Statement of Senator Barack Obama on the VA Secretary's Visit to the Marion, IL VA Medical Center
U.S. Senator Barack Obama today released the following statement after Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake visited the Marion VA Medical Center in Marion, Illinois earlier today:
"After last year's unacceptable tragedies at the Marion VA, it's long past time that Secretary Peake and senior agency personnel visited the facility, reviewed its standards, and met with victims' families, staff, and current patients. And it's long past time that the VA and the Administration guarantee that these types of tragedies, breakdowns and failures are not occurring at other facilities across the country.
"This year's investigations and reports have provided new information about failures in leadership, quality control, and safeguards at Marion. While it is clear Secretary Peake recognizes these systemic problems, our veterans have waited far too long for the VA to make the necessary improvements to ensure that Marion has qualified personnel and operations. The VA must now make critical leadership changes, add the essential safeguards and thoroughly examine its standards at Marion. We must ensure this facility can provide patients with quality care as soon as possible.
"Veterans in Illinois and across the United States should expect nothing less than the best health care and treatment at our nation's veterans' facilities. These brave men and woman served honorably in Iraq and Afghanistan, and conflicts throughout the world. We owe them care that is worthy of their extraordinary sacrifice, and they should not be put in danger here at home.
"I commend Senator Durbin and Congressmen Costello and Shimkus for their continued leadership on behalf of America's veterans."