The Senate Appropriations Committee has drafted a bill that would provide additional funding to investigate recent allegations that Veterans Affairs health clinics have falsified records to hide treatment delays. 

The measure would give the VA inspector general’s office $5 million more than it requested for fiscal 2015 to examine scheduling practices in all VA health networks, according to a markup of the legislation.  

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

The bill would also bar bonuses for the VA Health Administration’s medical directors, assistant medical directors, and senior executives until the department’s inspector general’s office completes its investigation of the matter, according to the markup. Earlier this month, the House passed a bill that would prohibit bonuses for VA senior executives.

In a separate but related matter, House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) on Tuesday said the VA provided an inadequate response to the panel’s bipartisan request for information about the “secret list” that a Phoenix clinic allegedly used to cover up treatment delays.

Miller said he suspects the VA may have “something to hide” and that it “does not want to fully cooperate” with the panel’s investigation into the scheduling controversy.

A VA official told the committee at a private briefing in April that the list was destroyed, according to Miller. The VA provided about 200 e-mails from the official on Wednesday, but the chairman said he wanted information from other key employees.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said in a May 7 letter to Miller that federal law and regulations required the VA to destroy the spreadsheet to safeguard potentially sensitive information after it was no longer needed

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