Senators Seek Inquiry Into Concerns About Veteran’s Suicide

DENVER (AP) – Two U.S. senators said Tuesday they asked for an investigation into a whistleblower’s report that an Army veteran killed himself while awaiting treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder at a U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs clinic in Colorado Springs.

Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said they also asked the department’s inspector general to investigate whether the whistleblower faced retaliation after reporting his concerns.

The inspector general’s office is the Veteran Affairs department’s internal watchdog.

The department will work with the inspector general and the senators to determine what happened, agency spokesman Paul Sherbo said.

The senators did not identify the soldier who killed himself but said he was 26 and had served as an Army Ranger.

Gardner said he wanted to avoid a repeat of a 2014 scandal over long wait times that veterans endured to get health care, and allegations that some VA officials falsified records to cover up the problem.

The scandal led to the ouster of Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Gardner said the whistleblower also reported that the Colorado Springs clinic might have tampered with its wait list records after the veteran’s death.

Seven months ago, the Veteran Affairs inspector general said workers at the Colorado Springs clinic incorrectly reported that some veterans got appointments sooner than they actually did.

Investigators did not say whether the records were deliberately falsified.

(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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