MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minneapolis VA Health Care System has been cleared in three cases of allegations of manipulation of patient appointments, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced Tuesday.

Veterans Affairs officials say the department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), an internal independent “watch-dog” of the VA, found out that “the allegations were not substantiated.”

The cases involved two former Gastroenterology Clinic employees claiming they were instructed to alter appointment and scheduling records, claims from an OIG “hotline” call that the dental clinic appointments were manipulated and the claims that a VA computer system showed that a veteran had canceled an appointment after his death.

Officials say in the first case, there was no evidence found in 21,000 emails of the former employees that they had communicated any concerns about wait times.

In the OIG hotline call, the employee who made the call was unable to provide any specific examples or evidence to corroborate his allegation.

Lastly, in the third case, the OIG found records that the veteran made a cell phone call on the morning prior to his death to cancel an appointment. However, the notification of his phone call was transmitted via the VA’s automated scheduling system, AudioCARE, to the schedulers’ email group the next morning, which left a false impression that the call had been made that day. AudioCARE staff found an original note indicating the veteran called prior to his death.

“We very much appreciate the release of the reports by OIG and the confirmation of no wrong doing on the part of our employees,” said Minneapolis VA Health Care System Director Patrick Kelly. “We will continue to provide the excellent quality of care to our nation’s Veterans.”

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