Senator Richard Blumenthal will announce today that he will cosponsor a bill that would help solve problems over access to care at the VA.
This comes after an array of activity out of Veterans Affairs Department that casts a shadow on how it is run. On Friday, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned weeks after it was uncovered that officials at a VA medical center in Phoenix were keeping secret records – making it looks like patients had short wait times when many were waiting weeks or months to be seen.
Now, later this morning Blumenthal will announce that he is cosponsoring a bill with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. It would give veterans facing delays the chance to seek private care outside of the VA. It would also authorize emergency funding to hire new doctors and nurses and provide scholarships and loan forgiveness for people who choose to work at VA facilities.
Blumenthal is also calling for more information to come out of a recent audit. The same day that Shinseki resigned, the VA released an audit of 216 health centers nationwide and found that the two week target for appointments was “unattainable” due to lack of medical providers.
The inability to meet those deadlines has created delays and falsification of records. At this point, the VA does not know where those sites are and if any of the facilities are located in Connecticut.