WASHINGTON — The new inspector general at the Department of Veterans Affairs is hoping to quickly repair the office’s image after nearly two years of criticism for cursory investigations and secrecy. Michael Missal, who began work last Monday, said he plans to reach out to veterans’ groups, Congress and others to let them know his door is open and he plans to be more transparent. I feel very strongly that the public has a right to know the work of the VA IG’s office,” Missal told USA TODAY in an exclusive interview, his first since taking the job.The inspector general is an independent authority responsible under federal law for rooting out fraud and mismanagement at the VA and keeping Congress — and therefore, the public — “fully and currently” informed. But USA TODAY investigations found that his predecessors failed to release the findings of 140 probes of VA health care and sat on the results of 77 wait-time investigations for months. In one case, an investigation found doctors at a VA Medical Center in Tomah, Wis., prescribing dangerous amounts of opiates. The IG briefed VA officials on the findings but didn’t release a public report, trusting they would fix the issue. Five months later, a 35-year old Marine Corps veteran, Jason Simcakoski, died from mixed drug toxicity as a patient there after doctors added another opiate to the 14 drugs he already was prescribed. Missal said he plans to look into that case and why the report wasn’t released.
On a personal Note: The next Department Of Veterans Affairs IG Buzzard to scream for more money to funnel under the table and into his own nest. See’s All, Knows All, Tells All, Eats, Sleeps, Shits, Farts And Solves Absolutely Nothing.