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VA waiting list - "I know ... because I helped hide it"

How could this happen?
How could this happen?Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Veterans Administration is now rocked with scandal that appears to grow deeper by the day. At the heart of the trouble lies the notorious waiting list for treatment that has been accused by so many different sources. The latest is very troubling.

Dr. Katherine Mitchell, medical director of the Phoenix VA's post-deployment clinic, told Jeanine Pirro on Saturday on her Fox News show "Justice with Judge Jeanine," "I know what the near-list was, because I helped hide it," Dr. Mitchell said.

She claims the preliminary report by the agency's inspector general that led to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki's resignation was "extremely deceptive." Dr. Mitchell added, “The interim report was extremely deceptive when it talked about the waiting times on the near lists."

Judge Pirro was interested in finding out if the lists were slanted toward the VA. "Correct," Mitchell responded.

The interim report was released Wednesday by Richard Griffin, the VA's acting inspector general. The 35-page report found that investigators had "substantiated serious conditions" at the facility. It also found "systemic" problems throughout the vast VA healthcare system.

Mitchell was still talking Monday. She told Fox News that Phoenix VA staffers were brought in on a Saturday for mandatory overtime. They were unaware they were part of destroying the secret waiting lists. One employee tried to save the information.

Mitchell, had told Pirro that in reality, the wait times in Phoenix started at "477 days and worked its way down." That was far from the average 115 days cited in the inspector general's report.

According to Dr. Mitchell, the Phoenix center did not "deal with the hidden delays in mental health treatment" at the Phoenix center. “Right now, no veteran can get an appointment for "intense mental-health care" at the facility. I'm hoping that will be in their final report."

She told Pirro, with obvious amusement, that after talking Griffin "for about two hours" during his Phoenix inquiry, "They were more interested in how I hid documents the night before they were to come to the VA."

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