WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, issued the following statement in response to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) inspector general report released this week on operations at the Phoenix VA Health Care System:
"The latest findings by the VA inspector general simply confirm what we have known all along – systemic dysfunction and lack of leadership at the VA caused harm to our nation’s veterans. Along with the IG report, the VA released new statistics about the change in direction of the VA; unfortunately this information raises more questions than it answers, and makes is clear that the failures were preventable.
"If it was possible to reduce the new enrollee appointment request list by more than 60,000 veterans in two-and-a-half months, there is little excuse for the list ever reaching that level in the first place. Although the reductions in the Electronic Wait List are a step in the right direction, the fact that it was not addressed until now is absolutely unacceptable. If, in one month, the VA can schedule 200,000 new appointments, why had these same veterans already waited several months simply to see a doctor? The short time frame in which these issues were addressed indicates these same problems were allowed to grow for years without greater efforts being made to fix them.
"Although the VA has taken many positive actions in recent months to address the issues plaguing veterans’ health care, it is important to target the root of these problems. This should not, and cannot, ever happen again. The Senate and House have taken action and called on the VA to live up to its commitment to care for those who have sacrificed for our country. And while H.R. 3220 offers hope to veterans by including some of the most significant reforms that have been made within the VA in decades, Congress now has the even tougher job overseeing the implementation of these vital changes at the VA. Veterans have made great sacrifices for our nation, and I will continue working for a Department of Veterans Affairs that is worthy of their service.”
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