*For all press release inquiries, please reach out to Nick Sabin (Nick.Sabin@mail.house.gov)

Mankato, MN – Today, Representative Tim Walz (D-MN) and Representative Tom Emmer (R-MN), provided an update regarding the St. Cloud VA Health Care System. After hearing from multiple whistleblowers about the St. Cloud VA, Rep. Walz, along with Rep. Emmer, Senator Klobuchar and Senator Franken, forwarded whistleblower complaints to the Secretary of the VA and pushed for concerns to be addressed.

Walz and Emmer made the following statement upon release of the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) report: “This report by the VA Office of Inspector General validates our most serious concerns: that panel sizes were misrepresented by St. Cloud VA leadership and they were larger than reported. Misrepresenting panel sizes is completely unacceptable and a serious breach of the public trust. We call on the Secretary of the VA to hold anyone who intentionally misled veterans, Members of Congress and the public accountable, and we fully expect that whistleblowers who alerted us to the discrepancy will not be retaliated against. We will continue our oversight to ensure veterans in St. Cloud have critical access to high-quality care.”

The VA Office of Inspector General Reports can be found here: VA OIG Oversight Reports

The VA’s Office of Medical Inspector (OMI) also launched an investigation. On July 29th, this report was shared with our offices and, earlier this week, Walz and Emmer made it public. In the interest of employee privacy, redactions of personally identifiable information have been made by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). A link to the report can be found here: VA OMI Report

In response to the OMI report, Walz and Emmer made the following statement: “We are incredibly grateful to those whistleblowers that came forward. While this report did not substantiate all allegations, it does makes clear they played a vital role in shedding light on serious concerns in the St. Cloud VA Health Care System. Their voices will continue to inform improvements and drive accountability.”

“We are encouraged by what we are hearing about positive changes being made by Acting Director Cheryl Thieschafer since she assumed her current leadership role in June 2016.  We hope for continued progress through the Relationship by Objective effort facilitated by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.  We value the work of the employees at St. Cloud VA Health Care System and will keep our doors open to any VA employee or veteran who has ideas for improvement.”

For additional information regarding the Congressmen’s oversight and work, please click here: VA Reform.