Ros-Lehtinen Contacts Secretary Of Veterans Administration General Eric Shinseki Over Agency's Failure To Notify Almost A Third Of The Veterans Who May Have Been Exposed To Highly Contagious Diseases
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, senior member of the Florida Congressional Delegation, contacted today General Eric Shinseki, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, regarding the VA's failure to reach up to a third of the veterans who may have been exposed to highly contagious diseases at the Miami VA Medical Center. Ileana has also asked that the Congress hold public hearings regarding this gross breach of the public's trust.
Ros-Lehtinen's letter states that "in the approximately 63 days since this was made public, the VA has only managed to contact 2,295 of the 3,348 veterans who may have been exposed. Eleven cases of HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are confirmed for those who have already been tested. If these numbers are representative of the risk-pool at large, there will be veterans with a life-threatening disease and not receiving the care they need."
The Congresswoman, whose husband Dexter Lehtinen is a wounded and decorated Vietnam War veteran, as well as her step-son and daughter in law who served in Iraq (Lindsay also served in Afghanistan), believes that the VA can utilize many other ways to contact the veterans especially since the possible diseases of HIV and Hepatitis C must be caught early to improve a patients survival and quality of life.
Said Ros-Lehtinen, "This is outrageous that more than two months into this avoidable ordeal, the VA has yet to contact almost a third of the possibly affected veterans. A federal agency, such as the VA, has at its disposal a wide array of tools to reach veterans including mass media, and even sending out VA personnel to the homes of the veterans that have so far not been notified. They need to move faster on this as their actions leave a lot to be desired and the public's trust must be restored."