- Associated Press - Friday, May 16, 2014

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Veterans Affairs officials have been reviewing records in Wyoming after a VA nurse in Cheyenne was put on leave for allegedly telling employees to falsify appointment records.

VA inspectors arrived at the Cheyenne VA hospital Monday and planned to give the director a preliminary report Friday, VA spokesman Daniel Warvi told the Casper Star-Tribune (https://bit.ly/1gN72yr ).

Officials also inspected records Wednesday at the Sheridan VA hospital and found no scheduling problems there or at its clinics. Hospital spokeswoman Jackie VanMark says they didn’t find any scheduling problems.

Wyoming’s congressional delegation sent a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki Thursday, asking for information about scheduling practices at the Cheyenne VA Medical Center and the VA clinic in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Rep. Cynthia Lummis and Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso say the department only took action against the nurse in Cheyenne after an email about “gaming the system” surfaced in media reports. They asked for the names of anyone who may have instructed employees to change records and the number of vets who may have been affected.

On May 9, Shinseki placed the nurse on administrative leave after an email surfaced instructing VA employees to make it appear patients were getting scheduled medical appointments within 14 days of calling, a VA guideline, according to the USA Today.

“It was only after this statement was widely reported in the media that the VA took any disciplinary action against the employee,” the delegation’s letter said.

A VA investigation in December found that staff at the Fort Collins VA Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, which is part of the Cheyenne VA center, were also trained to make it look like veterans got appointments in 14 days. A training program was implemented afterward to ensure proper scheduling.

The Cheyenne VA covers parts of Wyoming, Nebraska and northern Colorado. The Sheridan VA covers most of Wyoming, with clinics in Casper, Powell, Gillette, Afton, Worland, Evanston, Riverton and Rock Springs.

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