Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

VA apologizes for giving Congress inaccurate info

The Department of Veterans Affairs apologized Thursday to the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee for providing it with inaccurate information in a fact sheet detailing delays in the diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancers.

The fact sheet, released to the committee in April, said 76 veterans had been seriously harmed, and 23 died, after delays in getting tests that confirmed a GI cancer. In a story earlier this month, the Tampa Bay Times reported the fact sheet erroneously suggested the review involved cases going back to 1999 when, in fact, only cases from fiscal 2010 and 2011 were counted.

The incorrect information was repeated by VA officials testifying before Congress and in briefings before committee staff.

A VA statement given to the committee Thursday said the agency had conducted several different reviews of delays in consultation referrals at VA hospitals. One review did go back to 1999, the VA said. A separate review looked at just GI cancer cases in 2010 and 2011.

But the different reviews "have been intertwined in written and oral statements leading to confusion," the VA said.

"VA cares deeply for every veteran we are privileged to serve," the statement said. "VA inadvertently caused confusion in its communication on this complex set of reviews that were ongoing at the time. For that, we apologize. There was no intent to mislead anyone with respect to the scope or findings of these reviews."

Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the committee, said he did not believe VA assertions that the errors and omissions were inadvertent.

"VA officials let this false impression fester for four months until they were confronted about the scheme by Congress and the media," Miller, R-Pensacola, said in a statement. "The department is now attempting to chalk all this up to a misunderstanding. But the explanation doesn't pass the smell test. This is a blatant attempt to mislead Congress, the media and the public."

Contact William R. Levesque at or (813) 226-3432.

VA apologizes for giving Congress inaccurate info 08/07/14 [Last modified: Thursday, August 7, 2014 8:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Irma slows curbside trash service in Pasco


    Hurricane Irma brought a hiccup to twice-weekly curbside trash service in Pasco County.

Pasco officials are asking for patience about the slow pace of residential trash service from private haulers. In some areas, trash hasn't been collected since Friday, Sept. 8, because of the volume of waste left after Hurricane Irma.
  2. Clemson reunion for Bucs' Adam Humphries, Vikings' Mackensie Alexander


    Bucs receiver Adam Humphries will have a familiar face lining up against him Sunday when he's in the slot and the Vikings have Mackensie Alexander guarding him as their nickel defensive back.

    Bucs wide receiver Adam Humphries (10) makes a reception before being tackled by Chicago Bears defensive back Marcus Cooper (31) Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Tampa ranks behind Miami and Orlando in Most Fun Cities in America list


    Is Tampa really among the "most fun cities in America?"

    Tampa's large number of festivals was among the factors that earned it a high ranking.
  4. Vinoy seeks to educate voters before November referendum


     The high profile match between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker has cast a long shadow over other candidates and issues on the St. Petersburg residents' Nov. 7 ballot.

    The Vinoy is seeking voter approval to build a one-story parking garage behind the resort
  5. Why did Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter address a Hillsborough County Commission meeting? (w/ video)


    TAMPA -- Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter appeared at a meeting of the Hillsborough County commission on Wednesday.

    Tell me why.

    During a Hillsborough County Commission meeting, Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys appeared via video to thanks local dance instructor Sandy Karl, who retired after 45 years in the business.