Feb 11 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, addressed the addition of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) “high risk” list. The biannual GAO report focuses on agencies at high risk of waste, fraud and mismanagement and recommends ways to improve their performance and accountability. From secret wait lists and delayed appointments to a lack of oversight and substandard medical treatment for veterans, the failures within the VA system were brought to the attention of the American public last year. The VA scandal resulted in passage the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act (Choice Act), legislation to overhaul access to veterans’ health care, as well as new leadership at the Department with the confirmation of VA Secretary Bob McDonald.
Even with these changes, the GAO report released today states that weaknesses in “timeliness, cost-effectiveness, quality and safety of veterans’ health care” as well as other problems continue to “raise serious concerns about VA’s management and oversight of its health care system.” According to the report, the GAO has “made numerous recommendations that aim to address weaknesses in VA’s management of its health care system – more than 100 of which have yet to be fully resolved."
Sen. Moran released the following statement in response to the GAO’s findings:
“The addition of the VA health system to the GAO’s high-risk list unfortunately does not come as a surprise, and adds to the frustration my colleagues and I feel as we continue to demand accountability and leadership within the VA system. When the Senate and House came together to pass the Choice Act last summer, there was a sense of hope among veterans, their families and the American people that it was the start of dramatic change at the VA. Six months later, many veterans are still unable to access the care they need because of numerous problems with the Choice Act implementation. The GAO’s listing of the VA health system raises real concerns that common sense is not prevailing and the VA continues to operate in the same bureaucratic fashion.
“I met with VA Secretary McDonald yesterday to discuss VA priorities, and I continue to ask why the VA is not bending over backwards to implement the Choice Act as it was intended and take care of our veterans. I look forward to addressing this issue directly with the VA Secretary when he testifies before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Feb. 26, and I will share with him the stories of Kansas veterans who continue to struggle to access the care they were promised under the Choice Act.
“In the absence of dramatic change at the VA, it is clear that we are not prepared for the servicemen and women who are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are not capable of caring for our aging veterans – particularly those from the Vietnam era - as we promised we would and as every American knows we should. I will not rest until our veterans have a Department of Veterans Affairs worthy of their service and sacrifice.”
# # #