Scandals and scathing reports on failures to deliver timely medical treatment to veterans has Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) calling for immediate corrections at the Veterans Administration.
Among the items in his proposed bill: offering incentives to doctors and nurses, who would work for the understaffed VA hospitals.
“There are now 400 vacancies for doctors in the VA system,” said Blumenthal, a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee. “Those vacancies should be filled and they need to be recruited.”
A local veterans’ advocate likes Blumenthal’s proposal to persuade medical professionals to join the VA, but says they have to be special people to care for veterans.
“They come home to be regular population but often times the stressors that they’ve been under much stronger than what you would see in the general population and they do have some special issues,” said Ed Burke, State Services Officer, for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Blumenthal’s bill will also include language that would allow veterans to seek care from private healthcare providers to reduce wait times.
“Delays are endemic and I hear about them,” said Blumenthal. “As recently as this morning, two veterans spoke to me and complained about some of the delays.”
Blumenthal calls he is bill landmark legislation. More than information and more resignations, he says, we need a fundamental overhaul and results.
“This new VA secretary, whoever he or she may be, has to be there like a junkyard dog, hitting the ground, insisting on results,” added Blumenthal.