"I think they were embarrassed by it because it was an accumulation of things that goes back to 2014," said Grassley, referring to when it was discovered VA Hospitals were keeping a secret list of longer wait times.

"Where we know, from people not getting into the VA system that people died," said Grassley.

Back in 2014, Sandra Horsman, the Acting-Director at the Iowa City's VA Hospital promised, "If we can't get them in, in a reasonable amount of time then we will do whatever we can to get them into the community to meet those needs."

Senator Grassley says the program put in place to allow veterans to seek help from local doctors outside the VA Hospitals has been badly managed and changes are being made.

He says he is continuing to push VA Officials to get the wait time down to 30 days.

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