Even the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot trust its own numbers on delivering health care and processing disability claims, the acting secretary of the agency said as he asked for $17.6 billion in new funding Wednesday.

Sloan Gibson repeatedly acknowledged during a Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing that serious problems with “data integrity” have been revealed though a series of investigations into falsified patient wait times at VA medical facilities.

Gibson also acknowledged similar concerns about the reliability of agency numbers that track backlogs and errors in claims for disability benefits, which were challenged recently in reports from the agency's inspector general and the Government Accountability Office.

“We understand the seriousness of the problems we face,” Gibson told the Senate committee. “We own them. We are taking decisive action to begin to resolve them.”

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