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The Lake News Online
  • Blunt, McCaskill urge accountability for VA

  • Veterans Affairs leaders need to be held accountable after reports that VA health care centers in four Midwestern states maintained secret, unauthorized waiting lists of veterans, some of whom waited for care for more than 90 days, Missouri's U.S. senators said Wednesday.
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  • Veterans Affairs leaders need to be held accountable after reports that VA health care centers in four Midwestern states maintained secret, unauthorized waiting lists of veterans, some of whom waited for care for more than 90 days, Missouri's U.S. senators said Wednesday.
    VA officials first acknowledged the Midwestern lists in letters last week to U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, both of Kansas. The letters included information about conditions in the VA's Heartland Network, with unauthorized lists maintained at facilities in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.
    The letters cite 71 on waiting lists for treatment in Missouri: 26 in St. Louis, 19 in Columbia, 14 in Poplar Bluff, and 12 in Kansas City.
    "It is unacceptable and intolerable that veterans in Missouri or anywhere in America would receive this type of inadequate treatment," Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, said in a statement.
    Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, is seeking feedback from veterans and the VA's Office of Inspector General "and will continue to hold VA leaders accountable to both," spokeswoman Sarah Feldman said.
    Messages seeking comment from spokespeople for the VA were not immediately returned.
    The VA is conducting a system-wide investigation after concerns were raised about long waits for care at the VA health care system in Phoenix. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned last week amid the scandal.
    The letters to Roberts and Moran last week came as the VA released a summary of 216 site-specific audits detailing widespread falsification of waiting list records and unreported treatment delays at VA facilities nationwide. The letters were from Francisco Vasquez, director of the Robert J. Dole Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas, and William P. Patterson, director of the VA's Heartland Network.

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