ST. LOUIS - Calls and emails from veterans continue to come into NewsChannel 5 following our whistleblower report that alleges those with mental illness are forced to wait a month or longer for treatment because staff is only working four hours a day.
On Tuesday, the former head of psychiatry at the VA told NewsChannel 5 he was demoted because he wanted his staff to see more patients.
Dr. Jose Mathews said on average psychiatrists were seeing six patients a day, which is about four hours of work. He couldn't account for what the staff was doing the rest of the day and wanted more productivity. Officials at the St. Louis VA painted Mathews as a liar.
Here is the statement issued by the VA on Tuesday:
"…we have conducted a thorough review of our mental health provider productivity and on average our full time psychiatrists are seeing 14 patients per day, which is at or above the VA productivity standards and consistent with industry standards."
Here is the statement provided by the VA on Wednesday after we asked to see data proving that they were seeing 14 patients per psychiatrist per day:
"Fiscal Year 2014 (year-to-date) the number of patients seen per psychiatrist per day ranged from 5 to 14. The psychiatrist that saw 5 patients per day was assigned to the outpatient clinic slightly less than 3.5 hours per day or half time. "
The spokesperson explained those seeing just five patients per day may have had other duties such as research or in-patient care.
Dr. Mathews said they VA continues to play with numbers while jeopardizing the mental health of veterans.
Also Wednesday, Missouri Republican Congresswoman Ann Wagner, joined Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) demanding an investigation into Dr. Mathew's allegations. You can read Wagner's letter below.