In site visits earlier this month, auditors found no evidence of secret waiting lists for patients within the Department of Veterans Affairs administrative region that includes Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Idaho, according to the region’s director.

“Rather, it was confirmed, that on the whole, staff understood what they needed to do in regards to scheduling and managing wait times,” Lawrence Carroll, director of the Northwest region, known as VISN 20, wrote in a May 19 email to VA employees.

The site visits were conducted the week of May 12 as part of a nationwide audit of medical centers and large clinics, Carroll said.

The audits were conducted by teams of VA employees from outside the region.

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Megan Crowley, a public affairs officer for VISN 20, confirmed Wednesday that the audits did not find evidence of inappropriate record-keeping.

She said that additional audits of smaller outpatient clinics are still under way, and are expected to be finished by June 6.

In years past, employee allegations of scheduling problems and care delays have triggered other audits within the Northwest region.

In 2010, an audit of the Portland VA Medical Center did not substantiate allegations that employees were told to use unauthorized wait lists to hide access and scheduling problems.

In 2012, auditors investigated the Spokane VA Medical Center, and did substantiate allegations that “that requests for consultations were inappropriately canceled or discontinued, and that patients consequently had unnecessary delays in the amelioration of symptoms.”

Hal Bernton: 206-464-2581 or