- Associated Press - Friday, July 17, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - An employee at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta is accused in a federal indictment of falsifying patients’ medical records, prosecutors said Friday.

A 50-count indictment charges 50-year-old Cathedral Henderson with falsely saying in patients’ records that services had been completed or that patients had refused service.

Veterans Affairs medical centers across the country have been scrutinized in recent years because of scandals over long waits for veterans seeking medical care and VA employees being accused of falsifying records to conceal the delays. In some cases, veterans who had signed up to receive care died while their names were on waiting lists.

“While I regret that the alleged criminal actions by this indicted VA employee ever took place, I am pleased that the investigation we called for in the wake of the Phoenix scandal is being done and people are being held accountable for manipulating medical appointment records when they should have been giving our veterans access to the care they need and deserve,” Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-GA, said in a statement. Isakson is chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

An internal report by the agency’s Health Eligibility Center says about 238,000 of the 847,000 veterans with pending applications for VA health care are likely deceased. The applications go back nearly two decades and some applicants may have died years ago, although there is no way to tell for sure when or why the person died, the VA said.

Henderson is charged with 50 counts of making false statements. It’s unclear if Henderson has an attorney and a phone number for Henderson could not be found.

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